Show of courage by reformist weekly’s journalists

first_img Organisation News ChinaAsia – Pacific News China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures Follow the news on China June 2, 2021 Find out more to go further Help by sharing this information RSF_en Receive email alerts April 27, 2021 Find out more Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes ChinaAsia – Pacific According to various sources, Guangdong propaganda chief Tuo Zhen made significant changes to the editorial prior to publication – eliminating all the implicit criticism of the current government and the Communist Party – without any of the newspaper’s editors being told. He also allegedly drafted an introduction to the editorial.The newspaper’s deputy editor, Wang Genghui (王更辉), condemned this as a “violation of the rules.”The online debate became even more heated after a message was posted on the newspaper’s Weibo account last night, denying that there had been any censorship. Dictated by editor-in-chief Huang Can (黄灿), it was possibly the result of direct pressure on Nanfang Zhoumo’s management. The micro-blogging website Weibo has meanwhile again served as a significant tool for circumventing censorship. The original editorial has been repeatedly retweeted on Weibo and while a number of the newspaper’s journalists posted messages denouncing its replacement.Several of them had their Weibo accounts closed after announcing their intention to begin a strike today and posting an open letter condemning the censorship. At the same time, a petition is now circulating online calling for Tuo Zhen’s resignation.In a separate development, the website of a liberal Chinese newspaper called The Annals of the Yellow Emperor was closed on 4 January, a few days after it posted an appeal to the government to guarantee constitutional rights, including the right to freedom of expression and assembly.Compare the two articlesPhoto : STF / AFP January 7, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Show of courage by reformist weekly’s journalists Reporters Without Borders pays tribute to the courage of the Chinese journalists who are protesting against restrictions on freedom of information following the censorship of an editorial in the Guangzhou-based reformist weekly Nanfang Zhoumo (南 方周末) on 3 January.Headlined “The Chinese dream, the dream of constitutionalism,” the original version talked of hopes of change for the New Year and called for a constitutional government. It was purged of its critical content and prefaced by a propagandistic introduction.The police allowed demonstrations to take place today outside the Nanfang Media Group’s headquarters in what was seen as a sign that the authorities are responding very cautiously to the anti-censorship protests.“The Chinese media are at a historic crossroads today,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “There have been unprecedented protests against heavy-handed censorship and they show that Chinese journalists, when they act collectively with resolve, are capable of putting pressure on the country’s authorities.“This act of censorship is indicative of the government’s habitual contempt for media freedom, although it is guaranteed by the Chinese constitution. It is unacceptable that the content of a respected newspaper such as Nanfang Zhoumo should be censored by the Communist Party without warning, because it dared to talk about the rule of law and civil liberties.“The party’s new general secretary, Xi Jinping, who is due to become president in March, needs to take stock of the consequences of censorship in China and set about ensuring that the muzzling of political debate is abolished for good. And an investigation is needed to shed light on all aspects of this case.”Deloire added: “The authorities must allow the newspaper to publish the original version of the editorial and must put an immediate end to the censorship of comments about the affair that are being posted online.” March 12, 2021 Find out more News China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Newslast_img read more

Beaver Wrestling Wins First Title In School History By Taking 2-A Crown Saturday

first_img Brad James February 13, 2021 /Sports News – Local Beaver Wrestling Wins First Title In School History By Taking 2-A Crown Saturday FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailRICHFIELD, Utah-Saturday, the Beaver Beavers made school history by winning their first wrestling title at the 2-A state wrestling tournament at the Sevier Valley Center.The Beavers’ historic win came by posting 254.5 points to outlast second-place Millard (242 points).Earning individual wins for the Beavers were Russell Evans downing North Summit’s Bronson Richins via an 8-7 decision at 126 pounds and Cort Raddon besting Duchesne’s Jaxon Verduzco by virtue of a technical fall 1-5 at 4:08 at 170 pounds.The standings concluded as follows:3rd place-Altamont (208 points)4th place-North Summit (175.5 points)5th place-Duchesne (164 points)6th place-Enterprise (103 points)7th place-Monticello (102 points)8th place-Gunnison Valley (88 points)9th place-North Sevier (69 points)10th place-Kanab (34.5 points)11th place-Layton Christian (5 points)12th place-Parowan (3 points)Here are the individual champions in the respective weight classifcations as follows:106 poundsCamden Moat of Millard over Slade Mickelsen of North Sevier (decision, 10-5)113 poundsGatlen Farnsworth of Altamont over Hagen Mayer of Beaver (fall, 4:22)120 poundsSam Rasmussen of Millard over Douglas Evans of Beaver (decision, 7-5)126 poundsRussell Evans of Beaver over Bronson Richins of North Summit (decision, 8-7)132 poundsBrevin Olson of Monticello over Tezlin Winn of Gunnison Valley (decision, 6-3)138 poundsKaleb Sanchez of Duchesne over Brian Evans of Beaver (decision, 5-4)145 poundsJaxon Morlan of Duchesne over Dylan Rees of Millard (fall, 2:23)152 poundsBraxton Messersmith of Enterprise over Easton Richins of Altamont (decision, 10-4)160 poundsRiggin Boger of Altamont over Josh Whitaker of Millard (fall, 2:54)170 poundsCort Raddon of Beaver over Jaxon Verduzco of Duchesne (technical fall, 1-5 4:08)182 poundsJohn Gates of Millard over McCoy Beal of Altamont (decision, 3-1)195 poundsDanny Garcia of Millard over Michael Warino of Kanab (decision, 5-0)220 poundsCash Robb of Altamont over Collin Tuff Adair of Monticello (fall, 3:34)285 poundsMacIntyre Thacker of Altamont over Kyler Boren of Beaver (fall, 1:22)center_img Written bylast_img read more

Guyana lagging in release of national statistics – IMF Report

first_imgWhen it comes to the timely release of statistics, the recently-released International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Report on Guyana has highlighted and has advised authorities in Guyana to step up their game and make available in a timely manner to the public, data on the labour markets, gender and poverty ratios.The report, released earlier this month, stated that although data provided to the IMF is generally sufficient for surveillance purposes, the timeliness, reliability, and coverage of “selected” data can be improved.It highlighted that selected data are only available upon request or during missions.The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) missions have provided technical assistance on national accounts, which helped strengthen production-side Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compilation, the rebasing of national accounts and medium-term projections. Further work could entail compilation of expenditure-side GDP and quarterly GDP, according to the IMF.“Monetary statistics, exchange rates, interest rates, and financial prudential indicators are accessible with a lag and though specific areas of data have received technical assistance, some constraints remain in the compilation and dissemination of data for certain sectors,” the Fund observed.The report continued that even though the compilation of national accounts has been fortified in the last decades, limitations are evident in certain areas, including the Bureau of Statistics which could increase the coverage of surveys, particularly with respect to the services sector.It added that since January 2010, the agency has adopted a new household income and expenditure survey and has expanded the basket of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) index and revised its weights; however, the coverage of the CPI could be further broadened to reveal price movements in areas other than Georgetown.In 2014, a mission from CARTAC observed data gaps and made recommendations for improvements, including the development of a register of large public and private enterprises that could be requested to provide data on their transactions and positions with nonresidents; improving data collection and compilation with regards to services; inclusion of investment income from reserve assets; clarifying the classification of income accounts to ensure that they occur between residents and nonresidents; properly recording debt forgiveness; and surveying direct investment enterprises.The mission initiated the release of quarterly current and capital accounts, according to the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) for the period March 2011 to September 2013. The mission also initiated the production of experimental (partial) International Investment Position (IIP) statistics from the information that is available on Government debt, reserve assets of the central bank, and Marginal Standing Facility (MSF)It has also developed an action plan for the implementation of balance of payments and IIP surveys and for the development of balance of payments and IIP statements.Technical assistanceThe report indicated that the Bank of Guyana (BoG) does not report the IIP because it lacks the capacity to compile such statistics, thus this is one of the priority areas identified for technical assistance from CARTAC.Other areas for technical assistance delivered in 2014-15 focused on building capacity in the areas of internal audit, tax administration, revenue forecasting, tariff classification of goods using the Harmonised System, customs valuation, debt management and medium-term fiscal projections.Past technical assistance missions have found that there is room to develop the “definition and treatment of one-off nontax revenues in medium term projections”.According to the country report, IMF authorities have planned to continue to work on improving tax administration and to build a framework for managing mineral revenues based on international best practices.“The authorities have expressed interest in technical assistance on developing a domestic long-term bond market,” the report said.However, the report indicated that not everything is doom and gloom for the statistics sector since the BoG has made significant progress in improving the quality of monetary statistics, specially the institutional coverage.The monetary statistics currently include the BoG, commercial banks, the New Building Society, and trust companies, and other financial corporations (finance companies, life insurance, companies, non-life insurance companies, pension funds, and asset management companies).The IMF stated that the BoG’s monetary statistics provide data for publication in the International Financial Statistics Supplement, based on standardised report forms while the bank publishes financial prudential indicators in its quarterly report and on its website on a regular basis.The issue of the timely release of statistics and reports has always been a old problem; presently Guyana is without an unemployment rate for over a decade.Guyana has always been using proxies – data from the national population census and the households budget surveys – to determine its unemployment rate. The country has also been without a labour force survey for almost a decade.last_img read more


first_imgMajor activities, like pre-registration, sourcing school supplies and clothing for the reopening of schools are in top gear as parents and potential students have commenced pre resumption activities. Many parents are financially unprepared for the opening of schools as, according to two new World Bank reports, the socio-economic impacts of the Ebola epidemic are far-reaching and persistent. While we have not completely extinguished Ebola Virus Disease from our communities, we are slowly and surely moving in the right direction. The strategy seems to be working and progress is being made.Notwithstanding significant progress made in the prevention and control of Ebola, let us be reminded that it’s still a critical time for Ebola response in Liberia. That Ebola Virus must and should be eradicated from our community should be our number one priority is not an overstatement; we need to be forward looking in ensuring an Ebola-free Liberia.According to Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation, “countries need to create resilient integrated systems that can be responsive and proactive to any future threat.Governments that have flouted their obligations at the onset of the Ebola outbreak, now have the opportunity to put in place sufficient integrated health and education systems to guarantee health and safety of school children. The key to stopping the further spread of Ebola Virus Disease is vigilance and not complacency. The EVD should not only change political attitudes but school curriculum and systems.It is our view, as peace messengers that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health work together in preparation of the reopening of schools in Liberia. Preparation should include the training of school teachers, auxiliary workers, food vendors in the prevention and control of EVD. These cadres of teachers should in turn be required to train selected students in the screening, identification and education activities within the school and community environment.Other forward looking interventions in the fight against Ebola should incorporate standard hygiene kits requirement for schools, provision of thermoflashes and family kits such as food, clothes and hygiene materials for orphans returning to schools. Health clinics and centers (both public and private) should be assigned to schools to deal with emergency situations and school children with Ebola like symptoms. We need to ensure access to reliable health facilities as we look forward to stamping out Ebola from Liberia.The payment of teachers’ salaries remains a major challenge that should be addressed before schools are opened. Goodwill should be made to ensure the payment of wages to our teachers, who like the health workers and community volunteers, would now be at the forefront of the fight against EVD.Private partnership and non-governmental sectors’ involvement in the reopening of schools is critical at this point for school children and for households. Forging a partnership between government and private sector to promote health education in schools would be equally critical.We need to continue community education programme and at the same time intensify media outreach programme. Messengers of Peace, as part of its strategic plan would mobilize its over one thousand volunteer peace messengers in various peace clubs to commence school education programme on Ebola.Our focus for this year would be on the meaningful engagement of young people in the fight against Ebola. School children at various levels should be encouraged and motivated to tell their stories through articles and at public forums. The purpose of this integrated programme on peacebuilding and school health education programme on Ebola is to build resilience amongst school children and young adults.We need to know how far have we come and how much more remains to be done.On the global level, MOP-Liberia takes this opportunity to condemn the killing of 17 people by three gunmen. We express our condolences to the people of the Republic of France and to the families of journalists killed by the terrorists.  We believe in the freedoms of expression and of the press and, most importantly, in peaceful co-existence of mankind. There is nothing that we cannot achieve through dialogue. Killing in the name of provocation is barbaric. Respect for human values and dignity should be the duty of all.Next week, we will discuss “Unfinished Business”.  Until then, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Split Sessions at Capitol

first_imgAn unprecedented three separate and distinct sessions were yesterday held simultaneously in the 68 year old Capitol Building (at the Legislature) with two at the Lower House and one in the Upper House with the presence of over 400 elite officers of the Liberia National Police. Compelling Recusal of Speaker Tyler?Thirty eight (38) members of the House of Representatives (34 present and four distance), who are referred to as “Renegade or Conscious Lawmakers” have unanimously adopted a resolution to remove Rep. Alex J. Tyler, Sr., as Speaker or Presiding Officer of the Legislature.The defector lawmakers, in an outlawed separate session in the William R. Tolbert Joint Chambers, which was presided over by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, made the decision yesterday due to a resolution signed by 40 members of the House of Representatives. However, three of them, including Saah Joseph, Samuel Woleh and Morais Waylee, claimed that they withdrew their signatures. The “conscious Lawmakers”, in search of a place to hold their session, proceeded to the Joint Chamber, which they found locked. The sergeant-at-arms, believed to be a Tyler sympathizer, was unavailable to provide access to the Joint Chamber. It was then that former Speaker, Edwin M. Snowe, Jr. ordered the door busted, according to eyewitnesses, which was performed by a staffer of Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue. The anti-Tyler lawmakers suspended the House’s Rules and Procedures on the Motion for Reconsideration as well as the Normal Legislative Procedural process of the Committee’s work to effect the decision to recuse Speaker Tyler.The lawmakers also appointed an ad hoc Chief Clerk and Deputy Chief, Rudolph Hill and Darlington Blayon, staffers of the Deputy Speaker.In the resolution, the lawmakers said the Speaker has denigrated his colleagues who have expressed disagreement with his dictatorial leadership and refers to elected Representatives of the Liberian people as surrogates, forgetting that he is just ‘primus inter pares’ (first among equals) by the free election of his peers.“Whereas, that the Speaker has been criminally indicted of a crime. We the members of the House should not have to bear the burden of these allegations. Let the Speaker exonerate himself of these criminal charges using our court system and not hide under the authority of the Speaker’s gavel,” the Interim Chief Clerk read.“Whereas and in so declaring, we, the majority members of the Honorable House of Representatives of the 53rd Legislature having taken a solemn oath of office to protect and uphold the constitution and all other laws of the Republic call upon Hon. J. Alex Tyler to immediately recuse himself as presiding officer.”The Interim Chief Clerk added: “Whereas we also call on those doing business and other activities with him to immediately halt and refrain from future transaction with him in the name of the Honorable House of Representatives including the Liberian Senate, the Executive and Judiciary Branches of Government and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission.”Those who signed the resolution included: Rep. Numene T.H. Bartekwa, Rep. Emmanuel Nuquay, Rep. Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood, Rep. Samuel G. Kogar, Rep. Thomas P. Fallah, Rep. Acarous M. Gray, Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Rep. Julius Berrian, Rep. Morais T. Waylee and Rep. Samuel G. Wolleh.Others are Rep. Richmond S. Anderson, Rep. Corpu G. Barclay, Rep. Adolph A. Lawrence, Rep. Christian Chea, Rep. Johnson Chea, Rep. Saah Joseph, Rep. Roland O. Cooper, Rep. Worlea S. Dunah, Rep. Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Rep. Edward S. Forh, Rep. Josephine George Francis,Rep. Stephen S. Kafi, Jr., Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh, Rep. Edward W. Karfia, Rep. Mary Karwor, Rep. Jeremiah Koung, Rep. Eugene F. Kparkar and Rep. Gertrude T. Lamin.The remaining lawmakers are Rep. Jeremiah W. McCauley, Rep. Prince Moye, Rep. George S. Mulbah, Rep. Tokpah Mulbah, Rep. Robertson N. Siaway, Rep. Gabriel Smith, Rep. Richard M. Tingban, Rep. Ricks Toweh, Rep. Bill Twehway, Rep. Ballah G. Zayzay, Rep. J. Byron Brown and Rep. J. Gabriel Nyenkan.Meanwhile and simultaneously, the 51st day sitting under House’s Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Sr., in the House’s official chambers, ended successfully with the appearance of Public Work Minister Gyude Moore, summoned to update the lower house on the progress of the Somalia Drive Road. Speaker Tyler conducted yesterday’s session with a quorum of 37 persons; 34 in person and three in distance.Prior to the Public Work Minister’s appearance, the House’s Plenary summoned the management of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) to appear on Tuesday, 16 August. The decision was predicated upon a complaint from Hon. Larry P. Younquoi of Electoral District 8, Nimba County.In his letter, the Nimba Lawmaker questioned the refusal of the Liberia Broadcasting System to honor a request from the House Press and Public Affairs Bureau to provide live broadcast coverage to the on-going public hearing on the Draft National Budget at the Capitol Building. Following discussions on the matter, plenary agreed to invite the management of LBS to appear next Tuesday to give reasons for the entity’s action predicated on a motion proffered by Hon. Isaac Roland of Electoral District 3, Maryland County.Pro-Tyler’s ReactionThe chairman of the House committee on Foreign Affairs, Maryland County District # 1 Representative, Rep. James Biney, has accused President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of sponsoring the recusal campaign to unseat Speaker Tyler, over an unbearable working relationship with him.“If the precedence of getting the leader of one branch removed on the basis of indictment (not court verdict) through subterfuge, the tendency of the Executive controlling the Legislature will be further enhanced at the time when it should be broken,” Rep. Biney said “This is not good for any emerging democracy. When a leader of a country says, I will never work with the head of the legislative branch of government and the leader succeeds in removing the head of that branch of government, such a leader cannot be a true representation of genuine democracy. As we proceed to protect our democracy, it is quintessential that we accept to work with each other as leaders not because we want to, but because we have to,” Rep. Biney added.He added: “On the issue of the fight against corruption, I call on President Sirleaf to also go after those who wrecked NOCAL, squandered the Japanese Aid to Liberia, mismanaged Chevron Social Development Support to Liberia, etc. The contrary would suggest to the public and the world that the fight against corruption is not only selective, but a sham. Finally, we leaders, especially President Sirleaf, have the responsibility to enhance the peace and protect our democracy.”However, two senior staff members to the Speaker, who begged for anonymity, said the Speaker and his colleagues have termed the renegade lawmakers’ decision as “trash.”They further said the pro-Tyler lawmakers are considering going to the Supreme Court, but they did not say why or when.Speaker Tyler’s compelling recusal is due to his alleged accusation of receiving US$75,000, according to the May 11 Global Witness report, for his alleged role in changing the Public Procurement Commission Committee (PPCC) law in favor of the London based Sable Mining Company to win a concession agreement to exploit iron ore in the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgThe TM Cinema in Liberia and Silverbirld Cinema of Nigeria has signed an official partnership agreement on Saturday, May 6, 2017.During a red carpet signing ceremony at the roof top of the TM MALL on the UN Drive Coconut Plantation beach in Mamba Point, Mr. Li Sun, CEO of TSMO Investment Corporation, owners of Liberia’s first shopping mall, and Mr. Ekene Nwookolo, Group Head, Corporate services and company secretary of Silverbird Group, owners of Silverbird Cinemas in Nigeria and Ghana, affixed their signatures to a movie distribution deal that will thrill movie goers and significantly boost the development of the movie industry in Liberia.The agreement not only promises exciting times for all movie lovers, especially those who crave watching the latest movies in classic theaters like TM CINEMA, it will serve as a platform for upcoming Liberian industry professionals to premier their works in a modern cinema environment with huge possibilities of earning respectable fees when their works are good enough for the TM Cinema Theater and Silverbird Cinemas markets.The initiative by TSMO to include a top class movie theater in its state-of-the –art shopping mall in Liberia would be seen as more than a business venture; it indicates a big interest by this prominent Chinese real estate company to support the youths of Liberia who are bent on becoming major stakeholders in the up and coming movie industry in the country and abroad.According to Mr. Nwookolo, “Silverbird Cinemas has franchise with major movie studios like Sony, allowing us to distribute and show movies almost as soon as they are released in the United States and other advanced countries.” The Nigerian cinema company executive further explained that, the Liberian industry stakeholders, like their counterparts in Ghana and Nigeria, would benefit various types of supports based on exposure presented them by the TSMO and Silverbird Cinemas collaboration.The cinema company group head mentioned proper production equipment, training, production financing, government protection and higher fees, as possible deliverables by the private sector and government agencies as TSMO and Silverbird Cinemas pact unearth, nurture and promote the works of deserved Liberian cinematographers.For over 10 years Silverbird Cinemas has been entertaining Africa with movies from around the world. The company boasts nine locations in five states in Nigeria, and owns Silverbird Cinemas at Accra Shopping Mall in Ghana. With a total seating capacity of 9,319, Silverbird Cinemas is one of the largest Cinema chain in West Africa.This fact was not lost on Mr. Li Sun, CEO of TSMO Investment Corporation of Liberia, and owner of TM CINEMA, as he signed the significant agreement for real time showing of newly released blockbuster movies at TM CINEMA, which will be opened soon. The signing ceremony was done in the presence of Mr. Ekong Edim, Director of Business Development and General Manager of Silverbird Cinemas; Messrs. Eric Sherman, Vice President TSMO; E. C. B. Jones, Board Member – TSMO; Alex .M Lansana, General Manager, TSMO; Nina Zhang Yuqi, Administrative Officer at TSMO; and a host of company staff.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) On the left, Mr. Nwookolo of Silverbird Cinemas, Nigeria-Ghana, and on the right, Mr. Li Sun, CEO TSMO Investment Corporation – TM Cinema, Liberia. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Local RCMP detachment presents 2009 stats

first_img[asset|aid=2495|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=dd8874c513727b45c5788492f37c4c61-Egan 2_2_Pub.mp3] Meanwhile, Egan is attributing last year’s low vandalism numbers to the Anti-Social Behavior sessions held last spring. During those meetings, the City gathered a list of crimes that the public felt where high-priority. Vandalism was one of the top-ranking crimes, and RCMP members were advised of the community’s concern. Egan says the detachment saw 421 vandalism cases in 2009, compared to 547 cases in 2008. [asset|aid=2496|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=dd8874c513727b45c5788492f37c4c61-Egan 1_2_Pub.mp3] Advertisement Photo: Fort St. John RCMP Inspector Pat Egan listens to a councilor’s question, after he presented the 2009 detachment update on Monday afternoon – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.caBy Christine Rumleskie Traffic fatalities within the Fort St. John RCMP jurisdiction decreased by 60 per cent in 2009. – Advertisement -That’s one of many findings in the 2009 Fort St. John Detachment Update, presented by Inspector Pat Egan at Monday night’s Council Meeting.Egan says in 2008, there were ten traffic fatalities, but in 2009, that number dropped to four. Inspector Egan says more traffic check stops likely decreased last year’s numbers. The report also provided numbers on drug-related charges within Fort St. John. The stats indicate that cocaine possession and trafficking was down. Meanwhile, marijuana possession was also down, while marijuana trafficking increased only slightly. Inspector Egan says many ‘high-profile’ drug traffickers were arrested in 2008, which could have resulted in the lower numbers. Advertisement The RCMP dealt with a significant amount of people who were drunk in public last year. In 2008, officers got 661 calls, but in 2009, there were more than 920 people that were caught drunk in a public location. Egan is optimistic about the statistic, saying that police presence has increased in the downtown core, resulting in more people being apprehended.Overall, the detachment received 13,836 calls for service, which is 6% lower from 2008. City Council will now be meeting with officers from the local detachment on February 15th, to establish a list of priorities for 2010.last_img read more

21 days agoEverton boss Marco Silva: Real football fans understand situation

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Everton boss Marco Silva: Real football fans understand situationby Paul Vegas21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton boss Marco Silva says their “real football fans” will understand their slow start to the season.Silva accepts he as manager will inevitably face the fury of fans who want to see instant results.“This will never change, in football, the manager will always be the person who is in front,” he said. “That is something natural.“Those who understand football really, look to the situation and understand what has happened. What we did or not (in the summer) we cannot change anything now. We believe in them, so let’s support them.” last_img read more

Puerto Rico utility moves to scrap 300M Whitefish contract

first_imgSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The head of Puerto Rico’s power company said Sunday the agency is cancelling its $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings amid scrutiny of the tiny Montana company’s role in restoring the island’s power system.The announcement by Ricardo Ramos came hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged the utility to scrap the deal for Whitefish’s help in rebuilding the electrical system from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria.“It’s an enormous distraction,” Ramos said of the controversy over the contract. “This was negatively impacting the work we’re already doing.”The current work by Whitefish teams will not be affected by the cancellation and that work will be completed in November, Ramos said. He said the cancellation will delay pending work by 10 to 12 weeks if no alternatives are found.Ramos said he had not talked with Whitefish executives about his announcement. “A lawsuit could be forthcoming,” he warned.Whitefish spokesman Chris Chiames told The Associated Press that the company was “very disappointed” in the governor’s decision, and said it would only delay efforts to restore power.He said Whitefish brought 350 workers to Puerto Rico in less than a month and it expected to have a total of 500 this week. Chiames said the company completed critical work, including a project that will soon lead to a half million people in San Juan getting power.“We will certainly finish any work that (the power company) wants us to complete and stand by our commitments,” he said.Roughly 70 per cent of the U.S. territory remains without power more than a month after Maria struck on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 154 mph (245 kph). Ramos said Sunday that the total of cost of restoring the system would come to $1.2 billion.The cancellation is not official until approved by the utility’s board. Ramos said it would take effect 30 days after that.Ramos said the company already has paid Whitefish $10.9 million to bring its workers and heavy equipment to Puerto Rico and has a $9.8 million payment pending for work done so far.Ramos said cancellation of the contract will not lead to a penalty, but it’s likely the government will pay at least $11 million for the company to go home early, including all costs incurred in the month after the cancellation.Federal investigators have been looking into the contract awarded to the small company from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown and the deal is being audited at the local and federal level.Ramos said the company contacted Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority two days before the storm hit, at a time when it was becoming clear the hurricane could cause massive damage.Ramos earlier said he had spoken with at least five other companies that demanded rates similar to those of Whitefish, but also wanted a down payment the agency did not have.He said Sunday he hadn’t consulted with anyone else about signing the deal and didn’t notify the governor’s office for a week. He again praised Whitefish’s work.“They’re doing an excellent job,” he said.“There’s nothing illegal here … Of that, we’re sure,” he said, adding that he welcomes a federal investigation. “The process was done according to the law.”Ramos said his agency at first believed the Federal Emergency Management Agency pre-approved contracts, something the agency has denied.FEMA said it has not approved any reimbursement requests from the power company for money to cover repairs to the island’s electrical system. The contract said the utility would not pay costs unallowable under FEMA grants, but it also said, “The federal government is not a party to this contract.”FEMA has raised concerns about how Whitefish got the deal and whether the contracted prices were reasonable. The 2-year-old company had just two full-time employees when the storm hit, but it has since hired more than 300 workers.The White House had no comment Sunday. Last week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the federal government had no role in the process that led to awarding the contract.“This was something solely determined by the Puerto Rican government,” she said Friday.Rossello said he has requested that crews from New York and Florida come help restore power in Puerto Rico as he criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for not meeting its goals. The agency could not be immediately reached for comment.The governor also announced the appointment of an outside co-ordinator to oversee the power company’s purchase and contracting division.“If something illegal was done, once again, the officials involved in that process will feel the full weight of the law, and I will take administrative actions,” Rossello said.A Whitefish contract obtained by The Associated Press found that the deal included $20,277 an hour for a heavy lift Chinook helicopter, $650 an hour for a large crane truck, $322 an hour for a foreman of a power line crew, $319 an hour for a journeyman lineman and $286 an hour for a mechanic. Each worker also gets a daily allowance of $80 for food, $332 for a hotel room and $1,000 for each flight to or from the mainland.The company is based in Whitefish, Montana. Zinke, a former Montana congressman, knows Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski, and Zinke’s son also had a summer job at a Whitefish construction site.“I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico,” Zinke recently said in a statement linked to a tweet. “Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless.”Democrats also have questioned the role of HBC Investments, a key financial backer of Whitefish. The Dallas-based company’s founder and general partner, Joe Colonnetta, has contributed thousands of dollars to President Donald Trump and other Republicans. Chiames, the Whitefish spokesman, has said that Colonnetta’s political donations were “irrelevant” and that the company would co-operate with any federal authorities.This week, Rep. Rob Bishop, the Utah Republican who heads the House Natural Resources Committee, sent the power company director a letter demanding documents, including those related to the contract with Whitefish and others that show what authority the agency has to deviate from normal contracting processes.“Transparent accountability at (the power company) is necessary for an effective and sustained recovery in Puerto Rico,” his office said in a statement.A federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances announced this week that retired Air Force Col. Noel Zamot will be in charge of power reconstruction efforts. Rossello and other officials have rejected the appointment, saying the local government is in charge of a power company that is $9 billion in debt and had struggled with outages before hurricanes Irma and Maria last month.last_img read more

Raises for alternate minimum wage earners coming

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C.- Raises are coming for alternate minimum wage earners. Liquor servers, piece-rate farmers, resident caretakers, and live in camp leaders will all soon see a pay raise. The news was announced today by the Minister of Labour Harry Bains.“No one working for minimum wage, full-time, year-round should be living in poverty. Workers deserve a minimum level of protections that regardless of a person’s job description, they don’t earn a wage that is distinctly less then the general minimum wage.” Stated Baines.Liquor servers, resident caretakers and live in camp leaders will all see wage increases as of June 1st 2018, while farm workers paid by the piece rate will see an increase as of January 1st, 2019. Agricultural Minister Lana Popham said the government is extending the transition period for changes to the farm worker piece rate to January 2019, from June 2018, in order to better balance the needs of workers and the agricultural industry. Wages for the five worker groups will increase like this: Liquor servers – incremental increases on June 1 each year, beginning June 2018, until the general minimum wage is reached, of at least $15.20 per hour, in 2021. Piece-rate farm workers – 11.5% increase to all piece rates on Jan. 1, 2019, with further study to take place. Resident caretakers – 11.5% increase June 2018, followed by increases of 9.5%, 5.4% and 4.1% in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively (wages vary depending on building size). Live-in camp leaders – same per cent increases as resident caretakers, until they reach $121.65/per day, in 2021. Live-in home-support workers – abolishment of the alternate minimum wage for this group, as it covers very few or no workers. The general minimum wage will apply to any workers remaining in this category.In February 2018 the Fair Wages Commission had two tasks, first to recommend a pathway to raise general minimum wage to 15$-an-hour. The second task was to provide recommendations on groups of workers whose minimum wage is different from the general wage. These workers were liquor servers, farm workers paid by piece rates, resident caretakers, live-in camp leaders, and live-in home support workers.last_img read more