Government & Judiciary – Moving together?

first_imgIs it my imagination that in India administration and judiciary are going hand in hand for the enhancement of the social status and other development of the community after a long time? The Indian judicial system is on the path of self-reliance on its working and the role it is supposed to play, as well as showing the power it has, in giving historical verdicts on long-pending issues that have divided the country. Today the people are more confident about getting justice from our courts and believe that justice is unadulterated or for that matter impartial.If we look back on some of the recent verdicts, we can find that the government of India is also appreciating the importance of the role of the justice system in our country. They are bringing up changes in the laws and introducing new ones for the betterment of the society in a much more systematic way wherein they are not criticized much by our supreme courts. In short, the government is working within the guidelines of the constitution in bringing in the changes. That’s a welcome scenario since it been a long time where the judicial system in India is free of outside influence, especially from the ruling parties.Most of the recent verdicts from the supreme court point to the fact that the current crop of senior judges is highly qualified and has a mind of their own in deciding the cases in front of them. In triple talaq verdict the court shows that the injustice to Muslim women is not to be tolerated anymore and by following the verdict, the government acted on introducing the law criminalizing the triple talaq. In a historic verdict on the issue of Ayodhya, the five-bench Supreme Court has given a verdict that was in tune with the aspirations of majority and was in line with the rules as well as the historic facts provided to them. One should wonder here if these facts were present right from the beginning, why the earlier courts couldn’t conclude the case. There lies the importance of a free judiciary who thinks and acts according to the power vested in them by the constitution.On the other hand, today, the government is also working hard to make sure whatever laws they are bringing in, clear all the constitutional and judicial hurdles at the time of its introduction in the parliament. Take the case of article 370, the government was meticulous in its approach to clear all the hurdles it may stumble upon before tabling it in the parliament. The same is the case with CAA which has taken the sentiments as well as the initiative by the earlier governments and introduced the bill which will stand the scrutiny of the judiciary.There are instances in which the government tries to circumvent the judicial system and for a change, the Supreme Court was very harsh in countering it and making sure the verdicts are acted upon by the respective governments, an example is a verdict on demolishing the illegal multistory apartment building in Kerala. Even though the left-wing government tried it best to circumvent the order, the court was very clear if the deadline was not met, they will take up a case on the highest-ranking officers of the state, forcing them to follow the order to the dot.In many cases, we could also see that the judiciary is giving ample time for the government to have its laws implemented and was supportive of the need for the time required to counter the roadblocks it faces in the aftermath of the implementation of the new laws. This was fully evident in the case of Article 370 as well as in the case of CAA. This, in turn, allowed the government to formulate its strategy and reduce the burden of the interference of the courts in the early stages and this was made possible since the government is working within the parameters of its power and constitution of our country.It won’t be wrong if one could conclude that, the government today is dependent on the support of the judiciary and the judiciary is also becoming an independent institute and is providing enough support and guidance to the government. This mutual respect is also supported by the strong faith of the citizens in our judicial system and with the recent verdicts in several cases underlined and enhanced the role and status of the judiciary.Today one thing is sure, we have a government that has a well-educated and intelligent set of people who works on creating laws within the framework of the constitution and a judiciary who knows its power as a guardian and custodian of the constitution of India and the rights of the people. That’s is the reality of new India where no one is above the law and for once I am happy to see both the two wings, administrative and judiciary works hand in hand to uphold the constitution of our country.last_img read more

Stephon Clark’s brother escorted from City Hall after taking over meeting

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO) — The brother of Stephon Clark, fatally shot by Sacramento police earlier this month, was escorted out of a city council meeting on Tuesday after he interrupted the forum and rallied the crowd to chant his brother’s name.Stevante Clark stormed into the meeting, yelling, cursing and ignoring calls to restore order, video of the meeting showed. He also climbed up to a dais where the mayor was seated and be began to yell into a microphone.“The mayor and the city of Sacramento has failed all of you,” Stevante Clark said. “The gang-banging has to stop. The poverty is uncontrollable. I need y’all to hear me.”He was escorted out after he began rambling and swearing during his remarks.The special meeting, scheduled to discuss his brother’s shooting and alleged police brutality, eventually was shut down because of safety concerns.Stephon Clark, 22, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police officers in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18 after officers responded to a 911 call that described a man in a hoodie breaking car windows and hiding in a backyard.When the officers encountered Stephon Clark, according to body-cam footage, they believed he was in possession of a “toolbar.” A responding officer said Clark motioned toward them, and one officer can be heard on the video yelling, “Show me your hands … Gun, gun, gun.”The two officers fired 20 shots. Investigators later determined Clark had been holding only a cellphone. Both officers have since been placed on administrative leave.Tensions in Sacramento have been high since the shooting, with protesters takings to the streets to demand change.Hundreds of demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Golden 1 Center ahead of an NBA game late Tuesday, preventing Kings fans from attending a game for a second time this week.Police said they arrested a man during a separate protest earlier outside the City Hall, where demonstrators reportedly forced themselves into the atrium and knocked over metal detectors, according to ABC affiliate KXTV.That man was charged with assault on an officer and drunk in public, according to the Sacramento Police Department.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky expects all schools will be fully open for in-person learning in September

first_imgBurak Sur/iStockBy CATARINA ANDREANO, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky anticipates that all schools will be fully in person and no longer remote in September 2021.“We should anticipate, come September 2021, that schools should be full-fledged in person and all of our children back in the classroom,” the CDC director told ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton during an Instagram Live conversation on ABC News.She said that parents and teachers should anticipate this regardless of whether children are vaccinated or not. “We can vaccinate teachers, we can test, there’s so much we can do,” she said.Asked when she expects children will become eligible to get vaccinated, Walensky said by mid-May. Pfizer recently released promising data indicating its vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 12 to 15.“Mid-May maybe we’ll be able to have a vaccine from Pfizer that we’ll be able to do down to 12,” she said, pending Food and Drug Administration authorization for that age group.She expects Moderna will soon follow Pfizer because those studies are currently underway. She said she is hopeful that by summertime there will be two vaccines available for children 12 and up. Johnson and Johnson Is expected to start their pediatric trials in the months ahead.Walensky doesn’t anticipate the vaccine will be authorized for children younger than 12 before the end of the year.Walensky’s comments came shortly after she said during a White House briefing that the more contagious variant of coronavirus that originated in the U.K., the B.1.1.7 variant, has become the dominant strain in the U.S.All three vaccines authorized in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are believed to work well even against the U.K. variant.Walensky stressed that the multiple COVID variants are serving to reinforce her goal of wanting a large portion of the U.S. population to get vaccinated.“My goal is to have people want to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated,” she said.Asked if she agrees that 85% is the percentage of the population that should be vaccinated, in agreement with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Walensky declined to put a number on it. She said estimates on the right percentage for herd immunity vary dramatically.“[It] depends on how transmissible the virus is, and that we estimate that number based on the transmissibility. … What we know is that transmissibility is actually a little bit of a moving target, because with more variants, some of these variants are more transmissible. So the more transmissible the variant, the more likely we’re going to need a larger proportion of the population vaccinated,” she said.During a White House briefing last week, Walensky urged caution amid fears of a fourth wave. Then days later, the CDC updated its guidance on travel for fully vaccinated people. The guidance said that fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without COVID-19 testing or quarantines as long as they continue to take precautions like wearing a mask, socially distancing and washing their hands.Asked about the “confusing” messaging by Ashton, Walensky said “sometimes the messages are complex” and that people working in public health aren’t treating individuals, they are treating the population.“We need to be able to offer people who are vaccinated things that they are able to do if we want people to come forward and get vaccinated: visit with their loved ones, visit their grandchildren, perhaps travel on a plane at lower risk. That’s an individual message,” she said. “While we have fully vaccinated 19% of the population, 80% of the population remains unvaccinated and that is certainly enough to cause a surge. And so on a population level, we still very much need to practice good public health measures — masking mitigation, distancing.”She still stood behind President Joe Biden’s comments that the Fourth of July holiday will look a little more normal.“I would say still practice the mitigation strategies, still mask, still distance, try and keep the crowds to a minimum,” Walensky said. “Because I really do think that when we get most of this country vaccinated, we can get back to a healthier, more normal evening at the baseball field.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Education, Open Rank, Tenure-Track Professor

first_imgThis is a full-time, tenure-track position to begin fall 2021 inthe Department of Education at Concord University, Athens, WV.Concord University, established in 1872, is a comprehensive,public institution with a strong commitment to programs ofexcellence in teacher education, business, pre-professionalprograms in the arts and sciences, and public service. The educatorpreparation program at Concord University isfully CAEP accredited and offers programs of study at theundergraduate and graduate level.This position includes teaching, curriculum development,assessment, academic advising, scholarship/professionaldevelopment, and service.This position involves daily (M-F) teaching assignments oncampus at the undergraduate level with some online teaching at thegraduate level. Related responsibilities include on-site and remotesupervision of teacher candidates with P-12 partner schools. Dailyon-campus faculty presence is required to participate in curriculumdevelopment, student advisement, and service to the department,college, and university as well as active engagement within thecommunity.All tenure-track faculty are expected to demonstrate acommitment to teaching excellence, on-going research, publication,and/or other professional activities, and service in order toenhance the preparation of educators and their future impact onP-12 students.Strong interpersonal and collaborative ability, effectiveteacher, scholarly and service driven, and adherence toprofessional ethical practices.We seek applicants with enthusiasm and documented evidence ofexcellent teaching at the elementary level and preferablypost-secondary level, intellectual vigor, strong human relations,strong communication skills, and a passion for the training anddevelopment of highly competent future educators.Evidence of teaching and/or advising at the postsecondary levelpreferred; experience with course development; experienced andcompetent with use of instructional technology; expertise inlanguage and literacy development; experience with or willingnessto participate in accreditation work.Review of application materials will begin immediately andcontinue until the position is filled. Application materials shouldinclude: a cover letter which explains professional education,experience, and qualifications for the position; a full curriculumvita; the names, addresses (including titles and institutions),email addresses, and telephone numbers of three references that maybe contacted. Concord has a strong commitment to the principle of diversityand in that spirit seeks a broad representation of candidatesincluding women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.Concord University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative ActionEmployer and encourages all qualified candidates toapply. All applications must be submitted through https://jobs.concord.edu/last_img read more

Mid-market investment sales trickle to 1 deal

first_img229 West 105th Street (Google Maps)There was just one investment sale recorded in the $10 million to $30 million range in the city last week, as the five boroughs continue to slog through a rough period. The week before, just two properties in that price range traded.The lone mid-market sale last week was a 40-unit apartment building on the Upper West Side, at 229 West 105th Street.Delf Estates CEO Adam Kaufman sold the six-story, 42,000-square-foot building for $10 million, according to records. The buyer was Jeffrey Farkas via 105 Partners LLC.Santander Bank provided a $6.7 million acquisition loan arranged by Michael Kesselman of Meridian Capital. Delf Estates had owned the building since at least 1967. The property was built in 1925.Contact Orion Jones at [email protected] This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowlast_img read more

Reinventing banking and revising capitalism in Estonia

first_imgI have started making loans to total strangers – scores of them. I am not mad, rich or philanthropic. The loans are tiny. The safeguards are good. So far, the borrowers are paying me back and I am turning a handy profit. Even nicer, I feel I am part of a revolution which could save Western capitalism. It is all happening in Estonia. Banking is the economy’s biggest weakness. It offers stingy, fee-ridden savings products and over-priced loans with nasty hidden costs. Intermediaries gain colossal profits, especially when they are greedy and reckless. When things go wrong, as they inevitably do, the taxpayer picks up the bill. Apart from that, it works fine. So alternatives are welcome, such as ‘peer-to-peer’ lenders, which put the cash-thirsty and the cash-rich in touch with each directly (they make their money by charging a fee for the service). Zopa, a British peer-to-peer outfit, has lent £260 million (€310m) since it started in 2005. Isepankur (it means ‘Self-banker’ and sounds like ‘Easy-banker’) offers a better deal, because it is lending in countries where the banking system is less developed. Estonians (even with a good credit rating) typically pay 50% for an unsecured ‘doorstep’ loan. Isepankur gives me and other outsiders a chance to lend to them at much lower rates – 28% is typical. That is a good deal: the best savings rate I can get in a British bank is under 3% (and half the meagre proceeds go in tax). Isepankur opened for non-Estonian investors late last year. I sent off a few hundred euros to get going – and immediately got a phone-call from the chief executive. That was an impressive bit of customer service. (I have since helped tidy up the English on the website.) The potential borrowers have to convince lenders of their creditworthiness. ‘Tanelvakker’, for example, is a telephone engineer wanting to renovate his flat. He wanted to borrow €2,600 for 36 months at 12%. He is a single man, with a salary of €2,500 a month. The capital and interest payment would be €86. I took a look at his other outgoings (mortgage, car-lease payment and a credit card) and reckoned he could afford that easily. So I lent him €10. Dozens of others did the same. He makes one payment a month to Isepankur – which splits the money among us. If loans go bad, Isepankur sells them to a debt-collection agency. Competition drives loan costs down. Good risks pay less. ‘Akiraam’ (a secretary on €600 a month) wanted €200 to pay for a Finnish-language course. She was ready to pay 28% but ended up paying only 12% because lenders piled in. Dodgy borrowers struggle, or pay more: lenders can grill them online. If they provide inadequate answers (or none), then their credibility suffers. Some borrowers do default: an average of 3%, Isepankur reckons. But the interest rates that the successful ones pay more than make up for that. So far three of my loans are a bit late – but the money from the good ones more than outweighs that. My net average return (like most Isepankur lenders) is about 17%. I have so far lent €1,570 to about 50 borrowers, in amounts ranging from €5 to €25. I have received €60 back in repaid capital and €24 in interest. I also got €0.06 in ‘penalties’ (my share in a small fine levied on a borrower called ‘Lillekas’ who paid a few days late). Isepankur’s costs are low: mainly running its website and advertising. It is still tiny. Perhaps it is too new, and too different. But I remember when they said that about another Estonian invention: Skype. Edward Lucas edits the international section of The Economist.last_img read more

Phish Delivers A Tsunami Of Bustouts, 38-Minute “Ruby Waves” Jam In Fantastic Alpine Finale [Photos/Videos]

first_imgUPDATE 7/14/20: Tonight, on the one-year anniversary of this show at Alpine, Phish will air a re-broadcast of the show as episode 16 of archival streaming series, Dinner and a Movie. Follow along with our full 7/14/19 Stream Companion here.And just like that, the 2019 Phish summer tour is over. With the annual Labor Day Dick’s Run still a month and a half away and no foreseeable plans for a fall tour, Phish left it all on the stage at Sunday night’s instant classic performance at Alpine Valley Music Theatre.Everyone has a different reason they enjoy a show, and Sunday offered something for everyone. Some are there to catch a bucket list song they have been chasing. Some are only there seeking monster 30+ minute jams, otherwise deeming the show “unrelistenable.” Some are there for the over-the-top jam sandwiches, where the band breaks up original tunes by weaving additional songs into the regularly scheduled composition. Sunday would make even the most critical of fans exit the Wisconsin venue with a smile.Opening with the first “Landlady” since 2016, the bust-out-heavy first set was only just getting started. Next up was “Olivia’s Pool”, which only saw the light of day in 1997 prior to morphing into the murkier musical restructuring found on The Story of the Ghost in the form of “Shafty”. Fans may recognize this rarity from the infamous Live Phish Vol. 11 release, and those that have been chasing it for 22 years finally got their wish.Phish – Alpine Valley – “The Landlady” [Pro-Shot][Video: Phish]The band took the Alpine Valley crowd to Gamehenge next with another bustout in “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday”, played for the first time since the Magnaball in 2015. With the reappearance of this classic pairing, fans were already feeling transported back to the ’90s at the historic venue.Even Sunday night’s “Meatstick” was noteworthy as it thrust its way into the first set for the first time since 2013 in Rochester. Next up, Trey Anastasio and Jon Fishman dug their talons deep into “Vultures” as Trey rocked to and fro at center stage. Surprisingly, the second “Spock’s Brain” of 2019 graced the setlist after having gone missing for more than 15 years prior to this year’s Mexico run. However, if there was any place for these rarities to converge this summer, it was Alpine—a venue that’s seen its fair share of unusual Phish setlists dating back to 1996.2.0 favorite “Pebbles and Marbles” off Round Room made its Alpine debut next, marking the first original of the night which debuted after the new Millennium. The first “Glide” since the Baker’s Dozen in 2017 paid tribute to the loyal fans that have been following the band around the country on this tour since early June, the band appearing more glad, glad, glad than ever as they smiled through the tricky A Picture of Nectar ditty.Ghosts of the Forest rocker “About to Run” was played for the fifth time this tour, adding a touch of the modern canon to the mostly old-school setlist with a powerful guitar solo and heavy B-3 organ work by Page McConnell. Next up, Page took over on lead vocals for the first “Strange Design” since 2016 which led into “Timber (Jerry the Mule)”, one of the longest-tenured tunes in Phish’s animal-based live catalog. “I Didn’t Know” was complete with cleaning machines as Fishman (who Trey introduced as Jon Sullen Melancholy) gave the crowd a vacuum solo to remember on the final night of the tour’s main leg. Led Zepplin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” closed out a first set filled with bucket list songs, allowing Trey to get the led with a searing guitar solo before exiting the stage for a quick break.“Mercury” kicked off set two and gave Trey five minutes to play with his effects pedals as Chris Kuroda brought his imagination to life through his impressive light rig. “Mercury” moved into a soothing space, but the set-opening and shorter-than-usual jam vehicle soon gave way to the jam of the night and longest one of the tour in “Ruby Waves”.Phish – Alpine Valley – “Mercury” [Pro-Shot][Video: Phish]This “Ruby Waves” was the highlight of the show, the run, and the entire tour. The first section of the multi-layered jam took a dark turn, exploring the hallways of Area 51 as Page followed Trey’s hollow guitar effects with fuzzy synth notes. Gordon added a juicy bass groove as the band mellowed into a lighter, dreamier section reminiscent of the “you can feel good about Hood” peak of “Harry Hood”, adding a familiar flavor to the Ghosts of the Forest tune. Trey then cranked up the heat with a straightforward rock and roll guitar riff complemented by driving organ work by Page and uptempo drumming by Fishman. The drummer moved into a cymbal-heavy beat as Trey refocused the energy back to a high-note celestial space.The next movement brought a tropical, reggae-influenced groove to the monstrous jam as Gordon slapped a ground-shaking effect onto his bass and went for a ride. Glowsticks and smoke billowed through the air as hard-rocking Type II jamming vibrated throughout the field and sounded like the balls-to-the-wall Hell metal you may hear at Tool concert. Right as it sounded like the band was putting this “best ever” rendition to bed, Trey entered yet another space accompanied by Page’s octopus-like simultaneous playing on the synth and piano. Trey played like he was revving up a car engine as Page zapped laser sounds across the stage to add to the fast-paced fun. The final section eased into “Twist” as fans stood stunned at what they had just witnessed: In short, a 38-minute odyssey—the longest Phish jam in the 3.0 era. You can watch a full pro-shot video of the incredible jam below:Phish – Alpine Valley – “Ruby Waves” [Pro-Shot][Video: Phish]The short-lived “Twist” transitioned into the first “Swept Away >Steep” of the tour, which ventured in turn into the now commonly-played Kasvot song, “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long”. Continuing the string of bucket list bustouts, Trey and Fishman discussed drooling, reading (a specific book, that is), and picking up the imporant things in life during the first “Icculus” since the New Year’s Eve 2013-14 “JEMP Truck Set” at Madison Square Garden.Phish – Alpine Valley – “Icculus”[Video: shinepigeon]Related: On Phish’s Trey Anastasio, Drooling, & That Alpine “Icculus” [Audio/Video]Yet another rarity made its debut in this wild setlist next with “Buffalo Bill”, followed by another thrilling song sandwich with “You Enjoy Myself -> Catapult > Contact > You Enjoy Myself”. Adding to the rarified nature of this instant classic show, this marked the first time “YEM” had been broken up since New Year’s Eve 2010 at MSG and the first “Catapult” since the infamous Merriweather “Tweezerfest” in 2014. Trey went back into narration mode to introduce “Contact” to the crowd, mentioning a couple he met in the hotel lobby planning to get married if Phish played the Junta sing-along that night. The pressure is on now, lovebirds…After a crazy show filled unpredictable song choices, the Vermont foursome set up a relatively straightforward encore with “More” into “Tweezer Reprise”, completing the “Tweezer” combination set up during Friday night’s first set. After 23 years and 20 shows at Alpine Valley Music Theatre—many of them undeniably great—Sunday, July 14th, 2019 is arguably the most memorable. The Gamehendge time travel, the bustouts, and the “Ruby Waves” tsunami instantly bookmarked the show in the “greatest hits” section of “the book.” Read it!Phish – Alpine Valley – “More”[Video: lifeboyfourtwenty]Phish – Alpine Valley – “Tweezer Reprise”[Video: lifeboyfourtwenty]Check out some photos of the Phish Alpine closer below courtesy of photographer Keith Griner.Following several weeks’ break, Phish will return to the stage in late August for their annual three-night Labor Day Weekend run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO. For a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to Phish’s website.Each show on Phish’s 2019 summer tour will be rebroadcast on SiriusXM Phish Radio (Ch. 29) at 12:00 ET the following day. Subscribe here.Setlist: Phish | Alpine Valley Music Theatre | Elkhorn, WI | 7/14/19Set One: The Landlady, Olivia’s Pool, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Meatstick, Vultures, Spock’s Brain, Pebbles and Marbles, Glide, About to Run, Strange Design, Timber (Jerry The Mule), I Didn’t Know, Good Times Bad TimesSet Two: Mercury > Ruby Waves > Twist > Swept Away > Steep > Death Don’t Hurt Very Long, Icculus, Buffalo Bill, You Enjoy Myself -> Catapult > Contact > You Enjoy MyselfEncore: More > Tweezer RepriseNotes: This show was webcast via Live Phish and featured several bustouts: The Landlady (first since July 10, 2016, or 122 shows), Olivia’s Pool (November 17, 1997, or 692 shows), The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday and Avenu Malkenu (August 21, 2015, or 147 shows), Strange Design (July 8, 2016, or 124 shows), Icculus (December 31, 2013, or 210 shows), and Catapult (July 27, 2014, or 191 shows). Trey teased Dave’s Energy Guide in Ruby Waves. Icculus was teased after Buffalo Bill. Prior to Contact, Trey mentioned meeting a couple in his hotel lobby the day before where the man said he would propose to his girlfriend if Mike sang Contact on Sunday night at Alpine Valley. Trey teased Bridal Chorus at the end of Contact.Phish | Alpine Valley Music Theatre | Elkhorn, WI | 7/14/19 | Photos: Keith Griner Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Coronavirus Deaths are Rising Again in the U.S.

first_imgEurope, which had aggressively tackled the virus with shutdowns, mask mandates and other steps in the spring, is also seeing an alarming resurgence. “Even when we have open ICU beds across the state, we don’t have staff to fill them,” Ratermann said. “There’s going to be a point where there’s no beds, and we can’t even care for our local citizens.” FILE – In this Oct. 23, 2020, file photo, University of Washington research coordinator Rhoshni Prabhu holds up a swab after testing a passenger at a free COVID testing site in Seattle. Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every single state. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Trump, who spent several days in the hospital after contracting the virus, said repeatedly over the weekend that the country is “rounding the turn.” His remarks came amid another outbreak in the White House inner circle. Several close aides to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive, including his chief of staff. Stobbe reported from New York. Fears about the virus’s toll on the economy – and fading hopes that Washington will be able to deliver more relief anytime soon – sent stocks into a slump in afternoon trading on Wall Street. The S&P 500 was 2.3% lower and on track for its worst day in more than a month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 800 points, or almost 3%. On Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said that “we’re not going to control the pandemic” and that the focus should be on containment and treatment. BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in practically every state, despite assurances from President Donald Trump over the weekend that “we’re rounding the turn, we’re doing great.” The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases hit a record high on Sunday of 68,767, according to Johns Hopkins, eclipsing the previous mark of 67,293, set in mid-July. The U.S. recorded more than 80,000 new cases on both Friday and Saturday – the highest marks ever – though testing has expanded dramatically over the course of the outbreak, making direct comparisons problematic. “We must do better,” Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said, adding that he plans to make recommendations soon for counties with high rates of infection. On Monday, the county reported a record high in daily cases, with 1,443. The county had 853 patients hospitalized because of the virus, up from 786 a day earlier. The state has provided over 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some of whom will staff the convention center site. Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota expert on infectious diseases who warned over the summer of a fall surge, said what’s happening now is a confluence of three factors: “pandemic fatigue” among people who are weary of hunkering down and are venturing out more; “pandemic anger” among those are don’t believe the scourge is a real threat; and cold weather, which is forcing more Americans indoors, where the virus can spread more easily. Violators of the curfew are subject to $500 fines, though the order does not apply to people who are going to or from work or are out for other essential reasons, such as food shopping and medical care. “We are in a crisis stage,” El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, the county’s top elected official, as he issued the stay-at-home order over the weekend. Just last week, the president during the last presidential debate downplayed the virus’s effect in Texas, saying: “There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.” In the U.S., Oklahoma is one of the states consistently breaking records for new cases, and the strain is being felt in hospitals. Bed space is running out, and an equally daunting problem is a shortage of nursing staff. In the Texas border city of El Paso, authorities instructed people to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10-p.m.-to-5-a.m. curfew because of a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals. The state is converting part of the city’s civic center into a hospital. Health experts had warned that it was only a matter of time before deaths turned upward, given the record-breaking surge in cases engulfing the country. Deaths are a lagging indicator – that is, it generally takes a few weeks for people to sicken and die from the coronavirus. ___ The true number of infections is thought to be far higher because many Americans have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick. In France, with one-fifth the population of the U.S., a doctor warned that his country has “lost control of the epidemic” after health authorities reported more than 52,000 new cases. Spain, the first European country to surpass 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, ordered a nationwide curfew and a cap of six people on social gatherings. With Election Day just over a week away, average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34. Dr. Sam Ratermann, director of the hospitalist program at INTEGRIS Grove Hospital in Grove, Oklahoma, said his organization is offering a hiring bonus of up to $25,000 for experienced nurses. He said patients are being transferred from “hospital to hospital across the state” for lack of beds. “When you put those three together, we shouldn’t be surprised what we’re seeing,” Osterholm said. The virus is blamed for more than 8.6 million confirmed infections and over 225,000 deaths in the U.S., the highest such totals anywhere in the world. A strong national response plan was needed, along with consistent messaging that emphasized mask wearing and other preventive measures, Osterholm said. Deaths are still well below the U.S. peak of over 2,200 per day in late April. But experts are warning of a grim fall and winter, with a widely cited model from the University of Washington projecting about 386,000 dead by Feb. 1. A vaccine is unlikely to become widely available until mid-2021. The University of Minnesota’s Osterholm has been predicting the darkest days will be in the weeks or months ahead. He said he expects increased competition for drugs and shortages of hospital specialists, N95 masks and other protective gear. “But our response has been… I don’t know what our response has been,” he said. Italy, where the virus cut a deadly swath in the spring, ordered restaurants and bars closed by 6 p.m. and shut down gyms, pools and movie theaters. In Kentucky, the state shattered its record for the number of new cases per week, with 9,335.last_img read more

Vermont DPS wins key concessions in GMP-CVPS merger

first_imgby Alan Panebaker vtdigger.org The state of Vermont and its two largest utilities are one step closer to an agreement that could seal the deal for an historic merger.The Vermont Department of Public Service, Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service released a memorandum of understanding Tuesday that could serve as the framework for the certificate of public good the utilities need to receive before they can become one company.The proposal addresses many of the lingering issues that continue to cause concerns in the proposed merger of the state’s two largest utilities under one parent company ‘ Gaz Metro of Quebec.The proposed agreement would allow the Department of Public Service to appoint three members of the 13-member board of directors of the Vermont Electric Power Co. (VELCO), which manages the transmission system across the state. It would also require the utilities to invest $21 million in an efficiency fund as a result of a windfall requirement on CVPS to return money to ratepayers.The department issued a press release Tuesday stating it had ‘won major concessions’ from the utilities that would yield more customer savings, fund efficiency and weatherization and increase public interest governance of VELCO.One concession, said Dorothy Schnure, a spokeswoman for Green Mountain Power, is that more money in savings will go to ratepayers sooner.‘Customers are getting more savings earlier,’ Schnure said.In pre-filed testimony, the department pressed the utilities on their proposed financing that would allow the utilities to keep the lion’s share of savings in the early years after the merger.The utilities say the merger would result in $144 million in savings to ratepayers in the first 10 years after the deal goes through. The memorandum of understanding requires the utilities to provide $2.5 million to ratepayers in year one, starting Oct. 1, $5 million in year two, $8 million in year three, half the savings in years four to eight, and all of it in years nine and 10.Another sticking point for the utilities and the state has been the makeup of VELCO. The transmission utility manages the state’s physical electrical grid, Transco. The board is made up of utilities based on their market share of the retail electricity market. Currently CVPS and Green Mountain Power have a combined six seats on the board.The MOU would leave the new Green Mountain Power with four seats. Representatives from a low-income trust would hold three seats. The department would appoint these directors from government agencies, policy groups, low-income advocates and public power utilities. The utilities would also transfer about a third of the voting shares of VELCO to the trust, which the utilities claim will produce $1 million per year in dividends.‘There was a lot of talk around makeup of VELCO board,’ Schnure said. ‘I think what we’ve come up with is something people are agreeing satisfies a lot of the concerns.’The board’s makeup has created controversy among utilities and in the state Legislature.Three senators have pushed for a study of state ownership, and at least one utility, Washington Electric Cooperative, says someone should look into the idea of public ownership.Representatives for VELCO have said public involvement would disrupt the company’s governance and emphasized that the company is not for sale.Kerrick Johnson, vice president of external affairs for VELCO, said it was too soon to say what the utility’s position is on the proposal.‘We’ve just gotten the proposed agreement,’ he said. ‘We are reviewing it and will be in discussions with our other owners as part of our process to arrive at an informed opinion and decision on the proposal.’In a media statement, DPS Commissioner Elizabeth Miller said, ‘The concessions we have achieved here assure public direction in the governance of our electric transmission company, VELCO, and require a merger savings plan far more favorable to customers than had been originally proposed by the companies.’Sen. Vince Illuzzi, an intervenor in the docket, was at first highly critical of the department’s position and asked for independent counsel based on a conflict of interest in that Miller’s husband works for the law firm that represents Green Mountain Power.Illuzzi later backed off, and then pushed for legislation that would fund a study to determine the merits of state ownership of up to 51 percent of VELCO.Illuzzi said he could not comment substantively on the proposal Tuesday, but he said, ‘The highlights indicate positive movements in the direction I thought would be best for ratepayers and state of Vermont.’Illuzzi has also supported the idea of funding low-income weatherization programs in the state through the windfall money.Under the proposed MOU, Green Mountain Power would partner with community action agencies to invest $6 million in Vermont’s Weatherization Program before Dec. 1 with another $4 million before Dec. 1, 2013.Other ‘windfall’ money would be invested in efficiency and clean energy programs. The Community Energy and Efficiency Development Fund would be based on a similar fund developed when Gaz Metro purchased Green Mountain Power.The compromise, which meant the industry would invest an additional $21 million pursuant to a previous board order, appeased the department. But Greg Marchildon, executive director of AARP Vermont, said the move is ‘audacious.’AARP has pushed for a direct cash payback to CVPS customers throughout the proceeding.Marchildon says the proposal is a double whammy. Ratepayers had to bail out the utilities in the 1990s when they entered into imprudent contracts with Hydro-Quebec. Now, Marchildon said, the utilities are taking ratepayer money and investing it in causes they should be pursuing anyway.Marchildon said the investment in efficiency is a means of circumventing the legislative process to avoid raising taxes to pay for things like weatherization.The AARP continues a media campaign targeting Gov. Peter Shumlin to ensure ratepayers get cash back.‘One of the things we know the MOU does is it clearly states the governor has decided to side with the power companies as opposed to the people,’ he said.The MOU is a persuasive document for the Public Service Board, which will ultimately determine whether the proposed merger is in the public interest.March 27, 2012 vtdigger.orglast_img read more

Seven Days hires VPR reporter Taylor Dobbs

first_imgSeven Days,Vermont Business Magazine Award-winning journalist Taylor Dobbs is joining the news team at Vermont’s independent newsweekly, Seven Days. Since September 2013, he’s been a digital reporter at Vermont Public Radio, where he has distinguished himself online and on-air. Dobbs, 27, has won regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his coverage of the opiate crisis, a quadruple homicide and Green Mountain Power’s failure to document expenses. Earlier this month, he won a national Murrow Award for a video illustrating how the Iowa Democratic caucus works — using Legos.At Seven Days, Dobbs will serve as an investigative reporter and will cover Vermont state government and politics. He’ll start December 6.He’s taking over from State House reporter Terri Hallenbeck, who, according to Seven Days(link is external), “will step away from the daily grind on November 3 and start a new job 10 days later as assistant director of donor relations at Middlebury College.” She’s been a reporter for 31 years, the last three with Seven Days.Previously she covered the political beat for the Burlington Free Press.Prior to joining VPR, Dobbs wrote several freelance pieces for Seven Days and interned for VTDigger.org. He earned a bachelor’s in journalism from Northeastern University in 2013. Shortly before graduating, Dobbs got some very real-world reporting experience: In the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, he joined the manhunt for the men responsible and covered it all on Twitter. His on-the-scene reporting and photography were picked up by news outlets around the world.“Taylor’s not going to sit around in a newsroom,” said Seven Days publisher and coeditor Paula Routly. “He’s eager, ambitious, inventive and plugged in.”Dobbs grew up in Montpelier — less than a mile from the Statehouse.About Seven Days:Da Capo Publishing Inc., dba Seven Days, was founded by Pamela Polston and Paula Routly in 1995, and is now owned by Polston and Routly, as well as associate publishers Don Eggert, Cathy Resmer and Colby Roberts. In addition to its seven free publications, the Burlington-based company also produces several annual events, the Stuck in Vermont(link is external) video series and hosts a ticketing website(link is external), job board(link is external) and dating service.(link is external) Its editorial staff has received numerous journalism awards from entities including the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, the Parenting Media Association, the Vermont Press Association and the New England Newspaper and Press Association, which in 2017 named Seven Days the best large-circulation newsweekly in the region.Seven Days has been named Business of the Year by both the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Burlington Business Association. In 2013, Editor & Publisher selected Seven Days for inclusion in its annual feature, “10 Newspapers That Do It Right.” In 2015, Polston and Routly were inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame. The same honor was bestowed on Seven Days’ consulting editor, Candace Page, in 2017.Source: October 26, 2017 – Burlington, Vt. – Seven Dayslast_img read more