Liberals nominate IRB head Mario Dion as next federal ethics commissioner

first_imgOTTAWA – A longtime public servant has been nominated as the new federal ethics watchdog, taking over an office that has become a political lightning rod for investigations into the prime minister and his finance minister.The Liberal government named Mario Dion, the current head of the Immigration and Refugee Board, as their choice to become the next conflict of interest and ethics commissioner for the House of Commons.The announcement came after a heated question period Monday during which the Conservatives peppered the government about who would take over from outgoing commissioner Mary Dawson, who is looking into a conflict-of-interest controversy involving Finance Minister Bill Morneau.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some of his top aides sat out the selection process for her replacement because Dawson is investigating whether Trudeau broke ethics rules during a vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island last Christmas.She is also in the midst of a formal examination of Morneau’s work to introduce pension reform legislation that critics insist will benefit his family human resources company in which he previously owned about $21 million worth of shares. He’s now sold the shares and vowed to put his other considerable assets into a blind trust.Conservatives have latched onto the issues to question the government’s ethical standards, even calling for Morneau to resign his position.Dawson was the first and only ethics commissioner the House of Commons has known since the Conservatives created the position in 2007. Her seven-year term was to expire in 2014, but has been renewed temporarily several times.Dion’s appointment won’t be final until a vote the government hopes to have happen before the end of the year so he can take over in early January.Prior to his role at the IRB, Dion had served as chairman of the National Parole Board and as the public sector integrity commissioner.That latter role was not without controversy, however.Dion found himself in hot water in 2014 after the auditor general found “gross mismanagement” and unwarranted delays in two separate case files in the office of the commissioner, which was the target of repeated complaints after it was established by former prime minister Stephen Harper in 2007.Auditor general Michael Ferguson identified poor managerial practices, misplaced confidential files and even an instance of a whistleblower being inadvertently identified to the person who was being singled out. Dion responded by saying his office was cracking down on its case file oversight.Dion is also a former legal adviser to a number of government bodies during his more than 30 years in the civil service. He leaves the IRB as the agency is in the middle of a third-party review of how it handles refugee applications and immigration appeals.Dion had sought to manage a growing number of applications by speeding up certain elements of case processing. But many of those efforts came ahead of a summer surge of asylum seekers at the border which has overwhelmed the agency’s existing resources.last_img read more

I would love a cheque MacLeod wants 200 million from feds on

first_imgOTTAWA – Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister responsible for immigration, says the province is asking the federal government for $200 million to cover the cost of asylum seekers from the United States.Speaking to reporters after testifying at a House of Commons immigration committee meeting Tuesday, MacLeod said while the Liberal government has committed $11 million to Ontario, that money has “yet to flow.”MacLeod said her department is monitoring the costs of dealing with border crossers and predicts they will escalate. She expected to make a formal request for the $200 million later Tuesday.“I would love a cheque.”MacLeod said the $200 million figure breaks down as follows: $74 million for shelter costs for the City of Toronto, $12 million for shelter costs for the City of Ottawa, $90 million for social assistance costs her ministry is footing and $20 million for education.There are also expenses associated with legal aid and that Ontario has invested $3 million in the Red Cross, she said.Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said his office had not yet recieved a request from Ontario.Hussen also reiterated that the issue is a shared responsibility and that he hopes Ontario will resume discussions with Ottawa.So far the federal government has offered up $50 million to provinces, which includes $36 million for Quebec, $3 million for Manitoba and $11 million for Ontario, money that was funnelled directly to Toronto.MacLeod called the asylum seeker issue a crisis, since 800 migrants living in Toronto college dormitories will soon be evicted when students return for school.Bill Blair, the new federal minister responsible for border security, told the committee that asylum seekers would be moved to hotels around Toronto, but provided no information on the cost or how long people would live there.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the federal government has made it clear that simply entering Canada is not a “free ticket” for newcomers to stay in the country.But no matter how a person arrives in Canada, the individual must be given a fair hearing to determine whether they require protection, Goodale said during the committee meeting.From the moment asylum seekers started crossing into Canada from the U.S. in significant numbers, the federal government has made sure that laws are followed and international obligations are met, he added.The Commons committee held the emergency session in the dead of summer at the urging of opposition members.Canada’s Safe Third Country agreement with the U.S. stipulates that asylum seekers are required to make their claims in the first “safe” country where they arrive — meaning those who come into Canada at an official land crossing are sent back to make their claim in the U.S.The agreement does not cover “irregular” asylum seekers — those entering Canada at unofficial points, most notably in Quebec.According to the most recent numbers, the RCMP intercepted 1,263 people at the border in June, which is down from 1,869 in May.Seidu Mohammed, a Ghanaian asylum seeker who lost his fingers to frostbite while crossing at an unofficial entry point in Manitoba in 2016, told reporters he’s calling on Ottawa to suspend the Safe Third Country agreement because “it’s not safe.”Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel urged the Liberals to come up with a better plan to deal with the asylum seekers. She was frustrated with the outcome of committee meeting, saying it produced no answers.During the sometimes tempestuous session, Rempel pressed the government about extending the Safe Third Country agreement to the entire border.Blair said the effect of doing so would “be more problematic” than the current situation.Goodale said making every inch of the border an official entry point would mean staffing the 9,000-kilometre length, suggesting that would be impractical. In addition, he said, the Americans would have to mirror the effort to make it work.The government’s plan to address the asylum seeker issue draws on resources from the 2018 budget, said Goodale, who described the border situation as a challenge, not a “crisis.”At a news conference before the committee, Rempel said that so far all Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done to tackle the migrant issue is shuffle his cabinet and throw money at the problem.Rempel voiced skepticism about Blair’s cabinet appointment, asking whether it was simply a public relations exercise that would create more bureaucracy.“I think the government has a lot of explaining to do.”The tone of the committee became particularly tense during testimony from Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of families, children and social development.NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan asked him how much money the federal government was willing to provide to cities struggling to house border crossers.At one point, a frustrated Kwan asked why Vaughan bothered testifying if he didn’t have any answers.A number of refugee advocates at the hearing urged politicians to stop referring to asylum seekers as “illegal.”Jean-Nicolas Beuze, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative in Canada, said using the term dehumanizes asylum seekers.last_img read more

Stalking the Hoary Bittercress

first_imgby Mimi Montgomeryillustrations by Addie McElweeIn the interest of journalistic transparency, I’ll start this article off with a disclaimer: My knowledge of the flora and fauna that populate our local environment is slim. It can be narrowed down to a few identifiers – grass, leaves, a few varieties of common trees, and the occasional pine cone. It’s not enough to say I don’t have a green thumb. I am more akin to a creature without any sort of digital appendages at all, perhaps a sea cucumber, or a snail. I once bought a succulent, forgot where I put it, then found it three months later on the back of a shelf gasping in a pool of dehydrated, hungover misery like a college kid back from Cancun. If the horticultural world had a form of child protective services, it would have been sent knocking on my front door. So when I went to Raleigh City Farm to take a “foraging tour” with the Piedmont Picnic Project in March, I was, needless to say, completely out of my element. Headed by co-founders Elizabeth Weichel and Amanda Matson, the Project focuses on urban sustainability and increasing awareness about food history, teaching practices like gardening, foraging, preserving, and fermenting. Its aim is to provide Raleighites with simple ways to eat locally and sustainably. Raleigh City Farm, which also aims to increase accessibility and local awareness, was a fitting spot to embark on our trek. You don’t have to live on a rural farm to know where your food comes from, both groups point out, or to learn the history behind it. They believe anybody can and should be an active participant in finding and growing local, healthy foods. Clearly, I was a prime candidate for this “anybody” demographic. Other than the time I ate all the leaves off one of my mother’s house plants (at the tender age of six), my foraging experience has been contained to the produce aisle of Trader Joe’s. I’m definitely more of a Lucille Ball than a Bear Grylls, but I laced up my walking shoes, packed my pockets with enough nasal spray for an antihistamine overdose, and was ready to go. I was joined on the trek by Adrian Fisher, an urban agriculturist from Raleigh’s sister city of Hull, UK and hosted by the Raleigh Sister Cities group; Douglas Johnston, a Sister Cities representative; a crew of Meredith College Kenyan exchange students; Rebekah Beck, general manager of Raleigh City Farm; and a sprinkling of other intrepid foragers. We stood around until someone called out, “Let’s go Cro-Magnon!,” and off we went, heeding the bugle cry into the downtown wilds. Our merry gang of hunter-gatherers first stopped at a patch of grass between the curb and sidewalk outside the parking lot of Yellow Dog Bread Co. and Edge of Urge. What to me looked like a furry patch of weeds under a power line was in fact a gathering of henbit, Matson told us. A member of the mint family, henbit has a square stem with an almost-Elizabethan collar of purple flowers. It’s a common snack for chickens, hence the name. You’ve probably seen smatterings of these across your front yard, but I bet you don’t consume them raw, cooked, or boiled into a tea. Who knew an unassuming patch of sidewalk weeds could yield something with such potential? Clearly, those outside our tribe had no idea, either: Drivers beeped their horns at us as if we had the phrase “Honk if you love foraging!” taped to our backs, although they were probably just baffled to see us congregated animatedly around the base of an electrical pole like wild boars in hiking clothes snuffling for truffles. We plucked some of these newly discovered greens and continued on our way. Our next stop was the front yard of a beautiful historic home on Mordecai Street. Those were no measly weeds in the front yard, we quickly learned, but actually clumps of chickweed. It’s good to sauté or toss raw in salads, and it gets its name because – you guessed it – chickens like it, too. Naturally, we grabbed a few handfuls. Now you’re probably wondering if this was all on the up-and-up. Matson was quick to let us know that it’s always wise to ask before foraging a plant from someone’s private property. Apparently, foraging without permission can be considered theft, and some public spaces won’t even allow it. I could only imagine the conversations that would ensue if I had to tell my lawyer that I wasn’t being ticketed for speeding or an expired license this time – I was an agricultural outlaw, nabbed for smuggling leafy goods from a neighbor’s yard. Luckily for us, we managed to avoid any run-ins with the fuzz. We continued down the street to the historic Mordecai House, where we wandered through the vegetable garden in the back of the home and stopped to admire a clump of hoary bittercress growing along the picket fence. Apart from sounding like the name of a medieval disease or a potion ingredient from Harry Potter, hoary bittercress is a member of the mustard family and can be consumed cooked or raw for an added peppery taste to dishes. Its tiny white flowers are edible, as well. We added several handfuls to our growing cornucopia. Down the hill from the Mordecai House we mosied into Mordecai Spring Park, a grassy clearing full of foraging potential. I was beginning to look at lawns and strips of grass with a different set of eyes – as not just overgrowth idly passed-by, but as all-you-can-eat buffets in a wild-grown food court, ripe for the plucking. With our newfound perspective, the park became a veritable Whole Foods salad bar. We scooped up wild onions; chestnut pods; purple deadnettle (which can be used in salads and boiled as a tea); ground ivy (used as a spice and sometimes as a substitute for hops in breweries); and cleavers, those fuzzy leaves that stick to your clothes – and, it turns out, have seeds that can be ground into a substitute for coffee. Our baskets full of leafy plunder, we headed back to base camp at Raleigh City Farm. We’d worked up an appetite on our urban safari, and we were ready to dig in. Weichel and Matson had prepared snacks made with ingredients they’d found on their own local foraging expeditions, many of which consisted of the same types of plants we had just encountered. So we loaded our plates with a wild salad; honey wheat bread with jellies made from kudzu, muscadines, honeysuckle, and black locust; green pesto with field garlic, black walnuts, hoary bittercress, and purple deadnettle; and shortbread cookies with ground ivy. The spread was topped off with kombucha made of persimmons and rosehip, and a tea of ground ivy, henbit, dandelion flower, and wild shiso seeds. It was wildly delicious. Now that I can proudly add “foraging veteran” to the short list of accolades next to my name, I have a greater appreciation for the sustainability movement that’s happening here in Raleigh, especially in the downtown area. It truly is a simple matter of increasing awareness and knowledge about the topic – once you know what to look for and where to look for it, you find yourself seeing opportunities for fresh, local food wherever you go. Plus, if we are ever submerged into a post-apocalyptic dystopia, we foragers won’t be stuck eating canned beans and Twinkies like the rest of you. Actually, if it comes to that, you can hang with me – I know where we can find a mean patch of hoary bittercress.Piedmont Picnic Project: piedmontpicnic.comRaleigh City Farm: 800 N. Blount St.; raleighcityfarm.comlast_img read more

Major Matrons

first_imgcourtesy NCMAN.C. Museum of Art is putting women front and center. The museum’s recently launched Matrons of the Arts initiative celebrates influential female artists worldwide. Permanent exhibits, travelling exhibitions, and special events will honor and present the success of women in art, including abstract expressionist Georgia O’Keeffe and contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama. The goal, organizers say, is to challenge the sometimes negative connotations of the term matron, and to instead elevate it to a term of strength and success. This local campaign was inspired by the National Museum of Women in the Art’s name 5 female artists challenge, which seeks to keep notable women artists on the forefront of public conscience. As the movement takes shape, you can follow along at ncartmuseum.org/matrons-of-the-arts. –Catherine Currinlast_img read more

10 years on and still no childcare strategy…

first_imgIn June, Employers For Childcare launched the findings from our 10th annual Northern Ireland Childcare Survey which received more than 3,600 responses from parents and childcare providers. The survey found the average cost of a full-time childcare place has increased by 11 per cent since 2010 when the first Childcare Survey was conducted, having risen faster than wages when adjusted for inflation. Even more starkly, the average cost of a week’s holiday childcare has risen by 56 per cent in this period. At the same time, costs have gone up for childcare providers, and continue to rise, with almost a third of providers expecting their economic situation to deteriorate in the year ahead. This is not sustainable for parents or providers, with many struggling to make ends meet.Impact on working patterns Despite progress towards gender equality, the findings show that, across households, it is still mothers who are more likely to experience a change in their working hours as a result of issues relating to childcare. Almost 20 per cent of mothers reported having decreased their hours of work, or having left work altogether, compared to 6 per cent of fathers.Investment required urgently Through this unique research, families and childcare providers have told us they want a fundamental overhaul of support for childcare. Government must listen, and deliver the necessary investment in a high quality, sustainable childcare system that is affordable for parents to access, and for providers to deliver. We are concerned Northern Ireland continues to fall behind the rest of the UK. In 2010 when we wrote that Northern Ireland was the only UK jurisdiction without a current childcare strategy, little did we think that this would still be the case 10 years on. This is unacceptable and lets down everyone using and working in the childcare sector.The latest Northern Ireland Childcare Survey is available to download on our website:www.employersforchildcare.orglast_img read more

The Best Shot Tom Brady

first_imgphotography by Smith Hardy Photographer Smith Hardy captures sports and lifestyle images. Find more of his work at smithhardy.com or on Instagram @smith_hardy_sports. In honor of Super Bowl LIII, here’s a shot of now six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. This year’s game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, was the lowest scoring Super Bowl in history. The photo is from this past season’s New England Patriots matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. The Panthers won the game 25-14.center_img From peewee to the pros, our new photo series features standout images from local sporting events.last_img read more

Waste Not A Tour of a Recycling Facility

first_imgOn the approach: a giant, active warehouse buzzing with big rigs and seagulls. Inside: mounds of materials, neon green-clad staffers and a Rube Goldberg of machines that sort the goods. Ramps, magnets, blowers and spinners move the material through one conveyer belt after another to drill down into categories (cardboard, paper, clear plastic versus colored plastic, aluminum and more) then press like materials into giant cubes called bales. Along the way, the machines get an assist from human hands, a necessary extra step to weed out the items that we—whether as “wishful recyclers” or just plain lazy ones—toss in that can’t be recovered here (some items, like steel, electronics and textiles, can still be recycled through local Convenience Centers). If those get mixed in, the bales get contaminated; too much contamination, and no one will buy them. Among the items they find and eject: garden hoses, small appliances, wire hangers, food, dead animals, clamshells and gobs of plastic bags. Here in the Triangle, it’s very easy to recycle: You open that big blue bin, toss in a plastic water bottle or soup can, and walk away feeling virtuous. But what happens after you roll your bin to the curb? Where does it go, and how does it get bundled back into the raw material that manufacturers can use to make new goods? WALTER set out to investigate. We connected with Mel Gilles, education and outreach specialist for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, who arranged a tour of one of our local Material Recovery Facilities (insiders pronounce them “murfs”). This is the spot where all the contents of your single-stream recycling bin—aka your mixed-together plastics, glass metal cans and paper—go to be sorted and baled before they’re sold to manufacturers as raw material. We caught the MRF on a slow day—they often process between 500 to 550 tons of material per day. Around the holidays, the action ramps up as people consume and discard at higher rates (another problematic item: string lights, which can wrap around gears and seize up the equipment). Up to 20 percent of the load the MRF gets from household recycling bins is not recyclable here, and a single misplaced item (say, a lawnmower blade) can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage in an instant. “We have to remind people to put trash in the right bin, not the bin that makes you feel better,” says Gilles, who’s part of a team working on statewide guidelines to reduce confusion around recycling. In the meantime, Gilles challenges us all to reduce and reuse first, before putting something into the recycling bin. Back on-site, we found a dedicated staff, many of whom have been there for a decade or more, who truly feel like they’re making a difference in the community. And if there’s one message they want you to take away, it’s this: When in doubt, throw it out! Behind the scenes at our local materials recycling facility you’ll find tons of products, dedicated staffers and eye-popping machinery.by Ayn-Monique Klahre | photography by Joshua Steadman last_img read more

Jake Owen and Hunter Hayes to Perform at FedExForum for St Jude

first_imgCountry music fans will soon hear WGKX (KIX 106) promoting a one-time concert with Jake Owen and special guest Hunter Hayes for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 26, at FedExForum in Memphis.KIX 106, the source for Today’s Best Country, plans to offer its loyal listeners the chance to win concert tickets and VIP fan experiences, in an effort to unite country music fans around the St. Jude mission: Finding cures. Saving children.The longtime St. Jude radio partner has raised more than $10 million for St. Jude over three decades. Thanks to generous donors – families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.The timing of the concert coincides with the radio station’s other partnership with the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational from July 24-28 – which is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors from around the world to Memphis.“It is an honor to play a part in bringing Jake and Hunter back to Memphis to support tourism and St. Jude,” said Morgan Bohannon, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media. “Our listeners are a great source of pride because they make it possible for KIX 106 to contribute to the pioneering research and lifesaving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in such a significant way.”Owen is a long-time supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Earlier this year, he attended the 30th anniversary of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids, co-founded by Randy Owen. During the weekend festivities, Jake and Randy performed with Clint Black and Michael Ray before an audience of more than 900 radio personalities and industry executives from across the country. Randy then presented Jake with the “Angels Among Us” award to recognize his support of St. Jude.“I have witnessed the amazing work at St. Jude and this summer concert is an opportunity to raise awareness and give back to St. Jude and the surrounding city that has given so much,” said Jake Owen. “I look forward to celebrating with fans and uniting in the fight to end childhood cancer.”On more than one occasion, Hayes has visited St. Jude patient families and performed at the 2018 St. Jude Rock n Roll Nashville Marathon & ½ Marathon.“The mission of St. Jude is near and dear to my heart,” said Hayes. “Having spent time in Memphis and at St. Jude, I’ve seen the level of support patient families need and receive for free because everything is completely covered – thanks to supporters around the globe. I am excited to return to the city and make it a night to remember.”To purchase tickets, visit ticketmaster.com, the FedExForum Box Office or call (800) 745-3000.last_img read more

David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris Honored at Food Bank For New

first_imgFood Bank For New York City, the city’s leading hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs, celebrated vital community members and friends at its annual Can Do Awards Dinner last night, raising more than 9 million meals in the fight against hunger.Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka at 2019 Can Do Awards DinnerThe evening honored Chef José Andrés; David Burtka & Neil Patrick Harris; Hildy Simmons; and Stop & Shop for their commitment to hunger relief in New York City. The star-studded annual gala is instrumental in raising funds and awareness to provide support for the 1.4 million New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank For New York City’s programs and services.Sponsored by Bank of America and chaired by Lee Brian Schrager and Jodisue Rosen & Scott R. Feldman, the event featured a live auction conducted by Christie’s Lydia Fenet, as well as a performance by Motown sensations The Four Tops who delighted the crowd to classics, including “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “It’s the Same Old Song,” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).”Other notable guests included Katie Lee, Luann de Lesseps, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Cassandra Freeman, Adam Richman, Thom Filicia, Ellie Krieger, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Lili Mirojnick, Jill Hennessy, Jonathan Tucker, and Ariel Fox.The evening celebrated the many ways that New Yorkers have driven and continue to propel and support Food Bank’s goal of ending hunger, and each awardee was honored for creating lasting, positive change in New York City and across the globe. “Food Bank’s mission rests on decades of personal legacies of good will New Yorkers chose to establish with this organization,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “When people decide to leave their normal lives and just try to change the life of a fellow citizen of the world, those are the people who truly deserve an award,” said José Andrés.“This organization does such important work, changing the lives of so many New Yorkers, and I’ve loved spending time supporting them and sharing that sense of giving with our kids,” said David Burtka. “Food Bank has helped them develop a sense of pride and appreciation for the value of volunteering, which, as parents, is wonderful to witness.” Neil Patrick Harris added, “I really do think it’s important to represent yourself well to your children, to show them examples and opportunities and possibilities of how to be better.”Since its inception, the Can Do Awards has raised the funds to help Food Bank provide 105 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Every dollar donated to Food Bank provides five meals for NYC residents experiencing food insecurity.last_img read more

Goldman execs may have pay cut over Malaysian fund scandal

Goldman Sachs Group’s board is taking steps to slash its top executives’ 2018 compensation, depending upon the outcome of investigations into the investment bank’s role in the ransacking of a multibillion-dollar Malaysian state investment fund.In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday, Goldman said the board can reduce the size of 2018 stock-based awards granted to its senior executives if it determines that the results of the investigation into the Malaysian fund scandal would have prompted Goldman’s compensation committee to reduce its top executives’ stock awards.Such a scenario could affect CEO David Solomon and Chairman and former CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who are slated to receive $15.41 million and $14.25 million in restricted stock, respectively.Malaysia has asked that Goldman pay $7.5 billion over the scandal.Alex Veiga, The Associated Press read more

UN cultural chief calls for steps towards restoring damaged Italian landmark

9 April 2008Following a fire at the famed Castello di Moncalieri, in the Italian Province of Turin, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called for an urgent assessment of the damage with a view to restoring the ancient royal castle, which has been inscribed on the agency’s World Heritage List since 1997. A fire broke out on 5 April causing severe damage to the royal apartments and to several floors in one of the watchtowers of the building, a former residence of the House of Savoy.“I am deeply saddened by the loss of an important part of this royal residence,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said.“It is, however, a relief that the fire brigades were able to prevent even greater destruction,” he added.Built in 1100 and extended over several centuries, the Castello di Moncalieri was the main family residence of the House of Savoy from the 16th to the 18th centuries.It was inscribed on the World Heritage List, along with several other royal residences, as bearing testimony to the monumental architecture of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and as a material expression of the prevailing doctrine of absolute monarchy of the time.The World Heritage List includes 848 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having “outstanding universal value.” read more

Restoring law and order remains priority for Côte dIvoire says UN envoy

“There is a need for a rapid restoration of law and order throughout the country as this is the pre-condition for the other tasks to be carried out successfully,” Y. J. Choi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said in his briefing to the Security Council.Presenting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Mr. Choi cited the need to develop a “clear vision” related to the establishment of a national security structure. This, he said, would allow the effective deployment of police and gendarmerie elements throughout the country which, in turn, would allow rolling back military elements into their barracks.In his report, however, Mr. Ban says the security situation is still “extremely precarious” and the destroyed national capacity will take some time to recover. “The challenges of re-establishing lasting peace and stability are daunting, as the post-elections crisis exacerbated and multiplied old problems, unravelled the progress previously made in the peace process and created new problems,” he writes.Mr. Ban also voices concern about the “high risk” of a return to armed conflict, stressing the need to assist the Government to address the factors that could reignite fighting, including the fact that civilian communities are “awash with weapons” and the resurfacing of long-standing ethnic, citizenship and land ownership issues.“The coming 6 to 12 months will be critical in determining whether Côte d’Ivoire will continue on a steady recovery from the crisis or slip back into renewed conflict,” states the Secretary-General. “I am convinced that the continuing threats to the stability of Côte d’Ivoire and the subregion can be mitigated, but the Government will need strong support, including from the United Nations.”To accompany the Ivorian Government’s efforts, UNOCI – headed by Mr. Choi – is setting up eight new UN military camps in the west of the country, including four in the border area with Liberia, and is planning to rehabilitate and equip a number of police stations in the region.In addition to the restoration of law and order, Mr. Choi said the other major post-crisis tasks are national reconciliation, the holding of legislative elections, and economic recovery.To assist with these and other tasks, the Secretary-General has recommended in his report that the Council extend UNOCI’s mandate for one more year. “The crisis has taken a massive toll on Côte d’Ivoire and the country cannot be expected to bounce back swiftly to a level where it is able to contribute significant resources of its own towards addressing the immediate threats and priorities,” he says.“The country will need our help at this critical time to enable it to get back on its feet.”Côte d’Ivoire’s political crisis ended when former president Laurent Gbagbo finally surrendered in mid-April, ending months of violence in the wake of his refusal to step down after he lost the UN-certified presidential run-off election to Mr. Ouattara, who was sworn in as president in May. An estimated 1 million Ivorians were displaced by the violence during the recent crisis, including those who fled to neighbouring countries.Cote 18 July 2011Côte d’Ivoire faces multiple challenges after emerging from its recent post-electoral crisis, but none more critical than restoring law and order throughout the West African nation, the top United Nations envoy there said today. read more

City of Saskatoon hit by 104 M fraud by scammer posing as

The City of Saskatoon is reviewing its procedures after falling prey to a fraudster who stole $1.04 million by posing as a construction company executive.The city called an “urgent” news conference on Thursday to announce the unprecedented loss and to warn others in the community.City manager Jeff Jorgenson said to his knowledge this type of theft has never happened at city hall before. He said the city is focused on recovering the money.The fraudster impersonated the chief financial officer of a prominent construction company to advise the city of a change in banking information. The payment of $1.04 million was sent to the fraudulent account.“So right now, the focus is on the recovery of funds,” Jorgenson told reporters packed into city hall’s media room. “The banks are working on it. The police are working on it. We have our internal auditor working on it as well. So that’s where our priority is.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.City hall found out about the fraud on Monday. Jorgenson said he could not reveal further details because there is an ongoing police investigation. He would not name the construction company.Jorgenson said a lot of the information on city contracts is made public, so city hall needs to ensure it has proper processes in place to protect against fraud.City hall staff have spoken to experts since the fraud was discovered to try to determine the probability of recovering the lost money.“The research we’ve done has shown that some agencies were able to recover a significant amount of money, some agencies found it virtually impossible to recover the money,” Jorgenson said. “What I would say is that we’re chasing down every lead, cautiously optimistic that we will be able to recover a significant portion of the funds.”Jorgenson said the contract with the company is not affected by the fraud and city hall still owes the money to the contractor.“Clearly, the control that was used wasn’t strong enough to prevent (the fraud),” he added. “What I would say is internal and external staff who are experts in this area are reviewing all financial processes and controls in this area.”The fraud began a “handful” of weeks ago and involved a single payment, Jorgenson said. No city employee has been disciplined because of the incident, he said, but a human resources investigation will happen after the police investigation.Mayor Charlie Clark, who also appeared at the news conference, said he is optimistic the money can be recovered because the fraud was identified early.“It’s a million dollars of taxpayer money,” Clark said. “The world’s changing quickly. The way that identity theft and the way some of these issues are happening can affect anybody. We are going to make sure it never happens again at the city.”City police sent out a news release on Tuesday warning residents about schemes. Police said Thursday that the $1.04-million fraud does not represent the largest the city police have investigated in terms of dollars, although further details were not immediately available.Last year, the City of Ottawa’s treasurer transferred close to $130,000 to a phoney supplier as a result of an impostor posing as Ottawa’s city manager. The U.S. Secret Service seized money wired to a bank account they had been monitoring, so some of the City of Ottawa’s money could be recovered, the Ottawa Citizen reported in April.This type of fraud, like the one at Saskatoon city hall, is a type of phishing scam known as whaling because high-level targets are being duped.City hall has filed an insurance claim for the lost money.ptank@postmedia.comtwitter.com/thinktankSKRelated Financial info returning to Saskatoon city hall reports Frauds on the rise in Saskatoon, crime stats show read more

Successful peacekeeping operations require forward planning strategic focus – UN official

“Mission start-up is a really difficult time because you’re trying to work within a tight timeframe,” says Ameerah Haq, the head of the Department of Field Support (DFS).The Department was created by the General Assembly in 2007 to bolster the UN’s capacity to “mount and sustain” peacekeeping operations in light of the surge in demand for and increasing complexity of those operations.Currently, it provides support to more than 113,000 personnel serving in 16 UN peacekeeping and political missions, in the areas of finance, logistics, information and communication and technology (ICT), human resources and general administration.Ms. Haq recently returned from the West African nation of Mali, where the UN is in the process of setting up the newly-established UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA. “There are many, many challenges in looking at what the mandate is, how we can respond and determining then how we will operationalize that mandate,” she told the UN News Centre today in an interview ahead of this year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers. “There’s a military concept of operations. There’s a sort of overall strategic framework of the mission. Then we need to take that kind of blueprint and just make the engines run.” Northern Mali was occupied by radical Islamists after fighting broke out in January 2012 between Government forces and Tuareg rebels. The conflict uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and prompted the Malian Government to request assistance from France to stop the military advance of extremist groups.While security has greatly improved following the actions of French and African military forces which helped push Islamists and other militants out of the cities they had seized, much remains to be done to restore Mali’s constitutional order and territorial integrity. The 12,600-strong MINUSMA, set up by the Council in April, is slated to support the political process in Mali and take over from the African-led mission that is currently there on 1 July. But before then, there are a myriad of activities that need to be completed. “It runs the whole gamut – from establishing contracts that will provide food and water to the troops, looking at their needs for shelter, vehicles, setting up communications, setting up the infrastructure where our planes can land, getting the whole complement of personnel…,” said Ms. Haq. The fact that Mali is a landlocked country posed a particular challenge for the UN in getting goods – whether they be food, fuel or other supplies – into the country. She added that the Government of Mali was very welcoming of the UN presence and has agreed to put all the necessary agreements that the UN needs to have with the host country in place. There is also a start-up team in the country. The plan is to set up a headquarters for MINUSMA in the capital, Bamako, as well as establish a presence in Gao and Timbuktu in the north. As part of her visit, Ms. Haq met with representatives of civil society, including women’s groups and human rights groups, in Gao, one of the areas most affected by the recent fighting. “There’s obviously the expectation that the UN presence will bring some element of stability and that they can get back to their normal lives and go about agriculture and their traditional livelihoods,” she said. In addition to helping to restore stability, MINUSMA will also help the Malian authorities implement the transitional roadmap towards the full restoration of constitutional order, democratic governance and national unity. This includes the holding of elections in July, confidence-building and facilitation of reconciliation at the national and local levels.Ms. Haq noted that the mission in Mali reflects the changing nature of UN peacekeeping, which has come to involve more than just monitoring ceasefires and now includes mandates such as protecting civilians and providing a safe and secure environment for the holding of free and fair elections. UN peacekeeping has also been partnering more with regional organizations, particularly with the African Union, in places such as Sudan’s Darfur region and in Somalia. They are also increasingly being entrusted with more “robust mandates,” said Ms. Haq, such as in Mali and in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the UN has just deployed an intervention brigade to tackle the threat of armed groups in the region.Adapting to these new challenges is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peacekeepers, which is observed annually on 29 May. On this day, the UN pays tribute to all the men and women who have served either as military, police or civilians and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.“I think it gives everyone an opportunity to reflect on what it is that we attempt to do and how we do it. So it’s a good day for pause and reflection on peacekeeping,” said Ms. Haq. read more

Engineers of tomorrow reach national final of Toyota Technology Challenge

The Toyota Technology Challenge National Final will take place on Saturday 26 May 2012 at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire.During March, 54 schools participated across seven regional events which saw 12 schools win £250 and secure a place in what is anticipated to be a tightly contested national final. Aiming to win the coveted title of National Champion at this Saturday’s event will be 12 teams representing Scotland, the North, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Midlands, the South East and the South West.The challenge targets Key Stage Three and Four students. Participating teams will race their self-designed and manufactured vehicles to win up to £1,000 for their school and an action-packed alpine adventure holiday in the French Alps.Nick Freeman, Assistant General Manager, Corporate Planning and External Affairs, Toyota Manufacturing UK said, “Working with young talented pupils to get them thinking about environmentally conscious ways to manufacture vehicles is hugely inspirational. I look forward to the National Final and hope that this experience will motivate children to consider future careers in engineering and manufacturing.”Chris Calver, Education Manager of Rapid said, “Technology is an important factor in driving the UK economy and so it is vital companies such as Toyota and Rapid inspire the engineers of tomorrow. The level of design and innovation we see throughout the Challenge shows us the future is bright for British engineering.”To find out more about  how Toyota and the rest of UK automotive are inspiring the next generation of engineering talent this June through the government ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ initiative, click here. To find out more about ‘See Inside’ in general, click here.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Football Wayne Davis announces transfer from Ohio State

Redshirt sophomore safety Wayne Davis announced his intentions to transfer from Ohio State to continue his collegiate career elsewhere via Twitter on Thursday.New Chapter #GodsPlan pic.twitter.com/O7KYcQeDi7— Wayne Davis Jr (@Waynedavis1_) May 10, 2018Davis had three years of eligibility remaining, but did not see meaningful time at Ohio State, and looked to be remaining on the sidelines for the upcoming season.A consensus four-star recruit out of high school, Davis redshirted the 2016 season, but appeared in only two games for a total of 10 snaps last season. He was listed as the 335th prospect in the 2016 class, the 33rd cornerback and No. 7 prospect in the state of Virginia, according to 247Sports composite rankings.Following Davis’ transfer, Ohio State is now down to 85 scholarships, the mandated number the NCAA requires from any college team.Davis was unlikely to see playing time given the depth of safeties at Ohio State. Junior safety Jordan Fuller, who has already been announced as a probable starter, will likely be paired up with either sophomore Isaiah Pryor, sophomore Brendan White or redshirt sophomore Jahsen Wint for the 2018 season. read more

Bring in your football and badminton nets to save hedgehogs RSPCA asks

Since the 1950s, the number of hedgehogs in England has shrunk from 30 million to just one millionCredit:Chris Radburn/PA Wire Hedgehogs are dying because people are leaving netting out in their gardens, the RSPCA has warned.The leading animal charity says that dozens of the small, spikey mammals have become entangled in football, badminton and pond nets causing fatal injuries and urged people to pack their equipment away.Evie Button, Wildlife Scientific Officer at the organisation said:  “The RSPCA sees a spike in reports about hedgehogs trapped in sports and garden netting during the summer months.“Netting can be a particular hazard for wild animals, as they can easily become entangled.  As they thrash around trying to escape, the netting can tighten round them and cause terrible suffering. “The tight net can cut off the blood supply to their limbs, damage bones where they have tried to frantically escape, or worst of all, they can be strangled to death. “There is one simple way to prevent this from happening – please remove nets after use and store them securely and put any discarded or old netting safely in a bin. We also recommend that any garden netting, such as pond netting, should be replaced with solid metal mesh.”One example cited by the charity this summer was a hedgehog in a Birmingham back garden becoming entangled in a football net.Animal collection officer Cara Gibbon cut the animal free but it later succumbed to its injuries and was put down by a vet.“The netting was tight around the hedgehog and as he tried to free himself it was getting tighter and he was suffocating and really struggling to breathe,” said Ms Gibbon.“This is such a stressful situation for an animal, particularly a wild animal, to find themselves in.“We understand that many people are not aware that netting used to fence off areas and netting used for gardening or in sport can be really dangerous for animals – we’re trying to raise awareness of this.The problem could get worse in the coming weeks as hedgehogs become more mobile in their search for food ahead of hibernation.The small mammals eat slugs and snails and will travel further than usual in order to fatten up ahead of the cold winter months.The warnings come on the back of a government announcement that new road signs will be introduced, featuring pictures of hedgehogs inside a red triangle – designed to prevent accidents and reverse the decline in wildlife numbers.Since the 1950s, the number of hedgehogs in England has shrunk from 30 million to just one million.Jill Nelson, from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, told the BBC that the signs were created after they held a meeting with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the former transport secretary Chris Grayling.”We welcome this focus on road safety and protection for all small mammals,” said Ms Nelson. A young hedgehog being held by a human Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Agreement on FutureGen project paves way for first US carbon capture and

first_imgUS Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced an agreement with the FutureGen Alliance that advances the construction of the first commercial scale, fully integrated, carbon capture and sequestration project in the country in Mattoon, Illinois. “This important step forward for FutureGen reflects this Administration’s commitment to rapidly developing carbon capture and sequestration technology as part of a comprehensive plan to create jobs, develop clean energy and reduce climate change pollution.” he said. “The FutureGen project holds great promise as a flagship facility to demonstrate carbon capture and storage at commercial scale. Developing this technology is critically important for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and around the world.”“The agreement that was reached by the Department of Energy (DoE) and the FutureGen Alliance is an historic moment for both our state and our country,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL). “In my time in Congress, I can’t recall a project that has greater scientific and practical significance than FutureGen, not to mention the enormous economic benefit it will have in Illinois.”Under the terms of the provisional agreement between the DoE and the FutureGen Alliance, the Department will issue a Record of Decision on the project by the middle of July, with the following activities to be pursued from the end of July 2009 through early 2010:Rapid restart of preliminary design activitiesCompletion of a site-specific preliminary design and updated cost estimateExpansion of the Alliance sponsorship groupDevelopment of a complete funding planPotential additional subsurface characterisation.Following the completion of the detailed cost estimate and fundraising activities, the DoE and the FutureGen Alliance will make a decision either to move forward or to discontinue the project early in 2010. Both parties agree that a decision to move forward is the preferred outcome and plan to reach a revised cooperative agreement that will include a funding plan for the full project. Funding will be phased and conditioned based on completion of NEPA review.The DoE’s total anticipated financial contribution for the project is $1.073 billion, $1 billion of which comes from Recovery Act funds for CCS research. The FutureGen Alliance’s total anticipated financial contribution is $400 to $600 million, based on a goal of 20 member companies each contributing a total of $20 million to $30 million over a four to six year period. The Alliance, with support from DOE, will pursue options to raise additional non-federal funds needed to build and operate the facility, including options for capturing the value of the facility that will remain after conclusion of the research project, potentially through an auction of the residual interests in the late fall.last_img read more

Lions take revenge on Kristianstad

2. FC Barcelona Lassa8611238:219(19)13 8. KIF Kolding Kobenhavn8107205:245(-40)2 5. MOL-Pick Szeged8503231:226(5)10 6. Montpellier HB8206211:231(-20)4 7. IFK Kristianstad9207255:282(-27)4 Rhein Neckar Lowen took revenge on Swedish IFK Kristianstad 29:20 (15:10) at home after surprising defeat in Sweden a few weeks ago (29:32). Less than 2.000 fans followed the game in which there were no any kind of tension about the winner.Rhein-Neckar Löwen – IFK Kristianstad 29:20 (15:10)Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Appelgren, Richard Stochl- Schmid (11/7), Gensheimer, Kneer (2), Sigurmannsson (1), Baena Gonzalez (5), Larsen (5), Guardiola, Steinhauser (2), Groetzki (n.e.), Ekdahl du Rietz (n.e.), Petersson (n.e.), Pekeler (2)IFK Kristianstad: Larsson, Simic – Björnsen (2), Lagergren (1), Larsson, Dahlin, Jepson (2), Tollbring (5/4), Pettersson (1), Cederholm (4), Jamali (1), Nilsson, Cosmo, Hanisch (1), Eriksen (1), Lindskog (2)STANDINGS: PHOTO: RNL FB 1. Rhein-Neckar Löwen9612246:222(24)13 4. KS Vive Tauron Kielce8422247:233(14)10 ← Previous Story DKB BUNDESLIGA: No THW Kiel gift for Melsungen! Next Story → PPD Zagreb routine win over Besiktas IFK KristianstadRhein Neckar Lowen 3. HC Vardar8503232:207(25)10 read more

Teen shot in foot at NW MiamiDade trailer park

first_imgNORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – A 16-year-old male was taken to the hospital after, police said, he was shot in the foot in Northwest Miami-Dade, Tuesday night.According to Miami-Dade Police, the shooting took place at a trailer park along Northwest 76th Street and 27th Avenue, just before 8:30 p.m.Paramedics transported the teen to Jackson Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.Police are unsure whether the 16-year-old was shot by someone else or accidentally shot himself.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more