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82 women walk red carpet in Cannes film festival protest

first_img Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Eighty-two women climbed the steps of the Palais des Festivals at the Cannes Film Festival in an unprecedented red carpet protest to press for improved gender equality in the film industry.The number of stars, filmmakers and film industry professionals ascending the steps represented the number of female filmmakers who have been selected to compete at Cannes during the festival’s seven-decade history.In contrast to their 82, 1,866 films directed by men have been picked for the prestigious festival lineup. From left: Jury members Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava Duvernay, Cate Blanchett and director Agnes Varda walk the red carpet. (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)The other two — Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum, and Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro — are to premiere next week.Cannes has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years over the number of female directors selected into its main slate, considered one of the most esteemed achievements in cinema. Jane Campion is the only female filmmaker to ever win the Palme.The festival supported Saturday’s protest. Festival director Thierry Fremaux earlier this week hailed Saturday’s event as a way for women “to affirm their presence.”Fremaux has repeatedly insisted that the festival chooses its films purely based on quality. But he’s also signaled that the festival is reanalyzing its procedures and making its selection committees gender-balanced From centre left: Sofia Boutella, Salma Hayek and Patty Jenkins stand as part of 82 film industry professionals on the steps of the Palais des Festivals to protest pervasive gender inequality in the film industry at the 71st Cannes film festival on Saturday. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) Advertisement Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Organizers said the event was orchestrated by the Time’s Up movement and the French movement known as 5020×2020 to show “how hard it is still to climb the social and professional ladder” for women.It brought an array of film industry professionals to the Cannes red carpet, including actresses Salma Hayek and Jane Fonda, Wonder Woman filmmaker Patty Jenkins and French director Agnes Varda, a recipient of an honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes.The number of stars, filmmakers and film industry professionals ascending the steps represented the number of female filmmakers who have been selected to compete at Cannes during the festival’s seven-decade history. (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)Also joining were the five female members of this year’s Cannes jury: Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, Lea Seydoux and Burundian singer Khadja Nin. Blanchett read a statement atop the Palais steps in English; Varda read it in French.“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise,” Blanchett said. “We stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination to change and progress.”“The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all,” she concluded. “Let’s climb.”The protest was held ahead of the premiere of French filmmaker Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun, which is about a Kurdish battalion of women soldiers. Husson is one of three female filmmakers out of the 21 movies in competition for the Palme d’Or this year.last_img read more

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BC First Nation files Aboriginal title claim challenging fish farms in their

first_img(Dzawada’enuxw leaders outside BC Supreme Court in Vancouver. Photo courtesy Lindsey Mae Willie)Laurie HamelinAPTN NewsThe Dzawada’enuxw First Nation of Kingcome Inlet filed a claim of Aboriginal title in British Columbia’s Supreme Court that affects ten fish farms in their traditional territory that they say are operating without their consent. “We have been saying no for 30 years,” says Lindsey Mae Willie of Dzawada’enuxw First Nation. “We have always said no and they just plunked themselves into our territory anyways. “By going for title they will have to listen to us.” Jack Woodward, the nation’s lawyer, is a leading expert in Aboriginal law. Woodward represented the Tsilhqot’in Nation in the first successful claim of Aboriginal title in 2014. “Once a precedent is set the procedural barriers are largely eliminated,” says Woodward. “It’s very much like an icebreaker clearing a path through the ice.“The Tsilhqot’in did that and it now makes it much easier for those First Nations that follow.”Although this new claim could take years to go through the courts, filing now puts added pressure on the provincial government, who has the power to grant fish farm tenures.Most of the ten fish farm tenures involved in the claim, along with others in the Broughton Archipelago, are up for renewal in three weeks.“Certainly one of the motivations is to file a claim prior to the June 20 expiry of the tenures,” says Woodward. “The Dzawada’enuxw want to clearly signal that they will not tolerate the renewal of those tenures.“The province should not consider renewing in the face of this competing claim of ownership of the territory.”The Dzawada’enuxw believe that open-net fish farms pose a serious threat to wild salmon and have been actively protesting against the industry since last year.“We have tried everything we can to protect our salmon,” says Willie. “We’ve had marches, demonstrations, handed out eviction notices, we even occupied a fish farm, Midsummer Island, but got kicked off through an injunction last December.“Now, that same fish farm company is trying to keep First Nations and everyone else 20 meters away from all of their farms.”In early May, Marine Harvest Canada applied for an injunction that would prevent the public from coming within 20 metres of its 34 fish farm facilities on BC’s coast.In legal notices, Marine Harvest alleges that Alexandra Morton, an independent biologist, and protesters “combined and conspired with each other with the intent to injure Marine Harvest by entering into an agreement to interfere and disrupt Marine Harvest’s business and to intimidate Marine Harvest and its employees to destroy the business of Marine Harvest.”The injunction hearing is adjourned to June 25.Greg McDade, the legal council for Morton, warns that Marine Harvest is trying to control the open ocean. “They are asking for something fish farms should not have the right to do,” says McDade. “Which is the ability to control the public at large, and scientists and divers, from observing while outside the pens.“Nobody can give ownership of the ocean, this isn’t like land.  Under English Law going back to the Magna Carta, public access to water was always guaranteed.”Molina Dawson, who grew up in Kingcome Inlet and occupied Midsummer Island fish farm for several months, says Marine Harvest’s desire to keep people away is concerning.“Why don’t they want eyes on them,” asks Dawson. “The industry says their farms are not affecting wild fish, but the fact that they are trying to take measures to prevent people from observing from on and under the water, to prove or disprove that fish farms are doing or not doing something harmful, well that says a lot.”Dawson is referring to underwater footage recently shot by Tavish Campbell.Tavish Campbell diving beside blood water spilling from fish processing plant. Courtesy Facebook Tavish Campbell.Campbell’s images of bloody effluent billowing from pipes at two fish processing plants off Vancouver Island went viral last November.And in April, Campbell’s footage of a rare glass sponge reef smothered by fish farm waste, owned by Cermaq Canada, was released.“That’s the real target of the injunction,” says McDade. “I think it’s underwater photography that’s starting to get to them.”This month is a crucial time in the fish farm dispute.If First Nations opposed to salmon farms don’t come out on top, the Dzawada’enuxw are confident they will finally win the battle in their title case.“If we don’t stop the fish farms this month,” says Willie. “They’ll eventually see that we’re the rightful owners of our land and waters in the court decision.”last_img read more

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UK house prices drop amid Brexit uncertainty

first_imgLONDON — One of Britain’s leading mortgage providers says house prices in the country fell in December by their biggest amount in six and a half years, in a further sign that uncertainty surrounding Brexit is weighing on economic activity.The Nationwide Building Society said Friday that house prices fell by a monthly rate of 0.7 per cent in December, the biggest monthly decline since July 2012.On an annual basis, prices were up only 0.5 per cent, the lowest since February 2013.The housing market, a barometer of the British economy, has slowed since the country voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union. Now that the country’s actual departure in March is looming, the property market, like other sectors, is being hobbled by uncertainty over what Brexit will mean economically.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Pipeline approval put Albertas needs ahead of BCs oilspill concerns

VANCOUVER — A lawyer representing British Columbia in its fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion says the federal cabinet’s approval of the project is “lopsided” because it put Alberta’s economic needs ahead of B.C.’s concerns about oil spills.Thomas Berger said outside the Federal Court of Appeal on Thursday that the $7.4-billion project would disproportionately impact the interests of B.C. residents in the event of a marine spill of diluted bitumen.While Alberta would get the lion’s share of benefits through development of its oil resources and access to Pacific Rim markets, B.C. would bear the entire environmental risk, he told The Canadian Press in an interview.In its approval of the project last November, the governor in council breached its statutory duty to provide reasons for deciding it was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, Berger said on behalf of the attorney general of B.C., which is an intervener in the case.“The governor in council made its choice but it did not give any reasons. All we got was the conclusion. It’s like getting a judge’s verdict without getting any reasons,” Berger said.“I urged the court to rule that the cabinet had to obey the command of Parliament, which is the order in council must set out the reasons for making the order,” the former B.C. Supreme Court judge said.“I told the court, ‘This isn’t technical, it’s fundamental,’ ” Berger said.The federal government’s explanatory note accompanying the order in council approving Trans Mountain says detailed reasons for the decision are set out in four reports, including one by the National Energy Board.“The citizen shouldn’t have to search through hundreds of documents to find out the reason why the cabinet made the choice it did,” Berger said. “That’s why Parliament said cabinet’s reasons must be set out in the order in council.”Alberta, which favours the pipeline project on the grounds it would create jobs and investment opportunities, is scheduled to make its arguments in the Federal Court of Appeal next week.Several First Nations, two environmental groups and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby are also against the pipeline expansion that the federal government approved last November.Indigenous groups have maintained a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic would substantially increase the risks of diluted bitumen spills, with no known means of adequately cleaning it up, and put endangered southern resident killer whales in peril.First Nations groups also say the federal government failed to adequately consult with them or gain their consent for expanding the pipeline.Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada, aims to double an existing Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline with nearly 1,000 more kilometres of pipeline in new and existing corridors.British Columbia’s former Liberal government supported the project, saying Kinder Morgan had met five government conditions including a revenue-sharing agreement worth up to $1-billion.However, the New Democrat government, which formed an alliance with the Green party to support its minority government this year, has said it would oppose the pipeline expansion.Earlier Thursday, TransCanada announced it had cancelled its plans for the $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline which was to carry oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries Quebec and New Brunswick.Last September, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa’s approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project, two years after the federal cabinet granted a permit— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter. read more

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Maldives celebrates independence amidst political tensions

The Maldives on Thursday celebrated 47 years since it attained independence from the British rule amidst political tensions with the opposition claiming the country is sliding back from democracy.In a message to mark the Independence Day, President Mohamed Waheed said that peace will prevail in the troubled country and the Maldives will regain its good image, the president’s office said. A total of 458,068 tourist arrivals were registered from January to June 2012. This is an increase of 2.3 percent compared to the same period in 2011. (Xinhua) The MDP said that since the transfer of power on February 7, 2012 when former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned from office, the current government has detained or charged 19 MDP legislators. Waheed also said that the people in the Maldives have accepted change, a change which the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) however said was forced on the country. He also said that the MDP is disappointed with the lack of response from the international community on the situation in the Maldives which is witnessing the democratic gains achieved over the past three years slip away.On Wednesday the British minister for South Asia Alistair Burt said that efforts to restore calm and stability in the Maldives are being hampered by increasing political tension and escalating violence.“I hope that high level talks between political parties can start soon, and that these can identify peaceful ways through current difficulties,” he said. Nasheed had said at the time that he was forced to resign and has called for an independent investigation into the transfer of power and early presidential elections.“We urgently need to point out to the international community that the regime is intent on consolidating its position and skewing the playing field into such a shape that we will not be able to have a free and fair election at all, now or in 2013,” leader of the MDP Parliamentary Group, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, said in a statement emailed to Xinhua on Thursday. However despite the political tensions the Maldives Tourism Ministry on Thursday said that the country registered a 6.1 percent tourist arrival growth during June 2012 with 59,379 arrivals. read more

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Congress says it wants the best for Tamils

Both the Centre and Congress have taken various measures to protect the rights of Tamils there, he said. The Centre and Congress want Tamils to live safely and lead a secure life with equal rights in Sri Lanka, Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan said today.Vasan evaded a direct reply when asked about the ban on the conference of Tamil Eelam Supporters Association, convened by the forum’s founder leader and DMK chief M Karunanidhi tomorrow at Chennai, but said his party wanted all Tamils across the globe to be protected. Replying to a specific question on the conference, Vasan told reporters at the city airport on his way to Erode that the association also has the similar goal and fighting for the cause of well-being of Tamils in the Island Nation. Congress, a key ally of DMK in the ruling UPA, has dissociated itself from the conference. Police have refused permission for the TESO meet.To a question on corruption and agitation by Anna Hazare and yoga guru Ramdev, Vasan said people saw “the real face of Team Anna and they would also know the intention of Ramdev soon”. (PTI) read more

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Tensions higher than ever inside bursting Saskatoon jail

Province blames changing gang affiliations for violence at Saskatoon jail Saskatoon jail locked down after fights involving gang members 18-year-old man stabbed at Saskatoon jail, two men arrested Inmates raising concerns about conditions inside the Saskatoon jail Inmate dies in Saskatoon jail overnight A breakdown in relations between two of the province’s largest gangs has led to an eruption of violence that has some inmates and staff at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre fearing for their safety.“I’ve been going there since 1998, and I’ve never seen it like this,” said Fr. André Poilièvre, who routinely visits the “bursting” facility as part of his work with Str8 Up, the organization he founded that works to help young people leave street gangs.Tension continued to build even after members of the once-friendly Westside Outlaws and Indian Posse were segregated following two major fights in the jail late last month, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has learned.There have been confrontations and fights between members of the gangs, which are rivalled only by the Terror Squad in terms of size and power, since a five-day lockdown was lifted at the end of August, sources inside the jail said.“If you just came in today and you’d never been there before, you’d take it for granted that that’s what going on. But people like myself who have been going there for 30 years have seen the escalation of that stress and that tension and that conflict,” Poilièvre said.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“It’s strictly survival on both sides, staff and inmates,” Poilièvre said, adding that he does not blame correctional workers for a situation he attributes to an increasingly violent street culture combined with methamphetamine.The jail was locked down in August after four inmates were injured in two separate fights between gang members following what the provincial government has described as a sudden break between the Indian Posse and the Westside Outlaws.Those incidents led the union representing jail guards to describe the facility as a “powder keg.”Ministry of Corrections and Policing spokesman Drew Wilby said in an email this week that relocating 40 per cent of the jail’s population in order to separate gang members has “gone a long way to ensuring the safety of staff and inmates.”“We have not seen similar incidents to what occurred at Saskatoon Correctional Centre a couple of weeks ago … As a standard course of business, we continue to review the security protocols in place and will continue to adapt where required,” Wilby said.Sources inside the jail said there have been confrontations and altercations between members of different gangs since the lockdown was lifted, including one that began after a door between two secure areas was inadvertently left open.“It’s unpredictable, man. You don’t know what’s going to happen, whether or not somebody’s going to f—ing roll on you or somebody’s going to just attack you out of nowhere,” said Phillip Bear Morin, who is currently on remand.“The violence is escalating and there’s nothing for the people in here,” Morin said in reference to programming for prisoners who spend weeks or months on remand without being convicted of a crime. He is not a gang member, he added.Wilby declined to provide information on what he called “minor altercations.”Poilièvre said one problem is that it’s not always easy to determine which inmates are gang members. One obvious solution is to stop “warehousing” prisoners and instead concentrate on healing and rehabilitation, he said.Morin offered a similar, albeit more succinct assessment: “Not f—ing packing the place.”amacpherson@postmedia.comtwitter.com/macphersonaRelated read more

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State tells allnatural dairy to label its skim milk imitation because no

State tells all-natural dairy to label its skim milk ‘imitation’ because no vitamins are added TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Ocheesee Creamery in the Florida Panhandle produces all-natural skim milk from grass-fed cows with absolutely nothing added, yet the state says they have to call it “imitation.”And while they argue about it, the dairy is dumping hundreds of gallons of skim milk down the drain each week.Creamery owners Paul and Mary Lou Wesselhoeft were in federal court Wednesday as part of their nearly three-year-old battle with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which argues that skim milk can’t be sold as skim milk unless vitamins are added to it.But that goes against the all-natural philosophy at the creamery located about 50 miles west of the state capital.“Our customers want an all-natural product. If we call it imitation, they will not buy our product,” Mary Lou Wesselhoeft said after the court hearing. “To me it’s degrading and a slap in the face because it’s pure, unadulterated skim milk.”Webster’s dictionary defines skim milk as simply “milk from which cream has been removed,” with no mention of added vitamins. But Department lawyer Ashley Davis told a judge consumers expect whole milk and skim milk to have the same nutritional value and that the Wesselhoefts’ skim milk is nutritionally inferior because vitamins are removed when the milk fat is removed.“Ocheessee’s product is imitating — literally imitating — skim milk,” Davis said.Judge Robert Hinkle said he’s not so sure consumers expect skim milk to have the same nutritional value as whole milk.“You know something’s been removed in order to make it skim milk,” he said.Hinkle also seemed to have problems with the word imitation.“It’s hard to call this imitation milk. It came right out of the cow,” Hinkle said. “Anyone who reads imitation skim milk would think it didn’t come out of a cow.”The creamery needs to remove the milk fat to produce cream and butter, and skim milk is the result. Some people, especially those on low-cholesterol diets, prefer skim milk because it has little fat. When the couple bought the dairy six years ago, the state tested the product for fat content, Paul Wesselhoeft said.“They told us we had to call it skim milk,” he said. Then three years later they ordered them to stop selling the skim milk unless they labeled it imitation.And that’s hurt the couple’s business plan. The dairy was selling 200 to 300 gallons of skim milk a week at $5 a gallon before the state ordered them to relabel it or stop selling it.The Institute for Justice is suing the state on behalf of the couple.“The creamery sold its skim milk for three years without anyone being confused or harmed,” said lawyer Justin Pearson.Both sides asked Hinkle to rule on the case before a trial, currently scheduled for November. Hinkle has not decided whether to do so.Davis and other lawyers representing the state refused to comment after the hearing.___This story has been corrected to include the correct name of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, not the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs. by Brendan Farrington, The Associated Press Posted Aug 19, 2015 1:50 pm MDT Last Updated Aug 19, 2015 at 4:23 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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Man fatally injured on Takutu Bridge

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related14-year-old girl allegedly attacked, injured by men in LethemApril 29, 2019In “Crime”Guyana/Brazil Consulate Officer killed in accident off Takutu BridgeAugust 9, 2014In “Crime”Man stoned to death at Lethem – several persons arrestedFebruary 20, 2017In “Crime” A 22-year-old man, identified as Rockie Pedro, was killed on Sunday while travelling from Guyana to Brazil via the Takutu Bridge.The man reportedly fell from a moving vehicle which was travelling across the Bridge.The Takutu Bridge connects Guyana and Brazil and is used by scores of people on a daily basis.This publication was informed that no one else was reportedly travelling in the vehicle with the young Moruca resident when the incident occurred.Investigations are currently ongoing. read more

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Komatsu and Joy Global CEOs talk commitment to mining innovation at MINExpo

first_imgLast week Tetsuji (Ted) Ohashi, President and CEO of Komatsu Ltd, and Ted Doheny, President and CEO of Joy Global Inc, met in Las Vegas. Both companies had a major presence at this year’s show. In July the two companies announced an agreement in which Komatsu will acquire Joy Global. During their meeting on September 26, Ohashi and Doheny reaffirmed their commitment to pursue new innovations that drive customer benefits after the acquisition is complete. The companies are working to finalize the transaction by mid-2017.“Our customers are sharing very positive feedback about the agreement. Some have approached us at MINExpo to congratulate us on our decision,” Ohashi said. “We are working closely with Joy Global and relevant authorities to move the process forward.”Doheny agreed, noting industry recognition of the complementary nature of the two companies’ product and service offerings.“Many of our customers and other business partners see the benefit of combining companies: a broader offering of products, systems and solutions across a wider scope of mining and construction applications,” Doheny said. “Both companies believe in having the best products, direct service, being operationally excellent, and having the best people in the world.”Joining Joy Global with the Komatsu Group will offer several benefits to customers, including:A broader line of industry-leading mining and construction equipment for drilling, earthmoving, loading and hauling systems and solutions for both underground and surface mining. Joy Global’s rope shovels, for example, pair well with Komatsu’s large electric dump trucksEnhanced global customer support through the companies’ mutual commitment and expertise in direct sales and service directly connected via embedded personnel in the mines, and electronically connected with world class fleet management systems.“The synergistic collaboration between the companies will drive our innovation and enhance our capacity to provide quality products and solutions that improve the safety and productivity of mining operations,” Ohashi said. “We will together strive to become an even better, more invaluable partner for our customers.”“The combination of two worldclass companies offers exciting opportunities to enhance and expand the solutions and services we provide customers,” Doheny said. “With strengthened capabilities and a continued focus on solving our customers’ toughest challenges, we look forward to working together to advance the mining industry.”Interestingly, there is little overlap in the mining product line-up of the two companies.last_img read more

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Todays Doctor Who Google Doodle is amazing

first_imgIF YOU’RE A fan of Doctor Who you’ll enjoy today’s Google Doodle. An 8-bit game has taken over the logo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the cult BBC show, which first aired on November 23, 1963. The aim of the game? The evil daleks have stolen the Google logo and it’s up to you, along with whichever Doctor you chose, to save it. Each letter is hidden within a different time and universe that you must use your trusty TARDIS to navigate.If you die you regenerate to another, so that’s your Friday completely out the window. The doodle comes after 4,000 fans signed a petition asking for Google to mark the occasion. The team of five was led by British Googler, Matthew Cruickshank and took four months to complete.Dublin radio station takes on Jean-Claude Van Damme’s ‘most epic of splits’>So this is what Eamon Gilmore is really saying during foreign press conferences>last_img read more

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Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act comes into force today

first_imgFROM TODAY, A number of key measures introduced under Budget 2014 last October come into effect.The much-debated Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act also comes into force today, the regulations for which were finally signed at the end of December. The act was signed into law on 30 July of this year.The bill was the subject of much debate in the Dáil this summer. Its commencement as an Act means that a woman is legally allowed access to an abortion where there is a real and substantial risk to her life, including risk of suicide.This suicide clause – part 9 of the act – was one of the most contentious parts of the legislation. A number of TDs and Senators tabled amendments that would have removed this section or substantially altered it.However, all these amendments were defeated.BUDGET 2014 MEASURESA number of other major measures have also come into force today.Bed charges: Private patients who use public hospital beds will be subject to new charges, saving the State €30m. This move has been criticised by insurance companies who say it will drive up premiums and has placed an extra “€300 million on 1.2 million people”, or even result in the closure of private hospitals.Single Parents or Carers: What was known as the One-Parent Family (OPF) Tax Credit will become the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit, which will be of the same value. The difference between the two will be that the new credit will only be available ‘to the principal carer of the child’. The decision has been criticised by some single parents.Invalidity Pension: This will technically only come into effect tomorrow, as it applies to people who in 2014 reach the age of 65, in the case of those already in receipt of the pension, and age 66 for those qualified to receive it. The weekly rate of Invalidity Pension will be reduced for these people by €36.80 to €193.50.  This will result in savings of €5 million.State Pension (Transition): As previously announced, this will no longer be paid to people who reach age 65 on or after today.Bereavement Grant: Achieving a saving of €17 million per year, this €850 payment no longer applies from today. Minister Brendan Howlin defended this move by noting there is still “a very generous provision” to pensioners in case of their spouse passing away.Telephone Allowance: The Department of Social Protection is advising claimaints that this allowance no longer applies to bills from today. This, along with other cuts affecting pensions, led to protests outside Leinster House earlier this year.Ex-Gratia Payments: A reduced rate of tax was available on lump sums received when leaving employment, known as Top Slicing Relief, but will be abolished from today.Illness Benefit: Previously the first three days of an illness could not be claimed for under this payment, but this has now been raised to six days. Given the time-frame involved, this comes into effect on 6 January.VAT: One change will come into affect today, affecting the farmer’s flat-rate addition. This applied to farmers who had not registered for the tax, and compensates them for VAT incurred on the sale of their produce to those who are registered for the tax. This will rise 0.2 per cent to 5 per cent.DIRT: The rate of tax on interest payments from midnight tonight will rise to 41 per cent from between 33 and 36 per cent, depending on the frequency of payment. The pension levy will also rise to 0.75 per cent in 2014.Capital Gains Tax relief: Relief for properties purchased between 7 December 2011 and 31 December 2013 has been extended to include properties bought to the end of this year.Mortgage Interest Relief: This will be phased out from today, being closed to new entries.Jobseeker’s Allowance: There will be no changes to the rates of primary weekly social welfare payments and pensions. However, from 14 January there will be changes to Jobseeker’s Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance. For more, see Citizen’s Information. Education and Training: People receiving Invalidity Pension, Illness Benefit, One-Parent Family Payment, Farm Assist or Fish Assist will not be eligible to receive a SOLAS (formerly FÁS) or Youthreach training allowance in addition to a social welfare payment. (This applies to new participants only). An additional payment of €20 to long-term unemployed participants in SOLAS or VTOS and Youthreach schemes will end from today.Standard Fund Threshold: This is being reduced from €2.3m to €2m, and there are also measures to standardise payouts between those who retire early and others.- Additional reporting Nicky RyanRead: Ireland, women and 2013: A year we dealt with our legacy issues?>Read: Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act to come into force on 1 January>last_img read more

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Three people airlifted from Croagh Patrick after sustaining injuries

first_imgTHREE PEOPLE HAVE been airlifted to hospital by the Coast Guard after slipping and sustaining injuries while climbing Croagh Patrick.One woman sustained head injuries and was brought to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar while a man was rescued with leg injuries. The third person, a woman, was also brought to hospital earlier in the day but her injuries were not specified.The Coast Guard helicopter R118 airlifted all three off the Mayo mountain on Saturday.One climber who was on Croke Patrick during one of the rescues warned that the conditions were difficult.“Coming down the step point from the summit is particularly dangerous this year, very little stone and lots of sand,” Patrick Fortune told TheJournal.ie. He described how the helicopter had been unable to get close to the location of one of the women, and 7 climbers had slowly carried her by stretcher towards a more accessible part of the mountain. They “were all coaxed down slowly by the expertise of the Coast Guard,” he said. “To say they did an amazing job is an understatement”.More than 20,000 people are expected to climb the mountain next Sunday, known as Reek Sunday, as part of a pilgrimage.Read: Watch hero friends rescue skydiver who passed out mid-freefall > Read: Man brought to hospital by helicopter after falling from cliffs >last_img read more

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SEESOX launches new research project and website on Greek diaspora

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The South East European Studies (SEESOX) research centre at Oxford University launched a new website, SEESOX Diaspora, which explores the relationship between Greece and its diaspora in the context of economic crisis and beyond.SEESOX focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between European integration and the politics, economics and societies in the Balkans, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.The centre conducts policy-relevant research on the multifaceted transformations of the region in the 21st century, following closely on conflict and post-conflict situations; SEESOX then analyses the historical and intellectual influences which have shaped perceptions and actions in the region.The new website investigates how Greek diaspora can affect Greece’s political and economic transformation and explores ways for the Greek state to interact with its diaspora on a socioeconomic level.The main research projects of SEESOX Diaspora are Philanthropy, Greek Diaspora and Politics, Greeks in the UK, New Greek Migration, and Comparative Research.SEESOX Diaspora is designed to reach wide audiences interested in education and policy; aiming to become the prominent forum for debate between the wider diaspora and dedicated scholarship programs.Another goal is to connect Greece and its diaspora to countries which can serve as benchmarks by establishing diaspora-homeland interactions; such countries include Israel, Ireland and Poland.SEESOX aspires to become a point of reference for anyone interested in the contemporary aspects of the Greek diaspora, archives, activities, institutional affiliations, policy relevant research; to analyse the new trends and to assess the impact of the diaspora on the development of the Greek economy identifying policies that can maximise its contribution.Among the projects launched by SEESOX Diaspora is the creation of a Greek Diaspora Digital map, a dynamic tool that records and depicts the presence of Greek diasporic organisations worldwide, providing a platform for communication and interaction between Hellenes on a global level.SEESOX is also organising a large survey focusing on the Greek Diaspora in the UK; the first major attempt to assess and analyse the profile of the Greek communities in the UK which have been highly diversified with the post 2010 crisis-driven emigration wave from Greece.Meanwhile, the Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX organises conferences, workshops, and seminars.On 22-23 June, it held a conference titled ‘Homeland-Diaspora relations in flux: Greece and Greeks abroad at times of crisis’ at St Antony’s College which explored the impact of Greek diaspora communities on their homeland through interactions in the domains of economy, politics, and philanthropy.During the first part, the SEESOX team presented some of the output of a study by in-house researchers Othon Anastasakis and Foteini Kalantzi who examined Greek parliamentary debates on diaspora during 2009-2017, by focusing on issues such as the diaspora vote, Greek state-sponsored language education, as well as diaspora aid and investment. The second session touched on diasporic identities, where Giorgos Anagnostou from Ohio State University pointed out the existence of two Greek American narratives: the bootstrap narrative whereby individual achievements bear no connection to collective endeavour and the narrative relating to the Greek American’s community aligning with other actors to help achieve goals of collective significance.The other panel sessions dealt with diasporic institutions and the third sector, diaspora and Church, media and diaspora, diaspora and economy, brain drain and diaspora engagement.The last panel was composed by founders of bottom-up diaspora initiatives who presented their experiences and lessons learned from engaging with diaspora matters from a practitioner’s perspective. These included Nikos Theodorakis’ BrainGain, Effie Kyrtata’s Reload Greece, Nikos Stampoulopoulos’ New Diaspora and Dimitris Kraniotis’ Hellenic Institute of Cultural Diplomacy.In conclusion, the conference provided numerous insights on the state of Greek diaspora-homeland relations offering participants the opportunity to acquaint themselves with different perspectives and timely research that has originated from some of the most important Greek diaspora scholar communities. It also created a strong network for cooperation and synergies in the future.Watch video below:last_img read more

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Recycler ses déchets pour soffrir des Vacances propres

first_imgRecycler ses déchets pour s’offrir des “Vacances propres”Alors que l’été vient tout juste de commencer, la campagne “Vacances propres” a été lancée, comme chaque année, ce mercredi 20 juin. Cette opération de sensibilisation a pour but de préserver les plages de France des quantités de déchets qui tous les ans sont laissées par les estivants. 400 ans, c’est le temps qu’il faut à une bouteille, ou un sac en plastique, pour se dégrader entièrement. Une canette en aluminium met quant à elle 200 ans, quand une bouteille en verre ne disparaît pas avant 4.000 ans. Les mégots de cigarettes, eux, restent un à douze ans dans l’environnement, et les trognons de pommes plusieurs mois avant de disparaître complètement.Alors que les plages et sentiers de France s’apprêtent à être envahis par les vacanciers, une opération de sensibilisation au recyclage des déchets vient d’être lancée. La campagne “Vacances propres” est menée chaque année auprès des estivants, et ce depuis quarante ans. Un millier de collectivités locales environ y prennent part tous les ans, afin de préserver leurs plages et sites touristiques. Quelque 3.700 collecteurs, et des millions de sacs poubelle sont ainsi distribués à ces villes pour les aider à protéger l’environnement des déchets sauvages laissés par les visiteurs. Grâce à cette opération, ce sont “50.000 tonnes de déchets supplémentaires” qui sont chaque année récoltées, affirme auprès de l’AFP Jean-François Molle, le président de la campagne “Vacances propres”, menée depuis 1971 et initiée par des industriels du secteur de l’emballage et de la consommation. “Notre campagne porte ses fruits. Sans “Gestes Propres – Vacances Propres”, on peut estimer que l’on retrouverait trois fois plus de déchets sauvages sur nos sites de tourisme et de loisirs” assure-t-il dans un communiqué diffusé à l’occasion du lancement de la campagne.20.000 tonnes de déchets abandonnés dans la natureÀ lire aussiSoleil : Pourquoi est-ce que l’on bronze ? Bouteilles en plastique, mégots, canettes en aluminium, emballages… 15.000 à 20.000 tonnes de déchets sauvages sont toujours jetées tous les ans dans la nature en France. Pourtant il est si rapide et simple de déposer ses détritus dans une poubelle. Recycler ses déchets demande à peine “10 secondes” souligne l’un des guides menant la campagne de sensibilisation auprès des vacanciers. Mais la nature, elle, met “des années, voire des milliers d’années” à s’en débarrasser, rappelle-t-il à l’AFP.La campagne “Vacances propres” a alors pour but de “maintenir une pression pédagogique sur le geste de tri, même pendant les vacances”, en empêchant les estivants d’oublier l’impact que peut avoir sur l’environnement le si simple geste de jeter un déchet dans la nature, explique Jean-François Molle.Un site internet a d’ailleurs été créé pour renforcer cette opération auprès du grand public. Il rappelle les bases du recyclage, les chiffres impressionnants du temps de dégradation des déchets, et recense toutes les collectivités mobilisées. Un guide (lien non disponible) “éco-vacancier”, destiné aux adultes comme aux enfants, a même été édité, et sera distribué aux touristes.Le 24 juin 2012 à 18:23 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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UPDATE Herrera Beutler voices grave CRC concerns to Coast Guard

first_imgU.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on Wednesday reiterated several worries and questions about the Columbia River Crossing as the U.S. Coast Guard mulls a crucial bridge permit for the $3.4 billion project.In a letter sent to the Coast Guard, the Camas Republican highlighted what she termed “grave concerns” with the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement and its planned height. Reducing clearance under the bridge to 116 feet not only limits current businesses upriver, “but could also provide a chilling impact to future business development due to the permanent, impassable nature of the design for larger vessels and cargoes,” Herrera Beutler wrote.The twin spans of the existing I-5 Bridge offer 178 feet of clearance when the drawbridge is lifted.The CRC can’t move forward without a bridge permit from the Coast Guard, effectively giving the agency veto power over the project. The Coast Guard began accepting public comment in May, and hosted two meetings in Portland and Vancouver last week.Much of the focus has centered on the CRC’s height and three major manufacturers whose largest products wouldn’t fit under the new bridge. Two of those companies, Greenberry Industrial and Oregon Iron Works, have inked mitigation agreements with the CRC. A third, Thompson Metal Fab, remains in negotiations. All three companies operate facilities at the Columbia Business Center in Vancouver.The parties involved in those talks have disclosed few details about negotiations or the agreements already signed. Herrera Beutler suggested that the need for taxpayer-funded mitigation points to “serious design flaws” in the CRC.last_img read more

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This is how Im keeping myself mosquitofree this summer

first_img Thermacell Wellness Thermacell Radius: $40 at Amazon Tags Thermacell Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Amazon The company bills this model as “portable,” but they’re all compact enough to move around a house or take on the road. The MR300 uses the same butane cartridges and repellent mats at the Patio Shield, but has a slightly different power switch. Thermacell also sells an armored version for $30; it’s reinforced with rubber, comes with a belt clip and what looks like a better, more pronounced indicator light. Thermacell Patio Shield, $20 at Amazon Thermacell MR300, $25 at Amazon See at Amazoncenter_img Based on the pictures online, I was expecting something bigger. But the Radius is a compact 3 x 2 x 3 inches. It looks like a small electric pencil sharpener with a hole on top. An illuminated power button makes it relatively easy to see whether it’s on or off — an advantage over the dim indicator lights on the Patio Shield and MR300, which I found hard to see in daylight.The Radius costs about twice as much as other models because it’s rechargeable (via an included USB cable), so you don’t need to shell out for the specialized butane cartridges used with the Patio Shield or MR300. But the Radius has its own pricey consumable — a repellent cartridge that costs around $8 for a 12 hour cartridge or $16 for the 40 hour version. (These repellent cartridges are not compatible with other Thermacell devices.) The Radius automatically turns off after two hours, which has definitely helped me conserve battery and repellent after I’ve wandered away from it after dinner. Note that this unit is less appropriate for camping or other environments where electricity sources are scarce. (Note that Amazon would not ship the Radius to my home in Maine, so I purchased it directly for $50 from Thermacell, which offers free shipping on orders of $49 or more.) See at Amazon Editor’s note: Since we started testing the Thermacell devices, we have identified some alternatives in the same price range including the OFF PowerPad Lamp and Lentek MM30C Bite Shield. We will be testing both of them, and will update this article with the results.  The least expensive model in the lineup, the Patio Shield is roughly the size of a Thermos. It comes with one butane cartridge and three repellent mats, which the company says provides about 12 hours of protection. The cartridge that came with my unit lasted for about 11 hours, used over the course of several days, and the third mat appeared to have more repellent on it when the unit powered down. Thermacell’s 72-hour replacement pack, which includes 18 repellent mats and 6 fuel cartridges, costs $30. The 48-hour pack costs $13.Setup is simple: screw in the butane cartridge, insert the repellent mat and give the bottom of the device a twist. (Make sure you remove the lid during use.) My only complaint: the faint orange indicator light is difficult to see, and I wondered whether the device was on until I saw vapor coming off the repellent mat.  Share your voice Getty Images The bugs are so bad.  I live in Maine. If you’ve spent any time here, then there is no further need for me to establish any bonafides about the volume and belligerence of our insect population. But this year’s interminable winter and rainy, frigid spring produced ideal conditions for this state’s legions of black flies, ticks and mosquitoes. “It’s a pretty heavy infestation,” says Griffin Dill, an Integrated Pest Management Professional at the University of Maine.  Read more: How to repel mosquitoes this summer Of course, he just confirmed what I already knew: The bugs are so, so freaking bad. But, this year, I resolved to fight back. My goal: eat dinner outside with my family. And I am pleased to report that I have found an affordable solution that has helped me achieve this goal frequently throughout the summer.  Massachusetts-based Thermacell makes a line of devices designed to keep mosquitoes in check. I tested the Radius ($40 at Amazon), the Patio Shield ($20 at Amazon) and the MR300 ($25 at Amazon). Though the Amazon reviews are decidedly mixed, the three I tested worked well, and were more or less equally effective.  img-6627Thermacell’s Patio Shield. Justin Jaffe/CNET Though they’re all slightly different, they each ultimately do the same thing: Release a vapor containing a synthetic version of a chemical found in the chrysanthemum flower. (The Radius uses metofluthrin; the other models use allethrin.) According to Dill, the bug expert, these compounds excite insects’ neuroreceptors, which dissuades them from feeding. In other words, the mosquitos get stoned and lose interest in biting you. A few caveats about some potential risks. Amazon includes a Proposition 65 warning for California residents that discloses that Thermacell’s repellent contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. Allethrin and metofluthrin are also toxic to some animals including birds, fish, bees and cats. Dill said that “though the potential for harm to humans is there, it’s probably low,” but he cautioned to use these devices in moderation and never indoors. Thermacell says its devices create a 110-square foot or 15-foot zone of protection, depending on the model. I found that each of them was effective in creating a small but real opium den for mosquitos around my backyard table, which seats eight people. When we used the devices, we got far fewer bites. (The flies were as attentive as ever, sadly.)  img-6631Thermacell’s Radius model. Justin Jaffe/CNET Though he hadn’t tried the Thermacell devices, Dill said that he had heard good things about them from colleagues. And he steered me away from a few other popular products:  Those mosquito-repellent bracelets that look like old-fashioned telephone cords: They don’t work. Citronella candles: Those don’t work. Those organic essential oils favored by hippies like my wife: Dill wasn’t willing to say they don’t work, but he did point to the dearth of research about their efficacy and safety.But, in my experience, over several weeks, earlier this summer, the Thermacell products work. Admittedly, my primary testing ground — a fenced-in backyard that runs about 30 feet by 30 feet — may present optimal conditions for these devices. I found the MR300 less effective when I walked with it, and areas with a significant breeze may see lower efficacy. (Again, you should never use these devices indoors.) And though the three models I tested were equally effective in mitigating mosquitoes, there are differences when it comes to price, form factor and fuel. I’ve examined them below. Note CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.  0 See at Amazon Post a commentlast_img read more

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Rediscovering Americas link to Chinese exploration

first_img(Stock image via Pinterest)China was arguably the most sophisticated society on Earth in the 1400s, leaving historians to wonder why the Chinese — rather than Europeans — failed to discover and then dominate the New World.This August in Sitka, scholars and researchers met to consider the China question — and other ideas in alternative Anthropology — in the ninth annual Paths Across the Pacific Conference.In 2002 an author by the name of Gavin Menzies argued that the Chinese in fact explored and mapped much of the globe, but the record was lost when China’s emperors became xenophobic, and closed the country to the rest of the world.His book 1421: The Year China Discovered the World became a best-seller. Two years ago, Menzies advanced his ideas further — this time with a collaborator and co-author named Ian Hudson, in a book called Who Discovered America?: The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas.Hudson, a scholar at the Greenwich Maritime Institute in London, was one of this year’s featured speakers at Paths Across the Pacific in Sitka.“There are thousands of people all over the world who are in agreement that the Western History we’re taught at school is not quite right,” Hudson said. “Something’s missing.”What’s “not quite right” is the Euro-centric explanation of the “discovery” of the Americas. Although originally uninhabited, the American continents — by the time Europeans arrived — already were populated by diverse cultures who may have had extensive interaction with people from other parts of the world, especially Asia.For Hudson, and other proponents of the China theory, it starts with maps of the Atlantic coastline that pre-date 1492, the year that Columbus sailed the ocean blue.“Columbus had a map of the Americas, which he later acknowledged in his logs,” Hudson said. “Indeed, before his first voyage he signed a contract with the king and queen of Spain which appointed him Viceroy of the Americas… So, how do you discover a place for which you already have a map?”Citing the work of Menzies, Hudson suggests that there is strong evidence that the pre-Columbian maps originated with the Chinese. And not just one or two Chinese explorers, along the lines of Magellan or a Captain Cook.Hudson said that China’s effort to conquer the world in 1421 was massive, even by modern standards. Hundreds of sailing junks, most over 400-feet long, sailed from China over the course of two years to spread imperial authority across the globe.“This amazing armada of Chinese fleets that was commissioned by the emperor in the Ming Dynasty — there were seven naval expeditions that were ordered — with basically view to send boats out around the world to the ends of the earth and bring the world into this tribute system that China had established,” Hudson said.Critics of this theory argue that everything but the maps is based on circumstantial evidence. That the historical record of such a massive undertaking could have been completely suppressed by Chinese officials seems a stretch. And no conclusive genetic link between the Chinese and Native Americans has been identified, and no conclusive connection established between animal and plant communities in the New World and those of China.So far, anthropologists have detected only similarities between Native American and Asian art. Nancy Yaw Davis coordinates the Paths Across the Pacific Conference. Her book, The Zuni Enigma, describes the Japanese-American link in pre-Columbian art and culture of the Zuni. She’s also been the subject of harsh criticism.She reminded Hudson of this in her introduction.“They’re also very mean,” Davis said. “They were mean to Gavin the way academia has been mean to me. So when you have new ideas and have fun discovering them and share them — at high risk — I think you folks have a lot of fun.”So, what’s not to love about turning the history of modern western civilization on its head? Hudson told Paths attendees that dramatic improvements in genetic technology, the discovery of still more eerily accurate maps, and more thorough Chinese scholarship are all slowly bringing the idea of Chinese world exploration into better focus. But it wouldn’t hurt to actually lay hands on a junk.“If we can find a shipwreck in the New World and have it dated to pre-Columbian times, and find out that it originated from somewhere other than Europe, it would be quite an important thing to find,” Hudson said.Hudson said that Chinese exploration remains poorly funded, and efforts to locate a wreck have been relatively small. “Nevertheless,” he said, “it remains our holy grail.”last_img read more

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Nepals poor air safety record

Nepals poor air safety record

first_imgAn airplane takes off at the international airport in Kathmandu on 13 March, 2018, near the wreckage of a US-Bangla Airlines plane that crashed on 12 March. Photo: AFPThe crash-landing of a passenger plane at Kathmandu airport that killed 49 people has put Nepal’s aviation safety record in the spotlight once again.Air travel is popular in the poor Himalayan country, but its mountainous terrain, poor regulation and a lack of investment in planes and infrastructure have led to large numbers of accidents over the years.Here are five things to know about flying in Nepal:- Poor national record -There have been 27 fatal plane crashes in Nepal in the past three decades — an average of almost one per year, according to the independent Aviation Safety Network database.More than 20 of these occurred in the last decade alone and seven killed 18 people or more.All its airlines are barred from flying in European Union airspace.The majority of crashes happened at small domestic airports where pilots negotiated small planes onto tiny strips of tarmac — in some cases hewn into steep mountainsides.But the worst have occurred at Kathmandu’s single-runway airport, which services both international and domestic routes.In 1992, two planes crashed near Kathmandu within just two months of one another, killing a total of 280 people.- Capital overstretched -Aviation experts say challenging terrain is a key reason for the high accident rate in Kathmandu.Nepal’s only international airport sits in a narrow valley 1,338 metres above sea level, meaning planes have a relatively tight space to turn in.The airport also lacks the sophisticated radar technology found elsewhere in the world, forcing pilots to navigate by sight, known as a non-precision landing.The airport has only one runway, so planes have to remain in long holding patterns in the air — a problem that has only worsened in recent years.Nepal Airlines pilot Vijay Lama said Kathmandu provided the “basic minimum” and congestion at the airport was “creating havoc”.- Lack of investment -Investment in Nepal’s aviation sector has failed to keep pace with the boom in commercial flights — both international and domestic.Tiny Nepal, with a population of just 30 million, has 11 domestic airlines, almost as many as giant neighbour India.Plans to upgrade airports in major tourist destinations Pokhara and Lumbini for international flights have been in limbo for years.- Mountain landings -Although most of the biggest accidents have occurred in Kathmandu, most pilots acknowledge that the precipitous landing strips high in the Himalayas are the toughest to negotiate.Lukla — the gateway to Mount Everest — has been dubbed the world’s most dangerous airport, requiring the pilot to navigate through narrow mountain gorges before landing on a steep runway just 500 metres (yards) long with precipitous drops on either side.In 2008 a passenger plane crashed on landing at Lukla, killing everyone on board except the pilot.”The country’s beautiful but rugged terrain makes the safety of air operations more challenging than in other areas of the world,” says the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN special agency.- Lessons not learned -Some experts accuse Nepal’s civil aviation authority of failing to act on recommendations from past crash investigations.Lama, the pilot, said investigations teams usually did not widely circulate their conclusions, making it difficult for the industry to learn lessons.But UK-based aviation expert Andrew Blackie, part of a team that investigated a crash in Nepal’s south in 2016, said resources were an issue.”In Nepal there are some very tough choices about where the government is spending its money… they are very aware that an expensive investigation means less money spent on other things,” he said.last_img read more

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Trump confirms summit date with N Koreas Kim

Trump confirms summit date with N Koreas Kim

first_imgUS president Donald Trump speaks with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) on the South Lawn of the White House on 1 June 2018 in Washington, DC, after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) looks on. Photo: AFPUS president Donald Trump said Friday he will meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as originally scheduled on 12 June for a historic summit after extraordinary Oval Office talks with a top envoy from Pyongyang.Speaking after more than an hour of talks with Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters that denuclearisation-and a formal end to the decades-old Korean war-would be on the table in Singapore.But the US leader warned that he did not expect to immediately sign a deal to bring a halt to the North’s nuclear program.“I never said it goes in one meeting. I think it’s going to be a process, but the relationships are building and that’s very positive,” he said, after waving farewell to the North Korean envoy, Kim’s right-hand man.Ending the warTrump said they had discussed formally ending the Korean War, which has been largely frozen since an armistice ended hostilities, but not the underlying conflict, in 1953. Since then, there have been occasional clashes on the divided peninsula.“We talked about it. We talked about ending the war,” Trump said.“Historically it’s very important, but we’ll see. We did discuss that, the ending of the Korean War. Can you believe we’re talking about the ending of the Korean War?”Washington is determined that Kim should agree to what US officials call the “complete, verifiable and irreversible” end of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile programs.Kim says he is committed to “denuclearisation” in some form, but he is expected to demand security guarantees-one of which could be a formal end to the conflict with the US and South Korea.Most expert observers are sceptical that even an unprecedented summit between the two leaders can lead to a rapid breakthrough, and Trump admitted it would be a long and difficult process.“We’re not going to go in and sign something on 12 June. We never were. I told him today, ‘Take your time’,” he said, adding nevertheless that he expects “a really positive result in the end.”Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean to visit the United States in 18 years, spent almost 90 minutes in the Oval Office.Afterwards, Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walked the North’s small delegation to their waiting cars, smiling and shaking hands in front of the media before the motorcade pulled away.Security guaranteesNorth Korean officials said Kim Yong Chol was expected to return to Pyongyang shortly. Meanwhile, discussions between US and North Korean officials continue in Singapore and in the Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea.On Thursday, Kim Jong Un told Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that his commitment to denuclearisation remains “unchanged and consistent and fixed,” but experts warn he will seek concessions from Washington.In addition to an end to the war, he is likely to seek international recognition as well as guarantees against any strike by the US forces stationed in South Korea.As expected, Kim Yong Chol handed Trump a letter from Kim that may clear up some of the questions. The US leader said the missive was “very nice”-but then admitted he had not yet read it. An aide later confirmed he did after the talks.The Oval Office talks and letter delivery came only a week after Trump threatened to consign the entire process to history, abruptly cancelling the summit in a sharply worded letter, only to revive preparations shortly afterwards.Trump said that, after Friday’s talks, the parties are “totally over that and now we’re going to deal and we’re going to really start a process.”Since the short-lived boycott threat, diplomats from both countries have conducted an intense flurry of talks, culminating this week when Pompeo sat down in New York with Kim’s envoy.‘Their decision’Pompeo said on Thursday that, after what have now been two meetings with Kim Jong Un and three with Kim Yong Chol, he believes the North is at least ready to consider addressing US demands for denuclearisation.“I believe they are contemplating a path forward. They can make a strategic shift. One that their country has not been prepared to make before. This will obviously be their decision,” he said.The flurry of diplomacy has also seen a rapprochement on the Korean peninsula, with the two Koreas holding high-level talks Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.The meeting followed two landmark summits between the leaders of North and South Korea in the last five weeks.North and South Korea agreed to hold more meetings throughout this month to carry out the agreements reached between their leaders at the April summit, according to a joint statement issued after Friday’s talks.Seoul welcomed Trump’s meeting with Kim Yong Chol at the White House.“The delivery of a letter from chairman Kim Jong Un to president Trump has apparently broadened and consolidated the road to the North Korea-US summit,” said Kim Eui-gyeom, spokesman for South Korea’s presidential Blue House.“We will calmly, and with expectation, watch the historic meeting in Singapore.”last_img read more

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