IEEFA Report Sees $4 Billion Hit to Ratepayers in Ohio FirstEnergy Bailout

first_imgIEEFA Report Sees $4 Billion Hit to Ratepayers in Ohio FirstEnergy Bailout FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Dan Gearino for the Columbus Dispatch:A new report says consumers would pay an extra $4 billion if regulators approve a profit guarantee for FirstEnergy, a forecast that is at odds with the company’s assertion that the plan would lead to a net savings of $560 million.The report is from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a Cleveland-based research group that tends to support clean-energy policies.“Rather than drag Ohio’s economy down with an additional $4 billion in unnecessary expenses, the state should recognize that markets are changing, support the development of cleaner, modern and more efficient resources,” said Sandy Buchanan, the group’s executive director, in a statement. She added that the state also should have a plan to help workers displaced by the changes.The profit guarantee would cover some of FirstEnergy’s power plants, providing additional income at times when the market price of electricity is low.The PUCO hearing did include testimony from parties that say FirstEnergy’s forecast likely is incorrect. This includes the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, which commissioned its own study showing that consumers would see their costs increase the same amount shown in this new report, $4 billion.The different projections are a key part of the case because FirstEnergy is seeking to show that the plan is in the public interest. According to the company, consumers will see a small increase in their electricity bills in the plant’s first few years, followed by a decrease in later years, leading to a net savings.The contrast in the forecasts results from differing views about whether the electricity market will soon recover from years of oversupply and low prices. FirstEnergy’s estimates are based on the idea that prices will recover much more quickly than the institute, and others, are expecting.Full article ($): FirstEnergy profit guarantee would cost consumers billionsDarren Sweeney for SNL:Ohio ratepayers will pay approximately $4 billion under FirstEnergy Corp.’s plan to have Ohio customers subsidize four “unprofitable” power plants, a research group said in an independent analysis.The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, or IEEFA, released its report, “A $4 Billion Bailout in the Buckeye State: FirstEnergy’s Plan Will Cost Customers for Years to Come,” just a few weeks after the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio wrapped up hearings on proposed income guarantees from FirstEnergy’s Ohio utilities and American Electric Power Co. Inc. subsidiary AEP Ohio. AEP Ohio is the trade name of Ohio Power Co.“The goal of FirstEnergy in putting forth this ratepayer-subsidized plan is to prolong the life of outdated plants in Ohio, put customers on the hook for the escalating costs of these plants and ensure future profits for FirstEnergy shareholders,” IEEFA Executive Director Sandy Buchanan said in a Feb. 8 news release promoting the study. “The PUCO should reject it.”The report was commissioned by David Schlissel, IEEFA’s director of resource planning, and Cathy Kunkel, an IEEFA energy analyst. It details the “financial and market risks” tied to the power plants at the center of FirstEnergy’s proposal — W.H. Sammis, Davis-Besse and Ohio Valley Electric Corp. assets Kyger Creek and Clifty Creek.FirstEnergy agreed to reduce its proposed income guarantee for the power plants to eight years from 15 years, cut its ROE to 10.38% and promised at least $100 million in customer credits. The retail rate stability rider, if approved, would run from June 1, 2016, through May 31, 2024. (Case No. 14-1297-EL-SSO)FirstEnergy’s Ohio utilities will buy the power from the FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. and Ohio Valley Electric plants and then sell the output into PJM Interconnection LLC wholesale energy and capacity markets, with customers receiving rate credits or charges to offset power purchase costs. The company has said “customers are projected to save more than $560 million over the plan’s eight-year term as retail power prices increase over time.”“FirstEnergy is using greatly inflated forecasts of future natural gas prices and PJM electricity market prices to justify its proposal,” IEEFA said in its study. “FirstEnergy’s proposal — under an uninflated, reasonable natural gas price outlook — would in truth result in a net cost to ratepayers of approximately $4 billion, rather than the net $561 million gain that the company promises.”IEEFA argues that its forecast is “far more probable” based on recent economic trends and market conditions, such as a “precipitous decline in natural gas prices”; the increased competition from renewable energy resources; “substantial declines” in the power generated at the coal units in the PPA; steep declines in energy market prices; “flat or relatively flat growth in electric demand in PJM”; volatile capacity market prices; and the “potential for higher operating costs and/or declining operating performance as the PPA coal-fired units age.”Full article ($): Group calls FirstEnergy’s Ohio PPA plan ‘$4 billion bailout’ in analysislast_img read more

US Delivers New Emergency Operations Center to Peru

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo December 06, 2018 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) delivered a modern Regional Emergency Operations Center (COER, in Spanish) to Peru on October 11, 2018, as part of ongoing efforts to support the country’s security initiatives. The center will help military forces and other Peruvian government agencies respond to emergencies and natural disasters in the southeast of the national territory. Representatives of the National Institute of Civil Defense (INDECI, in Spanish) and local authorities inaugurated COER in Moqueda department. The center has an area of more than 3,000 square meters, and is valued at more than $2.2 million. Part of a long-term project to increase response capabilities to imminent danger, emergencies, and disasters, the center includes a warehouse for disaster mitigation and a search and rescue operations site. “The Peruvian government acknowledges SOUTHCOM’s support. For a decade, they helped us modernize our risk and disaster management procedures to contribute to timely decision making and reduce the impact of natural or man-made phenomena,” Peruvian Army Brigadier General Jorge Chávez, director of INDECI, told Diálogo. “This strategic cooperation enabled us to make a qualitative leap in managing emergencies.” Moquegua’s COER is the 15th center SOUTHCOM built in Peru through its Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP), an initiative focused on preventing and managing emergencies. The program also provides equipment, technological infrastructure, training, and instruction for emergency centers that local authorities manage. HAP’s coordinators work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to facilitate the development of these projects in Peru, in coordination with the country’s authorities. Three other COER are currently being built, while two others are in the planning stages. “COERs proved to be operational when faced with natural disasters, such as the situations resulting from the El Niño weather phenomenon,” Brig. Gen. Chávez said. Since 2007, the U.S. government has supported Peru with more than $43 million through humanitarian assistance programs. “This support strengthens the bonds of cooperation between both countries, and reaffirms the U.S. commitment to collaborate in security initiatives against natural disasters to support the civil population,” Brig. Gen. Chávez said. “Peru is exposed all year long to all kinds of emergencies, such as earthquakes, heavy rains, landslides, floods, tremors, and frost.” A strengthened territory Cooperation tools and mechanisms between Peru and the United States go beyond COER. Since its 1980s beginnings in Peru, SOUTHCOM’s HAP has funded the construction of schools, community centers, and clinics. The program also built bridges that restored communications and the supply of humanitarian aid to help vulnerable communities. SOUTHCOM also delivered three emergency response mobile units, with expeditionary capabilities such as command, control, communications, and computing. “The cutting-edge units donated in 2016 helped the country optimize the management and coordination of relief operations after heavy rains in the region of Arequipa last year [2017],” Brig. Gen. Chávez said. The heavy rains and landslides in the north of the country in March 2017, created an emergency situation that strengthened the partnership between both countries. After Peru requested assistance for the humanitarian emergency born from the El Niño phenomenon, the United States responded immediately with 10 U.S. Air Force helicopters to provide support to the most affected areas, such as Piura department, that had more than 25,000 victims. “We have a partnership that grows stronger. The United States shows us the way and trains us to confront potential emergencies,” Brig. Gen. Chávez said. “Without the support of SOUTHCOM’s HAP, it wouldn’t be possible to respond immediately to emergencies and disasters.” In an effort to help the country respond to weather conditions related to El Niño, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration donated 12 buoys deployed in the Pacific Ocean to the Peruvian Navy in 2016. Buoys help authorities collect real-time information about oceanic conditions from depths of up to 2,000 meters. Enduring Promise The United States and Peru strengthen their bonds of friendship beyond cooperation against natural disasters. They also join efforts in the health sector. On November 1st-5th, the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort provided free medical assistance to more than 6,200 people in the north of Peru, including Venezuelan migrants. “It clearly demonstrates the good relations we have with the United States,” Peruvian Army Major General (ret.) José Huerta Torres, Peruvian Minister of Defense, told the press. The hospital ship’s voyage to Peru, its third, is part of SOUTHCOM’s Enduring Promise initiative, a symbol of the cooperation and fraternity that exist with Latin American nations. “The USNS Comfort’s visits show the support and joint work of two nations to help those in need,” said Brig. Gen. Chávez. On this occasion, U.S. and foreign military doctors, nurses, and technicians assisted more than 700 people a day. In 2011, the hospital ship visited the port of Paita and provided health care to more than 7,000 patients. In 2007, the ship docked at the port of Salaverry, where its medical team assisted more than 9,000 people. During the 2018 medical campaign, inhabitants of Paita, Piura department, received care in preventive medicine, pediatrics, dentistry, optometry, dermatology, and surgery aboard the USNS Comfort and at land-based medical sites. “Health has no borders or visa. Peru and the United States are together in the fight for peace,” said Cesar Villanueva Arévalo, president of the Peruvian Council of Ministers.last_img read more

Nun fights for immigrants’ rights

first_img February 15, 2002 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Nun fights for immigrants’ rights Nun fights for immigrants’ rights Associate EditorAn hour from Naples’ lush championship golf courses, gated communities, beach-front condos, and five-star hotels, there is a humble farming town called Immokalee.With brightly colored stucco houses and storefronts bearing Spanish signs, it is home to many people who serve the rich residents and tourists of Naples. They mow fairways into perfect green carpets, dig ditches for new roads leading to yet more new housing developments, tend tropical plants that bloom in mansions’ gardens, launder fluffy white towels at health spas, make beds at luxury resorts, and pick oranges for fresh-squeezed juice poured at bountiful breakfast buffets.They come from faraway places for an opportunity to work in America: Haiti, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Honduras, even Uzbekistan.And it is here, in Immokalee, that 63-year-old Sister Maureen T. Kelleher has chosen to live and ply her unique blend of religious vows and legal training.As supervising attorney of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center — a nonprofit organization partially funded by The Florida Bar Foundation — she provides free legal services to those seeking permanent residency. Her business card bears these words over a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty: “Dedicated to protecting and promoting the basic human rights of immigrants of all nationalities.”“This is God’s work,” says the feisty, friendly nun with her law degree hanging on the wall and a gold cross dangling from her neck, the symbol of the Sacred Heart of Mary, her Tarrytown, N.Y.-based order.“I have worked in other fields of law. Now, I am concentrating on immigration law, because when I am able to help a person get legal status, I have not only helped that person, but I have helped the family back in whatever country they are from,” Kelleher said.“I am in awe at the commitment these farm workers have for the folks back home. It is stunning to me the amount of money they actually send back.. . . I love the fact that we are about taking people out of the shadows, getting them legal. And, also, it’s the best foreign aid program I’ve ever heard of because the money goes directly into the families.”To those who say, “Close the borders. We don’t want any more immigrants here,” Kelleher responds: “You could not have the society we have now if that were the case, because we have a huge amount of work Americans will not do. And yet, if Americans did do it, you could expect that wages would have to be much more attractive to get them to do it. And you would be paying a lot more for your haircut; you’d be paying a lot more for any tourist attraction.”Besides, adds the Irish nun with twinkling eyes, who among us in America did not descend from immigrants?“The American Indian, really, is the only one who can stand tall.”It is clear that Kelleher — who was honored last year with the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Pro Bono Award and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Golden Achievement Award — has great respect for her clients.“I am looking at men and women who have fortitude, dedication, loyalty to their folks, and are so wonderful to work for. We do not charge money. But we do say, ‘Try to make a donation to help us keep going, so we can help the next person, and I can pay my bills.’ I am in a situation of watching people who are very hardworking, sometimes two jobs, and it’s such a surprise when they reach into their pockets and make a donation. They don’t have to. Frankly, we’re going to treat them all the same, no matterwhat.”Kelleher arrived at her legal career by taking the long way around.First, she became a nun.It was during her senior year at Marymount College that she prayed on the bank of the Hudson River and asked God what he wanted to do with her life. The answer she received came in the form of a clear knowing in her soul: Join a nunnery and dedicate her life to self-sacrifice and service to others.After two years of studying theology with the Sisters of Sacred Heart of Mary, her first job was teaching second grade in Garden City, N.Y., where she was known to her young students as Mother Philip Marie. Then came teaching English and religion in Harlem, South Bronx, North Bronx, higher degrees in English and religious education, and a post as assistant academic dean at her alma mater, Marymount College.During that time of service to others, her consciousness was further raised by news reports about hunger strikes and nonviolent protests of Mexican-American farm workers in California who wanted better pay and working conditions.“In my view, you should pray with the Gospel in one hand and the newspaper in the other, and work hard to make the values of the Gospel meet the needs of your time,” Kelleher said.In 1972, she got permission from her order to move to Washington, D.C., to join NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobbyist network, and she walked the halls of Congress, lobbying on bills that would afford better jobs, health care, and housing for the poor.Drawn more and more into issues facing farm workers, lobbying taught Kelleher the power of the law to open doors slammed shut to the poor, prompting her to go to Catholic University Law School in Washington, D.C.In 1984, she moved to Immokalee, where she landed a job as staff attorney for Florida Rural Legal Services, at a time Mayan Indians were fleeing Guatemalan villages in great numbers to escape the ravages of war.“My clients from Guatemala suffered from both the guerillas who came through the town first, and then the military would come in and say, ‘You’ve all been proselytized by the guerillas. And you know they’ve been supported by this town, and we’re going to make an example of you.’ So the military did the killings,” Kelleher said.“I have one client whose father was killed by the guerillas, whose mother was killed in aerial bombing. . . “I’ve had that question whether I would go to work in Salvador or Guatemala, in the early ’80s, when we were getting such incredible reports of violence, the death squads. But I think it’s better that I sit here and I help that Guatemalan family, than I go down there and walk the hills.”Specializing in immigration law means traveling the peaks of success and the valleys of anti-immigrant sentiment and corresponding restrictive policies and laws.In 1996, Congress passed what Kelleher calls “very anti-immigrant legislation” prohibiting legal services attorneys from working with clients who weren’t parents of U.S. citizen children or eligible for and seeking permanent residency. Rather than abandon her clients seeking political asylum, she struck out on her own.In a gutsy move she likened to “diving into a pool with no water,” Kelleher established the Immokalee office of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, which is now a group effort with offices in Ft. Pierce and Miami, handling 9,881 cases since 1996. She also provides legal counsel and training in immigration law to people working in Catholic Charities offices throughout Southwest Florida, the not-for-profit charitable agency affiliated with the Diocese of Venice.She almost whispers: “We are operating in the red. If a copy machine breaks down, it is catastrophic.”On this day in Immokalee, her cramped waiting room overflows with dark-skinned clients clutching papers in calloused hands, hopeful immigrants seeking permanent residency in the land of the free. Kelleher says she couldn’t manage without her pair of multi-lingual paralegals.“The wages the two paralegals get are scandalous! One speaks English, Creole, and French. The other speaks Spanish and English. They are superlative, just excellent! They come in here and say: ‘You’ve got to do something for this woman!’”Sometimes, there is cause to celebrate, such as helping the battered woman whose husband threatened to revoke his petition for her citizenship if she complained about the beatings. Kelleher helped the woman self-petition for residency and live free from abuse.On this morning, though, she has just delivered the bad news to another woman who had been granted asylum, because of well-founded fear of persecution in her home country, that the man she later married would have a nine-year wait to gain legal status in this country.“We celebrate the fact that she got political asylum,” Kelleher says with a big sigh, trying to stay hopeful.She works in an increasingly anti-immigrant atmosphere, she said, especially after the September 11 attacks and news that some of the terrorists had Florida ties.Her face furrows with concern telling the story of a recent incident in Sebring: Cops stop a car, despite no traffic infraction. One officer was satisfied when the driver of the car had a permanent residence card. But a second officer stepped up to the passenger side and asked the passenger for proof of his license and immigration card.“He seized it. He takes away the license. There’s no giving appeals rights. There’s no receipt given for the seizure of that driver’s license. So the poor man, who is married to a citizen, and soon going for his (immigration) interview, is now all of a sudden stuck with no license and cannot go to work, because he can’t drive there. It’s a never-ending spiral.. . . This creeping grab of civil rights and the anti-immigration sentiment such that a passenger in a car — with no violation or citation — that they are pulling them over and grabbing licenses. I think that is way beyond what we as a society would normally do.”Another very troubling change in the law, she said, is that no matter when an immigrant committed a crime, their permanent residency card will be taken away.“They want to go back to Adam and Eve,” Kelleher said, incredulous that a minor offense decades ago can nix a client’s status as a permanent resident. “They want to redefine things. The tragedy is low-income people don’t have attorneys to fight for them in criminal court. What they basically do is cop a plea, because the public defender says: ‘Look, you’ll get out of here.’ They’re out, they’re happy, and then later they learn that which they pled to has many consequences.”She knows she must remain vigilant and on top of the latest in immigration law.Her inspiration, her reason to keep trying, she said with a wry smile is “knowing that the bureaucracy can be trained.”This sparks the telling of a story about the time she accompanied a Russian woman to the Immigration and Naturalization Services interview in Miami. The woman was a battered spouse.“Where’s your police report?” asked the interviewer.Kelleher: “She doesn’t have a police report, and it’s not required. And frankly, she’s already passed this part, because she has already filed and been approved as a battered spouse.”“Oh,” says the INS interviewer. “No police report?”Another officer walked in and said: “No police report? You’re outta here!”So Kelleher left with her client and wrote a scathing letter citing regulations and sent it to the attention of the INS director.A few months later, Kelleher got another call to bring the Russian woman back, and they walked into the INS building in Miami, at 7880 Biscayne Blvd.“A supervisor called me up and said, ‘Boy, did your letter cause something in this building! We had to call in all our adjudications officers and train them on the regulations.’”Kelleher can’t help but break into a broad, satisfied grin at the telling.She deals daily with the INS, which she called “terribly underfunded, terribly overworked.”“The people are stressed. They can’t keep up. As a matter of fact, I have battered spouses whose decisions have been pending and pending and pending, because INS hasn’t even written the regulations yet for the changes in law that affect my clients,” Kelleher said. “And INS, unfortunately, has a high error rate, as far as I can see, in the 90 days to give a work card by the time a person gets here. They can’t turn around a card in 90 days. So I then say to the client: ‘Take the receipt and go over to Miami and stand in that line, which starts at 5 in the morning and earlier, and see if they will process you for your work card.’”She throws back her head and laughs heartily at the suggestion that she must be a patient woman.“These walls have heard a lot!”She asks the lawyers of Florida to hear this plea: “I think in this time of high patriotism and really the crackdown on all threats of terrorism, I ask for the legal community to be especially sensitive to immigrants in this hour, for they are running very, very scared. Some of them aren’t even coming out of their homes for fear someone is going to stop them.“I would say we have a percent of undocumented who are just terrified at this time, terrified. And what we need to do is really make sure that in our quest to do the weeding out of those who basically are abusing the system, to separate who are here, yes, unlawfully, because of the poverty in their home countries, but who have been here for years and have never broken the law, except to enter unlawfully. And let’s do some restraint, because we are giving up a lot of civil liberties.”last_img read more

New Foundation video – “Together, We are Boundless”

first_imgThe National Credit Union Foundation has released a new video entitled, “Together, We are Boundless”.This video demonstrates that through the power of cooperation and supporter’s engagement, the Foundation serves as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. At the center of all the Foundation’s work is people. The Foundation’s mission and credit unions’ mission intersect and soar together through the credit union philosophy of “people helping people”. continue reading » 100SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Regulatory issues not reducing demand for Chinese listings

first_imgStacey Cunningham, president of the New York Stock Exchange, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2020.Adam Galasia | CNBC – Advertisement – Regulatory concerns around Chinese listings returned to the public eye last week after the last-minute suspension of Ant Group’s world-record $34.5 billion IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai.The Shanghai Stock Exchange said Ant Group had reported “significant issues such as the changes in financial technology regulatory environment,” according to a CNBC translation of the statement from Mandarin.Without commenting on this individual case, Cunningham said there was “a lot of dialogue around how Chinese companies list here in the U.S., as well as what Shanghai and Hong Kong are doing.”Cunningham emphasized the importance of retaining the depth and liquidity offered by the U.S. market by balancing investor protections, such as audit oversight, with access, and “not encouraging other companies to go to other global markets.” – Advertisement –center_img “What is really important is that we make sure we are appropriately setting a framework in place that keeps investors protected,” Cunningham said.“We continue to see investor demand for Chinese companies in the U.S. and we haven’t seen that changing yet, despite the fact that there is a lot of talk about trade and about oversight, so we are working constructively and we are optimistic that we will be able to find a way to actually enhance the level of protections that exist on companies here in the U.S.”Half of cross-border initial public offerings in the U.S. in the first nine months of the year came from China, according to Ernst & Young, despite the Senate in May passing a bill that could delist a number of Chinese companies from American exchanges.Ant Group and the regulation question- Advertisement – The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is still seeing demand from Chinese companies looking to list in the U.S. despite highly publicized regulatory concerns, its president has told CNBC.Relations between Washington and Beijing have become increasingly fractious in recent years, with President Donald Trump’s administration pushing to reduce domestic financial ties with the world’s second-largest economy.Speaking to CNBC’s Karen Tso on Tuesday night, NYSE President Stacey Cunningham said the exchange was continuing to see demand from Chinese companies for U.S. stock market listings.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Bustling Jakarta returns with vengeance as lockdown eases

first_img“[Thank God], based on our supervision, 100 percent of public transportation passengers wore face masks.”Anies said that although the number of people commuting using personal vehicles was higher than the relatively low number of people using public transportation, he acknowledged that there were still passenger pileups, especially at Transjakarta stations, as workers returned to their office.The odd-even traffic policy will not be in place during the transition period, he added.“If there is no circular or notice from the governor regarding the implementation of the odd-even policy, then there is no such [rule],” he said, adding that the policy would be implemented if it became necessary to once again limit the number of people traveling throughout the capital. Read also: 50 days of Indonesia’s partial lockdown. Is it enough for the ‘new normal’?Anies decided on Thursday to extend Jakarta’s large-scale social restriction (PSBB) period to the end of June while easing measures for several sectors.The first 14-day PSBB period, also known as partial lockdown, was implemented on April 10 and effectively closed down schools and places of worship while restricting people’s movements and encouraging companies to allow their employees to work from home. The PSBB has been extended three times.As of Sunday, Jakarta has reported 7,946 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 537 deaths linked to the disease.Meanwhile, commuters have also packed train stations across Jakarta and its satellite cities as they head to their respective workplaces for the first time since the work-from-home policy was issued over two months ago.Dozens of Instagram users posted a series of photos showing long lines at train stations in Bogor and Bekasi in West Java.Despite the high-spirited return to a typical workday in Jakarta, however, some commuters have also taken to social media to express concerns over their safety as crowded stations and trains could potentially lead to a new wave of COVID-19 infections.PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) spokesperson Anne Purba said the company recorded 150,000 commuters using its services on Monday morning, up from 80,000 recorded per day on average during the PSBB period.In anticipation of a significant increase in passengers, the company resumed normal operations with 935 trips per day.Anne emphasized that KCI had complied with a Transportation Ministry’s regulation that limited the number of passengers on each train to 35 to 40 percent of total capacity.“We are now able to serve 74 passengers per train, whereas during the PSBB period, we could have 60 passengers per train,” Anne said in a statement.KCI will continue to implement strict health protocols, such as conducting temperature checks and ensuring physical distancing among passengers, during the transition to a new normal, she added.Read also: Greater Jakarta in dark about ‘new normal’ commuteTransportation Ministry spokesperson Budi Rahardjo said the government would once again provide five transit buses for commuter-line passengers headed for Jakarta from Bogor between 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., with a 15-minute headway.The free service, which transfers commuters from Bogor Station to Dukuh Atas Station in South Jakarta, will be limited to 25 people per bus in compliance with prevailing COVID-19 protocols.Amid the hullabaloo surrounding people’s return to work, Transportation Study Institute (INSTRAN) executive director Deddy Herlambang urged the public to maintain a safe physical distance during their commute, underlining that it was crucial to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infection.However, he acknowledged this would be a challenge considering Jakartans’ habit of forcing themselves into packed trains during rush hour, for example.“Passengers often argue after being reminded [to keep a safe distance] because they feel that they have the same rights as [other public transportation users],” he said, suggesting that more officers be deployed at stations to ensure that passengers maintain a safe physical distance between one another.A survey conducted by the LaporCOVID-19 community reportedly revealed that Jakarta was not ready to transition into a new normal, citing low-risk perception of the disease among residents, which could lead to a spike in transmission.Topics : The sight of busy roads, crowded bus shelters and train stations that have long defined capital Jakarta as a business hub returned with a vengeance on Monday, which marked the reopening of several sectors, including offices, as the city transitions to a “new normal”.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said he had received reports of increased traffic and long lines at several shelters of city-owned bus service Transjakarta from the administration’s field inspections on Monday morning.“The outbreak in Jakarta is not yet over, but today marks a period of transition in which several sectors are allowed to resume their activities,” he told reporters at the Kendal tunnel in Central Jakarta while conducting his morning inspection.last_img read more

Lacazette, Morata in unexpected showdown

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Had the close season panned out as initially expected, Alexandre Lacazette and Alvaro Morata would not be lining up for Arsenal and Chelsea in Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley.After 14 years at Lyon, Lacazette decided it was time to move on and was reported to have agreed to join up with his France team-mate Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid.However, Atletico then had a transfer ban upheld over the signing of foreign minors and with the Madrid club barred from registering new players until January 2018, Arsenal stepped in.Arsenal’s fans have been crying out for a top-rank striker ever since Robin van Persie was sold to Manchester United in 2012 and in Lacazette their wish appears to have been granted.A dead-eyed finisher, the 26-year-old was the top-scoring Frenchman in each of the last three Ligue 1 seasons and left Lyon having scored 113 goals in his last four campaigns.He cost Arsenal an initial fee of £46.5 million ($60.6 million, 51.6 million euros), making him both Arsenal’s biggest ever signing and Lyon’s biggest ever sale.Lacazette will form a potentially devastating attacking trident with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, but manager Arsene Wenger has warned that he will need time to find his feet in north London.“Sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes it takes very little time,” Wenger said.“The only thing I must say with Lacazette is that week after week, he looks to adapt quickly. But overall I think it will take him one or two months.”Morata’s move to England was no surprise, but the Spain international had been earmarked for a move to Manchester United.Instead, United hijacked Chelsea’s attempt to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge and the champions switched their attentions to Morata.The 24-year-old cost Chelsea £58 million and is due to take the place of Diego Costa, who — completing the love triangle — is at loggerheads with the club over his desire to return to Atletico.– Hazard out – Morata has scored in a Champions League final, netting for Juventus in their 2015 loss to Barcelona, but arrives after a frustrating season as a back-up player at Real Madrid.Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed Morata was deterred from joining Spurs two years ago due to his fears about the competition he would face from Harry Kane.But despite the striker’s inability to dislodge Karim Benzema from the Madrid starting XI, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes he can reach the very top.“He is a young player and my task is to help him improve and exploit his quality,” said the Italian.“I know he has great quality to become one of the best strikers in the world.”Sunday’s game, the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season, is a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final.Having streaked to the title, Conte was seeking to emulate his compatriot Carlo Ancelotti by winning a league and FA Cup Double in his first maiden Chelsea season.But Arsenal blew Chelsea away with a sensational display, Aaron Ramsey’s 79th-minute winner securing a 2-1 win that brought the beleaguered Wenger a record seventh success in the competition.Sanchez could start on the bench for Arsenal, having only returned to training on Tuesday after being given an extended break following his exertions with Chile at the Confederations Cup in Russia.Centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, likewise, is short of fitness, after also playing at the tournament, while defender Gabriel and midfield pair Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere are definitely out.With Costa frozen out and Eden Hazard absent due to a broken ankle, Conte could try out a new-look strike-force of Morata and Michy Batshuayi.New recruit Tiemoue Bakayoko, formerly of Monaco, has a knee injury, but Victor Moses could play as the suspension incurred by his dismissal in the FA Cup final does not apply in Sunday’s game.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Worth of athletic scholarship can go beyond degree

first_imgIn this Dec. 7, 1988, file photo, Auburn’s Tracy Rocker, center, the winner of the 1988 Outland Trophy, gets a congratulatory handshake from runner-up Tony Mandarich, right, of Michigan State, at a ceremony in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Stoltman, File)Playing football at Michigan got Joe Holland more than an education.It got him a job. Two, in fact.The linebacker on the Wolverines’ 1988 Big Ten championship team was hired out of college by a fellow Michigan alum, with his football connections landing him the initial interview. That he’d worn the famed winged helmet caught the eye of his second employer, too.“The president of this startup was a huge Michigan fan and lived in Ann Arbor and was a good friend of Bo Schembechler. I’m going to potentially go work for these guys and he’s a Michigan fan? That didn’t hurt me,” said Holland, now the co-owner of an Internet software company.“So yes, it’s absolutely been helpful.”The debate over paying college athletes has clouded this entire football season, beginning with allegations in August that 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel received money for signing autographs. Johnny Football was eventually cleared, but the NCAA is still fighting an antitrust lawsuit by former players who believe they’re owed billions of dollars in compensation.At the NCAA’s annual convention later this month, restructuring proposals driven, in part, by larger schools wanting more autonomy — including the ability to give athletes stipends — will top the agenda.“We’re not talking about pay for play,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said. “We are talking about the cost of education.”But what, exactly, is a college education worth?Using public and telephone records and social media, The Associated Press traced 90 players who were listed as seniors on the 1988 teams at four schools — Michigan, SEC co-champion Auburn, Akron and Wake Forest. The 23 — enough for a starting offense and defense — who could be reached by phone were asked if they got their degrees, what role their educations have played in their lives and, looking back 25 years later, whether they think the tradeoff was worth it.(One player is dead, and another five had names too common to be traced.)The AP’s findings:— Each of the 23 had earned his diploma.— All said their educations have played pivotal roles in their lives.— Though almost all said players should receive increased stipends — enough to get a pizza with friends or take their girlfriend out to dinner, not buy a new Escalade — only two questioned whether the scholarship they got for playing football was a fair tradeoff.— Only one would make a different choice if given the chance to do it over or would advise his child to take a different path.“You’ve got a unique experience that millions of people would die to have. To put on the uniform, to go into the largest stadium in the country and to get a free education,” said J.J. Grant, one of Michigan’s starting linebackers in 1988 and now a shipping team leader for MillerCoors.“It’s a huge opportunity to put your foot into a door and open a conversation into just about anything you want to do.”For some players, an athletic scholarship was their only means of going to college. Tuition, even at a state school, was too expensive, and that scholarship meant the difference between higher education and a blue-collar job or a career in the military.More than that, however, were the experiences and contacts their education provided — opportunities that helped shape their adult lives.For some, college was their first time away from home; one player said he wasn’t sure if he’d ever have ventured beyond the state where he grew up otherwise. For others, their status as a college football player gave them entree to a future employer, be it through a direct connection or the affection the large network of alumni and fans have for anyone who wore their favorite team’s jersey.“The first couple years, I knew people who were interested in what I did,” said Jim Thompson, an offensive lineman at Auburn. “I write big-truck insurance. It’s not like car insurance. It’s a specialized market. I don’t think playing college football hurt me.”When Tennessee Titans defensive line coach Tracy Rocker got into coaching, he already had a long list of contacts from his days at Auburn, where he was a two-time All-American and the SEC player of the year in 1988.Grant’s former Michigan teammates are now a “Who’s Who” of athletic administrators, business executives and coaches, San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh among them.While his friends don’t play a pivotal role in his career, they might for his son Derek, a college junior who ultimately wants to get into sports management.“I’ve got unique connections that can help him,” Grant said. “You’ve got to use those connections. It comes back to not what you know, it’s who you know, and I’m using the hell out of them.”A number of players also said the goal-oriented nature of a football team made them attractive candidates for potential employers, some of whom told them they figured that if a man had enough focus and drive to earn a football scholarship, that work ethic would translate to his next job.“Certain characteristics that I developed during football … were lifelong skills,” said Alvin Mitchell, who started at outside linebacker for Auburn and is now a minister and a sergeant in the Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office. “I still use them every day. Every. Day.”But Shan Morris, who played safety at Auburn, said he’s done the math on his scholarship, and it doesn’t quite add up.Yes, athletes get a free education, along with room and board. That’s no small thing considering tuition and room and board averaged $17,860 for in-state students at public universities in 2012-13, and $39,518 for students at private schools, according to the College Board.But even with limits on practice that were imposed in 1991, playing a college sport is the equivalent of having a full-time job. And then some.“My scholarship was not worth the amount of hours,” said Morris, now the principal at his own commercial real estate firm in Atlanta. “We were probably working for somewhere between $3 and $5 when you work it out.“I could have worked at McDonald’s and paid my tuition with the money I got.”Even those who think the tradeoff is fair believe players should be getting more than they do.When clothing, transportation and other “miscellaneous” expenses are tallied, the difference between the value of a scholarship and the total cost of an education can be as much as $6,000. Athletes already miss out on part of the college experience because of the time commitments their sports demand.Not having the spending money to take part in the kinds of activities that make college college — parties, dances, the occasional meal off-campus — only deepens the divide.“I knew several people that were from poverty level families, coming to college. It was almost worse for them,” said Shawn Fagan, who was an offensive lineman at Akron. “They got a free education and meals, but they had no money to basically live.“Back then, I’d get maybe $20 from my parents now and then,” Fagan continued. “That’s food. But it’s not much when you’re a young adult trying to have some fun.”Particularly with what the universities are getting in return.College sports generate about $6.1 billion in revenue each year, according to the latest NCAA research. The broadcast deal for the NCAA basketball tournament alone is worth $10.8 billion over 14 years; the combined deals for the new college football playoff system and other top bowls will bring in another $7 billion over 12 years.“They’re creating the revenue, I definitely think they should be able to reap a little bit the benefit of the rewards,” said Brent White, who started at defensive tackle for the Wolverines. “I’m not saying they should be getting paid off like boosters, getting new Mercedes-Benzes to drive around. But it would be nice for them to have enough money to go out and get groceries without having to get it from the training table and bring it home.”A little money in their pockets might help some players avoid the temptation of unscrupulous agents and boosters, too.“You come from a family that doesn’t have anything, someone puts something out there and you can think, ‘It’d be easy. Nobody will find out. I’ll take this money,’” Fagan said. “That’s the reality of life.”The NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors approved a rules change in October 2011 that would have given athletes a $2,000 stipend for expenses not covered by their scholarships, only to have it tabled after smaller schools objected.That irritated the larger schools of the BCS conferences, who are now the driving force in efforts to restructure the NCAA’s governance. The big schools — and their conferences — want the power to make decisions on matters that directly affect them, particularly financial issues.“If we think things are stuck in 1975 for the student-athletes, we’d like to get to the 21st century,” Delany said. “And we think connecting the structuring to the needs of the 21st century, consistent with the resources we have, is the right thing to do.”last_img read more