In Pictures: Opening Ceremony of World Human Rights Forum

Marrakech– The 2nd World Forum on Human Rights kicked off, in Marrakech Thursday, with the participation of more than 6,000 people from hundred countries.The forum, which will last till November 30th, is a platform to tackle several issues, including the rights of children, women, disabled people and migrants, in addition to other unresolved issues from the Vienna Conference on Human rights and other issues related to the new generation of human rights.Morocco’s Justice Minister, Mustapha Ramid while delivering the opening speech.José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, former Spanish Prime Minister is one of the Forum’s prominent guestsGrand Chief Derek Nepinak, head of the Assembly of Manitoba ChiefsDriss Yazami, President of the National Council of Human Rihgts (CNDH), greeting Miloudi Moukharik, SG of Moroccan Labor Union (UMT)World Human Rights Forum Brings together hundreds of delegations, representing 90 countries.Significant presence of women in the World Human Rights ForumMorocco’s Minister of Environment, Charafat Afilal talking to the great singer Marcel KhalifaMarcel Khaliafa posing with Salah El Ouadi, the head of Damir MovementFatou Bensouda, general prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.World Forum of Human Rights’ opening ceremony was attended by great number of participants from over 90 countries. read more

Morocco and Denmark to Cooperate Against Illegal Migration and Terrorism

Rabat – Morocco and Denmark want to develop bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism and  illegal migration, said a statement from the department of the Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani.Among other EU countries, Denmark has been facing an increasing flow of migrants in recent years. The number of people charged with being illegal immigrants in the scandinavian country has risen from  877 in 2015 to 1,348  in 2016.The Danish government has taken strict measures against the phenomenon, shifting its focus to repatriation rather than integration. In a meeting on Thursday in Rabat, El Othmani and Danish Parliament speaker, Pia Kjarsggard, brought up the subject of illegal migration.The Head of the Government suggested potential cooperation between the two countries in the field of migration,  praising “Morocco’s distinguished experience in managing the issue of sub-Saharan migrants.”“The kingdom has adopted a development approach through the strengthening of win-win economic partnerships in order to contribute to the development of origin countries,” he said.Denmark has also taken such diplomatic approach, pledging a USD 14 million  for family planning in Sub-Saharan countries, as it could help “limit the migration pressure on Europe,” according to Reuters.During the meeting,  El Othmani commended the Moroccan political model. “Under the leadership of the King, Morocco is an open, plural and democratic country where elections are held on the set dates and whose results are accepted by all parties,” he said.Meanwhile, the Danish Parliament welcomed the stability that characterizes Morocco, saying that the country is both  politically and economically stable. This leads to the prospect of developing  political and economic relations with the Kingdom of Denmark, according to El Othmani. read more

Men commit widescale sexual crimes with impunity in conflict zones says UN

“Violence against women in the context of armed conflict is widespread and largely unpunished,” Naéla Gabr, chair of the committee monitoring compliance with CEDAW, told the General Assembly.In that context, Ms. Gabr said the committee welcomed the Security Council resolution affirming that it would consider the prevalence of rape and sexual violence in decisions to impose or renew sanctions on countries embroiled in conflict.Ms. Gabr noted that CEDAW, also known as the international bill of rights for women, has transformed the lives of many women and has been the force behind significant changes in many countries, including through laws, policies and programmes.However, the potential of the Convention “to bring about change at the national level has not been exploited to the full, much as a result of its lack of visibility and accessibility, and resource constraints,” said Ms. Gabr. The 30-year anniversary of the Convention provides an opportunity for governments to commit to raising its visibility and impact, said Ms. Gabr. “Our ultimate goal should be the increase of ratifications of both the Convention and its Optional Protocol and the withdrawal of reservations.” Currently 186 countries are party to the 1979 Convention, with the United States being the only signatory yet to ratify the Convention and several States ratifying with reservations. Under the Convention, States parties are legally obliged to take the necessary steps to end all forms of discrimination against women in any field whether political, economic, social, cultural or civic. Countries are also committed to submit national reports – at least every four years – on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations.The Convention upholds women’s rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality and the nationality of their children. States parties also agree to take appropriate measures against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women, and it is the only human rights treaty to uphold the reproductive rights of women. 12 October 2009The rampant and brutal abuse of women in war zones continues unchecked, the chair of a United Nations committee said today, urging all nations to ratify the international Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). read more

US says Sri Lanka has potential to be next Asian Tiger

The US official said that in the 21st century, a country’s most important economic asset is its people, and Sri Lanka can harness its people to achieve great things. (Colombo Gazette) “All of this cooperation wouldn’t be possible without the democratic progress Sri Lanka has made,” he said.“While Sri Lanka may be relatively young – as nations go – the United States and Sri Lanka are old friends.” “From the beginning Sri Lanka’s potential has never been in doubt. Today, Sri Lanka has the potential to become the next Asian Tiger,” he said at an event held in the US to mark Sri Lanka’s Independence Day. Bruce Wharton said the US supports Sri Lanka’s SME community, helping to create jobs, promote investment, and improve business. The United States (US) says Sri Lanka has the potential to become the next Asian Tiger.Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the US State Department, Bruce Wharton said that from the beginning Sri Lanka’s potential has never been in doubt. read more

UNP MPs demand removal of SLFP Ministers who backed motion

Among those who voted for the motion were Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, Ministers S.B Dissanayake, Chandima Weerakody, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Susil Premjayantha and W.D.J Seniviratne. A group of United National Party (UNP) members have submitted a petition to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, demanding that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Ministers who voted for the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister in Parliament, be removed from their posts.At least 33 UNP MPs have signed the petition which was handed over to the Prime Minister after the no-confidence motion was defeated in Parliament. Jayasekera had said earlier that they were ready to be removed from their Ministerial posts if the motion is defeated. (Colombo Gazette)

Wildfire burning out of control near Colorado Springs destroys 92 homes evacuates

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A wildfire fueled by hot temperatures, gusty winds and thick, bone-dry forests has destroyed 92 homes, damaged five more and prompted more than 7,000 residents northeast of Colorado Springs to flee, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.A separate Colorado wildfire to the south has destroyed 20 structures, including some in Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, and prompted evacuations of about 250 residents and nearly 1,000 inmates at a medium-security prison. To the north, another fire burned in Rocky Mountain National Park.Wildfires also were burning in New Mexico, Oregon and California, where a smokejumper was killed fighting one of dozens of lightning-sparked fires.Crews were so busy battling blazes across the West that the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday it was mobilizing a pair of Defence Department cargo planes to help — a step taken only when all of the Forest Service’s contracted tankers already are in use.The fire near Colorado Springs, one of several that broke out Tuesday along Colorado’s Front Range, has prompted evacuation orders and pre-evacuation notices to between 9,000 and 9,500 people and about 3,500 homes and businesses, sheriff’s officials said.Some Colorado Springs residents were warned to be ready to evacuate, mostly because of a fear of flying embers spreading the fire into the state’s second-largest city. Sheriff’s officials also evacuated part of neighbouring Elbert County, including two camps with a total of about 1,250 children and adults.Bits of ash and the smell of smoke drifted into Denver, about 60 miles to the north, where the haze blocked the sun.No injuries or deaths have been reported, but El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said officials were trying to confirm the whereabouts of one person reported missing Wednesday. Firefighters tried to go where the person was last seen but were turned back twice because it was too hot, he said.Maketa said he was worried about those who chose to ignore evacuation orders and stay behind.“One of my worst fears is that people took their chances and it may have cost them their life,” he said.The area is not far from last summer’s Waldo Canyon Fire that destroyed 346 homes and killed two people.Denver Broncos guard Ben Garland’s grandparents lost their home in that blaze and now live in a Black Forest neighbourhood. Smoke billowed near their new home Wednesday.“It’s tough. It was tough going through it the first time,” Garland said. “I know the first time, we didn’t take it as seriously. We just thought it’d pass over and the firefighters would take care of it. The second time, it was really scary and they packed up real quick and got ready to go.”The Forest Service mobilized specially equipped Defence Department C-130s to drop slurry on wildfires in the West after all 12 of its air tankers were deployed. At least one was fighting the Black Forest Fire.By law, the Modular Airborne Firefighting System — MAFFS — planes can be deployed only when all of the Forest Service’s contracted tankers are in use. Around this time last year, the aircraft sat on runways when massive wildfires burned in Colorado and New Mexico.In northeast California, Luke Sheehy was fatally injured this week by part of a falling tree in Modoc National Forest. The 28-year-old from Susanville, Calif., was a member of the Redding-based California Smokejumpers — firefighters who parachute into remote areas from airplanes.In New Mexico, a wildfire burning in the steep, narrow canyons of the Pecos Wilderness north of Santa Fe grew to more than 12 square miles Wednesday. It was burning about 10 miles southeast of some small communities. Crews planned to build fire lines and clear out fuel in key areas miles ahead of the blaze in hopes of protecting the communities if the fire heads that way.In southwestern New Mexico, firefighters were trying to keep a massive wildfire from reaching an old mining town whose 45 or so residents have been evacuated. That fire was burning in a mountainous area of dense forest.About 60 miles southwest of Colorado’s Black Forest Fire, a 4.5-square-mile wildfire that evacuated Royal Gorge Bridge & Park has destroyed 20 structures, including some in the park, but the park’s animals are all right.The soaring Royal Gorge suspension bridge spanning a canyon across the Arkansas River has fire damage to 32 of its 1,292 wooden planks, city officials said. An aerial tram car and tram buildings on either side of the gorge were destroyed, and the tram cable dropped into the canyon. An incline railway that descends 1,500 feet to the canyon floor was damaged.More than 900 prisoners at a nearby medium-security prison, including murderers and rapists, were evacuated overnight because of heavy smoke. The prisoners were transferred by bus and van, 200 at a time, throughout the night.“This was done as a precaution because it takes a lot of time to move the prisoners,” Department of Corrections spokeswoman Adrienne Jacobson said.Another fire sparked by lightning Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park has grown to an estimated 400 acres in area with trees killed by pine beetles.The cause of the fire near Colorado Springs wasn’t clear. The El Paso County sheriff said there were no reports of lightning Tuesday.Jaenette Coyne was among those who initially called 911 to report smoke behind her home. She quickly decided she needed to get out.“We had five minutes to leave before the flames were too close. We left with nothing,” she said.From a fire station, she and her husband watched on television as flames engulfed the house where they have lived since 2009.“I don’t know how to tell you in words what it felt like,” she said. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my whole life.”She said their 20-month-old daughter has been asking when the family can go home and see their three cats, which likely died in the fire.“What do you do when you’ve lost everything?” she said.Meanwhile, fire evacuees Greg and Sharon Rambo set up camp in a Wal-Mart and Home Depot parking lot. They were living in a modular home in Black Forest as they waited to close on a larger house nearby. They believe both were burned.“It leaves you feeling numb, loss of appetite, disoriented,” Greg Rambo said.The couple previously lived in Southern California and were evacuated during a 2004 blaze that hopscotched over their property without damaging it. Since then, they have carried a briefcase filled with medications and important documents, and kept their trailer far from their house so they’d have a place to sleep in the event their home burns down.Their daughter, who lives nearby, called them Tuesday afternoon and urged them to flee. They do not know if her house also burned.Gov. John Hickenlooper declared disaster emergencies Wednesday for the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires and a 60-acre fire in rural Huerfano County, authorizing a combined $10.15 million to help pay for firefighting and other costs.___Associated Press writers Steven K. Paulson, Ivan Moreno and Catherine Tsai in Denver, and AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report. by Thomas Peipert, The Associated Press Posted Jun 12, 2013 4:08 am MDT Wildfire burning out of control near Colorado Springs destroys 92 homes, evacuates thousands read more

Apples UI as you have never seen it before

first_imgFriday is now upon us so its time to sit back and relax (when you have your lunch break of course) by taking time out to view some Apple UI art masterpieces created by French artist Leo Caillard.His digital images were inspired after he visited some of Paris’s famous museums. He noted that people were only spending a couple of seconds looking at each work of art before quickly moving on to the next. This was to him similar to how people use their smartphones when viewing images.As he was already an Apple user he decided to create artwork based on the manufacturer’s UI and how he imagined people would be playing with the art that surrounded them (like they would do playing with pictures on their iPhone/iPad). A direct result was his Art Game digital paintings with iTunes, iOS and Mac OSX being the main themes (which is what you can see below). Read more at Wired via Leo Caillardlike they would do playing with pictures on their iPhone/iPadlast_img read more

Eros Night at The Greek Club

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Love is in the air on Saturday, and in Brisbane Eros, the Greek god of love, invites you to attend a night of romance, dining and entertainment.Open to couples, or groups, attendees will be treated to the perfect Valentine’s Day menu. Consisting of three courses, the cost includes a selection of tasty mezze to choose from, a delicious traditional Greek main, and of course classic Greeks desserts like galactobouriko and baklava. Bookings are essential and cost $49.90 per person with a glass of house wine or beer, or $59.50 with a bottle of wine between two people.When: Saturday 14 February from 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm. Where: The Greek Club, 29 Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane, Queensland. For more information, visit or to make a booking, call (07) 3844 1166.last_img read more

Soy Growers Welcome Committee Passage of GMO Labeling Bill

first_imgThe American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds the Senate Agriculture Committee for its passage earlier today of legislation from Chairman Pat Roberts that would establish a national framework for the labeling of bioengineered food products, or GMOs. The legislation passed the committee with the support of all 11 Republican members, as well as Democrats Amy Klobuchar, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp. ASA President and Delaware farmer Richard Wilkins praised Roberts’ leadership on the bill in a statement:”ASA is extremely pleased to see this bill come through committee, and we are very appreciative of the leadership shown by Chairman Roberts throughout the process. We’re also thankful for the Democratic support from Sens. Klobuchar, Donnelly and Heitkamp on this bill, as support from Senate Democrats will be key when the bill reaches the Senate floor in the coming weeks.”Now, our attention turns to the full Senate, and we will begin our press on senators from both parties to support this legislation. For soybean farmers, the bill represents our continued ability to use biotechnology within our operations. It means growing more while using less, and it means meeting the needs of a demanding American marketplace, and growing global population. We will communicate those benefits to senators every day until this bill is passed and signed into law.”last_img read more

Google Doodle celebrates JapaneseAmerican artist Ruth Asawa

first_img Share your voice Ruth Asawa created sculptures by weaving galvanized wire. Google May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, which celebrates the culture, traditions and history of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the US.To kick off the celebration, Google dedicated its Doodle on Wednesday to Ruth Asawa, a Japanese-American artist who overcame discrimination during World War II to become a nationally renowned sculptor of wire forms and an arts educator who believed “art will make people better.”For almost as long as Google has been around, it’s livened up its barebones search page with artwork that draws attention to notable people, events, holidays and anniversaries. Google Doodles have celebrated, among many other things, Pac-Man’s anniversary, Copernicus’ birthday, Mother’s Day and the World Cup, as well as reminding us of lesser-known real-world heroes. Asawa was born in the Southern California city of Norwalk in 1926 to Japanese immigrants who worked on farms. As a young child, Asawa showed a keen interest in art, and as a teenager won first prize at a 1939 arts competition for her artwork on what makes someone an American. But at the onset of US involvement in WWII, Asawa and her family were forcibly relocated to internment centers for Japanese living on the West Coast of the US. During her internment, she continued to study art, and following her graduation from an internment center’s high school, she attended the Milwaukee State Teachers College, as ethnic Japanese were prohibited from attending college in California. She had intended to become an art teacher, but because she couldn’t get hired to perform required practice teaching due to her Japanese heritage, she left Wisconsin without a degree and transferred to the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina.   3 Tags It was during a visit to Mexico before her final year in Wisconsin that she was exposed to baskets made from galvanized wire by villagers. Drawing on the construction methods, she began to experiment with crocheted wire sculptures. Resembling weaving, her sculptures brought her prominence in the 1950s for their lightness and transparency. Her work appeared at exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the 1955 Sao Paulo Art Biennial. In 1962, Asawa began experimenting with sculptures based on nature that became increasingly geometric and abstract. “My curiosity was aroused by the idea of giving structural form to the images in my drawings,” she said. “These forms come from observing plants, the spiral shell of a snail, seeing light through insect wings, watching spiders repair their webs in the early morning, and seeing the sun through the droplets of water suspended from the tips of pine needles while watering my garden.”As her reputation grew, so did her opportunities for public commissions, especially fountains, for which she became known in San Francisco as the “fountain lady.” For one fountain near San Francisco’s Union Square, she encouraged 200 schoolchildren to mold hundreds of images of the city in dough, which were then cast in iron.She also designed the Japanese-American Internment Memorial Sculpture in San Jose, California, in 1994, and the Garden of Remembrance at San Francisco State University. Asawa was also a passionate advocate for arts education, championing its transformative and empowering qualities. “Art will make people better, more highly skilled in thinking and improving whatever business one goes into, or whatever occupation. It makes a person broader,” she said.She was the driving force behind the creation of the San Francisco School of the Arts, which was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in her honor in 2010.She died at her San Francisco home in 2013 at the age of 87. Commentscenter_img 49 Photos Our favorite Google Doodles through the years Online Google Doodlelast_img read more

Senco extends support to LGBTQ community

first_imgSenco Gold & Diamonds, one of the largest jewellery retail chains of India, launched a special ‘Pride Collection’ as a gesture of support for the LGBTQ community.A unique fashion show titled ‘Sphulingo – Freedom of Expression’ with a group of transgender men and women led by well-known Professor (College Principal) and LGBT activist Dr Manabi Bandyopadhyay dressed in mythological characters from Indian epics, sashayed down the ramp at Senco Gold and Diamonds’ mega shop on CIT road in Kolkata. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfEvoking the spirits and memories of the mythological figures, the group represented characters of Sikhondi (Shankori Mandal); Mohini (Rintu); Raja Vongashon (Sandipta Chhetri); Chitrangada (Sayantani Ghosh); Raja Ela (Roma Mandal); Krishna Koli (Pritam Mondol); Brihhonnola (Bikram) and Chandi(Dr Manabi Bandyopadhyay). The month of June is celebrated as the Pride Month across the world to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969 as well as to recognise the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSpeaking on the occasion, Suvankar Sen, Executive Director, Senco Gold & Diamonds, said: “We have launched our Pride Collection in honour of the LGBT community, especially the transgender women on the occasion of Pride month. Many of these women have striven hard to achieve what they have in our society despite the odds stacked against them. We salute them and their indomitable spirits through this fashion show. The collection, immaculately crafted and designed, would appeal to all sections of buyers we cater to with different varieties that we offer from our stable.” The Pride Collection consists of uniquely designed gold and silver pendants named Trans Hearty, G-Rex and Less More. The Gold collection price starts from Rs. 16,000 and silver collection Rs 500 onward.last_img read more

AVG Offline Installers

first_imgAVG Offline Installers by Martin Brinkmann on April 12, 2016 in Software – 6 commentsSoftware is pushed by AVG on its website in form of online installers which require an Internet connection during installation.The method has some advantages, namely that the most recent version of the program is installed whenever the installer is executed, and that the initial download is only a couple of Megabytes in size.While that is useful sometimes, you may sometimes need an installer that does not require an Internet connection. Those are called offline installers or full installers.Reasons for wanting a full installer may include because the computer you want to install the software on is not connected to the Internet all the time, or because the Internet connection is unstable or slow, or because you get an error when you are using the online installer.AVG Offline InstallersAVG, like many other companies, hides the offline installer and presents the online installer as the only choice on product pages.It is usually necessary to hunt down the full installer which is not as easy as it sounds (you find the links on support pages usually or sometimes not at all).The following links point directly to download pages on the official AVG website from where offline installers can be downloaded from (if provided at all).Since those may change frequently, we have made the decision not to hotlink the installers but to link to the download page (if available) instead which gets updated by AVG when new versions get released.AVG AntiVirus FreeThis is one of the two free offerings by AVG (the other is AVG Protection Free). AVG AntiVirus Free offers antivirus protection, and link protection which scans web links for malicious content.AVG AntiVirus Free 32-bitAVG AntiVirus Free 64-bitAVG AntiVirus ProThe Pro version of AVG AntiVirus ships with all features of the free version plus the following ones: Online shield that protects against malicious downloads, a data safe to protect files with a password, and free support.AVG AntiVirus 32-bitAVG AntiVirus 64-bitAVG Internet SecurityAVG Internet Security supports all features of AntiVirus Free and Pro, plus anti-spam, shopping protection, Mac & Android protection, and priority updates.AVG Internet Security 32-bitAVG Internet Security 64-bitNo Full installers for these AVG productsOffline installers for AVG Ultimate, AVG Protection Free and Pro are not available currently.The AVG website links only to online installers which in my opinion is an oversight by AVG even though these products are designed for managing multiple devices using AVG Zen.The security programs share features with the AVG products listed above but offer more features (even the free version).AVG Protection FreeOffers all features of AVG AntiVirus Free, plus Email protection (malicious attachments), and remote protection which allows you to scan PCs using your mobile device.AVG Protection ProThe program supports all features of AVG Protection Free, plus the following ones: Online shield to protect against harmful downloads, Data safe to store files securely, anti-spam to block email spam, an enhanced firewall, and priority updates.AVG UltimateUltimate supports all features of AVG Protection Pro and includes on top of that maintenance functionality similarly to what AVG Tune Up offers.Now You: Do you prefer offline or online installers?SummaryArticle NameAVG Offline InstallersDescriptionAVG Offline Installers provides you with links to full versions of installers for AVG products that don’t require an Internet connection during setup.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

FirstTime Jobless Claims Drop to 350k Near 2012 Low

first_img First time claims for unemployment insurance dropped 12,000 to 350,000 for the week ended December 22, the third lowest level of the year, the “”Labor Department””: reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 365,000. [IMAGE]The previous week’s report was revised upward to 362,000 from the originally reported 361,000.Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one-week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô also decreased, 32,000 to 3,206,000 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the second lowest level of the year — for the week ended December 15. The previous week’s initial report of 3,225,000 continuing claims was revised upward to 3,238,000. The continuing claims data series tracks the number of longer term unemployed who qualify for regular state jobless benefits. Initial claims filings dropped to 350,000 or below only two other times this year: there were 342,000 claims for the week ended October 6 and 344,000 for the week ended December 8. There were 3,174,000 continuing claims reported for the week ended October 27 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô just ahead of Superstorm Sandy.350,000 initial claims are considered the tipping point between an improving or deteriorating job market.This week’s report was the final report for the reference week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to develop the monthly employment situation report including the unemployment rate. Month-month comparisons of the jobless claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô both new and continuing ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô are complicated though by Hurricane Sandy which caused a spike in both data series. The BLS report will be released on January 4.That said, both the number of first time claims and continuing claims, dropped from mid-month to mid-month — as did and the smoothing four-week moving averages for both — suggesting that the surge in storm-related layoffs has passed.[COLUMN_BREAK]Unemployment claims data for the next few weeks will be erratic because of intervening holidays. Although claims themselves can be submitted electronically, processing will be delayed as state offices are closed.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending December 8 was 5,475,708, an increase of 73,279 from the previous week. There were 7,231,771 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011, according to the report.The Labor Department said states 2,100,243 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending December 8, an increase of 3,698 from the prior week. There were 2,926,135 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity. Extended Benefits were only available in New York during the week ending December 8. There were 44,610 persons claiming emergency benefits during the week ended December 8 compared with 571,878 in the comparable week in 2011.Both the extended and emergency benefit programs are tied up in the ongoing “”fiscal cliff”” negotiations and would expire next Tuesday without congressional action.According to the BLS, unemployment was 12,029,000 in November which means that of those individuals counted as unemployed, 6.81 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance, up from 6.39 million one week earlier.States have been borrowing from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô unless Congress intervenes ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô with higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of December 24, 20 states have an aggregate $26.9 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls, up from $26.7 billion one week earlier. California accounted for 37.7 percent of the borrowing.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 8 were in California (+5,952), Florida (+749), Ohio (+743), Rhode Island (+197), and Colorado (+161), while the largest decreases were in New York (-11,295), Pennsylvania (-11,247), North Carolina (-8,564), Wisconsin (-5,726) and Georgia (-5,317)._Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:40 am and again at 9:40 eastern time._ December 27, 2012 451 Views First-Time Jobless Claims Drop to 350k, Near 2012 Low in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-12-27 Mark Liebermanlast_img read more

Chatfield bill redirects millions to roads

first_img Legislation part of multi-bill transportation solution State Rep. Lee Chatfield recently introduced legislation to reprioritize restricted state funds and direct the revenue to roads. House Bill 4608 amends the Michigan Strategic Fund by redirecting $60 million in tribal gaming compact dollars to the Michigan Transportation Fund without altering gaming compacts. The state annually collects almost $20 billion in restricted funds and Rep. Chatfield is calling for a thorough review of these dollars in the wake of the overwhelming defeat of Proposal 1.“Hard-working taxpayers across the state spoke loud and clear on the issue of roads,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering. “The people of Michigan want a straightforward solution that prioritizes spending instead of raising taxes. My bill aims to make better use of existing funds by utilizing dollars the state already collects.”The Michigan Strategic Fund currently receives an annual appropriation of $360 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in which $60 million comes from tribal gaming compact dollars that the fund utilizes for development programs and the general operations of the MSF board. HB 4608 does not affect Michigan tribes financially, nor will it increase the amount they are currently required to pay the state each year as a result of gaming operations. Other funding sources of the MSF include the General Fund ($222.6 million) and the 21st Century Jobs Fund ($75 million). Based on current year expenditures, the MEDC spends nearly $500 million to fund economic development programs. The amendments to the 21st Century Jobs and Strategic Funds redirects $135 million (27%) of that funding to roads, leaving approximately $365 million (73%) for continued economic development programing.HB 4608 has been referred to the newly created House Committee on Roads and Economic Development that was formed to approve the House transportation plan which includes Rep. Chatfield’s legislation.Key elements of the House transportation plan include:Dedicate General Fund dollars to fix roads by phasing in spending—beginning with the 2015-16 budget;Create tax fairness by generating $45 million annually for roads on electric, hybrid and diesel-powered vehicle registration, and an additional $117 million yearly by eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit;Reprioritize restricted funds by thoroughly reviewing how taxpayer money is used, generating $185 million a year for roads and bridges; andEnsure quality work by securing warranties and competitive bids on infrastructure projects so hard-working Michiganders can be ensured their tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently. 18May Chatfield bill redirects millions to roads Categories: Chatfield Newslast_img read more

Representative García hosts Holland student as Representative for a Day

first_img Katriya Murphy spent her summer dedicated to reading, earning a trip to the state Capitol and serving as a “Representative for a Day” with state Representative Daniela R. García today.Murphy, a homeschool student from Holland, read an impressive 310 books to earn the honor while participating in Representative García’s Summer Reading Contest in 2016.  She turned in 31 bookmarks, detailing 10 books each that were read between May and September.“Katriya clearly dedicated herself to reading and earned the opportunity to be at the Capitol,” Representative García said. “Katriya was a great Representative for the Day. She toured the Capitol, joined Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekof and I on the floor during a Senate session and we had lunch together. It was just a great day.”Katriya was joined by her parents Rob and Christa, and her four siblings – Acacia, Isaiah, Shamira and Joshua – in Lansing.“We had so many entries turned in at the Gary Byker Memorial Library in Hudsonville, Howard Miller Public Library in Zeeland and Herrick District Library in Holland, but 31 bookmarks from one student certainly stood out,” said Representative García. “Hopefully with March Is Reading Month coming up, more kids will enjoy the world that reading gives us all.”State Representative Daniela R. García and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekof were joined by Katriya Murphy (center), a homeschool student from Holland, and her family at the Capitol for a Senate session today. Categories: Garcia News,News 23Feb Representative García hosts Holland student as ‘Representative for a Day’last_img read more

LaFave calls for continued funding for Essential Air Service program

first_img A House resolution introduced by state Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, urges the president and U.S. Congress to continue funding the Essential Air Service program, which is an important resource to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.The Essential Air Service program ensures small communities previously served by certified airlines maintain commercial service. The program provides business leaders, recreationalists and residents reliable air travel to and from small airports around the country, including five airports in the U.P.The large expanse of the peninsula requires reliable air travel to make the region’s mines, forests, lakeshores, communities and colleges as accessible as possible.The resolution comes after President Trump called for a reduction in the Essential Air Service’s budget.LaFave said the program is essential to the economic well-being of the U.P.“Businesses depend on reliable air travel to and from small airports in the U.P. and airports require funding from the program to maintain critical infrastructure like runways, lighting and safety equipment,” LaFave said. “Any reduction in federal funding for this vital program will harm our economic activity here in the U.P.“The Essential Air Service Program is appropriately named because it is essential to the U.P.”House Resolution 59 was referred to the House Commerce and Trade Committee. LaFave will testify in support of the resolution at a later date.### Categories: LaFave News 31Mar LaFave calls for continued funding for Essential Air Service programlast_img read more

Rep Glenn supports plan to combat statewide psych worker shortage

first_img Retired psych employees returning to work will keep pensionsState Rep. Annette Glenn has voted in support of a House plan to combat the ongoing shortage of psychiatry workers in Michigan.The issue was brought to the Legislature’s attention last term during the House C.A.R.E.S. Task Force statewide tour, which aimed to find ways to improve Michigan’s mental health system by listening to mental health experts, families of patients and law enforcement officials.The plan would allow certain retired mental health professionals to come back to work with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) without forfeiting their pension benefits.“Across our state, there are many psychiatric workers who would consider returning to public psychiatric care if they didn’t have to worry about losing their hard-earned pension income,” said Glenn, of Midland. “That’s why I’m so supportive of this measure that helps ensure more state psychiatric jobs are filled by experienced individuals and prevents worker pension loss.”The state already allows retired psychiatrists to continue to keep their pensions during reemployment with the state. Glenn contends the state should extend that same opportunity to other mental health care professionals such as physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, counselors and therapists to combat serious shortages in such roles.House Bill 4156 was approved unanimous, bipartisan support and now moves to be considered by the state Senate. 19Apr Rep. Glenn supports plan to combat statewide psych worker shortage Categories: Annette Glenn Newslast_img read more

Detroit Symphony in the Black for Second Straight Year

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares December 11, 2014; Detroit NewsAfter running a deficit every year since 2007, after surviving a six-month strike of its musicians (which many called a near-death experience) that ended in 2011 when the musicians agreed to a pay cut of around 30 percent, after building a formidable online presence that this writer visits with great gratitude on Friday mornings and many other outreach efforts, and on the day that the City of Detroit exited bankruptcy, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra announced that it had balanced its budget for the second year in a row and even posted a modest surplus this year of $60,000.On the surface, it appears that even with all of its distractions over the past year, the efforts of the DSO to engage their community have been successful. Overall ticket sales were up, netting $200,000 more than last year, and executive vice president Paul Hogle calls that the best sign they could have. “To me, the most important thing in 2014 is that audience and donor base for the symphony grew another year…it’s extremely unusual. We’re among a rare group of orchestras that’s continued to grow a subscription base.” In addition, the number of individual donors to the DSO increased from 6,569 to 7,227, though it brought in a bit less than last year.Lastly, the DSO added $10 million to its relatively small endowment this year. Their plan is to try to build it by $125 million by the year 2023.—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

ExxonMobil Wins and the World Loses Whats Next for ClimateAware Shareholders

first_imgShare4Tweet2ShareEmail6 SharesBy Adbar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 25, 2016, Scientific AmericanExxonMobil faced demands from some of its largest shareholders at its 2016 Annual Meeting Wednesday morning to be transparent about and responsive to the effects of climate change. The primary worry among most investors is that the company is not properly preparing for the consequences of the Paris climate change accord.“The strategy behind such advocacy is simple: to use one’s financial stake within a company to raise an issue and lobby for changes,” reported Benjamin Hulac at ClimateWire (reprinted by Scientific American). ExxonMobil tried to block the proposals, but the US Securities and Exchange Commission ruled otherwise.By afternoon, the proposals related to climate change were rejected. Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s Chairman and CEO, offered this advice:The reality is there is no alternative energy source known on the planet or available today to replace the prevalence of fossil fuels in the global economy.  The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.Tillerson is also a national board member of the Boy Scouts of America. He gave this advice in Scouting magazine:Never compromise on honesty or integrity. There is no path to personal success through any other means. You will sometimes encounter situations where you’ll be tempted to take a shortcut and compromise integrity for short-term gain. But I can assure you those gains will be short-lived. Once you compromise your personal integrity, restoring it is a difficult thing to do.#EXXONKNEW offers its judgment of ExxonMobil’s honesty and integrity: “Exxon knew about climate change half a century ago. They deceived the public, misled their shareholders, and robbed humanity of a generation’s worth of time to reverse climate change.” New York’s attorney general began its investigation along these same lines in November 2015, and more attorneys general joined him in March 2016. Even the FBI’s criminal division is looking into the matter. A few days ago, U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, accused the attorneys general of abusing their power.The Sisters of St. Dominic and 34 institutional investors put forth a resolution to “adopt a policy acknowledging the imperative to limit global average temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which includes committing the company to support the goal of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.” ExxonMobil called the proposal “so inherently vague and indefinite as to be materially misleading,” and added that the company “has already substantially implemented the proposal.”ExxonMobil’s industry peers, including BP and Shell, 81 companies in all, signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. But not ExxonMobil.In the Paris Agreement, the nations of the world agreed that climate change is an urgent problem requiring cooperative action. ExxonMobil disagrees.NPQ consistently informs its readers of stakeholder and shareholder strategy successes, failures and frustrations, such as with the San Diego Opera and Sweet Briar College (and here), made even more complicated by the B Corporation. In an interview with NPQ editors, Tom Kochan, co-director of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management, offered this assessment:In the past there had been more of a sense that the job of management was to balance the interests of multiple stakeholders—owners, to be sure, but also employees, and customers, and suppliers, and maybe even the communities in which the business was located. That shifted in the 1980s with leverage buyouts and hostile takeovers and everything that followed in the wake of that movement. Since then too many academics and business leaders bought into the notion that the corporation was solely an instrument for maximizing shareholder value. That, I think, is being challenged directly in the case of Market Basket, and I think the fact that it resonated so well with the public—with workers around the country—demonstrates that the protesters have struck a chord and that other people are equally fed up with the inequality in society and attribute some of that to the greed of business owners or shareholders.ExxonMobil did lose a vote at its 2016 Annual Meeting over a resolution that will enable large shareholders to nominate candidates for the board, a rule known as “proxy access.”ExxonMobil had its beginnings when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was an illegal trust. The Rockefeller Family Fund recently eliminated its holdings in fossil fuel companies and ExxonMobil in particular because of its “morally reprehensible conduct,” joining the largest divestment movement in history.At this writing, ExxonMobil shares are up.—Jim SchafferShare4Tweet2ShareEmail6 Shareslast_img read more

She Should Run Gets Serious about Gender Parity in Politics

first_imgShare65Tweet32Share26Email123 SharesJuly 18, 2017; CNNThe corridors of political power in the U.S. are overwhelmingly populated by men—but not for long, at least not if this organization has anything to say about it. She Should Run, a D.C.-based organization, has committed to fast-tracking representational parity. Their campaign, #250kby2030, launched this week.BIG NEWS! Why have we been happy dancing all morning? Our new campaign to get #250Kby2030 just launched!— She Should Run (@SheShouldRun) July 18, 2017The issue of women in government is a frustrating one. When they run for office, they win just as often as men, and a number of studies show that government runs better with women in office. But despite these things, women just don’t run as often; a Pew Research survey in 2014 found that only 25 percent of people running for office are women.Politico gives us the numbers: “Women represent 20 percent of Congress, 25 percent of state legislature seats and 12 percent of governorships. They hold 24 percent of statewide elected offices.”An NPR study showed that in some areas, like governorships, women’s participation has actually dropped in recent years.Having women in office is important for more than just the sake of equality. According to a report by American University,Women serving in states with higher percentages of female state legislators introduce a greater number of bills concerning issues pertaining to women, children, and families than women in states with fewer female representatives.Female city managers are more likely than their male counterparts to incorporate citizen input into their decisions and to be more concerned with community involvement.Female mayors are more likely to adopt an approach to governing that emphasizes congeniality and cooperation, whereas men tend to emphasize hierarchy.CNN reported that “In developing nations, having women at the table impacts how policy resources are spent—either through gender budgeting efforts or simply, such as in the case of climate change, showing how women in the developing world experience issues differently than men. The involvement of women in the climate movement, for example, has led to better policy making and spurred solutions like clean solar cookstoves.”For nonprofits concerned with healthcare, safety net policies, and other civic issues, these tendencies can make our work easier and more effective. For nonprofits involved with or getting funding from the government, a collaborative style of leadership is necessary to do our work at all.So why don’t women run? According to the American University report,The gender gap in political ambition is driven by women’s lower levels of political recruitment and lower self-assessments of political qualifications. In addition, women perceive an electoral environment that is biased against them, which likely helps explain their greater aversion to participating in the nuts and bolts of a campaign. Finally, the fact that women remain the primary caretakers of the home and children adds a high degree of complexity to the decision to run office—complexity that most men do not face.The issue in politics is the same as in business and other high-powered arenas, where women are less likely to ask for more money or a promotion.She Should Run’s campaign seems to approach the issue in a smart way for the long term. First, they’re tackling the root of the problem: encouraging young girls to think of themselves as leaders, including coaching for parents of young girls, and reaching out to adult women with their message, “You are qualified. You are ready.” By giving themselves 13 years to hit their mark, they’ve committed themselves to deep engagement, and their plan makes room for (and includes) the training and mentoring that will help women see themselves as public leaders.She Should Run has been around since 2011, but it seems that Donald Trump’s presidency has given a jumpstart to their mission. According to the website, “Over 15,000 women have been inspired to run for office through She Should Run since the 2016 election.” After the inauguration, women across the world launched possibly the largest protest in U.S. history. NPQ noted in February that more women of color declared an intention to run for office that year than ever before. Lindsay Walker quoted Marion Johnston, a black woman and aspiring future Durham City Council member, with perhaps the most common-sense reaction to political dissatisfaction: “I felt like in so many ways I’m voting for someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to be me. And then I realized that the only person who understands that is me, and so I should run for office.”Having more women in office is one of those issues that benefits everyone in immediate and tangible ways. It particularly benefits the nonprofit sector to see collaborative leadership and compassionate civic policy. Our fingers are crossed for #250kby2030.—Erin RubinShare65Tweet32Share26Email123 Shareslast_img read more