Global animal food production is undergoing a major transformation that could lead to a higher risk of disease transmission from animals to humans, and excessive concentration of animals in intensive production systems should be avoided, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today. “The risk of disease transmission from animals to humans will increase in the future due to human and livestock population growth, dynamic changes in livestock production, the emergence of worldwide agro-food networks and a significant increase in the mobility of people and goods,” FAO said in a policy brief – Industrial Livestock Production and Global Health Risks. “There is no doubt that the world has to depend on some of the technologies of intensive animal food production systems,” said FAO livestock policy expert Joachim Otte. “But excessive concentration of animals in large scale industrial production units should be avoided and adequate investments should be made in heightened bio-security and improved disease monitoring to safeguard public health,” he added. To satisfy higher demand for meat as the world’s population continues to rise, livestock production and densities have significantly increased, often close to urban centres. Industrial animal production has become more concentrated, using fewer but more productive livestock breeds. “These developments have potentially serious consequences for local and global disease risks, which, so far, have not been widely recognized by policy makers,” FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said. Globally, pig and poultry production are the fastest growing and industrializing livestock sub-sectors, with annual production growth rates of 2.6 and 3.7 per cent over the past decade. In industrialized countries, the vast majority of chickens and turkeys are now produced in houses with 15,000 to 50,000 birds. This trend can also be observed in developing countries in Asia, South America and parts of Africa. Industrial pig and poultry production relies on a significant movement of live animals. In 2005, for example, nearly 25 million pigs, more than 2 million pigs per month, were traded internationally. This movement and the concentration of thousands of confined animals increase the likelihood of transfer of pathogens. Confined animal houses also produce large amounts of waste, which may contain substantial quantities of pathogens. Much of this waste is disposed of on land without any treatment, posing an infection risk for wild mammals and birds. While the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus is currently of major global concern, the ‘silent’ circulation of influenza A viruses (IAVs) in poultry and swine should also be closely monitored internationally, FAO said. A number of IAVs are now fairly widespread in commercial poultry and to a lesser extent in pigs and could also lead to emergence of a human influenza pandemic. The agency called on producers to apply basic bio-security measures. Production sites should not be built close to human settlements or wild bird populations, farms should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, the movements of staff and vehicles should be controlled, and employees should be trained in bio-security. FAO, in association with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the intergovernmental World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), is tackling these global threats through surveillance and research networks for early detection of animal diseases and better scientific cooperation between countries. FAO has also established an emergency management centre that supports countries in responding to animal disease outbreaks. 17 September 2007Global animal food production is undergoing a major transformation that could lead to a higher risk of disease transmission from animals to humans, and excessive concentration of animals in intensive production systems should be avoided, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today.
Member States begin preparatory talks for upcoming UN antiracism conferenceMember States begin preparatory talks for upcoming UN antiracism conference
The review conference will be held in Geneva in April to monitor and accelerate progress towards the implementation of measures adopted at the landmark 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.Members of the working group have agreed to use a 38-page draft document as the basis for their negotiations, which will take place during its formal session ending on Friday and continue afterwards in informal meetings. The group has two further formal meetings before the Review Conference is held from 20 to 24 April, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has launched a website dedicated to the Conference and its preparatory process.The website is online in English at www.un.org/durbanreview2009/ and will soon be available in the other official UN languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. 20 January 2009A working group made up of United Nations Member States has begun formal negotiations on a draft outcome document for the so-called Durban Review Conference later this year, which will examine the progress made worldwide since the 2001 global anti-racism summit held in the South African city.
Elections Commission to consider request on polls dateElections Commission to consider request on polls date
Earlier the Government had said it expects the election to be held on February 10. (Colombo Gazette) He said that the election is likely to be held on or before February 17 next year.Deshapriya said that the election will not be held on a Sunday or public holiday. The Elections Commission today said that it will consider a request with regards to the date to hold the Local Government elections.Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said that there is a request to hold the election on a Saturday.
Fonseka raises concerns over use of elephants at pageantsFonseka raises concerns over use of elephants at pageants
“We see elephants moving from side to side at peraheras and are really happy to see that. We assume they are dancing as the dancers in the perahera are also dancing,” he said. Minister of Wildlife Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka has raised concerns over the use of elephants at temple pageants (perahera).Fonseka says new ways must be looked at on using elephants for temple pageants without hurting them. However Fonseka says after visiting the elephant orphanage and other locations where elephants are kept and after speaking to experts, he found that the elephants move from side to side at peraheras as they are in pain. Fonseka said that while there is a need to protect Sri Lankan culture there is also a need to protect the animal.The Minister said that the shortage of elephants for temple pageants must be addressed but it should not be done so to meet the personal agendas of some individuals. (Colombo Gazette)
Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorRedshirt-sophomore safety Ron Tanner relaxes at halftime during a game against Buffalo Aug. 30, at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 40-20.As the temperatures climbed and the game against Buffalo dragged on, the Ohio State football team began to feel the effects of the heat.Many, including junior quarterback Braxton Miller and junior linebacker Ryan Shazier, were forced out of the game because of cramping and dehydration.But a player going out because of exhaustion is not an excuse to suspend the game, so the Buckeyes were forced to rely on backup players to step into big roles.Familiar with receiving playing time in tight games, as seen in OSU’s overtime victory over Purdue last season, redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Guiton came in Saturday after Buffalo cut the lead to 30-20 and Miller came out with cramps.Guiton said he is always prepared to play in case something happens, especially on a day like Saturday.“Cramping is something you really can’t control and I knew I needed to be ready at any time, being as how much we run the QB and everything,” Guiton said. “I know I needed to be ready.”The one drive Guiton was a part of led to a touchdown and a 17-point lead over the Bulls.Although it was the touchdown that goes in the box score, Guiton attributes the points to his teammates who helped set it up.“I think the plays leading up to it made it easier for the touchdown because we were running the ball and we had a few runs for first downs and the next thing you know, we just hit ‘em with the play-action,” Guiton said. “Everybody came up and we hit (senior wide receiver Chris Fields) right behind them.”Redshirt-senior center Corey Linsley received the start, but was forced to sit out a majority of the game because of a foot injury sustained last season.Sophomore center Jacoby Boren, the third Boren brother to play for the Buckeyes, came in and played for the rest of the game.Redshirt-senior running back Jordan Hall said Boren was successful as a replacement, but he has as many expectations as Linsley does.“Jacoby (Boren) did a pretty good job too,” Hall said. “But it’s Ohio State, so next person up.”On the other side of the ball, players like redshirt-sophomore safety Ron Tanner and freshman defensive lineman Joey Bosa stepped up when the starters came out for a rest.Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell praised Bosa’s talent and ability to come in and play whenever they needed him.“We felt really confident about however many snaps Joey Bosa had to play. He’s a guy that’s proven it,” Fickell said. “He’s done a great job against our offensive line. To me, he’s as good as there is in college football, and he’s going to be well prepared to help us throughout their entire season.”Coach Urban Meyer has been impressed with Bosa so far this year and sees him playing more in the future if he continues at his current pace.“On defense, Joey Bosa has played very well,” Meyer said. “He’s earning a lot of time in the rotation. I’m really impressed with him.”Tanner, who recorded an interception against Buffalo, along with senior redshirt-safety Corey Brown filled in for the injured redshirt-senior safety C.J. Barnett who was ruled out just before kickoff.Fickell said Tanner played well, but that injuries are bound to happen during a long football season and players need to be ready.“C.J. Barnett was down, nobody ever said a word about it and Ron Tanner steps up and does a great job for us. I think that’s the mentality we want to have because this is going to be a long season,” Fickell said.Meyer said he liked seeing the younger players on the field, and said it will help them in the long run to receive in-game experience.“The good thing is, we have a chance to get better,” Meyer said. “A lot of new players on defense. When Shazier cramped up, we were down there. Christian Bryant was basically our only veteran player out there. I’m anxious to see a lot of improvement.”Certain players may not receive as much playing time in the future, particularly after players like Barnett and redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby return to the field. Roby was suspended for one game due to his involvement in an incident at a Bloomington, Ind., bar in July.Fickell appreciated how the new players handled themselves when things did not go their way Saturday.“We kind of talked about it being Christmas morning, we got a lot of new guys opening presents, I knew what was inside, but I wanted to see what happened when all of a sudden something didn’t go well,” Fickell said.Ohio State will host San Diego State (0-1) Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Scoring in professional basketball is one of the most beautiful things in sports. With only moments to set up his shot, a player tosses a ball into a soaring arc, and it drops through a hoop only slightly larger than the ball. That or he flies to the hoop and deposits the ball directly.It’s no wonder, then, that individual players’ scoring abilities get the most attention. But basketball is a complex and dynamic sport, and this skill is only one of many that determine what kind of impact a particular player has on the bottom line.In fact, if you had to pick one statistic from the common box score to tell you as much as possible about whether a player helps or hurts his team, it isn’t how many points he scores. Nor how many rebounds he grabs. Nor how many assists he dishes out.It’s how many steals he gets.This phenomenon — that steals is one of the most informative stats in basketball — has important implications for how we think about sports data. But it can also help us investigate real-life basketball mysteries, such as “What the heck is going on in Minnesota?”Consider the curious case of Ricky Rubio. A professional basketball player since the age of 14, he won a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics (leading a strong Spanish team in assists, steals and even defensive rebounds during the knockout rounds). The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him in 2009 with the fifth overall pick (age: 18), but he initially stayed in Spain, not making his NBA debut until 2011.During the two years Rubio spent at FC Barcelona, his eventual Minnesota teammate Kevin Love ascended into the ranks of the NBA’s statistical elite. This left many to expect (or hope) that adding Rubio would finally make the Timberwolves a contender. But in his first two seasons, the Timberwolves still haven’t made the playoffs. Going into the 2013-14 season, ESPN’s TrueHoop Network ranked Rubio as the 49th best player in the league (only slightly ahead of teammate Nikola Pekovic). He has struggled with injuries and is considered a terrible, “makes Rajon Rondo look like Reggie Miller”-type shooter.1So far, Rubio has put up the worst effective field goal percentage among regular NBA starters every year of his career.Since entering the NBA, Rubio has been dominant in two major statistical categories: not scoring and steals. Of all players averaging 30-plus minutes, Rubio’s 10 points per game is the third-fewest overall, and the worst of all guards by more than a point.2The second-lowest-scoring guard is Jose Calderon with 11.2 PPG.His 2.4 steals per game, on the other hand, is the second most. It’s only .1 steals behind five-time NBA steals champion Chris Paul (and Rubio edges Paul in steals per minute and steal percentage).What do you do when you have highly divergent indicators such as these? NBA stat geeks have been trying to mash up box score stats for decades. The most famous attempt is John Hollinger’s player efficiency rating, which ostensibly includes steals in its calculation but values them about as much as two-point baskets.3In PER, steals are each worth the value of one possession. A two-point basket is (roughly) worth two points minus the value of one possession. Because a possession is worth about one point, these are both worth about +1 point in Hollinger’s equation. In other words, steals have only a small effect on a player’s PER. Despite his stealing prowess, Rubio has a career PER of 15.6, ranking 82nd in the league for the period. Meanwhile, Love has a PER of 25.7 (fourth in the league) over that same time.Hollinger weights each stat in his formula based on his informed estimation of its intrinsic value. Although this is intuitively neat, empiricists like to test these sorts of things. One way to do it is to compare how teams have performed with and without individual players, using the results to examine what kinds of player statistics most accurately predict the differences.4I used this technique quite a bit throughout my treatise on Dennis Rodman, though it is actually better suited to broader analysis such as this. For this article, I’m using team game “with and without you” (WOWY) comparisons from all player seasons from 1986 to 2011 where a player missed and played at least 20 games. In particular, we’re interested in which player stats best predict whether a team will win or lose more often without him.By this measure, PER vastly undervalues steals. Because steals and baskets seem to be similarly valuable, and there are so many more baskets than steals in a game, it’s hard to see how steals can be all that important. But those steals hold additional value when we predict the impact of the players who get them. A lot more value. So much so that a player’s steals per game is more important to evaluating his worth than his ability to score points, even though steals are so much rarer.To illustrate this, I created a regression using each player’s box score stats (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and turnovers) to predict how much teams would suffer when someone couldn’t play.5As measured by his difference in SRS (simple rating system, or average margin of victory/defeat adjusted for strength of schedule) with or without him. By comparing the regression coefficients for each variable, we can see the relative predictive value of each (all else being equal). Because we’re particularly interested in how each stat compares with points scored, I’ve set the predictive value of a single marginal point as our unit of measure (that is, the predictive value of one point equals one, and something five times more predictive than a point is five, etc.). The results:Yes, this pretty much means a steal is “worth” as much as nine points. To put it more precisely: A marginal steal is weighted nine times more heavily when predicting a player’s impact than a marginal point.6At least when averaged over a sufficient number of games (about 15 or 20). Note that the weighting of steals in PER was approximately equal to a made two-point basket, or roughly equivalent to two PPG (off by nearly a factor of five). Value for turnovers is negative.For example, a player who averages 16 points and two steals per game is predicted (assuming all else is equal) to have a similar impact on his team’s success as one who averages 25 points but only one steal. If these players were on different teams and were both injured at the same time, we would expect their teams to have similar decreases in performance (on average).Steals have considerable intrinsic value. Not only do they kill an opponent’s possession, but a team’s ensuing possession — the one that started with the steal — often leads to fast-break scoring opportunities. But though this explains how a steal can be more valuable than a two-point basket, it doesn’t come close to explaining how we get from that to nine points.I’ve heard a lot of different theories about how steals can be so much more predictively valuable than they seem: Steals “cost” less than other stats,7This is most relevant to comparison between steals and points: Points cost you shots, which cost you possessions, which is why a bad shooter may get a lot of points while hurting his team’s offense. Steals come at a cost as well: By gambling on defense, you sometimes give up a better shot if you fail. But, all things considered, they are probably closer to being “free” than points. or players who get more steals might also play better defense, or maybe steals are just a product of, as pundits like to call it, high basketball IQ. These are all worth considering and may be true to various degrees, but I think there’s a subtler — yet extremely important — explanation.Think about all that occurs in a basketball game — no matter who is playing, there will be plenty of points, rebounds and assists to go around. But some things only happen because somebody makes them happen. If you replaced a player with someone less skilled at that particular thing, it wouldn’t just go to somebody else. It wouldn’t occur at all. Steals are disproportionately those kinds of things.Most people vastly underestimate how much a player’s box score stats are a function of that player’s role and style of play, as opposed to his tangible contribution to his team’s performance. A player averaging one more point per game than another doesn’t actually mean his team scores one more point per game as a result of his presence. He may be shooting more than he should and hurting his team’s offense. Similarly, one player getting a lot of rebounds doesn’t make his team a good rebounding team: He may be getting rebounds that his team could have gotten without him.What we are looking for is a kind of statistical “irreplaceability.” If a player produces one more X (point, rebound, steal, etc.) for his team, and is then taken from the team (by injury, suspension, trade, etc.), how much of that stat does his team really lose? How much of it can be replaced?I tested for this by running a series of regressions using each player’s box score stats (points, rebounds, assists, etc.) to predict how much teams would suffer without a player in each particular area. In other words, for a player who averages X points, Y rebounds, Z assists, etc., how much does his team’s scoring decrease when he’s out? How much does its rebounding decrease? The way I’ve set it up, a stat’s irreplaceability will roughly run from zero (completely replaceable) to one (completely irreplaceable).8I was going to call this “Beyoncé Value” in honor of the singer’s hit song “Irreplaceable,” but editors correctly pointed out that the song title was ironic, and steals actually are irreplaceable. Let’s visualize it like so:9For this case, I ran separate regressions to the WOWY differential for each of the team’s PRABS statistics from all of the corresponding player stats. In a linear regression, the “irreplaceability value” is the coefficient for each variable in its own regression (e.g. player PPG coefficient in the regression to team PPG). Note that while the value approximates a percentage, nothing precludes values below zero or above 1. So, look at the points-per-game column. Suppose a player averages one more point per game than another player. His team is likely to average only an additional .17 points with him on the floor because points are 83 percent replaceable. It would take almost six points of his scoring to add one additional point to his team’s tally.For steals, the picture is much different. If a player averages one more steal than another player (say 2.5 steals per game instead of 1.5) his team is likely to average .96 more steals than it would without him (if all else stayed equal). That’s why, as an individual player action, steals are much more irreplaceable than points.Basketball is a game of high scores and small margins. The best team ever — the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — only won by an average of 12 points per game, and I’d be surprised if more than a handful of players have ever been worth half that on their own (maybe Michael Jordan, probably LeBron James). With steals 96 percent “irreplaceable,” and each worth a couple of points, one extra steal per game puts a good player well on his way to being an excellent one.With this in mind, it’s worth taking another look at Rubio, the quirky sidekick to MVP candidate Love. Rubio seems deficient at the game’s central skill (putting the ball in the hoop) but is gifted at the one that matters to my model (thievery).It’s our good fortune that Rubio and Love have missed a number of games at different times, so we can check whether there’s anything to be gleaned by comparing team performance with and without them. Here are his and Love’s win percentages and average team margin of victory both together and separate since 2011-12:In other words, the Timberwolves have struggled to win games when either one of its duo out, and they’ve lost quite badly with both gone. Despite being an elite scorer and rebounder who is routinely ranked as one of the league’s top players, Love’s observable impact has been only marginally better than Rubio’s.10Note also that in the three years prior to Rubio’s arrival, Love had one of the worst runs that a theoretically great player has ever had. In the 214 games he played in that period, the Timberwolves won only 24.8 percent of their games and had an average margin of victory of -6.3. In other words, the sample of games in which the Timberwolves struggled with only Love on the floor is effectively much greater than the 33 in the table. So far, both are putting up elite numbers. The Timberwolves have played nearly seven points per game worse without Rubio in their lineup. That’s absurdly high. So high that I’d be surprised if either player’s numbers bore out in the long run. But it’s worth noting that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Rubio may be exceeding expectations.Taken alone, this comparison doesn’t answer the question of Rubio’s value, and it doesn’t prove that steals are as valuable as I think they are. But it’s powerfully consistent with that claim. More important, it’s a perfect example of how, even in a storm of complex, causally dynamic, massively intertwined data and information, sometimes odd little things that are known to be reliable and predictable are the most valuable.Editor’s note: A table in this article has been updated to include additional data from the past week.
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram In what is believed to be the biggest hospitality property sale in the North West, Con Berbatis and business partner Fonda Grapsas took possession of Port Hedland’s historic Esplanade Hotel last week. Terms of the sale remain under wraps but Neos Kosmos understands that the deal closed at over $30 million. Mr Berbatis, who part-owns Perth’s Holiday Inn City Centre, said unmet demand for business and tourist accommodation in Port Hedland, along with customers’ growing expectations for more sophisticated accommodation and food and beverage facilities in the town, provided a strong business case. “We’ve paid a top price because we’re expecting to get top-dollar in terms of returns,” Mr Berbatis told Neos Kosmos. “It’s a big purchase. Port Hedland is fast-becoming the biggest iron ore port in the world, it’s a very high growth city. “It’s rapidly converting from a rural outback town into a modern mineral resources hub, all in the matter of a decade.” Mr Berbatis confirmed that BHP have taken up a lease with the Esplanade to provide half its occupancy for the company’s senior staff. A major expansion of the hotel in recent years has increased the number of rooms to over 100. Further upgrades are scheduled include enhanced kitchen facilities, an extension to the existing restaurant and the creation of a lobby bar. Central to the new owners’ plans is to raise the bar in terms of food and beverage in the town. “We’re going to be rolling out a very sophisticated food and beverage operation, and we’ll be working in partnership with the leading hospitality consultants Plus 8 to manage that side of the operation,” said co-owner Fonda Grapsas, who added that customers are already seeing changes. “We’ve just introduced a new a la carte menu to add to the buffet in the restaurant and the plan is to expand further. The new restaurant will combine a fully enclosed area as well as an al fresco dining area.” Mr Grapsas, who among his business activities holds the Sumo Salad franchise in WA, will be overseeing the Esplanade’s catering and hospitality operations.
HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster Stay on target Tom Petty was right: The waiting is the hardest part.But wait we must, until incoming Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall (pictured) and the BBC announce who will succeed Peter Capaldi as the 13th Doctor.The Scottish actor last week confirmed the 2017 Christmas special will mark the end of his tenure in the Tardis—launching bookies and fans into a frenzy of speculation.Don’t expect news of the next Doctor any time soon, though. While Capaldi’s departure has been “planned for a long time,” according to Radio Times, Chibnall has not yet begun his search for a replacement.The showrunner-in-waiting remains focused on his own baby: season three of Broadchurch, which returns to the UK’s ITV on Feb. 27, for what is expected to be its final eight-episode arc. Created and written by Chibnall, the crime drama stars former Doctor David Tennant and next-Doctor favorite Olivia Colman as detectives in a close-knit English town.Chibnall told Radio Times last week that, after the series airs, he intends to take a vacation before hunkering down with Doctor Who. A new star is expected to be cast by the fall, ahead of an official proclamation and an on-screen regeneration.Who will materialize out of that fiery rebirth on Christmas Day? UK bookmakers currently have their money on The Leftovers actor Paterson Joseph and Kris Marshall, recognizable to US audiences as Love Actually‘s horny Colin Frissell. Around the same time Capaldi dropped his bombshell, Marshall revealed he will step down from his role in BBC’s Death in Paradise, sparking rumors that the timing is not just a coincidence.Colman, “Missy the Master” Michelle Gomez, Richard Ayoade (IT Crowd), Ben Whishaw (Daniel Craig’s Bond films), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (The Iron Lady, also Broadchurch), Rory Kinnear (also Craig’s Bond films), and Zawe Ashton (Nocturnal Animals) are also in the running.A longtime fan—he appeared on TV in 1986 to represent the Doctor Who Appreciation Society—Chibnall has written half a dozen episodes of the show, including a 42-minute thriller, a two-part introduction to the Silurians, and the sci-fi counterpart to Snakes on a Plane. He’s also penned eight episodes of spin-off Torchwood.As Radio Times reported in May, Chibnall may bring the American-style “writers room” to Doctor Who next year.The 10th series—Capaldi’s last—is scheduled to return to BBC and BBC America on April 15, with the Doctor’s newest companion, Bill (Pearl Mackie).
No criminal activity suspected in Yacolt-area fireNo criminal activity suspected in Yacolt-area fire
No criminal activity is suspected in a fire at a Yacolt-area house Wednesday afternoon that displaced two people.Firefighters were called to 23217 N.E. Worthington Rd. at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday after a neighbor spotted flames on the back of the house.Crews had the fire, which originated on the outside of the house, under control in about an hour.To conclusively determine the cause of the fire, Clark County Deputy Fire Marshal Susan Anderson said, there will need to be an analysis by an electrical engineer.Damage to the structure and contents was an estimated $454,000.
Big Lake musher Martin Buser is leading the Iditarod. After choosing an unconventional checkpoint for his 24 hour layover early in the race, he charged to the front of the race today. He’s now nearing the Nulato checkpoint with Sonny Lindner, Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King in pursuit.Iditarod Mushers and their dog teams passed in and out of the Yukon River community of Galena on various schedules throughout the afternoon.Download Audio
Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprnListen nowCompromise to avoid state shutdown could happen soonAndrew Kitchenman, KTOO – JuneauState lawmakers are working on a budget compromise to avoid a government shutdown that could be completed as soon as tonight.‘Sense of relief’ as cuts to UA system are less than expectedDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksThe University of Alaska learned it would face cuts, even though UA president Jim Johnsen said the cuts were less than expected.Walker signs bill granting health insurance to dependents of fallen police, firefightersDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksGovernor Bill Walker has signed legislation which requires the state to provide health insurance for the dependents of state law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.Murkowski’s take on health bill? Stay tuned.Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington D.C.Sen. Lisa Murkowski wouldn’t say how she’ll vote on the health care reform bill Senate leaders released Thursday, but it does things she has said she’s against, like shrinking Medicaid expansion and defunding Planned Parenthood.Body of missing boater recovered on Bering Strait beachAssociated PressThe body of a man missing on a boating trip out of the Bering Strait village of Wales has been recovered.“Doesn’t he know it’s frozen?” How Alaska almost overlooked Prudhoe BayElizabeth Harball and Zoe Sobel, Alaska’s Energy DeskYou could argue — and a lot of people do — that Alaska would be a completely different place if it weren’t for a man named Tom Marshall.Fish and Game shoots black bear thought to have killed 16-year-old runnerCasey Grove, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageThat bear had been shot once already during an effort Sunday to recover the 16-year-old’s body.Man charged in 2015 Wasilla double murderDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksCourt documents detail the case against a Wasilla man accused of a double murder along the Denali Highway.Alaska trail advocates warn Governor Walker of transportation funding lapsesHenry Leasia, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageAdvocacy group Alaska Trails has sent a letter to let Governor Bill Walker know that transportation funds are at risk. Last September, Alaska returned $2.6 million to the US Department of Transportation.
Judge rules independents can run in Alaska Democratic primaryJudge rules independents can run in Alaska Democratic primary
Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg closely watches an attorney during opening arguments in a civil trial in 2016. He ruled Tuesday that independents can run in the Alaska Democratic primary. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)A judge Tuesday ordered that independents can run in the Alaska Democratic Party primary, ruling in the party’s favor.Listen nowIt’s not clear whether independent Gov. Bill Walker will run in the primary.Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg wrote in his order that political parties have the right to associate themselves with the candidates of their choice, regardless of their party registration.The Alaska Democratic Party tried last year to allow nonpartisan or undeclared candidates to run in its primary, but the state election officials rejected the change. The party filed a legal challenge this year, which led to Pallenberg’s order.Party Executive Director Jay Parmley said he’s pleased with the order.“We’ve long believed that we have the right to allow people to associate and participate in the party, regardless of registration – and today the judge confirmed that,” Parmley said.Walker said when he and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott filed for re-election in August that they weren’t planning to run in a primary. But the order could make it an option.Lindsay Hobson is Walker’s daughter and campaign spokeswoman. She said the campaign has no comment on the order.“Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Mallott have an ongoing duty to uphold the laws of the state,” Hobson said. “And since this is a pending legal matter, to which the state is a party, the candidates can’t comment at this time.”Lawyers for the state had defended a law that requires primary candidates belong to the party holding that primary. Pallenberg wrote that the state failed to place sufficient faith in the ability of voters to make informed decisions.Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills said the Department of Law would decide whether to appeal the order.“We are still reviewing the decision, but we will engage in our normal appeal evaluation process,” Mills said.This decision to appeal can take three to five weeks.One major question is how the name of an independent candidate who wins a party primary will appear on the general election ballot.Pallenberg wrote that state law requires the general election ballot “inform voters” that an independent primary winner is the Democratic nominee. He also wrote that state officials will ultimately determine the design of general election ballots.The Democrats had changed their party rules so it appeared possible their primary winner could be on the general election ballot without the party’s name.Now Parmley said the ballot should reflect both the candidate’s party registration – or lack of registration – as well as the fact they won a primary.“I think they’ll be able to work to work this out pretty effectively, (in a way) that satisfies all concerned here,” Parmley said.Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock said he’s glad the decision upholds political parties’ freedom of association. He added he believes the Democrats hoped to nominate independents without having the party’s name listed next to the candidate on the ballot.“I mean, if they want people to seek the Democrat nomination, there should be some recognition on the general election ballot that that’s what the person did,” Babcock said.The deadline to register for the August primary is June 1.
Fire ravages celebrated Glasgow School of Art for 2nd timeFire ravages celebrated Glasgow School of Art for 2nd time
The rear elevation of the Glasgow School of Art is seen on fire, in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, on 15 June 2018, in this still image obtained from social media. Photo: ReutersA huge fire has gutted one of Scotland’s architectural gems, the Mackintosh building at the Glasgow School of Art, which was still being restored after a major blaze in 2014.Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said after visiting the site on Saturday that the damage to the 1909 masterpiece by Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh was “much, much worse” than four years ago.”It’s devastating,” she told reporters. “Looking at it, it’s a building that is just a shell.”The fire broke out late on Friday night, when the city centre was full of people enjoying a night out. Among them were many School of Art students celebrating their graduation, which took place earlier.By the time fire crews were called to the scene the blaze had spread to the whole building.Huge flames engulfed the Mackintosh, known locally as the Mack, and spread to adjacent buildings including a night club and a theatre, creating an orange glow over the city skyline.More than 120 fire-fighters fought the blaze all night. The area was swiftly evacuated and no casualties were reported.The Mackintosh building had been due to re-open next year after millions of pounds in restoration works following a fire in May 2014.Sturgeon said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire, or to know whether the building would remain standing.”All of us hope the building can be saved but it’s too early to draw any conclusions,” she said.”The Scottish government stands ready to do anything we reasonably can to help ensure that the building has a future. It’s too early to tell what that might entail, what it might look like.”By lunchtime on Saturday the blaze was under control, but fire-fighters were still at work trying to extinguish pockets of fire inside the building.Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of Scotland’s most influential figures, inspired designers, architects and artists around Europe with his distinctive style.The School of Art’s website says the building named after him on Glasgow’s Renfrew Street “heralded the birth of a new style in 20th century European architecture”.The British government’s Scotland minister, David Mundell, said he was devastated by news of the fire.”It is only a fortnight since I was there to see the progress on the restoration, and my heart goes out to all those who had worked so hard on that. The UK Government stands ready to help, financially or otherwise,” he said in a statement.Hundreds of people in Scotland and beyond took to social media to express their shock at news footage of the burning building, which some said was as symbolic for Glaswegians as Big Ben was for Londoners.”It hurts, it actually hurts to watch it burn,” wrote Scottish Twitter user Scott Galloway.Many deplored what they called the cruel irony of the fire coming hours after a giant mural depicting Charles Rennie Mackintosh was unveiled elsewhere in Glasgow.It features a portrait of Mackintosh looking through a stained-glass window featuring some of his designs.
Houston Judge Tosses SameSex Marriage Benefits Challenge But Plaintiffs Pledge To AppealHouston Judge Tosses SameSex Marriage Benefits Challenge But Plaintiffs Pledge To Appeal
Share Tamir Kalifa for The Texas TribuneHerbert Clayson Cloete and Mark Chavez smile as they watch officiant Jodie Flint sign their marriage license in Austin, days after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in 2015.A Houston judge has thrown out the six-year-old lawsuit a pair of Houston taxpayers filed to keep the city from paying spousal benefits to the same-sex spouses of municipal employees. But the long-running legal saga is long from over, according to the side that was handed a loss this week.The lawsuit dates back to 2013, when pastor Jack Pidgeon and accountant Larry Hicks sued the city to end the policy. In 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark Obergefell ruling that opened up marriage rights to same-sex couples in all states, Pidgeon and Hicks continued to pursue the lawsuit, arguing that the decision did not extend to the right to city spousal benefits.In June 2017, the Texas Supreme Court agreed, ruling unanimously that while same-sex marriage had been made legal, there is still room for state courts to explore the “reach and ramifications” of the landmark Obergefell ruling. The all-Republican high court sent the case back to a Houston trial court for further consideration.Nearly two years later, Judge Sonya Heath on Monday threw out the case, ruling for Houston in what the city has touted as a major win.“This is a victory for equality, the law of our nation and human rights,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement Thursday evening. “I thank our Legal Department for its diligent work defending common sense and fairness, and I’m glad we get to continue the policy established by the city 6 years ago.”Still, that win won’t go unchallenged. Jared Woodfill, the lawyer who represents Pidgeon and Hicks, said Thursday night that his clients will appeal the ruling — and that he expects the case to land again before the Texas Supreme Court and that it could eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.The case is one of the earliest headline rulings from a Houston judiciary that saw a major Republican rout in the 2018 elections. Heath, a Democrat, was elected as part of that sweep — a fact Woodfill highlighted, noting that under a Republican trial judge, his clients’ arguments had won more favor.But other changes to the country’s judiciary may work to his clients’ advantage, Woodfill suggested, referring to President Donald Trump’s two appointees to the nation’s highest court.“Just like the trial court has changed in the interim, the U.S. Supreme Court has changed — now we have [Justice Neil] Gorsuch on the court, now we have [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh on the court,” he noted. “It’s going to be interesting.”South Texas College of Law Houston professor Charles “Rocky” Rhodes told Houston Matters Friday how Pidgeon and Hicks could appeal. “That’s not a fundamental right of marriage. The state doesn’t have to provide that as part of your employment with the state,” Rhodes said.He added the plaintiffs could argue that, since Texas law at the time banned same-sex benefits, the only remedy now is to eliminate all spousal benefits. The case could find its way to the Supreme Court, but Rhodes said it’s unlikely the high court would rule in their favor.Additional reporting by Andrew Schneider (Houston Public Media).This piece was originally published in The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
StayWell announces second property in BaliStayWell announces second property in BaliAustralia’s largest privately owned hotel management company StayWell Hospitality Group has announced the signing of a long-term management agreement to open and operate the company’s second Park Regis property in Indonesia.Construction of the upscale hotel nestled in the village of Kerobokan, Seminyak is currently in progress with the property expected to open in July 2017.Park Regis Seminyak is located near Seminyak’s popular upmarket shopping and entertainment district as well as the famous Petitenget Beach making it the ultimate base for leisure travellers visiting the tropical destination.The hotel will be the tallest building in the area, offering striking and unobstructed 360 degree views of the iconic green rice fields, magnificent Balinese villages as well as the Indian Ocean.Featuring 110 generously sized guest rooms and suites, as well as a roof top bar and restaurant, three swimming pools, a spa and gymnasium, Park Regis Seminyak will be sure to exceed all expectations.This Park Regis development will be one of the latest openings for the fast growing international brand, expanding its portfolio in Indonesia, as well as Australia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, India, United Kingdom and Indonesia.StayWell Hospitality Group CEO Mr Simon Wan said that a year of negotiations has paid off, marking a significant milestone in line with the target of reaching 100 hotels in our network by 2020.“Since the opening of StayWell Hospitality Group’s Indonesian office in Jakarta in 2015, we have gradually gained the reputation as one of the best international hotel groups to work with,” said Mr Wan.“We are very proud of our expansion in Bali – a strategic move to cater for the growing tourism market.“The Park Regis Seminyak is one of our Group’s most recent acquisitions, and we are very excited about the opportunity to partner together with an experienced entrepreneur Mr Arifin to build our international network.”The owner Mr Eddy Arifin of Jakarta-based EAR’s Corp said there were just over twelve months until the Park Regis property was due to open.“We are thrilled to be partnering with Staywell Hospitality Group as part of their international expansion plans and are eager to bring Park Regis to Seminyak,” said Mr Arifin.“By establishing a strong presence in key feeder markets, Park Regis Seminyak will be the desired choice for business and leisure travellers visiting Bali.”The opening of the Park Regis Seminyak will bring the StayWell Hospitality Group’s portfolio to over 35 hotels worldwide. StayWell Hospitality GroupSource = StayWell Hospitality Group
January 14, 2013 381 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share Washington’s Westside Community Bank has the dubious honor of being the first to fall in 2013.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/ announced that the “”Washington State Department of Financial Institutions””:http://www.dfi.wa.gov/ shuttered Westside on Friday. The bank’s two branches are reopening as branches of Irvine, California’s “”Sunwest Bank””:https://www.sunwestbank.com/index_westside.aspx.According to the FDIC, Sunwest Bank is assuming all of Westside’s estimated $96.5 million (as of September 30, 2012) in deposits. Sunwest also agreed to purchase essentially all of the closed bank’s $97.7 million in assets.The FDIC estimates Westside’s closure cost the Deposit Insurance Fund about $20.3 million.While Westside is the first bank to collapse in 2013, it is also Washington’s first failure in more than a year. The last FDIC-insured institution to close in the state was the Bank of Whitman in August 2011. Washington Bank First to Fail in 2013 Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank Failure FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-14 Tory Barringer
Entering his fifth NFL season, Bucannon will be an unrestricted free agent after this coming year.Related LinksCards camp notebook: Intensity rising with focus on physicalityCardinals DC Al Holcomb stressing importance of missed opportunitiesDrafted in the first round (27th overall) by Arizona in 2014 out of Washington State, Bucannon converted from safety to $LB and played all 16 regular season games his first two years in the NFL. His most productive year came in 2015, when he recorded a team-high 112 total tackles, 3.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception.The Cardinals’ depth at linebacker heading into the 2018 season is limited behind Bucannon and projected starters Josh Bynes and Haason Reddick. Arizona has three rookies — Dennis Gardeck, Matthew Oplinger and Airius Moore — along with third-year pro Jeremy Cash, second-year pro Scooby Wright III and fourth-year pro Edmond Robinson on the training camp roster. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon suffered a hyperextended left knee Thursday and will undergo an MRI after missing practice Friday, head coach Steve Wilks said.“I really don’t expect him to miss a long period of time,” Wilks told the media Friday morning, adding he held Bucannon out as a precaution.Bucannon recorded 82 tackles, 1.0 sack, an interception and two forced fumbles over 12 games in 2017. For 2018, the linebacker is taking on more responsibility in first-year defensive coordinator Al Holcomb’s 4-3 defense as the main playcaller. Veteran Karlos Dansby, who remains a free agent, served that role last season. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Deone Bucannon (20) forces New York Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis (18) to fumble during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals recovered the football. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 7 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced the signing of an agreement with Residency Resorts Malé Private Limited, part of the Chennai-based leading property developer, Appaswamy Group, to debut the renowned St. Regis brand in the Maldives. Set to open in 2016, The St. Regis Vommuli Resort, Maldives will bring the brand’s hallmark luxury services to one of the world’s most magnificent destinations, ideally situated on the private Vommuli Island in the Dhaalu Atoll.“We are pleased to partner with Starwood to bring this hotel to life: marrying the bespoke service of the St. Regis brand with the ‘barefoot luxury’ mentality of the Maldives,” said Ravi Appasamy Managing Director of Residency Resorts Male Private Limited.“Celebrated as one of the world’s best addresses, the Maldives is a befitting destination to introduce the St. Regis brand to a discerning set of global guests,” said Jim Petrus, Global Brand Leader, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. “This incredible addition to the St. Regis portfolio has been conceived in perfect harmony with the island’s lush vegetation and pristine lagoon.”A 40-minute seaplane ride southwest from the Republic’s capital city Malé, The St. Regis Vommuli Resort will be located on a private atoll spanning more than 20 acres, surrounded by beaches and a secluded lagoon. The resort will feature 77 luxuriously appointed private villas, while guests will have access to a tranquil spa with six private treatment rooms; an infinity swimming pool; state of the art fitness center and yoga space; as well as a dive and activity center. With an all-day dining restaurant, three specialty restaurants and a signature bar, The St. Regis Vommuli Resort will also offer guests rich culinary experiences including the legendary Bloody Mary cocktail, which was first created at the flagship St. Regis New York hotel in the 1930s and is served at each of the brand’s 34 hotels and resorts around the world.This announcement follows on the heels of the recent signing of The St. Regis Mumbai, which is scheduled to open before the end of the year. The St. Regis Vommuli Resort will further strengthen Starwood’s fast growing portfolio in South Asia, where the company currently operates 48 hotels with an additional 48 hotels in the pipeline, including W Goa Retreat & Spa and Le Méridien Nagpur in India; Le Méridien Paro, in Bhutan; Le Méridien and Sheraton in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Sheraton in Colombo, Sri Lanka, all due to open in the region within the next two years.
JP Overseas Saudi workers make renewed plea for backpayJP Overseas Saudi workers make renewed plea for backpay
Five thousand employees from J&P Overseas Saudi Arabia have accused the collapsed construction giant of failing to pay their salaries since January 2018, leaving some of their families facing starvation.The letter says that the employees mostly from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, Nepal and Egypt, are owed approximately 125 to 150 million Saudi riyals (approximately 35 million euros).“We estimate that all of our unpaid dues may be around 125 or 150 Saudi Riyals which is a very small amount as compared to your periodic charities, donations done through foundations established on the names of company’s founders the Late Mr Stelios Joannou & late Mr G Paraskevaides, plus individual charities done by the members of both the Joannou & Paraskevaides families,” the employees said in the letter.The employees said that they understand the company’s accounts in Saudi Arabia have been exhausted, but they want to be paid their salaries.“We have been serving the company with our blood and sweat for many years with a maximum range of 40 years’ service.”The employees said that they were low paid workers of the company and that due to their non-payment they and their families were on the verge of facing ‘starvation’.The Saudi workers’ plea comes a day after a similar one from J&P Overseas workers in Oman.“There are no words that can describe the scale of this human crisis suffered by the people who worked hard for the name of the company and have stood by and continue to stand by its side,” the letter said.Two Cypriots as well as others risked losing their homes because they were not in position to service their loans, the letter added.The Oman branch employs 1,360 people whom also faced additional problems because the money the company paid for their food was meant to run out on Wednesday.The same went for the money that paid for the fuel to run the generators that provided power to the workers’ quarters and the site’s offices.Similar conditions are faced by J&P Overseas staff elsewhere in the Gulf. The problems at J&P Overseas emerged earlier this year and culminated recently with the company going into liquidation.You May LikeInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesNew Rule in Rowland Heights, California Leaves Drivers FumingInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesUndoIcePopMan Notices A Strange Hole In This Lake, So He Gets A Drone, Flies It Inside And Captures ThisIcePopUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
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