Nick Cannon Grand Marshals Walk to End Lupus Now

first_imgMulti-talented entertainer and television personality Nick Cannon will serve as the Grand Marshal at the Walk to End Lupus Now event in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 19.Cannon will cut the opening ceremony ribbon and lead the more 4,000 walkers down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol, shedding light on the cruel mystery that is lupus. Cannon was diagnosed with lupus nephritis (lupus kidney disease) in 2012 and has been a tireless advocate for increased awareness of lupus and the importance of research.“Join me in our nation’s capital for the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now event on April 19th. Together, we can rally public support for this disease and call attention to the importance of lupus research and participation in clinical trials,” says Nick Cannon. Nick Cannon’s participation in the DC Walk to End Lupus Now event is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb.Cannon will be joined by Walk Ambassador and New England Patriots defensive back Tavon Wilson. Eileen Whelan, meteorologist for ABC7, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.Lupus has impacted Wilson, a Washington, D.C. native, closely — both his aunt Regina and cousin Dionne are battling the disease.“When the opportunity came up to help create more awareness for this devastating disease, especially in my hometown, I jumped on it. I wanted to be a positive voice in the community because those with lupus deserve a cure for it,” said Wilson.Organized by the Lupus Foundation of America, Walk to End Lupus Now events are held in more than 60 cities across the country, making it the largest lupus walk program in the entire world The walk events bring together community members — people with lupus, friends, families, health care providers and celebrities — to raise money for lupus research and education programs, increase awareness of the disease and rally public support for those who feel the brutal impact of lupus.“The Lupus Foundation of America diligently works to ensure that federal and state funds are provided for lupus research and education programs. We must continue to make our voices heard and educate our elected officials about the impact of lupus on individuals and their families. The Walk to End Lupus Now in our nation’s capital serves as the perfect platform to accomplish this,” explained Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of Lupus Foundation of America. “More resources for research will further our efforts to find a cure for this unpredictable and devastating disease. We urge the community and Congress to join us in our fight to end lupus.”“Every dollar raised from Washington, D.C.‘s Walk to End Lupus Now event, supports the Lupus Foundation of America’s efforts to solve the mystery of lupus, while we continue to provide services to the thousands of residents that turn to us every year for answers and support,” said Jessica Gilbart President and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America, DMV ChapterRegistration for the walk is open online at Participants can also create a personal fundraising page on the walk website to raise money, recruit new team members and get valuable fundraising tips.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

Tarik Ramadan Government Must Listen to Rif Demands Protest Brings Hope

Rabat – Swiss scholar and prominent European Muslim figure Tarik Ramadan has called on Moroccan authorities “to hear the voice of the people in Rif,” who he said have legitimate social, cultural and political demands.In a video posted on Facebook, Ramadan urges Moroccan authorities to listen to the demands of the Al Hirak protests movement in the region of Al Hoceima to preserve the achievements in the Kingdom, seen as a stable country in a region in turmoil.Ramadan describes Al Hirak as a source of hope for a better future of Morocco, insisting that the state listen to protesters instead of trying to “extinguish” their voices. He went on to warn against speeches intended to discredit Al Hirak or accuse it of sowing seeds of discord in the country.“We can continue saying this is fitna [strife] and that this is an attempt to foment division and chasm in Morocco and act against it unity, but none of this true,” he said. “It is in the name of this unity of Morocco itself and transparency and democratization in the country that these voices have raised and it is for that reason too that, I believe, they should be listened to.”The highly-publicized author, who is an habitué of Morocco having appeared on national TV and been invited to give lectures in local universities, said that the reality of Rif should be taken into consideration in public policies to ensure access to education for the local population, social justice, development, and management of state funds.“These are also political demands as far as democracy [in Morocco] is concerned. If we look, for example, at the last general elections, the participation rate was less than 32 percent which is stupefying. We can’t help wondering about the reality of democratic transparency in the country and how much interest people have for politics.”According to Ramadan, this situation demands that the people in positions of responsibility, including King Mohammed VI, act to launch a real process of democratization in the Kingdom.“[Morocco] might be better than its neighbors, but this doesn’t mean it has done what it has to do in terms of democratic transparency,” said Ramadan.He pointed out that Moroccan researchers and sociologists have highlighted how much Al Hirak can be a “project of hope” because it opens up perspectives to discuss and deal with question of equality and transparency, not only in the Rif, but in Morocco as a whole. read more

The Latest US says higher tariffs on China to hit on Friday

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the U.S.-China trade talks (all times local):___5:15 p.m.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the higher tariffs on China that President Donald Trump threatened over the weekend will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday.Lighthizer adds that trade negotiations with the Chinese will resume on Thursday in Washington.In a briefing with reporters, Lighthizer accused Beijing of “reneging on prior commitments” after 10 rounds of high-stakes negotiations over China’s aggressive drive to supplant American technological dominance.Associated Press, The Associated Press read more

Nigeria to press for reform of Security Council its President says

26 September 2007The President of Nigeria today called for an expansion of the Security Council to include representation for Africa, and pledged his country’s efforts toward achieving this end. The President of Nigeria today called for an expansion of the Security Council to include representation for Africa, and pledged his country’s efforts toward achieving this end.“The situation whereby Africa is itself totally excluded from the permanent membership of the Council is unfair and untenable and must be rectified,” Umaru Musa Yar’adua told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.He pledged to “continue to collaborate with Member States to press for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system, including the much-desired expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories in order to reflect the realities of today’s world.”Speaking more broadly about the needs of the African continent, he said it seeks “genuine partnership for economic development” from the international community.“This should be manifested in a global economic system predicated on fairness, justice and equity; one that ensures fair trade terms and recognizes the centrality of mutuality in prosperity,” he said. “More specifically, Africa requires massive, focused foreign investment in the infrastructural development across the continent.” Festus G. Mogae, the President of Botswana, echoed the call for attention to Africa, acknowledging its problems while emphasizing that the continent’s future “is not hopeless or bleak.”He emphasized the pivotal role being played by the African Union (AU) in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. “While the United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, Africa should be a dependable and indispensable partner in responding expeditiously to the urgent need to end conflicts and save lives.”The President added that the countries and peoples of Africa must take a lead role in promoting peace and development. “We should adopt sound policies and programmes that promote economic growth and development, foreign direct investment, as well as domestic investment,” he said.At the same time, he called for the continent’s development partners to “deliver on the pledges to scale up official development assistance (ODA) to Africa, effect meaningful debt relief, improve market access for African goods and services and encourage their private sectors to invest in Africa.”Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdellahi, the President of Mauritania, said there was no doubt that “economic and social development constitute the best antidote” to the problems plaguing Africa. He called for greater levels of official assistance and foreign direct investment for Africa, while pointing out that the continent’s countries hold primary responsibility for development. “They must ensure the primacy of law, promote good governance and create a framework that will foster investments,” he said.Mauritania is closely following developments concerning Western Sahara and welcomes recent steps which have translated into a return to the negotiating table, he said, voicing supports for efforts by the Secretary-General to achieve a lasting solution acceptable to all parties that would bolster stability in the region. read more

Ban urges highlevel panel to meet global sustainability challenge

By 2050, the world’s population will have grown by almost 50 per cent, and global greenhouse gas emissions will have to be slashed by half by that year if climate change is to be kept in check, Mr. Ban told reporters after the body’s first meeting in New York today. Calling it the &#822050-50-50 challenge,” he stressed to reporters that “we will need to provide a dignified life for nine billion people while at the same time preserving the resources and ecosystems that sustain us,” he said. Last month, the Secretary-General unveiled the 21-member body, which is co-chaired by Finnish President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma. Mr. Ban reiterated his call today for the Panel to “think big” in drafting a bold but practical blueprint on how countries can promote sustainable development, voicing his “high hopes” for its work. “The challenge is considerable, and extends far beyond the timeframe for the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs],” he said, referring to the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline. During today’s meeting, the Panel discussed its work for the next 15 months, and is set to report back at the end of the year. Its recommendations on how to meet the so-called &#822050-50-50” challenge and other obstacles will feed into preparations on upcoming conferences on development and climate change. The Panel’s final recommendations will be delivered to the Secretary-General at the end of 2011. It also comprises Gro Harlem Brundtland, Han Seung-soo, Yukio Hatoyama, Luisa Dias Diogo and Kevin Rudd, former prime ministers of Norway, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Mozambique and Australia, respectively, as well as Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayid Al Nahayan, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, and Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey. They will be joined by Alexander Bedritsky, Aide to the Russian President on climate change Hajiya Amina Az-Zubair, Adviser for the Nigerian President on the MDGs, Zheng Guogang, Director of the China Meteorological Administration James Laurence Balsillie, Chair of the board of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Susan E. Rice, the United States’ Permanent Representative to the UN. The Panel will be rounded out by current and former environment ministers – Jairam Ramesh of India, Julia Carabias of Mexico and Cristina Narbona Ruiz of Spain – as well as Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Change and Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation. 19 September 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today issued a challenge to the newly-created High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability to find a solution to challenge of lifting people out of poverty while promoting sustainable development. read more

Oil and gas border taxes and a vanishing deadline federal politics this

OTTAWA — Even as Ottawa was overrun with tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of two giant robots shaped like a dragon and a spider strolling through the capital this week, there were enough politicos left around Parliament Hill to natter for days about Rolling Stone.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau graced the magazine’s latest issue on Monday, and was gifted a gushing profile that compared him ever-so-positively to U.S. President Donald Trump.The heap of flattering international coverage of Trudeau has long prompted eye-rolling among opposition members, and the Rolling Stone version ramped that reaction up a notch.On a more material level, however, Trump’s administration and the Trudeau government actually saw eye to eye on a key development this week: the U.S. proposal for a border adjustment tax.The week was also notable for major news on how Canada is managing its natural resources, and how it may be mismanaging its military purchasing.Here are three ways politics touched Canadians this week:The dreaded BAT:Of all the alarming pronouncements made by the Trump administration since taking office, probably none has shaken Canadians’ confidence more than the threat of a border adjustment tax.The proposal would have taxed imports into the United States more heavily than domestic goods, with the dual purpose of encouraging production within America’s borders and building up some revenue to bring down U.S. domestic taxes in other areas.Now, the idea has been nixed –much to the relief of the federal government and business leaders. Even though most U.S.-watchers believed the tax didn’t stand much of a chance of ever becoming reality, the risk was high enough to prompt some jitters among people thinking of investing or expanding in Canada.The federal Liberals were quick to take some credit, pointing to all the lobbying they had done to make the point in Washington that the tax would hurt American consumers and was not worth pursuing. But there were many Americans, including Republicans, making the same argument.Oil, gas and the future:There were two major turns this week in Canada’s longstanding push to sell the world more of its oil and gas.First, Malaysia’s Petronas announced it was pulling out of a $36-billion liquified natural gas development in British Columbia. Both the Stephen Harper government and the Trudeau government had backed the massive Pacific NorthWest LNG project, with Trudeau arguing it was a prime example of socially responsible energy interests working to Canada’s benefit.The company blamed poor market conditions, while opposition critics in B.C. blamed government red tape.Then, the Supreme Court shut down seismic testing near the Clyde River community in Nunavut, but at the same time gave a green light to the expansion of the Line 9 pipeline in southwestern Ontario. The court used the two rulings to contrast how the National Energy Board could do things wrong (Clyde River) and do things right (Line 9) when it comes to thoroughly consulting with Indigenous Peoples.Taken together, the week’s developments show the world of investors that it might be possible — but certainly never easy — to develop and export oil and gas here.The case of the vanishing deadline:The federal government is in the midst of figuring out how to spend about $60 billion on new warships, what will likely be the largest planned military purchase in Canadian history and a project taxpayers will be financing for years and years.But deadlines for companies to have their proposals in for consideration have come and gone, and have not really been replaced. Experts worry it’s a sign of dysfunction behind the scenes, given Canada’s troubling and litigious history of procurement gone awry.The government says not to worry, there are plenty of signs that companies are ready and willing to participate in the competition and everything will unfold as planned.Construction on the new fleet is meant to begin between 2019 and 2021. The $60 billion is intended to pay for the building of 15 new ships to replace the navy’s frigates and destroyers. read more

LTTE campaign delayed Rajiv Gandhis killers hanging

A confidential government document, accessed through the Right To Information (RTI), described the unprecedented number of appeals from across the world as an “orchestrated campaign” by cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and sympathizers against the execution of the Supreme Court’s 1999 order sentencing them to death. A confidential Indian government document has said that an “orchestrated campaign” by the LTTE helped delay the execution of the assassins of  former Indian Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.The Times of India reported that three Rajiv Gandhi assassins have opposed the execution of the death sentence awarded to them by pointing to the 12 year-lag between the Supreme Court’s confirmation of the high court’s order to send them to the gallows and the rejection of the mercy petition by President. The death sentence awarded to Nalini, another accused in the case, was commuted to life in April 2000 by the Tamil Nadu governor on the ground that she had a young child. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was among those who had sought clemency.The announcement of death penalty led to the European Union issuing a demarche to the Indian government. Tamil and human rights groups lobbied France, South Africa, Germany, Denmark, UK MPs, the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore as well as Indian ministers for not carrying out the death sentence. Rashtrapati Bhavan was bombarded with clemency pleas.It was against such a backdrop that President K R Narayanan did not take up the clemency pleas in 1999. It was only in August 3, 2011 that clemency pleas were turned down by then President Pratibha Patil. Immediately afterwards, the convicts moved court, successfully stalling the execution by citing the delay in the implementation of the apex court’s 1999 order. Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan later cited the delay when they submitted their mercy petitions to the President, seeking commutation of their death sentence to life. Their writ petitions are now with the Supreme Court.A close scrutiny of documents accessed under RTI, in response to a plea filed by activist S C Agrawal, shows that the 1999 verdict led to international and domestic pressure on the government. In February 2000, the EU Troika head of mission in Delhi issued a “confidential demarche” and requested the President to commute the sentence of the four persons to life. Among the other petitioners who sought death penalty waiver were NGOs like Campaign against Death Penalty, Dravidians for Peace & Justice, South Africa chapter, South African Tamil Federation, The World Saivite Council, the South Indian Foundation and the Federation of Tamil Associations in France.British member of Parliament from Brent North Barry Gardiner sought to draw a parallel with Guru Hargobind’s incarceration by Mughal rulers in Gwalior fort in the 17th century. Gardiner said that the Guru’s imprisonment came from his insistence on religious freedom for his people and even the emperor Jahangir eventually agreed to release him on Diwali. Others quoted Gladys Staines who forgave those who murdered her husband and children.Among the political leaders who petitioned for the four were MDMK’s Vaiko and SAD’s Simranjit Singh Mann. Rev Dr Arul Das James, Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, and Baba Amte also supported clemency while the then minister of state for petroleum and natural gas E Ponnuswamy forwarded a plea as well. From the judiciary, V Krishna Iyer and Justice Hosbet Suresh also submitted pleas to Narayanan. The high-decibel campaign reflects the effectiveness of the Tamil diaspora and their sympathy for the killers of the former prime minister. The number of petitions seeking clemency for the four accused was so high that in December 1999, the MEA in a note said, “The government has received numerous petitions calling for setting aside of the death penalty awarded to four persons accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Most of the petitions seem to be part of a campaign orchestrated by the LTTE cadres/supporters/sympathizers and human rights groups opposed to death penalty. EU Ambassadors in Delhi have also made demarche to the government. A communication on the subject has also been received from the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary execution. The purpose of this communication is to provide sufficient background material to rebut any negative media coverage and to respond to any queries on the subject.” But it was not as if the rejection of mercy petition was without support. Tamizhanga Rajiv Congress, All India Rajiv Gandhi Brigade and Subramanian Swamy from Janata Party were among the supporters of the hanging, the The Times of India reported. Behind this argument, it turns out, is a well-organized campaign by LTTE cadres, sympathizers and human rights groups opposed to death penalty who could well have been the reason for the delay in the first place. read more

UN Rwanda tribunal releases first ever CDROM on courts operations

The CD-ROM contains the full text in English and French of the Tribunal’s case law and basic documents from 1995 to 2000, and features a search engine that allows users to retrieve all ICTR decisions since its inception in 1994 and other materials, such as publications, press releases and UN documents on the Tribunal.According to Assistant Secretary-General Adama Dieng, the ICTR Registrar, the CD-ROM is the first one published by an international criminal jurisdiction and is one of the Tribunal’s major contributions to the work of the International Criminal Court and the establishment of an international criminal justice system. “We want this CD-ROM to be an illustration of the enormous task that has been undertaken by the Judges and the staff of the Tribunal, testifying to our determination to bring justice to the Rwandan people as envisaged by the United Nations Security Council in its resolution 955,” Mr. Dieng said.The CD-ROM is dedicated to the late Judge Laïty Kama, who was the first President of the Tribunal from 1995-99. read more

At small islands conference Annan calls for global warning system for natural

Video of Annan’s address [13mins] “We need a global warning system – and one that covers not just tsunamis, but all other threats, such as storm surges and cyclones. In such an endeavour, no part of the world should be ignored,” he told cabinet ministers and other senior officials meeting in Mauritius for the 10-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) on sustainability for small island nations.The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned that “if the sea level rises in the Maldives, for example, a large proportion of the land mass could disappear over the next 30 years, and be completely submerged by 2100.”Mr. Annan said, “We must also be ready to take decisive measures to address climate change. It is no longer so hard to imagine what might happen from the rising sea levels that the world’s top scientists are telling us will accompany global warming. Who can claim that we are doing enough?”In tackling their problems, some small island states have carved out market niches in tourism and information technologies, he said, but “on the whole, implementation of what was agreed and promised at Barbados remains disappointing at best,” while new challenges to survival have emerged.Among the new problems, “the AIDS epidemic has made deep inroads, especially in the Caribbean, which now ranks second to sub-Saharan Africa in the proportion of its adult population infected,” he said.The UN would continue to help keep the problems of small islands high on the international agenda, Mr. Annan.In that regard, the report issued last month by the 16 members he appointed to the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change gave a new vision of collective security that “places great emphasis on prevention and on building up the capacities of states to address threats and fulfil their responsibilities,” the Secretary-General said.“The Panel has stated clearly that addressing development challenges such as extreme poverty, climate change and the spread of infectious diseases, such as AIDS and malaria, is indispensable for our collective security. It has stressed the devastating impact that terrorism, conflict and organized crime have on development. And it has given us both wide-ranging policy recommendations and suggestions for significant changes in our multilateral institutions, including the United Nations,” Mr. Annan said.At a separate meeting organized by the Seychelles and the United Kingdom to consider threats to reefs and other protected areas, he said despite the progress made under the Law of the Sea Convention and other treaties, “this common heritage of all humankind continues to face profound pressures.”Although coral reefs make up less than 0.5 per cent of the ocean floor, more than 90 per cent of marine species are directly or indirectly dependent on them and they provide human communities with $30 billion per year in nutrition, livelihoods and economic growth, he said.“For small islands and low-lying areas, reefs are nature’s crucial defences against aggressive and destructive seas,” Mr. Annan said, adding, “We need early warning systems. But reducing vulnerability must begin with conserving coral reefs and mangroves.” read more

Russia cuts key interest rate to help economy but depriving ruble of

by Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Associated Press Posted Jan 30, 2015 5:17 am MDT MOSCOW – In a surprise decision, Russia’s central bank on Friday cut its key interest rate, which it had raised sharply last month to support the collapsing ruble, in order to help the fading economy.The move triggered a drop in the ruble, which was down more than 3 per cent at 71 rubles against the dollar in early afternoon trading in Moscow.The central bank explained its decision to cut the rate from 17 per cent to 15 per cent by saying that the risks of an economic slowdown are now higher than the risks associated with the ruble’s drop. The currency’s 50 per cent drop since the summer has caused a spike in inflation.Higher interest rates can help a currency but also hurt economic growth by making loans more expensive.Analysts said Friday’s move was likely due to pressure by government officials and Russian businesses, which are suffering from the high rates.The central bank said it expected inflation, currently at an annual 13 per cent, to peak in the middle of the year and fall below 10 per cent next year as the economy adjusts to the weaker ruble.“Inflation and inflation expectations are expected to decrease,” the bank said in a statement.The central bank had raised its key interest rate to 17 per cent in December in a desperate attempt to curb the devaluation of the ruble, which was fueling inflation by raising the price of imports.Market investors had expected the central bank to hold its interest rates at Friday’s policy meeting since it had indicated it would begin to cut rates only when inflation starts declining. That said, the bank has been under pressure domestically to bring rates down to limit damage to economic activity.“The lobby of bankers and industrialists is growing, with clear (almost aggressive) pressure on the Central Bank of Russia to cut,” David Nagle, head of research of Moscow-based Renaissance Capital, said in an emailed note to investors.Earlier on Friday, a top Russian official accused a leading rating agency of trying to turn tycoons against the Kremlin.Standard & Poor’s this week downgraded Russia’s credit rating to a non-investment grade, for the first time in more than a decade.In remarks in parliament on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said the goal of the downgrade was to push businesses “to withdraw their support” for the government and President Vladimir Putin.Russia has exceptionally low levels of public debts level for a country with a “junk” status but the downgrade underlined investors’ fears about the unpredictability of Putin’s foreign policy and the collapse of the ruble. Russia cuts key interest rate to help economy, but depriving ruble of support AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email A sign at an exchange office with headquarters building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation with the Soviet Sign in the background in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The Russian ruble extended its losses on Thursday, declining by 1.5 percent to 69 rubles against the dollar. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) read more

Historic opportunity at hand for reconciliation cooperation in Sri Lanka says UN

Back from his visit to the nation, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman spoke to reporters at a Headquarters press briefing this afternoon and expressed confidence over efforts towards reconciliation and cooperation. He said that the 8 January national elections demonstrated the people’s resolve to share in the future of their country. “The meetings and talks with the Government of Sri Lanka are so different than they used to be, so that leads us to greater expectations…There was suffering across all Sri Lanka, every community suffered and accountability must address the grievances in the North, but also allow that all [people] in Sri Lanka feel like all their concerns are being addressed,” he said. During those meetings, Mr. Feltman said he expressed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s support to the country and pledged continuous UN cooperation in mending relations and building trust between the Government and the people in line with the 2009 Joint Communiqué of the UN and Sri Lanka. “I encourage the Government to take some immediate steps that are feasible – things like the release of army-held land in the North to demonstrate the commitment of governments to follow through,” the Under-Secretary General emphasized, noting that “Sri Lankans have suffered a great deal” and despite the efforts of commissions of inquiry, “the list of suffering remains long.”The Government was vocal with Mr. Feltman about its plans to conform this process to international norms but has also pledged its commitment to reconciliation before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. By doing so, the Government has “put itself under a spotlight” but clearly more will be needed than just words. In terms of accountability, Sri Lanka’s Government will report back to [the Council] on steps taken to establish this domestic process. Mr. Feltman said “without question” there still is distrust between groups, but all stakeholders must work together. He noted that he had heard scepticism, especially in the North of the country, on whether the Government will live up to its commitment. But nevertheless, he said, “I left with the confidence that the intention to do this is real. The UN stands ready to provide technical assistance, if it is needed. “This is important for the people of Sri Lanka,” Mr. Feltman added.When the floor was opened for questions, he said on the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar that he had been in that country recently for a seminar for Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The discussions were mostly focused on peace and security but the question of the Muslims in the country came up in all of his meetings, during which he expressed UN concern and the Secretary-General’s strong commitment to seeing the issue addressed. On Yemen, Mr. Feltman said that a military solution is not the “right approach,” emphasizing that it would be “catastrophic” for civilians who have already endured a great deal of suffering. The only way to reunite the country is through due process. The Security Council has spoken out in favour of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) talks moving forward. Answering a question on the Israel and Palestinian situation, Mr. Feltman said that the ongoing tension stems from “really deep frustration” of how long people have been talking about a two-State solution without the realization of such an agreement. The Secretary-General still believes in a two-State solution because when you look at the alternatives, everything looks worse, Mr. Feltman said. On trying to restore and help reverse the position of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on security cooperation with Israel, he called it an example of a “very disturbing trend” where one side takes unilateral measures provoking the other side to do something else. Rather, Israelis and Palestinians should take steps to move forward, he said, calling on parties to rethink these sorts of unilateral decisions that risk the unravelling of Palestinian Authority. The UN support aims to try to unite the Palestinian Government in a way that is helpful to get back to a two-state solution negotiations. When asked whether a UN peacekeeping mission to Ukraine would be useful, Mr. Feltman said that decision is within purview of the Security Council. Implementation of the Minsk Accord gives a strong role to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Right now, the UN is looking how to best assist OSCE in doing the job it has been mandated to perform by the signatories of the Minsk Agreement. What is promising about that the Minsk accord is that it gets the international community away from concentrating on a military solution and focused more on a reform agenda and decentralization. On Syria, the UN political chief said that it is to keep in mind the suffering of Syria people who have been subjected to “unspeakable horrors” in the last four years. He highlighted the proposal of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to “freeze” the conflict in Aleppo as a way to alleviate the suffering and pave the way for broader political discussions. This has not been going easily or “swimmingly well,” but it remains the goal. read more

Education students explore Indigenous culture and history through art

Visitors to the Welch Hall atrium over the past few months have been greeted with vibrant artwork created by students. These colourful paintings are examples of how students have been engaging with Indigenous history and culture in unconventional ways. The seven banners were painted by students in Pedagogy of Indigenous Arts taught by Spy Dénommé-Welch, Assistant Professor in Brock’s Faculty of Education and a respected indigenous composer.During the course, students explored Indigenous art and artforms as well as social and cultural topics in Indigenous education and activism.“With these topics, using an arts focus allows for different methods and approaches to learning, and I find that to be rewarding,” says Dénommé-Welch.“In this assignment, they worked through current social, cultural and political topics, using a collaborative, arts-based approach.”While creating their banners, students examined the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls To Action report and incorporated the Calls To Action into their work.Dénommé-Welch has noticed that students are becoming more aware of the TRC’s work and the need for it to be more of a priority in their own learning and training.“It is encouraging to see some of this consciousness raising occurring and I do think they have the capacity to advocate for this given that there are whole sections of the Truth and Reconciliation that call for Faculties of Education to be more responsive to all of this.”The students drew on what they’d learned in class about Indigenous art, teachings and symbolism in designing the banners. Students also developed plans for how they would teach the content in a classroom.Students in three of Catherine Longboat’s courses explored similar topics while working together on a Two Row Wampum belt project.Longboat (PhD ’15), Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, uses a Two-Row Wampum belt as a teaching tool in and outside the classroom. For the first time, she and her students have attempted to make one.The design represents an agreement made in 1613 between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and Dutch settlers. In 1764, the Two Row Wampum was recognized at a meeting in Niagara between Crown officials and 24 diverse First Nations peoples.The design may look simple, but it represents a complex history and relationship. The two parallel rows of purple beads represent Indigenous and settler communities. The three rows in between represent peace, friendship and truth.“What we said was, ‘We’re the canoe and you’re the ship.’ The white is actually representative of peace,” says Longboat.“We’re going to be travelling together in peace. Parallel to one another, but neither one moving ahead of the other. In other words, when there’s intent to do anything, we’re to inform the other side. So that’s supposed to go back and forth.”Despite some initial challenges in picking up the technique, her students had ambitious plans for their sections of beadwork and aimed to create the longest belt possible when the pieces were combined.For Longboat, it’s important for her students to understand the Two Row Wampum belt as they sit together and learn to do beadwork.“I think right now it’s really good because we are dealing with Truth and Reconciliation,” she says of attempting the project. “This is how I see reconciliation: working together on a project that has a lot of meaning for Indigenous people, a lot of understandings, that goes way back.”Amanda Meyer, third-year Concurrent Education student in one of Longboat’s classes, hopes to be more knowledgeable about Indigenous culture as a teacher.“I think it’s important that as teachers we do have that opportunity to get our students to recognize what reconciliation is and to start that process because education has the power to change the future.” read more

5 Ohio State wrestlers advance into quarterfinals of NCAA championships

OSU sophomore Kyle Snyder gets his hand raised during a meet against Nebraska at St. John Arena on Jan. 17. OSU won 21-17. Credit: Muyao Shen | Asst. Photo EditorNEW YORK CITY — It was a rowdy and loud environment in Madison Square Garden as the NCAA wrestling national championships got underway. Ohio State began its title defense by winning six of its first eight matches and advancing five competitors into the quarterfinals.The Buckeyes are sitting well in second place as a team at the end of Day 1.OSU started things off with a defending individual national champion in redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello. Tomasello picked up a technical fall over Kyle Larson of Iowa State.In his next matchup, the Parma, Ohio, native drew an opponent he faced earlier this season in Elijah Oliver of Indiana. Much like before, Tomasello dominated the match after a slow start, and the 125-pound champion from last year moved on to the next round.Redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius attacked early against Robert Deutsch of Rider. A fall with just under a minute left in the first period got the Scarlet and Gray fans on their feet.DiJulius did not produce the same kind success in the next round, though. The underdog against Eric Montoya of Nebraska, the redshirt senior fought hard but dropped a 2-0 decision and moved to Friday’s consolation round.Both redshirt freshman Micah Jordan and redshirt sophomore Bo Jordan pinned their first opponents. The brothers kept things the same in the next round, as both Jordans won by way of decision.“I didn’t quite finish the way I wanted to wrestling-wise, so that’s something to take into my next match,” Bo Jordan said after his first bout. “But it was a good first match and I had some fun, so looking forward to the next round.”Freshman Myles Martin earned a major decision in the first round before picking up a second-round upset. His win over Cody Walters of Ohio put him in the quarterfinals in his first NCAA tournament.To finish out a dominant morning, sophomore Kyle Snyder did something he had never done before at the college level: win by fall.Snyder earned an early pin in the second over Antonio Pelusi of Franklin and Marshall. He did not slow down, picking up a 26-10 technical fall in the next round, which was his sixth match of 20 or more points on the year.Two Buckeyes were eliminated from contention on the first day, as redshirt freshman Jake Ryan and redshirt senior Kenny Courts lost in the consolation rounds.Action is scheduled to continue on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m.Correction: An earlier version of this story said Friday’s action marks the semifinals of the championships, when in fact it is the quarterfinals. read more

Your Martin McGuinness And His Dog Buttons Selfie Of The Day

first_imgBARACK OBAMA FAMOUSLY landed himself in hot water for joining in with the Danish Prime Minister on a ‘selfie’ earlier this year. Eamon Gilmore even tried his hand at the ‘craze’ that’s been sweeping the planet (it’s the word of the year, you know) in a slightly more dignified pic at the Mandela memorial service. And now, it appears, Martin McGuinness is the latest political leader to try his hand at self-photography. The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister snapped the above photo in his native Derry on Christmas Day, before posting it on Twitter with the message:Derry Walls y’day. Photographer? Me. And yes, the poodle really is called ‘Buttons’.Proof:At least, we’re pretty sure it’s a poodle. Anyone out there work for Crufts?Update: The readers have spoken — and we’re now pretty certain it’s a Bichon Frisé.Read: Gerry Adams: I don’t mind if people think my tweeting is weirdlast_img read more

Column Why I wanted to make a movie about isolation in rural

first_imgWHEN I DECIDED to make Pilgrim Hill, for me it was not about winning awards, being visually stylish or trying to be loud and stand out from the crowd with my debut feature film. For me it was about telling the story of my uncle, who is a bachelor farmer living in rural Ireland.Like many people, I have an uncle/aunt who lives alone in rural Ireland, and although the film has very few similarities to my uncle’s life, I always wondered how tough it must be to face life alone. There are a huge number of people living alone across Ireland right now that feel incredibly isolated and lonely. I wanted to explore how they must feel sometimes in their situation whether in rural or urban Ireland.The things we all fearI wanted to know how they felt about their siblings moving on, having families, and how that affected them. I also wanted to explore their loneliness and isolation, and knowing you will be alone for the rest of your life. I wanted to know what it feels like not to leave a child behind to carry on your legacy. I wanted to find out what they sacrificed in their own lives to get to where they are now, so that in some cases their siblings could go on, better themselves and have families.I think deep down these are all things we fear, being alone and isolated and not having anyone to live out our life with. The done ‘thing’ in our world is – you meet someone that you choose to spend the rest of your life with, have kids, and live out your life together until inevitably the light goes off for one. In a long-term relationship, I think we all fear that and what it would be like if your partner was not there any more. But for some people life is not as easy as that – life, health, work, commitments, and sometimes fear – get in the way of people moving on to do those things.In terms of why people find themselves alone, it all comes down to various circumstances, with some even beyond their control. Jimmy, the main character in Pilgrim Hill, is a victim of circumstance. His mother died when he was very young and he found himself at home caring for his father who is seriously ill. Their relationship is very much in tatters also. He’s trapped. Jimmy feels the need to hold onto home and maybe feels responsible for minding his father, even if that has a massive effect on his own personal life. Jimmy had the chance to marry and set up his own life, but felt he could not leave home and had a duty to mind his father.To a farmer, empty fields and sheds are painfulI also wanted to explore how tough it is for farmers right now in Ireland. It’s late April and no cattle are out in the fields. This is a serious issue as farmers are eating into the feed for winter coming, not a mind putting major financial strains on themselves and their families. What farmers fear most is their cattle getting a critical disease, meaning all of them need to be slaughtered so the disease cannot get into the food chain. But for every positive, you have a negative also. Farmers cannot operate their farms for most of a year. Income is down, meaning an impact on their family lives. To a farmer, seeing empty fields and sheds is painful.On our family farm at home, I witnessed at a very young age the impact that has. I was very young, maybe nine or ten. In the height of winter I went down the farm yard one night with my father and a cow had triplets for the first time. It’s a big deal if you come from a farm, a rarity, some even say a miracle. It was beautiful to witness such a thing and the three baby calves come into the world. My mother was watching on the calving monitor above at home from the kitchen.That night we knew our cattle had contracted a disease and the following morning they were taken away to be slaughtered, including the three baby triplet calves. Cows going into the lorry were even calving, calves half hanging out. It was horrible to think that calves were being born in a slaughter lorry knowing that their only bit of life was going to be there until they were killed a few hours later. It was the first time I saw my father get emotional. I will never forget it. The reality is this happens on a daily basis in rural Ireland to farmers.My film gaining recognitionI was incredibly lucky to find an amazing actor in Joe Mullins who just captivates the screen as Jimmy, as well as the supporting cast and my marvellous crew of three. Since the film premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2012, we have travelled across the world with it from the UK, America, Europe and Asia. The film has connected with audiences wherever it has been, and the reason I think so is because loneliness is a universal feeling whether you are in Ireland or Asia.With that, I think the world right now is a very lonely place for a lot of people, whether it is personal loneliness or financial loneliness. We all have felt it, either are feeling it and will undoubtedly feel it in the future when loved ones move on. The past eight months have been much more than we could have ever hoped for. We received tremendous support from the Irish Film Board and Element Distribution who really got supported the film.We don’t talk enough about how we feel in this countryPilgrim Hill is not an easy film to watch, I am the first to admit that. Saying that, I am also unapologetic about that because I wanted to go deep and explore how this must feel for someone in modern Ireland. I broke a lot of rules making this film, but rules are meant to be broken, you just have to choose when and make sure it’s for the right reasons. Jimmy the main characters talks openly about his feelings to the audience, as in narrating his own story. I wanted to have the person you would least expect talking openly about their feelings, a bachelor farmer in rural Ireland. We don’t talk enough about how we feel in this country and that sometimes sadly ends in tragedy.If the film has any impact, then I hope it will motivate people to call in and see their neighbours, aunts, or uncles who live alone. It costs nothing, but it means the world to them to know there is somebody there. Life’s journey is tough, but it’s a tougher journey if you walk it alone.One of the most poignant lines in the film is when Jimmy says “If I was to die and meet the person I could have been. Instead of the person I am now”. I think we all wonder “what if” sometimes.(EPDistribution/YouTube)Gerard Barrett is a 25-year-old writer/director from Listowel in Kerry. He made Pilgrim Hill in late 2011 over seven days after finishing college. He won the IFTA Rising Star Award in 2013 and subsequently signed with Martin Scorsese agent in WME Los Angeles after the film had its North American premiere at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival where he received the Great Expectation Award. The film also won Best New Irish Talent at the Galway Film Fleadh. Pilgrim Hill is in cinemas across Ireland.Interview: Why I set out to explore the dark side of South Dublin cliquey teens>Column: Can Hollywood produce a female lead who’s interesting in her own right?>last_img read more

Létonnante histoire des dauphins Tursiops qui offrent des cadeaux aux Hommes

first_imgL’étonnante histoire des dauphins Tursiops qui offrent des cadeaux aux Hommes !C’est en Australie que 12 dauphins ont partagé leur meilleure récolte de thons, poulpes et autres poissons fins avec des Hommes. Il s’agit-là d’un acte de partage très rare entre deux espèces.À Tangalooma, une station balnéaire de l’île Moreton, en Australie, des dauphins sauvages donnent de la nourriture aux humains. En effet, depuis 1998, des Hommes se voient offrir des anguilles, du thon, un calamar, un poulpe et différents types de poissons. Certains de ces cadeaux ont pourtant une grande valeur aux yeux des dauphins. Ce sont les dauphins Tursiops, les plus étudiés des cétacés, qui sont à l’origine de ces cadeaux hors du commun.Finalement, bien que ces animaux soient connus, on ignore encore beaucoup de choses sur leur biologie et leur écologie. C’est la raison pour laquelle, depuis 1992, un programme de recherche a été mis en place à Tangalooma : le Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Provisioning Program. Grâce à celui-ci les chercheurs suivent un groupe d’une douzaine de Tursiops et les nourrissent chaque soir à la nuit tombée.C’est ainsi qu’en 1998, pour la première fois, Fred, un dauphin mâle, rapporta une murène morte à l’un des membres du programme. Depuis, 22 autres événements de ce type se sont produits. Un article paru dans le journal Anthrozoös décrit cet étonnant comportement des dauphins. Jeu ou partage ?À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?En effet, le geste de partage entre espèces est assez rare et donc peu documenté. Le seul cas bien connu d’échange entre l’animal et l’Homme est celui du chat qui amène la proie qu’il vient d’attraper à son maître. Néanmoins, quelques autres cas exceptionnels sont rapportés. Ainsi, Flip Nicklin, un photographe du National Geographic, avait raconté comment, au cours d’une mission de plongée à Hawaï, il s’était vu offrir un mahi-mahi par une fausse orque (Pseudorca).Le photographe avait accepté le présent, puis l’avait rendu à l’animal, qui s’en était allé avec. Difficile aujourd’hui de savoir ce qui pousse ces cétacés à offrir des cadeaux si précieux à leurs yeux à l’Homme. D’autant que les dauphins de l’île Moreton sont d’âges et de sexes différents. Les scientifiques ne sont pas sûrs de leurs motivations. Il peut s’agir de montrer une volonté de jeu, d’un simple désir de partage de la nourriture ou encore l’expression de la croyance que l’autre est un chasseur incompétent. La thèse du jeu est toutefois privilégiée.Le 28 décembre 2012 à 18:19 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Jesse May Still Be Lost but Preacher Found Some Excitement

first_img 11 Forgotten Vertigo Comics That Would Make Awesome TV ShowsThe Greatest Romances in Comic Book History Last week’s Preacher saw our main trio wandering aimlessly, still at a loss for what to do. This week, they’re still there, but at least the action comes to them. Every show needs slower episodes to keep the more action-oriented ones interesting, but you never want to do two in a row. Even with its strangeness and comedy, last week’s episode began to feel like a slog towards the end. So how do you start to get the team out of their funk? Give them a villain to fight. Herr Starr is now in New Orleans, and he’s just as creepy, disgusting and awkward as we remember him.Starr is here to kill Jesse, who the Grail agents have identified as a threat to the Holy Child. With a power like The Word, he could easily replace the descendant of Jesus as a messiah. Jesse, on the other hand, is still lost. He has no idea where to turn, and has resorted to searching YouTube for sightings of God. The show effectively builds suspense as to what happened at the end of last week’s episode. As Cassidy enters the kitchen and talks with Jesse, we really can’t tell whether he made his son a vampire or not. It’s only when he talks about how much better Denis has gotten, and starts heating up a blood pack, that we realize what he’s done.The group is still as splintered as they’ve ever been. Cassidy is spending all his time teaching Denis how to be a vampire, trying to absolve himself of being a terrible father all these years. Tulip is trying to get over her PTSD by getting shot wearing a bulletproof vest. She’s also not sleeping, which prompts Jesse to command her to sleep using The Word. That’s one of the big takeaways from this episode. Jesse uses The Word to the point of over-reliance. When Tulip calls him on it, he still doesn’t admit to doing anything wrong. He even convinces her to help keep watch over the apartment, expecting a second attack from The Grail.Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare (Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)Before we get there, let’s talk about the first attack. The episode had one big action scene, and it was pulled off exceptionally well. Presented in found-footage style, we switched between first-person perspectives of Grail agents as they infiltrated Denis’ apartment. The scene looked like a cross between a Rainbow Six level and, given that we knew there were two vampires inside, a horror movie. Only here, you wanted to see the person behind the gun get torn apart. There was no music. The entire scene was silent, making for some great tension and catharsis when the attack began in earnest. It’s easily the best camera work of the entire episode, and it gave us a much-needed action beat in between all the setup.The purpose of this episode was to get Jesse and Starr in the same room, and set up a reason why they wouldn’t immediately try to kill each other. Given what we saw on the DVD last week (that Jesse missed) it seems like Jesse will try to use Starr to find God. As for what Starr wants with Jesse, we don’t know. All we’re given is that Starr sees Jesse as his missing puzzle piece. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out what that means exactly. All we know right now is that Starr has, for some reason, become disillusioned with The Grail’s mission. We find that out when he verbally abuses his date for finding meaning in a learning disabled child’s smile. He then forces her to take off her shirt and hold butter under her neck. Thankfully, she’s spared whatever further humiliation Starr has in mind when he hears of the failed attack on Jesse.As villains go, Starr is kind of the best because he’s the absolute worst. There is absolutely nothing likable about this guy. Once he starts interacting more with Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, he’ll be a great foil for their crazier doings. Until then, he’s just unpleasant and oh so hateable. When the first raid on Denis’ apartment doesn’t go well, he threatens to kill his subordinates until they suggest sending in “Brad.” Giving them one more chance, he then asks them to set up a prostitute for a “rape fantasy.” God, this show is pulling out all the stops to make sure we hate him, huh?Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Pip Torrens as Herr Starr  -(Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)Preacher then does the smart thing and subverts our expectations. There’s a misunderstanding, and the (male) prostitutes show up thinking that he wants to play the victim. It’s uncomfortable and offensive, but this show has never shied away from those places. And as far as rape jokes go, this one works better than most. Obviously, your tolerance for this sort of thing may vary, but it at least didn’t come off as thoughtless. Dark humor like this needs to be handled delicately, and while that’s not always Preacher’s strong suit, they can sometimes pull it off. It helps that the joke is on the would-be assaulter. Starr just appears more inconvenienced by the whole thing than anything else. He just decides to get it over with and take the opportunity to go over Jesse’s file. Which is what gets him to call Brad off and meet with Jesse rather than killing him.While all this is going on, Jesse has been growing dangerously reliant on The Word. After the first attack, he uses it to enlist a team of New Orleans police to defend the apartment. He’s so convinced there’s going to be another attack by a team of gunmen, he enslaves an entire police squad to protect himself. As it turns out, the only threat on the ground is a drunk man in an Obama mask. And Tulip, who thinks the crime scene cleaner is a secret attacker. He’s not. She sees threats everywhere, and that’s going to be a problem. In fact, there was a threat, but The Word would not have helped. Brad turned out to be a remote controlled missile. This is what I mean by dangerously reliant. He’s so sure he’s protected by his ability to make anyone do anything, he doesn’t even consider other threats. Fortunately, Herr Starr orders that the missile be redirected. It hits Harry Connick Jr.’s house, which isn’t nearly as funny as the show thinks it is.Ronald Guttman as Denis (Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)Overall, Preacher managed to turn a piece-setting episode into a fun hour of TV. If it was going to take an entire episode to get Starr and Jesse in a room together, the writers knew they had to fill it with action and uncomfortable humor to keep things interesting. The characters finally seem to be moving forward, even if it’s not entirely clear where at this point. It was fun seeing Cassidy try to be a good vampire dad to Denis after all these years, and Tulip at least had a little bit more to do. That night of sleep didn’t appear to help much at all, but she’s not walking around in a daze anymore. Let’s just hope all this set up pays off when the show comes back next week.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetlast_img read more

Possible suicidal man missing in Miramar

first_imgMIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) – Police said a 42-year-old Miramar man, who has made threats to himself and may be armed with a gun, went missing early Wednesday morning.Miz Tze Lau was last seen at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday. According to police, Lau is an Asian male, 5’5″, 130 lbs, with salt and pepper hair, brown eyes, and glasses. He was last seen wearing dark green sweater and black pants.Lau takes medication and was last seen driving a Silver, 2005 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan with the Florida tag ENUC92.If you spot Lau or have any information regarding his location, please call Miramar Police at 954-602-4000.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Feds request public input on National Petroleum ReserveAlaska oil leasing

first_imgThere are 895 tracts — approximately 10.25 million acres — available for nomination and comment for this year’s oil and gas lease sale for NPR-A. (Photo by Bob Wick, courtesy BLM)The Department of Interior is formally kicking off the process for this year’s oil and gas lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), an Indiana-sized area of land on the North Slope.Listen nowToday, the Bureau of Land Management asked for public comment on what land should or shouldn’t be available for drilling.Last year, the Trump administration put all 900 available tracts up for bid. That added up to over 10 million acres, the most ever offered in a single lease sale in NPR-A according to the federal government — a move that drew criticism from environmental groups.But in the end, oil companies only bid on seven tracts.Earlier lease sales were more successful. Oil company ConocoPhillips is currently pursuing several significant developments in NPR-A. According to the Bureau of Land Management, about 1.4 million of the Reserve’s 22.8 million acres are currently leased; the majority of that is held by Conoco.Environmental groups are legally challenging both last year’s sale and the 2016 sale, held under the Obama administration. One of the groups’ arguments is that federal government did not sufficiently consider the potential climate impacts of oil development when planning for the sales. Those lawsuits are still pending.Roughly half of NPR-A was put off limits to oil development by the Obama administration, which cited the need to protect habitat for caribou and migratory birds. However, much of the currently off-limits land is considered to have high potential for oil development. The Trump administration is currently considering opening up more land in NPR-A to oil leasing.For this year’s lease sale, BLM is only taking nominations on tracts offered under the current plan. The agency is accepting comments on the 2018 lease sale until August 20.last_img read more

Unprecedented rain death toll rises to 64 in Japan

first_imgElderly people are rescued by a boat from a flooded area in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on 8 July 2018. Photo: ReutersThe death toll from unprecedented rains in Japan rose to at least 64 on Sunday after rivers burst their banks and forced several million people from their homes, media reports said, with more rain set to hit some areas for at least another day.Torrential rains pounded some parts of western Japan with three times the usual precipitation for a normal July and set off landslides and sent rivers surging over their banks, trapping many people in their houses or on rooftops.”We’ve never experienced this kind of rain before,” an official at the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) told a news conference. “This is a situation of extreme danger.”At least 64 people were killed and 44 missing, national broadcaster NHK said after the death toll had been put at 49 overnight. Among the missing was a 9-year-old boy believed trapped in his house by a landslide that killed at least three others, one of them a man in his 80s.”All I have is what I’m wearing,” a rescued woman clutching a toy poodle told NHK television.”We had fled to the second floor but then the water rose more, so we went up to the third floor,” she said.Japan’s government set up an emergency management centre at the prime minister’s office and some 54,000 rescuers from the military, police and fire departments were dispatched across a wide swath of south-western and western Japan.”There are still many people missing and others in need of help, we are working against time,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.Emergency warnings for severe rain remained in effect for three prefectures, with 300 mm (11 inches) predicted to fall by Monday morning in parts of the smallest main island of Shikoku.Evacuation orders remained in place for some 2 million people and another 2.3 million were advised to evacuate, although rain had stopped and floodwaters receded in some areas. Landslide warnings were issued in more than a quarter of the nation’s prefectures.’Pouring down'”My husband couldn’t make it home from work since the road was flooded, and since it was pouring down rain I didn’t have enough courage to walk to an evacuation centre with two infants after dark,” one woman wrote on Twitter, without giving further details.The rain began late last week as the remnants of a typhoon fed into a seasonal rainy front, with humid, warm air pouring in from the Pacific making it still more active – a pattern similar to one that set off flooding in south-western Japan exactly a year ago that killed dozens. The front then remained in one place for an unusually long time, the JMA said.Roads were closed and train services suspended in parts of western Japan. Shinkansen bullet train services, resumed on a limited schedule after they were suspended on Friday.Automakers including Mazda Motor Corp and Daihatsu Diesel Manufacturing Co suspended operations at several plants on Saturday due to a shortage of parts or dangerous conditions. They were set to decide later on Sunday on plans for the coming week.Electronics maker Panasonic Corp said one plant in Okayama, western Japan, could not be reached due to road closures, although it had been closed for the weekend anyway. A decision about next week would be made on Monday.While the Japanese government monitors weather conditions closely and issues warnings from an early stage, the fact that much of the country outside major cities is mountainous and building takes place on virtually every bit of usable land leaves it vulnerable to disasters.Reforestation policies after World War Two that saw many mountains logged and replanted with trees whose roots are less able to retain water have also contributed to the danger.last_img read more