300K in damage Calgary men charged after copper wire thefts from oilwell

first_imgPieces of unstripped copper wire and heavy equipment tools, including bolt cutters and power tools, were found in a vehicle.Brian Tanner, who is 43, and Jonathan Paul, who is 38, face various break and enter charges.Tanner is also charged with breach of recognizance and possession of a controlled substance. CALGARY, A.B. – Two Calgary men face multiple charges after thefts of copper wire and tools at several rural oilwell sites.Police say about $300,000 in damage was caused by thieves who cut the wire out of buildings.The Calgary Police Service says it worked with RCMP to track, locate and arrest two suspects.last_img read more

Unveiled a New Design for Moroccos 2018 World Cup Kits

Rabat – The long-awaited official jersey of Morocco’s national team for the 2018 World Cup has finally been unveiled.The first version of the jersey, released on April 27, received heavy criticism from many Moroccans and officials, describing it as lacking originality and in need of further development. President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation Fouzi Lekjaa urged Adidas to redesign the kits.Adidas responded quickly to the Moroccan anger over the kits and decided to make a new design that would appeal to the Moroccan public. Russian footballer Vladimir Granat officially presented the Moroccan national team jersey on Thursday. So far it has received largely negative reviews from online commenters.#VladimirGranat, défenseur de la #Russie porte le nouveau maillot du #Maroc @EnMaroc ?? au #Mondial2018 #Russie2018 #Sport24info?? https://t.co/QfjQydIFPy pic.twitter.com/kVauJKkivt— Sport24Info (@Sport24Info) May 24, 2018 read more

Former Croatian General Ante Gotovina transferred to UN war crimes court

The indictment against him was made public in July 2001 and, after more than four years of evading justice, he was arrested last week in the Canary Islands by the Spanish authorities. Mr. Gotovina is charged with persecutions, murder, plunder of property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, deportation and forced displacement, and other inhumane acts, which took place under his command and control, against the Serb population during and in the aftermath of the August 1995 Croatian military offensive known as Operation Storm. The operation was intended to establish Croatian authority over the Krajina region of Croatia. According to the indictment, another purpose of the operation was the forcible and permanent removal of the Serb population from that region. The indictment alleges that as commander of the Split Military District, Gotovina was the overall operations commander of Operation Storm in the southern portion of the Krajina region. During and after the offensive, Croatian forces attacked and took control of towns, villages and hamlets in the southern portion of the Krajina region and subjected the local Serb population to persecutions while plundering and destroying their property, according to the indictment, which alleges that Mr. Gotovina encouraged others to perpetrate these crimes. The indictment alleges that Croatian forces killed at least 150 Serbs in Krajina while subjecting large numbers of others to inhumane treatment, humiliation and degradation. In addition, it is stated that these forces also plundered and destroyed thousands of Serb-owned dwellings, forcing the Krajina Serbs to flee. The suspect will make his first appearance at the court on Monday. read more

UN food aid agency lauds record 2005 European contributions to fight hunger

With its latest donation of 4 million euros for Pakistan relief efforts, the European Commission (EC) has provided its largest annual contribution – some 214 million euros – since 1992 to saving lives and feeding the hungry through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the agency said today. “2005 has been a year in which the EC’s support to WFP continued to grow and has crystallised into a truly exceptional partnership,” said James Morris, Executive Director of the Rome-based agency. “The EC has always been among WFP’s leading donors. Its support has not only been precious in high profile crises such as the tsunami, Niger or the Pakistan earthquake, but also in forgotten emergencies, like Nepal and the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria,” he added. The EC has been instrumental in helping WFP to alleviate hunger in more than 28 poor countries across the world where hundreds of thousands of people were threatened by starvation during a year of intense man-made and natural catastrophes. The agency said it particularly appreciates EC aid given to Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia Southern Sudan and Eritrea and other crises that do not make everyday headlines. read more

Hundreds more flee fighting in Colombia UN refugee agency reports

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has rushed personnel to the town of Sanchez to help the municipality deal with the crisis, especially in terms of providing protection. Since the start of the year, more than 4,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Nariño. National social services and international organisations are now on the ground as well to supply emergency assistance, UNHCR said in a statement, the latest it has issued in recent weeks over the devastating effect of local communities of more than 40 years of fighting between Government forces, leftist rebels and rightist paramilitaries that has displaced 2 million Colombians. Since last Friday, more than 1,400 people have left their homes in remote, mountainous settlements in northern Nariño to take refuge in the village of Sanchez, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva. They say they fled because of air-to-ground fighting between army helicopters and members of an irregular armed group encamped in the mountains. “The situation in Sanchez itself is now getting under control after a very difficult first few days when local authorities struggled to find shelter, food and drinking water for the newcomers,” he said. The vast majority of the displaced – more than 90 per cent – are members of the Afro-Colombian ethnic minority. They come from remote settlements where there is little or no state presence and many of them do not have any identification documents – a situation that could jeopardise their rights to social services they are entitled to as displaced people. As part of its national registration programme, UNHCR is planning to run an emergency documentation campaign in Sanchez next week. The agency has several times in recent weeks voiced alarm for country’s 1 million indigenous people, warning that some communities are threatened with extinction as armed groups encroach upon their land, even torturing and killing their leaders. read more

DA in Vegas Erin Brockovich to face misdemeanour boating under the influence

by The Associated Press Posted Jun 11, 2013 2:41 pm MDT DA in Vegas: Erin Brockovich to face misdemeanour boating under the influence charge in Nevada LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Environmental activist and movie namesake Erin Brockovich will face a misdemeanour charge of operating a boat while intoxicated at Lake Mead, the district attorney in Las Vegas decided Tuesday.Brockovich, 52, has an Oct. 7 court date in Henderson Justice Court stemming from her arrest Friday evening at a marina on the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam, said Tess Driver, an aide to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.A Nevada state game warden reported that Brockovich appeared to argue on the 26-foot Cobra motor boat with her husband, Eric Ellis, and threw a cellphone into the water before having trouble mooring the vessel at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor.The warden said he had to help Brockovich dock the boat, and said two breath tests measured her blood-alcohol level at twice the legal limit of .08 per cent.The criminal complaint refers to Brockovich by her full name, Erin Elizabeth Brockovich-Ellis.She could face six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, up to 96 hours of community service and court-ordered alcohol and drug counselling if she is convicted of driving under the influence as a first offence in Nevada, Driver said.Brockovich, who was freed on $1,000 bail late Friday at the Clark County jail, was driving home Tuesday to Agoura Hills, Calif., said her publicist, David Kass.She didn’t immediately comment about the district attorney’s decision to go forward with charges.In a statement issued Sunday, Brockovich apologized but insisted she hadn’t operated the boat in open waters.“At no time was the boat away from the dock and there was no public safety risk,” Brockovich said. “That being said, I take drunk driving very seriously, this was clearly a big mistake, I know better and I am very sorry.”Brockovich’s efforts to sue Pacific Gas & Electric for polluting the water supply of a small Southern California town became the subject of a 2000 movie that earned Julia Roberts an Academy Award for playing Brockovich.Brockovich now heads a consulting firm and was featured in the 2011 documentary “Last Call at the Oasis,” about the planet’s dwindling and increasingly polluted water supply._____Find Ken Ritter on Twitter: http://twitter.com/krttr AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Refugees disappearing from eastern Sudan may be trafficking victims – UN agency

“Over the last two years we have seen people disappearing from the Shagarab camps – some of them kidnapped, and others believed paying to be smuggled elsewhere,” Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said at a briefing in Geneva. “UNHCR calls on all national and international actors to step up efforts to counter criminal groups seeking to exploit refugees and asylum-seekers and to reduce the risks of kidnapping, smuggling and trafficking of people,” she said. Ms. Fleming said that the agency’s Sudan office reported 619 people having left the camps over the past two years, with 551 of them having done so in 2012, in addition to unconfirmed cases. The number of voluntary versus forced departures is difficult to ascertain, however, she warned. In the latest incidents, four refugee women were reportedly kidnapped from the Shagarab camps during the night and early morning of 22 January. Refugees in the camp, which hosts 29,445 people, had also reported the kidnapping of a refugee man the previous week. In anger at these incidents, some refugees attacked members of one of the local tribes who they thought were responsible, and the ensuing violence left several injured among the host population and the refugees. Calm has since been restored. Based on numerous reports and individual interviews, Ms. Fleming said she was able to state that the main actors responsible for smuggling and human trafficking from eastern Sudan into Egypt are local tribesmen in eastern Sudan and in the Sinai, as well as some criminal gangs. She said that UNHCR is working with the Sudanese authorities, the International Organization for Migration and other humanitarian agencies to reduce the risk of abductions and kidnappings in the area. “The Government of Sudan has already deployed additional police and we are supporting the authorities to improve overall security, including with the construction and rehabilitation of police stations, provision of vehicles and communication equipment,” she said. “UNHCR is also assisting the refugees in the Shagarab camps with setting up a community-based policing system to reduce security risks,” she added, reporting that the agency is also providing psycho-social counselling to survivors of trafficking as well as legal aid to those in detention. UNHCR said that tens of thousands of Eritreans have been living as refugees in eastern Sudan for generations, while every month, some 2,000 asylum-seekers reach the Shagarab camps alone. Some come to escape military conscription, while others are motivated by a possibility of a better life elsewhere, according to the agency. read more

UN health chief urges global cooperation to tackle novel coronavirus threat

“The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself. The novel coronavirus is a threat to the entire world,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that includes viruses that may cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), according to WHO. Viruses of this family also cause a number of animal diseases.Novel coronavirus is a particular strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. “There is very limited information on transmission, severity and clinical impact with only a small number of cases reported thus far,” WHO states on its website.In her closing remarks at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva yesterday, Dr. Chan said the new virus is her “greatest concern” right now.“We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat,” she stated. “Any new disease that is emerging faster than our understanding is never under control.“We do not know where the virus hides in nature. We do not know how people are getting infected. Until we answer these question, we are empty-handed when it comes to prevention. These are alarm bells. And we must respond.”According to media reports, out of 44 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus around the world, 23 people have now died – with most infections linked to travel to the Middle East. The virus causes pneumonia and, sometimes, organ failure. Most patients have had other health problems.Dr. Chan stressed the need to bring together the assets of the entire world in order to adequately address this new threat. “We need more information, and we need it quickly, urgently.”She announced that joint WHO missions with Saudi Arabia and Tunisia will take place as soon as possible with the aim of gathering all the facts needed to conduct a proper risk assessment. In addition to novel coronavirus, the World Health Assembly, which met from 20 to 27 May, also discussed a number of public health issues such as blindness, disability, mental health, neglected tropical diseases, the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals and the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. It adopted a number of resolutions on these issues. read more

Mens Soccer New head coach Brian Maisonneuve hoping to bring program to

Brian Maisonneuve has accomplished a lot in his career, both on the field and from the sideline.As an assistant at Indiana, he helped guide the Hoosiers to the 2012 national title and a runner-up finish in 2017. He also aided the team which captured the 2010 Big Ten regular-season title and the 2013 Big Ten Tournament championship.As a player, Maisonneuve spent nine years in the MLS and six as part of the United States Men’s National Team, appearing in all three of the team’s games at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.Now, Maisonneuve has nothing but excitement while he begins to lead a team of his own, taking over as the Ohio State men’s soccer head coach.“When this opened up, to come back to Columbus, to work for this athletic department and to be able to build this program and continue to build the success from coach [John] Bluem — it’s a dream opportunity,” Maisonneuve said.Maisonneuve both played and coached at Indiana, but he is certainly not without ties to Columbus. Maisonneuve was a founding member of the Columbus Crew, playing with the club for nine seasons between 1996 and 2004. Returning to Columbus is something of a homecoming for Maisonneuve. “The city of Columbus has always been really special to my wife and I,” Maisonneuve said. “When we left, I can remember my wife saying, ‘If we ever have the chance to get back to the city of Columbus, let’s do it.’”Maisonneuve is eager, but he said he faces a potential uphill battle in preparing his team ready for season. The new head coach said he’s had little time to even talk to his new team given that it’s finals week, and he won’t be able to work with them or see them on the field until August, due to NCAA practice rules.“A lot of the relationships will be built on the phone and in whatever contact I’m allowed to have with them, but it will be limited,” Maisonneuve said. “It’s not easy because you want to get at it. Any time a new coach takes over they’re ready to go — and believe me I am ready to go. I was just talking to the group, I was ready to get on the field and get training.”Maisonneuve said while he wishes he had more time with his team, he’s confident he’ll have them ready to play come fall, installing new tactics and emphasizing aggressiveness on both sides of the ball.“I want people to say that it’s hard to play against Ohio State, that when we step on the field, we make it very uncomfortable for other teams, both offensively and defensively,” Maisonneuve said. “We’re going to get after teams on both sides of the ball.”Ohio State struggled mightily on the offensive end last season. The Buckeyes were shut out more than twice as often as they scored multiple goals in a game. Maisonneuve said he wants to emphasize offensive possession and versatility to attack a defense in multiple ways.“The key word for me would be effective soccer,” Maisonneuve said. “If we can out-possess teams, we’ll do it. If we’re not possessing on the day and we need to get some wide service in, we’ll do it. If they’re holding a high line and we need to find some space in behind, we’ll do it. Whatever is on, I’d like to say my players tactically will be able to figure it out, so it’ll be tough to stop offensively.Tactics aside, Maisonneuve’s primary emphasis is the long-term success of the program, building on what it was able to achieve under Bluem and taking the next step.“I’m really looking forward to continuing to build on the success that he had here and take this program to new levels,” Maisonneuve said. “I think with the resources here in Columbus with this athletic department, I think the sky’s the limit for this program.” Ohio State head coach Brian Maisonneuve speaks to the media during his introductory press conference on April 26, 2018. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics read more

Everyones Talking About Tiger But Phil Mickelson Is Playing The Best Golf

200752+0.33+0.61+0.50+0.16+1.60 The underlying numbers support Mickelson’s 2018 renaissance. Using the strokes gained statistic — which evaluates every golfer by comparing his performance on each incremental shot in a round to the average — Mickelson is having the best season of his career on record, albeit in the early going. He is averaging +2.33 strokes gained per round, which is higher than his best full-season mark since at least 2004, the first year for which this data is available. 201659-0.15+0.73+0.22+0.57+1.36 201158+0.14+0.90+0.33-0.19+1.18 200859+0.40+0.84+0.36+0.21+1.82 201769-0.06+0.55+0.22+0.34+1.05 201357+0.02+0.49+0.26+0.66+1.44 Average Strokes Gained SeasonMeasured RoundsOff the TeeApproachAround the GreenPuttingTOTAL The entirety of the golf-watching internet has spent a couple of recent Sundays engrossed in a 40-something golfer whose career peaked a decade ago. But while Tiger Woods has consumed all of the oxygen in the room, the game’s other 40-something blast from the past, Phil Mickelson, is quietly playing some of the best golf of his professional career.That Mickelson, at the well-seasoned age of 47, is entirely overlooked thanks to his enigmatic rival is almost too fitting; it’s been happening for two decades.“He’s always one-upped me in my career, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out this week and won,” Mickelson said of Woods earlier this month. “Just to one-up me again.”Lefty stands at No. 18 in the World Golf Rankings, where the average age of the players ahead of him is 30.7. He is No. 3 in the FedExCup standings, where the average age of the players ahead of him is 28. He has logged five top-10 finishes in eight starts this season; only 31-year-old Brian Harman, who has played in 10 events, has more.At the WGC-Mexico Championship in early March, Mickelson beat Justin Thomas — the No. 2 golfer in the world, who is young enough to be Mickelson’s son — in a playoff. It was Mickelson’s 43rd professional win and his first since taking the British Open at Muirfield in 2013.It was also a continuation of peak performance this season from the avid gamesman. Entering this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Mickelson has finished no worse than tied for sixth at four consecutive tournaments. With an average finish of 3.5 over his past four appearances, Mickelson is currently riding the best four-event stretch of his entire career.1Excluding unofficial events, match play and team events. He’s placed in the top 15 in six of the eight tournaments this year, putting his average tournament finish this season on par with the best seasons of his career. 200948+0.31+0.27+0.38-0.15+0.82 200647+0.57+0.98+0.14+0.27+1.96 200550+0.34+0.57+0.36+0.26+1.53 201057+0.19+0.74+0.23-0.15+1.00 What’s gotten into Phil?How Phil Mickelson has fared in terms of strokes gained, 2004 season through March 20, 2018 201450+0.20+0.17+0.27+0.23+0.87 201260-0.10+0.57+0.40+0.56+1.42 201822-0.10+1.14+0.21+1.08+2.33 201555+0.07+0.02+0.23+0.26+0.58 2018 season is ongoing. Total average strokes gained may not add up exactly because of rounding.Source: PGA Tour 200454+0.60+0.60+0.22-0.09+1.32 As many a grandfather has implored over the years, golf is a sport people can play virtually their entire lives. But performance obviously diminishes over time — especially at the highest level the sport has to offer. There’s a senior tour for a reason, after all.So how, then, is Mickelson turning back the clock this season as the old-timer in a sea of youths?“There’s a number of areas in my game that, if I look back 10, 15 years ago, I feel like I’m significantly better,” Mickelson said earlier this month on the Dan Patrick Show. “Certainly, I’ve gotten a ton better at putting.”This is very true. Only Jason Day (1.39) is averaging more strokes gained with the putter than Mickelson (1.08), who leads the tour in the percentage of holes with only one putt (48.8 percent), the average number of putts per round (27), the percentage of holes with a birdie or better (41.3 percent)2On holes in which the player hit the green in regulation. and overall putting average (1.5 putts per hole).While his work off the tee has been nothing special (-0.10 strokes gained), Mickelson has had little difficulty getting his ball in position to attack the flagstick, ranking third in strokes gained on shots approaching the green (1.14).And yet, Mickelson’s odds to win the Masters sit at 20-to-1, below those of Woods, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Jon Rahm, who have combined to produce eight top-10 finishes and two wins this season. Mickelson has nearly matched those marks by himself. Given his record of work and meteoric ascension this season, golf’s most notorious active gambler would perhaps do well to bet on himself.Mickelson has publicly said one of his goals is to qualify for a 12th Ryder Cup and to help the U.S. team win on foreign soil. His recent win gives him a great chance of accomplishing it. Another goal is to eclipse 50 career wins on tour.“I don’t know (when I’ll get to 50),” Mickelson told reporters after his latest win. “Seven more wins and I’ll be there. I don’t have the month or the time, but I will get there.” read more

Revealed The 7 TDs who say they wont pay the property tax

first_imgAT LEAST SEVEN TDs have said they will not pay the local property tax and do not intend complying with the Revenue Commissioners in a move that could potentially put their Dáil seat at risk.In response to queries from TheJournal.ie this week, most independent TDs and those from the two opposition parties who have opposed and voted against the tax said they would comply with it, many saying it is “the law of the land” but seven told this website they would not.This could potentially put their Dáil seat at risk if they are re-elected at the next general election as not filing a return and paying the tax would mean these TDs would not get a tax clearance certificate which they must produce within nine months of being elected.The seven TDs are: Joan Collins, Joe Higgins, Séamus Healy, Clare Daly, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, John Halligan and Thomas Pringle.Spreadsheet: Which TDs are paying the property tax and which TDs are not >“I certainly won’t be paying it. If I can avoid paying it I will avoid paying it,” Flanagan told TheJournal.ie this week saying that he was boycotting the tax in “solidarity with those who have to make a choice between putting food on the table or a fire in the fireplace to pay this tax”.Higgins said he was “participating in a mass boycott of the property tax” and added: “The only way the people can force the government back is mass boycott, they [the government] are impervious with their majority in the Dáil so people power is needed.”Higgins: “Just because Revenue is an agent of government, it is not a reason to back off.” The Socialist Party TD said he expected a “substantial boycott” of the campaign while People Before Profit TD Joan Collins said she still hoped the tax could be reversed.She said: “I am going to defy it, not comply and take the penalties and in the meantime the campaign against the tax will be a short window of opportunity to really encourage people to get out on the streets, with a bit of fire in their belly, if they want to try and reverse it.”Waterford TD Halligan said: “I haven’t even got a bloody bill but I am sure I will get it shortly. But when I do I won’t be paying it.”Donegal South West deputy Thomas Pringle admitted that Revenue would find it easy to get the tax from him “as they know where I work” while Healy described the tax as “draconian” and said he would not comply. Daly said she would not filing her return.‘Through gritted teeth’In total 28 TDs said they’d pay the tax, 7 said they would not, two said they did not qualify as they do not own a property and 18 did not respond to queries.A Fianna Fáil spokesperson said that members of the parliamentary party will be expected to pay the tax and obey the law. A Sinn Féin spokesperson said that the property tax law has “been framed in such a way to take personal choice about its payment away from the individual”.Individual TDs in both parties who responded said they would be paying.Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming said: “I am a law abiding citizen and I’ll obey with the law of the land. It’s the law of the land, I mightn’t like but it’s the law of the land.”Some Sinn Féin TDs who boycotted the household charge last year acknowledged that they would now be forced to pay that charge when it is added to their property tax liability. The majority who were contacted did not respond to queries.Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that he was “minded to pay it on the basis that I have no option” while Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said that any public representative who said they would not be paying would be engaging in “bluster”, adding: “They will have to pay at some point.”Sinn Féin says it would repeal the property tax if and when it is in government A number of independent TDs who have spoken out against the tax have said that they will reluctantly comply with Revenue and make their return. Wicklow deputy Stephen Donnelly said he was doing so “through gritted teeth”.Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath said he was going to hold out as long as possible to “make a stand” but acknowledged that he would probably end up paying the tax in the end.Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said that while he had spoken out against the tax he had always said he would pay it: “I am telling them [my constituents] there’s no way out of this, Revenue will get it from you.“Sure even when you’re dead Revenue come after you,” he added.Labour TD Patrick Nulty, who lost the party whip in 2011 after voting against the Budget, said he was not liable as he did own a property as did People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett who confirmed that he did not own a property and was therefore not liable.Spreadsheet: Is your TD paying the property tax?Read: Revenue’s property tax guidance causing ‘widespread confusion’Leo Varadkar: Property tax is easy to pay and hard to evadelast_img read more

Greek Australian dies in tragic car accident

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Just three months ago, Johnny Naxakis lost his mother Dionysia. Struggling to accept a life without her, he would visit her grave at the Werribee Cemetery each day and light a candle for her. But last Saturday would be the last time for the 41-year-old, after he was killed in a tragic car accident on Cemetery Road.Mr Naxakis leaves behind his grieving partner Despina Theodoridis, father Michael, siblings Anthony, Paras and Michael, along with extended family and friends who were left in shock.Well-known and loved within the entertainment industry, he worked as an event manager responsible for some of the biggest musical events within the Greek community. “Everyone adored him,” his loving partner told Neos Kosmos.It has been a particularly tough time for Ms Theodoridis, who a week prior lost her first cousin, who had just recently turned 42. Coincidentally, the accident resulting in the death of her partner of eight years occurred while a memorial service was simultaneously taking place at the Werribee Cemetery for Ms Theodoridis’ cousin.“I’ll always love you to the moon and back,” she said, a quote the couple would often recite to one another. “That’s how much I’m going to miss him. I’m always going to remember him; he’ll always be with me.”The cause of the collision still remains unknown.last_img read more

Prince Charles acknowledges Melbournes large Greek community in meeting with Bill Papastergiadis

first_imgIt was a day to remember for the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne Bill Papastergiadis when he met Prince Charles.The pair came together in London last month at St James’s Palace during a reception for the Prince’s Trust International, established to support vulnerable young people.The event was hosted for Greek students and business people, with a local presence from Mr Papastergiadis who travelled to London from Greece. Mr Papastergiadis told Neos Kosmos he had the chance to speak with the royal one-on-one, during which the Prince revealed that he knew Melbourne, and it’s large Greek community, quite well given he had been a student in Geelong.“It was a purely philanthropic meeting and we talked about how we can help Greek youth to find work,” Mr Papastergiadis said.The Prince’s Trust International was established in Greece in 2015, offering programmes to those aged between 18 and 30 who are struggling with the economic crisis, with a five year goal to help 2,200 young people around Greece.“It is, after all, the land of my grandfather,” Prince Charles said of Greece. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Begich spent four years as a consultant As governor he could sign

first_imgFormer U.S. Senator Mark Begich talks to the audience during a Juneau Chamber of Commerce forum on Thursday, September 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)If Democrat Mark Begich is elected Alaska’s governor, he’ll wield veto power over dozens of bills each year, just like his predecessors.Listen nowA major difference from those predecessors, though, are his relationships with the special interests that will be pushing him to sign or reject each bill. In some cases, they could be his former paying customers.For nearly four years, Begich has owned a public affairs and consulting firm, Northern Compass Group, that’s worked with clients that intersect with both state and federal government. If elected, he’ll likely be faced with decisions that will directly affect the businesses, unions and Native organizations that have been paying his business for advice.That means Begich should be careful about possible conflicts, according to Anchorage independent Rep. Jason Grenn, who helped lead a successful push for legislative ethics reforms this year.Anchorage independent Rep. Jason Grenn. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)“I don’t think anyone should be disqualified just because they’ve been successful in the past,” Grenn said. But, he said, he thinks Begich “should understand that people are going to be maybe more critical than of governors in the past, who had a law firm or had other business dealings.”“And he should be sensitive to that, and take the steps needed to show these aren’t going to inject themselves into his best vision for Alaska,” Grenn added.Alaska politicians often emerge from the worlds of public policy and business, and Begich is far from the first with potential for conflicts.The current governor, Bill Walker, owned a law firm that worked for the city of Valdez, the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Alaska Gasline Port Authority — a municipal group pushing the construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez.Walker sold his law firm after being elected, but his critics still cited his past relationship with the authority because its gasline plans conflicted with a state-sponsored project to build the pipeline on a different route.And after the 1990 election of Wally Hickel, a businessman with holdings worth more than $80 million, he pledged to put his interests in a gasline company, Yukon Pacific Corp., into a blind trust.Begich’s work is significant, though, because of the number of clients he’s had, as well as the recentness of his work, Grenn said.Northern Compass Group had 17 paying clients last year, generating at least $885,000 in income for the firm, according to a financial disclosure Begich was required to file with the state. Begich himself reported between $300,000 and $700,000 in personal income from his company. (State law requires income to be reported in ranges, rather than specific amounts.)Several of Begich’s clients, or their employees, have also spent thousands of dollars on political efforts and groups that are trying to get him elected.One step Begich should take if elected governor is to recuse himself from official actions that would “directly and substantially” affect his company’s clients, said Craig Holman, an expert on campaign finance and governmental ethics at the Washington, D.C. watchdog group Public Citizen.“That would be one big step that we see flaunted over and over, here in Washington, D.C.,” Holman said.Begich’s campaign manager, Nora Morse, would not make him available for an interview.Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich speaks at a campaign event in September. (Photo by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)In an email, she said Begich, as an elected official, “is always focused on one singular goal: doing what is in the best interest of Alaskans with a commitment to open and transparent government.”“And as always, his office and the entire administration would be held to the highest ethical standards – following all laws and state regulations,” Morse wrote.The future of Northern Compass Group, and of Begich’s ownership stake, will be determined after the election, she said.Begich created Northern Compass Group in 2015, less than three months after losing his re-election bid to Republican Dan Sullivan. The company’s website shows five employees working with Begich, several of whom worked in his U.S. Senate office; state corporate filings list Begich as Northern Compass Group’s sole owner.While state law requires Begich to list his clients on his financial disclosure, and say roughly how much they paid Northern Compass Group, he does not have to describe the work his company did for each one.Northern Compass Group’s largest source of revenue last year — at least $200,000 — was a Washington, D.C. law and lobbying firm called Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where Begich was hired as an adviser in 2015.Brownstein has dozens of accounts, from Walgreens to Amazon to MGM Resorts.Brownstein, when Begich was hired, said he would work on energy issues and the intersection between business and government. But neither Begich’s campaign nor Brownstein would identify the specific clients Begich has worked with.Morse described Begich’s work for Brownstein generally as “internal communication and organization,” “bridging the bipartisan team” within the company and “public relations and outreach.” He helped launch and moderate an issue-based podcast series, as well as panels with bipartisan speakers on current events, she said.What Northern Compass Group did for clients in Alaska last year is a little more clear.The company researched Alaska renters insurance law for Weidner Apartment Homes, which has more than 5,000 units in the state, said Weidner spokesman Greg Cerbana.Northern Compass Group worked for Chugach Electric Association on the Anchorage co-op’s proposed merger with a municipal utility, though a spokeswoman, Julie Hasquet — a former Begich press secretary — refused to provide details or documentation.Grant Aviation, a regional Alaska airline, hired Northern Compass Group to solicit feedback from the communities where the airline works, Grant officials said in a 2015 news report.And Northern Compass Group has also advised Planned Parenthood in its fights with Congress and the Trump administration, spokesman Andrew Everett said.While Begich wouldn’t talk about the specifics of his consulting work, he did describe it generally in an interview earlier this year.“It was varied, every day. Sometimes I’d be traveling to a place in Alaska, meeting with a potential new client, or talking with people about a client,” he said. “Or, the team would be doing other projects, related. So, very eclectic.”Chugach Electric Association hired Mark Begich’s consulting firm to work on its merger with a municipal utility. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)The same issues and entities that Begich’s company has worked with are almost certain to come before state government in the next few years.Eight of Northern Compass Group’s 17 clients pay lobbyists to work with Alaska’s executive branch, which Begich will oversee if he’s elected. Those clients also lobby on specific bills that could come to the governor’s desk.This year, for example, Chugach Electric Association lobbied against legislation to create an independent entity aimed at cutting consumers’ costs by better coordinating power generation among Alaska’s interconnected utilities, according to one of Chugach’s lobbying reports.The utilities said the legislation was unnecessary and that they were already working toward the same goal.While Grenn, the state representative, said he wants Begich to be transparent about possible conflicts if he’s elected, Begich’s opponents have also questioned his loyalty to Alaskans’ interests in his current job — by describing his work for the past four years as “lobbying.”But that’s a mischaracterization, according to the specific definition of lobbying under federal law.Begich was barred from lobbying his former Congressional colleagues for two years after he left office. The ban is designed to stop representatives and senators from profiting from the connections they made while in public service, and to prevent them from doing favors for possible future employers while they’re still in office.After the two-year cooling-off period, if Begich wanted to try to directly influence members of Congress on legislation, he would have had to formally register as a lobbyist. He didn’t.What Begich did do, in some cases, was give advice to other people who were lobbying and trying to influence Congress.That’s become a common practice for former government officials. And good government groups are critical of the practice, saying it’s not much different than lobbying.“Strategic consulting — especially when you’re doing strategic consulting on behalf of a major lobbying firm — is really stealth lobbying,” said Holman, the government ethics expert. Begich, he added, is giving clients “key advice and direction on how to get around the governmental system, both at the federal and state systems. That is lobbying by any other term.”But Begich’s supporters disagree. One of them, Anchorage tribal lawyer and lobbyist Lloyd Miller, said there’s a big distinction between Begich’s work and what a registered lobbyist does.It’s one thing to advise lobbyists on how to best approach members of Congress, and another completely to pick up the phone and make those calls yourself, Miller said in an interview.“It’s not a line, it’s a river,” Miller said. “Because it’s such an enormous gap.”Miller’s firm paid Northern Compass Group at least $20,000 last year, according to Begich’s financial disclosure. Miller said Begich gave advice about the most effective arguments to use to convince individual senators of the benefits of legislation Miller was pushing.But Miller said he still had to make those arguments to senators and staffers himself, which was harder than having Begich do it for him.“I would have loved for him to actually become a registered lobbyist, because he would be great at it. He would be super at it,” Miller added. “People like him who become registered lobbyists earn a million, two million or more a year in Washington, D.C.”—Andrew Kitchenman contributed to this story.last_img read more

Googles Daydream VR Gets Dashboard Content Collections

first_imgWith this update, Daydream users are being greeted with a curated collection of new apps and games as well as noteworthy video series. At launch, these collections included Google’s Spotlight Stories, Hulu’s On Stage music documentaries and Discovery’s TRVL series.In addition, Daydream also got a new dashboard, which was first announced at Google’s 2017 developer conference. At any point while using Daydream, users can now summon a dashboard that offers shortcuts to key settings, as well as recently-used apps.With the dashboard, users can for example start to cast their experience to any Chromecast-enabled TV and change audio, Wifi and notification settings. The dashboard also offers quick access to a user’s Android notifications, so users can check whether they got an important email or missed a call without taking off the headset. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Much of this — minus some of the phone-specific notifications — is likely also going to be available for the upcoming standalone Daydream VR headset that Google is launching together with Lenovo next month. The Mirage Solo, which combines Daydream apps with advanced positional tracking, will be priced $400, and go on sale on May 6. Google wants to make it easier for users of its Daydream virtual reality (VR)  headset to find new content and keep track of their phone notifications. To that effect, Daydream just got a new dashboard feature, as well as regularly updated collections of curated content.The new features were rolled out with a software update Thursday, and officially announced with a tweet Friday. Popular on Variety last_img read more

Attorneygeneral denies denigrating judiciary

first_imgAttorney-general Costas Clerides denied on Wednesday that he had ever disrespected the judiciary and its officers during a public spat earlier this year that eventually led to changes in the operation of the supreme court.Clerides was responding to a motion filed by lawyer Chris Triantafillides at the supreme court asking it to compel the attorney-general to issue a statement restoring the prestige and credibility of the justice system and its officers.The hearing was part of an appeal filed by the state against the acquittal of former Bank of Cyprus (BoC) CEO Andreas Eliades and his deputy Yiannis Kypri over the reclassification of the Greek bonds held by the lender in 2010.Triantafyllides represents Eliades.The spat broke out after Eliades was acquitted when Clerides’ brother Nicos claimed, and later provided details, that the courts were controlled by the Polyviou and Chrysafinis law firm, which represented BoC, among others.“There is not a single supreme court judge who does not have a child at the law office that promotes the banks’ interests,” the attorney-general’s brother had said of the firm.The attorney-general later said that in supreme court’s final judgement in a separate case of market manipulation case filed against BoC three of the five judges on the appeals court had children or a spouse employed at the law firm representing the bank in the appeals process.Citing court transcripts, Clerides said that at the beginning of the appeals process, which got underway on January 11, 2018, none of the members of the supreme court volunteered this information regarding their connection to the defendants’ law firm.On Wednesday, Clerides said Triantafyllides’ motion was unfounded. He said it was highly insulting and there was no need for anyone to ask him to reaffirm his confidence towards justice and its officers.The AG said he had never offended the credibility of the judiciary and was only making certain observations concerning two particular appeals and objective impartiality. The spat resulted in the supreme court changing judicial practice.“I do not feel any need to restore the prestige of justice because I have never offended it,” he told the three-member panel. “There is no point of referring the application to the supreme court plenum (full bench of 13 judges).”The court rejected the motion and adjourned until April 8 to hear the appeal.In February, Clerides had requested the recusal of supreme court President Myron Nicolatos, who was one of the three judges adjudicating the appeal.The attorney-general argued that there were questions surrounding Nicolatos’ “objective impartiality”.Nicolatos himself rejected any doubts over his impartiality, but recused himself regardless.During the spat, allegations surfaced that Nicolatos’ daughter and sister had benefited from out-of-court settlements with BoC.Nicolatos himself had also adjudicated in an appeal filed by Eliades who had been jailed for market manipulation, in a separate case to the ongoing one.In a 2 to 1 decision, the three-bench court had found that the bank and Eliades, although they had made false representations about the financial status of the bank, did not do so with intent to manipulate the market but rather to ‘reassure’ shareholders.The casting vote, which benefited the bank, belonged to Nicolatos – leading to talk of a quid pro quo between the judge and the lender, and the suggestion that Nicolatos ought to have recused himself from those hearings.You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Rep Runestad named to Criminal Justice Policy Commission

first_img06Feb Rep. Runestad named to Criminal Justice Policy Commission State Rep. Jim Runestad, of White Lake, has been appointed by House Speaker Tom Leonard to serve as a legislative representative on the Criminal Justice Policy Commission.The 17-member commission is responsible for reviewing current sentencing guidelines, exploring alternatives to incarceration, promoting rehabilitation programs and making recommendations to the Legislature. The Commission includes representatives of the Legislature, the attorney general, and 12 members appointed by the governor.“I’m honored to be asked to serve in this capacity,” said Runestad, who was also recently named chair of the House Judiciary Committee for the 2017-18 legislative session. “I’m looking forward to delving into the issues our criminal justice system is facing, and working with this group of experts to come up with policy changes that make meaningful improvements.”### Categories: Runestad Newslast_img read more

VanderWall plan to extend ag disaster loan program signed into law

first_img Categories: VanderWall News 26Apr VanderWall plan to extend ag disaster loan program signed into law State Rep. Curt VanderWall’s plan to extend a low-interest loan program for struggling farmers after agricultural disasters was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.The disaster loan program allows growers and producers to receive assistance to alleviate the financial impact of crop damage caused by natural disasters. It was created after a crop disaster in 2012, but the program expired in February.“This program was a lifeline for struggling local farmers after brutal weather wiped out fruit crops in 2012,” VanderWall said. “Some farmers did not carry insurance on their crops, so the loans helped them pull through until they were able to sell their harvests after the next growing season.”House Bill 4562, now Public Act 111 of 2018, re-establishes the program in law, ensuring the Legislature will be able to act quickly should the governor declare another crop disaster in the future.“Michigan’s growers and producers deserve our support,” VanderWall said. “The food and agriculture industry employs hundreds of thousands of people and pumps billions of dollars into our economy each year.”###last_img read more

Keeping up with the Pope Bishops Try to Match Franciss Style

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 26, 2014; National Catholic ReporterCatholic bishops probably grimace every time The Verdict, starring the late Paul Newman, is rerun on TV. As an alcoholic, downtrodden lawyer, Newman as Frank Galvin faces off against Ed Concannon, played by James Mason, sneering his way through his role as the high priced lawyer for Bishop Brophy (Edward Binns) and the opulent Boston Archdiocese rather callously fending off a medical malpractice suit.That kind of opulence of the Catholic Church is a thing of the past in some places. In Philadelphia, for example, the archdiocese just announced the closing of 16 parishes. It’s obviously only the most recent closing/merger dynamic in the archdiocese. As recently as 2010, the Philadelphia archdiocese comprised 266 parishes, but will now shrink to 219. Spokespersons for the archdiocese attributed the closings to shrinking church attendance and shifting populations, but it’s not hard to see the financial strain beneath the decision-making. According to Charles Zech of Villanova University’s Center for Church Management and Business Ethics, “The archdiocese is in a terrible financial situation in part due to subsidizing parishes that can’t support themselves. Frankly, that’s not good stewardship.” He said that the plan of closing and mergers of parishes was “long overdue.”Do the financial strains in the parishes filter up to the level of the fictional Bishop Brophy in his comfortable offices as he determined with lawyer Concannon just how cheaply they could buy off the plaintiffs in the malpractice suit? Are leaders of the church cutting back on lavish expenditures and lifestyles? At the recent semi-annual meeting of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops, something else was pushing them, according to Michael Paulson of the New York Times, to “rethink…what kinds of houses they live in, and what kinds of cars they drive.”It is the example of how Pope Francis is conducting himself on the national stage. According to Paulson, the bishops “find themselves unsettled in ways large and small, revisiting both how they live and what they talk about in light of the new pope’s emphasis on personal humility and economic justice.”“After several of their colleagues faced recent criticism for lavish houses,” Paulson wrote, “several bishops said in interviews that they were paying new attention to their own spending, mindful of the pope’s decision to eschew the apostolic palace for a small suite in a Vatican guesthouse, and aware that their parishioners are concerned about how the church uses its money.”It’s a problem of keeping up with the Pope. “The Pope Francis Effect,” some call it.Look at the problems Pope Francis has created for the formerly high-living bishops just in the past couple of weeks. The other day, he had his motorcade stop in a small Italian village to kiss a disabled woman lying on a stretcher. The Vatican announced recently that Francis would meet with Irish victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clerics, accompanied by other survivors from the U.S., Poland, and the UK. Unlike his predecessors (and some other church leaders) who had embarrassingly close relations with organized crime, Pope Francis chose this month to finally excommunicate the Mafia, though some sources question whether he officially excommunicated the entire mob or simply said that they were inexcusably evil and Mafiosi should be excommunicated. He appears to be living his beliefs in a simple, human kind of religion, without the trappings of affluence and excess. “Just when they thought they had mastered the art of pleasing popes like St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, along comes Pope Francis to throw them into turmoil about how to remake themselves in his image and likeness,” writes Eugene Cullen Kennedy, a psychology professor at Loyola University, about the U.S. bishops in an article in the National Catholic Reporter. While describing bishops as “bright ambitious men” whose “principal motivation…was that, at sunset, their actions and decisions of the completed day would be pleasing to and approved by the pope” (a conclusion he draws from the Sheehan/Kobler study of U.S. bishops), Kennedy thinks that their ability to please this pope might be challenging.“They must have known that Pope Francis was trouble the minute he got on the bus with the other cardinals after he was elected…He rejected the papal apartments and bought a secondhand car that would delight environmentalists and/or junk men. When a reporter asked him about a priest accused of homosexuality, he answered, as naturally as a man who is a pastor by nature, ‘Who am I to judge?’”Kennedy writes, “The bishops’ worry is not apparently about what the pastoral pope does or says. It is the dismay they feel at being expected to speak spontaneously like a Christian, to share the concern that lives in their hearts rather than lies dead in canon law books. Being a true Christian is all that the pope seems to expect, but nobody ever prepared the present bishops for that, and the thought never occurred to them spontaneously.”Kennedy’s article is a scathing commentary about the U.S. Bishops. It certainly applies to bishops with the image of Bishop Brophy in The Verdict, so distant from and so unfeeling toward the poor family who lost their sister in a Catholic hospital. Does it apply to today’s U.S. bishops? Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia is trying to get Pope Francis to visit next year in conjunction with the city’s hosting of the World Meeting of Families. If the Pope makes his first visit to the U.S. next year, will he see bishops simply striving to please their leader, or really being what the Pope seems to want—true Christians?—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more