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Ethics czar investigates fisheries minister LeBlanc over licence award

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal ethics watchdog is examining the actions of Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc over the granting of a controversial clam fishing licence.The office of conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mario Dion said Friday that confidentiality requirements limit it to revealing that a probe into LeBlanc’s conduct in relation to an unspecified licence began May 11.However, The Canadian Press has independently confirmed the investigation concerns a multimillion-dollar licence to fish Arctic surf clam in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Conservative MP Todd Doherty has been pressing the Liberal government for weeks about how Five Nations Clam Co., won the licence.The deal, which ended a monopoly on the Arctic clam fishery held by Clearwater Seafoods since 1999, was supposed to offer 25 per cent of the catch to local Indigenous communities as a way of promoting reconciliation and economic growth.The company, it turns out, has ties to the Liberal party and several sitting Liberal MPs, including LeBlanc himself.Court documents also suggest it may not have met some key eligibility requirements in the government’s tender process when the deal was announced.The minister should never have been involved in the deal, insists Doherty, who asked the ethics commissioner to investigate.Doherty fears the possible ramifications of the deal, as well as the message he believes it sends about how the Liberal government is managing a vital East Coast industry.“I think Canadians deserve for us to be questioning and fighting for answers,” said the B.C. MP, who plans to resume his broadsides against the Liberals when the House resumes on Tuesday.“Up until recently there was consistent rules and regulations and now it just appears that if you’ve got some … connections within the party and within the cabinet, those rules aren’t going to be applied, and that’s what we’re seeing with this.”The government issued an expression of interest, calling for proposals from Indigenous organizations in Quebec or one of the four Atlantic provinces, properly licensed and majority-owned by Canadians.Proposals representing multiple Indigenous communities would be given priority, the tender indicated.On Feb. 21, LeBlanc announced the deal had been awarded to Five Nations, describing the company as “comprised of First Nations from Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.”In fact, at the time, the company only had two Indigenous partners: the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick and the Nutashkuan Innu in Quebec.The Miawpukek Band in Newfoundland, which had submitted its own proposal, has launched a court challenge alleging LeBlanc breached his duty of fairness in awarding the licence to Five Nations.Court documents show LeBlanc not only knew Five Nations did not have confirmed partners in P.E.I., Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, but also indicate that even as he was approving their bid, he was urging the company to quickly rectify the problem.“Please take next steps with proponent #6 (Five Nations) and ensure that additional Indigenous communities are quickly confirmed,” LeBlanc wrote in a handwritten scrawl on the final approval document.In its proposal, Five Nations was forthright in admitting it did not yet have partners from the three other Atlantic provinces and was not yet incorporated. Indeed, the company was not officially registered in Nova Scotia until Dec. 13, 2017, records show — well past the Nov. 22 proposal deadline to submit proposals. The company was not registered in New Brunswick until Feb. 28 of this year.Five Nations is partnered with Premium Seafoods, a non-Indigenous Nova Scotia company whose president is Edgar Samson — the brother of Liberal MP Darrell Samson. A recently added Indigenous partner, NunatuKavut, is headed by former Liberal MP Todd Russell.Doherty has also drawn ties between the deal and LeBlanc himself: The Five Nations proposal said it would be headed up by Gilles Theriault, who is cousin to the minister’s wife.“We believe that there are some serious enough questions that Canadians on all sides of the country should be worried about this,” Doherty said.“I’m not saying which proposal was the strongest, but I don’t think Five Nations was the strongest by any stretch — and to be awarded this contract just from a stroke of a pen from just who you know and, perhaps, who you’re related to, is pretty shocking.”LeBlanc’s office would not make him available for an interview, but the minister has repeatedly defended the decision to award the licence to Five Nations as part of the government’s efforts to develop a renewed relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples.“The minister made his decision to allow for increased Indigenous participation in the fishery and we reject any insinuation to the contrary,” said LeBlanc spokesman Vincent Hughes.Big players in the fishing industry are also upset over the deal.The Fisheries Council of Canada, which represents 100 fishing companies across the country, accused the government of unilaterally taking 25 per cent of the Arctic clam quota away from Clearwater without consultation or due process.That decision has created a sense of instability in the fisheries sector, council president Paul Lansbergen told a news conference in Ottawa.“Taking away long-standing licences and quotas does not respect past investments and has eroded the sector’s confidence to invest and could undermine conservation efforts,” Lansbergen said.Clearwater, meanwhile, was doing all it could behind the scenes to hold on to its monopoly.Court documents show the company secretly offered to give up two of its four licences to an Indigenous group, but only if it could maintain control over the harvesting, processing and marketing of any seafood caught under those licences.“If the policy objective is to diversify ownership, we are committed to finding constructive solutions,” Clearwater said in a letter to LeBlanc in May 2017.“If it is to satisfy those who seek to grow their interests at our expense, then we have a problem.”— Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitterlast_img read more

Critics call for cancellation of debate featuring Steve Bannon

first_imgTORONTO – A debate that will see Steve Bannon, the controversial former strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, defend the issue of populism in Toronto this week is facing growing backlash, with critics calling for the event to be cancelled.Community groups and some federal and provincial politicians have raised concerns about the Friday event, at which Bannon will argue against conservative commentator David Frum about the role of populism in the future of politics.Several organizations banded together Tuesday to call for the event, part of the Munk Debates, to be called off in light of last weekend’s deadly attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.They said giving Bannon a platform to express extreme views contributes to a climate of hatred that can encourage violence against marginalized or racialized groups.“We’re at an important and terrifying moment as we watch right-wing governments come into power all over the world. The hate we are witnessing is serious — in fact, it is deadly,” said Rachel Epstein of the United Jewish People’s Order.“Opposing this kind of hate and violence and the violence it fosters is not up for debate. And that is why we are asking that Bannon’s talk be cancelled, and if it is not … there would be large numbers of people there, to let him know he is not welcome.”New Democrats at the federal and provincial level have also voiced concerns about Bannon’s planned appearance at the debate.NDP MP Nathan Cullen has said that efforts must be made to ensure people aren’t given platforms to spread hate.“I trust Canadians to be able to reject that but we’ve seen so tragically the effects of those in politics, in public discourse when they spread hate, that others pick up that language and turn it into actions,” he said.That sentiment was echoed by the leader of Ontario’s NDP.“We have enough divisiveness, we have enough hate being spewed everywhere unfortunately here in Ontario, across Canada, through the United States, the last thing we need is another platform for more hate to be spewed,” Andrea Horwath said Tuesday.Debate organizers defended the event, saying it would provide valuable analysis on a pressing issue.“We believe we are providing a public service by allowing their ideas to be vigorously contested and letting the public draw their own conclusions from the debate,” Munk Debates chair Rudyard Griffiths said in a statement.“In our increasingly polarized societies we often struggle to see across ideological and moral divides. Civil and substantive public debate of the big issues of our time helps all of us better understand the challenges we face as a society and what, if anything, can be done to resolve them.”Bannon, former executive chairman of right-wing Breitbart News, was chief strategist and senior counsellor to Trump until August 2017. He was recently dropped from the speakers list at the New Yorker Festival following intense backlash and threats of a boycott by other guests.Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, was a speechwriter for former president George W. Bush and is the author of the recent book “Trumpocracy.” He has previously said the planned debate would be an important discussion.“Liberal democracy is founded on the belief that free people can be inspired to make wiser choices by words and ideas,” he wrote in statement posted on Twitter when the debate was announced.“Mr. Bannon comes to the prestigious Munk platform because he believes his words can persuade people to follow him. I will face him there because I believe democratic ideas can defeat him.”last_img read more

Moroccan-Israeli Rabbi Launches Charity for 1 Million Moroccans Living in Poverty

Rabat- Avraham Joulani, a Moroccan rabbi living in Israel, has announced that he has a project to help fight poverty in the kingdom.  In an interview with American TV channel Al Hurra and on social media, Joulani said that his project aims at helping one million in poverty in Morocco.To do this, the Moroccan rabbi urged rich people to contribute with their Zakat (obligatory Muslim alms) to an account he created in Morocco for that purpose. He would then donate this money to poor families in the form of monthly vouchers. “As any Moroccan I fellow the news of my country and I watch dozens of daily videos that showcase poverty in Morocco,” the rabbi told Al Hurra’s website, explaining how he got the idea for the project.“I took part many times in charity initiatives in Israel for which millions of dollars were allocated and which were given as alms and assistance to the poor. So I told myself, why don’t we launch the same initiative in Morocco.”The Moroccan rabbi explained that he left Morocco almost two decades ago for family reasons but that he remained attached to his country of origin.When he came back to Morocco for a visit, he was struck by the increase of poverty levels in the kingdom, not only in rural areas but also in big cities such as Casablanca.To come in aid of those families in poverty, Avraham suggest giving them vouchers of MAD 500 each month to help them buy their needs.Rabbi Avraham, who likes to communicate with his fellow Moroccans on social media in Darija, classical Arabic and French, called on people to join his project and “take the matter with great seriousness and stop slumbering in self-love and start thinking about others.”“Media contributed a lot to get my humanitarian message through. I am very grateful for them,” he said in a Facebook post.“Now it is your turn as a public opinion to complete this message and work together to make this project come to life.” read more

In India’s election, voters feed on false information

New Delhi shop owner Ram Shankar Rai spends at least two hours a day going through political news and videos shared with him on social media.Rai looked intently at a flurry of videos and photos on WhatsApp about an Indian airstrike in Pakistan, including pictures labeled as militants’ corpses.There was just one problem: The photos were not of militants but of casualties of a 2005 Himalayan earthquake that killed thousands of people in Pakistan.Tackling misinformation has become one of the biggest challenges for India’s Election Commission and social media giants as the world’s largest democracy begins going to the polls this week.The Associated Press read more

Closing Bell TSX little changed durable goods data raises questions about Fed

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed little changed Monday as gold stocks continued to come back from oversold levels while strong Chinese manufacturing data that came out last week lifted base metal miners.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,760.30 -2.00 -0.02%S&P 500 — 1,656.78 -6.72 -0.40%Dow — 14,946.46 -64.05 -0.43%Nasdaq — 3,657.57 -0.22 -0.01%But the market was also pressured by declines in industrials and interest-sensitive stocks such as utilities and telecoms and closed two points lower to 12,760.3.Traders also looked to another piece of economic data that kept speculation going over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve thinks the economy is strong enough to start backing off on some of its economic stimulus.The U.S. Commerce Department reported that durable goods orders fell by a much greater than expected 7.3% in July. Economists had expected a drop of almost 4%. The showing followed a 3.9% rise in June, thanks in part to strong airplane orders.Data released Friday showed a drop in new home sales, raising questions about the strength of the recovery in the U.S. housing market. That led to speculation that the Fed might stick with its current monetary stimulus or only reduce it very gradually.The Canadian dollar closed down 0.02 of a cent to 95.21 cents US, well off early lows as the greenback weakened somewhat after the durable goods data.The U.S. dollar has advanced amid growing conviction that the Federal Reserve will start cutting back on its US$85 billion of monthly bond purchases, a move that has kept long-term rates low and supported a strong rally on many stock markets this year.U.S. indexes were negative with the Dow Jones industrials down 64.05 points to 14,946.46, the Nasdaq off 0.22 of a point to 3,657.57 and the S&P 500 index declined 6.72 points to 1,656.78.The base metals sector advanced 1% while September copper shed early advances to fall three cents to $3.32 a pound. Prices found support last week after HSBC’s purchasing managers index showed Chinese manufacturing moving back into expansion territory.“I think the turn we have seen most recently in the TSX has benefited from (the fact that) we’re starting to see very credible signs of stabilization in Europe, signs the Chinese economy may be bottoming out (and) that speaks well to commodity demand,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.“This has really put some enthusiasm and some confidence back into the global investment story that is going to continue to benefit the TSX.”Thompson Creek Metals Co. (TSX:TCM) gained 19 cents to C$4.15 while First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) was up 48 cents at $18.83.The gold sector was also ahead about 1% as December gold also erased early minor gains to fall $2.70 to US$1,393.10 an ounce. Iamgold (TSX:IMG) gained 11 cents to C$7.17 and Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) improved by 25 cents to $21.52.Utilities led decliners. That component and other interest sensitive components such as telecoms have been under selling pressure while bond yields have risen since May when Fed chairman Ben Bernanke first mentioned that the central bank could start to taper its asset purchases.“As we look at utilities and telecoms, the pressure there is really a reflection of the equity markets taking cues from the bond markets, and the fact that a shift in monetary policy is really starting to be priced into the market,” Fehr said.The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury has surged about 120 basis points since May to as high as 2.94% last week, although yields have retraced some of that run-up. On Monday, the yield for the 10-year Treasury stood at 2.79%.Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) declined 31 cents to $30.16 and Canadian Utilities (TSX:CU) gave back 71 cents to $33.75.The energy sector was off 0.2% as the October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 50 cents to US$105.92. Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) dipped 25 cents to $35.81.Financials weakened during the afternoon as traders look to the release of earnings this week from Canada’s biggest banks. Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) and Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) post results Tuesday.On Monday, TD Bank Group (TSX:TD) said it is continuing talks with Aimia Inc. (TSX:AIM) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM) in connection with a possible acquisition of part of the existing CIBC Aeroplan credit card portfolio. CIBC shares rose 81 cents to $80.69 and TD gained 15 cents to $88.96.In other corporate news, Onex Corp. (TSX:OCX) and a private equity affiliate are selling their combined 60% stake in TMS International Corp. (NYSE:TMS) for US$410 million. TMS International Corp., through its subsidiaries including Tube City IMS, is the largest provider of outsourced industrial services to steel mills in North America as well as having a substantial international presence. Onex shares slipped 75 cents to C$51. TOP STORIES Just the threat of Verizon coming to Canada is already benefiting telecom consumersFacebook’s market value tops US$100B as mobile ad business fuels stock turnaboutCanadian banks are a bargain — but it won’t lastUralkali CEO arrested in Belarus as potash spat turns uglyWHAT’S ON DECK TUESDAY ECONOMIC NEWSUNITED STATES9 a.m.S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (June): Economists expect 1% rise from the month before, 12.1% year over year 10 p.m.Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index (August): Economists expect a reading of 79, slightly lower than last month  CORPORATE NEWSCANADABank Of Montreal Q3 earnings: Analysts expect $1.52 a share Bank Of Nova Scotia Q3 earnings: Analysts expect $1.30 a share UNITED STATESTiffany & Co. Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 74¢ a share read more

Haiti UN special adviser calls for robust hurricane response to tackle extremely

Yet, even with so many people lacking food, water and healthcare in the south-western part of the tiny island nation where the Category 4 storm made landfall on 4 October, Dr. Nabarro told UN Radio today from Port-au-Prince that “so many excellent things are already happening […] as the people themselves are hard at work, readjusting their lives so they are protected from the elements.”They are also gathering as much food as they can and “doing everything they can to be careful with the water they drink because they know that the water from the rivers and the brooks can give rise to cholera,” said Dr. Nabarro, who for the past two months has been helping design the UN system’s new approach to cholera in Haiti.Another “positive” is the work being done by Haitian authorities, the Mayors, the officials in charge of different Departments, as well as the Civil Protection Department in Port-au-Prince. “But I have to say, this a really big challenge – a logistical challenge to get things to where they are needed because the roads are so heavily damaged and there’s a limit to what you can do with helicopters.” Dr. Nabarro went on to say that over the past four days he had seen that travelling in the interior of the country is still very difficult, and another key challenge is that there are people that are very frustrated in some areas.“Anyone who’s been affected by this kind of mass tragedy is frustrated. They are also, in some cases, scared because of disease and hunger. So yes, there is a combination of frustration and fear,” he said, adding that at the same time, getting relief to such a large number of people in such challenging circumstances is “just very difficult.” So, while there is a real willingness on the part of so many [relief workers] to help, “we have at the same time frustration on the part of ordinary people because they are not getting what they need.” Having been in Les Cayes and Jérémie, two of the hardest hit areas, Dr. Nabarro said he has talked to health workers, people in shelters, people trying to get food and other assistance, “and the basic message is: ‘Please help us. We need food and we need help […] in a more timely way.’” Some of those he met “are, in a way, quite desperate for help, and so the job for everybody here, particularly now, is to spare no effort to get the best coordination on getting the basics that people need to where they are […] in an absolutely robust way.”Dr. Nabarro said that the response must be carried out amid adequate security and communication with the public to reduce the threat of looting, which is making distribution “very difficult.”As for the cholera situation in Haiti, he said: “Cholera is here. It stalks everybody.” Yet, the disease is treatable with solid recovery rates, provided people get to treatment centres. “We are seeing cholera cases everywhere we go. What we don’t know is how many cases there are that don’t get to the centres. This is why a more detailed study [of the situation in the] interior [of the country] is so important.” He said that he believed cholera and malnutrition are the “big risks” for the people of Hait “and we recognize that in everything we do.” read more

Mens tennis No 1 Ohio State sweeps the No 4 Sooners

Ohio State junior Hugo Di Feo returns a volley during a match against Oklahoma on March 6. Credit: Courtesy of Anne HohlerThe No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team shut out the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners 4-0 on Sunday at the Varsity Tennis Center, thanks to the doubles point and single points from junior Mikael Torpegaard, sophomore Martin Joyce and sophomore Kyle Seelig.In its fifth matchup with a top-5 opponent this season, OSU improved to 16-1 overall. After falling to the Buckeyes, the Sooners dropped to 10-3 overall.In the doubles matches, Torpegaard and senior Herkko Pollanen were upset by Florin Bragusi and Spencer Papa of the Sooners to start things off. Next, OSU junior Matt Mendez and sophomore Hunter Tubert defeated Jochen Bertsch and Mason Bridegan.In the final doubles match, OSU junior Hugo Di Feo and Joyce went to a tiebreaking set against Oklahoma’s Adrian Oetzbach and Alex Ghilea, in which the Buckeyes prevailed 7-3.With Di Feo and Joyce’s win, the home team got the doubles point and went up 1-0. This marked the first doubles point for the Buckeyes in their last four matches.“We wanted the doubles point” Di Feo said. “In college tennis, the double point is huge and once we got that the guys focused and knew we had to come out strong in the singles.”OSU dominated in singles play, winning the first set on every court except for Court Two, which was lost in a tiebreaker. Torpegaard, Di Feo, Pollanen, Joyce and Seelig each went into their second set up one.Joyce won his second set 6-2 and Seelig won his 6-4 to shut out their opponents and put OSU up 3-0.The No. 1 singles player in the country, Torpegaard, was pushed to a first-set tiebreaker, which he won 8-6. Torpegaard quickly went up 4-0 in the second set and won 6-1 to get the fourth point and secure the Buckeye victory.“It’s all the same pressure,” OSU coach Ty Tucker said. “You want to get the four before the other team gets the four and that’s the way it goes.”This is the second victory over Oklahoma for top-ranked OSU this season, as they already defeated the Sooners in a sweep once this season in the round of 16 at the ITA National Indoor Championships.Two years ago, the Sooners broke OSU’s 202 home-match winning streak, making them the only team to beat the Buckeyes on home turf in 14 years.“I think it’s a little special with that, being able to get the win against Oklahoma today due to the fact that they’re the team that broke our streak,” Tucker said. “Other than that, every win is a good win and we try to play as tough a schedule as we can play.”Next upOSU will travel to Austin, Texas, for another top-10 battle with the No. 8 Longhorns on Wednesday. read more

Britons could learn from vibrant faith of Muslim migrants Cardinal

first_imgHe also accused politicians of “trading in fear”Credit:AFP/Getty Images We have to learn too is from the vibrancy of the Muslim faith that comes hereCardinal Vincent Nichols He accused politicians of “trading in fear” and said media stories constantly portraying immigration in a negative light were proving “corrosive of our best nature”.In an interview with the BBC, he insisted that increasingly secular British society could learn much from the faith of new arrivals whether Christians, Muslims or followers of other religions.“I think this country will benefit actually from the vibrancy of the Christian faith that many people bring here,” he said.“Of course what we have to learn too is from the vibrancy of the Muslim faith that comes here.” He added:  “I think the immigration crisis is real and it needs concerted effort to address it,” he said.“It needs to be addressed realistically with resources and proper legislation, but it’s almost impossible to do that in an atmosphere in which fear and hatred are the dominant features.“It does nobody any good, this somewhat self-indulgent way in which people have begun to express themselves and their distaste and their hatred of people who they see as different.“And that is creating a culture of fear among people who have been welcomed here.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He also accused politicians of “trading in fear" British people have much to learn from the “vibrancy of the Muslim faith” of new immigrants including refugees, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has said.Cardinal Vincent Nichols said immigrants had been enduring a worsening “atmosphere of fear” in the months since the EU referendum with the members of the public casually voicing hatred in a “self-indulgent” way.last_img read more

Man who confessed to killing brother gets 15 years

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSentencing deferred for man who confessed to killing siblingJanuary 17, 2018In “Court”Child rapist/murderer gets 23 years on lesser count of manslaughterJuly 3, 2018In “Court”18-y-o gets 10 years for killing vendor, 21,August 27, 2018In “Court” After pleading guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter, Neville France was on Monday morning sentenced to 15 years in prison by High Court Judge, James B. Drakes for his brother’s December 2013 killing.This sentence comes four years after the brother of the accused, Richard France, died from a stab wound.Neville France confessed to killing his brotherNeville France subsequently admitted that he was the one responsible for the man’s death which occurred on December 12, 2013, at Falls Top, North West District, Essequibo.On January 15, 2018, the 42-year-old accused pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter when he was arraigned before High Court Judge, Justice Navindra Singh.His sentencing was, however, deferred after his lawyer, Siand Dhurjon applied for a probation report to be presented to the court.According to evidence that was provided by police, the self-confessed killer and his brother resided in the same house with their father. On the day in question, the brothers were imbibing at a neighbour, when an argument ensued.Later the day, it was reported that Richard France returned home and was sitting on a bench outside when he was confronted by his brother and another argument erupted.Further evidence provided by police stated that when Richard France attempted to walk away, his brother stabbed him to the left side of his upper back. He then collapsed and died. read more

Boskalis invests in a new environmentally friendly high flow pump unit

first_imgBoskalis Nederland is a part of Royal Boskalis Westminster NV. Boskalis was established in 1910 and has expanded from a local dredging contractor to a leading global maritime services company with over 11.000 employees. Originally, dredging and earthmoving were the core activities of the company. They are now additionally active in the dredging and inland infra, and offshore energy sectors. Boskalis Technical Service Nederland in Capelle aan den IJssel manages several mobile pump units with high and ultra high flows and prefers environmentally friendly equipment as well as having very specific requirements from their pumps.These include that the pump must have a minimum capacity of 5,000 m3/hr and a pressure in excess of 3 bar; it needs to have competitive excellent suction capacity capabilities (NPSHr) and suitable for use as a dewatering pump; a high fuel efficiency combined with the lowest exhaust emissions; the pump unit should fit into a 20 ft container for easy transport; and the maximum weight should be no more than 12,000 kg. Boskalis has a number of very varied projects around the globe. “This makes multi-functionality and ease of logistic handling important factors in the purchase of new equipment. In addition, durability and corporate social responsibility are central to the company’s values.” As an example Bas van den Brand, a Technical Inspector with Boskalis Nederland, mentions the topic of weight: “For a pump system of this size, 11 to 12 t is usually the maximum permissible due to limitations in handling on site. Also, the soil layers can be substantially compacted and cannot always carry the weight.”Early in October 2014, Boskalis Nederland officially commissioned the delivery of a BBA high flow pump unit of the type BA-C500S11 D711 with a very attractive efficiency of 86%. The auto prime pump provides a capacity of 5,500 m3/hr (maximum suction head 37 mwk) and is driven by a modern Stage IV Volvo Penta diesel engine; the TAD1374VE. This provides a power of 375 kW and delivers the lowest specific fuel consumption in its class (207 g/kWh). Exhaust gas is treated using AdBlue®. It is fully equipped with the newly developed, extremely silent and light weight canopy and its dimensions ensure that it fits into a 20 ft container without any problems. The total weight of the pump unit is just 10,800 kg. The new BA-C500S11 has now been deployed in a first project in Muiden where the Boskalis Nederland employees on location “are very impressed with the pumping performance, especially with regards to the low noise emissions.”Upon commissioning positive feedback included comments that the new pump unit only has to work half throttle to do the job – at 1,250 rpm it provides as much capacity as the old one at 2,000 rpm. The lack of smoke from the exhaust at start-up and its quietness were also mentioned. “The former pump unit regularly clogged up due to solid materials as a result of the vertical drainage hose we use here – fortunately the BA-C500S11 can just pump it.” Henno Schothorst, BBA Pumps’ Product Manager has decided to include this pump unit in its standard product range: “We can’t ignore this any longer; this is a pump system for the future.”last_img read more

Sony is working on a 5inch 1080P Xperia

first_imgWatch out Samsung, LG and HTC: Sony is reportedly working on its very own 5-inch 1080P phablet. Codenamed Yuga, the gargantuan Sony sports the model number C6603 and a spec sheet that should put it in a dead heat with devices like the Galaxy Note 2 and Droid DNA.What would a phone this large (or a tablet this small?) be without a muscular processor under the hood? A disappointment, Sony clearly thinks, and that’s why the company has gone with a quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. It’s paired with 2GB of RAM, which should combine to yield Nexus 4-esque performance.Unsurprisingly, you’ll find Sony’s capable Exmor sensor handling rear-facing camera duties. Its 12MP resolution comes as a bit of a surprise, what with the Xperia T making its debut several months ago with a 13MP shooter. The Yuga hasn’t be officially announced by Sony, though, so it’s possible that the company would pop in its new 13MP Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor before mass production starts.Sony’s opted for a unibody design with a glass back like the iPhone 4 and 4S — which looks great, but probably also means you can forget about a user-replaceable battery. On the sides of the Yuga, you’ll find the requisite volume rocker, a dedicated camera button, and a sharply-contrasting chromed power button. One other interesting design note is that Sony decided to stick with capacitive buttons below the display rather that giving up valuable pixels for Android’s on-screen controls.Just a few years ago, people laughed at 5-inch phones like the Dell Streak. They looked like props from a Carrot Top routine, suitable only for the massive hands of NBA players. Times have certainly changed, and you can bet that Sony won’t be the last company to pump out a handset this size.More at Android Schweiz, via Xperia Bloglast_img read more

The banks are dictating what happens TDs say government relying on constitution

first_img‘The banks are dictating what happens’: TDs say government relying on ‘constitution’ card to block vulture funds Bill Officials were quizzed about their assertions the Bill is unconstitutional and would result in higher mortgage interest rates. 02.04.19 Central Bank to scrap code of conduct for banks on the transfer of mortgages as it’s ‘not relevant’ Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Apr 3rd 2019, 6:16 AM Targets for banks The Fianna Fáil TD said the issue of banks having to hit certain targets in reducing their non-performing loans “keeps reappearing”. He asked if Europe has set a target for Irish banks to meet. Sibley admitted that there is in fact “no formal target”. “There are no hard targets,” added the deputy governor, who added that the Central Bank has asked the banks to set out clear strategies to bring down NPLs. “There is no requirements to hit an EU average by the end of 2019,” he told the committee. Sibley added that the Central Bank expects banks to use the “full toolkit” of options when dealing with its customers, such as mortgage debt write down, mortgage-to-rent and the personal insolvency service.   Endless legislation proposals Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness hit out at the against the department and the Central Bank officials, stating that it is the politicians that have to “hear the stress” and witness children crying with their parents in court.  He added that if all the same protections applied to those that found themselves sold to a vulture fund, then politicians would not be bringing forward endless proposed legislation on the issue.McGuinness said the public come to TDs to tell their story about how there is no one point of contact with these funds. People are telling their story to one person, and have to tell it to someone else tomorrow.“They have to repeat the same story over and over again,” he said, adding:“What infuriates me is you give your side of the story without acknowledging there is a real problem here. You cannot paper over it anymore.”He said the Central Bank states that “the whole world will cave in if we upset the banks”. “When all fruit fails, bring in the constitution. That is what is going on here,” he said. Referring to Tobin’s earlier comments about speaking truth to power, McGuinness stated: “I think I am speaking truth to power on behalf of constituents… The banks have all the cards and they are dictating what happens… I don’t think the world is going to fall in if a version of this were to pass in this House.” By Christina Finn Wednesday 3 Apr 2019, 6:15 AM 27.03.19 UN says Ireland applies ‘preferential tax laws’ to vultures funds and it ‘cannot continue’ Share130 Tweet Email OFFICIALS FROM THE Department of Finance were pressed yesterday about their assertions that Sinn Féin’s No Consent No Sale Bill will push up mortgage interest rates if passed into law. Assistant Secretary for the Department of Finance Gary Tobin said in his opening statement to the Oireachtas Finance Committee that it is the department’s view that the Bill “will lead” to “higher mortgage interest rates for consumers”.Department officials were also pushed to clarify their statements that the Bill is “unconstitutional”. Donegal TD Pearse Doherty’s Bill aims to give mortgage holders the power to block the sale of their mortgage bank loans to vulture funds.The Dáil voted by 80 votes to 45 to pass the Bill – the government opposed the proposed legislation.Higher mortgage rates?In an exchange between Doherty and Tobin, the assistant secretary told committee members that the Bill “is likely” to result in higher rates. Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath told Tobin his predictions about what would happen to the Irish banking system if the Bill passes were “quite definitive”.Tobin previously said it would result in higher interest rates and restrict the banks’ liquidity. However, Doherty pointed out to the assistant secretary that his department made  similar predictions about McGrath’s Bill – which sought to regulate vulture funds – and these predictions have not become a reality. At first, the government was opposed to the Fianna Fáil Bill, but it later backed it and the Bill became law last year. The same observations didn’t materialise in that case, said Doherty. The assistant secretary maintained the regulation of vulture funds Bill by Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin’s Bill on mortgage-holders giving consent for their loans to be sold on are not comparable.He stated the No Consent No Sale Bill is “considerably more radical” as it aims to “prohibit banks from selling mortgages”. Doherty said six months after the enactment of the McGrath Bill, none of the department’s warnings about higher interest rates have come to pass – if anything, the opposite has happened, he said. The department has stated that mortgage interest rates “may or may not” rise, said Doherty, “so which one is it?” he asked. The Donegal deputy then accused the department of making such statements “on the back of what bankers tell you”. He questioned whether the department had carried out an independent assessment in relation to whether mortgage interest rates would rise. The department has not, said Tobin. Ruffling bankers’ feathersThe Sinn Féin fiance spokesperson said there is no doubt he had “ruffled a couple of feathers” with the bankers with his Bill. Tobin told the committee that interest rates “will likely” increase, but added that “all we can do is give our advice… all we can say is what is likely to happen… we are here to tell truth to power… to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.”“All we can do is tell you what we think might happen,” he added. There were also back and forth between members and officials over a clarification on the Attorney General’s advice on the Bill.In his opening statement, the assistant secretary stated that after “consulting with the AG, the Department of Finance is of the view that the interference proposed by this Bill is disproportionate, and therefore unconstitutional”.Attorney GeneralMcGrath asked if the department it had a written submission from the AG to that effect. Tobin said there had been “written correspondence” between the department and the AG about the Bill which finds that “there is a serious risk that it could be unconstitutional”. “I think that is different as saying that it is unconstitutional,” said Doherty. “We have written correspondence you are conveying that it is likely to be unconstitutional,” added Tobin.Tobin also said the Bill could result in more repossessions.“Certainly we are not convinced that for the current mortgage holder this Bill would necessarily do a lot for them,” he told the committee.“I think the reality is that if the institutions can’t sell their non-performing loans, then the Central Bank and the regulator are still going to insist that they address them. And one of the ways they could address them is by repossession.“I don’t have a crystal ball, I am just trying to give an honest opinion about what might happen,” he said.  Source: Shutterstock/Derick HudsonLoans sold to vulture fundsThroughout the committee hearing, the deputy governor of the Central Bank Ed Sibley maintained that protections are the same for mortgage holders whether their loan is owned by a bank or a non-bank. He said existing arrangements remain honoured when bank sells to non-banks, however, TDs such as Fine Gael’s Kieran O’Donnell questioned such a statement, adding that vulture funds are in the loan business short-term, while established banks lend for life-time mortgages spanning 35 years. McGrath pointed out the mainstream banks have reduced their non-performing loan (NPLs) books significantly in recent years due to these large-scale sell offs to vulture funds. Sibley told the committee that in the last five years, the percentage of non-performing loans on the books is around 10%, down from 32% at peak. He said there is still a strong push from the Single Supervisory Mechanism for Irish banks to reduce NPLs in a “sustainable way”. Related Reads Image: Shutterstock/shutterupeire Image: Shutterstock/shutterupeire 14,754 Views https://jrnl.ie/4573197 35 Comments 31.01.19 Bill which aims to force banks to ask for permission before selling mortgages to vulture funds passes in the Dáillast_img read more

Les Marines US font de plus en plus appel aux énergies renouvelables

first_imgLes Marines US font de plus en plus appel aux énergies renouvelablesDepuis plusieurs mois, le Département de la Défense des Etats-Unis se tourne vers les énergies renouvelables et a décidé d’utiliser des panneaux solaires pour les besoins en énergie de certaines de leurs bases militaires en Afghanistan. Un rapport récemment publié a mis en avant une baisse importante de la consommation en diesel d’un des bataillons de l’armée américaine dans ce pays, qui a fait le choix des panneaux solaires. Grâce aux nouvelles installations, les militaires ont réduit d’environ 90% leur consommation d’énergie pour l’alimentation de leurs générateurs. Par ailleurs, ces panneaux solaires sont facilement modulables. Pliables et légers, ils prennent peu de place et permettent ainsi aux soldats d’emporter plus de fournitures sur le terrain. Les convois sont donc plus petits et les déplacements plus discrets, ce qui réduit les risques d’être repérés et attaqués par les troupes ennemies. Cela dit, ce système basé sur l’énergie solaire connaît encore quelques failles. Dans un nouveau rapport, le Sgt. Taylor Clark, un instructeur en lien avec l’école militaire de Quantico, a expliqué que le temps de charge d’une batterie à l’énergie solaire est très long et que sa durée d’autonomie reste relativement courte, rapporte Inhabitat.com. En effet, pour qu’une radio ait une autonomie d’environ une heure, il faut compter entre trois et quatre heures de chargement. Une réalité qui n’est pas négligeable pour les soldats, sachant que pour maintenir une charge optimale par les panneaux solaires, ils faut que ces derniers soient continuellement en rotation et protégés du sable. Deux impératifs difficiles à respecter dans le désert.Pour autant, le système est apprécié par de nombreux soldats américains qui en font l’éloge. En plus d’être légers et simples à utiliser, les panneaux solaires permettent à l’armée américaine de prouver son engagement et ses préoccupations en matière de développement durable.Découvrez ces installations en images sur Maxisciences. Le 21 janvier 2011 à 15:25 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Hasbro Unveils the First SelectFire Nerf Gun the Nerf Regulator

first_img Nerf has become more and more hilariously realistic with its blasters over the years. You won’t mistake any brightly colored Nerf weapon for a real gun, but mechanically they’re cousins at this point. We’ve seen magazine, drum, and belt-fed machine guns, bolt actions, bipods, tripods, and a variety of grips and stocks for Nerf guns, evoking countless pistols, submachine guns, and rifles. The Nerf N-Strike Elite and Modulus lines have done the bulk of this work, with the N-Strike rail system giving way to dozens of accessories and configurations for Modulus blasters. Now Nerf is going a step further, with its first selective fire blaster.The Nerf Regulator is a carbine-style blaster that uses four C batteries to blast darts from its standard N-Strike magazine. We’ve seen plenty of those before, like the Nerf Hyperfire, Rapidstrike, and Stampede. The Regulator makes its own unique mark with a three-way selector switch in front of the trigger guard. It can fire full-auto (hold the trigger down and darts keep shooting out), semi-automatic (pull the trigger once to fire a dart), and burst-fire (pull the trigger once to fire three darts rapidly).This is called selective fire, and it’s both a first for Nerf guns and a common feature on military rifles. The US military’s primary infantry weapon, the M16A4, is a selective fire rifle with semi-automatic and burst modes. Its replacement, the M4 (currently being phased in), is a selective fire rifle with semi-automatic and burst modes. They aren’t fully automatic, but full-auto actually isn’t that useful outside of suppressing an opposing force; tactically, short bursts are vastly preferred when you want to hit specific targets and not just keep a bunch of peoples’ heads down. Of course, firing Nerf guns fully automatic is just fun (so is firing regular guns full-auto, but a machine gun rental that lasts 10 seconds at most costs as much as outright buying a Nerf gun). Because they’re foam darts, and you don’t depend on them to keep you alive (and they aren’t nearly as accurate as any real firearm in the first place, regardless of the firing mode). That and the Regulator will retail for $59.99, while any automatic firearm will cost you several thousands of dollars, and a few hundred dollars past that for all of the necessary paperwork.Hasbro isn’t stopping at selective fire with amusingly realistic Nerf gun characteristics. Besides the Nerf Modulus Regulator, Hasbro will be releasing the Nerf Modulus Day/Night Zoom Scope. This is another first for Nerf. While there have been plenty of scopes to put on your Nerf gun in the past, they’ve almost all been completely useless plastic tubes with flat plastic lenses that don’t help you aim better. The Day/Night Zoom Scope uses a digital zoom to let you see your target five times closer than you would otherwise be able to. It still isn’t an optical zoom, but it’s still a big plus.An even bigger plus is its night vision. Yes, this is a night vision scope for your Nerf gun. Toy night vision scopes are nothing new, and they’re both surprisingly effective and really fun (when they use a digital camera and infrared LEDs and aren’t just lenses tinted green with lights strapped to their sides). This is the first we’ve seen that you can just slide onto an N-Strike accessory rail, though. It’s pricey technology, though; at $49.99, it’s one of the most expensive Modulus accessories you can buy.Both of these advances in foam military technology will hit the consumer market this Fall. That’s the same time The Judge comes out, so it’ll be a banner season for absurd Nerf guns. Stay on target Exclusive: Nerf Ups Its Game With New Kid-Friendly ‘Fortnite’…Geek Pick: Nerf Rival Phantom Corps Kronos XVIII-500 last_img read more

Update on Senate Consideration of Water Resources Development Act

first_imgCurrently, the Senate continues its consideration of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and work through amendments being offered. It is expected to be on the Senate floor into next week.The underlying bill, as reported out of committee, included provisions to wall off the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), thus providing significant additional funding for port and harbor maintenance and dredging. The bill also included reforms intended to streamline the process for Corps of Engineers projects and reduce project completion times. These are provisions that ASA strongly supports.The manager’s amendment offered by the bill sponsors and adopted by the Senate, includes provisions to free up money and increase the capacity of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) by taking the Olmsted Lock and Dam project out of the trust fund account. This action would enable funding to go to other waterways infrastructure, including locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River.Additionally, the adopted amendment includes compromise language on the streamlined process for Corps projects, as well as a compromise on the HMTF that would provide, under certain circumstances, increased funding annually for port maintenance and dredging, but not wall-off the trust fund entirely.Unfortunately, neither the underlying bill nor the manager’s amendment included provisions to increase IWTF revenues. ASA supports increased funding and/or alternative financing mechanisms to provide more money to address inland waterways infrastructure projects.Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is planning to offer an amendment to add provisions of his Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act (S. 565) to WRDA. Much of S. 565 has been incorporated into the WRDA, but Senator Durbin’s amendment will add a study of the Mississippi River Basin to the bill. It is intended to help better understand how the Basin functions and how it can be managed to maintain safe and reliable navigation and protect lives and property, especially during times of extreme flooding and drought.ASA encourages all members to visit the Soy Action Center and urge their Senators to oppose any efforts to roll back the provisions in S. 601 to streamline the review process for Corps of Engineers projects; and to support amendments that may be offered to increase funding for IWTF.last_img read more

How can benefits help to create an inclusive workplace culture

first_imgIn May 2016, it was reported that Lloyds Banking Group would provide employees with access to private gender reassignment surgery through its healthcare scheme, driving support for transgender staff through its employee benefits offering and demonstrating its commitment to being an inclusive employer.Yet, according to the Employee Benefits/Xerox HR Services Benefits research 2016, published in June 2016, just 24% of respondents view increasing inclusion and diversity as a key issue shaping their benefits strategy this year, falling far behind the desire to improve employee engagement (67%) and to be seen as an employer of choice (61%). It is not a stretch, however, to note that the three are interlinked, and to recognise the positive impact that fostering an inclusive workplace culture can have on engaging and retaining current employees, as well as attracting new talent.So how can organisations use benefits to enhance inclusivity and diversity? And what other factors should be considered in order to make their use as effective as possible?Rely on information rather than assumptionsWhether it is identifying hotspots within an organisation where a lack of awareness or support may be serving as a sticking point for inclusivity, such as the retention of female staff following maternity leave, or whether it is building a benefits proposition that supports employees’ diverse requirements, it is important that strategies are based on information rather than assumptions. Rachael Saunders, age at work director at Business in the Community (BITC), says: “[Employers should] make sure that [they] know [their] own data because we all have our own unconscious biases and preconceptions about what the issues might be, so actually asking people and looking at the data [they] hold is the best place to start.”This includes, of course, listening to employee feedback. Jon Blackburn, clinical and rehabilitation services manager at Aviva, says: “The key is then translating [employee feedback] into a broad spectrum of benefits that meet the requirements of all employees and are not exclusive in any way. Flexible benefits are a great option in that the employee can then select from a broad spectrum of products what suits them most.”Employers are increasingly recognising the diverse lifestyles, different life stages and priorities among their workforce, and reflecting this in the choice and flexibility built into their benefits programmes. Where possible, going above and beyond minimum requirements can also help organisations to retain talent and ensure that staff are empowered to perform at their best at work. This might include offerings such as enhanced parental leave, emergency eldercare services and resources, or truly flexible ways of working that support major life changes or that enable a new approach to helping older workers transition into retirement.Organisations can also re-examine their existing benefits to make sure that they are not exclusive in any way. For example, this could include ensuring that the cost structure of certain benefits do not assume a traditional family set-up by offering family rates that cannot be enjoyed by single-parent families and non-traditional family structures, says Siobhan Martin, UK HR director at Mercer. “[Organisations] probably don’t realise that this is an issue until it is looked at from a different lens,” she adds.Let staff know that support is availableWhen communicating benefits, being explicit about how they can support all employees can assist in easing any potential concerns that staff may have around take-up. “Inclusive language is really important; [employers shouldn’t] just assume that by the absence of saying something [they’ve] been inclusive,” explains Martin.This might involve mentioning how healthcare schemes can support transgender staff in relevant pages on the organisation’s intranet or benefits portal, or listing the variety of issues that can be discussed through employee assistance programmes (EAPs) on workplace posters. Employers can also use occasions such as benefits election windows, the launch of new schemes, or relevant awareness and education events to communicate the support that benefits can offer.EAPs, as well as a number of value-added services offered through healthcare and group risk benefits can help to provide emotional, physical and financial support to staff, but employees must first be aware that such support channels are available and for many that requires signposting from their first port of call: their line manager. Aviva’s Blackburn says: “HR teams are working very hard on producing a broad spectrum of benefits and wellbeing products, but the key may be how a line manager facilitates or delivers those and creates that [inclusive] culture within the organisation.”Inclusivity and diversity training can help line managers to feel comfortable and confident in supporting their team. Specific training around issues such as workplace stress and mental health can enable managers to spot warning signs and signpost employees to help; although it is worth noting that managers also need support and may benefit from training on how to manage their own mental wellbeing.The type of training support available to managers may need to evolve to facilitate inclusivity for tomorrow’s workforce. As we live and work for longer, conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia may become more prevalent in the workplace. “How many line managers would know what to do if someone came to them following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis?” asks Saunders. “As our demographics change, the types of conversations [managers] need to be taught how to have are changing as well.”Removing barriersHowever, a forward-thinking approach could help affected staff to remain a valued part of the workforce. Claire Williams, director of inclusion and diversity at Inclusive Employers, says: “There are likely to be increasing numbers of people in the workplace who have dementia and employers need to be able to respond to that appropriately. Truly inclusive employers could look at adjustments such as hours of work, or role; it comes back to having that level of flexibility.”Reasonable adjustments can play a vital role in removing barriers for staff with both visible and non-visible disabilities, as well as for supporting neurodiversity in the workplace. For example, Business Disability Forum’s Square holes for square pegs report, published in March 2016, identifies the working environment, workplace structures and communication as three key areas for consideration in supporting employees with autism. Daniel Wiles, disability consultant at Business Disability Forum, says: “The really important thing that employers and managers can do is make adjustments for people with autism; it’s important to have a process and a policy and also to ensure that line managers have the confidence to do that.”These adjustments will differ depending on the individual and the barriers they face. For example, this could include adjustments to the physical working environment where the individual is under- or over-sensitive to different sensory stimuli, such as light or noise.Driving cultural change Traditionally, organisations have progressed along a path from equality, in terms of compliance with the Equality Act 2010, to diversity, and then towards inclusion, says Becky Brooks, member engagement manager at Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI). “[It] can be a diverse organisation but there is no point in having diversity in [the] organisation if it is not inclusive [of that diversity],” she explains.To create a progressive and inclusive workplace, benefits, processes and support structures must be accompanied by cultural change. Awareness raising and education initiatives can contribute to this, as well as opportunities for staff to help drive the agenda through employee networks or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) ally initiatives, for example. Calendar events, such as International Day for Persons with Disabilities or religious celebrations, can also be used to shine a spotlight on particular aspects of inclusivity.However, the importance of visible leadership cannot be underestimated. Yves Duhaldeborde, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson, says: “Senior leaders should articulate what greater inclusiveness will do for the business. To sound authentic to employees and managers, [leaders] need to have really built that business case.”Demonstrations of inclusive behaviours and role modelling among leaders can help staff to see that inclusivity is more than just a hollow tag-line. Although Williams says: “Role modelling is also something that can go all the way through the organisation from the top to the bottom, it’s not just about hierarchy.”Ultimately, an inclusive and diverse workplace can contribute to employee engagement, wellbeing, and performance, support attraction and retention strategies, and drive commercial advantages in the form of innovation and the development of meaningful products and services that reflect the diversity of consumers. The business case writes itself.Accenture embeds diversity and inclusion into its cultureProfessional services organisation Accenture, which employs just over 12,500 staff in the UK and Ireland, strives to be at the forefront of workplace diversity and inclusivity. Its significant commitment to providing a supportive environment for its employees has received external recognition, such as a 2015 European Diversity Award for Outstanding Employee Network Group of the Year for its African Caribbean Network, and successive recognition as a Star Performer on Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list.Tony Horan, UK and Ireland lead for human capital and diversity, says: “We see inclusion and diversity as a real differentiator in terms of our ability to attract the very best talent, to retain the talent that we have, and to really enable our people to be engaged and productive and content in the workplace.”The organisation embeds inclusivity into its cultural DNA through a range of awareness initiatives, access to online resources, and training opportunities. Inclusivity and diversity training, such as unconscious bias sessions, are offered to ensure managers feel confident and empowered to support their teams, whether that be approving flexible-working requests or signposting staff to a confidential employee helpline, provided by Bupa.The organisation also runs a wide array of events to celebrate inclusivity and diversity among its workforce. This ranges from activities to mark calendar events such as Pride Week and International Women’s Day, to on-site educational events with external experts, such as a talk from charity Mermaids around how parents can support children with gender identity issues. The inclusivity and diversity agenda also informs Accenture’s corporate social responsibility efforts, for example, staff are given three days’ volunteering leave a year, which can include support for organisations that assist with its inclusivity efforts.A number of the awareness and education events are available online to facilitate inclusion of employees who work on a remote or flexible basis. Clients are also often invited to attend, enabling Accenture to share its experiences with others and help progress the conversation around diversity issues.There are a number of employee networks within the organisation, which are encouraged to work together to facilitate support for the whole employee rather than just one aspect of their identity. For example, its family and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network is set to host an event around LGBT fertility. Furthermore, 15% of the organisation’s UK and Ireland employees are LGBT allies, who are actively involved in progressing LGBT support in the workplace, as well as visibly demonstrating their commitment by wearing rainbow-coloured lanyards. There are also 700 mental health allies across all career levels, who have undergone training so that they are equipped to spot early warning signs, signpost staff to support, and open up the conversation about mental health. Plans are in place to increase the number of both LGBT and mental health allies in the organisation.Accenture is also taking proactive measures to address gender diversity. Horan says: “We’ve taken a holistic approach to gender diversity, so it’s not just looking at maternity integration, it’s also about how we recruit, how we develop women in terms of leadership programmes, how we provide the right sponsorship, the right coaching and the right mentoring. And then it’s also looking at our engagement framework and at some of the offerings that we can make.”Accenture offers enhanced parental leave of up to 32 weeks on full pay to both mothers and fathers, and offers support to staff before, during and after parental leave to enable them to continue to thrive in the workplace following significant life changes. The organisation also provides various flexible-working options, such as part-time working, job shares, career breaks and study leave. It also continues to look for ways to support gender diversity, for example, its women’s network has become a gender network in order to engage the whole workforce and ensure that gender diversity and equality is a shared agenda with shared accountability.The organisation underpins its inclusivity efforts with HR analytics, such as analysis of attrition reports or the number of women brought in at different levels through the recruitment process. Horan says: “Keeping front and centre on [diversity and inclusion] from a data perspective enables us to make sure that we can identify areas of concern and make quick interventions before they become problems.” University of Sheffield takes proactive steps to enable staff to bring their whole selves to workThe University of Sheffield has worked hard to proactively develop a supportive and inclusive working environment, which has helped to lead to its inclusion on Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers 2016 list, and its ranking in the top third of The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 list.In its 2016 staff survey, 94% of employees said they were proud to work for the organisation. Almost all (99%) felt that the university respects staff regardless of their sexual orientation, with high results also reported for other protected characteristics.Julie Campbell, HR manager, equality and diversity at the University of Sheffield, says: “It’s always about looking at inclusion in the widest possible sense and embedding it into everything we do so that it becomes part of the fabric of the university.”The organisation’s reward and recognition programme, The Deal, aims to provide an employee benefits offering that has the flexibility and choice required to support the diverse needs of its workforce.The university also takes a proactive approach to wellbeing in order to support the physical, mental and financial health of all staff. This includes an employee assistance programme (EAP), provided by Health Assured, dignity at work advisors who can provide confidential support to staff and signpost them to appropriate services, occupational health services provided by Health Management Limited, as well as the university’s health and wellbeing programme, Juice, through which staff can get health checks and take part in activities such as tai chi, mindfulness workshops, a staff choir, and bootcamp training.A number of awareness events around inclusivity and diversity are held at the university, often in partnership with its employee network groups, which include LGBT@TUoS, Women@TUoS, Parents@TUoS, Adopters@TUoS, and the Staff and Disability Network. Working alongside the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network, the organisation set up an LGBT ally initiative this year, Open@TUoS, and almost 700 employees have signed up so far.Campbell says: “All of our networks run their own social events and also provide a safe space for peer support, but they also align with university business and that’s where we can do some really transformational work and really try to progress the agenda.”In January, the university hosted its first LGBT Steminar, a day-long event bringing together researchers and academics with the aim of improving LGBT visibility in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem).To support gender diversity among its workforce, the university offers schemes such as the Women Academic Returner’s Programme. This programme enables female research and academic staff to apply for funds to buy out their teaching or administrative duties, or to put towards a development opportunity, with the aim of helping them stay at the forefront of research in their field following maternity leave.The university also takes into account the physical working environment when looking at how best to provide an inclusive workplace for employees. In addition to accessibility, this includes considerations such as gender-neutral toilets, prayer rooms, and breastfeeding rooms. Together with the Staff and Disability Network, the organisation runs seminars on inclusive buildings and hidden disabilities. In September 2015, the University of Sheffield launched an app with DisabledGo to provide information about accessibility across its campus.The app, AccessAble, allows users to locate accessible toilets, lifts, and ramps, get directions around campus, filter results according to their own access requirements. It also includes an emergency locator feature and is compatible with voice software so that it can be accessed by all. Viewpoint: Benefits that recognise the diversity of employees’ lives can aid inclusion and engagement  The world of work today is very different to even 10 years ago, and so too are employee expectations. Traditional work and home life divides have diminished as a generation grew up connected by and accustomed to sharing their lives on social media. Work and home-life separation has also come under pressure as working parents struggle to achieve work-life balance and instead seek a new ‘work-life blend’.All this means that employers have had to get better at welcoming the personal side of employees’ lives into the workplace. Those that took up this challenge discovered a new route to improving employee engagement: inclusion.When someone is able to be their authentic self at work by being open about their sexual orientation, gender identity or mental health, and feels valued and included for who they are, a resilient bond is formed between employee and employer.Small steps can make a big difference in creating an inclusive workplace. This can be as simple as a leader making a positive statement about mental health in a team meeting. Providing employee benefits that recognise the diversity of employees’ lives is also a very powerful way to communicate an organisation’s stance on inclusion.Employers, for example, which offer a back-up care service to help when childcare, eldercare or adult care needs break down make a clear statement that they respect and support an employee’s whole life situation. Employers that ensure their private medical scheme meets the needs of transgender employees not only reduce trans employees’ access to treatment by at least 18 months, but confirm their commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion more broadly.These benefits are used when employees have exhausted other options, meaning the expense for businesses is often not significant. The impact on employee engagement, however, can be material.Benjamin Fletcher is diversity and inclusion manager at Dentsu Aegis Networkcenter_img Need to know:A supportive working environment can help staff feel they can bring their whole selves to work, benefiting both employees and employers.Line managers will be the first port of call for many, so they must feel equipped to offer appropriate support.Supportive and flexible workplace benefits should be accompanied by initiatives that embed inclusivity into the culture of the organisation.last_img read more

OBITUARY Retired Mass State Trooper Ronald S Bernard 73

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Ret. Mass. State Trooper Ronald S. Bernard, age 73, passed away peacefully on July 21st, surrounded by his loving family. Loving father of Gina Murphy of Methuen, Ranee Rooney & her husband Timothy of Wilmington, Ronald Bernard & his partner Erin McSheffrey of Woburn and Brian Bernard of South Boston, cherished “Papa” of Morgan, Jake, Ashley, Conor and Jack, beloved son of the late Samuel and Dorothy (Covino) Bernard, dear brother of Samuel Bernard of Everett. Ronald is also survived by Lynn-Ann Bernard of Tewksbury as well as many relatives and friends.Ronald’s family would like to thank the staff at Wingate at Andover and West River Hospice staff for the attentive loving care they provided to their father.Ronald proudly served in the US Air Force.Family and friends are invited to gather for visitation at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave., (Rt 62), Wilmington, on Wednesday, July 24th, from 4-7 p.m., immediately followed by a prayer service with military honors.Memorial donations in Ronald’s name can be made to JDRF, 26 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10004.Ronald Bernard(NOTE: The above obituary is from Nichols Funeral Home.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedOBITUARY: Peter C. Carlson, 76In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Bernard N. Eaton, 86In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Morris “Moe” Anderson, 68In “Obituaries”last_img read more

Governor Cuts Funding for Mining Road Project That is Subject of 2Day

first_imgTribal leaders and stakeholders representing communities that could be impacted by a proposed 220-mile industrial road gathered in Fairbanks to discuss cultural, environmental and social impacts of the road’s potential construction. The meeting is happening at time when the state is facing difficult budget decisions that could hamper the project.Download AudioIf built, the industrial road would provide access to the Ambler Mining District, rich in deposits of copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold. Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse is the CEO of NovaCopper, Inc., a mining company that would benefit from the road.“The Ambler district is a very special district,” said Neuwenhuyse. “It’s very high grade. It’s the sort of district that can provide jobs for generations because it’s very substantial. It’s been known about for a very long time and it’s always been the issue of access.”But funding may also become a problem as the price of oil continues to fall.  This week, Alaska Governor Bill Walker slashed more than $100 million dollars from the capital budget including $8 million that would have gone toward the road project in fiscal year 2016. Van Nieuwenhuyse said he doesn’t necessarily see the cut as a set back.“It’s a big wake up call. The state will have to make tough decisions,” he said. “This may be one of them. There may be other alternatives for finding the continued advancement of the EIS.”The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is still working on the application to begin a federal Environmental Impact Study. Mike Catsi is the Business Development and Communications Director for AIDEA.Cats said the Governor’s recent cut hasn’t hindered what is already a long and arduous application and permitting process.“This is a proposed budget it still has to go through the legislative process. We’ve been in communications with the Governor’s office about the project,” Catsi said, “so right now we’re moving forward. We still have money in our budget until the end of June, 2015.”Currently, funding for the project is coming entirely from state dollars appropriated by the legislature, but Catsi said if that changes in coming years, there are other ways for AIDEA to find money.“At AIDEA, we look at projects from a business perspective,” Catsi explained. “We have to build a business case to move forward with them, so when we make an investment and we’re looking at paying for the permitting or moving forward with that, then we would be looking at recouping those funds over the long term of the project,” he said.The state has already spent more than $26 million dollars on feasibility and development studies since 2011. Catsi said information from those studies is available on AIDEA’s website.This week, AIDEA invited a number of representatives from various tribal organizations and villages that could be affected by the road’s construction to Fairbanks. During an interactive presentation, the majority of attendees told AIDEA they believe more studies on the environmental and cultural impact of the road are needed.last_img read more

Begich may join crowded Senate race

first_imgFormer Sen. Mark Begich addresses the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 3, 2014. Begich did not rule out a 2016 Senate run. (Skip Gray/ Gavel Alaska).Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich may consider running as a write-in in this year’s crowded U.S. Senate race. Begich tells Anchorage television station KTVA that people have been calling and urging him to enter the race. He says he will see what his options are, and adds he doesn’t have a timeframe for his decision. He didn’t immediately respond to a message Tuesday from The Associated Press.Listen nowlast_img read more

Shutting Down Social Media Accounts Can Help A Business Cut Losses When

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X 00:00 /06:08 Share Some Houstonians are criticizing the ‘El Tiempo Cantina’ for a social media post from last week that showed a photo of co-owner Roland Laurenzo posing next to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the business has shut down its social media accounts. For a local expert on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, that’s a good idea.Eric Tung is a Houston-based social media consultant who told Houston Matters Monday that “it can be a good idea to step back if what you are saying is not being accepted by your community, by your, by your fans, your followers.”Sessions visited Houston last week and delivered remarks about illegal immigration and how it can sometimes be linked to crime.Since the Attorney General was the Trump administration official who developed the zero tolerance policy to be implemented at the border, with the subsequent separation of undocumented migrant families, some of the people who criticized El Tiempo’s post were uncomfortable with a Hispanic local business saying it had been an “honor” to serve Sessions, as the original post noted.Some people even called for boycotting the restaurant.Al Ortiz/Houston Public MediaHouston Matters host Craig Cohen (left) talked to social media consultant Eric Tung (right) about the backlash ‘El Tiempo Cantina’ is facing because of a recent social media post.For Tung, the business is in its right to publicize having a high profile government official as a customer, but if somebody is supposed to manage El Tiempo’s posts on social media, he or she should have realized Sessions’ presence could be a “hot button topic.”“Make sure you know what you’re trying to say on social media before you say it,” Tung underlined, while adding that nowadays there are publishing software programs that allow the user, especially if it’s a company, a business or an institution, to require approval for posts to go out. Listenlast_img read more