Monthly Archives: August 2019

Extension works at Paphos courthouse on track

first_imgExtension works underway at the Paphos courthouse are expected to be completed by this time next year, CNA reported on Monday.The extension is expected to cover existing and future needs of the district’s judiciary.Irini Christodoulou, Chief Registrar told CNA the new section would consist oftwo floors with a total area 1,850 square metres with 10 new court rooms, offices and other spaces and two underground floors that will include around 100 parking spaces and auxiliary rooms.The way it has been set up allows for adding two more floors in the future, she said. The courthouse currently has to accommodate district judges, family-court judges, the rent-control court, the labour court and the military court.Christodoulou said the extension is expected to resolve the current lack of space.Plans for the extension had been drawn up in 2012 but were put on hold due to the financial crisis.The project is expected to cost just over €5m. You May LikeHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsThe Early Signs Of Heart Failure. Search Acute Heart Failure TreatmentHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsUndoFigLeaf Beta AppFigLeaf brings You 3 Easy Steps to Privacy on Your Terms…FigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Human chain across the buffer zone

first_imgTHE ‘Unify Cyprus Now’ organisation plans to form a human chain across the buffer zone near the Ledra street crossing point, on Saturday at 11 am, in a symbolic act to show the solidarity of the people in demanding reunification. The aim is to form a human chain across the buffer zone to link the two sides of the divide beyond the two check points. Along the line there will singers, poets, musicians and other performing artists.“We demand a solution, we demand peace, we demand a reunified island, we will not give up, we will not rest,” the organisers said in an announcement.Meanwhile, on Friday evening a few hundred supporters of the group met as they have done every evening for a week at the end of Ledra street, this time to express their disappointment in the peace process after the latest impasse of the talks between the two leaders was announced.“I am so disappointed, here we are again,” one of them said. However, the group is defiant. “Unless we take things in our own hands, nothing is going to happen,” was another comment. “We will continue to meet every day to demand that our leaders take action.”“We are the children of generations who have never seen peace in this country. We are the parents of children entitled to better days, we are Cypriots who believe that the present situation is a shame,” they said.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 AppUndoSUVs | Search AdsThese SUVs Are Leading The Pack. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsSUVs | Search AdsUndo 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 Taboolalast_img read more

Shops must close on August 15

first_imgAll general stores must remain closed on the religious holiday of August 15, the labour ministry said on Monday.Specialty stores may remain open on this date, but under the law employees must be compensated with double pay per hour of work, the ministry said.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoYahoo SearchResearch Compact SUVs. New SUVs May Make You Want To Trade Yours In Today – See For Yourself!Yahoo SearchUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Akel targets shipowners military service exemption

first_imgAkel MP Irini Charalambidou asked Defence Minister Savvas Angelides in a letter on Monday if the public interest is being served by Attorney-General Costas Clerides after the council of ministers’ decided to exempt shipowners and their children from military service if they bring their operations to Cyprus.The decision to grant exemptions to Cypriot shipowners and their children living abroad from the obligation to fulfil their military service was taken in 2015, and recently reconfirmed by the council of ministers.The exemption requires that the shipowners transfer their headquarters and economic activities to Cyprus.The decision claims to serve the public interest since it will attract foreign investment. Charalambidou has requested that the House is informed whether this reasoning has been accepted by the advocate-general.Akel and the Citizens Alliance described the decision as ‘provocative and unacceptable’.The Ministry of Defence has yet to release the official number of exemptions granted so far for shipowners and their children, but unofficial reports suggest that there have been very few. You May LikeTronodes.comBest Fat Burning Foods For A Healthy LifestyleTronodes.comUndoTopixMost Americans Can’t Identify All 50 StatesTopixUndoproperty.feedbox.info10 things you should not put on a credit cardproperty.feedbox.infoUndo ‘Ordinary hero’ says EU cooperation succeeded in combating human traffickingUndoCompanies must use buying power to root out slavery, says UK officialUndoData is the new oil so watch out for mass mining – Netflix filmUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

EU says it is supporting Cyprus in face of climate change

first_imgThe EU is supporting Cyprus in a number of ways to tackle the impact of climate change, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete has said.He was responding to a question submitted to the European Commission by Cypriot MEP Costas Mavrides on whether the EC was aware of the magnitude of climate change in Cyprus and whether there are studies to examine the size of the problem.The Diko MEP told the EC that the first evidence of the impact of climate change is already visible in Cyprus from the intensity and frequency of natural disasters and phenomena such as heatwaves, fires, coastal erosion and increased dust in the atmosphere. These phenomena are expected to increase in the coming years, Mavrides said.In response, Cañete said on behalf of the European Commission that the European Environment Agency has estimated that the damage caused by extreme weather and climate in Cyprus between 1980 and 2016 amounts to approximately €390m, while only two per cent of these losses were insured.More recent results show that the Mediterranean climate of Cyprus will become drier, especially if the goal of the Paris agreement to maintain global warming this century well below two degrees Celsius is not achieved, he said. But even if global temperatures rise by only two degrees C, he said, Cyprus could have effects such as water scarcity while coastal damage could amount to about €9m per year by 2050.In order to meet these challenges, the EU supported the preparation of a national strategy for adaptation to climate change in Cyprus through the LIFE-Cypadapt project, the commissioner said. He added that two additional LIFE projects currently provide support for the protection of public health and urban communities from climate impact in Cyprus. The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action.The Common Agricultural Policy also supports adaptation to climate change, mitigation and relative management of risks in agriculture through the systems and measures available under the direct aid, the common organisation of agricultural markets and the Cyprus rural development programme for the period between 2014 and 2020.You May LikeSan Francisco TravelDive into the Universe of YOU at this Bold Yet Playful EventSan Francisco TravelUndoSwift VerdictInside The House Robbie Williams Live At Almost 50Swift VerdictUndoShlopTop 10 Best Airlines To Fly On Across The WorldShlopUndo Famagusta municipality says Varosha entry goes against UN regulationsUndoTwo days of music to dance toUndoRomanian man missing from Paphos homeUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Building permits up 26 in H1

first_imgBuilding permits rose 26 per cent year-on-year in construction area in H1, to 753,615 square meters, and a 20 per cent increase in value, to €788.8m, the statistical service said on Friday.Residential building permits rose 24 per cent in terms of construction area, to 612,427 square meters, and 22 per cent in terms of value, to €590.6m in the first six months of the year compared with the respective period of 2017.Non-residential building permits rose between January and June an annual 45 per cent, to 138,960 square metres, and 48 per cent to €159.8m, Cystat said.The building permits figures of H1 2018, a leading economic indicator, almost matched those of the respective period of 2012, fuelled by incentives to the construction industry offered by the government aimed at boosting both demand and supply. They include Golden Visas for property buyers, reduced taxes as well as generous town planning relaxations.You May LikeEditorChoice.comIf You Have Any Of These Toys Around, You Just Became RichEditorChoice.comUndoILoveFacts10 Reasons You Should Start Drinking Lemon WaterILoveFactsUndoMedical Alarms | Search AdsSeniors Can Stay Safe with Home Medical Alert DevicesMedical Alarms | Search AdsUndo Films and food at RialtoUndoModi versus Wild: Indian PM to join Bear Grylls in wildernessUndo‘Ordinary hero’ says EU cooperation succeeded in combating human traffickingUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

State urges teachers unions to accept latest proposal

first_imgBy Lizzy IoannidouThe government on Friday urged teachers’ unions to accept the latest proposal in view of the start of the school year and the current uncertainty, reminding them that following implementation, a greater dialogue could then be launched to solve the education crisis.Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said: “The consensual proposal resulting from intensive consultations between the inter-ministerial committee and the trade union leadership is the regulation that should be applied to this specific school year.”He urged unions to accept the proposal until final agreements can be reached on educational reform and the streamlining of the system “for an improved and qualitatively upgraded public education.”Prodromou also said that the government and education ministry had already began preparatory work for the implementation of the most recent proposal, so as to ensure to the greatest extent possible a smooth start to the new school year.The board of teachers’ unions Poed, Oelmek and Oltek, met earlier on Friday to discuss whether a new compromise document, drafted jointly by union leaders and a ministerial committee on Thursday to resolve the protracted crisis in education, would be endorsed.While the unions will not announce any official decisions until Monday, efforts will continue on Saturday as the executive committees of the three unions are expected to hold separate meetings.“We have studied the document before us all… Our goal is to reach a solution as soon as possible provided that the other side will show the necessary consensus,” primary schools union Poed representative Charis Charalambous said.Earlier on Friday Charalambous said the proposal had some “additional positive elements” compared with previous ones.Speaking after the unions’ meeting, Charalambous added: “Regarding the document, there are concerns and suggestions. These will be collected and sent to the other party, and we’ll see how they will respond.”Despite the positive points on the most recent proposal, Charalambous said he would like to make clear that nothing has yet been decided.The possibility of the crisis dragging on should the unions come to a negative decision, or choose to issue a counterproposal, is still open, according to Charalambous.The most recent compromise document, formed jointly by a ministerial committee and the teachers’ unions leaders on Thursday, was studied on Friday by the administrative councils of the unions.Charalambous noted however that the new proposal contained positive changes to the issue of staffing, for which “the government previously said that nothing can be changed,” Charalambous said.As such, if the unions accept this latest proposal, they will aim to conclude efforts by Monday, so that the changes in staffing can be implemented as soon as possible.Should the unions give an official ‘yes’, all that remains would be for president Nicos Anastasiades to be briefed and sign off on the agreement.The government meanwhile announced that secondary schools would be opening on Monday.On Wednesday, the overwhelming majority of teachers – over 94 per cent — voted to grant their unions the authority to step up their reaction to government decisions they disapproved of.Rather than an escalation of measures, the unions have withdrawn from one of their previously-announced measures.You May LikeNewsDDivers Searching Lake Ontario’s Waters Recovered An Aircraft From The DepthsNewsDUndoDomesticatedCompanionThe Worst and Best U.S. States To Retire InDomesticatedCompanionUndoHealth & Human Research7 Foods That Could Cause ArthritisHealth & Human ResearchUndo UK plays Brexit hardball with ‘stubborn’ EUUndoAt least 20 killed, 50 injured in attack on VP candidate’s office in KabulUndoState Legal Service condemns attack on attorney-generalUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

New NHS deadline is June 2020 minister says updated

first_imgJune 2020 is the final date set for the implementation of the National Health Scheme (NHS), Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis said on Tuesday.Pamboridis, following a meeting at the presidential palace with President Nicos Anastasiades and the heads of the parliamentary political parties, said that consensus has been achieved as to the “character of the organisation that will oversee [hospital] autonomy”.He added that the meeting was along the same lines as that of July 21, when all heads of the parliamentary parties agreed during a meeting with the president as to how to proceed with the NHS, which is a requirement of Cyprus’ bailout programme.Under the deal, Cyprus was supposed to offer a national healthcare scheme by 2015. A major reason for the delay is that the autonomy of state hospitals, which is a prerequisite of the NHS, is still pending.After constant push back of dates, Pamboridis in July tabled the bill on the financial and administrative autonomy of state hospitals before the cabinet.In Tuesday’s meeting three dates were set for the gradual implementation of the NHS.By June 2017 a public organisation will be set up which will oversee hospital autonomy, Pamboridis said, while by June 2019 outpatient care will be introduced.The ultimate date for the full implementation of the NHS is June 1, 2020, Pamboridis said.This, he said, does not exclude the possibility of the earlier implementation of the three stages.“This is a very important reform,” Pamboridis said.He also said the political leaders confirmed their commitment and welcomed the fact that the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) has completed the assessment of the tenders for the software programme that will be used for the NHS.“The HIO asked from the parties the immediate release of funds for studies concerning the reform,” he said.In the meantime, Pamboridis said, and to tackle day-to-day issues but also the problems caused from the resignations of state doctors, his ministry will examine a number of ideas to provide solutions until the new organisation that will oversee hospital autonomy is created. These ideas aim at stopping the bout of resignations of medical staff in state hospitals, which now face serious understaffing problems.Government officials had admitted that they are having difficulty in finding doctors willing to work in state hospitals as both the salaries and the working conditions are offputting.The government announced on Monday the extension of the deadline for the expression of interest from doctors of various specialties for posts in state hospitals to September 22.You May LikeInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesNew Rule in Rowland Heights, California Leaves Drivers FumingInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

BoC to cut interest rates

first_imgBank of Cyprus (BoC) announced it would be lowering its debit interest base rates by 0.25 per cent starting on Monday.BoC said it was lowering its base rate from 5.25 per cent to 5.0 per cent, its housing loan rate to 3.25 per cent from 3.50 per cent, and its business loan rate from 4.25 per cent to 4.0 per cent.“Customers will directly benefit from the Base Rate reduction as it will be applied to 38,000 housing loans, 77,000 current accounts and 200,000 other personal/business loans,” the lender said.The decision was part of the bank’s commitment to support and strengthen the island’s economy.The announcement came two days after the bank, forced to seize clients’ deposits to recapitalise last year, raised €1.0 billion in fresh capital.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

NPLs down by €650m in March to 46 CBC says

first_imgNon-performing loans in the Cypriot banking system dropped by €650m in March to €23.2bn, the most spectacular monthly drop since June last year, the Central Bank of Cyprus said.The monthly drop of non-performing debt in March to 46 per cent of total loans, was mainly on a €469.6m reduction of unserviced loans extended to small and medium size enterprises to €9.4bn, the central bank said in a statement on its website on Wednesday. The total corporate non-performing loans reduction was €486.6m to €10.7bn.Households reduced their non-performing loans by €93.2m to just below €12bn in March compared to February. The reduction in the case of other financial corporations and the general government was by €66m and €4.3m to €450.4m and €39.2m, the bank supervisor said.The amount of loans with 90 days in arrears was €17.4bn in March, down by €364.1m compared to February, the central bank said. Total loan restructurings dropped by €234.8m to €13.1bn with almost 71 per cent of it considered cured. The accumulated provisions for loan impairments stood at €9.9bn, up by €8.6m.From December 2014 when the central bank put in place the current methodology in determining non-performing loans, which provides for a minimum 12-month probation period, to March this year, the total amount of non-performing loans fell by €4.1bn against a €6.7bn drop in total lending to €50.5bn, the central bank data show. The drop was mainly on a €2.9bn reduction in delinquent corporate debt followed by a €1.2bn decline in the case of householdsYou 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 Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Lionfish invasion if you cant beat em eat em

first_imgBy Yiannis Kourtoglou“WANTED”, says the poster of a lionfish on the quayside in Larnaca marina. Dead, or fried.Or even grilled, filleted or in a risotto. An EU-funded project has placed Cyprus on the frontline to deal with an invasion of marauding lionfish which have munched their way through the eastern Mediterranean in the past five years.So if you can’t beat it, eat it, is the aim.The lionfish’s brightly coloured stripes and flowing pectoral fins may look beautiful but its dorsal fins pack a venomous punch, its sting is toxic, it spawns up to 30,000 eggs every four days and feasts on other fish and crustaceans. And it has no known predators. At least, not yet.The EU-sponsored project aims to promote lionfish as a food, among other ways to control its rapidly expanding population, which is affecting other countries in the region as well, such as Lebanon.“We hope that humans can become the enemy of the lionfish in the Mediterranean,” Periklis Kleitou, a researcher at the University of Plymouth, told Reuters during a recent expedition of divers off Larnaca in southern Cyprus.The university is engaged in the research project, known as RELIONMED, along with Cyprus’ fisheries department, the University of Cyprus and two local research centres, the Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre and the Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab.Scientists say warmer waters as a result of climate change and an enlargement of the Suez Canal have opened the floodgates to species normally native to the Indo-Pacific.“Four years ago you were lucky to see one, and everyone would take a picture, saying ‘wow’. Now if you dive there, there are thousands,” said Larnaca boat skipper Christos Giovannis.Since early 2019, teams of divers have been conducting regular expeditions in Cypriot waters in a campaign to cull numbers.Chefs have also been drafted in to give public presentations offering tips on how to gut the fish – scissors and gloves are a must when handling the fins to avoid a nasty prick or rash – and suggest preparation options like deep frying or cooking it on the barbecue.And it’s delicious, say its fans.“Lionfish can be prepared in many different ways. On the grill, fried … whichever way you want,” said local chef Stelios Georgiou. “As long as you remove the spine, which contains the venom, you can serve it like a normal fish.”You May Likescienceglory.comNew Evidence on Eerie Easter Island is Changing What We Knewscienceglory.comUndoMarie Claire | Hanacure4 Stars Who Tried The “Benjamin Button” Facial All Over Your Social FeedsMarie Claire | HanacureUndodiscoverytheword.comGrandma Thinks She Has 3 Cats Until Grandson Notices Thisdiscoverytheword.comUndo Authorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoVarosha move merely a ‘PR stunt’ by Ozersay, expert saysUndoA new way of doing businessUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Finance Minister satisfied with confirmation of Cyprus credit rating by DBRS

first_imgFinance Minister, Harris Georgiades, said on Sunday that the confirmation of Cyprus’ credit rating by Canadian rating agency DBRS was a positive development.DBRS confirmed on Saturday Cyprus’s Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency at BBB (low) with a stable trend.“We reached investment grade a few months ago, this positive rating has been confirmed and it’s obviously a positive development, it satisfies us but does not make us complacent because this effort must continue”, Georgiades told the media in Limassol.“We still have a way to go”, the Minister said, adding that he would be concerned “if those who led us from the first moment to the economic collapse regained role and influence”.DBRS said that the BBB (low) ratings “are supported by Cyprus’s solid budget position, its prudent public debt management framework, its Eurozone membership fostering sustainable macroeconomic policies, and its openness to investment encouraging a favourable business environment”. However, it stressed that risks to financial stability remained relatively high.You May LikeCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityReassurance for your refugeCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityUndoComparisons.org2019: Little-Known Rule in Rowland Heights, CAComparisons.orgUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndo Our View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoRape suspects look set to go through police line-upUndoA grotesque choice of prime minister for Britain?Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Rep Runestad to host 4 coffee hours sessions in June

first_img Categories: Runestad News 06Jun Rep. Runestad to host 4 coffee hours sessions in June State Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake will host coffee hours in White Lake, Highland and Milford on Friday, June 9 and Milford on Wednesday, June 28.The office hours on Friday June 9 are at the following locations:8 to 9 a.m. at Leo’s Coney Island, 6845 Highland Road in White Lake;10 to 11 a.m. at Colasanti’s Market, 468 S. Milford Road in Highland; andNoon to 1 p.m. at Bakers of Milford, 2025 S. Milford Road in MilfordThe office hours on Wednesday June 28 are at:6 to 7:30 p.m. at Milford Public Library, 330 Family Drive in Milford.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Runestad at 517-373-2616 or via email at JimRunestad@house.mi.gov.#####last_img read more

Rep Berman fights for increased government transparency with first bill

first_img14Jan Rep. Berman fights for increased government transparency with first bill Categories: Berman News State Rep. Ryan Berman submits his government transparency plan to the House enrolling clerk.State Rep. Ryan Berman, along with a bipartisan group of his Michigan House colleagues, has introduced a comprehensive plan to increase the transparency of state government.Berman, of Commerce Township, said Michigan is one of a very few states that still exempts its governor, lieutenant governor and the Legislature from sunshine laws. The bipartisan solution would remove these exemptions and make the government more accountable to the people of Michigan.“Transparency isn’t a partisan issue,” Berman said. “Transparency is about being open and accountable to the people we’re here to serve.”The transparency plan will subject the Legislature to a new Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) and the governor and lieutenant governor to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).“State representatives, senators and the governor should be held to the same transparency laws as local governments and school boards. It makes no sense to exempt our elected state officials from these important standards,” Berman said. “It’s time to update the law and set an example of openness and honesty.”Just like some documents containing sensitive personal information are exempt from disclosure by local governments under the current FOIA law, the new LORA will exempt some records, including letters to and from people in the district, human resources files, and ongoing legislative investigations or lawsuits.The plan, laid out in House Bills 4007-16, has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.###last_img read more

Boy Scouts Lift Gay Leader Ban Nationally and Punt to Locals

first_imgShare2TweetShareEmail2 Sharesa katz / Shutterstock.comJuly 27, 2015; Washington PostBy a 79 percent majority, the executive committee of Boy Scouts of America yesterday lifted its ban on openly gay adults as leaders in scouting yet stopped short of directing local chapters to do the same, leaving it up to them whether to discriminate or not. In so doing, it passed along legal liability from the national organization to any local entities that choose to keep the ban in effect. Further, the Boy Scouts’ national organization declared it would defend any local scouting group’s “good faith refusal” of a scouting leader that violates the group’s religious principles.Approximately 70 percent of Boy Scout troops are sponsored by religious organizations, some of which will refuse, and it is unclear what form that refusal will take. Soon after the decision was made, for instance, the Mormon Church declared in a statement that its “century-long association with Scouting would need to be examined.” Florida lawyer John Stemberger, who founded a spin-off called Trail Life USA after the 2013 vote to admit gay Scouts, said repealing the national ban on gay scout leaders, “places the churches and religious institutions who sponsor BSA troops at greater legal risk.” Will other local troops join Stemberger or stay in a network that does not share a core belief? Will future BSA jamborees have segregated spaces where one can or must not be gay?The vote today was not unexpected by those in the know. Former defense secretary Robert Gates said in a speech back in April that the legal environment was such that maintaining the ban at the national level would result in unsustainability.Advocates were understandably measured in their responses to the announcement. Zach Wahls, who is an Eagle Scout and executive director of Scouts for Equality, called the fact that so many faith-based troops may continue to ban openly-gay leaders “disconcerting.”“Scouting is a place to hone important life skills and a moral compass,” Wahls said. “And that should not be sullied by discrimination, I think that’s really self-evident.”Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBT civil rights organization, made his comments in a statement:“Today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual adults to work and volunteer is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization.  But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision. Discrimination should have no place in the Boy Scouts, period.“BSA officials should now demonstrate true leadership and begin the process of considering a full national policy of inclusion that does not allow discrimination against anyone because of who they are.”To NPQ, this step does not appear to be a strategy with permanent legs but rather a step that will be followed in due course by other incremental steps into the 21st century. Perhaps the form in which the BSA will survive will be very different. There may have been no simple way to tear the Band-Aid off, but the likely result is a great deal of fractionalization in the ranks and a whole mess of lawsuits that will distract the organization from its work.—Ruth McCambridgeShare2TweetShareEmail2 Shareslast_img read more

3 Local Foundation Heads Try to Intervene in Broad Foundation LAUSD Plan

first_imgShare245TweetShare5Email250 SharesNovember 18, 2015; Los Angeles TimesIn philanthropy, it is rare to see foundations protest each other’s work, but in Los Angeles, three foundations are speaking out about what they see as the potential undercutting of parent participation by the Broad Foundation in its new initiative to remake the public school, and they are even offering to intervene.The letter, sent to the LAUSD Board of Directors, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines, United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl, and Broad Foundation Founder Eli Broad, reads in part:The California Community Foundation, the California Endowment and Weingart Foundation have invested in efforts to educate and inform parents and to build their leadership skills to become stronger advocates for their children and communities. In some cases, we have supported programs and projects related to the LAUSD, while in other instances we have supported the development of charter schools, pilot schools and partnership schools. Our priority has and will always be to ensure poor and vulnerable communities have access to high quality educational options and are informed about what makes for a good school. Recently, the Broad Foundation released a provocative proposal to significantly increase charter schools in communities that have high concentrations of underperforming schools. In the midst of the controversy surrounding this proposal, we must remember that our priorities are families and children. Superintendent Cortines has consistently reminded us that the schools belong to the community, but it takes community, with parents at the forefront, to make the schools great.It continues:At this point, our foundations are not interested in taking sides on the Broad initiative; rather, we are bullish on the matter of full and robust participation of community, parental and youth engagement on key, critical questions – such as the Broad Charter School proposal, and the desirable attributes of a soon-to-be-hired school superintendent.What we are willing to do is offer ourselves as neutral conveners interested in doing what is best for all of our parents and children. We must engage parents and community members and help them preserve their opportunity to secure high quality education for their children. L.A.’s vibrant future depends on it. We are open to what form our role might take, and willing to listen to constructive input from you.As NPQ has previously written, the Broad Foundation has been pushing a greatly contested plan to significantly expand the number of charter schools in the Las Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Now, as a part of that plan, a nonprofit organization has been established to advance the scheme. To date, only part of its 11-member board has been announced, but it will include Eli Broad or a designee.The new organization is called Great Public Schools Now, and is apparently the body that will take the next steps in a plan initially proposed by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The plan calls for raising $490 million to enroll half the students in LAUSD in charters over the next eight years. It has met strong opposition from the teachers union and has gotten a mixed reception from the school board.The nonprofit will be run by two executives from ExED, another local nonprofit that helps charter schools manage their business operations and build their campuses. Because the operation will presumably expand the market for ExED, this in and of itself should provide some cause for concern.In addition to charters, the organization says it will work to expand or duplicate successful models of schools directly run by LAUSD. The group says its goal is to develop first-rate schools of all kinds, not exclusively charters.The Board of Education did not play a role in creating the original plan—and next week it will vote on a resolution officially opposing it. Critics are concerned that a massive charter expansion could threaten the solvency of the district, limit accountability, and leave LAUSD with fewer resources for the most challenging students, who are the most expensive to educate.The Times reports that Great Public Schools Now has been “using the language of urgency and indignation” found in the original draft of the plan, which calls for 260 new charters, which are the primary focus of the organization’s mission. Its announcement included polling showing public support for charters, and research indicating they are outperforming traditional campuses.—Larry Kaplan and Ruth McCambridgeShare245TweetShare5Email250 Shareslast_img read more

Indias Crackdown on NGOs Hits the Gates Foundation

first_imgShare8Tweet3Share2Email13 SharesBy Adbar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsApril 20, 2017; New York TimesThe Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is one of India’s largest public health organizations. Yet, this public-private partnership started by the Indian government in 2006 now joins the list of more than 11,000 other Indian NGOs that have lost their licenses since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014. The move is indicative of what many perceive as the Indian government’s aggressive, continuous crackdown on the foreign funding of major NGOs. As was reported in the New York Times, these foreign donors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—a notable financier of the PHFI.The Times confirms that the PHFI “has long been a giant in the public health sphere” in India. In 2006, former prime minister Manmohan Singh used seed money from the Ministry of Health to create the organization. In coordination with the government, most of its funding comes from foreign sources: “The foundation received more than $30 million in grants from various sources in the fiscal year ending March 2016, according to financial documents on its website.”PHFI spokesman and media relations director Rajiv Chhibber spoke to the Times about a letter the organization received a week or so ago. Chhibber said, “The letter says that we have utilized funds from tobacco and HIV projects for lobbying against media and parliamentarians.” He further explained, “The Gates Foundation provides most of the funding for the tobacco and HIV programs [and] both operate in partnership with the Indian government.”Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia, spokesman for India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, confirmed the PHFI’s foreign funding block and license cancellation. The only explanation he gave was that there were “irregularities” in some of its programs. Though he declined to specify any other reasons for the cancellation, the Times offers the following:A right-wing group known as Swadeshi Jagran Manch has accused the Gates Foundation of having a conflict of interest in its efforts to expand immunization in India. The group claims the foundation is connected to pharmaceutical companies, said Ashwani Mahajan, a senior member of the organization, which is putting together research detailing its assertion to present to the government and to request government action against the Gates Foundation.The New York Times reminds us that foreign-backed NGOs are not allowed to support any anti-government lobbying activities. However, Chhibber argued that the PHFI was not involved in anything of the sort. On the contrary, “a large part of the organization’s tobacco program involved research on tobacco’s health effects. He said the foundation worked with the government on this program.” In fact, Chhibber said that all the programs the government cited in the letter are ones run in coordination with the government.After receiving the letter, the PHFI sent an explanation of its programs to Indian officials. Hoping for reevaluation, Chhibber states that they are “still in conversations with the government…We’ve also given them supporting documents to show that whatever was done was done on the behest of the ministry or to carry forward the tobacco policy.”Meantime, in a statement, the Gates Foundation assured the public that the foundation supports a “variety of partners to undertake charitable objectives and requires these partners to comply with all applicable laws.” In what reads as a direct response to criticisms from the Indian government, the foundation said, “Ensuring the adequate production and affordability of vital and safe vaccines for the world’s poorest populations is of the utmost importance.”The Modi-led government continues to tighten the reins on NGO activity across India. Shutdowns escalate with only vague explanations from the administration and few details. The New York Times states that organizations such as Compassion International, a U.S.-based Christian charity “that provided meals and tuition subsidies to needy children in India,” have been shuttered. NPQ has reported on charitable organizations that suffered the same fate because they received foreign funding, such as Navsarjan, and other Indian NGOs are still losing their licenses because they get funding from prominent foreign organizations such as the World Health Organization and International Red Cross. This reflects a larger trend (covered by the NPQ Newswire) of countries constraining nonprofit organizations, particularly those that do advocacy.India touts itself as being a growing global democracy, but many of us remain shocked at the disturbing paradox presented. NPQ will continue to keep an eye on these trends.—Noreen OhlrichShare8Tweet3Share2Email13 Shareslast_img read more

Mike Darcey is to leave BSkyB to take Tom Mockridg

first_imgMike Darcey is to leave BSkyB to take Tom Mockridge’s role as CEO of News International as part of the restructuring of News Corp into two companies looking after publishing and media and entertainment respectively.News Corp has also confirmed that Robert Thomson, the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, will become the CEO of the new publishing entity, to be called News Corp, while Rupert Murdoch will serve as chairman and CEO of Fox Group, the umbrella group for film and TV activities, and chairman of News Corp. Chase Carey will serve as president and chief operating officer of Fox Group, while James Murdoch will continue as deputy chief operating officer.Darcey has been chief operating officer at BSkyB since 2006. “I’m delighted that Mike Darcey has agreed to take the reins as News International’s new CEO,” said Rupert Murdoch.  “Mike is a world-class executive with unprecedented strategic and commercial experience and I look forward to benefiting from his many talents.  His broadcasting background will provide important leadership in the development of our already impressive suite of digital products at News International.”News Corp expects to complete the split by the middle of next year, pending approval of the board and shareholders, as well as regulatory approvals, favourable rulings from certain tax jurisdictions on the tax-free nature of the transaction to the company and its stockholders, and certain other conditions. News Corp expects to make preliminary filings with the SEC on the separation shortly.Bedi Ajay Singh, the former finance chief at MGM Studios, will become chief financial officer of News Corp. Paul Cheesbrough, News Corp’s chief technology officer and a former digital media chief at the BBC, will continue in his role for the publishing company.“This is an incredibly exciting time, for me personally, and for our companies’ ambitious futures,” said Murdoch.  “The challenges we face in the publishing and media industries are great, but the opportunities are greater.”last_img read more

UK subscriptionfree satellite TV service Freesat

first_imgUK subscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has launched a new low-cost Freesat HD box that includes its connected TV service freetime. The Humax-manufactured box goes on sale today at a recommended price of £99 (€118) from retailers including John Lewis, Currys PC World.Freesat’s Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Huntington, said that the new Freesat HD with freetime box was a “natural extension of our award-winning TV service.”Freesat launched freetime a year ago and the service offers a roll-back TV guide, daily TV recommendations and on-demand services including the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and YouTube.“The affordable Humax HB-1000S brings the seamless freetime TV guide to cost-conscious consumers, opening up the opportunity for more people to benefit from this leading subscription-free satellite service,” said Graham North, commercial director of Humax.last_img read more

The British Film Institute is set to make hundreds

first_imgThe British Film Institute is set to make hundreds of films available online with the launch of the new BFI Player next week. The online platform, which has been optimised for the web and tablets, is due to go live nationwide in the UK on October 9 and will offer content on a free and pay-per view basis.At launch the BFI Player will include seven curated collections of content spanning cult movies, archive film footage from the early twentieth century, as well as interviews and behind the scenes action from this year’s BFI London Film Festival.This will amount to “over 1,000 items, including hundreds of feature films in the launch period,” according to the BFI. Speaking at a launch event in London, BFI chair and former BBC director general Greg Dyke said the service “will fully blossom in 2014” with a second launch phase planned for early next year.“[The BBC iPlayer] transformed broadcasting. It was a public service intervention that enriched the lives of millions by bringing them content when they wanted it. The BFI plan has the potential to do the same for film, all across the UK,” said Dyke.“When we launched our five year strategy plan ‘film forever’ last year, which laid out what we’re trying to do for the next five years, our number one priority was to put audiences at the heart of anything that we did and ensure that as many people as possible had choice and access to films across the UK.”At the player launch, the BFI also announced plans for day-and-date releases for new or reissued films through the service.Filmmaker Clio Barnard’s new movie The Selfish Giant will launch on the BFI Player simultaneously with its UK theatrical release on 25th October. The BFI restoration of the 1924 film The Epic Of Everest will also launch on the BFI Player on the same day as its premiere at the BFI London Film Festival and UK cinema release on 18th October.The seven curated collections of content that will launch on the service are: BFI London Film Festival Presents; Backed by the BFI; Gothic – The Dark Heart of Film; Edwardian Britain; Sight & Sound Selects; Cult Cinema; and Inside Film.Edward Humphrey, BFI Director of Digital said that library titles would cost viewers £2.50 to watch in SD and £3.50 in HD. Shorts will be priced at around £1, while day-and-date releases will cost £10. However, the BFI stressed that approximately 60% of the content available on the site will be free.Content will be streamed using adaptive bitrate technology. The BFI is working with Ooyala, which will provide online video playback, and Capablue, which has designed the web interface of the BFI Player.“The BFI has spent a six-figure sum on this, this year, which is coming from our core budget. DCMS [Department for Culture, Media and Sport] has very kindly granted us some capital funding which arrive in 2015/16 to support this – that’s £500,000,” said Humphrey.last_img read more