The transport ministry said on Monday it will be submitting a proposal to the cabinet by the end of July on how to resolve an impasse stemming from a proposal to build a €23 million floating project off the coast of Larnaca.Spokesman for the ministry Demetris Constantinou told the Cyprus Mail that there were gaps in the legislation allowing the construction of a development in the sea off the Piale Pasa area which would be connected to dry land with a 100 metre pier.Toumazos Andreou Enterprises submitted a proposal in 2014 to for the project which would include restaurants, cafes, swimming pools and conference rooms. Up to 300 jobs would also be created, the developers said.In October 2015, the attorney-general, in response to a query by the department of merchant shipping, said there were no provisions in the law regarding granting a licence for a floating project in waters governed by the Republic of Cyprus.He said that according to the constitution, it is the cabinet which is responsible on matters regarding Cyprus’ territory however there is no law regulating this specific matter.“There is currently a gap right now,” Constantinou said which may require parliament passing a bill to harmonise the current legislation.In its last session, the cabinet decided that Transport Minister Marios Demetriades and Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides will discuss and seek the legal opinion of the attorney-general once again, he added.“In any case, the ministry will have to submit to cabinet a proposal by the end of July.”Part of the problem is that too many departments are involved, sources close to the project have told the Cyprus Mail. So far, the environmental department, antiquities department, department of merchant shipping and the ports authority are all involved.Irene Constantinou, which dealt with the case in her capacity at the department of environment, told the Cyprus Mail that several concerns had arisen when they had examined the case.An ad hoc committee comprising of all the relevant department was set up to discuss all the issues surrounding the case.“We were told the project had the capacity to hold up to 2,000 people,” she said. This brought up questions surrounding safety and ensuring the construction would not collapse.According to Constantinou, the committee had also set conditions on waste management and recycling, requiring the environment was not harmed or affected in any negative way.“We’re talking about the sea, we can’t have any waste go into the sea. This is also an area where people go to swim.”Another issue was that this area of the coast has shallow waters and every year, bulldozers were brought in to remove sand that accumulated around the coast.There were also discussions on the lighting and sound that would emanate from the floating project. “It requires power. The restaurants, cafes, and so on would need a generator,” she said, and this raise issues of the fuel the services would need.In a correspondence seen by the Cyprus Mail dated April 15, 2016, from the environmental department to Panicos Nicolaides, the engineer for the company, said that provided all the requirements could be met, a permit could be granted.Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras told the Cyprus Mail on Monday that delays were stemming from the legal gaps that had come to light.“We are very positive about this development. If they manage to meet all the requirements from all the departments then this is a welcome development for our city,” he said.Nicolaides was not immediately available for comment.You May LikeClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Italian naval frigate the Espero arrived in Larnaca port as part of maritime operations on January 4 and will remain docked there until January 8.The vessel has been taking part in the Safe Sea Plan since December 28. The project aims to protect Italian interests in the Central Mediterranean, guarantee the security of maritime communications, fight trafficking and protect Italian fishing vessels and extraction platforms in international waters north of Libya.Launched in Taranto, Italy on January 1, Espero is a Mistral class frigates captained by Giorgio Occhetto. It has a crew of 160.During the stay in Larnaca the crew will meet with representatives of the Cypriot armed forces to strengthen ties.You May LikeLiverMD | SupplementTop Doctor Recommends Liver Health SolutionLiverMD | SupplementUndoYahoo SearchEarly Signs Of Type 2 Diabetes. Learn About Treatments & Symptoms. Search Type 2 Diabetes TreatmentsYahoo SearchUndoDr. Marty3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. MartyUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
By Andria KadesIt took a lot of complaining, a lot of pressure and a lot of robberies but residents in Erimi and nearby Limassol villages are tentatively beginning to feel hopeful that a spate of burglaries which have plagued the area for almost a year now may come to an end.Erimi community council leader Panicos Hadjipetrou told the Sunday Mail that the situation was so bad that it was marked by a new burglary almost every other night.The local police station in Episkopi covers Erimi, Souni, Sotera, Kantou, Kolossi, Ypsonas, Trachoni, Asomatos and Akrotiri. According to the police website, it is staffed by 20 officers.Hadjipetrou however said there were often times when residents would call at night and would hear responses such as “there’s only two of us in the office, we can’t come.”Fed-up residents decided they didn’t want to take it anymore and after approaching the central Limassol police station, coordinated efforts have moved forward and Hadjipetrou said “we’re very pleased. Already seven people have been arrested. We’ve seen progress and we have to give credit where credit is due.”Last week, police arrested seven men and a woman aged between 30 and 47 in connection with a string of burglaries since 2011 in all districts.Residents in the area, several of them expats from countries such as the UK, US and Russia have found themselves digging up all sorts of information on how to keep their homes safe.A neighbourhood watch Facebook page for Erimi, Kolossi, Souni and Episkopi was created by a resident in Erimi, Athena Ioannou in a bid for locals to help each other out.“It’s for people to share their concerns and notes, what we can do, who we can talk to. We’re all in the same boat,” she said.The page contains tips from people advising on practises to keep homes safe.Ioannou contacted the Sunday Mail after she felt police were not doing all they could. “House after house was getting robbed in the past year and the only thing we would hear is ‘get a dog’ or ‘get a camera’ but not everyone can afford security cameras,” she said.“Lots of people in the area have installed them,” whether it’s people that were robbed or people that are trying to make their home more secure, she said.Ioannou, who moved to Cyprus after almost 40 years in the US conceded that although catching the robbers may prove to be difficult, “if this was in America there would have been a town meeting to discuss this. Nobody has reached out to our community.”Several residents felt their concerns fall on deaf ears, she added. Since her initial contact to the Sunday Mail, police’s efforts have led to the arrest of seven people connected to cases from 2011.“I think it’s great news. It appears police are stepping up but we hope there’s an end to the robberies,” Ioannou told the Sunday Mail.While this was a positive step, the question still remains about all the other burglaries that took place last year. In addition, according to the Facebook page, yet another one has taken place in the area since, leaving residents doubting the arrests may be linked to the incidents close to home.The officer heading the operation was not immediately available for comment to the Sunday Mail.Ioannou recalls the burglaries really began in earnest in the summer of 2017. Her parents’ home was robbed in May last year when they had gone out for a wedding and were away for not more than a couple of hours.The culprits had apparently smashed a window to gain entry and consequently stole her mother’s jewellery which had been handed down from generation to generation of the family.“My parents were terrified after that. It wasn’t only the loss of items of sentimental value but a violation of their home. They felt disgusted.”Ioannou says she has since heard numerous stories, one after the other of people getting robbed even while they are inside their own home.“My parents’ house is like a fortress now,” she said. “I didn’t leave America for this to happen here…People don’t know what to do to protect themselves.”You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
THE gloves are off in Peyia following an ‘all Peyia meeting’ held in the municipality on Sunday organised by officials angered by the public’s opposition to development of the sea caves coastline.A proposed ‘white zone’ suggested by Green party MP George Perdikis incensed local authorities and Paphos MPs of four of the main political parties, who subsequently issued a joint statement declaring Perdikis ‘persona non grata’ and ‘undesirable’ in Peyia.Andreas Evlavis of the Paphos Greens told the Cyprus Mail on Monday that such behaviour was incendiary.“If you start off like this, saying that Mr Perdikis and the Greens aren’t welcome in Peyia, you are trying to start a war. But whether we are welcome or not will not stop us from carrying out our duty and right to fight for the environment, this is our priority,” he said.He added that the benefit of a protected environment is not for the Greens but for the public.The meeting came after weeks of demonstrations and press reports about six villas being built close to the sea caves area and that an environmental impact authorisation has just been granted for a five-star hotel and 44 villas at nearby Kafizis beach.The wider public has been angered over environmental damage at the sea caves, but supporters of ongoing development claim that reports in the press concerning the work at the coast are misleading.Mayor of Peyia, Marinos Lambrou, called the meeting and was the main speaker at the event. He reportedly said that local authorities have recently been facing an unfavourable policy against Peyia and that for some time the municipality has proposed specific measures for the protection of the sea caves area.“We will not allow growth to stop, development will continue as licensed under laws and regulations.”Also present at the meeting were three of the four districts MPs , Costas Constantinou of Disy, Charalambos Pitokopitis of Diko, Andreas Fakontis of AKEL and a spokesperson for Edek MP Elias Myriannthis, who is currently abroad. The mayor of Polis Chrysochous Giotis Papachristofi also attended.MPs and the mayor spoke of ‘dark economic circles’ intervening in all cases of attempted development in the district of Paphos, citing examples such as the Akamas and Polis Chrysochous, claiming that the new effort is to keep tourist development away from the coastline of Peyia.Last Friday, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said he would announce 20 measures to help resolve the ongoing debate, his proposal includes banning water sports and fishing within 300 metres of the caves used as a breeding ground for the endangered monk seals and the creation of a buffer zone that will not allow development within a certain distance of the beach’s protection zone.Lambrou said that the municipality is in favour of development, according to the laws of Cyprus, and described proper development as a ‘blessing’. He also said that without growth, the municipality and residents would not be able to move forwards.The mayor added that there had been no opposition to similar developments in other areas such as Limassol, Larnaca and Ayia Napa.Lambrou later told Astra Astra Radio that a war had been declared war against the municipality of Peyia and lies and misinformation being spread in the media.Evlavis said that the Greens are waiting for the results of the investigations concerning the changes of zoneing regulations.“We don’t want a war with the mayor of Peyia and we have never said that we area against progress for Peyia, but the sea caves are something special.”Peyia councillor, Edek’s Achilleas Achilleos, who chose not to attend Sunday’s meeting, said that great care must be taken over the environment, especially in the sea caves area, as once it’s destroyed, it will be impossible to get back.“Any development must be undertaken sensitively and with care. We need to take a step back and it’s not all about money and profit and then we have problems afterwards,” he said.Achilleos said that the blame for the current situation lies firmly on the government’s shoulders and stressed that outdated maps of the coastline need to be updated and that the government, along with the land registry and planning departments are all responsible for dishing out permits without checking the area.He said that much of the coastline has been eaten away due to erosion and an updated and protected zone of around 100m or 200m from the shoreline which ‘could not be touched’ is very important.“Leptos has built six villas, why not three. The coat will continue to be eroded and then the municipality will have to pay for the construction of expensive breakwaters. In the end it’s the public that will pay for the damage to the environment,” he said.He added that development of the area is a thin line which must be walked carefully.Local resident, Peyia coalition councillor and Green party member, Linda Leblanc said that she was disappointed that the mayor didn’t take a more neutral stance and said the Greens and other environmentalists would proceed in a calm manner whilst gathering support to ensure that the area is protected.“I chose not to attend the ‘meeting’ as I didn’t want to be perceived as supporting developers and a group of officials that are shouting very loudly.”She added that around half of the residents of Peyia are foreigners, mostly British, are totally ‘invisible’ in this discussion as requests to also disseminate information in English fell on deaf ears.“They are trying to divert us from the issue which is uncovering any illegalities concerning zoning and studies that were not done properly” she said.Leblanc reiterated the need to have a masterplan for the area. You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndo‘Enosis or death’, ‘taksim or death’.Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
A ceremony will be held on Saturday May 26 in Famagusta in the north to mark the completion of conservation works in two historic churches, located in the north-western part of the walled city.Works at St. Mary of the Armenians Church and the Carmelite Church were fully funded by the European Commission and were implemented by the UNDP, in partnership with the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.The Armenian church is the community’s first monument to be restored with the contribution of the bicommunal Technical Committee, while more projects in the area are expected to finish soon.The two churches are part of the Martinengo cluster, adjacent to the namesake bastion that was also recently revamped by the Technical Committee.Takis Hadjidemetriou, the Greek Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee, and Vartkes Mahdessian, the Representative of the Armenians in the House of Representatives, spoke to the Cyprus News Agency, underlining the importance of this project.Both churches are part of the multicultural fabric that characterised the old city of Famagusta, as well as Cyprus, Hadjidemetriou said, adding that the area was now open to visitors. He noted the presence of various other monuments in the vicinity, like the Martinengo bastion, Tanners’ mosque (the former Jacobite church), St. Anne Maronite church and the Greek Orthodox St. George Exorinos church.He said the significance of the Armenian church was tremendous, not just for the community, but also for Armenians worldwide, as well as for Cyprus and called on Armenians and the wider public to attend the ceremony.He said finally that conservation works at Tanners’ mosque and St. Anne are soon to be completed, probably this September.Mahdessian said the church had a great significance for the small Armenian community of Famagusta and said they hoped to secure a permit, in order to hold a service there soon.He expressed the wish for the project to mark the beginning of more restorations, underlining in particular the urgent works needed at Sourp Magar Armenian monastery.St. Mary of the Armenians was probably built after the middle of the 14th century by Armenian refugees from the port of Lajazzo or Aegeae and was part of a monastic complex dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Carmelite Church, also known as St. Mary of Carmel, was part of the same complex, built between 1324 and 1366. You May LikeJobs in USA | Search AdsJobs in USA for Indian Might Pay More Than You ThinkJobs in USA | Search AdsUndoflarebox.info10 Reasons You Should Buy a Bike Right Nowflarebox.infoUndomytravelhits.comTen Best Places for Affordable Adventures – My Travel Hitsmytravelhits.comUndo Famagusta municipality says Varosha entry goes against UN regulationsUndoCypriot ambassadors gather in Nicosia for annual briefingUndoProperty owners price themselves out of the marketUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
A 34-year-old man from Paphos died on Sunday after his motorcycle crashed into a car on the Fasoula to Nikoklia road at 11.30am.The man was transferred to the Paphos general hospital where he died some three hours later.The 67-year-old driver of the car was also injured and was taken to hospital where she was kept for treatment. Her husband, 89, who was also in the car, was not injured.In another accident, in the early hours, a man, 19, also from Paphos, was critically injured after the car he was driving veered off course crashed into two trees before stopping. The accident occurred at around 12.40am in Emba.Police said on Sunday that five people died in road accidents the past 10 days.As part of their road safety awareness campaign, police said in a statement that whatever the cause of fatal road accidents, “the result is the same, and it is tragic and irreversible”.Drivers ought to understand the necessity of obeying the traffic tules, “the need, that is, to protect their lives, but also the lives of others,” the police statement said.If the increasing numbers of victims of fatal road accidents cannot convince someone to change their ways, would words have an impact, the statement said, before giving the following advice:“The next time we sit behind the wheel, let us consider for a few seconds the consequences, bring to mind the tragic images of a mother and a father looking for their child, children wondering when their father or mother will return.”You May LikeCar Novels15+ Ugliest Cars Ever MadeCar NovelsUndoAmiraspantry.comLearn how to make this Yummy Middle Eastern Chicken KabobsAmiraspantry.comUndoCollegeBuzzoTop 9 Online Colleges And Universities In 2018CollegeBuzzoUndo The Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoWidowers threaten legal action over pensionsUndoCypriot ambassadors gather in Nicosia for annual briefingUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
The government on Thursday responded to reports in the international press saying the recent serial killer case involving foreign women and their children exposes the abuse of migrant women in the country.“The case has exposed an exploitative system that allows tens of thousands of migrant women to work as housemaids in conditions that critics have described as akin to modern slavery,” was how the BBC put it on Thursday.“We come here and sacrifice our lives. We have families to give food, children to send our salary to. We do this to support our children. But they are treating us like slaves,” one worker told the BBC.Others said they had been sexually harassed, had their wages slashed, were forced to work 12-14 hours a day and were often shared out between family members to clean different homes and restaurants for the one salary.In their response, the government spokesman’s office said that according to regulations only one employer is considered legal.“Any case of enforcement to work for any other person on behalf of employer gives the right to the foreign worker for release from that employer but retaining their work permit so they can freely choose their employer,” it said.The written statement also said that working conditions were clearly stated in the contracts of employment, which are mandatory. These are the same as those provided in collective agreements “so as to safeguard equal treatment between all workers in Cyprus”.In addition, the government said all work permit applications by employers are examined by a tripartite committee, consisting of the government, plus employer and workers organisations.In reply to another comment by a domestic worker, who said that she has to work 7 days a week, the government said the approved personal contract provides for a six-days working week comprising 42 working hours per week. In case of exceeded hours overtime remuneration is provided.The government claims that a rigorous procedure for the examination of complaints has been established and is being followed. For every complaint filed at the labour relations department, the report stating the findings and suggestions regarding violations of contract is forwarded to a tripartite committee that is responsible to format a final suggestion for the minister of interior.It has also been reported that domestic workers are sexually harassed, but according to the government every worker has the right to submit a complaint and the equality legislation affords full protection to the complainant. It outlines in detail how such incidents are handled.The employer is also obliged to pay social security funds, provide full board food and accommodation to the worker and take out health insurance for them.Cyprus has also ratified the Forced Labour Convention, recognising the need to protect all workers from any form of modern slavery and carries out checks by inspectors to combat undeclared and illegal work.“Appropriate measures are taken against employers who violate the working conditions regulations, including cancellation of the employer permit,” the announcement concluded.Later in the day, Peo trade union said the explanations the government “has attempted to provide” did not correspond to reality because the authorities show no willingness to take measures to tackle the problems, despite laws being in place.“With both the work permit system and procedures for third-country nationals and their conditions of employment, there are problems, the most important of which is that in most cases the whole system is incompatible with the system of employment relations and are not the result of collective labour agreements,” the union said.“The procedures for monitoring the working and residence conditions of third-country workers are also problematic and inadequate.”You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoModernizeIf Your Home Has Old Roofing, Read ThisModernizeUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: News State Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Escanaba, welcomed Escanaba Area Public Schools teachers Phil and Jane Lynch to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address in the House chamber on Tuesday evening. Phil teaches high school social studies and Jane is a teaching assistant at Lemmer Elementary School. 22Jan McBroom hosts local teachers at governor’s State of the State address
Categories: News 10Aug Rep. Price to cancel August office hours State Rep. Amanda Price will be cancelling office hours previously scheduled for Aug. 17.Residents who had previously planned to attend office hours are encouraged to contact Rep. Price’s office by phone toll free at 888-238-1008 or by email at AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov.Office hours for early fall are expected to be announced in coming weeks.###
Categories: Barrett News,News 02May Rep. Barrett unveils bill as part of Energy Freedom plan PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) discusses the bipartisan Energy Freedom legislation during a Tuesday news conference in the Capitol building. Rep. Barrett’s bill will raise the limit on the number of people who can offset their electric costs by using renewable energy. Rep. Barrett is joined at the news conference by Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), right, and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), authors of other bills in the package. The House Energy Policy Committee, upon which Rep. Barrett serves, will take up the legislation in coming weeks.#### Legislator’s measure lets more people use clean energy
26Sep Rep. Chatfield: Stronger pipeline safety standards needed in Straits State Rep. Lee Chatfield speaks in support of his “Straits of Mackinac Safety, Protection and Accountability” action plan before the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee this week.State Rep. Lee Chatfield’s plan to better protect the Great Lakes by strengthening pipeline safety standards in the Straits of Mackinac was approved today by the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee.Rep. Chatfield, of Levering, said the comprehensive plan ensures vessels and utility companies operating in the Straits are accountable to the people of Michigan.“While pipelines in the Straits play a vital role in transporting energy resources to people and businesses in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, we must also ensure they are properly maintained and inspected,” Chatfield said. “The Great Lakes and our inland waterways are just as critical to the economy and our way of life. A spill would endanger our natural resources and affect the well-being of people in every northern Michigan community.”The “Straits of Mackinac Safety, Protection and Accountability” action plan:Improves reporting from pipeline operators to the state of Michigan.Increases the safety and security of utility lines that provide communities in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula with access to phone, cable, natural gas, oil and electricity.Provides additional signs and buoys alerting boats not to use anchors in the Straits.Establishes clear penalties for vessels that break maritime laws and jeopardize the safety of Michigan’s waterways.Provides added accountability and increased penalties for those responsible for negligence or criminal damage to public utilities.“Implementing these responsible reforms will protect the water we drink, fish and swim in with our families while ensuring local communities continue to benefit from resources provided by the critical infrastructure lines that connect our two peninsulas,” Chatfield said.House Bills 6187, 6199, 6200 and 6201 now move to the full House for consideration.### Categories: Chatfield News
State Rep. Jack O’Malley, of Lake Ann, will meet with local residents during scheduled office hours this month.“I will be visiting all four counties in the ‘Fighting 101st’ to hear directly from residents about the issues that matter most to them,” O’Malley said. “Whether you need assistance or would like to share an idea that will keep Michigan moving forward, I encourage you to attend!”Rep. O’Malley will be available Saturday, Jan. 26 at the following times and locations:9 to 10 a.m. at Ludington City Hall, 400 S Harrison St. in Ludington;11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, 11 Cypress St. in Manistee;1 to 2 p.m. at Benzonia Township Hall, 1020 Michigan Ave. in Benzonia; and3 to 4 p.m. at the Leelanau County Government Center, 8527 E Government Center Drive in Suttons Bay.No appointments are necessary. Those who are unable to attend at the scheduled times but would like an opportunity to talk with Rep. O’Malley may call his office at (517) 373-0825 or email him at JackOMalley@house.mi.gov.### Categories: O’Malley News 18Jan Rep. O’Malley announces first in-district office hours
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesApril 8, 2015; New York TimesIn a rare show of bipartisanship, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have proposed comprehensive revisions to No Child Left Behind in a 600-page reauthorization draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Their bill, entitled the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, is scheduled for committee action on their agreement and any amendments to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 14th.With controversy raging about many elements of the federal government’s effort to improve public education, just getting this bill underway as a bipartisan effort is most unusual. What appears to have been the catalyst for agreement is a shared belief that the power of the federal government to shape American educational policy has grown too great and must be contained. The bill’s objective, “to ensure that all children have a fair, equitable, and significant opportunity to receive a high-quality education that prepares them for postsecondary education or the workforce, without the need for postsecondary remediation, and to close educational achievement gaps,” would seem less controversial than first thought.“This is a big deal,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. “It goes back to the original intent of the law, to level the playing field for at-risk kids.” Others see the bill as more status quo, though Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, expressed disappointment that the new bill retained annual testing requirements.The Alexander-Murray approach does appear to limit the power of the federal government to use federal funding as a lever to pressure state governments and influence public education. Over the past decade, using the authority to grant or deny waivers to the requirements in current funding law that all students demonstrate annual educational progress, the Secretary of Education has been able to pressure states to meet the administration’s educational philosophy. Using this approach the Obama administration has moved to implement the Common Core curriculum, establish national education standards, introduce a regimen of annualized testing, and establish a new methodology of teacher evaluation tied to student test results that has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum. Alexander-Murray specifically prohibits the Secretary of Education from using this power, returning authority to each State. States will still be expected to set challenging goals for annual student progress, but the proposed legislation specifically restricts the Secretary of Education from challenging state goals and from withholding funding based on the approach chosen. Annual testing for grades 3-8 will remain a requirement, avoiding a threatened presidential veto, but each state will be given the ability to determine how it will accomplish this objective; the bill specifically recognizes that standardized testing is not the only mechanism available by authorizing the use “of portfolios, projects, or extended performance tasks.” Current federal policy requires annual teacher evaluations tied to student test results; the proposed revision leaves the decision on how and when to evaluate teachers to each state.The bill does keep in place encouragement for states to create systems “establish, expand, or improve alternative routes for State certification of teachers and administrators.” This will be seen positively by supporters of Teach for America and similar programs and opposed by those like Diane Ravitch who see these alternate routes as doing great damage to the profession of education at to the children who are in the classroom.Yet to be addressed is the total amount to be allocated in the federal budget for public education and the specific allocation of these funds among the several funding streams covered by this legislation.If passed, the Alexander-Murray bill will not end the national debates about how to improve America’s public education system. Rather, it will remove the common enemy of critics of all shades: the U.S. Department of Education. We can expect that the debate will shift from the halls of Congress in Washington to fifty state capitals. And it will raise a new question: Are the educations provided in each state equal in quality? And if they are not, is our national commitment to “all children hav[ing] a fair, equitable, and significant opportunity to receive a high-quality education” being met?Beginning with Tuesday’s Senate hearings, the debate about the direction of American education will enter its next phase.—Marty Levine ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share14TweetShareEmail14 Shares“Potatoes, Corvallis Farmers Market.” Photo: Wendell.July 24, 2018; Brookings InstitutionGeography may be the source of great inequity in how effective SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—better known as “food stamps”—is in its goal of diminishing food insecurity for those living in deep poverty.According to a Brookings Institution article by Hilary Hoynes and James Ziliak, “The price of food varies widely across different locations…. In places with higher food prices, rates of household, adult, and child food insecurity are higher.”In a separate report from the Hamilton Project, entitled Modernizing SNAP Benefits, Ziliak suggests that equalizing SNAP benefits geographically would reduce food insecurity, improve outcomes, and be cost-effective. Understanding how geography impacts this oft-assailed yet highly effective federal program may help to unravel why a change would be beneficial.A family or individual SNAP allotment is based on a formula that hasn’t been updated since 2006. This alone should signal that it’s time to look at how this program calculates its allocations. Here is how it works:A household’s SNAP benefit allotment is a function of the maximum benefit minus a household’s expected contribution toward purchasing food. The Thrifty Food Plan (the TFP) specifies the bundle of foods constituting a nutritious diet that can be purchased at minimal cost; the value of this bundle, which was last updated in 2006, serves as the basis for the value of the maximum SNAP benefit. The maximum benefit is then adjusted by family size. A household without net income receives the maximum benefit. Households with positive income (net of deductions for labor-market earnings, dependent care, housing costs, and other expenses) see their SNAP benefit reduced by 30 cents for every dollar of net income.There is almost no geographic variation in the SNAP benefit formula. Alaska and Hawaii do have a higher maximum benefit, which the Institute of Medicine report on SNAP benefit adequacy speculated was due to their presumed higher food costs. The benefit formula makes these two states the exception, but evidence from the past two decades suggests that there are substantial local differences in food prices across the rest of the United States.Indeed, the data show that not only do food costs differ by region, but that “trends in food prices by markets are quite different over time. For example, in the Mountain West market centered on Utah, SNAP purchasing power increased from 65 to 70 percent in 1999 to 75 to 80 percent in 2010; while SNAP purchasing power in Maine and upper New Hampshire and Vermont decreased from 65 to 70 percent in 1999 to less than 65 percent in 2010.”Of course, where food prices are higher, the ability of an adjusted SNAP benefit to maintain family nutrition is correspondingly lower, leading to higher rates of child, adult, and household food insecurity. The logic behind a readjustment in benefits seems clear.The Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database (QFAHPD) was developed to offer data that would be useful for policymakers. However, it only covers about three dozen locations in the United States. But the data provided show the wide variance in the cost of food from location to location.The map below clearly shows where SNAP inequity plays out. The lighter blue areas indicate where the “spending power” of SNAP is diminished by the higher costs of food in the geographic areas.The impact of SNAP inequity goes beyond the ability to purchase nutritious food for a struggling family; there are implications for the health and educational outcomes of the children who experience food insecurity as a result. In a working paper by Erin T. Bronchetti, Garret S. Christensen, and Hilary W. Hoynes focused on food prices, SNAP, and child health, they conclude that lower SNAP purchasing power leads to lower use of preventative health care and, thus, more days of school missed because of illness. This research indicated that a 10 percent increase in SNAP purchasing power increases the likelihood that a child will have an annual health checkup by 8.1 percent. That seems significant in terms of healthcare costs and child well-being.In Brookings’ article, Hoynes and Ziliak, suggest the government should transition to a geographically-adjusted maximum benefit for SNAP. “Replacing the annual national CPI adjustment with an annual local CPI adjustment would account for level and trend differences in food prices by place, replicate an existing process, and minimize administrative burden.” They indicate that this could be facilitated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics producing and publishing local Consumer Price Indices (CPI) for the 29 food categories in the Thrifty Food Plan (TFY).SNAP has been one of the most successful programs in achieving its goal of alleviating food insecurity for children and families in poverty. If balancing the geographic inequities of this successful program could improve family nutrition, as well as boosting children’s health and school attendance rates, it seems worthy of attention.—Carole LevineShare14TweetShareEmail14 Shares
Portuguese regulator Anacom has launched a campaign to make the country’s citizens aware of the forthcoming digital switchover.The campaign, created by agency Fuel, and featuring actor and presenter Predro Granjer, is designed to raise awareness ahead of the next phase of switchover, which will see the coastal areas of the country make the move to digital broadcasting in January. The Azores and Madeira will complete switchover in March, with the remaining areas in the interior of mainland Portugal to follow in April.
The Church of England has sold its shares in media company News Corp because was “not satisfied that News Corporation had shown, or is likely in the immediate future to show, a commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform” in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.The church said that it has sold £1.9 million (€2.4 million) of shares accordingly.Andrew Brown, secretary of the Church Commissioners, said: “Our decision to disinvest was not one taken lightly and follows a year of continuous dialogue with the company, during which the Ethical Investment Advisory Group put forward a number of recommendations around how corporate governance structures at News Corporation could be improved. However the EIAG does not feel that the company has brought about sufficient change and we have accepted its advice to disinvest.”
RGB Networks will exhibit at ANGA COM on stand 10.1/V18. RGB CTO, Yuval Fisher, will present a session in the Speakers’ Corner called ‘Deploying Cloud-Based Ad Insertion Using OpenStack’, on May 20 from 12:00 – 12.20. Multiscreen video delivery specialist RGB Networks will showcase its CloudXtream solutions at ANGA COM. CloudXtream is designed to let operators easily deploy monetisation services like ad insertion for multiscreen (AIM) and nDVR solutions, with “minimal upfront capital costs or ongoing operational expenses.”RGB’s CloudXtream initiative is built on the scalable OpenStack framework and offers scalable, geo-redundant, IP-delivered video services. It also aims to respond to elastic demand for transcoding, packaging, IP streaming, ad insertion and nDVR storage.“With our next-generation products for live, time-shifted and software-based delivery, video service providers can not only ensure they deliver premium quality audio and video to all IP devices but also actively monetise all screens,” said Andy Salo, VP of product management at RGB Networks.“We are particularly excited to be showcasing our innovative CloudXtream solutions which provide operators with a bona fide software-based approach to deploying services, without incurring any unanticipated or unnecessary costs that may hinder their rollout plans.”
UK satellite TV provider Sky is rolling out a number of new features for its Sky+ electronic programming guide (EPG), including a new recommendations engine and a ‘Smart Series Link’ record function.The recommendations engine will suggest both linear TV and on-demand TV shows to Sky customers based on recent recordings and downloads in their Sky+ Planner.The Smart Series Link feature automatically remembers to record the next season of a programme and all subsequent ones after that.Other new features include: a Sports tile, which has been added to the Sky+ homepage, offering quick access to live sporting events; movie DVD cover art for Sky Movies On Demand and the Sky Store; and combined SD and HD options making it easy for viewers to choose between HD and SD when downloading TV shows or movies on-demand.The update marks what Sky described as the “second tranche of major improvements” to the Sky+ homepage this year following a major overhaul in March when on-demand content and the Sky+ Planner were moved alongside channel listings as equal options, and a new search function was launched.“We know customers love the new Homepage as it puts catch-up, box sets and movies at the heart of their TV viewing. That’s why we’re introducing even more features to help discover more TV they really want to watch. Get recommendations for shows we think you’ll enjoy based on your recordings, and never miss a returning season ever again with Smart Series Link. It’s all part of our commitment to make Sky+ the ultimate entertainment experience,” said Sky’s director of TV Products, Luke Bradley-Jones.The latest update is rolling out to customers starting from today and will be available to more than 8 million customers with compatible Sky+HD boxes by the winter this year.
French network TV5Monde was yesterday the victim of a cyber attack by individuals claiming to belong to terrorist group ISIS, the Paris-based company has said.The attack took the channel, which goes out internationally, off air for three hours yesterday, but TV5Monde was able to bring back a partial feed by 1am yesterday, reports say.The hackers also posted the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers, along with threats and warning to French president Francois Hollande, on TV5Monde’s Facebook page.TV5Monde has now taken back control of its social media outlets, and posted messages explaining the incident. A video featuring TV5Monde director general Yves Bigot calls the attack “unprecedented”. The TV5Monde website remained offline at press time.The attack comes after French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked by terrorist gunmen in Paris in January, with 17 people left dead as a result.
BBC Worldwide is continuing the international rollout of its new channel brands with the launch of natural history offering BBC Earth in Asia.Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster, has refined its channel offering, which is now focused on doc offering BBC Earth, lifestyle channel BBC Brit and premium drama service BBC First.The BBC Earth service is launching in Lat-Am in September and Worldwide today announced plans for an Asian roll out.David Weiland, executive VP for BBC Worldwide Asia said: “The premiere of BBC Earth in Asia is an important step in BBC Worldwide’s strategy to inspire audiences with intelligent, distinctive content. With BBC Earth, we will now have a compelling way to share premium BBC factual content with audiences in Asia and around the world.”The BBC Knowledge channel will be rebranded Earth and the new service will be carried in Cambodia, Indonesia,Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. There is also a BBC Earth block in Japan on Wowow.The channel will launch region-wide on October 3. It will be programmed with high-end factual history content from the BBC including The Hunt, Shark and Life Below Zero.Weiland said: “With an increased investment into new and premiere content, we are confident that BBC Earth will strike a chord with viewers in Asia.”