Killings in Nairobi hit home

first_imgA recent Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) graduate visiting Kenya to deliver her first child was among more than 60 people killed by Somali militants in the weekend attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi.Elif Yavuz, 33, a Dutch national described as “unique” and “hilariously funny” by an HSPH faculty member who worked closely with her, received a doctoral degree last spring. She was killed along with her partner, Australian architect Ross Langdon.“She was warm. She was very intelligent, hilariously funny, unique, a really unique person,” said Jessica Cohen, assistant professor of global health, who was Yavuz’s thesis adviser and collaborated with Yavuz on projects. “We all feel the loss very strongly because she was so special.”Cohen learned of Yavuz’s death early Sunday from friends involved with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, where Yavuz worked. Yavuz and Cohen had conducted research with group in the past.HSPH Dean Julio Frenk issued a statement to the community on the tragedy, saying “Elif committed her life and her career to helping those in need. Her compassion was an inspiration to everyone she touched at HSPH and the broader global community in which she lived and worked. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.”Yavuz conducted research on malaria in Uganda, spending much of her third year there. The work, Cohen said, involved supplying bed nets and medication and was aimed at improving malaria-related public policy.After graduating, Yavuz took a job with the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s applied analytics team in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam. She was in Nairobi to deliver her baby, expected in early October, Cohen said.Former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton also expressed regret at the tragedy.“We were shocked and terribly saddened to learn of the death of Elif Yavuz in the senseless attacks in Nairobi,” they said in a statement posted on the Clinton Foundation website. “Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS. She had originally worked with our Health Access Initiative during her doctoral studies, and we were so pleased that she had recently rejoined us as a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania. Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly.  On behalf of the entire Clinton Foundation, we send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Elif’s family and her many friends throughout the world.”A group of HSPH students and alumni who knew Yavuz issued a separate statement Monday afternoon, saying they were “shocked and devastated” by the loss.“Elif made life richer for us all,” said the statement by Shahira Ahmed, Emily Harrison, Heather Lanthorn, Corrina Moucheraud, and Pamela Scorza. “Her intelligence, spark, and wit, coupled with her unending hopefulness and enthusiasm, brightened our lives.  She was a friend, laughter therapist, vegetarian cook, yogi, novel reader, wine- and tea-drinking companion, scientist, public health malaria specialist, adventurer, mother-to-be. She remains in our hearts and memories, and we will deeply miss her.”The Nairobi attack by militants with the Somalia-based Shabab group began Saturday in the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Kenya’s capital. The militants killed civilians and took others hostage before beginning a drawn-out faceoff with Kenyan security forces.Harvard history professor Caroline Elkins, who has worked extensively in Kenya and who chairs the Harvard Committee on African Studies, spoke of the “senseless” loss to the Harvard community, to families in Kenya, and to families of victims from other nations.“Al-Shabaab’s cowardly attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi has brought tragedy to countless communities in Kenya and indeed across the globe. Here at Harvard, we have lost a member of our own community, and mourn for the senseless loss of so many lives,” Elkins said. “This is a time to remind ourselves not only of Kenya’s resiliency in the face of such terror, but also our own capacity to reach out to those who will need our support and strength in the days and months and indeed years ahead.”last_img read more

Opinion: Fueled by ARRA, state spending kept growing

first_imgDuring Governor Kunin’s administration, state general fund spending grew rapidly, by 12%, 13.7%, and 17.2% in fiscal 1987, 1988, and 1989 respectively. In 1990, these spending excesses hit the wall of a national recession, leaving a $65 million deficit. Governor Snelling and Speaker Wright agreed to ‘temporary’ tax increases to bridge the budget crisis. Following Governor Snelling’s untimely death, Governor Dean pledged to follow Snelling’s plan of tight spending controls and sunsets of the temporary taxes.Governor Dean kept his pledge. From fiscal 1991 to 1994, state general fund spending grew meagerly, by less than a percent per year from $643.3 million to $656 million. For fiscal 1993, Dean signed a general fund budget that was cut by 2.15%. He understood that cycles of higher spending and taxes are a downward spiral, both fiscally and politically, and the fiscal house cleaning recessions force upon private enterprise and government provide the financial capacity for new and changing priorities.After the ‘temporary taxes’ sunset, Dean continued with tight budgets through the 1990s. With core budget increases around inflation or less, revenues generated by real economic growth funded the governor’s priorities such as Success by Six, Healthy Babies, expanded health insurance (VHAP) and housing and conservation programs. As the dot.com bubble economy ballooned, core spending did not and the extra revenues were directed toward one-time priorities. In 1999, for example, Dean directed $5.5 million to the conservation of the Northeast Kingdom’s Champion Lands, funded the purchase of Civil War era art for the State House, and sponsored integrated computer systems for designated agencies. Yet, ever the budget hawk, in 2000 Dean authorized a letter to Senator Spaulding, then the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, declaring, ‘It appears as if the Committee’s budget might be as problematic as that of the House, causing the Governor to veto the budget bill in order to preserve the benefits of our sustainable spending policy.’Both Governor Dean and current legislative leaders had one-time funds to bridge recessionary budget gaps. Dean had the Snelling/Wright temporary tax increases ‘ today’s legislative leaders the ARRA funds. Governor Douglas presented the Legislature with budgets that followed a constrained spending path similar to Dean’s. But, with a supermajority, legislative leaders overrode a Douglas veto, a key factor in the unsustainable spending profiled above.Now the Legislature and new governor must do in one year what should have been done incrementally over the past three ‘ constrain spending to a sustainable level to avoid a $150 million deficit. If not up to the task, expect taxes to rise and political fortunes to fall as happened in the Kunin era. Tom Pelham was Finance Commissioner for Governor Dean and Tax Commissioner for Governor Douglas. Agency of Human Services All Funds                                            $1.608 billion        $1.945 billion           $336.3 million                      6.53%General Funds + ARRA Funds       $497.7 million       $609.9 million      $112.2 million                 7.01%‘All funds’ comprise revenues from all sources, including general, federal, transportation, and education, among others. General funds are broad based state taxes including income, sales, meals and rooms, and corporate. ARRA funds are temporary federal stimulus dollars granted to states to soften the recession, but will end after fiscal 2011.The truth is that state spending has grown robustly during this recession. Yet legislators, news reporters, editors, advocates, and bloggers routinely reference state budget cuts as fact. In a January 15 article, the Burlington Free Press quotes Martha Heath, House Appropriations Chair, as saying ‘Because this is our third or fourth year in a row making budget cuts, it just gets more and more difficult to find a way to cut the budget that won’t be painful to peopleâ ¦.’ Whether to cut the budget or raise taxes is certainly debatable, but providing the public with factual reference points as to whether the budget has already been cut is fundamental to an informed debate. In this regard, the media has failed the public. Total State Budget                           Fiscal 2008           Fiscal 2011          Budget Growth             Growth Rate All Funds                                            $4.544 billion        $5.203 billion          $658.9 million                      4.62% General Funds + ARRA Funds          $1.200 billion        $1.428 billion          $227.9 million                      5.96% by Tom Pelham. True or False? State budgets have been cut during the current recession, including deep cuts in human services. Your answer? Now, here’s the record.last_img read more

Call for recognition of sign language

first_img19 January 2012The National Institute for the Deaf (NID) has called for sign language to be recognised as one of South Africa’s official languages.According to the NID, sign language is the fifth most used language in the country, with more people using it, for example, than those who speak SiSwati, IsiNdebele and TshiVhenda.The NID said that about four-million South Africans had hearing difficulty, while 1.5-million were “profoundly deaf”, with 93 percent of the deaf being unemployed.This was revealed during public hearings on the South African Language Bill hosted by Parliament’s portfolio committee on arts and culture in Cape Town on Tuesday.Several organisations and individuals were set to add their input into the Bill. These include the Pan South African Language Board, the Law Society of SA, Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuur Vereniging, Vriende van Afrikaans, and FW De Klerk Foundation.Ernest Kleinschmidt, one of the board directors at the NID, was one of those invited to add his voice to the Bill. He made a compelling appeal for the recognition of sign language.“I’m a deaf person. I’m proud of the language I use,” Kleinschmidt told the house, asking if there were people who did not use sign language in their daily life. He said people used sign language to express themselves, adding that “without communication, we are all deaf and dumb”.Avoidable sufferingHe asked that the Bill be crafted to include sign language as one of the official languages in the country.The NID said many deaf children suffered both at school and at home as they were not understood.Committee chairperson Thandile Sunduza said the South African Constitution had to be amended to accommodate the language.Among other things, the South African Language Bill seeks to provide for the “regulation and monitoring of the use of official languages by national government for government purposes”. It calls for the adoption of language policies by national government departments, national public entities and national enterprises.It also proposes the identification of at least two official languages that “a national department, national public entity or public enterprise will use for government purposes”.Indigenous languagesDuring his submissions, Dr Neville Alexander of the Xhosa Africa Network called for government and non-profit organisations to preserve indigenous languages.“If we are serious about democracy, we should take indigenous languages seriously,” Alexander said, indicating that democracy depended on people being able to communicate with each other.He said the government should review the “language dispensation in this country”.“Languages can cause conflict, but they can also reconcile people,” he said, cautioning that the language debate should not be a racial one.He said languages such as Afrikaans, IsiZulu and IsiXhosa were equal, and called for each province to have a Language Act. Currently, only the Western Cape and Limpopo had legislative pieces governing languages.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

a month agoLeicester star Maddison determined to stay grounded

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Leicester star Maddison determined to stay groundedby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLeicester City ace James Maddison is determined not to let his success go to his head.Maddison is confident his family will keep him in line.He told the Daily Mail: “I would never want to come across as arrogant because I wasn’t brought up that way and my mum would be the first to give me a clip around the ear if she thought I was being like that. But I think you have to be confident and have belief in yourself because no one is going to believe in you for you.”He adds: “I’m not conscious of what other people think to be honest. I’ll know if I cross that line and I don’t think I do because I’d never want to be arrogant. There’s no positive of being arrogant, it’s a negative trait.”I am a confident guy and I will always say that but I wasn’t raised to be arrogant, I don’t agree with that. Confidence can go to a certain extent without it being arrogant and I hope I get that balance right and the people that don’t think that, they obviously don’t know me well enough.” last_img read more

Photo: Amari Cooper’s Name Has Been Added To The First-Team All-American Wall At Alabama

first_imgAmari Cooper named first team all american.Amari Cooper’s time at Alabama has come to an end, as the wide receiver is headed to the NFL, but the former star will be forever remembered inside the Crimson Tide’s facility. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound wideout is one of the greatest wide receivers in Alabama history, so it’d be pretty tough to forget him, but that won’t be possible now, anyway. Cooper’s name has been etched into the first-team All-American wall inside the Crimson Tide’s facility, next to the other wide receivers who accomplished similar greatness. Cooper finished his Alabama career with 3,463 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns. He’s expected to be an early-to-mid first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.last_img read more

Switching off Parents urged to keep infants away from digital screens

first_imgTORONTO – Vanessa Lewis couldn’t imagine watching her kids grow up bombarded by digital screens — so she effectively banned the technology from their sight.Making a pact with her husband, the couple decided even talking on a smartphone in the vicinity of their infant twins was unacceptable.“If we needed to use our phones we would leave the room,” the Toronto mother says.“We’ve made a real effort not to have our phones available to them.”While it wasn’t always easy, Lewis says banishing TV, tablets and phones was rewarding for her family. Now almost four years old, her boys spend more time playing outside and reading books instead of staring blankly at screens.New guidelines released Thursday by the Canadian Paediatric Society suggest Lewis is on the right track. The organization issued its first-ever standalone recommendations for how much time children aged five and under should spend in front of a screen.Among the Canadian guidelines is a reaffirmation of their past statement that kids younger than two years old should completely avoid screen time.Putting a stronger focus on digital-screen time management is a new position for the CPS, which for years buried its recommendations within its healthy active living guidelines. But a recent survey of its membership — which consists partly of pediatricians and family physicians — found that parents are increasingly seeking professional advice on shifts in the digital culture.The overall sentiment leans towards not only limiting screen time, but in some cases eliminating it all together.Its advice is more restrictive than guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recently loosened its view on screen time, saying that infants younger than 18 months could participate in video-chatting with relatives and friends.Dr. Michelle Ponti of the Canadian Paediatric Society found that introducing screens at such an early age is unnecessary.“We could not find any good evidence to suggest benefits in introducing technology early,” she says.“There are so many risks of harm that we felt the risks outweighed any potential benefit.”Ponti suggests parents start making a “family media plan” even before their child is born, outlining when, where and how screens may be used.Canadian and U.S. guidelines both recommend toddlers aged two to five should watch no more than an hour of screen time per day — and turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime. Programs should be chosen with specific educational goals to encourage language and literacy development.Parents are also encouraged to actively engage with their children while using digital screens.“Sometimes we find that all of the bells and whistles from some of these programs or ebooks really distracts from learning and parent-child interaction,” Ponti says.“Parents ask fewer questions to their child when they’re on an ebook.”Other guidelines in the new outline suggest parents model good screen use for their children, such as limiting consumption of TV programs and switching off screens if they’re not being watched.The recommendations say research shows that high exposure to background TV can negatively affect language development and attention spans in children under five years old.But the suggestions emphasize that digital screens aren’t always bad. In some cases, screens can be used as a tool rather than a toy.Video chatting with relatives is considered a positive example of how kids can help translate what they see on screen to real-life experiences.Lewis says in her household, video chats are one of the rare instances in which her kids are allowed to use screens; occasionally they’ll Facetime with their grandparents.The mom says limiting her boys’ digital habits has proven successful so she kept the household rules in place when her daughter was born last year.Her boys still encounter smartphones on occasion, especially when family and friends visit, and Lewis has taken note of how quickly they’re drawn towards the colourful and interactive devices.But she’s confident her kids will instinctively pick up technology when they’re introduced to the devices at school.“For them what’s more important are all the skills they develop when they’re younger by not having the screens in front of them,” Lewis says.“All the free play and problem-solving skills they developed, to me, trumps any sort of technological savvy they may have missed out on.”Follow @dfriend on Twitter.last_img read more

Alberta move to cut fuel shipments to BC has downsides refiners say

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. — A spokesman for refiners in Western Canada says any move by the Alberta government to shut off the flow of refined fuel to British Columbia might increase prices for consumers there but it would also negatively affect Alberta’s four refineries.Brian Ahearn, regional vice-president for the Canadian Fuels Association, says about 25 per cent of the gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other products produced at the Edmonton-area refineries goes to B.C.He says the loss of that market would have “downsides,” forcing refiners to find alternative markets, accept lower prices or, in a “worse-worse case scenario,” run their operations at less than optimum capacity. Alberta introduced Bill 12 Monday, legislation that allows the energy minister to tell truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators how much of what products can be shipped when and where.As an example, the province says it could restrict shipments on the Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to the Vancouver area to diluted bitumen, thus halting the refined products it carries.Ahearn says the pipeline carries about 45,000 to 50,000 barrels per day of refined products. The rest of the 80,000 to 100,000 barrels per day is sent by train or truck from Alberta to B.C.“Directionally, we are supportive of the government’s overall objective and the reason is we are a supporter of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion,” he said.“(But) if there’s curtailment all the way to the point of discontinuing that flow of product, that disruption, that utilization taken away from the refineries would have a pretty negative affect on the refineries. That’s one of the downsides we’ve been making sure the government knows about and to fully assess before they take any further steps.”B.C. Premier John Horgan has been fighting the expansion, even though the federal government approved the $7.4-billion project in November 2016.last_img read more

Snowfall warning issued for the South Peace and Pine Pass

first_imgIn the North Peace, we could see the same thing as late afternoon rain turns to snow.  Fort St. John could see only 5 to 10 cm of snow.  A special weather statement also remains in place for the North Peace, Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake and the Alberta Peace.  The weather statement says those regions could see 5 to 10 cm of snow.Below is the full warning for the South Peace.Warnings4:57 AM PDT Tuesday 11 September 2018Snowfall warning in effect for:B.C. South Peace RiverSnowfall with total amounts of about 10 cm is expected.A cold front will drop southward out of the Northwest Territories today bringing unseasonably cold temperatures to northeastern BC. Rain will develop this afternoon over the BC South Peace as the front approaches and quickly change over to snow this evening as the front passes.Snowfall accumulations of about 10 centimetres are expected tonight across the BC South Peace and along Highway 97 between Pine Pass and Chetwynd. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the B.C. South Peace.The forecast calls for up to 10 cm of snow as a cold front moves through the region Tuesday afternoon.  As the front moves into the area, rain will develop Tuesday afternoon and turn to snow by Tuesday night.Environment Canada says the South Peace and Pine Pass could see up to 10 cm of snow by Wednesday. Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations.Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to [email protected] or tweet reports using #BCStorm.last_img read more

Out of 1400 heinous cases Delhi Police cracked 1212 in 104 days

first_imgNew Delhi: In 104 days, the National Capital has witnessed more than 1,400 heinous cases including rape, murder, dacoity. The Delhi Police said that they have solved as many as 1,212 cases during the period.Police sources told Millennium Post that in the recent crime review meeting, the Delhi Police Commissioner reviewed the overall situation of cases in 15 districts. The police data till April 14 revealed that around 286 heinous cases were not solved. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehicles”As many as 167 heinous cases were reported in North East Delhi. The district solved 139 cases,” said police sources. The Outer Delhi witnessed 142 cases in which 106 were cracked whereas 133 heinous crime reported from South Delhi. The district solved 120 cases. As many as 117 heinous cases took place in Shahdara district whereas 82 cases were worked out. In North West Delhi, 114 cases reported whereas 94 were solved. The South East Delhi witnessed 113 crime, the district cracked 89 cases. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarSources further claimed that in newly-formed Outer North district, around 108 cases took places. As many as 87 cases were solved. In Dwarka, 100 heinous crimes took place whereas 81 were solved. In West Delhi, 98 heinous cases reported in which 86 per cent of cases solved. As many as 99 cases reported from East Delhi. The district solved 79 cases. In South West Delhi, as many as 72 cases reported and 61 were solved. In Central Delhi~ 66 heinous cases, North Delhi~60 and New Delhi~15 cases were reported. “The Central Delhi solved 58 cases, North district cracked 50 and New Delhi worked out 12 cases,” sources further added. According to Delhi Police, the critical criminogenic factors in Delhi area socioeconomic disparities and high influx of migrant population, proximity in the location of colonies of the affluent and the underprivileged, urban anonymity encouraging deviant behaviour, loosening of social structures and family control. Demographic complexities, impulsive anger and rage, extended hinterland in the NCR region and porous borders offering easy means of ingress/escape to criminal elements from across the borders. Police further added that to curb crime picket, checking and patrolling with strategic deployment decided by senior formations with the element of surprise and after careful selection of crime-prone hot-spots. Ensuring higher visibility of police on the streets is another factor to curb crime in the city. According to police, the social churning is quite evident in the crime scenes of the capital. The Delhi Police has been closely monitoring the ever-changing modus operandi being adopted by criminals and adapting itself to meet these new challenges head-on.last_img read more

QRTs falter in sixth phase due to lack of state police officials

first_imgKolkata: The presence of the quick response teams (QRTs) was allegedly not felt properly in the sixth phase of elections on Sunday, when eight Lok Sabha constituencies of Bengal went to polls.In previous phases, the QRTs had moved quickly to the areas where incidents of clashes were reported. But in the sixth phase, QRTs were not as quick in their movement. Various political party leaders alleged that the QRTs failed to turn up on time when there were incidents of violence in any of the eight constituencies. In previous phases of elections, the QRTs were led by state police officers as they were well acquainted with the locations of the polling booths. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAfter some allegations surfaced against the state police force, the Election Commission tried to adopt a separate method to conduct the elections in a free and fair manner. Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey had decided to deploy Central Force officials to lead the QRTs, keeping the state police at bay. The QRTs had faced difficulties in identifying the polling booths where the clashes were reported from, as the Central Force commandants who were supposed to give them directions had no idea about the geographical locations of the polling booths. Most of the Central Force commandants were from other states. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAs a result of this, clashes broke out outside various polling booths and the trouble could not be quelled in time. Keeping in mind the geographical locations of the districts which were once infested with Maoists, the Election Commission decided to deploy two QRTs in each police station area. Each team comprised eight jawans. There were around 547 QRTs in the sixth phase of elections and 108 additional QRTs which were led by ad hoc commandants. According to sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), the election officials in the state were not convinced with the idea of deploying Central Force commandants as the head of each QRT. The Election Commission has already submitted a report to the Election Commission of India in Delhi in this regard.last_img read more