Commissioner Benn needs an evidential basis for his cry

first_imgDear Editor,A few years ago, on the eve of the determination of Gocool Boodoo’s contract as the Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) took to the media accusing the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Commissioners of targeting Indo-Guyanese for dismissal. On that occasion, I was forced to break my silence. I made it known publicly that it was Gocool Boodoo who initiated and insisted on the dismissal of two Indo-Guyanese senior staffers of GECOM.On that occasion, the PPP’s resort to ethnic politics, to have Boodoo retained by GECOM, did not work. Boodoo’s contract was not renewed and GECOM no longer had to contend with a CEO who on two occasions, 2006 and 2011, personally presented and vowed for the wrong results of those elections.Now, on the eve of the determination of Vishnu Persaud’s retention by GECOM, the PPP in the person of spin-doctor Roger Luncheon has once again employed the said approach by going to the media and purporting to have been informed that the PNC Commissioners are “Giving low to zero scores to candidates of Indian origin” and “Finding extraneous reasons for eliminating top rank candidates of Indian origin.”There are two issues at hand, here. Firstly, there is no such thing as party commissioners, although that is the exact way that the Commissioners appointed by Jagdeo allow themselves to be described. In fact, they act as party representatives rather than constitutional officers nominated by the Leader of the Opposition. They even turn-up at Jagdeo’s political press conferences to take partisan positions on matters pertaining to GECOM.Secondly, since when is Desmond Trotman a PNC or its representative? Trotman, of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), was appointed by the President after consultations with his coalition partners. It is important to note that Trotman was nominated to be a Commissioner after his party had publicly indicated that it would not support or condone rigging of the elections. It is my understanding that Trotman was one of the persons who crafted the WPA’s statement prior to its release. To label Trotman as a PNC can only be an attempt to mobilise support on the usual anti-PNC and associated ethnic politics of the PPP.I will not be drawn into the unethical behaviour of discussing the Vishnu Persaud matter in public since it is still, as I write this letter, to be determined by the Commission.However, it would be remiss of me if I did not disclose that the granting of high and low scores, including perfect scores, is a precedent created by a PPP nominated Commissioner. Luncheon must be judging others by the known standards of his colleagues.To date, three potential employees have been identified by GECOM. Of the three – one, who has been identified to fill the most critical of the positions is an Indo-Guyanese. This position has been the source of much controversy in the past, yet the so-called PNC Commissioners also gave the nod to the Indo-Guyanese.If Commissioner Benn, who is the main protagonist of the ethnic balance mantra, is serious, he needs to come up with an evidential basis for his cry and provide concrete solutions in support of his proposition, rather than providing fodder for the politicians.Yours truly,Vincent AlexanderGECOM Commissionerlast_img read more

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Son charged for chopping father

first_imgA 62-year-old Princess Street, Georgetown resident on Friday found himself arraigned before Principal Magistrate Leron Daly to answer a charge of unlawful wounding, wherein it is alleged that he chopped his father during a heated argument.Foy Fredericks denied that on April 7, 2019, at Stevedore Housing Scheme in Georgetown, he unlawfully and maliciously wounded Derwin Fredericks, causing him grievous bodily harm.Police Prosecutor Sanj Singh told the court that, on April 7, the defendant and his mother had a misunderstanding, wherein Foy Fredericks became annoyed and armed himself with a chopper from the kitchen. The defendant was advancing towards his mother with the weapon, but the VC, upon seeing this, tried to prevent the defendant from injuring his wife. The VC ended up receiving injuries to his palm and right finger during the altercation.The matter was reported to the La Penitence Police Station, and Foy Fredericks was arrested while the VC was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) for medical attention.Magistrate Daly has placed Foy Fredericks on $30,000 bail, and set the case to continue on April 26.last_img read more

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Events Happening this Saturday

first_imgHere is what’s happening in Fort St. John today:08:00 AM-12:00 PM Garage Sale Fundraiser for Terrance Baker09:00 AM-04:00 PM Farmer’s Market09:00 AM Grailquest Cross-Country Run09:00 AM Sub Zero Running Club – Group Run09:00 AM-12:00 PM Ukranian Egg Decorating Workshop for Beginners01:00 PM-04:00 PM Ukranian Egg Decorating Workshop for Beginners06:00 PM North Peace Diversity Society AGM & DinnerAll Day Event Big Brothers & Big Sisters Roof-top ChallengeAll Day Event Canada Post: Stamp out Hunger Food DriveFor more events visit A big thank you goes out to the staff of the Fort St. John Visitor Information Centre for providing us with this information.- Advertisement –last_img read more

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Legislature approves plan for prison relief

first_imgSACRAMENTO (AP) — The Legislature on Thursday moved to head off a federal takeover of the state prison system, approving a massive borrowing plan to add beds for inmates and refocus efforts on rehabilitation programs. But despite its scope — nearly $7.8 billion in state money — the bipartisan plan ran into immediate resistance by labor unions, prison reform groups and some lawmakers. They questioned whether it will fix the deeply troubled prison system or create even more problems by allowing room for thousands of additional inmates. The package would add 53,000 beds, boost education, job training and other rehabilitation programs, and allow the governor to continue to transfer thousands of inmates out of state. It includes more than $6.1 billion for construction of state prison cells, $300 million for various other prison improvements and more than $1.2 billion for 13,000 beds to be built at county jails. Local governments would contribute an additional $300 million. “The dangerous criminals will be kept locked up where they belong, and inmates who want to turn their lives around will be given a chance to do so,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, praising a plan that was negotiated by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders. The bill received unanimous approval in the Assembly but barely passed the Senate. It did so only after Republicans negotiated a signed letter from the governor pledging additional efforts to contain costs. Several Senate supporters said they acted only to give Schwarzenegger the tools he said he needs to avoid having the federal courts step in. “I think the judge will see that there is the will here in the Capitol to fix the problem, and that … we have done now a major step forward to provide public safety,” Schwarzenegger said. The governor’s aides said he will sign the bill. Schwarzenegger said the plan will fix the system for the next 10 to 15 years. It will eliminate the use of makeshift beds in gyms and hallways, help end the cycle that sends seven of every 10 ex-convicts back to prison soon after their release and expand county jails so they will not have to release tens of thousands of detainees prematurely each year. “We are not treating a symptom; we are proposing a cure,” said the bill’s co-author, Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton. The governor and Legislature were pressured to act by a looming June deadline set by the federal courts. A federal judge had ordered the state to create a plan to reduce its overcrowding problem — the state’s 33 prisons were designed to hold about 100,000 inmates but now house more than 172,000. If the state failed to act, it faced the prospect of federal judges ordering early release of inmates or stopping convicts from being sent to state prisons, adding to the backlog in county jails. The four legislative leaders said the plan they hammered out this week will not only reduce overcrowding but also handle an expected increase in the prison population, expected to hit 190,000 by 2012. Critics, including the union representing state prison guards and a coalition of interest groups, said the plan focuses too heavily on construction and not enough on long-term sentencing and parole changes that would send few inmates to prisons. “California is again putting prison construction in front of reform,” said Rose Braz, a spokeswoman for the group Critical Resistance, which opposes prison construction. Donald Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office in San Francisco, said he doubts the package will meet the demands of the federal courts. His firm represents inmates in several class action lawsuits and is seeking court orders to ease crowding. “I certainly hope it doesn’t satisfy these judges, because it doesn’t do anything in the immediate future,” Specter said. “All of the proposals are kind of years away. This doesn’t do anything in the short term except allow the transfer of 8,000 inmates (to other states). There are more than 170,000 inmates. Eight thousand is just a drop in the bucket.” Schwarzenegger said he remains open to creating a sentencing commission to review California’s convoluted criminal code, and to parole reforms that were not included in the legislative agreement. Lance Corcoran, spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, said prisons are dangerously understaffed, with more than 4,000 correctional officer vacancies. Moreover, shipping up to 8,000 inmates to private prisons in other states against their will invites attacks on guards, he said. “This is just putting even more stress on an already over-stressed system,” Corcoran said. He said the union’s criticism was not related to its ongoing contract negotiations with the state. Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders said the labor issues must be resolved if the changes contained in Thursday’s prison package are to be effective. “We have to create a peace. Absent that, I think a judge will see right through this. … You’re building, but you’re not going to be able to manage,” Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata. D-Oakland, said. Several Republican senators voted against the measure because of the high cost to taxpayers. They objected that the state will issue construction bonds in such a way that voters will not have a chance to approve or reject the spending plan. The plan will cost taxpayers $15 billion by the time the bonds to pay for it are fully repaid, said Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley. Perata and Schwarzenegger said the cost of construction is necessary to address problems that had been building for years and to head-off a federal takeover. Rehabilitating inmates to reduce crime and recidivism will cut the state’s costs in the long run, Schwarzenegger said. “You think you’re writing big checks now — wait until you write one at the direction of the federal government,” Perata said during debate on the Senate floor. Severe overcrowding is at the core of many of the problems plaguing California’s prison system, especially the way it delivers inmate health care and its high rate of inmate suicides. Three federal judges have scheduled June hearings to determine if the persistent overcrowding violates inmates’ constitutional rights. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. 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Winks starts for Spurs, Henderson drops to bench for Liverpool

first_img LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS REVEALED Premier League football returns on Saturday and it’s back with a bang: Tottenham vs Liverpool at 12.30.Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have made a perfect start to the new campaign with four wins out of four.Spurs, meanwhile, saw their 100% record ended with a surprise 2-1 defeat to in-form Watford before the international break. Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade This fixture certainly delivered last season, with nine goals across the two league meetings between Spurs and Liverpool.The Whites thrashed their opponents 4-1 last time they met at Wembley, before salvaging a 2-2 draw at Anfield later in the season.Team newsTottenham have made three changes to the XI which lost to Watford, with Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Harry Winks all coming into the side.Heung-Min Son, who avoided military service by winning the Asian Games with South Korea, is on the bench after his return from international action.Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving on Wednesday, are out due to injury.Liverpool have made just one change from the team which beat Leicester last time out.Naby Keita comes in for captain Jordan Henderson, who drops to the bench.Liverpool’s £40m summer-signing Fabinho. who is yet to feature in the Premier League,as Klopp insists he is adapting to their style of play is also named among the substitutes.Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino. Substitutes: Mignolet, Fabinho, Henderson, Sturridge, Moreno, Shaqiri, Matip.Tottenham XI: Vorm; Rose, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Trippier, Dier, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen; Moura, Kane.  Substitutes: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Davies, Sanchez, Wanyama, Lamela, Son. Kane and Salah were the Premier League’s top two goalscorers last season Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade smart causal impact possible standings silverware 1center_img MONEY Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more RANKED England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade highlights How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures #THFC: Vorm, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Lucas, Kane (C). Odds from @WilliamHill 👉 #COYS— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 15, 2018 Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era?last_img read more

admin December 26, 2019 fcudlvdvuakr Leave a Comment

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first_imgTwo new youth cafés will be set up in Donegal after receiving funding boosts this week.Youth services in Ballybofey and Gort a Choirce were each given a €50,000 sum to set up the new drop-in centres.The youth cafés will provide young people in these areas with safe, alcohol free places to meet up with friends. They will also serve as information hubs to give out information on youth issues such as positive mental health and employment support. The funding was allocated as part of a €1.5 million nationwide funding injection by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs stated “As Minister, I have had the opportunity to visit many recently opened Youth Cafés across the country.“I have seen at first hand how these facilities can offer a safe, alcohol free, environment for young people to ‘hang out’. I have also been greatly impressed at the innovative partnership approach taken by many youth services in developing youth cafés as dynamic local hubs offering information and services to young people on key youth issues from positive mental health to employment support.”  NEW YOUTH CAFÉ BOOST FOR DONEGAL TEENS was last modified: December 13th, 2013 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Ballybofeydepartment of children and youth affairsgort an choirceyouth cafeslast_img read more

admin December 25, 2019 fcudlvdvuakr Leave a Comment

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first_imgTHIS is Errigal College in Letterkenny – as you’ve never seen it before.Quadcopter drone operator Stephen Coyle was filming over the town this week when he came across a gang of youths running across the roof of the school.The kids appeared to be frightened as the small chopper hung overhead. Coyle managed to keep the camera and quadcopter trained on the group of kids as they raced across the rooftops and made their escape.They can be seen hiding in trees for a while – before running back out.As it turned out, they had left their bikes in the school grounds – and couldn’t escape immediately.Coyle says he later met the youths who asked him to put the video on YouTube.  Click play to watch….A call from the gardai will surely follow… DDTV: WATCH DRONE FOOTAGE OF GANG RUNNING ACROSS ROOF OF DONEGAL SCHOOL was last modified: July 26th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CCTVdonegaldrone footageerrigal collegeletterkennyYouthslast_img read more

admin December 22, 2019 fcudlvdvuakr Leave a Comment

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2019 Is the Year of Energy Codes

first_imgIf there’s a defining theme for the building sector in 2019, it’s energy codes. Actions to update the rules that cities and states set to determine how effectively new residential and commercial buildings use energy are progressing on several fronts across the U.S. These regulations define the next generation of building design and construction in terms of energy performance, and because those projects will be in operation for decades, performance matters a great deal — now more than ever. You see, 2018 culminated with a preponderance of evidence that climate change is real and the time for action is immediate. Natural disasters are wreaking havoc across the globe and new reports sound the alarm for governments to do more to limit temperature rise. While improving the efficiency of energy codes has been the purview of advocacy groups for decades, the growing pressure to address climate change has put a spotlight on codes as a critical lever for states and cities when trying to cut carbon emissions that are fueling climate change. Buildings account for roughly 40% of the energy used in the United States and over one-third of carbon emissions. Without addressing the building stock, climate action and energy policy goals are simply not achievable. The good news is that substantive improvements in building energy codes are attainable in the near term.RELATED ARTICLESSavings from Building Energy Codes Are a Big DealAre Energy Codes Working?Study: Green Building Codes Don’t Save EnergyStudy: Codes Really Can Improve Energy EfficiencyAn Encouraging Study on Energy Code Compliance A recent opinion piece in the New York Times cites challenges with gaining acceptance for a carbon tax or other penalties for people or corporations that pollute. But “building codes with strict energy requirements, vigorously enforced” are the solution, writes Justin Gillis, a former environmental reporter and opinion contributor to the Times. “Yes, I know they seem boring… [but] they could hardly be more important,” he adds. We at the New Buildings Institute (NBI) agree, and in 2019 there will be a convergence of activities around energy codes that will make or break our ability to reduce the amount of carbon emitted by buildings in this next crucial decade. 2021 International Energy Conservation Code First: the three-year update of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), a national model energy code that many cities and states use as the basis for local adoption, is under development in 2019, culminating with a final vote by International Code Council members in the fall. The ASHRAE 90.1-2019, another national model energy code, will be released this year, and those latest upgrades can track into the 2021 IECC process. All told, NBI and partners are seeking a 10-15% energy efficiency improvement in the IECC for residential and commercial structures, but the road is long with many hurdles. The payoff, however, would be huge. In the 2012 IECC, NBI was part of a coalition that helped realize gains that, by 2030, will reduce emissions equivalent to closing 44 coal plants and cutting energy costs by $24 billion. States and cities adopting stretch codes Secondly, if last year’s trend continues, 2019 will see growth in the number of states and cities that leapfrog the national energy code model and advance local regulations well beyond the minimum standards. Led by California, Washington, Vermont, and New York, as well as cities such as Boulder, Colorado; the District of Columbia; and Scottsdale, Arizona, jurisdictions are developing and adopting stringencies that are significantly better than either the IECC or ASHRAE 90.1-2019. Most notably, with the 2019 Title 24, California’s statewide energy code, going into force, local governments in the state are working to develop and implement stretch codes that are even more stringent. This year, efforts are already underway to make the 2022 Title 24 commercial building code one of the most advanced in the country. (To see how your state energy code ranks visit State Energy Code Score Card.) These codes utilize high efficiency measures in lighting, heating and cooling, and envelope to maximize reductions of energy needed to power the building. The most impactful advanced measures for commercial buildings are spelled out in two recent guidance documents developed by NBI. The 20% Stretch Energy Code Provisions and soon-to-be-released Stretch Energy Standard define a path to 20% and 40% efficiency increases above conventional practices. These publications offer states and cities the technical basis for improving local energy codes. To ensure lasting efficiency, operations and occupant behavior initiatives are needed to maintain energy performance long after the design and construction teams go home. Some policy leaders are looking at options for an outcome-based compliance path where buildings use actual energy bills to prove their intended performance rather than prescriptive standards or predictive modeling, which don’t always translate into actual lower energy use. Innovation in code development has become a vitally effective strategy to transform the way we approach design and construction of buildings. NBI is encouraging energy code developers to roadmap their progress by planning ahead two or three code cycles — typically each cycle is three years — giving the market visibility into what comes next and working toward long-term energy and carbon reduction goals. States that want to track progress have a new tool called the zEPI Jurisdictional Score, which ranks how well they are doing in comparison to other states, all the way to achieving a “zero energy code.” In the 2018 scores, Michigan, Massachusetts, and California ranked top in their efforts, but other states including Idaho, Florida, and Wisconsin saw improvements in their scores based on new code adoptions. Energy codes approaching zero Finally, we expect to see greater exploration of zero-energy and zero-carbon codes in 2019 as some states and cities press forward on decarbonization and electrification strategies. California’s Title 24-2019 will be the first state code in the nation to require solar panels and nearly net zero levels of energy consumption in all new homes. Bob Raymer, of the California Building Industry Association, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying, “Adoption of these standards represents a quantum leap in the statewide building standards. You can bet every one of the other 49 states will be watching what happens.” At NBI, we believe models for zero energy codes should emphasize ultra-low energy use intensities (EUIs) on par with the current inventory of verified zero-energy buildings, which show a median EUI of 18. (Lower numbers mean lower energy use.) Zero codes requiring only current ASHRAE 90.1-2019 and IECC standards of construction fall short because they deliver EUIs more than double that of typical zero energy buildings, and shouldn’t be considered an endpoint on getting to zero. While still nascent, some aspects of what constitutes a zero-energy/zero-carbon code have already become clear. We will likely see more energy/carbon targets and performance ratings, rather than lists of detailed prescriptive specifications. Requirements for integrating solar energy and electric vehicle infrastructure into the building will become mandatory. (Look to NBI and the U.S. Green Building Council’s GridOptimal Buildings Initiative to define a metric and standard for building-grid harmonization and reduced carbon emissions.) And, building operators and occupants will be critical players as we seek persistence in building energy performance — a role that operators are well positioned for but will require continuing workforce training. Are energy codes boring? Perhaps, but they have emerged as the nerdy hero we need right now to address the spreading impacts of climate change. Elevating the role of energy codes is possible and imperative as the window of opportunity is closing rapidly. If we step up to the opportunities presented during this 2019 Year of Energy Codes, we will look back on this time as a sea change in the transformation to a low-energy, carbon-neutral built environment for the future. Here’s to 2019!   Ralph DiNola is CEO of the New Buildings Institute. This post originally appeared at the Zero Energy Project.last_img read more

admin December 16, 2019 fcudlvdvuakr Leave a Comment

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New Maharashtra road policy to focus on reducing fatalities

first_imgMaharashtra will soon introduce a new policy to reduce fatalities resulting from road accidents. The new state Road Safety Policy will be introduced as part of the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has tasked Maharashtra with bringing road fatalities down to 25% of the current 13,000 deaths reported annually, said officials. Unsafe roads “Maharashtra has the dubious distinction of having some of the most unsafe roads in the country. Going beyond the Brasilia Declaration, we want to reduce the fatalities by 75% or more by 2030,” said a senior official of the state Transport Department. Under the new policy, the State will establish a data driven system for collection and analysis of road traffic crashes. The system will also include enforcement components such as e-challans and a penalty points system tied to insurance and validity of driving license. “Recommendations from the analysis will be speedily acted upon,” said an official. Maharashtra will also improve it’s post-crash trauma care by ensuring a faster response time and availability of trained paramedics along the National and State highway network, officials said.According to the Road Accidents in India-2017 report prepared by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, four cities — Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur — feature in the top 50. In Mumbai, 3,160 accidents occurred in 2017, of which 467 were fatal and 2,603 were injury accidents. A total of 490 people died in these accidents while 3,287 were injured. In Pune, of the 1,508 accidents, 360 were fatal and 966 were injury accidents. Consider finer aspectsReacting to the policy measures, road safety experts point out that the Government must take finer aspects such as the speed of the vehicle, width of roads, and designs into consideration this time. Some of the measures listed in the new policy have already been implemented in urban pockets but are not bearing fruits as expected, experts said.Correct road designs“All measures being taken are welcome as far as enforcement is concerned. But enforcement alone does not result in reduction in fatalities and injuries as our roads too are not designed with pedestrians in mind,” said Sudhir Badami, a transportation expert and an IIT-Bombay graduate in civil and structural engineering.last_img read more

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