UN food experts call for increased agricultural investment to offset soaring prices

“Policy-related solutions are also required to increase the longer-term resilience of global agriculture to allow greater levels of supply to markets as demand grows,” UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Senior Economist Jamie Morrison told a meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).“Particular attention is needed to increase smallholder productivity growth and to their increased integration into markets,” he added, noting that in many countries many smallholders are semi-subsistence producers but net food buyers. “Support to ensure more farmers are willing and able to generate marketable surpluses will be critical in meeting increased demands in the future. To achieve this increased investment is paramount.”He said public sector investment is needed to establish the basic conditions for productivity growth and this will require a reversal of the decline in aid flows to agriculture and increased national budget allocations, but most of the needed investment will have to come from the private sector in national economies.David Nabarro, coordinator of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security, cited under-investment among four challenges in the overall food security situation, along with the soaring prices, weather-related disasters such as droughts, floods and fires, and political changes and instability that are disrupting food supply chains.“A point that we’ve been maintaining now for the last 30 years [is] that there is systematic and serious under-investment in agriculture and food security and that’s a problem now, but it’ll be a much greater problem as we move towards 2015,” he later told a news conference.All speakers stressed that it was the poorest and most vulnerable who suffered most, with the higher prices taking an exponentially greater bite out of their already meagre resources and forcing them to eat less and less nutritious food and skimp even more on other vital needs such as health and education. But they suggested the situation was not as bad as the 2008 food crisis.The latest FAO Food Price Index averaged 231 points in January, up 3.4 per cent from December and the highest level since it started in 1990, above 2008. Another measure, the World Bank’s food price index, rose by 15 per cent between October and January and is now only 3 per cent below its 2008 peak. Whichever measure is used, the result is the same: 44 million more people thrown into extreme poverty.“The situation is extremely precarious,” said Paul Larsen, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Director of Multilateral Relations. “There is every reason for urgency, no reason for complacency. But this time, there will no ‘silent tsunami.’ The situation is different from 2008. The world is aware of the risks. The global community, the UN and Bretton Woods (global financial) system is fully engaged, more coherent and prepared to act.”Mr. Nabarro told ECOSOC that not all regions are reporting higher food prices and crop harvest and food availability are ample in several poorer countries with grain prices, especially for rice, remaining relatively stable.“This suggests that we are not in the midst of a world food crisis,” he said. “However, WFP’s assessments of which communities are vulnerable to price rises and supply shortages, and unable to access the nutrition they need, suggest that where prices are higher, the majority of poor families, especially if they lack social protection, are in difficulty.”He stressed the need to deal with the twin problems of volatility and the impact on the poor in preparing for a crisis response. Volatile prices that move up and down quickly without clear links to market fundamentals of supply and demand make it hard for farmers to make wise decisions about when and how to increase production. He said that speculation played a role in the price rise although it was not yet clear to what extent.As for those most affected by the price hikes, Mr. Nabarro underscored the need for expanded and improved safety nets enabling vulnerable people to access nutritious food and other basic needs, and cited other response measures such as advance purchases and pre-positioning of stocks. “It is clear that even if prices stay as they are this year, the need for safety nets will increase and if additional funds are provided now they can be used more efficiently than if they come in the midst of a crisis,” he said. 18 February 2011Faced with soaring food prices for the second time in three years, senior United Nations experts today called for greater investment in agriculture from both the public and private sectors to increase smallholder productivity. read more

All Project Yellowbird suspects now in custody

(Update)Police have now released the names of the nine people charged in a sophisticated car theft ring that was broken up in early morning raids Thursday. The six month investigation spanned Toronto, Oakville and Niagara, and led police to recover over five million dollars in stolen goods.What’s striking about this investigation is just how many vehicles and other valuables were stolen. Police revealed some of the items at a news conference this morning. Everything ranging from purses to jewellery to electronics — along with 23 high end cars.And it’s the cars these thieves were really after. Police allege a criminal ring broke into homes in wealthy Toronto neighbourhoods and stole the keys to luxury vehicles. They’d also pocket other valuable items like designer bags. The investigation is called “Project Yellowbird” after a yellow Porsche Carrera that was stolen during the December ice storm. That theft led police on a hunt that ended yesterday with raids on a number of residences and storage lockers where more cars were recovered. Some of the cars had been shipped overseas. Yellowbird was found in Lithuania. Police allege some of the people charged have been involved in this type of crime for a decade. Because the operation was so sophisticated, organized crime charges have been laid.Detective Dave Zajac, Toronto Police: “We knew we had a very sophisticated criminal organization. And at that point, with our leaders, we went ahead with the criminal organization charge.”44-year old Krzysztof Harasiuk is facing the longest list of charges including being part of a criminal organization, fraud, weapons offences, and theft. 8 others are charged along with him, five of them facing criminal organization charges. they are:28-year old Mykhaylo Antonov38-year old Piotr Buczel38-year old Arkadiuz Czeranowski46-year old Maciej Niezurawskand 35-year old Oskar BoczkowskiThree women are also charged:29-year old Tania Hernandez-Lopez with possession of property obtained by crime36-year old Milena Zelenovich is facing the same charge and 42-year old Magelena Lejawa is charged with conspiracy to break and enter.In total, the group is facing roughly 150 charges. Police say these arrests will put a major damper on Toronto car thefts. read more

Technology companies swoon leading a broad decline in US stocks Apple sinks

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Technology companies swoon, leading a broad decline in US stocks; Apple sinks on iPhone woes by The Associated Press Posted Sep 25, 2014 2:10 pm MDT NEW YORK, N.Y. – A swoon in technology stocks left the market with its worst drop since July.Apple sank nearly 4 per cent after the company pulled a software update for the iPhone after users complained that they weren’t able to make calls.The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 264 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 16,945 Thursday. That wiped out the Dow’s gain of 154 points the day before. The index down 2 per cent for the week.The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 32 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 1,966.The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, fell 88 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 4,466.U.S. government bond prices rose sharply as investors sought safety. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.51 per cent. read more

Mexican President Peña urges global push to achieve brave demanding UN 2030

The current generation must continue in that spirit and assume responsibility for the planet and achieving sustainable development. In that regard, he noted that initial steps have been taken with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “The 2030 Agenda – which we created and agreed to at the United Nations – is, without a doubt, the bravest, most noble and most demanding plan of action that the international community had adopted in recent history,” he said. For its part, Mexico is working on implementing the 2030 Agenda at the State, federal and regional level, he continued. This past July, Mexico was one of 22 countries who presented a voluntary national revision in that respect. Noting that Mexico places great significance on human rights, Mr. Peña said his country has driven forward a national strategy on social inclusion focused on, among other things, reducing poverty and increasing equality. In addition, he highlighted that Mexico has adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was ratified by the Senate just a few days ago. “Moving forward, the priority is to count on national mechanisms that will coordinate, verify and inform the fulfilment of the commitments made in that agreement,” Mr. Peña said. As an example, as part of an energy reform in Mexico, the country is working towards having 25 per cent of its electrical energy from clean energy sources by 2018, and increasing that figure to 60 per cent by 2040. He also reaffirmed Mexico’s commitment to sustainable peace worldwide. “Peace, in order to last, must be sustainable,” Mr. Peña said, adding that Mexico has historically promoted disarmament and condemned nuclear testing. In addition, he noted that governments should make more of an effort to communicate with the societies they serve. read more

Concert benefitting Free the Children comes to Brock May 22

Marc Kielburger will be at Brock for a concert benefiting his charity Free the Children.The Centre for the Arts, Brock University will play host later this month to a jammed-packed concert benefiting Free The Children.The show, set for May 22 at 7:30 in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, will feature performances from Neverest, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bradley Thachuk, Remigio Pereira of The Tenors, St. Catharines-native Chris Witoski, Young Stitch, Sese, ÁLI and a keynote from Free the Children co-founder Marc Kielburger.Free The Children is the world’s largest network of children helping children through education, and supports both local and global initiatives.It delivers innovative programming to more than 4,000 youth groups and hundreds of thousands of young people in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The organization has worked in more than 40 countries and built more than 650 schools and school rooms in developing regions, providing education to more than 55,000 children every day.Proceeds from the concert will go to one local and one global charitable initiative.Kielburger is one of the world’s leading figures in corporate social responsibility, social activism and youth empowerment. A Harvard and Oxford graduate, Rhodes Scholar, columnist and international bestselling author, Marc is also the co-founder of Me to We.Each year, both Marc and his brother Craig organize Free The Children’s We Day, the organization’s signature domestic event, which reaches 90,000 students in person at 3,000 schools and more than 5.4 million through televised broadcasts. We Day now has the largest Facebook following of any charitable cause in the world.“We support Free the Children because we know we need to support ways to get children engaged to make a positive different in the world,” said Pereira, a Niagara-native and musical producer of the benefit concert.Tickets are $25 for students and $59 for adults. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100, which includes premium seating and a pre-show wine and cheese meet and greet with Remigio Pereira and Marc Kielburger.Contact the Box Office at 905-688-5550 x3257, toll free at 1-866-617-3257 or order online anytime at Arts.BrockU.ca read more

GPF has improved security around Stabroek Market

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) over the years has managed to reduce the level of criminal activity around the Stabroek Market Square.Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine, responding to questions from the media at the GPF Officers’ Training Centre, noted that police work has reduced the notoriety of the area as a “hotspot” for criminal activity.“Within recent times, we’ve done some work, this is not to say that what has been done is sufficient, but we continue to do a lot of work there with undercover operatives, general visibility,” Commissioner Ramnarine explained.Stabroek Market SquareThe Stabroek Market Square is populated with vendors and public transportation service providers. Over the years, parts of the market have been used by criminal elements who committed robbery, robbery with violence, larceny and trade of illegal drugs and firearms.The Acting Commissioner also praised the work of the City Constabulary in helping to improve public safety around the Square.In October, the GPF and the City Constabulary had joined forces to conduct sting operations to deter criminal activity.However, the Acting Commissioner cautioned that persons still needed to take precautions when in the area.   “I won’t say that it is a completely safe place, so people still need to be guarded when traversing that area,” the Acting Commissioner cautioned.According to a GINA report, the GPF has been working to improve safety in areas considered hotspots for criminal activity across the city, the Acting Commissioner noted.This disclosure came on the heel of a 15-year-old boy being positively identified and charged yesterday as the person who murdered Haymant Persaud, the brother of the substantive Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud, two Sundays ago at the same Stabroek Market square in Georgetown. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedStabroek, Bourda Markets identified as ‘criminal hotspots’ – Chief ConstableJune 17, 2018In “Crime”Top Cop lashes out at Judiciary for its ‘careless, insensitive’ granting of bailOctober 24, 2016In “latest news”Ramnarine blasts GPF for increasing number of ranks chargedNovember 25, 2017In “Crime” read more

Henrik Groener to leave Dutch girls after Womens EHF EURO 2016

← Previous Story France to warm up against Slovenia before WCh 2016 Next Story → Read about TOP 5 handball moments of the week Dutch handballHenrik Groener Dutch Handball Federation announced that Henrik Groener will end his era on the bench after Women’s EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden! The “Orange girls” made fantastic results with Groener at the helm – winning silver medal at World Championship 2015, but also fourth place at Olympic Games in Rio.The silver medal of the World Championships in Denmark in 2015 was a clear evidence of the progress we have made in recent years. The first ever participation in the Olympic Games in Rio, where we  just missed the final, is a milestone in the history of the Dutch handball. “- said Henk Groener to website of the national Federation.His contract is valid until January 1, 2017. read more

The 9 at 9 Wednesday

first_imgEVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine things you need to know as you start your day.1. #ABORTION Fine Gael and Labour failed to agree on the draft abortion bill last night, with the Irish Times saying that the cabinet discussions ended in disagreement over the number of doctors needed to consult with a pregnant suicidal woman seeking an abortion. However, there is not said to be breakdown yet and cabinet will meet on the issue again next Tuesday.2. #ADRIAN DONOHOE The main suspect in the murder of garda Adrian Donohoe is believed to have fled to the US, the Irish Independent reports today. It says that the man failed to appear in court on an unrelated matter, leading to a bench warrant being issued for his arrest. Detective Garda Donohoe, a father of two, was shot and killed as he approached a gang during the robbery of a Dundalk credit union earlier this year.3. #RUBBISH A Dublin City Councillor has told TheJournal.ie that she and her colleagues were told it is costing the council between €250 – €300,000 a year to dispose of illegally dumped rubbish. She has criticised the privatisation of waste collection in Dublin, saying that an alternative system should be introduced involving a pay-as-you go collection service.4. #ROAD DEATH Gardaí in Swords are appealing for witnesses after a man in his 40s was fatally injured when the van he was a passenger in collided with car on the Rathbeale Road, Swords at approximately 2.30am today. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the van and a second passenger, both aged in their 20s, were taken to Beaumont Hospital. The driver of the car was not injured.5. #BUDGET The Dáil is due to be presented with revised Budget spending figures for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform today – despite the rejection of the Croke Park 2 pay deal. The revised figures incorporated a €300 million reduction in the public pay this year, assuming that the Croke Park 2 proposals would have been accepted by public sector unions. Minister Brendan Howlin has insisted that the €300 million savings need to be found.6. #SCHOOLS Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has announced that his department is to carry out random audits of school building projects. This is to ensure that contractors are complying with pay and working conditions on these sites, RTÉ reports.7. #RICIN Charges of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others  have been dropped against an Elvis impersonator from Mississippi. The man, Paul Kevin Curtis, has said that he had nothing to do with the case. Last night, law enforcement officers searched the home of another man.8. #BANGLADESH At least 15 people have been killed, while many more are feared dead after an eight-storey building collapsed in Bangladesh. The building in the town of Savar outside Dhaka housed a market, garment factory and a bank. Rescue workers fear at least 100 people are trapped inside the rubble.9. #BANKERS Finance Minister Michael Noonan won’t oppose a fresh pay raise for Bank of Ireland chief Richie Boucher at an AGM of the bank this morning. He will abstain from a vote on whether to approve the pay, Junior Minister Brian Hayes told the Dáil last night. Boucher was paid €843,000 in 2012. Five Labour backbenchers asked the Minister to try and block the raise. Over on DailyEdge.ie… Reese Witherspoon drunk in handcuffs, boyband calls it a day, and Cheryl makes a show of herself in front of Beyoncé. It’s The Dredgelast_img read more

Arrizabalaga thanks de Gea for his advice

first_imgThe goalkeeper was transferred from Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea in the summer in a record £71.6 million buyYoung goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga joined English Premier League side Chelsea during the summer after a £71.6 million transfer.The Spanish footballer left Athletic Bilbao after only two years with the Spanish La Liga club, to play in the EPL.And in his first time playing outside Spain, Arrizabalaga thanked Manchester United’s David de Gea, who helped him settle down.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“Every player settles into a new league in different ways,” he said to Sky Sports.“David is a team-mate with the national team and we get on really well. When I signed for Chelsea, he gave me some advice, telling me a bit about how it was for him when he came here.”“Of course, he has been here for years now and is playing at a fantastic level. We were at the World Cup together and had a good chat about the differences between Spanish and English football,” he added.“It’s a good thing to interact with a top goalkeeper who has so much experience in the Premier League.”last_img read more

TCI Youth looking for mentors

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2017 – Providenciales – The Youth Department is looking for mentors.   The Big Brother, Big Sister program will have volunteers working with young people from 11 to 17 years old.    If you are interested contact the TCI Department of Youth Affairs today.#MagneticMediaNews#BigBrotherBigSisterprogram Related Items:#BigBrotherBigSisterprogram, #magneticmedianews Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Man arrested in bizarre bank takeover

first_img SOLANA BEACH (KUSI) – A man was arrested Thursday after entering a North County bank, telling everyone inside to get on the floor, announcing that he was robbing the premises and directing workers to make a 911 call to report the crime-in-process.The odd robbery scare at the Wells Fargo branch office in the 200 block of Santa Helena in Solana Beach began just after 9 a.m., according to sheriff’s officials.The perpetrator — a thin, roughly 6-foot man who appeared to be in his 30s, wearing a black hooded jacket with the cowl pulled up over his head — entered the bank minutes after it opened and promptly made his series of demands, Lt. Karla Menzies said. He issued no threats of violence and displayed no weapons during the takeover, the lieutenant said.When deputies arrived a short time later, they found the self- described robber inside with his hands in the air, Menzies said. The man, whose name was not immediately available, surrendered without incident and was taken to Vista Detention Center to be booked on suspicion of attempted robbery.The motivation for the suspect’s actions was unclear. KUSI Newsroom, KUSI Newsroom Man arrested in bizarre bank takeover Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Posted: January 3, 2019 January 3, 2019last_img read more

Police warning parents about new Snapchat feature

first_img(WSVN) – Police are warning parents about a new feature on a popular social media app that could pose a risk to children and teens.Privacy concerns are being raised in regards to the popular social media app Snapchat. The app’s latest update allows users to view your exact location on an interactive map.The new feature called ‘Snap Map’ allows users to choose whether to share their location or to stay in ‘ghost mode,’ which is the app’s default setting. When users choose to use the feature, an emoji appears that showcases the user’s exact location.“It should cause some concern for those of you that have children using Snapchat. I’d recommend talking to your children about the concerns with sharing their location with strangers,” Massachusetts State Trooper Dustin Fitch said.Users can customize who can and cannot view your emoji by activating the map feature, clicking the gear icon in the top right corner and selecting certain friends.Experts are urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of sharing too much information with others online.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Common Core Stirs MatSu Debate

first_imgCommon Core, the federally – sponsored education standards adopted by many states, has raised the hackles of some Alaska  legislators.Download AudioRepresentative Lora Reinbold (R Eagle River ) has been outspoken on the issue, and recently, the Matanuska Susitna Borough has been drawn into the argument.  On January 20, in Palmer,  the members of the Matanuska Susitna Assembly and the Borough’s School Board met in a joint session to hear about school standards. At the heart of the discussion — Common Core — a set of educational standards that has been voluntarily adopted by some states. Borough mayor Larry DeVilbiss  convened the information – only meeting, saying:“I just want you to know, this is not a ‘gotcha’  moment. We are partners here together and I think we all have the common interest of the very best education our kids can get. “DeVilbiss told Borough School Superintendent Dr. Deena Paramo that he wanted to know a how closely the Borough school district is, or is not, aligned with Common Core. DeVilbis said he’d gotten quite a few questions about it from residents. Paramo fielded the questions one by one in a presentation to the joint panels. Later she said in a phone interview with APRN:“If you put the Common Core standards, and our state standards next to each other, they are going to be quite similar.”Paramo told the body that standards determine what expectations a student needs to meet, grade by grade.  Curriculum is the means used to meet the standards.“And then we have one hundred percent local control over writing the curriculum that would meet those standards. So what happens in the classroom with how we teach, how we purchase textbooks, the materials that go with that… ”Standards matching Common Core are used in  the Mat Su School District for math, she said:“And in the Mat Su, we did only implement the math standards for Common Core. There are only math and English language arts standards.  So there are only two constructs for which the standards are written.  But in our community, we only implemented math, and we did find that they (standards) were more rigorous.”It’s that increased rigor in math education that has pushed the state into developing new standards since 2012, according to Susan Macauley, director of teaching and learning support for the state department of education.“Alaska opted to not adopt the Common Core state standards. What Alaska did do, and this is where some of the confusion is, what Alaska did do, as is required by statute and regulation, is adopt English and math standards. We did that in 2012.  Those standards are significantly different from the standards that we had previously, in terms of for lack of a better word, rigor, and there are similarities to the Common Core state standards, ”  Macauley says.The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governor’s Association devised the Common Core standards in an effort to create a uniform set of standards that would be the same state to state. To date 43 states have either totally or partially adapted Common Core or are moving toward it. But some parents, and some state legislators, are apprehensive that Common Core represents the long arm of federal outreach. Eagle River Rep. Lora Reinbold is one critic of the standards. Reinbold spoke at a Moose Lodge meeting in Palmer prior to the Mat Su Assembly/ School Board meeting, according to Borough Mayor DeVilbiss, in essence prompting many of the questions the mayor brought to the meeting.   DeVilbiss says parents of school students are pressuring him to find out more:“One of my concerns is that this is the beginning of a progressive agenda that goes beyond math and English and language and arts. We know that in the works there’s history and science. I just hate to see a progressive agenda like this that has not been tested and is being criticized by a lot of educators. ”DeVilbiss also says the Borough Assembly needs to evaluate how much time, and money, is needed to exceed state educational standards.“You know, I can’t speak for the Assembly, but we’re going into budget session and I would say that opens the door for some negotiations.”Representative Reinbold said by phone Thursday that her concern with Common Core lies with state sovereignty issues.“Do we want the federal government to be telling us what to do? Do we want state sovereignty over education, as the constitution says the legislature is responsible. Do we want state sovereignty over education or do we want the federal government?  I want state sovereignty over education. That’s my first objection.”Reinbold says the Common Core standards are  expensive and  unproven, and that the federal standards are moving too fast.  “I care deeply about education,” she says.last_img read more

Campbell To Serve as Interim Director of DOT Southcoast Region

first_imgA Department of Transportation insider is the new manager of the agency’s division overseeing Southeast Alaska.Commissioner Marc Luiken on Tuesday announced Rob Campbell will fill in as interim director of DOT’s Southcoast Region. That includes Southeast, plus coastal Southcentral and Southwest Alaska. Campbell already directs the department’s Central Region, which includes Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.Luiken says expanding the job will help integrate agency offices.“What we’re trying to do is create a more unified department, a department that functions as a single entity instead of separate silos that have certainly evolved over time.”The position has been open since Gov. Bill Walker removed Al Clough during a conflict over the Juneau Access Road.Luiken says a separate Southcoast Region director will be named at a later date.Campbell filled in as director of the Department of Transportation’s Northern Region before taking the Central Region post.Luiken says that experience will help break down barriers.“By having Rob do a similar assignment down here in the Southcoast region, I see a huge benefit in the same way that we saw with the northern region and the central region, to bring our organization together as a single organization.”Southeast used to be a separate region. A department-wide reorganization merged it with the other coastal areas last year.Luiken announced the appointment at the Southeast Conference’s Mid-Session Summit in Juneaulast_img read more

Meghan Markle being treated the same as this controversial Royal the Palace

first_imgMeghan MarkleGetty ImagesIt looks like Meghan Markle is being put through the ringer, just like Princess Diana was. The Duchess of Sussex faces the same gruelling treatment upon entering the Royal Family as Princess Diana, with both failing to get any training on life as a royal, according to Princess Diana’s former butler.Meghan Markle will have received no training upon entering the Royal Family in 2018 when she married Prince Harry in a lavish Windsor Castle ceremony, according to royal commentator Paul Burrell. And we have to say, that might just be the case as Meghan Markle has been dubbed “Duchess Difficult” by many, including the Royal staff. What the former Hollywood star may need is proper training to become a Royal. As being a celebrity and being a Royal are not the same thing.Reportedly Paul Burrell worked with Diana from 1987 until her death in 1997 and revealed she received very little training to prepare her for royal life. Mr. Burrell spoke to Yahoo’s Royal Box. When asked what training Meghan would have received after marrying into the Royal Family, he said: “Would you believe there is no rulebook. There is no etiquette lesson. There are no advisers…..Nobody prepares people coming into the Royal Family.”  Meghan MarkleGetty ImagesMeghan Markle has already rubbed quite a few people the wrong way with her disregard for Royal rules and protocols. When asked whether Meghan will have to “tone down” her beliefs as a royal, Mr Burrell replied: “Yes, of course. What comes with maturity is a set of beliefs and they don’t always sit well with the Royal Family.”But it looks like that is something Meghan Markle won’t be doing. As the Duchess of Sussex got her independence when the couple Sussex split from the Royal household. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to Frogmore Cottage to raise baby Archie away from the Palace. Meghan Markle already seems to be carving her own path as a Royal.last_img read more

Syrian rebels shoot down Russian warplane kill ejected pilot

first_imgSmoke billowing from the site of a downed Sukhoi-25 fighter jet in the northwest province of Idlib in Syria. Rebel fighters shot down a Russian plane over Syria’s northwest Idlib province and captured its pilot. Photo: AFPA Russian pilot was killed Saturday in fighting with Islamists after his warplane was downed over northwest Syria, Russia’s defence ministry and a monitor said.Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a powerful jihadist-dominated alliance said, on an affiliated media channel it had shot down the plane but made no mention of the pilot.“We were able to bring down the Russian warplane with a shoulder-fired missile above Saraqib in Idlib this afternoon,” said Mahmoud al-Turkmani who, according to the statement, heads HTS’s “air defence brigade.”He said the attack was in retaliation for a ferocious bombing campaign by Russian warplanes over Idlib.HTS, which is dominated by Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate in Syria, controls Idlib and has sought to fight back a ferocious Russian-backed assault by Syrian government troops.An AFP correspondent who arrived at the crash site on Saturday saw what appeared to be the charred remains of the plane, including a wing with a red star still visible.Firefighters arrived to put out flames that had been spewing dark smoke into the wintry Syrian sky.The Russian defence ministry confirmed that the Su-25 aircraft was shot down over Idlib province and said the pilot was killed “in fighting against terrorists.”‘Killed fighting’“A Russian Su-25 aircraft crashed during a flight over the Idlib de-escalation zone. The pilot had enough time to announce he had ejected into the zone,” the defence ministry said.“The pilot was killed in fighting against terrorists,” it said, quoted by Russian agencies.It added that “according to preliminary reports, the plane was shot down by a portable anti-aircraft missile system.”The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” at reports of such a weapon being used.Spokeswoman Heather Nauert told AFP the solution is a return to United Nations-led talks in Geneva and for “Russia to live up to its commitments in that regards.”Washington has more than 2,000 troops inside Syria working with anti-Jihadist Kurdish and Arab fighters, and flies air strikes against the Islamists.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jet was downed near the town of Saraqib in Idlib and the pilot parachuted to the ground.He was killed clashing with rebels as they tried to take him hostage, said the Britain-based Observatory.“There have been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the past 24 hours. This plane was also carrying out raids there,” said Abdel Rahman.The Observatory said 20 people, including eight children, were killed on Saturday during a bombardment on Saraqib and surrounding villages.Syria’s uprising broke out in 2011 with protests against Assad’s rule but has since morphed into a complex war drawing in global powers.Moscow began conducting air strikes in Syria in September 2015, and its intervention has swung the nearly seven-year conflict firmly in the favour of its ally in Damascus.Opposition factions have shot down Syrian regime planes in the past, but the downing of Russian aircraft is much rarer.Turkey shot down a Russian warplane in November 2015, leading to the worst crisis in ties between the two countries since the end of the Cold WarIn August 2016, a Russian military helicopter was shot down over Syria, killing all five people on board.Deadly fire on Turkish tankRussia has been spearheading a more than year-long diplomatic push to try to freeze the fighting in coordination with fellow regime ally Iran and rebel backer Turkey.Ankara has supported an array of rebel groups to fight Syria’s government, the Islamic State jihadist group, and Kurdish militia that it has blacklisted as “terrorists.”On January 20, Turkey and allied rebel fighters began an offensive on the Syrian enclave of Afrin, held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).Seven Turkish soldiers were killed on Saturday as part of the assault, including five who died in a single attack on a tank, the Turkish army said.The losses mark the highest toll in a single day for the Turkish army in operation “Olive Branch.”The Observatory has also counted 104 allied rebels and 102 YPG fighters killed since the offensive began, as well as 68 civilians.Ankara has denied targeting civilians as part of its Afrin offensive.Mourners on Saturday gathered in Afrin to commemorate victims of the operation, including female fighter Barin Kobani whose badly mutilated body appeared in a shocking video earlier this week.The footage sparked accusations by her family and Kurdish officials that she was “defiled” by Turkish-backed rebels.The opposition’s government-in-exile said Saturday it had opened an investigation into the matter.Thousands of people protested on Saturday in France against Turkey’s operation “Olive Branch,” gathering in Strasbourg and Paris to condemn the assault.last_img read more

Lawmakers threaten to filibuster animal welfare bill with more than 200 motions

first_imgRelated posts:New cases of animal abuse spark criticism of President Solís, lawmakers President Solís signs new Animal Welfare Law Costa Rica animal welfare bill gains momentum as horrifying abuse cases circulate on social media Animal Welfare Bill could be discussed in Legislative Assembly this week At the start of his term in 2014, President Luis Guillermo Solís promised that getting legislation passed to improve animal welfare in Costa Rica would be a priority for his administration. But a bill to do just that has stalled for over a year in the Legislative Assembly, where it hasn’t even been brought up for a vote in the Environmental Commission.That bill now faces further challenges, as last week several legislators, including the National Liberation Party’s Juan Marín and Aracelly Segura and the Broad Front Party’s Suray Carrillo, demanded that several articles be removed because they would hurt farmers or end entertainment events such as Tico bullfighting, rodeos and horse parades, according to the lawmakers.Marín said that if their demands are not met, the group of lawmakers would file “more than 200 motions” to obstruct the bill’s approval. He said the use of animals in commercial activities or public events already is covered by laws from other public agencies such as the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry and the National Animal Health Service.“We tried to amend the bill during its drafting, but we haven’t had any support,” Marín said. “So, we’re going to block it by using any available procedure authorized by legislative regulations, including filing all those motions.”Commission member Marcela Guerrero from the ruling Citizen Action Party stood firm on the regulation of farm animals, saying at last week’s commission meeting that it proposed “to punish abuse against all kinds of animals, not only pets.”Guerrero said she is willing to negotiate, but the terms proposed by the PLN and the FA are “complicated.”Several articles over the past year have been modified following discussion and criticism by industry groups such as the Agriculture and Agribusiness Chamber, and pork and cattle producers.A work in progressThe original drafting of the bill proposed penalties of up to six years in prison for those found guilty of abusing or killing an animal. The current draft now sets separate penalties for abuse and death.In abuse cases, the proposed maximum sentence of two years was replaced by a small fine, the equivalent of about $700.The new article also describes abuse as any action affecting an animal’s health, including the loss or disabling of a body organ. It would sanction those who promote animal fights, perform sexual acts on animals or practices vivisection on them with purposes not related to scientific research.For those who intentionally cause the death of an animal, the draft bill currently stipulates a maximum sentence of three years in prison.The proposal excludes from sanctions those who use animals in productive activities such as fishing, aquaculture, livestock and veterinary practices. It also allows under a number of regulations Tico bullfighting, horse parades and other traditional events in which animals participate.Lawmakers added an article on “alternative punishment” stating that judges would have the flexibility to replace sanctions with community service for first-time offenders.Guerrero said lawmakers’ opposition to the current draft is unjustified because it includes provisions that exclude sanctions on the use of animals in farming and other economic activities. She also said that a lack of consensus in the commission could result in a decision to send the bill for discussion and approval directly to the full Assembly.The Broad Front Party’s Ligia Fallas also opposes the bill in its current form, but for different reasons: She thinks the sanctions are not severe enough.Fallas criticized Marín and other lawmakers for attempting to remove articles to punish animal torture and set prison sentences.“The current draft says, for example, that you can denounce and prosecute a person who abuses or tortures an animal only if there is a visible mark. So what happens when torture or abuse does not leave marks?” she said.Fallas also lamented that bullfights and other similar events “where torture systematically occurs” are now excluded from sanctions.The lawmaker filed a motion to include torture as a crime that would be punished with prison sentences ranging from 6 months to two years. The proposal aims to sanction “anyone who causes suffering, pain or prolonged agony to an animal.”The legislator on Feb. 22 will file, in a public event, a bill aimed at recognizing “animals’ sentience,” or “their capacity to feel.”Citizen actionDuring his presidential campaign, President Solís promised to prioritize the approval of Bill #18,298, but he failed to include it in the Legislative Assembly’s agenda during his first year in office.In November 2014, he pledged to include the animal welfare bill in the Assembly’s agenda for 2015, a promise to animal rights advocates who staged marches and public demonstrations. Solís complied later in December, but he then tabled the bill in February in exchange for a bill to build a new highway between San José and the Alajuela canton of San Ramón.The current lack of progress in the legislative commission is again prompting reaction from citizen advocacy groups who plan demonstrations in coming days to pressure lawmakers.The first group to protest will be “Somos Hermanos Animalistas” (“We are Pro-Animals”), who will hold a demonstration in front of the Legislative Assembly in downtown San José, on Wednesday at 3 p.m.Cases of animal abuse in Costa Rica are on the rise. The National Animal Health Service in early December reported that abuse complaints already had surpassed by 15 percent the number registered in 2014. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Benefits outweigh risks in Philippines peace deal

first_img(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) SEEDS OF THE FIGHTING:Muslims in Mindanao first took up arms decades ago to defend what they see as their traditional homeland under threat by Christians. Tens of thousands have died in ethnic clashes and massacres that sowed bad blood for generations.Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S., Australia and other governments have looked at the southern third of the Philippines _ Mindanao Island and neighboring provinces _ as a second Afghanistan, a place where militants from Indonesia, Malaysia and Southeast Asia fled in order to escape crackdowns at home. They sought refuge with Muslim rebels and set up training grounds in their strongholds.For the rest of the Philippines, Mindanao conjures a place where warlords rule, ransom kidnappings are common and terrorists bomb churches and ambush travelers.RECOVERING FROM A FAILED DEAL:A deal granting autonomy to five Muslim provinces was signed in 1996 and implemented on paper years later, but it changed little in the poverty- and violence-stricken region. Elections were rigged, corruption rife, and political bosses with private armies ruled the day. Disgruntled guerrillas carried on with bombings and attacks under the banner of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. A fresh autonomy proposal from then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo flopped in 2008. It was criticized for promising too much too soon and without public scrutiny.When President Benigno Aquino III was elected in 2010, he agreed to meet with the Moro rebel chief, Al Haj Murad _ something Arroyo did not do. The men met at the Tokyo airport, concluded that they could work together and set in motion a series of meetings in neighboring Malaysia, which has been facilitating the talks since 1997.The talks this time involved the so-called International Contact Group of representatives from the U.S., Europe and Muslim nations who acted as witnesses, observers and advisers. Negotiations under Aquino were initially kept under wraps but now are open to public input.High public trust in Aquino gave him the backing he needed to carry on with the peace talks, which he hopes to conclude by 2016, when his single six-year term ends.GIVE-AND-TAKE:After 32 rounds of calibrated negotiations, the outline of a deal came clear: a new autonomous region will take shape in the south, with Moro rebels giving up their quest for independence in exchange for broad powers to govern themselves. The central government will maintain control over defense and foreign affairs, while the Moros _ their aging leaders worn down by decades of fighting _ will exercise substantial powers locally, including the justice system and tax collection. Sharia law will be enforced but will apply only to Muslims. Comments   Share   ___Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed to this report.___Follow Hrvoje Hranjski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/hmanila Associated PressMANILA, Philippines (AP) – A tentative roadmap to peace in the southern Philippines announced this week is the first major step in the latest attempt to end a long and bloody insurgency waged by minority Muslims in the predominantly Christian nation. It carries the risk of failure that has been the fate of similar peace agreements, but strong domestic and international backing could boost its chances of success. Here’s a look at the background and the future of the deal: Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Men’s health affects baby’s health toocenter_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Parents, stop beating yourself up Unlike the previous peace deal, this one calls for rebels to disarm.THE PITFALLS:Many tricky details remain. That includes the exact extent of the Moro territory. Although broadly based on an existing autonomous region, the rebels want it expanded. Other potential stumbling blocks are how much tax revenue the locals will have to give the central government, and how and when the 11,000-strong rebel force will be disbanded.THE ABU SAYYAF:Al-Qaida-linked militants from the brutal Abu Sayyaf group, which gained notoriety with kidnappings and beheadings of foreign tourists, including Americans, are not part of any peace deal. Abu Sayyaf and the Moro rebels cross paths in several parts of the Philippines. The hope is that a broader peace agreement with the Moro rebels will isolate the extremists and deprive them of sanctuaries and logistical support.U.S. TROOPS:About 600 U.S. troops will continue to be based in the southern Philippines, training Filipino forces, exchanging intelligence and providing equipment. Mostly aimed at the Abu Sayyaf and their allies from the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah network, the U.S. forces are trying to ensure that the fragile region does not become a magnet for militants, which it may if peace deal falters. Top Stories last_img read more

Frank Criticizes Efforts to Weaken Reform Law

first_img December 16, 2011 428 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Dodd-Frank Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac House Financial Services Committee Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-12-16 Ryan Schuette Following his announced resignation two weeks ago, Rep. “”Barney Frank””:http://frank.house.gov/ (D-Massachusetts) showed few signs of slowing by denouncing provisions that made it into a proposal that recently cleared the “”House Financial Services Committee””:http://financialservices.house.gov/.[IMAGE]””For most Americans, the most threatening disease at this time of year is the flu,”” the retiring lawmaker began a statement by saying. “”But for my Republican colleagues the gravest danger is apparently amnesia.””He referred prominently to a provision from the Private Mortgage Investment Act ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô drafted by Rep. “”Scott Garrett””:http://garrett.house.gov/ [COLUMN_BREAK](R-New Jersey) and passed by the House Financial Services Committee 18-15 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô that aims to repeal the risk-retention rule from the Dodd-Frank Act.””The financial reform law had abolished the practice of transient institutions gathering up loans that had been made in a variety of ways, packing them into securities, and then selling them without any retention of the risk,”” he said.Frank referred to works by authors Michael Lewis and Harry Markopolos, whose ideas he tied to the namesake financial reform law.””Congressman Garrett’s bill would repeal the provisions of the law which force financial institutions to retain some of the risk in these securities,”” he said. “”That is, Republicans want to remove a powerful disincentive for institutions to originate and package bad loans.””If the Senate reconciles their version with Garrett’s bill, it would eliminate the GSEs in steps, reroute mortgage servicing responsibilities to the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/, and consolidate assets from Fannie and Freddie into a Mortgage Finance Agency. Frank Criticizes Efforts to Weaken Reform Lawcenter_img Share in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away I have a question for Cardinals fans: What did Kevin Kolbdo deserve getting booed Wednesday night? We’re nottalking about a game, and we’re not even really talkingabout a practice. We’re talking about a minicamp workoutat Fan Fest! Kolb probably thought he was back at LincolnFinancial Field instead of University of Phoenix Stadium.Besides, when did you turn into Philly fan?Of course last season was a disappointment. Kolb would bethe first to tell you he should’ve thrown more than ninetouchdowns and fewer than eight interceptions in only ninestarts. He’d also tell you he should’ve made more thannine starts. I’m guessing he didn’t overly enjoy battlingturf toe and head injuries last season. I’m going to alsoassume Kolb didn’t enjoy feeling like a sitting duck inthe pocket because his left tackle didn’t/couldn’t blockfor him. Sure he had happy feet, but wouldn’t you? D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Kolb would’ve also benefitted from offseason workoutsafter being acquired from Philly last season. Save your“Cam Newton did just fine without OTA’s and Minicamp, andhe was a rookie” comments. Kolb is not Newton. Not evenclose. Newton has a legitimate chance to be a Hall ofFame quarterback. If he stays healthy, I believe Kolb willbecome a solid NFL starter (think along the lines of RichGannon) that can help a team win games, but will probablynever carry a team. It’s not like Kolb came to Arizona with a sense ofentitlement. Sure he got a nice contract, but he also knewthe Cards were somewhat desperate for someone who couldgive them a chance to win games. He didn’t demandoutrageous money. He came in, said the right things andput in the work to try and hastily learn a brand newsystem.Even Larry Fitzgerald commented during training camp howimpressed he was with Kolb’s work ethic. Of course youwant that to translate to the field, but things don’talways work out that way.I know the fans who booed Kolb in June are the same oneswho’ll be sporting No. 4 jerseys in November if he’shelping the Cards rack up wins. They also might be thesame people who demand patience when they’re struggling ina particular area of their life, but aren’t as forgivingtoward others. Assuming Kolb begins the season as the starter (and Ibelieve he should), he needs a strong start. This is afranchise that has high expectations and it should. IfKolb comes out and struggles, then feel free to expressyour frustration. But to lob jeers at a guy in his firsttrue offseason when he’s coming off a head injury is a bitmuch. Don’t be lame, Cards fan. – / 33 What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkelast_img read more