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OPP meets with Attawapiskat diamond mine blockaders while band awaits De Beers

first_img(Attawapiskat Elder Jean-Arc Jacasum, left, and Rebecca Iahtail, right, stand early Monday morning outside the canvas tent pitched beside the blockade site. APTN/Photo)By Jorge BarreraAPTN National News TIMMINS, Ont.–OPP Aboriginal liaison officers met with the Attawapiskat diamond mine ice road blockaders on Monday afternoon while the band council waited for De Beers to endorse an agreement that would end the now nine-day protest that has severed the mining giant’s overland supply route.A court date is scheduled for Feb. 21 in Timmins, Ont., to hear arguments on an injunction obtained by De Beers late last week against the blockaders.The blockaders have said they won’t allow the barricades to come down until De Beers officials sign the agreement at the site.The agreement would see De Beers agree to a joint dispute resolution committee that would deal with issues like employment and training, housing and the need to compensate community members whose traplines are in and around the Victor mine site, among other issues.“Attawapiskat First Nation wants to see this matter resolved so that Attawapiskat First Nation and De Beers may discuss De Beers’ proposed further exploration projects in Attawapiskat territory,” said the letter, signed by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.The letter, which was faxed to the company on Sunday, also needs to be signed in person by Tony Guthrie, president of De Beers Canada.As of early Monday evening, De Beers had yet to respond.The OPP is not expected to make any moves on the blockaders until after the court date.The mine relies on the winter road for fuel deliveries and the transport of machinery and replacement parts too heavy to fly in. The ice road’s lifespan is not expected to last beyond mid-March. It opened on Feb. 1. It has been hit by two blockades since Feb. 4.Attawapiskat community members have rallied around Rebecca Iahtail, 45, who was the last blockader standing following a band meeting on Friday. Iahtail says she is dying of cancer.Iahtail’s decision to stay gave renewed life to the blockade, which is on an intersection by the ice road leading to the De Beers Victor mine site which is located about 90 kilometres west of the community.Spence said she is worried about another visit from the OPP.“We are waiting for De Beers to come with this agreement,” said Spence, in an earlier interview. “But at the same time we are worried.”Spence spent the night in a wood stove-heated canvas tent after a provincial court sheriff, with an OPP escort, served the blockaders with the injunction at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.The sheriff returned about four hours after he was turned away from the Attawapiskat airport by Spence who presented him with a letter forbidding his presence on the reserve.The Attawapiskat chief has been put into a delicate balancing act with the blockade, which does not have full community support. Still, Spence told APTN National News that as chief she has to protect her community members and she has visited the blockade site often over the past several days.De Beers claims the blockade is threatening its operations for the rest of the year.The mine ships about 11 million litres of fuel up the winter road every year, along with machinery and parts too heavy to fly into the mine’s airport.The mine also uses the winter road to truck-up hazardous substances like ammonium nitrate and truck out “hazardous waste material” that can’t be flown out of the mine.De Beers has already identified over a dozen additional potential diamond deposits sites in the area.People in Attawapiskat say the community is also sitting on read more

Alaska borough residents face new heating pollution controls

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Residents of an Alaska borough who burn wood, coal and oil for heat face new air pollution control measures.The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday that the draft rules released by the state Tuesday are expected to result in additional bans on burning wood and coal in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, as well as higher fuel oil and electric bills.The rules still require the signature of Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer in order to become law.Passage of the rules will require thousands of area homes to switch to No. 1 fuel oil beginning in July 2020, which will increase costs.Officials say the regulations proposed in the State Implementation Plan for air quality are intended to combat particulate pollution and required under the federal Clean Air Act.___Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.comThe Associated Press read more

Scotiabank buying Citibank consumer and small business operations in Colombia

TORONTO — The Bank of Nova Scotia says it has reached an agreement to buy Citibank’s consumer and small and medium enterprise operations in Colombia as it looks to expand its reach in Latin America.The bank did not disclose the terms of the deal, but says the transaction through its subsidiary Banco Colpatria Multibanca Colpatria S.A. is not financially material.Citibank’s operations in Colombia include 47 branches and 424 automated banking machines, while the addition of Citibank’s local credit card division will add more than 500,000 new customers to Banco Colpatria’s operations.Scotiabank bought a 51 per cent stake in Banco Colpatria in 2012 and also has a presence in several other Latin American countries including Mexico, Chile and Peru.It says Banco Colpatria is Colombia’s fifth largest banking group with 1.5 million retail, corporate and commercial customers, and $13 billion in assets.In December, Scotiabank said it had also secured a deal to buy a 68 per cent stake in a Chilean bank for $2.9 billion.Companies in this story: (TSX:BNS) read more

Kaduwela DS officer arrested for accepting bribe

The officer attached to the Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat was arrested while he was accepting the bribe in his office. (Colombo Gazette) An officer attached to the Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat (DS) has been arrested for accepting a bribe.The commission to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption said that the officer had been arrested for accepting a Rs. 3000 bribe to include the names of a couple in the electoral register.

Canadian dollar down markets look to Fed meeting for reassurance about stimulus

Canadian dollar down, markets look to Fed meeting for reassurance about stimulus AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 17, 2013 8:45 am MDT TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed lower Monday as traders looked for clarity on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve thinks economic conditions are favourable enough to start easing up on some stimulus.The loonie surrendered early gains to slip 0.08 of a cent to 98.26 cents US.Markets have been volatile since late May when Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. central bank would consider cutting back on its US$85 billion of bond purchases each month if economic data — particularly job growth — improved.The stimulus measures, known as quantitative easing, have kept interest and bond yields low and kept a rally going on stock markets practically non-stop since late last year.Speculation that the Fed will be begin to reduce bond purchases in a process often called tapering has put pressure on equity indexes while bond yields have been rising, pushing mortgage rates higher.The Fed meeting wraps up Wednesday afternoon, followed by a news conference by Bernanke and analysts expect the central bank won’t be in a rush to do anything about stimulus just yet.“We expect Bernanke will want to use the press conference to reassure markets of the prolonged process between a possible taper (in buying bonds) and an eventual rate hike,” said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian FIC Strategy at RBC Dominion Securities.The U.S. dollar picked up strength mid-morning in the wake of positive economic data, including a solid showing from the latest reading of manufacturing in the U.S. Northeast. The Empire manufacturing index rose more than expected in June, to plus 7.8 from minus 1.4 in the prior month.However, results of the survey were mixed as the new orders and shipments balances components fell further into negative territory. The employment balance also fell.Meanwhile, for the first time in seven years, most U.S. homebuilders are optimistic about home sales.The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index leaped to 52 this month from 44 in May.A reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index hasn’t been that high since April 2006, just before the housing market collapsed.Measures of customer traffic, current sales conditions and builders’ outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months also soared to their highest levels in seven years.The Canadian Real Estate Association reported there were 51,764 residential properties of all types sold across Canada last month, down 2.6 per cent from May 2012. On a month-to-month basis, May showed a 3.6 per cent increase from April with 37,792 units and 36,473 units sold respectively on a seasonally adjusted basis in the first two months of the second quarter.The May national average price for all types of property in major markets across Canada was $388,910, up 3.7 per cent from a year earlier.Commodity prices were mixed Monday as July crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange was well off the highs of the session, slipping eight cents to US$97.77 a barrel.July copper was unchanged at US$3.20 a pound and August gold bullion fell $4.50 to US$1,383.10 an ounce. read more

Wynne says new rules for an Ontario Pension Plan will be unveiled

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Jan 28, 2014 1:48 pm MDT Wynne says new rules for an Ontario Pension Plan will be unveiled this spring TORONTO – Plans for an Ontario Pension Plan will be unveiled by the minority Liberal government this spring, ahead of a widely expected provincial election, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Tuesday.“We believe that we need to set up a structure so that people can save their own money, and they can make investments along with their employers in their future,” said Wynne.The minority Liberal government is worried people are not saving enough for retirement, and is prepared to take action on its own since the federal Conservatives refuse to enhance the Canada Pension Plan, she added.“This is not something the government dreamed up as an issue,” said Wynne. “This is something that comes from people. It really is about people having the opportunity to save for their retirement, and giving them a context within which to do that.”The federal Conservatives say increasing pension contributions amounts to a job-killing payroll tax, an argument Wynne flatly rejected.“This is not a tax,” she said. “This is an investment in the future that individuals and businesses would be making, and it is a responsible way forward.”Bill Morneau, a human resources consultant and a pension adviser to Wynne, said workers need to view contributions as an investment in their future.“The idea is it’s not a tax, it’s exactly the opposite,” said Morneau.“It’s helping people to do something that they know they need to do, and that’s to save more for their retirement.”Ottawa wants the provinces to support Registered Pooled Pension Plans as an alternative to enhancing the CPP, but Ontario rejected that option because they are voluntary, not mandatory.Many Canadians do not contribute the full amount to their Retirement Savings Plans each year because they are not forced to do so, said Morneau.“Currently there’s a huge amount of leftover room in RSPs, so by having some sort of mandatory savings approach it is going to help people ensure they have enough for the future,” he said.“After you have that mandatory approach, is there a way that people who already have saved enough can opt out, and that’s a question we need to address.”Wynne appointed a special panel, headed by former prime minister Paul Martin, to advise the province on how to create a pension plan and whether it would allow people to opt out.“There needs to be a mandatory aspect to this in order to have the number of people involved that makes it a viable plan, but some of the plans that exist in other jurisdictions have an opt out clause,” she said.“What we know is that where plans like this have been set up and there is an opt out clause, a very small percentage of people actually do opt out.”Ontario’s New Democrats said not one Liberal voted for an Ontario Retirement Plan when the NDP proposed it in 2010, and accused the government of being good at naming panels, which they called a stalling tactic.“Unfortunately, for ten years the Liberals have talked a lot about pension reform, but Ontarians haven’t seen any results,” said NDP house leader Gilles Bisson. read more

Ebola not an international health emergency but risks spreading across DR Congo

All partners to identify, target, and scale up community dialogue and participation, engagement of traditional healers, and other community engagement tactics to strengthen and broaden community acceptance.  Prioritizing the safety of responders, while avoiding the securitization of the response. Emergency Committee for Ebola Virus Disease in the DRC advises: “The #DRC health authorities & workers, WHO & partners, we’re all doing our part, despite the extremely difficult & dangerous situation. I thank all those involved in the #Ebola response, particularly those on the front line, for their determination and their courage”-@DrTedros— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 12, 2019 Sustaining efforts to prevent transmission and shorten the time between onset and care. Addressing the rise in cases in the remaining epicentres, notably Butembo, Katwa, Vuhovi, and Mandima. Redoubling efforts to detect cases early, identify and follow up all contacts, and administer vaccinations as widely as possible. But acknowledging the potential risk that the disease may spread to neighbouring countries, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressed on behalf of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee, “deep concern” over a recent surge in the transmission of the virus in specific areas, namely North Kivu and Ituri provinces, both of which are heavily populated by armed groups.Latest data indicates a total of 1,206 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in this latest deadly outbreak in DRC which began last August, while 764 people have died up to last Wednesday, making the oubreak – which is endemic in the DRC – the worst in the country’s history. The numbers spiked this week, with 20 new cases on Wednesday alone. Up to the end of March, more than 320 patients had recovered and been discharged from treatment centres, according to the Government’s health ministry.Because there is a very high risk of regional spread, the Committee said that neighbouring countries should continue to accelerate preparedness and surveillance, including vaccinating healthcare and front-line workers in surrounding countries.The Emergency Committee recommended that cross-border collaboration be strengthened, including through the timely sharing of Ebola data and alerts; community engagement, and awareness raising.Moreover, work should be done to better map population movements and understand the community networks which bridge national boundaries. The Committee maintained its previous advice that no international travel or trade restrictions should be applied.While exit screening, including at airports, ports, and land crossings, is of great importance, entry screening is not considered beneficia, said the committee, appealing for more financial support, to strengthen efforts in both preparedness and response.,The Committee commended efforts of the Government, WHO and other partners in containing the outbreak “in a complex and difficult setting” and advised the WHO Director-General “to continue to monitor the situation closely and reconvene the Emergency Committee as needed”. read more

Sixty female and all living under one roof just dont call it

first_imgShe has started packing boxes. There are marks on the walls where she’s taken down  pictures, and she’s emptied her freezer. OWCH flats have been allocated on the basis of seniority, with the longest-standing members choosing first.‘We could chose the colour of the walls, flooring, kitchen units, tiles in the bathroom and kitchen – that sort of thing,’ Meredeen says. She has chosen not to have a washing machine as there is a communal laundry.  ‘And I’m having a walk-in bath [as opposed to a shower] – I’m paying a little extra for that.’ June 9 2016  When I next see Meredeen it is June, and we are standing in what was recently a building site, watching a theory come to life. A group of members are being shown around the nearly finished OWCH development, and the mood is one of elation, with riffs about balconies (‘bigger than I thought’), the garden and common room (‘beautiful!’), solar panels and the ‘minimal and Scandi’ white walls.The development cost about £7 million. ‘It’s not an old people’s home,’ says Denis O’Donovan, the site manager, from the building firm Quinn London. ‘It’s independent living for elderly people.’ He points out how every switch and socket is accessible to someone in a wheelchair. Maria Brenton on site It will be quite  different for us [residents of the OWCH community]. We will support each other.’It’s taken such a long time, I say. So many disappointments. So many reverses. How did you keep going?‘I made a promise to Madeleine,’ she replies. ‘I actually stood by her grave and said, “Madeleine, it’s going to happen.” That was a promise I couldn’t break.’  In 1998, Shirley Meredeen was in her late 60s and had recently retired from her job as a student counsellor. But she had no plans for a quiet life.This, after all, was a woman who got a degree from the Open University at the age of 56; who had worked full-time and raised two sons after her divorce; and who, together with Madeleine Levius, had founded Growing Old Disgracefully – a network that challenges preconceptions of older women as passive and past it.Meredeen was keen to change the world, or at least the way the world saw older women. In the summer of that year, she attended  a workshop on co-housing at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in north London. Co-housing is a fundamentally different way of life in which people live close to, but not with, each other. The trouble is people die off. My address book gets smaller all the timeShirley Meredeen Angela Ratcliffe, 83, a former actress, civil servant and social worker, retired about 12 years ago. A widow, she has two children, two stepchildren and 10 grandchildren. ‘I was having a telephone conversation with my elder daughter and at the end of it, she suddenly said, “Mum, have you thought about the future?”I said, “No,” and when I put down the phone I thought, “No, but you have and it’s probably worrying you.”’ Ratcliffe joined OWCH four years ago and says she is most looking forward to spontaneity. ‘If you’re feeling sociable you go to the common room, make a cup of coffee and see if anyone else turns up.Or you might ring someone and say, “I’m taking the dog for a walk, do you want to come?”’  The group includes a doctor, a nurse, an actress, an administrator, a cranial osteopath, a teacher and a set designer. Some are divorced or widowed; others are single. Most are retired, some still working. There are two dogs and several cats. OWCH membership is a prerequisite for residents; it costs £60 a year and individuals are approved by existing members.They are also expected to contribute time, cleaning communal areas, for example  – to what extent is up to each person. ‘It’s a way of retaining your independence and your dignity and being among people who can be supportive of you at the same time,’ says Meredeen, now 86. The only founding member of OWCH still involved with the group (Levius died in 2005), she has been the driving force behind it for almost two decades. In the Netherlands (population almost 17 million), there are now 230 senior co-housing communities. ‘The movement has been encouraged by successive governments because it’s a form of living that keeps older people happier and healthier, and therefore they make fewer demands on health- and social-care services.’Brenton says the statistics about loneliness in Britain are stark, and yet we are doing ‘sod all’ about it. According to the Campaign To End Loneliness, more than half of all people over 75 in the UK live alone, and two fifths of older people say the television is their main company. I don’t want to age in the same way as she is ageingAnna Watkins Shirley Meredeen at homeCredit:Lydia Goldblatt  ‘We’re not a bunch of hippies,’ one member tells me. Nor are they man-haters. It’s women-only because women are often the ones left behind. Everyone owns or rents their flat (the largest have three bedrooms and cost about £400,000), but no one need feel isolated.There is a common room, a community kitchen, guest rooms for visitors, and a garden – all designed to encourage a socially fluid lifestyle: sharing maintenance and gardening tasks, cooking and eating a weekly meal together. There will be an on-site film club, but the idea is to use local facilities, too. A revolutionSo either they rejected us, or we rejected them.’Making this project happen was a long, slow process. Potential sites were found and lost. Housing associations came and went. Women joined and left.‘Many couldn’t wait,’ Brenton says. She became the group’s champion, but never planned to be part of the community. ‘One of the reasons I didn’t join them was so I could keep them going. If my personal fortunes went up and down as theirs did we would have got nowhere,’ she explains. Shirley Meredeen at home A condition of Brenton’s grant was that she had to report her findings to women’s groups. She organised the workshop Meredeen attended at the NCVO, where she gave a presentation and showed a film about co-housing by a Dutch filmmaker. Brenton remembers attendees sharing their excitement.‘Six of them went off like excited starlings to the pub afterwards…’ Buoyed by the workshop, Meredeen and Levius announced a gathering of prospective co-housing participants at Meredeen’s flat a month later. Eight people came. They had another meeting the following month. OWCH was born.‘We thought we’d have it within five years. We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for,’ Meredeen says. She explains that the main complication was the group’s desire to include rented flats (17 are owned, eight rented), which meant identifying funding and getting housing-association and local-authority support.  It’s the first time in my life that I’ve actually done something revolutionary and it feels incredibly excitingAnna Watkins A birds-eye view of the apartments  A birds-eye view of the apartments Credit:Pollard Thomas Edwards But finally, with financial support from Housing for Women (H4W), the Tudor Trust and Hanover Housing Association, the group is set to make history. ‘It’s the first time in my life that I’ve actually done something revolutionary and it feels incredibly exciting,’ says Anna Watkins, 63, a costume designer.She joined OWCH in 2010. ‘I was looking after my aged mother, who was living alone in a little terraced house in London. She was happy, but as her health declined she became less mobile and I started thinking, “I don’t want to age in the same way as she is ageing.”I asked her one day, “What do the neighbours do to help you?” And she said, “Oh darling, they are wonderful.” By that she meant a nice man who lived opposite waved at her while she was sitting in her chair. And I realised a wave wouldn’t be enough for me. I would want a cup of tea, a conversation.’ The workshop was life-changing. ‘Madeleine and I went to the pub afterwards and decided to create something similar,’ Meredeen says.Next month, 26 women aged from 50 to 86 will move into a unique community that they’ve had built in High Barnet, north London.‘We’re not a bunch of hippies’It has taken 18 years and many ups and downs, but they have finally realised their dream. Older Women’s Co-Housing (OWCH) is a groundbreaking project designed specifically for – and by – women, and they will manage it themselves. It is not a commune, in which the group owns everything and it’s share and share alike. An artist’s impression of what the homes will look likeCredit:Pollard Thomas Edwards Co-housing is a fundamentally different way of life in which people live close to, but not with, each other She broke her tibia. Then, when she was discharged from hospital five weeks later, she fell off her crutches and broke her hand. To her intense frustration, she had to be admitted for six weeks.  But her mood was upbeat. ‘If the OWCH building was finished, I wouldn’t need to be here,’ she said. Maria Brenton on siteCredit:Lydia Goldblatt  An artist's impression of what the homes will look like In the Netherlands (population almost 17 million), there are now 230 senior co-housing communities ‘We’d go to local authorities to introduce the idea and these lovely young housing staff would say, “Great idea, but our housing priorities are younger people.” Or they’d say, “There’s a site at the end of the railway line” – out of sight, out of mind – but we wanted to be part of the community where we had doctors, libraries, shops, transport. There is even a decluttering group. Meetings can be long and extremely detailed, and today’s topics include the purchase of furniture for the common room. It’s clear everyone is anxious to start living with one another, and the ever-receding date for completion is starting to wear them down.Originally set for the end of March, it is now May (and will end up being September). ‘Should you rent, sofa-surf or stay with a relative?’ says one  member who has recently sold her house. ‘It’s very stressful.’ April 7 2016 ‘When people are less lonely they are nearly always healthier than when they feel abandoned and alone,’ Meredeen reads from a newspaper article she’s cut out entitled, ‘We hear a lot about compassion for the elderly. Isn’t it time we showed some?’ ‘That is absolutely relevant to OWCH,’ she says.We’re sitting in her light-filled flat in a handsome Victorian block overlooking Highbury Fields, north London.  This is our second meeting. Our first, some months earlier, was in the institutional setting of a respite-care centre nearby. Meredeen had been watering plants on a stepladder in her flat when it collapsed. There are also smaller ‘task groups’ for matters such as gardening and communications. (I will later sit in on a meeting of the Relocation Task Group in the foyer of the Lyttelton Theatre at the National Theatre, where 11 members drink coffee and discuss the logistics of moving 26 women over three weeks.) Keeping older people happierResearch suggests that the health impact of loneliness and social isolation is ‘equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day’. ‘OWCH women look out for each other, not after each other,’ Brenton says. ‘At some point, people may need full-time residential care,  but it will be much later than if they’d been living alone.’  Watkins googled ‘communities’ and found OWCH. ‘I liked their ethos of helping older people, and their togetherness. It’s almost like everyone in the community is signed up to be a good neighbour. They will all wave at me, but some will also come over and say, “How are  you doing?”’ ‘Very much a women’s problem’ In 1990, Maria Brenton, now 70, then an academic in social policy at the University of Wales, was researching old age.‘I saw that it was very much a women’s problem,’ she explains. ‘Women live longer than men, and many have fewer resources because they’ve been cut out of the workforce bringing up children.’Brenton, convinced of women’s resourcefulness, went in search of instances in which they might be ‘helping each other out’. In 1997, with a grant from The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, she travelled throughout America, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands. ‘To cut a long story short, what  I found was the co-housing model in Holland,’ she says.The idea had actually originated in Denmark, where, in the 1960s, architects and families who had become dissatisfied with single-family housing began experimenting with something more collaborative. Deirdre Flanagan, 59, is a careers advisor and has lived in a housing-association flat in Westminster, central London, for 20 years. Initially thrilled to live in the heart of the capital, she now finds it ‘abrasive’.She discovered OWCH through Diggers and Dreamers, an organisation that offers information about alternative living, from co-ops to co-housing. She attended her first OWCH meeting in  July 2013, and her admiration for the women was instant. ‘They’re a solid group who care and live by what they believe is truthful  and good.’  It’s women-only because women are often the ones left behind February 14 2016 OWCH members are gathered in the common room of Argenta House, a sheltered-housing complex in Belsize Park, north London. OWCH has held meetings here on the second Sunday of every month for 17 years. The schedule  consists of business matters, a ‘pot luck’ lunch supplied by members, and workshops.Today, plates of home-made quiche, smoked salmon, chocolate cake, lychees, sliced pineapple and  a Terry’s Chocolate Orange are laid out on a table. There are about 20 members taking their place in a circle of chairs, but there are also friends, associates and visitors. There is no OWCH office, and no paid employees.They are all volunteers. OWCH follows a consensus process for discussions and decision-making, and has fine-tuned policies for everything from resolving arguments to pets, car shares and the resale of flats (offered to the community first, and then, if there are no takers, to non-resident members of OWCH – currently  a pool of three women, though there are plans to increase the number to 12; flats will never be sold on the open market). ‘There would be people who could do my shopping and come and say hello.  ‘Have you seen my rota?’ she continued,  pulling a sheet of paper out of a plastic wallet. ‘I have two people from OWCH visiting every day. They’ve delivered newspapers, apples, bananas, Camembert cheese.You see, OWCH has proved itself before we’ve even moved in.’ Meredeen is a ‘news addict’, interested in politics, with a wide group of friends and  membership of Tate and the Royal Academy. ‘The trouble is people die off,’ she says. ‘My address book gets smaller all the time.’ Friends also become less mobile.‘It’s the weekends that can be difficult. If I’ve not spoken to anyone for two days, I’ll feel low. Then I’ll ring a friend.’ Meredeen goes on, ‘If you’re in a flat on  your own and are lucky enough to have social care, someone may come for 15 minutes. But then they’re off to the next one. The design recently won the Richard Feilden Award at the Housing Design Awards. Diana Deeks-Plummer, an artist and photographer, who has been living in a council flat in Lewisham, had until this moment not allowed herself to believe in the completion of the development.‘I’m still scared to believe it,’ she says. She imagines plants on the balcony and visits from her six-year-old grandson. Vivien Sheehan, a former PA who loves entertaining, is relieved her big farmhouse table will fit in her open-plan kitchen/sitting room.‘I’m not buying a flat, I’m buying a whole life change,’ says Sue Tubb, a retired head teacher.  Meredeen leans on a walking stick, surveying the sweep of the three-storey complex: the result of 18 years of sheer doggedness.‘It’s wonderful,’ she says. ‘Most women my age would not be looking forward to old age – I’m looking forward to a great adventure.’ She exhales deeply. ‘This has kept me alive.’For more information, visit Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Meghan Markle sparks engagement rumours as she speaks of great love story

first_imgThe October issue of Vanity Fair appears on newsstands in the UK on Friday, September 8. The full interview is available online. The full interview with Meghan Markle appears in the October issue of Vanity Fair, on sale from Friday September 8 “We’re a couple. We’re in love.” Meghan Markle has spoken of her “great love story” with Prince Harry for the first time, confirming: “We’re a couple. We’re in love.”The American actress, who has been dating the Prince since summer 2016, said they were treasuring “our time”, before sharing details of their relationship with the watching world.Calling him her “boyfriend” publicly for the first time, she said: “We’re two people who are really happy and in love.”The interview, with Vanity Fair magazine, is understood to have been conducted with the blessing of Prince Harry, with Kensington Palace aware that it would be coming out. Prince Harry Despite being one half of a royal power couple, Markle added, “nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.” The full interview with Meghan Markle appears in the October issue of Vanity Fair, on sale from Friday September 8Credit:Vanity Fair Show more center_img Asked about the level of public interest, which last year led Prince Harry to issue a statement protecting his girlfriend, Markle said:  “I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it’s really simple. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love.“I haven’t even read press for Suits. The people who are close to me anchor me in knowing who I am. The rest is noise.” It has already inspired speculation of an imminent engagement, with her interview interpreted by Royal watchers as a significant step in making their relationship public and official.Prince Harry, as fifth-in-line to the throne, must ask the Queen’s permission before marriage.The magazine interview sees Markle confirm she met Prince Harry through friends in London in July 2016 and dated quietly for months without the public becoming aware of their romance.“I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception,” said the actress, who stars in US Netflix drama Suits. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Prince Harry Asked by the magazine about her experience dating “one of the world’s most famous bachelors”, Markle conceded that being romantically linked with Prince Harry “has its challenges””It comes in waves,” she said. “Some days it can feel more challenging than others. “And right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed. But I still have this support system all around me, and, of course, my boyfriend’s support.” Of maintaining their privacy, she added: “I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. “This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. “But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”How romance blossomed for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last_img read more

Wolves could cut Scotlands deer numbers if they were in large reserves

Dr Joseph Bull, lecturer in conservation science at the University of Kent, said wolves were “glorious” animals, were originally a native species, and the idea of returning them would be thrilling for many people, although the contribution to global wolf conservation would be small. wolf Numerous calls have been made for the reintroduction of wolves in Scotland, although Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Minister, told farmers earlier this year that wolves, bears and lynx would be reintroduced “over my dead body”. If wolves are ever to be reintroduced to the Highlands it may have to be done inside “very large” fenced reserves if they are to be effective at reducing deer numbers, according to a new study.Scientists at the universities of Sussex and Kent said a fenced area would also help limit encounters with local residents and farmers, while giving the grey wolf the opportunity to achieve the high population densities needed to reduce deer numbers.They said the current deer population was preventing tree regeneration and ecosystem restoration in parts of Scotland, with more than one third of all native woodlands in an unfavourable condition because of herbivore impacts.Dr Christopher Sandom, a biology lecturer at the University of Sussex, added: “Reintroducing the wolf has long been suggested as part of the solution to large red deer populations but there will always be concerns about how wolves interact with people in any rewilding project like this.“This research shows that they could actually have an extremely beneficial impact in terms of making the rewilding process more effective.” Paul Lister wants to release wolves in a large, fenced reserve stag Scotland’s red deer have no natural predator Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “Fences particularly constrain animal dispersal, but as Britain is an island, this is less of a problem. A fenced reserve in Scotland could be a fantastic opportunity to return large predators to Britain, ecologically restore a large part of the Scottish Highlands, and promote tourism.”He said the modelling carried out in the study was inspired by the Alladale estate but could also work for other parts of Scotland and in other countries. Paul Lister, the owner of the Alladale estate in Sutherland, has been calling for more than a decade for wolves to be brought back.He wants to release two packs of wolves inside an area of 50,000 acres ringed by a 9ft fence, in a bid to demonstrate how the “impoverished” Highland landscape can be restored through the control of deer and regeneration of native woodland.The researchers, who also worked with scientists from Aarhus University and the University of Oxford (WildCRU), tackled the question of how many wolves would be needed in an area to bring down the number of red deer to allow ecological restoration.Dr Sandom added: “Fences are a common but unpopular tool in biodiversity conservation and would ideally be avoided. But where there are conflicting interests, compromise is needed. read more

Car stolen during Craig robbery found stripped in Guyhoc Park

The car that was stolen by bandits on Thursday last during the robberyThe Silver/Grey Toyota Premio car bearing registration number PTT 502, which was stolen during a robbery at Craig, East Bank Demerara (EBD) was found stripped of several parts at Guyhoc Park, East Ruimveldt, Georgetown.At the time of the discovery that car was carrying registration number, PRR 8349, with its lights, front bumper, mirrors and other accessories missing.The car was later identified as belonging to that of Lalbeharry’s Poultry Farm, of Craig, East Bank Demerara, which was invaded and robbed on May 24.On May 24, four armed men invaded the head office of the poultry business located at Buzz-Bee-Dam, Craig, EBD at about 04:14h.The 56-year-old owner identified as Patsy Lalbeharry called Lalita was robbed of a large quantity of cash, along with her son’s motorcar.The vehicle was reportedly identified by several features that were installed by the owner’s son Deonauth Lalbeharry.INews was told that Patsy resided with her sons Deonauth and Rudra Lalbeharry in the two storey structure where they would often conduct business transactions.On Thursday last, Deonauth explained that he was awoken by the sound of a “loud explosion.”“I start thinking it’s some electrical problem but then I heard my mother pleading and saying ‘Oh God, don’t kill me!’” the man recalled.At that time, he said that three men barged into his room, armed with handguns.INews understands that the bandits initially made their way into Rudra’s room, before kicking down the middle door which leads into Patsy’s room.The bandits began threatening the trio, while demanding that they turn over their “cash and gold.”The frightened 56-year-old woman immediately complied (giving them money) and the men made good their escape with Deonauth’s car, PTT 502.Law enforcement ranks were immediately contacted and inspections at the home revealed that the bandits might have been hiding in the house for quite some time.“We found cigarette droppings in the lower flat and it appears as though the men were in the house and waiting for someone to come downstairs,” Deonauth speculated.INews understands that this is the first time the Lalbeharry’s have been attacked by bandits at their home.However, in 2017, the family suffered significant losses following a burglary committed on their business located on the public road.So far no arrests have been made in connection with the most recent robbery. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related38 arrested in operation ‘Restore Order’October 14, 2018In “Crime”Police recover stolen car, valuables from Diamond robberyMay 16, 2018In “Crime”Police identify murder suspect, accomplice in Craig shootoutJuly 15, 2015In “Crime” read more

Banro – punches well above its weight for a gold explorer

first_imgSouth of Lake Kivu, DRC, Banro has exemplary exploration and development programs underway in terms of both technical excellence and integration into the regions and communities involved. John Chadwick visited and saw a, perhaps, unique situation, a 210-km long gold belt controlled by one junior exploration (moving into mining) company. On such a resource one would normally find a major or two and any number of juniors. Banro also boasts scoping study Internal Rates of Return (IRR) on its two most advanced projects that are probably the envy of the industry – both well over 30% with paybacks well below three years. Many in the industry will be happy with IRRs of around 15%.Many mining companies currently with operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo are having problems with their licences or are nervous of their future. Not so Banro, and deservedly so. With over 11 Moz (and surely much more to come) on its four projects on the Twangiza-Namoya gold belt in the east of DRC, Banro describes itself as having “the passion of a junior and the assets of a major.” This seems very accurate. With four gold projects to date (including all but proving two mines), and more to come, 100% equity and no title reviews, first gold production is likely by 2010 from a single 5-8 Mt/y mine. Banro is also very competently managing the great, but not insurmountable, logistics challenges of the region.Its tremendous assets are not just one of the last great known undeveloped gold belts on the African continent, but also a remarkable group of people, which all in the company recognise, and a community development program that would put many a major to shame, let alone any junior. Unlike some companies operating on the continent that are top heavy in non-African expatriates, Banro is a very ‘African’ company. President Peter Cowley is a geologist with over 35 years international experience, mainly in Africa. Prior to joining Banro in 2004, he was Managing Director of Ashanti Exploration (now part of AngloGold Ashanti) where he managed exploration activities throughout Africa. He played a major role in the discovery and development of the Geita mine in Tanzania. He also engendered tremendous loyalty among his staff there and the testament to this is the Tanzanian and Ghanaian geologists now found in Banro’s main operations office in Bukavu and out in the field managing the four projects (in order of project progress) at Twangiza, Namoya, Lugushwa and Kamituga. There is a really good feel to each of the three exploration camps – Kamituga’s camp has yet to be established. Each one has a Chief Geologist from either Tanzania or Ghana, all reporting to Dan Bansah, Vice President, Exploration. These African expats are helping to bring along Congolese into many responsible positions. For instance, there are now 38 Congolese geologists in the company. In Bukavu, under Peter Kersi the Ghanaian Chief Geologist Mineral Resources, Banro’s sample preparation facility is not only a model in efficiency with meticulous standards, it is another great Banro example of integrating the local community – almost completely staffed by Congolese workers, all with science backgrounds. While Banro obviously benefits from being one of the few employers in the city able to vocationally employ such people, it is doing so in ways that are clearly adding a great deal to the local skills pool resource.Reflecting the fact that prefeasibility studies are underway, which will quickly move to bankable feasibility studies and construction, Mike Prinsloo, a mine developer with a strong track record, was appointed Banro’s CEO in September 2007. He has 35 years experience in the gold mining industry, with turning round DRD Gold’s operations as one of his achievements this century. He will start building a mine development team soon, and will no doubt be continuing Banro’s African traditions and looking to bring on Congolese as much as possible.Twangiza is relatively close to a development go-ahead and discussing it with Mike Prinsloo he clearly already has some very practical ideas for its future development – like consideration of two 2.5 Mt/y circuits with smaller mills rather than a single one for 5 Mt/y (and it could be three circuits for about 8 Mt/y). As he rightly points out, problems with a big milling circuit in a region like this might be manageable (but very uncomfortable) for a major, but could kill smaller companies.Namoya will follow shortly after Twangiza becomes operational. At this scooping study stage, Banro is looking at combined first year output of 600,000-800,000 oz. Both start as open pits, Twangiza with a very low stripping ratio (averaging 2:1 overall for the whole orebody), with great potential at depth. Metallurgy is relatively simple, but extra gold may well be recoverable from Twangiza by employing some of the latest technologies.RBC Capital Markets has been appointed to study Banro’s options ahead of financing and developing the projects. The results of the study should be known early in 2008, according to Prinsloo. It could be that another larger mining company becomes involved. It could also be that a separate company is spun off to develop Banro’s mines and that its extensive exploration projects are packaged in a separate exploration company. Whatever happens, it is sure to be interesting, especially to the people of the South Kivu and Maniema Provinces.There can be no other mining company of this size with anything like the Banro Foundation, a registered charity in the DRC with a mandate to support education, health and infrastructure improvements, as well as provide humanitarian assistance as needed. Banro Corporation funds the Banro Foundation. A number of guiding principles steer its work as it focuses on needs identified by the local communities and invests in improvements that benefit communities as a whole. Whenever possible, the Foundation employs local labour in its initiatives. Last month the Banro Foundation officially opened its new community offices in Twangiza, Lugushwa and Namoya. These offices, each staffed by a local Banro Foundation secretary, are administrative centres for its work in promoting social and economic development. A number of new community initiatives were launched as part of the inauguration ceremonies. New projects at Lugushwa include construction of a new medical clinic and the building of a Women’s Centre to be used for the teaching of sewing and other skills. Rehabilitation of the Lugushwa-Tukenga road is also planned. At Namoya, new projects include rehabilitation of the local medical clinic and construction of the Sarambila Institute secondary school. Projects proposed by the local Banro Foundation committee at Twangiza include the supply of potable water to the community, construction of three new schools and provision of stationary supplies to local schools. The Banro Foundation has to date completed several social development projects. Among those have been a number of bridges, saving villagers considerable time and inconvenience in fording rivers. Most recently, the Foundation built the Ntiaso bridge and put in place the supply of potable water to a village in Lugushwa. It is also in the process of completing construction of the Kadubo bridge. Meanwhile, local residents in Namoya are finishing repairs to the Roman Catholic Church with building materials supplied by the Banro Foundation. The Foundation also provides writing supplies and desks, built by local carpenters, to primary schools. In the area of health care, it has focused on infrastructure development and distributes beds, blankets, and mosquito netting to medical clinics. Construction of roads and bridges is an ongoing priority. The full Banro story will be told in International Mining early in 2008.last_img read more

Outotec sees great future in oil shale

first_imgOutotec has reached an agreement with Eesti Energia for the design, delivery and construction of a new oil shale processing plant to be built in Narva, Estonia. The contract is valued at approximately €110 million. Outotec has already made basic engineering for the same plant, which is scheduled for commissioning in early 2012. The two have developed a solution, which greatly improves the existing solid heat carrier process for the extraction of oil from oil shale and other hydrocarbon materials. In course of the development, large-scale test work was conducted primarily at Outotec’s research center in Frankfurt, Germany. The new sustainable process, called Enefit, uses the latest fluidised bed technology.Outotec’s scope of delivery includes engineering, procurement, equipment supplies, construction and commissioning of key plant sections of the new plant based on the Enefit technology. The plant will process over 2.2 Mt/y of oil shale annually, resulting in roughly 290,000 t of oil. The spent oil shale from the pyrolysis will be combusted in a circulating fluidized bed reactor. The combustion energy is used to dry and heat up the raw oil shale and to produce steam for electrical energy generation. “This contract is a significant breakthrough in applying our existing technologies within other process industries, such as oil shale processing. Furthermore, the new sustainable technology enhances energy efficiency and ensures compliance with the European Union’s environmental regulations,” stated Outotec’s CEO Tapani Järvinen.Outotec and Eesti Energia have entered into a joint venture to hold the intellectual property rights and the commercialisation of this new sustainable oil shale processing technology. Eesti Energia has a 60% stake in the new company with Outotec owning the remaining 40%. Under the new partnership, the goal is to become a significant supplier of oil shale technology solutions, benefiting from Eesti Energia’s experience in oil shale mining and processing and Outotec’s expertise in fluidised bed technologies, engineering and project implementation.“The world’s recoverable oil shale resources are many times greater than those of conventional oil reserves, with large oil shale deposits to be found in the US, Brazil, China, Jordan, Russia and Estonia. In Estonia alone, there is potential to use the new technology for building several plants. We have developed a sustainable technology for the oil shale industry and we believe that our joint company will generate many business opportunities in the energy sector,” stated Järvinen.last_img read more

Over €100k paid out in compensation to two families of prisoners who

first_img Share9 Tweet Email1 17,930 Views File photos By Hayley Halpin Over €100k paid out in compensation to two families of prisoners who died from self-inflicted injuries That’s according to documents provided to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Short URL Friday 29 Mar 2019, 6:00 AM OVER €100,000 has been paid out in compensation to two families of prisoners who had died from self-inflicted injuries while in custody in recent years.That’s according to a document provided to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by the Department of Justice, seen by The document showed that between the years of 2014 and 2018 a total of €2,359,145 was paid in compensation to prisoners. Another €5,913,695 in associated legal costs were borne by the State in defending these claims. Compensation payouts were highest in 2016, standing at €647,167, followed by 2018 at €502,646 and 2017 at €492,126. 2015 saw €468,059 worth of compensation payouts, while payouts in 2014 stood at €249,137. Payments for self-injurious behaviour between 2016 and 2017 were €50,000 and €51,737, respectively. These payments were made to families of prisoners who had died from self-inflicted injuries while in custody. The document outlined that the State Claims Agency (SCA) manages the following types of personal injury and property damage claims on behalf of its client State authorities, their servants or agents:  File photos Image: Shutterstock/alexfan32 22 Comments Image: Shutterstock/alexfan32 Injury to employeesInjury to a member of the publicClinical negligence Third-party property damageThe State Claims Agency also manages claims on behalf of the Irish Prison Service in relation to slopping-out (lack of in-cell sanitation).The Irish Prison Service manage certain personal injury claims which are not covered by the delegation to the State Claims Agency.If a personal injury claim involves an alleged assault between members of staff or an alleged assault by a staff member on a prisoner, these cases are managed directly by the Irish Prison Service in conjunction with the Chief State Solicitors Office.“The State Claims Agency aims to ensure that the Irish Prison Service liability to contained at the lowest achievable level,” the document stated.Personal injury claims pursued by a person who has also made a protected disclosure in relation to their injury claim are managed by the State Claims Agency.The Department of Justice outlined in the document that no compensation payments have been made in cases relating to protected disclosures to date. Mar 29th 2019, 6:01 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Food & Drink: Chef conjures vegan, gluten-free goodies

first_imgRachel Pinsky can be emailed at Follow her on Instagram @couveeats and @rachelapinsky and on Facebook @coueeats. Five years ago, after surviving a harrowing health crisis, JoJo Reily abandoned her career as a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef. She held a variety of jobs trying to decide what she would do next. One of those jobs was working at the Nature’s Wild Harvest booth at the Vancouver Farmers Market, where she noticed a lack of vegan and gluten-free treats (she had changed her own diet in response to her health problems).Reily decided to start Blackbird Alchemy Bakery to serve that niche. She felt confident she could come up with recipes for delicious treats but admits there was a learning process.“I think it’s intuition, you have the training but then you need intuition. I was nailing some recipes pretty quick,” she said. “Just like regular baking, certain things have to be chilled first or when you bake them they’ll be flat. Certain things when you combine them with other things do weird things. I learned that I have to watch out with my baking powder with the oat scones because when you have baking powder, when it mixes with other things, it can have an ammonia smell.”Reily explained the name for her bakery (Blackbird Alchemy) and the creation of its logo, “Blackbirds have always been my thing. It’s probably a spirit animal for me. And Alchemy is taking things and transforming them into something new so it all fit together. I painted my sign and just started painting on that and it all just came out.”She stocks muffins (like chocolate decadence, banana chocolate chip, apple cinnamon streusel), scones (like cranberry orange), tartlettes, and cookies (like double chocolate chip, chocolate peppermint, cherry chocolate coconut, walnut chocolate chip, peanut butter, almond jam-filled thumbprint, lemon crinkle, hazelnut tea cookies, and coconut macaroons) at her Vancouver Farmers Market booth. You can also find her treats at Wattle Tree Place.last_img read more

Battle Ground struts its stuff in Harvest Days parade

first_img Eager kids plunged into a hailstorm of candy Saturday as floats passed along Main Street in Battle Ground. The Harvest Days parade brought smiles, excitement and a sugar rush to the thousands in attendance.“I love a parade,” said Jo Wright of Yacolt.Wright has gone to more than 50 parades across the country, she said. In her motor home, Wright trekked to each state, with the exception of Hawaii, of course, she said with a smile.“My husband always said, if we built a bridge, we’d go there too,” she joked.Wright talked a friend into joining her this year in Battle Ground, she said.“It is always fun to see the kids waiting with their plastic buckets for the candy,” she said. “It is just a wonderful and fun event.”Among the floats, Wright especially looked forward to seeing members of the 4-H Club pass by. The 4-Hers, she said, are the future leaders of our countries. They care about people and they care about food supply, she said.“They are our future,” she said.This year’s 4-H exhibits are among a host of activities at the “Wild, Wild West” themed Harvest Days celebration, said Carrie Schulstad, executive director for the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce. Stefanie Donahue/The Columbian Jo Wright waves to Harvest Days parade participants on Saturday. Wright enjoys parades and has attended more than 50 as she travelled across the country, she said.last_img read more

Muhiths record this govts last budget

first_imgAbul Maal Abdul Muhith. File PhotoFinance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith will place in parliament today, Thursday, the annual budget for 2018-19, keeping focus on the next general elections to be held later this year.The minister may raise individual income tax-free limit, reduce corporate tax and make higher allocations for social safety-net programmes – the priorities that are widely considered populist measures.His priorities areas in the Tk 4.68 trillion budget, as already indicted, include infrastructure, power, education and skill development, investment and jobs creation.However, the next budget would see a deficit of Tk 1.27 trillion or one fourth of the outlay. The deficit is expected to be financed by foreign aid and borrowing from banks and issuance of savings certificates.Former finance adviser to the caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam told Prothom Alo that such big budget is not implemented and the government showed lessening capacity in budget implementation over the years.In 2011-12 fiscal year, 93 per cent of the actual outlay was implemented while the rate would come down to 80 per cent at the end of the current fiscal year, he pointed out.The finance minister is likely to allocate significant amount to fund the losses made by the state-owned banks due to scams and default loans.Former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank Khondoker Ibrahim Khaled criticised such a move, saying a strong finance minister is required stop spending of public money for banks and bring discipline in the banking sector.The next budget is the country’s 47th budget — 19th during any Awami League government.Muhith is going to set a record of submitting budget for a record 12th time. Last year, he equalled finance minister of the BNP government M Saifur Rahman’s record of placing 11th national budget.Muhith presented his first ever budget during general Ershad’s martial law and he is the first finance minister to place the national budget for the 10th straight time since 2009.The finance minister is expected to fix the target of GDP (gross domestic product) growth at 7.8 per cent for the next financial year. The target for the outgoing financial year is 7.28 per cent.Muhith is scheduled to speak at a post-budget press conference at Osmani Memorial auditorium at 2:30pm on 8 June (Friday), the day after submission of the budget.last_img read more

New East End Pet Clinic Aims To Help Reduce Stray Animal Overpopulation

first_imgListen – / 6Houston’s East End has a brand new low-cost pet clinic and one of its goals is to help decrease the overpopulation of stray animals in that part of town.The Austin-based non-profit Emancipet started its Houston operation in 2015 using a 48-feet customized trailer as a temporary location.Kelly McCann, vice president of Emancipet Houston, says that now they have much more room in their brick and mortar facility, located at the 900 block of South Wayside Drive.“The 2,800 square feet allows us to have three fully functioning exam rooms, we have a large and comfortable waiting room for our clients,” McCann said.Spaying and neutering can cost hundreds of dollars, but Emancipet does them for fees that range from $35 to $65.McCann is hopeful that will help reduce the overpopulation of stray animals, which officials with the City of Houston have estimated in the hundreds of thousands, with many of them located in the East End.Emancipet gets funding through grants, fundraisers and donations.That allows it to provide affordable pet care, which helps Houstonians like Sarah Thompson, a nursing student who owns two dogs and a cat.“I know that I’m not going to be out a significant portion of my, like, minimal income at the moment in order to take care of them,” says Thompson.The clinic also places microchips, with information about the owner, on the pets they treat. X 00:00 /01:07 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more

After Federal Probe Parents Say Texas Districts Lack Funding Staff To Help

first_imgBut she said the Texas Education Agency’s plan to monitor and correct how schools are serving students is unrealistic without a long-term plan for funding it. Last year, lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would have provided schools with extra money for each child diagnosed with dyslexia.”When you don’t have money identified per child … it isn’t going anywhere, I’m sorry,” Miller said.Ultimately, Miller said, parents have to serve as a consistent force for holding their schools accountable. “It will go somewhere if parents in that school district get together, like a [parent teacher association]. They have more influence than they can ever, ever imagine.”Section 504 vs. special edMargiotta first noticed her son’s trouble with words in pre-K, when other kids began to read and write their first letters and he could not — the start of a years-long battle.When she asked school officials to test him for dyslexia in kindergarten, she was told they didn’t generally test students until second grade — a policy that violates state and federal law. Ultimately, his symptoms were so severe that school officials tested him in the middle of first grade and diagnosed him with dyslexia, then decided to keep him in general education.But the school’s reading specialist could not fit him into her schedule, and he failed to make progress in second grade, Margiotta said.“He was dramatically behind his peers,” she said. Finally, she successfully pushed district officials to evaluate him for special education at the end of third grade, and they worked together to create an individualized plan to help him catch up. She said she had no idea he might have been eligible for special education for his dyslexia in kindergarten.Federal special education law lists dyslexia as an example of a “specific learning disability,” one of a dozen disability categories it covers. Students may be eligible for federally-funded services if they lack reading comprehension skills or the basic ability to read.The law requires schools to evaluate students for special education when teachers or parents suspect they may have a learning disability that warrants the additional services.Students with varying levels of dyslexia are eligible for special education and can receive services and tools to access the curriculum, such as voice dictation technology or help from an aide. They can receive that help in regular classes or in separate special education classes, and their parents are guaranteed certain legal rights to collaborate on the school’s decisions.Many Texas educators told federal investigators they interpreted state policy to mean that students couldn’t qualify for special education unless they had a second disability along with dyslexia. But that interpretation of policy violates federal law, the January federal report says.Many educators lack training to know when they should refer struggling learners to special education. A student with dyslexia could be directed through drastically different plans of action depending on his or her individual district, school or even teacher.The result: Most Texas students with dyslexia don’t get the more-intensive services provided under federal law, including some students who may need them. About 141,000 Texas students in 2015-16 received services for dyslexia, but just 20 percent of those students received federally-funded special education, according to the federal monitoring report.The other 80 percent of students with dyslexia receive services in regular classrooms through a broader federal civil rights provision called “Section 504,” which comes with no state or federal funding and few requirements for parental input or consent.“I saw the way that schools were funneling parents into 504 plans for dyslexia, basically allowing them to offer whatever they deemed they were going to offer for dyslexia,” said Robbi Cooper, a parent-turned-advocate who leads the state chapter of advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia. “There was no parental involvement, unless it was given lip service.”The state’s general education dyslexia program is intended to give students with mild to moderate dyslexia targeted instruction so they can make academic progress.This year, 61 percent of Austin ISD students with dyslexia are in the state’s general education dyslexia program, said Jean Bahney, the district’s special education director. The district has trained 200 teachers to recognize and help kids with dyslexia and has 67 certified academic language therapists, each serving one campus, who work primarily in general education classes, she said.But not every district invests those kinds of resources into its general education programs. Texas does not regulate who is allowed to teach students with dyslexia, or what reading programs they should use, leaving those decisions up to individual districts and schools.Stephen Yearout, a parent of two sons with dyslexia, said he had to wait three weeks to get his son small-group intensive reading instruction in Garland ISD’s general education dyslexia program because the district didn’t have enough staff. Some of the programs available are taught by support staff, not certified reading specialists.“How are you going to take a child that needs somebody that is highly educated on language and reading and give them a teacher’s aide?” Yearout said.‘I can’t believe I’m still fighting’Despite advocates’ push to get federally-funded services for more students who need them, some say special education does not guarantee a good education for students with dyslexia because many schools don’t have properly trained staff.Many experts say how students are being taught matters more than whether they are in special education or general education.“If they’re not taught by a certified dyslexia professional or with the proper instruction, it isn’t going to matter where they are,” said Courtney Hoffman, a lobbyist for the Academic Language Therapy Association.Jack Fletcher, a University of Houston learning disability researcher who played a big role in creating both federal and state special education law, said special education alone can’t solve the achievement gap for kids with disabilities.“It takes both general education and special education working together to do that,” Fletcher said. “Kids with dyslexia learn to read just like other kids do,” just with more intensive instruction.Ideally, he said, schools would offer a “continuum of integrated services” instead of strictly dividing general education and special education.After her son was put in special education in fourth grade, Margiotta asked if he could still be taught by a qualified reading specialist or dyslexia specialist. The school’s principal said that giving him access to the trained staff in general education when he qualified for special education would be considered “double dipping,” she said. Her request was denied.That goes against Austin ISD policy, said Bahney, who became special education director in 2016. She said all kids in special education should have access to whatever resources they need, including specialized teachers.Margiotta is still pushing for the right individualized program that will help her son progress academically. Last year, he mostly learned from computer-based programs instead of from a trained teacher.She fought to get him 30 minutes four times a week of direct, small group reading instruction intended for kids with dyslexia. When he is not being pulled out for special instruction, he gets extra time to complete assignments, assisted technology, small group testing and individualized reminders to stay on task.Even after Margiotta hired an attorney to help her negotiate with the district, she is still confused about what he is learning in his one-on-one sessions.Under federal special education law, she has the legal right to a formal complaint process if she disagrees with how district officials choose to educate her son. She has meetings with district officials as many as six times per year, most involving lawyers.“I can’t believe I’m still fighting for basic services for a child of this age,” she said.Margiotta said her son is now feeling too old for some of the services that could help him access more of the curriculum. He doesn’t want an aide to attend classes with him.“That’s part of the problem now is that he didn’t get the intensive science research-based remediation that he needed,” she said. “Now he’s resistant to the help because he wants to be independent. It’s hard to know what I want right now for him, because some of it’s too late.” Share Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, a State Board of Education member representing part of North Texas, advocated for the first state dyslexia law in the nation in 1985, mandating students at all grade levels get screened and treated for dyslexia.Miller’s son had a form of dyslexia that affected his ability to learn to write. But he wasn’t diagnosed until he was 19, much too late for the school system to help him.“The regular education, mild to moderate children, have historically not been served and fell through the cracks and none were identified,” she said. “Our law in 1985 was specifically designated for kids who were left in the regular classroom.”But it was, and still is, an unfunded mandate. The state never provided money for the new services, forcing districts to find the money in their own budgets.In 1992, Miller led the charge to create the first state dyslexia handbook, most recently updated in 2014, providing educators and parents with an overview of state and federal requirements for kids with dyslexia. But Miller said parents still call her in tears because schools aren’t identifying their children as dyslexic and offering help.“It shocks me that after all these years … that [schools] would still want to misinterpret the law,” she said.The confusion around dyslexia isn’t a problem isolated to Texas. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance reminding states that students with dyslexia are eligible for federally-funded services.At a recent hearing at the State Board of Education, Miller agreed with parents and advocates who testified that if the state handbook’s guidance was unclear, it should be corrected immediately. The board plans to revise the handbook by summer.center_img Laura Skelding for The Texas TribuneKatharine Margiotta’s 13-year-old son has severe dyslexia and attends a middle school in the Austin Independent School District.When Katharine Margiotta and her family go out to eat, she has to read restaurant menus to her 13-year-old son, who struggles to write letters of the alphabet and guesses most words in his reading assignments.Any teacher should immediately realize he has dyslexia, the most common learning disability, she said. Yet she’s been fighting for years to get Austin ISD to provide high-quality services to help her son learn to read. Now her son is in seventh grade — much older than the age studies say intensive reading instruction is likely to help remediate the disorder — and extremely frustrated with battling his way through classes.“Even with the best case scenario, if he got exactly what he needs right now, he’s going to be different than he could have been,” she said. “He used to want to be an engineer. Now, he sometimes tells me this is his last year of school.”For years, Margiotta has been fighting to connect her son with the qualified teachers and dyslexia-specific programs he needs to read at the same level as his peers. A self-employed real estate broker, she said she is not able to work full-time because of the considerable demands of advocating for her son.She’s had to learn an overly complex educational system that forces countless parents to become legal and policy experts and hold educators accountable for following federal law in a state that hasn’t invested in properly training teachers or setting consistent standards for helping dyslexic students.After a 15-month investigation, the U.S. Department of Education found in January that Texas had effectively capped federally-funded special education services for at least a decade, denying thousands of kids with disabilities the tools and assistance they need to learn. The report said the ambiguity in the state’s policy on dyslexia may have directed some eligible students away from federally-funded special education services, violating federal law.The Texas Education Agency rolled out a preliminary plan last month that would revise state policy on dyslexia so Texas could get back in compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. In 1985, Texas became the first state to pass a law requiring school districts to screen and treat students with dyslexia, back when federal law didn’t address the scores of kids with mild to moderate dyslexia falling through the cracks. So what happened in the last three decades?Many parents and advocates argue that Texas has not updated its guidelines for schools to reflect recent, more progressive federal policy around how to best serve kids with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. But more importantly, they say, school districts lack the funding, knowledge and qualified staff necessary to target struggling learners in both special and general education when they’re young and haven’t yet given up on reading.“It’s my opinion that if teachers really really understood, they would be making changes [in the way they teach students with dyslexia] on their own,” said Marilyn Hagle, a former teacher and parent of two kids with dyslexia. “The understanding isn’t there.”History influences current policyBack in the 1980s, federal law provided no guidance for how to help students with mild to moderate dyslexia, leaving those students to fend for themselves in the education system.last_img read more

Physicists design zerofriction quantum engine

first_img Journal information: Scientific Reports ( —In real physical processes, some energy is always lost any time work is produced. The lost energy almost always occurs due to friction, especially in processes that involve mechanical motion. But in a new study, physicists have designed an engine that operates with zero friction while still generating power by taking advantage of some quantum shortcuts. Quantum engines must break down Explore further Scientists have devised a way to run a quantum cycle based on the use of quantum shortcuts to adiabaticity, where friction-like effects are quenched. Shown are the four steps of a quantum Otto cycle, where heat enters (exits) the working medium and those where work is performed by (done onto). Credit: A. del Campo, et al. ©2014 Nature Scientific Reports This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img The laws of thermodynamics successfully describe the concepts of work and heat in a wide variety of systems, ranging from refrigerators to black holes, as long as the systems are macroscopic. But for quantum technologies on the micro- and nano-scale, quantum fluctuations that are insignificant on large scales start to become prominent. As previous research as shown, the large quantum effects call for a complete reformulation of the thermodynamics laws.What a quantum version of thermodynamics might look like is not yet known, and neither are the limitations or possible advantages of the quantum devices that would be described by such laws. However, one intriguing question is whether it may be possible to build a reversible quantum engine—one in which the engine’s operation can be reversed without energy dissipation (an “adiabatic” process).In the new paper, the physicists have shown one example of a quantum engine that is “super-adiabatic.” That is, the engine uses quantum shortcuts to achieve a state that is usually achieved only by slow adiabatic processes. This engine can achieve a state that is fully frictionless; in other words, the engine reaches its maximum efficiency, while still generating some power.”Shortcuts allow us to ‘mimic’ what would be achieved by running a cycle quasi-statically, i.e., very slowly, while performing transformations at finite time,” coauthor Mauro Paternostro at Queen’s University in Belfast, UK, told “Now, consider for instance a compression or expansion stage of a cycle run using a piston. When doing it at finite time, i.e., non-zero velocity, friction might affect the performance of the transformation. Yet, by using a shortcut to adiabaticity, friction-like effects would get quenched, the cycle performance being the same as that of a quasistatic motor.”The work marks a step toward the key engineering goal in this context, which is to find the maximum efficiency allowed at the maximum possible power. As the scientists note, this pursuit is complicated by the existence of a trade-off between the running time of the super-adiabatic process and the corresponding amount of work dissipated.”This work is one of the first steps into the merging of quantum control and thermodynamics,” Paternostro said. “We have shown that it is possible to use techniques that, to date, have only been used for other goals (population transfer, for instance) for thermodynamic tasks and the engineering of efficient cycles.”Overall, the results suggest the possibility of a frictionless quantum engine operating at maximum efficiency, which has implications in designing micro- and nano-scale motors operating at the verge of the quantum scale. In the meantime, there are still several hurdles to overcome.”I think that the real challenge is the use of such techniques in interacting quantum many body systems, whose inherent complexity and rich phenomenology could be ‘tamed’ by the use of this sort of quantum control,” Paternostro said. “At the end of the day, thermodynamics is a theory of many particles, and its quantum formulation should be able to cope with many-body effects, whose control could hugely benefit from the implementation of schemes similar to the one proposed in our paper. We have new and exciting results, in this context, that will come up soon and that will hopefully have an impact in the community interested in many-body physics and quantum thermodynamics.” Citation: Physicists design zero-friction quantum engine (2014, September 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: A. del Campo, et al. “More bang for your buck: Super-adiabatic quantum engines.” Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep06208 © 2014 Phys.orglast_img read more