An expectant Albuquerque couple was watching fireworks outside a friend’s home on July 4 when lightning struck both of them two weeks before the mother’s due date. Firefighters, already nearby at another call, arrived within minutes to find the couple dazed and confused. The couple were rushed to the hospital where the mother had an emergency c-section of an apparently healthy daughter. A University of New Mexico Hospital EMS doctor who treated the couple told KRQE that there have been 11 recorded incidents of pregnant women being struck by lightning and only about half of those babies survived. The Albuquerque Fire Department honored the 15 first responders who were at the scene for their efforts in saving the three lives. Baby, parents survive ABQ lightning strike
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe New Zealand government has announced it will be supporting its Pacific neighbors by helping ensure they have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines through the coming months.“Pacific countries have worked hard to keep COVID-19 out, or to stamp it out, and New Zealand has been committed to supporting them in this,” Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement. “But their success has been hard-won. A safe and effective vaccine will be key to the region’s economic and social recovery.”Nanaia Mahuta confirmed NZD $75 million ($53 million) of Official Development Assistance had been earmarked to support Pacific and global vaccine access and roll-out. “New Zealand is pursuing a portfolio of potential COVID-19 vaccines to ensure we have flexibility and choice in the fast-moving global marketplace. We want to make sure Pacific countries can also access suitable options, and have the support they need to run successful immunisation campaigns.”Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio said New Zealand’s support has to be flexible, given the uncertainties around vaccine development.MORE: New Zealand Prime Minister Pledges to Reach 100% Renewable Energy Across Nation by 2030New Zealand’s approach will be to purchase sufficient vaccines to cover the Realm of New Zealand (Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands) and its Polynesian neighbors (Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu) should their governments wish to take these up.“We are best placed to support these countries directly because of our constitutional relationships in the Realm, and the strong links between our health systems and our close people-to-people ties across Polynesia,” Aupito William Sio said. “We will also be scaling up existing health investments to enable us to play our part in vaccine roll-out.RELATED: Vaccine Alliance Raises $2 Billion to Buy COVID Shots for Poor NationsIncluded in the multi-million support package, New Zealand plans to make a further NZD $10 million ($7 million) contribution to the COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment, which is the key multilateral mechanism that has emerged to support equitable global access. New Zealand is also ready to contribute to wider Pacific regional initiatives as they take shape.IMMUNIZE Your Social Media Feeds Against Cynicism—Share the Story…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
On Tuesday afternoon, the Notre Dame LGBT Law Forum hosted a panel in the McCartan Courtroom of the Law School to discuss the current case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. Three panelists discussed whether or not Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protection for transgender individuals and the greater LGBT community from workplace discrimination. Jackson Oxler | The Observer A panel hosted by the LGBT Law Forum discussed Title VII protections against discrimination in the workplace Tuesday in McCartan Courtroom.The three members of the panel included Kim Hively, the named plaintiff in the Hively v. Ivy Tech case, Steve Sanders, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law who has been involved in many key cases relating to LGBT rights, and Eduardo Juarez, a trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).Title VII states that one cannot discriminate in employment based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The Supreme Court is currently hearing case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC & Aimee Stephens and must decide if the discrimination on sex covers gender identification.Juarez began the discussion by providing an in-depth overview of past legal cases related to Title VII and how these cases relate to today. Among these was the case Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, in which a female employee was denied partnership and was then told she did not dress, act or talk femininely. She won her discrimination case in a landmark decision.“Taking gender into account violates Title VII, and the court held that this evidence was gender stereotyping and that, in general, the definition of gender stereotyping misconduct, is founded on this insistence that men and women comply to certain norms,” Juarez said.Related to the Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins case was Smith v. City of Salem, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals determined discrimination against transgender employees is a violation of Title VII. Juarez connected this to the current case in front of the Supreme Court in that they must now determine how transgender identity and Title VII relate.In their opening arguments for R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC & Aimee Stephens, plaintiff attorneys argued Title VII does cover transgender individuals.“The court said there should be no difference with the protected category of sex,” Sanders said. “If you fire someone because of a change in sex, it is the same thing. It is discrimination against sex.”Sanders said past cases related to R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC & Aimee Stephens are also related to arguments at the Supreme Court.“Is this about taking into account sex and what it means to discriminate on sex, … or is this just a very, sort of hyper-formalistic argument? No, it is because of sex,” Sanders said. “If a female employee wants to date a male, that’s fine. But if a male wants to date a male, that’s not fine and they get punished for it. That just seems like straight forward discrimination because of sex.”Hively recounted her story in the case Hively v. Ivy Tech. Hively had worked at the community college for several years but was denied job opportunities several times due to her sexuality. As an openly lesbian woman, she said she felt wronged that the school had discriminated against her. She filed the case, and after several years she won.To conclude the discussion, the panelists answered audience questions. One question addressed concerns that confirming that Title VII protects transgender individuals from discrimination, “mass chaos” would ensue.At the end, the panelists offered their thoughts on how the case might turn out. Sanders stated he finds it probable Justice Gorsuch will be convinced by the plaintiff’s arguments, as was indicated in the preliminary stages of the case. His vote could mean the Supreme Court would tip in favor of the plaintiffs.Tags: LGBT Law Forum, Supreme Court, Title IX
Grace Elliott, 84, of Smithville passed away January 9, 2021.Born February 4, 1936 in Dubach, Louisiana to John and Edith McElduff, she lived in Port Arthur for many years.She was a longtime member of the Central Baptist Church and served as a Sunday school teacher for many years. Funeral service will be held Sunday, January 17, 2021, at 2 pm at the Riley Funeral Home Chapel with burial to follow at the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Woodville.Visitation will be held Sunday from 12 noon until the time of the service at the funeral home. She was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend to all who knew and loved her.Grace was preceded in death by her parents, John and Edith McElduff and a son, Michael Elliott.She is survived by her loving husband of 70 years, Kenneth Elliott; daughters, Cheryl McCann and husband Michael of Hockley, PatriciaDaigle and husband, Dave Long of Salado, and Cindy Speedy and husband, Sam of LaGrange; brother, Gene McElduff of Port Arthur; grandchildren, Brian McMillan of Hondo, Kristin Thomas of Villa Rica, GA, Cole Thomas of Atlanta, GA, Kaylee Willams and Krayton Williams both of Lagrange, TX; great grandchildren, Cameron Thomas of Villa Rica, GA and Brianna McMillan of Hondo, Tx; and numerous other family members and friends. Serving as pallbearers will be Ricky McElduff, Dave Long, Michael McCann, Sam Speedy, John-Patrick Speedy, George Rienstra and ColeThomas.Services are held under the direction of Riley Funeral Home in Woodville, TX.
A man in his early 20s was transported to an area hospital after he was reportedly shot while driving on Interstate 35 Friday evening. The man drove himself home, where a family member called 911.Lenexa officers, firefighters and paramedics were called to a duplex near 85th Place and Westgate Drive just after 7 p.m.Police say the man reported someone on a motorcycle shot him while both were driving northbound on I-35 near I-435. No other suspect information has been released.Johnson County Med-Act transported the man to an area hospital with a gunshot wound to the back. Police have not released any information about the man’s condition.Four Lenexa officers search the northbound lanes of I-35 near I-435 as southbound traffic streaks by on the other side of the barrier. Photo credit Mike Frizzell.With the assistance of the Kansas Highway Patrol and Olathe Fire Department, Lenexa Police closed the northbound lanes of I-35 from I-435 to 95th Street for about an hour as they searched the highway for evidence. Police have not said if anything was located during the search.The closure caused traffic to stack up beyond 119th Street. All lanes reopened about 8:45.The victim’s truck was towed to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Criminalistics Laboratory in Olathe for processing.Lenexa Police say they are investigating the possibility that this was a road rage incident.Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to call Lenexa Police at 913-477-7301 or call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
Qatar has first MERS case of 2014; Saudi Arabia has 3 moreQatar has reported its first MERS-CoV case this year, according to media reports, while Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed three new cases in as many days, all in men, none of whom are healthcare workers.Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health said the case there involves a 71-year-old Qatari man who fell ill while in Saudi Arabia, according to a report yesterday in The Peninsula, a newspaper in Qatar. He was traveling to Al-Ahsa by road when he got sick. He was hospitalized and was later flown by air ambulance back to Qatar, where he remains hospitalized, the story said.The new case raises Qatar’s MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) count to 10, including 5 deaths, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers. The last case was reported in November 2013.In Saudi Arabia, the first of the three MERS cases, reported on Oct 11, is in a 50-year-old expatriate in Najran in the southern part of the country. He was symptomatic and is hospitalized, but not in an intensive care unit (ICU). He has no underlying medical conditions, the MOH said.The second patient, whose case was confirmed yesterday, is a 70-year-old Saudi man from Taif in Mecca province. He is receiving ICU care and has pre-existing disease.The third patient is a 44-year-old national from Riyadh who also has pre-existing disease and is in an ICU. None of the three men reported recent animal exposure.The cases bring the country’s MERS total for the month so far to 7, 4 of which have been in Taif. The MOH reported 11 MERS cases in September, 5 of which were in Taif. All told, Saudi Arabia has detected 762 MERS cases, including 324 fatal ones.On Oct 11 the MOH also reported that a previously confirmed case-patient in Taif recovered from his illness. The 65-year-old Saudi man’s case matches one confirmed by the MOH on Sep 19.Oct 12 Peninsula story Oct 11 MOH update Oct 12 MOH update Oct 13 MOH update Sep 19 CIDRAP News scan on previous case in Taif Caribbean chikungunya outbreak grows by more than 9,700 casesEditor’s Note: The headline and first paragraph of this scan were revised on Oct 17 to correct misstated PAHO numbers.Last week’s increase in suspected and confirmed chikungunya cases in the ongoing outbreak in the Caribbean and neighboring parts of the Americas numbered 9,711, bringing the total to 759,948, according to an Oct 10 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).The areas reporting the greatest increases were Puerto Rico with 2,437 new cases, French Guiana with 1,960, Guadaloupe with 1,690, and Guatemala, reporting its first 424 cases.Only 11,545 cases have been confirmed.In the United States, imported cases now number 1,326, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Oct 7 update. PAHO puts the US number as of Oct 10 at 1,340. In addition, 11 locally transmitted cases, all of them in Florida, have occurred in the United States.Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have seen 428 and 45 locally transmitted cases and 25 and 5 travel-associated cases, respectively, says the CDC report.In related news, the CDC last week announced a new interactive, Web-based tool for predicting where chikungunya-infected travelers are likely to arrive and what geographic areas are at risk for local transmission. Dubbed Nowcast, the model will be updated monthly using the most recent month’s data, the CDC said.Oct 10 PAHO update Oct 7 CDC update Oct 7 CDC press release on NowcastFecal microbiota capsules may effectively treat C diffA small, preliminary study has shown that oral capsules containing frozen fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) material may be as much as 90% effective in treating Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) diarrhea, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).The study involved 20 patients with at least three episodes of mild to moderate CDI and failure of a 6- to 8-week taper with oral vancomycin or at least two episodes of CDI requiring hospitalization. They received 15 capsules on 2 consecutive days and were followed up for symptom resolution and adverse events for up to 6 months.Among the 20 volunteers, 14 (70%) had resolution of diarrhea after the treatment and remained symptom free 8 weeks later. All 6 whose diarrhea did not resolve were re-treated an average of 7 days after the first procedure, and 4 experienced resolution of diarrhea, resulting in an overall 90% success rate.The researchers, from Massachusetts General Hospital and elsewhere, observed no serious adverse events attributed to FMT. They said that, after larger studies, the treatment may provide an alternative to more invasive administration of FMT.”Numerous reports have shown that FMT is effective in treating active C difficile infection and preventing recurrences in patients whose infections failed to respond to standard treatments,” said lead author Ilan Youngster, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital, in a Massachusetts General Hospital press release. “The procedures that have been used before—colonoscopies, nasogastric tubes, even enemas—all have potential risks and discomforts for patients. The use of capsules simplifies the procedure immensely.”Oct 11 JAMA abstract Oct 11 Massachusetts General Hospital news release Oct 11 JAMA press release Germany reports low-path H5N2 in poultryLow-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza struck a farm in Germany last week, according to an Oct 10 report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).The farm, near Laer in North Rhine-Westphalia, housed 1,732 poultry. One of the birds died on Oct 7 and tested positive by polymerase chain reaction for H5N2 on Oct 9. The remainder of the flock was culled to prevent disease spread.No poultry or poultry meat was moved from the farm, the report said, and disinfection was completed on Oct 9.Oct 10 OIE report
Two people have died after a shooting in Hampton Bays Wednesday night. Jonathan Fava, 26, the owner of a house on Ponquogue Avenue where the shooting occurred, and Kelly Lynn Bray, 25, were found by Southampton Town police March 4 and were listed as critically wounded as they were taken to different area hospitals. Both were pronounced dead after their arrivals.Police would not release the names of the hospitals, but Lt. Susan Ralph said neither victim was medevaced.According to Fava and Bray’s individual Facebook pages, the couple was engaged.Police received a call from a distraught female caller alerting them that a shooting had taken place inside the home. The call came in a little before midnight. Police said the female was on the premises when they arrived, as was an infant child of the deceased couple. The baby was unharmed, and is now in the custody of a family member. The female is fully cooperating, police said.Fava’s Facebook page has several posts that reference long guns. Bray’s Facebook page has the couple’s most recent post.“I’m fine,” her March 3 post read. “It’s just that life is pointless and nothing matters and I’m always tired.”The quote is a line recited by the fictional character Andy Dwyer in the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation.”Lt. Ralph would not confirm several published reports that the shooting was a murder-suicide.According to online records, Fava purchased the house from his grandfather, James Mulvey, for $300,000 last June.A joint press conference by the Southampton Town Police Department’s detective division and the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Squad was scheduled for 11:30 AM March 5. Members of the public who wish to share information, confidentially, on the incident can contact Suffolk County police at 631-852-6392.Correction: Jonathan Fava was incorrectly identified as James Fava in an earlier version of this firstname.lastname@example.org Share
NSW Department of Primary Industries has awarded a contract to Subcon for the design, fabrication and installation of the Port Macquarie Artificial Reef.The purpose built reef will be installed in Q1, 2016 and will establish a sustainable reef ecosystem providing recreational anglers with access to new habitat and enhanced fishing opportunities.The reef will feature 20 of Subcon’s Australian designed ReefTemple modules, each weighing 23Te and standing up to 6.5m tall.The Subcon patented design uses a polymer fibre reinforced concrete to build a shape suited to supporting a strong, healthy and ecologically diverse population of marine Fauna and Flora, the company said.Subcon is supporting ongoing research by the University of Sydney at the Shoalhaven Reef. It also has reefs installed in Hervey Bay, Moreton Bay and has two projects underway off the Western Australian coast.
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There has been talk that the Special Ministry of Ports (SEP) might be scrapped and its functions subsumed by the Ministry of Transport, and Pedro Brito (pictured right below), the former – and first – Minister of Ports was on the high-powered panel that opened the conference, as was his successor Jose Leonidas Cristino (pictured left below), and the ports minister himself, Paulo Passos.These are key days in the transport and logistics sector for Brazil which is undergoing an economic boom right now that is causing significant transport “Gargalos”, or bottlenecks and a new National Logistics Plan (PNLI) was launched that will combine two existing plans – the National Transport Plan (PNLT) and the Naitonal Ports Logistics Plan (PNLP).And it was the first time Cristino and Brito (who is now a director at the Waterways, Maritime and Ports regulatory board Antaq) had been on the same panel at any conference. Both made calls to arms – well for even more logistics progress at least – to the packed auditorium but Cristino’s was the louder and more passionate: hardly surprising considering it is his job that is at stake if the SEP is disbanded.Passos, who is now in his third term as Minister of Transport and is regarded as a safe pair of hands, said that the government was now working on this new (PNLI) logistics plan for the country, which would merge the existing two plans.He told the conference: “It is an ambitious plan, for sure, but it will create a concentrated mobilisation of forces for the good of the country. We will look to Reporto [the legislation that allows gantry cranes to be imported without paying punitive, 45 percent plus import taxes] as an example of how we can improve matters, to stimulate investment. We will identify the problems and then invest in infrastructure with a clear direction.”Up to USD300 billion could be invested in infrastructure projects under the plan by the year 2030.All three agreed that the current transport matrix in Brazil – with 60 percent of cargo within its borders moved by road, 25 percent by rail and just 13 percent by cabotage – would have to change dramatically in favour of rail and sea.With 67 port terminal contracts – made before the Port Law of 1993 – running out this year, and new tenders in the pipeline, the existence (or not) of the SEP will be a key aspect of how these concessions will be tendered for. The maritime and ports sectors have been pleased with the progress – in dredging and some new facilities – since the SEP was inaugurated five years ago, and will be aggrieved if it is swallowed up by the Ministry of Transport.One member of the audience who is involved in the transportation of project cargo, but who did not wish to be identified told HLPFI: “The SEP is a good thing because it gives focus to our sector and channels government funding more quickly to where it is needed. This politicking and these new long-term transport plans need to be resolved soon or the country as a whole will suffer.”The 18th Intermodal South America has a record number of 550 stands and many of the small booths have moved outside of the main exhibition area and into the entrance hall to maximise the space allocation. The organisers, UBM Media, say that more than 45,000 people will attend the event, which will also set a new record.
Sierk has been acting as ceo of FSG for nine years, and before that spent nine years as head of finance at the yard.Siem Industries recently completed the takeover of the FSG shipyard, which was reported by HLPFI on November 3. “After turbulent and exhausting years – also for me personally – we were able to lead FSG into calmer waters during the past weeks, and work out an optimal perspective for the future of the yard,” said Sierk. Sierk has agreed with the new supervisory board to support the yard in finding a suitable successor for the position of ceo. Ulf Bertheau, legal advisor for FSG, will take over management of the company until a new ceo is found.”During the transition period, I will also proactively assist the new supervisory board, as well as my temporary successor Ulf Bertheau and the future ceo,” said Sierk.”Peter Sierk has successfully shaped FSG for a long time. He was also able to lead the company through the crisis with high personal input. Without him the takeover by Siem Industries would not have been effected,” commented Eystein Eriksrud, head of the FSG supervisory board.www.fsg-ship.dewww.siemindustries.com
Legal gardens will be doing their bit for London’s annual celebration of its hidden – and often exclusive – green squares. Middle Temple, Inner Temple, Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn as well as Holloway and Wormwood Scrubs Prison gardens are all taking part in Open Garden Squares Weekend. They are among more than 200 gardens across 27 London boroughs that will be open to the public on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June in an event run by the London Parks & Gardens Trust in collaboration with the National Trust. Sunday’s attractions include one-hour guided walks around the Middle and Inner Temple gardens. Oh – and Sunday 10 June is also Slow Sunday. At 2pm there will be sessions on ‘slowing down and developing mindfulness’. Volunteers will encourage visitors ‘to explore their senses by listening, looking and smelling the world around them’. But fear not – after 30 minutes you can get back to the normal Sunday rat race. Details from Open Garden Squares Weekend website – quote LAWSOC12 (by 8 June) for a 10% discount.
Top 40-firm Minster Law has announced an expansion into the travel claims market with the creation of a new specialist team.Andrew Morton, formerly head of the Pannone Affinity Division, will lead the team on claims including RTAs abroad, and aviation and rail incidents.
Credit: LionsgateRambo: Last Blood was widely derided and dismissed upon its theatrical release, as an ugly affirmation of Trump-era jingoism and xenophobia. It certainly is those things, but slamming a Rambo film for being right-wing and a bit racist, is like criticising a Ken Loach film for being a bit lefty. Honestly, have you seen the second, third, and fourth entries in this series of films? They’re basically the cinematic equivalent of the “America Fuck Yeah” song from Team America: World Police. Only in this case, the team is one-man army / mega killing machine John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone).Picking the story up eleven years since we last saw him ripping throats out and splattering bad guys with a .50 calibre anti-aircraft gun in the jungles of Burma, Rambo is now back in America living on his family ranch. He manages the ranch with Maria (Adriana Barraza) and her granddaughter Gabriela (Yvette Monreal) who have become like a surrogate family to Rambo. They love him and accept his eccentricities, such as the insane network of tunnels he has built under the ranch to make him feel like he’s back in ‘Nam. I wonder if they’ll be instrumental to the plot later in the film?Gabriela wants to track down her estranged father in Mexico, but Rambo and Maria forbid it, because in this universe, Mexico is akin to the way Europe is portrayed in the Taken films; a generic foreign hell-hole where everyone is a thug, criminal, or rapist, and all the police are corrupt. When they realise she has disobeyed them and gone to Mexico anyway, their crazed and terrified reactions are laugh out loud funny. Needless to say, within 24-hours of crossing the border, Gabriela has been kidnapped by a cartel, and now Rambo is going to go and get her back. And maybe kill a few Mexicans while he’s at it.As someone who loves the original film, and has a nostalgic fondness of the first two sequels, it gives me no pleasure to report that this is a vile film. It is essentially the same plot as Taken – that other paean to American righteousness and fear of foreigners – but with a sprinkling of Home Alone. The only difference here is that Last Blood’s portrayal of Mexico makes Taken’s portrayal of Europe seem positively progressive.Credit: LionsgateBut as I said at the top of the review, you should know by now what you’re going to get with a Rambo film. You don’t come to these movies for balance and nuance. So let’s cast the ropey politics aside for a moment and just look at it as a movie. Can you ignore the atrocious stereotypes and moral dubiety and just enjoy the film? Well no is the answer, because unfortunately Rambo: Last Blood is dreadful. I’m not sure why Stallone has ceded control of the film to a director with far less skill than he possesses himself. Relentlessly bleak and nasty, and with a script that feels like it was tossed off in a weekend, this is without a doubt the nadir of the Rambo saga.This film had a reported $50m budget, but for the life of me I cannot see where that went. Shot on the cheap in Spain and Bulgaria, and shoddily thrown together, it is laughably bad in places. Because Stallone is so good, he does still manage to pull something resembling an empathetic performance from the otherwise one-dimensional script. But this Death Wish-sequel version of John Rambo is a far cry from the soulful, wounded veteran we met wandering the highways of the Pacific Northwest.There are a couple of special features on the Blu-ray disc. First up is Drawing Last Blood, a 50-minute production diary going behind the scenes of the film. The most interesting thing here is listening to them talk about the film they thought they were making, referencing classic 70s movies and masterpieces of American fiction. Goes to show that no one ever sets out to make a bad movie, but they really missed the target by quite some distance with this one.From First Note to Last Blood: Music for the Massacres is a featurette going deep into the process of composer Brian Tyler writing and conducting the new score for the film, whilst maintaining the themes of Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic music from the original. Finally, the disc also comes with the theatrical trailer.Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Adriana Barraza, Yvette Monreal Director: Adrian Grunberg Writer:Matthew Cirulnick & Sylvester Stallone Released By: Lionsgate Certificate: 18 Duration: 89 mins Release Date: 13th January 2020
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has described as “hilarious… like it’s Comedy Central”, the recent travel advisory issued by the United States advising its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries including St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Speaking on the state-owned NBC radio, Gonsalves also noted that the bulletin also advises against travel to Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, “all these countries which are doing quite well”. “He said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no; that’s not a proper measurement.’ Why is it not the proper measurement? ‘Everybody knows it’s not a proper measurement.’ So says the president of the richest country in the world.” “It doesn’t mean because the United States is powerful that if they do something, which doesn’t make any sense for logical people, that as a leader of an independent country I can’t say that,” Gonsalves said. “Only 11 of them out of the 200 are in level one and level two, which either you can go with normal precautions, or just take a little bit more precaution? He said that there are 192 countries in the United Nations in addition to some non-independent jurisdictions in the world. “But you don’t have to ask me that. People send you university, they pay for you to go university, you mean to tell me your brain is so vacant that you can’t see that what the fellows write there as an advisory is bare foolishness?” Gonsalves said. He told radio listeners that there have been no COVID-related deaths here and that two persons who were placed at the state-run isolation facility were so warded because of recalcitrance rather than severe illness. “What is laughable though, is that the United States put out an advisory, the thing is … hilarious. I mean, like it’s Comedy Central. Imagine the United States of America, their authorities said you must have an advisory to all the CARICOM countries that you must go only if it’s essential travel; all except Haiti and Guyana and I think Suriname,” said Gonsalves, who also chairs the 15-member regional integration grouping. “But the number he’s using in the rest of the world in the aggregate,” Gonsalves said, adding “there are 7.5 billion people in the world. So, 7.2 billion is the statistic which is used in the aggregate against 3.2, 3.3 billion — that means million in the United States. As I say 4.2 per cent of the population as against 95.8 per cent”. Gonsalves made the comment after noting the impact of COVID-19 on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which, as of Saturday, had recorded 57 cases of the viral infection, 55 of whom have recovered. “Well, if we are level three, with our numbers, you have to get a different category for America,” he said, referring to the US rank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in its three-scale level in which three is the worst. Gonsalves said that when the United States puts out an advisory “like that, any other advisory, any other report they put out, people will say, Well, this is a joke. Because when you impugn your credibility with such an absurdity…” Gonsalves said that the journalist, however, pointed out that this was not the case. Gonsalves said that the journalist pointed out to Trump that infections and death per 100,000 population is a better measurement. “And they are now on to five million. The United States of America has 4.2 per cent of the world’s population; they have 25 per cent of all the COVID deaths in the world,” Gonsalves said, adding that he had seen an interview in which US President, Donald Trump, had claimed that his country was doing well in the management of the illness. “There must be level five, where they don’t have a level five,” Gobsalves said, adding that some of his critics had cited the US ranking in questioning the island’s handling of the illness. He contrasted this to the United States, which took 99 days to reach its first million cases and another 16 days to record four million cases. “So President Trump says, ‘But we are doing the best. I have the documents.’ And he’s flipping through … and as he’s flipping through, he comes to a page, he said, ‘Look it here: the rest of the world, so many cases, the United States, so many cases, you see, I tell you, we are better than the rest of the world. CMC
Prime Minister, Dr Denzil DouglasBASSETTERE, St. Kitts CMC – As St Kitts Nevis celebrates 30 years of Independence, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas announced that civil servants will be granted a pay increase by the end of the year.In his Independence message on Thursday, Douglas said Government workers must be rewarded for their outstanding service.“In addition the double salary that was paid this month to Government workers and any increase in the salary of Government workers over the next few months will act as a fiscal stimulus. We are convinced that our public servants and pensioners deserve to be rewarded for their outstanding service over the years and we have therefore set in place the appropriate mechanisms to decide on a pay increase for Government workers by year end.”The Prime Minister noted that based on several projects and initiatives as well as his administration’s goal to increase growth, economic activity in the country continues to rise.“I am confident that we have turned the corner in this regard and that the numerous projects and initiatives that I have outlined here today, will dramatically raise the level of economic activity.”Douglas, who came into power in 1995, said the people must be the centre of any successful development strategy.“Consequently, our people have been the actors in the development process that we initiated here in 1995 and they have also been the object and purpose of our development effort. We could not see how it would be possible for our economy to make the required quantum leap in development if the majority of our young people were unemployed and in a state of frustration and disenchantment.”The Prime Minister pointed to several programmes undertaken by his administration including the construction of a new hospital, the distribution of free laptop computers in schools, expanding financial resources available to students and housing initiatives.We have also provided direct assistance to lower income families through the provision of affordable subsidized housing and through the implementation of an impressive array of social development programmes ….”He also assured the nation that the minimum wage is still under review “because we are determined that we will protect and improve the standard of living of the lowest paid workers among us.”Concerning the country’s development ,the Prime Minister said the progress made over the last 30 years is impressive but noted that much more needs to be done.“In fact, in this term in office alone we have halved our national debt, reduced crime, improved the reliability of electricity, replaced all deficits in our fiscal account with healthy surpluses, and wiped out bank overdrafts with positive and substantial bank balances. It is not surprising that we have been labeled a high income country by the international financial institutions,” he said. Caribbean Media Corporation Share Share NewsRegional Pay hike for St Kitts civil servants by: – September 20, 2013 Tweet Sharing is caring! 11 Views no discussions Share