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Judge Grants USWNT Class Status in Discrimination Lawsuit

first_imgThe U.S. women’s national team has been granted class status in its lawsuit against U.S. Soccer that alleges gender discrimination in compensation and working conditions.U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner’s ruling Friday in Los Angeles expands the case beyond the 28 players who originally brought the lawsuit to include all players who had been called up to camp or played in a game over a multiyear period. U.S. Soccer had opposed the move to certify the class.Twenty-eight players, including stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, were part of the original suit filed against U.S. Soccer in March alleging institutionalized gender discrimination that includes inequitable compensation between the men’s and women’s teams. A May 5 trial date has been set in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.The federation has maintained that compensation for each team is the result of separate collective bargaining agreements, and that the pay structures are different as a result. Men’s team players are paid largely by appearance and performance, while the contract for the women’s team includes provisions for health care and other benefits, as well as salaries in the National Women’s Soccer League.The players disputed U.S. Soccer’s claims that some of them made more than their male counterparts, maintaining that if men had been as successful as the women’s team, they would have earned far more. The U.S. women won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. The men failed to make the field for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.Judge Klausner did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit but acknowledged the players’ claims that they were paid less on a per-game basis than the men and did not enjoy the same working conditions.“The failure to provide the (women’s National Team) with equal working conditions is a real (not abstract) injury which affects each Plaintiff in a personal and individual way,” the judge ruled “Plaintiffs also have offered sufficient proof of this injury. Indeed, Plaintiffs have submitted declarations establishing that WNT players were subject to discriminatory working conditions.”Molly Levinson, who speaks for the players in matters of the lawsuit, applauded the ruling.“This is a historic step forward in the struggle to achieve equal pay. We are so pleased that the Court has recognized USSF’s ongoing discrimination against women players – rejecting USSF’s tired arguments that women must work twice as hard and accept lesser working conditions to get paid the same as men. We are calling on (U.S. Soccer President) Carlos Cordeiro to lead USSF and demand an end to the unlawful discrimination against women now,” Levinson said.U.S. Soccer had “no specific comment” on the ruling.By: Anne M. Peterson, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Japan cruise to historic win over 10-man Colombia

first_imgJapan defeated Colombia 2-1 in their opening Group H game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk, to exact revenge for their 4-1 humiliation in the last edition.Japan, currently ranked 61st in the world according to the FIFA rankings, hence became the first Asian team to beat a South American team in the World Cup. Colmbia are incidentally ranked 16th.Japan won their fifth ever match in the World Cup thanks to Yuya Osako’s 73rd minute winner, which was enough to bag them three crucial points in a group which some have called as the group of death in this year’s World Cup.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEAsian teams had managed three draws in 17 matches against South American sides but the four-times Asian champions made their extra man count after Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez became the first player to get a red card in Russia.Colombia got off to the worst start, when Carlos Sanchez received a red card in the opening minutes of their match for a deliberate handball inside the box, to become the second fastest to be sent off in a World Cup matchWORLD CUP DAY 6 LIVE COVERAGE Ex-Aston Villa ace Sanchez was given his marching orders two minutes and 56 seconds into the game when his arm denied his Japanese opponent a clear shot at goal. There was little but no choice for referee Damir Skomina to send the defender off.The fastest-ever though still remains Jose Batista, who was sent off inside the first minute for fouling Gordon Strachan in 1986 World Cup match between Scotland and Uruguay. He was sent off in just 54 minutes.advertisementAlso read – A red card in 2 min, 56 secs for naughty SanchezSanchez became the first player to be red-carded in this year’s World Cup and will surely be suspended for his actions. He could also face further repercussions for refusing to immediately leave the field of play as Colombia’s players protested the decision. He is also the first Colombian to be sent off in a World Cup.Shinji Kagawa stepped up for Japan and slotted the ball past keeper David Ospina to take the lead. Juan Cuadrado was taken off the field to be replaced by Barrios as defensive reinforcement.But the joy was short lived for Japan as Juan Quintero as Colombia equalised six minutes before the interval when his low free kick squeezed over the line, just past the outstretched hand of diving Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.With the goal Quintero became first player to score in two different World Cup tournaments for Colombia (2014 & 2018). Incidentally there have been more direct free-kick goals scored in just 15 games at this World Cup than there were in the entire 2014 edition.Kagawa went close to scorring in the 16th minute but his shot rolled past the post and Osako fired against the face of goal from a dangerous position in the box.With Japan dominating in midfield, Colombia’s Argentine coach Jose Pekerman opted to sacrifice Juan Cuadrado around the half hour mark to send on defensive midfielder Wilmar Barrios.That gave Colombia extra control and their all-time leading scorer and captain Radamel Falcao came more into the game.Falcao, making his World Cup debut after missing the last tournament in Brazil due to injury, showed his hunger when he stretched full length to get his foot to an overhead cross but did not have the power to beat the goalkeeper.Genki Haraguchi’s foul on Falcao earned Colombia a foul on the edge of the box and Quintero fired a low free kick under the leaping wall. Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima reacted late and by the time he got his hands to the ball, it had crossed the line.Pekerman introduced James Rodriguez, who did not start due to a calf problem, in the 59th minute but the Golden Boot winner in Brazil was unable to change the course of the match.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

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India vs England: KL Rahul joins Rohit Sharma with second T20I hundred

first_imgKL Rahul became the second Indian to blast two T20I hundreds when he stormed to the triple figure mark against England in the first of a three-match series against England at Manchester.Rahul was sent in to bat at number three ahead of skipper Virat Kohli and the Bangalore boy made the most of his opportunities as he made 101 off 54 deliveries. In Ireland, he had been promoted to open the innings with Kohli and smashed a pulsating 36-ball 70.The 26-year-old Rahul enjoyed a sensational IPL campaign for Kings XI Punjab, smashing 659 runs off 14 matches.Rahul, many experts feel, should now be a part of Indian teams across formats. The stylish batsman did not play the IPL this year but in 2018, he was not retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore and was snapped up by Kings XI Punjab.MATCH BLOGOn his debut for KXIP, he blasted the fastest fifty in the history of the IPL. Moreover, in the innings to follow, he showed intent and a desire to complete the innings. Even though KXIP slipped out of the race for the playoffs, Rahul’s consistency meant he was once again an automatic choice for India in the shorter formats.When India announce the Test squad for the England tour, it will be impossible to leave him out.On Tuesday, Rahul walked in early after Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed cheaply. India were not chasing a big target and Rahul took his time to settle down before unleashing a wide array of shots. He was unstoppable and even the fiery Rohit Sharma took a backseat as Rahul enthralled the Manchester crowd.advertisementHowever, Rahul had got off to a breezy start which included two sweetly timed boundaries off Simi Singh in the first over. He was unstoppable thereafter and in the company of Suresh Raina, took the Ireland bowling attack to the cleaners.India are desperately looking for two middle-order options in the ODI side and Rahul’s classy innings in Dublin and Manchester should now put him in good stead. He looked good for his second T20I hundred last week against the Irish but he was done in by a Kevin O’Brien’s spongy bounce.Rahul is no stranger to records and milestones. He had hammered a hundred on ODI debut and smashed his maiden Test hundred in only his second match against Australia.In August last year, Rahul equalled the world record for most consecutive half-centuries in Test cricket.last_img read more

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The rise of Naya Raipur

first_imgEarlier, one would invoke Chandigarh when it came to planned township. Today, the template has changed. Naya Raipur is fast emerging as a role model for developing cities, with Andhra Pradesh taking cue from it to develop its own capital in Amravati, and Jharkhand planning one in the near future.Naya Raipur, the idea for which first came up in 1973, is serving as the administrative capital of Chhattisgarh and catering to the infrastructural needs of industry and trade in the region. The planning and growth of Naya Raipur stands as a significant benchmark in rapidly urbanising India and among the green field cities planned globally in the 21st century.Naya Raipur, which has been developed under the Narendra Modi government’s ‘Smart City Mission’, has now blossomed into a world-class city with state-of-the-art infrastructure that also bring in social cohesion and local inclusiveness. It sets a precedent of how urban development should be initiated and implemented.Naya Raipur Development Plan 2031 was prepared with a vision to develop a ‘Green City’, equipped with modern amenities for residents and visitors. The city is wellplanned, with balanced distribution of landuse and acts as the engine of economic growth for Chhattisgarh.The development plan covers a total area of 237.42 sq km, out of which the core area alone spreads over 95.22 sq km. The targeted population for the city is 5,60,000 by 2031. The plan for 2031, prepared in 2008, encompasses 41 revenue villages. The planning area of Naya Raipur is distributed into three layers. The form of Naya Raipur was deliberately designed linear in shape to facilitate Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) movement and ease in planning of infrastructure and facilities.advertisementTHE GREEN PLANCrisscross green walkways have been proposed and are connected from one end of the city to the other to promote pedestrian andnon-motorised transportation (NMT) movement. The green belt of 500m width around Layer-I boundary acts as a natural air purifier for the city.All water bodies have been retained and even the smallest ones, including natural streams, ponds and lakes, have been provided with a buffer of 25 m. Keeping the climatic conditions in mind, detailed natural drainage analysis based on the sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) model has been prepared to retain water in streams, ponds and lakes throughout the year, using the water front for urban activities.HOUSING & INFRASTRUCTUREThe planning of the city is expected to accommodate housing for EWS and LIG with 25 per cent of area in the residential sectors reserved for the above economic classes. The infrastructure has been created utilising state-of-the-art technologies yet conserving the natural resources. NRDA has envisaged the development of the city on self-sustainable financing model.Various infrastructure projects like city level water supply, logistics hub and real estate projects like hotel, golf course, themed township, sports city, etc, are being developed.The infrastructure was envisioned as Information and Communication Technology-friendly in the development plan itself and subsequently, when Smart City initiative was introduced by the Government, the adaptation to the same was easily materialised.For Smart City implementation, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of all utilities and addition of SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition) system is being done.TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMThe transportation network for NRDA was based on the concept of accessibility, affordability, equitable and safe mobility. The 100-km of four and six lane city level roads have been constructed with 55-km of LED street-lighting.A 20m wide median is proposed in most of the roads with a vision of future expansion.A railway line has been planned and implemented connecting Naya Raipur to the main rail network within the country.Four railway stations within the planning boundary of NRDA will provide access to most of the sectors and villages. Other ongoing projects are Public Bike Sharing Scheme, Multimodal Logistics Hub and Last Mile Connectivity with e-IPT.POWER & WATER SUPPLYThe focus has been to make power supply available 24×7, reduce transmission and distribution loss. NRDA intends to increase in renewable energy resources (20 per cent power supply at Mantralaya is through solar energy) and continue to achieve more in this sector.Some of the key features of the smart energy system are to reduce redundancy, underground cable network, solar panels, wind-powered streetlights, intelligent streetlight management system, smart meters and electrical charging stations.A water treatment plant has been set up and treated water is being supplied to the residents since 2015. The existing system is being upgraded and the SCADA system is being set up to increase the system efficiency by future provision of 24×7 fully pressurised water supply system, real-time monitoring, automatic meter reading and its integration with billing software.advertisementlast_img read more

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Belships Inks Sale and Lease Back Deal for New Bulker

first_imgzoom Oslo-listed dry bulk owner and operator Belships has entered into a sale and lease back agreement with a Japanese company for a 61,000 dwt Ultramax bulk carrier M/S Belisland.The eco-design bulker, currently under construction at Imabari Shipbuilding in Japan, is expected to be delivered in March 2016.Belships said that, at the time of delivery, the vessel will be sold and leased back for a period of 15 years with purchase options from year five.This agreement is expected to improve the Norwegian company’s cash balance with about USD 6 – 8 million, depending on market value at time of delivery.Belships said that the contract price for the vessel was USD 28.25 million.In September 2015, the company signed a sale and lease back agreement for the 61,000 dwt bulk carrier M/S Belforest for a period of 12 years, with purchase options from year three.The company has one more 63,000 dwt vessel under construction at Imabari, scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2017.last_img read more

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Ewan McGregor Visits Refugee And Displaced Children On Iraq Frontline

first_imgUNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor travelled to northern Iraq last week to see how the conflicts sweeping across Iraq and Syria are devastating children’s lives.Ewan McGregor walks with Myrna, 10, inside an abandoned mall that her and her family used to live in, Erbil, northern IraqTens of thousands of children have been killed, injured, separated from their parents, forced to work, tortured and recruited into fighting.
During his visit McGregor travelled to Debaga camp where he met with families that have escaped brutal violence currently taking place in areas surrounding Mosul in the north of the country. He also spent time with Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi families in camps and communities around Erbil.The situation for children in Iraq is becoming increasingly desperate. Around 3.6 million children – one in five – are at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction and recruitment into armed groups. Many are being ripped from their families and forced to flee on their own, often making dangerous journeys and falling into the hands of traffickers.“Children uprooted by conflict can find themselves alone, without family and in grave danger. No child should be alone. Many of the children I’ve met in Iraq have been forced to flee their homes, risking their lives on dangerous journeys and have been exposed to unimaginable horrors,” said UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor. “The world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis and we must do more to protect the extraordinary number of children who have been torn from their homes by violent conflict.“One girl I met called Mirna told me how her family slept in a disused, half-constructed shopping mall for over a year. The community donated food, clothes and supplies to her family and really came together to welcome displaced people. This act of humanity should be replicated everywhere, especially on our own doorsteps. It’s up to us to tell our friends, our neighbours and our governments that refugees are welcome.”This September world leaders will meet to discuss the global refugee crisis at two crucial summits in New York. UNICEF is urging leaders to be strong, compassionate and bold in their commitments to protect children on the move.McGregor witnessed how UNICEF is reaching families fleeing the Mosul area with lifesaving food and water, child protection services and healthcare. Many of the people he met, who had been previously trapped, had not had access to healthcare, education or basic services for over two years.UNICEF is working to protect children across Iraq and Syria, delivering life-saving food, clean water and vaccines, as well as providing education and psychological support. However humanitarian aid cannot keep pace with the tremendous needs of children.last_img read more

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Moroccan Parliament to Take Part in 136th IPU Assembly in Dhaka

Rabat – The Moroccan parliament will participate in the 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly. The event, presented under the theme “Redressing Inequalities: Delivering on Dignity and Well-Being For All,” is underway until April 5, in Dhaka (Bangladesh).According to the Daily Star, the event was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the South Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This year’s assembly will focus on taking decisive actions to end the rise of social, political and economic inequality throughout the globe. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and children’s rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, presented the keynote address. The Moroccan delegation to the Assembly is led by deputy speaker of the House of Representatives (lower house), Rachid El Abdi.The delegation will hold several coordination meetings of the Arab, Islamic and African geo-strategic groups. These are represented by the Arab Parliamentary Union (APU) and the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States, to develop positions on a number of points raised, according to a statement by the lower house.Several themes are being covered during the IPU Assembly. Discussion topics include “Preventing Outside Interference in the Internal Affairs of Sovereign States” and “Promoting Enhanced International Cooperation on the SDGs, in Particular the Financial Inclusion of Women as a Driver of Development.” “The Role of Parliamentarians in Promoting Adolescent Health and Well-Being” and “Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World” are also being examined.Founded in 1889, the IPU is an international organization of parliaments. The Assembly has become the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue with the goal of promoting peace, cooperation and representative democracy.This year’s event is being marked by the participation of 1,348 delegates. These include 650 members of parliament, 53 speakers and deputy speakers, and 209 female parliamentarians from 131 countries. read more

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Youth programs left wanting by California marijuana law

LOS ANGELES — More than a year after the start of marijuana sales in California, no money has been allocated for substance abuse programs and education for youth.Voters had been promised that part of the tax revenue from sales and cultivation would be devoted to such programs.Robert Harris, a policy adviser and lobbyist for the California Society of Addiction Medicine, said the absence of funding is sad and disappointing.Equally troubling, he adds, is the lack of clear guidelines for how that funding would be divvied up, and how programs would be run and evaluated.A new state report suggests the Legislature might have to clarify those issues.The absence of dollars so far can be explained by the slow start to legal sales and the effect of rigid rules that came with the legalization measure.Michael R. Blood, The Associated Press read more

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Victims of violence against women must be supported perpetrators punished – Ban

“Whether it is domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called ‘honour’ crimes or female genital cutting, violence against women and girls continues to be a horrific and all-too common crime,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a panel at UN Headquarters on the issue. In addition to causing personal suffering, violence against women undermines development, generates instability, and makes peace in society much harder to achieve, he noted.“We all need to unite to demand accountability for the violations of the rights of women and girls. We all need to take concrete steps to end impunity. We must listen to and support the victims. “We must address the roots of violence against women by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it,” the Secretary-General said.Mr. Ban noted that the Beijing Platform for Action, the outcome of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, identified putting an end to violence against women as critical to achieving equality, development and peace. Among the progress made on the issue since then, he cited the adoption by the Security Council of resolutions on women, peace and security, as well as sexual violence in conflict. Mr. Ban, who is strongly committed to the struggle to end sexual violence in conflict, has appointed a UN Special Representative to tackle this horrible practice. In addition, he has launched the “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign which seeks to raise public awareness and generate political will, and established a Network of Men Leaders bringing together current and former politicians, activists, religious and community figures to combat the global pandemic.“Let us rid our societies of this cause for global shame,” Mr. Ban told the panel, which took place as part of the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). “Let us end the violence and empower women and girls for the benefit of all.” 11 March 2010Violence against women devastates individuals and societies alike, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling for united action to demand accountability, end impunity and support the victims of this global scourge. read more

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Thesis defences — May 21 to 24

The following is a list of thesis defences taking place at Brock from Tuesday, May 21 to Friday, May 24.All are open for the University community to attend.Master of Science thesis defenceGraham Jones, a Master of Science candidate in the Centre for Biotechnology, will defend the thesis “Bioinformatic and morphological characterization of Catharanthus roseus mutants” on Wednesday, May 22 at 10 in MCD 350L.The examination committee includes Cheryl McCormick, Chair; Michael Phillips, External Examiner (University of Toronto, Mississauga); and Heather Gordon, Jeffrey Atkinson and Alan Castle, Committee Members.Master of Sustainability thesis defenceMaster of Sustainability student Lyn Brown will defend the thesis “An Analysis of Invasive Species Management in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada: Establishment of a Database to Improve Knowledge Sharing” on Friday, May 24 at 9 a.m. in the Theal House Boardroom.The examination committee includes Dawn Zinga, Chair; Liette Vasseur, Supervisor; Stephen Murphy, External Examiner (Professor, University of Waterloo); Ryan Plummer, Graduate Program Director; and Marilyne Jollineau and Allison Waller, Committee Members. read more

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Northwest Mining Association in December

first_imgThe 113th NWMA Annual Meeting and Exposition is December 3-7, 2007 at the new Spokane Convention Center, Spokane, Washington. There will be two days of short courses followed by three days of technical sessions which run concurrently with the exposition. These will be followed by field trips. The short courses are:Avoiding permitting pitfalls and delays on Federal lands with case histories – This two-day workshop will cover permitting requirements, Plans of Operations under the Forest Service 36 CFR 228A regulations and the BLM 42 CFR 3809 regulations. Speakers will focus on case histories: what went wrong and what worked. The workshop will close with a joint industry/regulatory panel. This is a must attend course for anyone with the responsibility for permitting exploration and mining on federal public lands.Epithermal ore deposits – involves a series of lectures over two days that cover (1) geological/mineralogical characteristics of epithermal deposits; (2) fluid flow and fluid chemistry in active epithermal environments; (3) transport and deposition of precious and related metals; (4) hydrothermal mineral zonation patterns and overprinting; (5) case studies; guides for exploration. Lecture materials include handouts and a CD with the power point presentations.Geophysics, geochemistry and geology – cutting edge case studies and technologies – The fundamentals of exploration are covered in this short course in light of breakthroughs in technology and field applications. In the past the industry solved the problem of keeping the pipeline full by applying an army of geoscience professionals, rock picks and a lot of boot leather and sweat which resulted in a significant discovery rate for new deposits. Our modern reality is greatly reduced numbers of professionals who survived the downturn of the last 20 years and are still in this industry. Coupled to this is the significant generation gap that has developed between the tail of the last boom, and the nose of the one we are in. Into this mix we have seen major innovation in the development and application of new technologies that can be deployed in the field and used realtime to greatly reduce the staffing requirements that supported the armies of the 1970s and 1980s. This course will look at these applications as they pertain to the trinity of exploration support that drives discovery today: Geology, Geochemistry and Geophysics.Real world geophysics – This one-day course is designed to review the application of geophysical tools to the exploration process in many exploration environments. The addition of geophysical methods into the exploration program can be integral to the discovery of resources and usually allows the quick identification of the best exploration targets early in the exploration process. While this Short Course will not make a geophysicist out of the attendees, it will present several important principles that will make geophysical applications useful in exploration programs and improve the understanding of these applications. In particular, the principle of Non-Uniqueness is integral to understanding the interpretation of geophysical data. Data from several consulting projects will be presented, from economical and not so economical properties. The logic of determining the most useful methods, designing the surveys, supervising the contractors, presenting the data collected, and interpreting the data relative to the target expected will be reviewed. No formula, just ideas and applications!Principles and practices of water management by land application – Many mining operations need to manage excess water during operation and closure. Land application of excess water avoids challenges associated with surface water discharge – including aquatic life protection issues and costly treatment processes that require chemical reagents, energy inputs and expertise to operate effectively. In addition, the lengthy NPDES permitting process is unnecessary. Properly designed and managed land application systems provide appropriate application rates of nutrients and moisture to vegetation while attenuating trace elements in soil. Design options are site specific, depending upon the operator’s objectives and the environmental conditions (climate, soils, vegetation, etc.) Land application is also used as a seasonal alternative to discharge, when low flow conditions in streams effectively limit permitted surface water discharge rates. This course is structured to enhance understanding of land application: basic principles, strategies, and management practices for compliance, the latest regulatory issues and practical land application operations, including hands-on monitoring and reporting calculation exercises.The following questions will be answered during the short course: How does land application treat the constituents in the excess water? What are basic principles of soil-water-plant relations and land application treatment? How are land application systems permitted and what are the regulatory limits based upon? What are the engineering design criteria and practical considerations needed to design or improve a land application system? How are pretreatment, storage and alternatives evaluated? How are land application systems monitored and what does the data mean?A brochure about this year-end mining event is downloadable at http://www.nwma.org/pdf/.pdf. The brochure provides information about current sponsors (and the form to complete if you would like to become a sponsor), the short courses, the technical session topics, the pre-registration form, and the space reservation form for companies that wish to exhibit. The current list of exhibitors and the floor plan is in the brochure to assist in selecting a location and reserve your space.177 spaces have been reserved-more than last years total- but there are spaces still available. NWMA is projecting total attendance of 1,800.last_img read more

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Explainer What is happening in Gaza

first_img Palestinian relatives of four boys from the same extended Bakr family, grieve in the family house during their funeral in Gaza City. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesThere was a ceasefire and a peace deal, though?There was a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire last week that was broken by Hamas after just two hours. There was also an Egyptian-backed peace deal that Israel accepted but Hamas rejected, stating that because it did not propose ending the Israeli blockade, it was not a true peace deal but rather just a downing of arms.Israel doesn’t want to lift the blockade because it says that it has repeatedly intercepted weapons bound for Gaza at border crossings.While that is a completely justifiable stance, the blockade makes life extremely difficult for regular Gazans.Why is the US involved? What does Ireland think of the whole thing?The US is involved because it sees Israel as an absolutely essential ally in the Middle East. It backs the Israeli military to the tune of $3 billion every year. Officially, it backs a two-state solution, but it is staunchly pro-Israel.US Secretary of State John Kerry has officially said that US “supports Israel’s right to defend itself,” but seemed frustrated by the killing of civilians while on microphone for a US news show. Source: BringInTrends/YouTubeIreland’s official stance is:“A two state solution allied to a return to pre-1967 borders unless amended by agreement between the two parties, an agreed solution to the issue of Palestinian Refugees who fled/left their houses in 1948 and 1967, Israel to cease settlement activities and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001.”What are the solutions and why has this been so hard to find?The ideas for solutions are vast, but most states and moderate parties in the Middle East agree that some form of two-state solution would be best. The problems here lie in the division between Gaza and the West Bank. In the West Bank, Palestinian leaders have committed to peace and compromise, but with Hamas in control of Gaza, compromise will be difficult.Hamas-supporting Gazans will also look at the West Bank and see growing Israeli settlements and a never-ending military occupation and wonder why they would compromise.The longer the situation drags on, the wearier both sides become and the more likely either side are due to become radicalised, meaning that a single-state solution is largely a non-runner. Demographics make the one-state solution more and more difficult: Jewish Israelis are unlikely to form a state in which they would be quickly outnumbered. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesEven the two-state solution carries with it massive issues that are unlikely to be bridged the longer this goes on.Chief among these is the status of Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock, in the centre of the picture below, is one of the holiest sites in Islam and sits atop the ancient Temple Mount ruins, the Western Wall of which is the holiest site in Judaism. That, in a nutshell is how difficult this situation will be navigate.The other option is the destruction of either state, but that would be the elimination of millions of people in a bloody war. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesThere are also the issues of the undefined West bank borders, the future of relations between Israel and Palestine, extremism, security, the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, the division of resources, and the not inconsiderable matter of seven million Palestinian refugees.The situation in Israel and Palestine is big, complex, nuanced and messy and the likelihood of a solution in the near future is not great.What humanitarians hope is that some temporary solution can be found to end the bloodshed.For everything on the conflict thus far, click here Originally published 26 JulyIN THE LAST 18 days, over 800 people have been killed in clashes in the Gaza Strip.The recent outbreak of fighting has centred on what Israel calls its “right to defend itself” against rockets fired into its land by Hamas militants, but in reality, is about much more than that.The situation is subject to claim and counter-claim, rhetoric and counter-rhetoric, deep division, and entrenched opinion on both sides.But what is happening and why? Take 8 minutes (estimated) and get filled in.Let’s go from the start; what is the difference between Israel and Palestine?Understanding this is crucial, because it is at the base of a conflict that is nearly 70 years old.And it is perhaps the most difficult question to answer, because it all comes down to who you ask. Officially, there is no border that divides the two states, because the international community considers Palestine one of many things.Some consider it an independent state, some an occupied territory and some don’t recognise its existence at all. This map shows which countries recognise the state of Palestine. Source: WikimediaIsrael is, effectively, what British-owned Palestine was in the early 20th century.After World War II, a plan was implemented to create a Jewish state on what was historically Jewish land. While this was arguably a noble idea after the horrors of the Holocaust, housing one refugee population on someone else’s land only created a second refugee population.The Jewish state founded created, in practice, a country that grants privilege to Jewish citizens, who account for 5.9 million of the country’s 7.8 million people.Laws around land ownership and citizenship are heavily weighted in Jews’ favours, activists argue.Today, Palestinian refugees are mostly in the West Bank, parts of Lebanon and Jordan and the Gaza Strip. So, despite what you might hear, this is not a religious war – it’s a land war.While this image does not tell the full story – it leaves out reasons behind the conflicts, the fact that Arabs rejected the UN plan and conflates Mandatory Palestine with modern Palestine- it gives a scale of the changing landscape. Source: Al ArabiyaThe Gaza Strip is where the fighting is, right?Yes.And the Gaza Strip is… Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City Source: AP/Press Association ImagesThe problem with Palestinian land nowadays is that it is actually two tracts of land on opposite sides of Israel.Confusingly, the West Bank is in the east of the country (it is on the western bank of the River Jordan) and the Gaza Strip is in the west, on the Mediterranean Sea.In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Up to then, the territories had been more or less controlled by Jordan and Egypt. In the war with its Arab neighbours, Israel also took Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.Israel withdrew settlers and troops from Gaza in 2005, but maintains a blockade that human rights organisations say makes the strip – which is just 40km long and 12km wide – an open-air prison.Since 2012, Gaza is governed by Hamas, while Fatah governs the West Bank.Hamas are fighting with Israel, aren’t they? Palestinian militants from Hamas in 2009. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesYes, at least the armed wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are. Israel reckons there are about 10,000 operatives in the armed brigades.In their 1988 charter, Hamas referenced “the raising of the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine”, but added “Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions—Islam, Christianity and Judaism—to coexist in peace and quiet with each other.”However, the same charter also provides religious texts that justify the killing of Jews in Israel and leadership have spoken of their desire not to see Israel on maps. Some believe that Hamas is incapable of a reconciliation with Israel and is merely biding its time until it can liberate historic Palestine.Hamas has accused Israel of war crimes in this conflict, but is no stranger to violence itself. After the 2009 violence, Hamas was accused of summary executions, beheadings and limiting the access to wounded people of neutral observers and medical staff.So why is this outbreak of fighting happening? This fighting is the worst since 2009 and started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers last month. Source: AP Photo/Oded BaliltyIn response, Israel arrested Hamas members in the West Bank and launched airstrikes on Gaza. A Palestinian teen was killed in an apparent revenge attack. His cousin was then beaten in police custody.On the morning of 8 July, Hamas launched a wave of 40 rocket attacks into Israel. These attacks are generally shot with little aiming, but create a climate of terror in Israel, where warning sirens pierce the air with regularity.It was the first time that Hamas had claimed responsibility for an attack on Israel since 2012, the last time there was serious fighting.In response, Israel aimed to “make Hamas pay a heavy price” and began air strikes. Within six days, more people had died than in the 2012 violence.Last week, Israel upped the ante considerably, launching a ground offensive on Gaza. Israel says that this move was necessary to defend itself from so-called “terror tunnels”, a hidden network of passages that Hamas uses to sneak into Egypt and Israel.That has also increased the body count massively. Source: OCHAThe UN Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that as of Friday, 789 Palestinians -578 civilians and 119 militants – and 37 Israelis have died.Those death counts are pretty one-sided, how come? Source: AP/Press Association ImagesThis is one of the most divisive issues in the argument.The significantly smaller number on the Israeli side is down to the Hamas rockets being fired aimlessly and the Iron Dome. That system is designed to intercept rockets and the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) says it has taken down 87% of missiles.On the opposite side, Israel claims that civilian casualties in Gaza are caused by Hamas storing rockets near civilian areas, such as hospitals and schools. Indeed, the UN Relief and Works Agency says that they have discovered Hamas rockets in their schools.Israel says that this is tantamount to taking human shields.However, Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told CNN this week that that is impossible to quantify.“It would be impossible at this point to say how much truth there is to the human shield argument.“That’s not going to be possible to do in the heat of the conflict.” Source: AP/Press Association ImagesHowever, the Israeli army is one of the top 15-best-funded defence forces in the world. It has at its disposal some of the most hi-tech weaponry ever seen but has still killed nearly 500 civilians in two weeks.Coupled with that, Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth and is surrounded by Israel and Egypt, both of whom have closed their border crossings.The IDF has at its disposal around 176,000 active personnel and 450,000 reserves. This makes it the 34th largest army in the world. It has over 4,000 tanks, over 60 warships and hundreds of aircraft.There has been some argument that Hamas is deliberately goading Israel into the fight in order to secure international condemnation of Israel’s blockade of Gaza.Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland last week, an Israeli spokesperson said that Gazans were free to evacuate to beaches.That day, four Palestinian children, who were playing on the beach, were killed by an Israeli naval strike.last_img read more

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Motorola Xoom now matches iPad 2 on price at 499

first_imgNo one can deny that Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 have taken the consumer market by storm. Apple started the tablet revolution and its competitors have been struggling to catch up ever since.One mistake many manufacturers seem to be making is pricing their tablets higher than the iPad 2. Maybe this is unavoidable and due to Apple having better (read cheaper) supply contracts than anyone else can get. Even so, a tablet a few hundred dollars more than an iPad is already fighting a losing battle for your hard-earned dollars.Motorola seems to have realized this disadvantage and seen sense. A tweet sent out earlier today on the official Motorola account has announced that the WiFi version of the Xoom tablet now matches the cheapest iPad 2 on price. You can now pick up a Xoom for $499, which is a $100 price drop.The Xoom has been on sale since March and does give the iPad 2 some decent competition. It doubles the on-board memory to 32GB, has a larger 10.1″ display and resolution of 1280 x 800, sports a microSD slot for further expansion, matches the iPad 2 on battery life, and replaces the closed iOS 4 operating system with the decidedly more open Android 3.1.Reviews have ben positive for Motorola’s tablet and therefore the choice comes down to one of Android or iOS? If you are not a fan of Apple products, iTunes, or the iOS environment then the Xoom may be your perfect alternative. But then there’s always the draw of what’s on the horizon and is it worth waiting for the next round of tablets to appear?If you’re tempted by the new low price head on over to the Motorola website where you can pick one up right now.via SAIlast_img read more

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Ouragan 8 à 14 cyclones majeurs prévus par les autorités américaines

first_imgOuragan : 8 à 14 cyclones majeurs prévus par les autorités américainesÉtats-Unis – La saison 2010 des ouragans pourrait être l’une des pires jamais enregistrées selon l’Agence océanique et atmosphérique américaine (Noaa). Celle-ci prévoit notamment huit à quatorze cyclones majeurs. Durant cette période, du 1er juin au 30 novembre, quatorze à vingt-trois tempêtes très puissantes pourraient avoir lieu selon Jane Lubchenco, sous-secrétaire au Commerce chargée de la Noaa.La puissance de ces dépressions pourrait ensuite se renforcer et donner naissance à des ouragans. Huit à quatorze d’entre eux pourraient entraîner des vents supérieurs à 119 km/h, voire 178 km/h minimum pour trois à sept de ces tempêtes, devenant ainsi des ouragans de catégorie 3 à 5 (ouragans classés majeurs).Ces ouragans pourraient avoir des conséquences désastreuses sur la marée noire qui touche actuellement le golfe du Mexique, tout comme en Haïti où les sinistrés espèrent rapidement un retour à la normal après le séisme de magnitude 7 survenu en janvier dernier.L’Agence américaine de gestion des crises (Fema) serait désormais capable d’avertir la population du risque d’ouragan 12 heures plus tôt qu’auparavant, soit 48 heures à l’avance. Elle a donc appelé “les personnes qui vivent dans des zones d’évacuation à dresser un plan d’évacuation dès maintenant pour leur famille et leurs animaux domestiques”. Le 28 mai 2010 à 13:12 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

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Fukushima Tepco naurait pas effectué les contrôles suffisants

first_imgFukushima : Tepco n’aurait pas effectué les contrôles suffisantsQuelques jours avant le séisme et le tsunami qui ont dévasté le Japon et ébranlé la centrale de Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) avait reconnu devant les autorités ne pas avoir effectué tous les contrôles nécessaires.C’est un nouveau scandale pour l’entreprise Tepco. Ses aveux faits quelques jours avant la survenue du séisme et du tsunami au Japon, révèlent que les registres de contrôle de la centrale ont été faussés avant d’être confiés aux autorités.En réalité, “le plan de contrôle des installations et la gestion de la maintenance étaient inappropriés” selon l’Agence de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), qui ajoute que “la qualité des inspections était insuffisante”.La nature de leur négligence s’élève à une trentaine de pièces au niveau des réacteurs qui n’ont pas subi les contrôles nécessaires. Tepco avoue notamment ne pas avoir vérifié depuis 11 ans la carte d’alimentation d’une valve de contrôle de température. À lire aussiLe pied d’éléphant, cette effrayante masse radioactive cachée dans les entrailles de TchernobylPour l’heure l’ASN estime qu'”il n’est pas possible de dire dans quelle mesure les manquements constatés concernant l’entretien et le contrôle des installations ont influencé ou non la cascade de problème découlant du séisme”. Une fois la crise nucléaire passée, l’Agence prévoit de mener des investigations plus poussées. Tepco avait déjà en 2002 maquillé des rapports qui avait valu la démission de son PDG de l’époque.Pour tout savoir sur la catastrophe nucléaire qui touche la centrale de Fukushima, consultez notre dossier Le 21 mars 2011 à 14:52 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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CA Technologies introduces 12 weeks of paid parental leave for 11000 global

first_imgSoftware organisation CA Technologies has introduced a new global paid parental leave policy for its 11,000 worldwide employees.The parental leave policy, which launched today (Monday 2 July 2018), enables both male and female employees to take a minimum of 12 weeks of paid parental leave during the first 12 months following the birth or adoption of a child.Eligible employees can opt to take a shorter period of leave, if they wish, and employees’ salaries and benefits will continue to be paid normally while they are on parental leave.Employees are eligible to take the paid parental leave when they have completed 12 months of service at the date the child is born, or when an adopted child is matched or newly placed with an employee.CA Technologies initially launched the paid parental leave policy in the US last year. It is now rolling the policy out across its operating sites in more than 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific, Japan, Latin America and North America.The parental leave policy has been designed to help CA Technologies create an inclusive workplace culture, as well as position it as an employer of choice. The policy further forms part of CA Technologies’ commitment to encouraging and promoting gender parity at work, and contributes to its talent management strategy. This also includes leadership learning and development, unconscious bias training and flexible working.The parental leave policy will operate alongside the organisation’s existing family-friendly benefits. This includes reimbursement for the shipment of milk for travelling mothers, gift bundles for new babies and pets, five days of bereavement leave for immediate family members and pet benefits, such as time off when an employee adopts a pet or when a pet passes away.Gail Wilkinson, senior vice president, people at CA Technologies, said: “CA Technologies is delighted to announce the launch of this innovative and exciting new parent leave policy, which will enhance our existing broad range of family-friendly benefits.“Equality, diversity and inclusion have a vital role to play in business success and this new policy, a first for the technology industry, will help drive an even greater level of gender balance across our global business while offering a more rewarding employee experience. The technology industry has particular gender parity challenges and we are confident that this new parent policy will also play a wider leadership role in promoting a more sustainable, prosperous and inclusive society.”last_img read more

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Athletes give it their all Native Youth Olympics

first_imgMia Korn, an eight-year-old from McGrath, executes a two-foot high kick at the Junior Native Youth Olympics on February 24, 2018. (Johanna Eurich/KYUK)Anyone will tell you that strength is not enough. Skill, form, technique and concentration will win the day in most sports, including the Native Youth Olympics (NYO). Those qualities were on exhibit at the Wells Fargo Sports Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage this weekend.Listen nowThe two-foot high-kick is a NYO classic. It can be done standing right under the target, or with a running start. The trick is to jump off from two feet, kick your feet forwards and up to hit the ball, and then land back on both feet. Boys and girls compete separately, but at the at the end of Saturday’s Junior NYO competition neither sex had an advantage. Both girls and boys had made kicks up to 55 inches.That’s way above the heads of youngsters like nine-year-old Mason Logan Beans-Polk from Bethel’s Gladys Jung Elementary School. He had to look up to see the beautiful skin-sewn ball that was his high-kick target. After warming up in his gym shoes, he took them off and stood beneath the ball, measuring the distance with his arms extended. He then took three deliberate steps back, concentrating before making a running jump. He was one of the few who competed barefoot; he had thought that decision through.“That makes it light and you could kick higher,” Beans-Polk said. “When you kick it makes it way easier to kick without your shoes and socks on.”Beans-Polk didn’t win the competition, but he came close.Stewart Towarak, one of the officials, watched. He was a Senior NYO two-foot and one-foot high kick champion when he was in high school. His one-foot high-kick record of 9 feet 6 inches still stands. He says that the youngsters competing in the Junior NYO have a head start. He never even tried the traditional Native games until he was in seventh grade. He observed that any one of the competitors he’s watching could break his record when they get into high school.“At a young age, you get them interested and it kind of motivates them to get better in all these events and maybe even go through high school,” Towarak said. “For some of these kids this is probably their favorite event throughout the whole year.”The crowds cheer the kids on, and it is not just the home team that gets the attention. Everyone roots for everyone else; even the opposing coaches are helping their competition improve.One opposing coach said, “I was telling him he was high enough and he needs to keep his head up, not down, and he’ll kick higher that way.”It doesn’t matter which community they are from, at the Native Youth Olympics it’s not unusual to hear the entire gym cheering when the athletes succeed.last_img read more

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7th Pay Commission effect Coal India workers demand Rs18000 minimum monthly salary

first_imgThe first indications of the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) triggering demands for salary hike have begun in right earnest with Coal India Limited (CIL) workers set to join the general strike on September 2. Among the many demands include minimum monthly salary of Rs. 18,000, similar to the one proposed by the 7th CPC and accepted by the Central government employees.CIL informed about the September 2 strike in a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Saturday morning. The coal workers will be joining other trade unions that have called for a general strike in which about five lakh bank employees are also likely to participate.Of the 13 demands listed in the charter are hike in minimum monthly salary, halt to disinvestment of public sector undertakings, increased gratuity, discontinue the practice of recruiting people on contract basis and regularise employment of those hired on contractual terms.”We have received a communication of strike notice dated 19th August 2016 for general strike on 2nd September 2016. Efforts are being made for conciliation process. If they resort to strike, it will affect production and dispatch of coal,” CIL said in its filing with the BSE.Some of the demands for which many industrial workers are going on strike are:No privatisation, no further disinvestment and no strategic sale of nationalised coal sectorImmediate recruitment drive to fill vacant postsStrict enforcement of all labour laws without any exceptionUrgent measures for controlling pricesMinimum social security cover for all workersMinimum wage of not less than Rs. 18,000 per month with provisions of indexation for unskilled workersAssured enhanced pension of not less than Rs. 3,000 per month for the entire working population (including unorganised sector workers)Stoppage of disinvestment in central/state public sector undertakingsRemoval of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund and increase in quantum of gratuity.The proposed Industrial Relations Code Bill 2015 seeks to give flexibility to companies employing up to 300 workers from obtaining government approval for retrenchment, lay off and closure. A Small Factories Bill is also seeking to exempt units with under 40 workers from 14 labour laws, according to PTI.last_img read more

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This Indian insurance company has no rival in claim settlements has zero

first_imgRepresentational image for insurance.PixabayPeople buy insurance policy not only for financial security but for investment purpose too. While choosing insurance, it is very crucial to ensure that insurance policy would serve the purpose of financial security for legal heirs, besides being an investment channel for us.Claim Settlement Ratio should be the foremost criterion before choosing life or non-life insurance policies and companies. Here comes the catch; how do we assess the companies? Which company paid the most number of insurance claims and how did companies respond to the grievances in the past.  The annual report of the the IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) might come handy to get an idea on this.  When it comes to paying out insurance claims, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has maintained an impeccable reputation for the past many years.Among all life insurance companies, the state-owned life insurance company has once again topped the list in terms of zero pending complaints and best death claims settlement, according to the IRDAI report.According to the annual report published by the insurance regulator, LIC has settled 98.31 percent of claims compared to 93.72 percent by its private sector peers. Only 0.97 percent of individual death claims getting rejected by LIC in 2016-2017.Claim Settlement Ratio is based on volume of claims settled. It is the total number of death claims approved by an insurance company in a financial year, divided by the total number of death claims received by the insurance company. It is measured for all products of the company put together (not term insurance plans alone).LIC has remained on the top of the list every year, ever since the IRDAI started announcing the annual data on claims settlement and grievances. This is despite competition from many other players.During 2016-17, private life insurers resolved 99.73% of complaints reported, while LIC resolved 100% of the complaints, shows the IRDAI report. There are no pending complaints of LIC as on March 31, 2017.Headquartered in Mumbai, the LIC is the largest insurance company in India. It was founded in 1956 when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance Corporation Act that nationalised the  insurance industry in India.last_img read more

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Feds Sent Immigrant Kids to Dangerous Texas Youth Facility Despite Serious Warning

first_imgBrandon Wade for RevealShiloh Treatment Center, shown in an aerial photograph, is near Manvel, Texas, south of Houston, ​and has received more than $33 million from the federal government for the care of immigrant youths.By the time the federal government started sending immigrant children to Shiloh Treatment Center in 2009, the warning flags were waving blood red.Three children had died after being physically restrained at Shiloh and affiliated facilities in rural Texas run by the same man, Clay Dean Hill. A teenager from California died after running away and getting hit by a truck. Texas officials repeatedly had cited Hill’s residential centers for troubled youths after caretakers were found to have slapped, punched and kicked children.Yet nine years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent its first delivery of federal tax dollars to Hill, a onetime longshoreman-turned-millionaire entrepreneur specializing in the care of vulnerable children. The federal government wanted Hill to take immigrant children with mental health problems who were caught crossing the border without parents or papers.The funding started a couple of months before a male caretaker in his 40s was caught preying on a 15-year-old girl from California, sexually abusing her at one of Hill’s all-girl dormitories, where he was assigned overnight. He’s now a convicted sex offender.“It shows you how disgraceful the place was,” said the former resident, now 25, who told her story publicly for the first time to Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement continued to send immigrant children to Hill’s care after another teenager was killed during a restraint and the state of Texas shut down one of his facilities, deeming it unsafe for children. And this year, after immigrant children said in court declarations that they were forcibly injected with psychiatric drugs, federal officials claimed there was no problem. In all, the federal government has paid Shiloh more than $33 million for the care of immigrant youths.It took a federal judge to force the refugee office to take action. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled July 30 that the Office of Refugee Resettlement must remove children from Shiloh unless a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist determines they pose a risk to themselves or others.It didn’t have to get to this point. The history of death and abuse at Hill’s rural outpost for troubled children was no secret. Hill, 69, has remained a go-to provider for the Office of Refugee Resettlement even after multiple exposés by Texas newspapers, calls by members of Congress for Shiloh to be shut down and warnings from the local district attorney.The story of Shiloh shows just how bad it can get at a child care operation the federal government deems worthy of taxpayer dollars and acceptable for immigrant children. Reveal previously found that private companies operating immigrant youth shelters across the nation have racked up citations for serious lapses in care. A ProPublica analysis of police reports found hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse, fights and missing children at these shelters.Hill and Shiloh employees have not returned multiple calls by Reveal seeking comment.A July statement on Shiloh’s website says it has been investigated by various government agencies and “all of the widely distributed allegations about Shiloh were found to be without merit. The children have been found to be properly cared for and treated.”Trump administration officials also maintain that the children are in good hands at Shiloh and other facilities paid to supervise immigrant children. Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, said in a June press briefing that his agency is “proud of its partnership with our UAC care providers,” using the acronym for unaccompanied alien children.“I’ve witnessed firsthand the good work they do throughout the U.S. to ensure UACs receive proper care and services,” he said.The government’s defense of Shiloh also points to a fundamental problem with federal oversight. In court filings this year, government lawyers made it clear that the federal agency responsible for the children puts much of its faith in state officials to monitor immigrant shelters such as Shiloh.But Reveal has found that Texas licensing officials apparently failed to properly implement their own regulations when they shut down Hill’s Daystar Residential Inc. facility and allowed Shiloh to continue. The law should have stopped Hill from operating any residential child care centers for five years.It was a far-reaching failure that let Hill salvage his operation. Just as Texas stopped sending its foster children to Hill, the federal government was tossing him a new source of money: immigrant children.Former employees told Reveal that they loved working with the children but were concerned that Hill has been allowed to stay in business, taking in a vulnerable population after decades of problems. Four said they were disturbed by the abuse that happened there while management looked the other way. They also said they didn’t want to use their names for fear of retaliation.“Some of these guys, they were just so rough and brutal,” said a former employee who worked for years as a caretaker at both Daystar and Shiloh. “They seemed like they just wanted to always provoke the clients and get them to act out, get them to fight each other. They would abuse them.”Drugging kidsClay Hill now faces a court order to stop drugging children without proper consent. Immigrant children, many traumatized by violence in their home countries, told of being threatened that if they didn’t take pills, they would be punished with more time in Shiloh. Some said they were held down and forcibly injected with medication despite their objections.Parents of the children said they never were asked permission to administer the powerful drugs.This should not have been a surprise. Medication problems at Hill’s facilities go back many years, Reveal found.“If they get mad, they’re gonna get a shot,” said a former employee who worked with foster children at Daystar and immigrant children at Shiloh. “If they start talking like, ‘I’m not going to do this,’ they’re gonna get a shot.”A Texas Education Agency review in 2015 cited Shiloh for requiring parents of special education students to consent “to the use of ‘emergency’ medications as a condition of acceptance.”“Some parents stated to the district that they did not feel their concerns were being heard by the facility doctors,” the findings state. “It also was reported by some district representatives that they have observed a Shiloh staff member threaten to give students ‘a PRN (emergency medication)’ for misbehavior.”Ten years earlier, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a scathing report on medication practices at Daystar. A team of experts found a troubling pattern: “There was no evidence of documented, informed consent for prescribed medications.”The diagnoses and treatment plans were “canned” and often didn’t correspond to the patient, the report said. Children and their families were not being told why they were being given the drugs. Many children were developing weight problems and some as young as 10 years old had high cholesterol.“In almost none of these children were the elevated laboratory tests addressed,” the review found.Daystar’s psychiatrist at the time was Dr. Javier Ruíz-Nazario, a longtime fixture of Hill’s operation and the same man immigrant children at Shiloh said was giving them medication. In fact, all four psychiatrists listed on a 2007 organizational chart for Daystar also are named on Shiloh’s forms for dispensing medication to immigrant youths.Still, federal officials assured a judge in May that Shiloh didn’t need more oversight.Jallyn Sualog, deputy director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, said in a court declaration: “To my knowledge, Texas state licensing officials have not reported any concerns regarding Shiloh’s compliance with state guidelines concerning the administration of psychotropic medications” to detained immigrant children.Sualog asserted that “the board certified child and adolescent psychiatrists” at Shiloh use “best practice guidelines.”Ruíz-Nazario, however, hasn’t had board certification to treat children and adolescents for years, Reveal found. After Reveal’s story, Sualog filed a revised declaration acknowledging that.Another federal official said in an April letter to attorneys for the children that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has a medical team that monitors treatment and has visited Shiloh. In a footnote, he admitted the agency “does not, however, employ child and adolescent psychiatrists who would have the training to scrutinize the specific medications prescribed by Shiloh experts.”Overmedicating the children to keep them in line was common practice, said three former employees. Two said caretakers would ask doctors to boost the medications to make the children sleepy and easier to deal with.Even if federal officials were not paying attention to the findings of Texas agencies, they should have seen the Houston Chronicle’s 2014 investigation of Shiloh, which raised questions about the use of psychotropic medications. The story prompted U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, to call for Shiloh to be shut down.Jackson Lee told Reveal that she reacted to the recent news of problems at Shiloh with “a combination of disbelief, disappointment and outrage.” She had assumed the government stopped sending immigrant children there after the previous outcry.“I’m sure there are some nice people there, but the overall record makes it inappropriate to send traumatized children to this facility. So it is very much a great disappointment to me,” she said. “I’m kind of taken aback.”Who is Clay Hill?Clay Hill has a special education degree from the University of Houston and a teaching certificate, according to a deposition he gave in 2003. After college, Hill started working with an autistic child and later ran a treatment center in Dallas.In the 1990s, Hill founded Daystar and Shiloh, building a sprawling campus out of trailers and houses off country roads south of Houston. He created a variety of interrelated corporate entities, but Hill was behind it all.He took in the most vulnerable children: emotionally disturbed foster kids, nonverbal autistic children and special education students school districts couldn’t handle. Many were from Texas, but some were sent there from California and Guam.The operation thrived because he would accept children no other facility would, former staff members said. Some were extremely disturbed and volatile, at times attacking caretakers.Hill set up Daystar as a nonprofit at the suggestion of state officials, to allow for the use of federal tax dollars, according to his deposition. Daystar then leased the land, buildings, furniture and vehicles and contracted services from Hill’s for-profit entities.Hill even served as president of the now-defunct Daystar Pharmacy, a for-profit that provided drugs to his programs. Years ago, the pharmacist there got caught using fake prescriptions to steal some 15,000 pills, including more than 7,000 doses of opioids, according to state records.Daystar and Shiloh sat near each other, sharing some staff and leadership. The children living at Daystar often went to school at Shiloh. At one point, their administrative headquarters were different parts of the same trailer.At the same time, Hill created a baseball team for elite high school players that claims big-leaguers Josh Beckett and Matt Carpenter as alumni. Hill ran a nonprofit called Texas Tournament Baseball with a former banker who went to prison for fraud and later worked at Hill’s treatment facilities. Ex-employees said ballplayers without experience caring for troubled children would sometimes work there, too.Former employees said Hill seemed to care more about making a profit than improving the lives of children.Hill took in compensation of $680,000 in 2006 and $720,000 in 2007, the most recent years he reported the amount in public tax filings. That was down from a salary of more than $1 million that he reported in 2001. Meanwhile, children had limited facilities for recreation, former workers said, and lived in buildings sometimes cited by state regulators as grimy and dilapidated.“It was all about money with him,” said Caroline Laifang, who worked as a special education teacher at Shiloh for several years in the 2000s. “If you’re trying to explain to him this is not in the best interest of the students, he’ll let you know – this is a business.”Hill, for his part, said he was constantly working for Shiloh and Daystar.“I think I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week because I’m on call all the time,” he said in his 2003 deposition, “and I respond to every call.”Dangerous restraintsIn October, David, a 13-year-old boy from El Salvador, didn’t feel safe at Shiloh Treatment Center.Fearful of employees who screamed at him, David packed a bag to escape. When he tried to open a window, he said in a court declaration, a supervisor threw him against the door and pinned him against the wall.“This made me feel like I was choking and it was hard for me to breathe. I told the supervisor to stop because I couldn’t breathe,” David’s declaration states. “I briefly fainted. As I recovered consciousness a staff person violently threw me on my bed and this caused my head to bang against the wall.”It was eerily reminiscent of scenes described in medical examiner reports when U.S.-born children died in Clay Hill’s care.Dawn Renay Perry had been struggling with depression, aggressive behavior and low mental function when she was placed at Hill’s Behavior Training Research facility, in the same area outside the town of Manvel where Shiloh sits now.In April 1993, the 16-year-old was held face down on the floor by four people, records show.“After restraint was applied multiple times, the decedent relaxed and rolled up into a ball as she usually did when she quit fighting,” medical examiner records state. Then she vomited, turned blue and stopped moving.Stephanie Duffield was also 16 when, in 2001, she became upset that a Shiloh staff member didn’t escort her to the bathroom quickly. There was a struggle, and the assistant held her down, face to the carpet, putting her weight on Duffield’s shoulders, according to medical examiner records.Duffield protested, saying she couldn’t breathe. Then she did stop breathing. The medical examiner called it “sudden cardiac death following hyperactivity and physical exertion during restraint,” ruling it an accident.Hill said in a 2003 deposition that he didn’t think his staff did anything wrong.“I thought it was just another horrible, horrible incident,” he told a lawyer representing Duffield’s family. “I happen to be – considered myself a friend of Stephanie’s, had worked with her two days before. She bit my hand and scratched it and all the things that she could do. And we were friends. It – it broke my heart to see the kid die.”“So, you know, I thought she died of a heart attack,” he said. “I didn’t think the length of the restraint had a lot to do with it.”He didn’t see a pattern when, a year after Duffield’s death, 15-year-old Latasha Bush also died following a restraint.The girl, who was diagnosed as bipolar with the emotional age of a 6-year-old, had told her one-on-one caretaker, Tisha White, that she wet the bed at night because she was afraid of her.White said in a deposition that Bush was restrained by other caretakers after it appeared she was going to throw a flashlight and then threw herself against the wall, cracking it, and repeatedly asked to be left alone. White said the employees put Bush on her side, but a youth in the house said one of them was sitting on Bush and she was screaming that she couldn’t breathe.The medical examiner called it homicide by asphyxiation. State licensing officials said she suffocated as a result of being restrained with excessive force. The district attorney told The Dallas Morning News in 2003 that she considered prosecuting but lacked hard evidence of criminal intent.Hill called Bush’s death “a horrible tragedy” but saw no fault in his operation’s methods.“Based on the information we had, we felt like the restraint was done the way it was supposed to be done,” he told a lawyer for the Duffield and Bush families, who ended up settling their lawsuits.“I’m not willing to agree that the restraint caused the suffocation,” he said.Those deaths had been well publicized by the time federal officials awarded Shiloh $480,000 in May 2009 to start sheltering immigrant children.What they didn’t know was there would be another.In November 2010, Michael Owens, a 16-year-old battling depression and behavioral problems, gasped for air in a closet smeared with blood. Daystar employees had taken him to the floor, pulling his arms behind him, when he began “huffing and puffing,” medical examiner records show.He died from asphyxiation, the medical examiner found, also noting “blunt impact trauma of face, torso and upper extremities.” Like Bush’s death, it was ruled a homicide.His death was one too many for the state of Texas. Officials stripped Daystar of its license, cut off its multimillion-dollar contract and moved out all the children who lived there in 2011.Texas’ foster care agency wouldn’t send any of its own children to Shiloh, either. In response to concerns from the district attorney, the Department of Family and Protective Services wrote in a 2011 letter that it “has no intention of contracting or placing any CPS children with Shiloh, Inc. and staff has been instructed accordingly.”But Hill got a big break from the state. Licensing officials kept Shiloh open for business, and that was good enough for the federal government, which was ramping up its delivery of immigrant children and millions of taxpayer dollars.A month after Owens’ death, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1.8 million to Shiloh to take in detained immigrant children. The address on federal funding records is the same as the one on Owens’ autopsy report.Problems continued. In 2011, state officials found a Shiloh caregiver restrained a child without justification, causing “an injury to a vital body area.” He had lifted up and then dropped the child to the ground, records show, putting his body weight on top. Within two months, the federal government awarded Shiloh $2 million more.With the influx of immigrants, state investigators started finding a new twist on an old problem: Shiloh didn’t always have employees present who could speak the child’s language.A Honduran boy was bleeding from his mouth and screaming in Spanish that he was in pain while being held down in 2013, according to witness accounts described in state records.One of the employees restraining him admitted that he did “not speak Spanish and he would not be able to understand if (the boy) was complaining.”The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, declined an interview and did not respond to repeated requests for comment.Slapping, punching and kickingIn November, an 11-year-old girl said in a signed declaration that she’d rather live on the streets in her native Honduras than stay at Shiloh.“On at least two occasions staff members have tried to hurt me,” she stated. “One time a staff member put her two thumbs up to my throat and her hands around my neck. It hurt and I was gasping for breath. The staff member said she was just ‘playing’ but I felt scared.”Such testimony should come as no surprise to government officials.On several occasions over the years, Texas investigators found that employees at Hill’s facilities slapped, hit and kicked children. In one case, an employee bit a child during a restraint. In two others, employees punched children in the head.An employee bathing a 16-year-old resident caused severe bruising to the teenager’s buttocks. Another child, a nonverbal 8-year-old boy, was found with multiple marks to his lower back and bottom. Years later, a cellphone video surfaced showing a Shiloh employee slapping a nonverbal autistic child.At one point, a Daystar supervisor and another employee instructed seven developmentally delayed residents to fight, using snacks as a reward for the winner. The staff “laughed and cheered as the residents fought,” leaving multiple injuries, according to state records.Former employees said there were people working there who were doing their best. But they also told of abuse by co-workers that they couldn’t forget: the ones who beat up a foster child, the one who frightened an autistic boy with sexual comments, the one who offered to teach how to choke children to “put them to sleep.”A former Shiloh caretaker said other employees would antagonize children to get them to act out, prompting a painful restraint.“It was just like they got a kick out of it,” said the former worker. Some of them were longtime employees, and no one would get in trouble, she said. She ended up quitting because, she said, “I didn’t want to be a part of any of that.”Even in the early years, getting beat up was a part of life at Hill’s treatment centers, said Brielle Gillis.“It was to a point where you got beat so much that you felt like you deserved it,” she said.Gillis arrived in the 1990s as an 11-year-old foster child, removed from an abusive home, she said. Now 35 and transgender, she went by the name Jeremy Keith Gillis at the time. Gillis spent her adolescence at Hill’s facilities until she got out in 2001.Cheryl Gerber for RevealBrielle Gillis arrived at Clay Dean Hill’s youth residential treatment centers in the 1990s as an 11-year-old foster child, removed from an abusive home. She says getting beat up was a part of life at Hill’s facilities.One time, she said, three caretakers ganged up on her.“They was holding me down, folding me like a pretzel, and they was stomping and kicking me,” she said.An adult witness to the beating confirmed it to Reveal and said nothing came of it.Any complaints would get back to the caretakers, who would punish the children, Gillis said. In any case, she said, kids were written off as troubled liars.Many years later, after a state investigator determined that Shiloh employees used excessive force in restraining a 14-year-old Honduran boy who had been abandoned as a baby, Hill defended his staff.“Mr. Hill stated the kids can be very manipulative and will make up stories to get staff in trouble,” the investigator wrote in 2013. “He stated he trusts his staff in doing the right thing.”‘Controlling persons’Texas has a law to prevent someone such as Clay Hill from running another child care facility when one gets shut down.The state warned Daystar that its “controlling persons” – those determined to exercise control over the facility – would be barred from running another residential facility for five years.If there was a person in control at Daystar, it was Hill.Hill said it himself in his 2003 deposition when the family of Latasha Bush sued Daystar. He said he was the ultimate authority in terms of hiring, giving raises, training staff and accepting patients, though he delegated some decisions to underlings. The executive director of Daystar, Carroll “Cal” Salls, reported to Hill, he said.State licensing officials should have known as much. A 2007 organizational chart in state files lists Hill at the top of Daystar. And state records list Hill as a “controlling person” at Shiloh.It was even more clear on the ground, said former employees and residents. From Daystar to Shiloh, Hill ran everything.“He’s the one who runs the show,” said former employee Caroline Laifang. “No decision is made without Clay Hill knowing about it.”But somehow, the state didn’t see it that way.“In conducting its investigation, the state found that Daystar Residential and Shiloh Treatment Center did not share a controlling person,” said John Reynolds, spokesman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.Still, the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement had plenty of opportunities to pull the plug. The Brazoria County district attorney, Jeri Yenne, wrote a letter to federal officials in 2011 “out of concern for the safety of children.”“This is due to the fact that there have been a number of deaths over the years of minors placed on the property managed by Shiloh and its affiliate corporation Daystar Treatment Center,” she wrote. “I am requesting increased monitoring of Shiloh Treatment Center and that your agency review the same and consider limiting the number of children placed in Shiloh Treatment Center.”Relying on state oversightThis year, an attorney representing immigrant minors at Shiloh wrote a letter urging federal officials to stop sending children there. It focused on the drugging problems, but noted Shiloh’s connection to Daystar and the deaths.An Office of Refugee Resettlement official responded by making a point of distancing Shiloh from Daystar.“Notably, Shiloh RTC (Residential Treatment Center) is not operated by DayStar Treatment Center (DayStar), which is mentioned in your letter,” wrote senior federal field specialist supervisor James De La Cruz. “Even when it was still in business the licensure of Daystar was completely separate from that of Shiloh.”The distinction is lost on former employees and residents. And Clay Hill wasn’t the only person who oversaw both institutions during their darkest moments. Kellie Pitts has been in charge of quality control at Shiloh since 1999 and also held that role at Daystar, according to Hill’s deposition. Tisha White, who was briefly suspended but cleared of wrongdoing in the 2002 death of Latasha Bush, appears to work at Shiloh, based on her Facebook profile and accounts of others. Pitts and White could not be reached for comment.When lawyers representing the children asked a federal judge to intervene this year, government attorneys shot back that there is already plenty of oversight.Federal officials argued that the court “should not conduct its own evaluation,” but rather “should rely on the State’s own evaluation.”“Given this extensive level of oversight by the states,” the government’s filing says, “this Court can – and should – reasonably rely on the conclusions of those state licensing authorities.”Yet state licensing officials, also responsible for the Texas foster care system, have been found to be dangerously ineffectual.Federal District Judge Janis Graham Jack ruled in December 2015 that Texas was fundamentally failing to protect foster children. Among widespread problems, she found the state licensing agency was “failing its licensing and inspecting duties” and “almost never takes an enforcement action.”She cited an internal review that found error rates of up to 75 percent in the state’s investigations of abuse allegations.“This is staggering,” she wrote, “and it means that many abused children – for whom a preponderance of evidence indicated that they were physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected – go untreated and could be left in abusive placements.”It is the same agency that investigated 30 complaints of abuse or neglect at Shiloh since October 2012 and ruled out every one of them, according to Department of Family and Protective Services records.Texas, the judge found, “has closed one facility in the past five years, but it is a story of horror rather than optimism regarding enforcement.” She was talking about Daystar.Texas authorities “allowed this facility – that was responsible for four deaths, numerous allegations of sexual abuse, and unthinkable treatment of developmentally disabled children – to operate for 17 years,” the judge wrote. “The Court does not understand, nor tolerate, the systemic willingness to put children in mortal harm’s way.”In January 2018, the same judge issued a grim update: “Over two-years later, the system remains broken.”Jack ordered continued monitoring of the state system by appointed special masters. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where it is pending.“The ruling was arrived at by an unelected federal judge who misapplied the law, hijacked control of our state’s foster care system, and ordered an ill-conceived plan by the special masters that is both incomplete and impractical,” Paxton said in an April statement.Former federal officials said they were doing the best they could.“There was definitely a sense that the problems at Shiloh were problems that could be fixed,” one ex-official said. Given that Shiloh maintained its state license, “working to address the issues seemed like the right thing to do to keep the capacity on line.”There weren’t a lot of other options for immigrant children with serious mental health problems, said the former official, who requested anonymity: “It is a specialized facility. We don’t have a ton of those in the system.”Even one case of child maltreatment is unacceptable, but in a system housing thousands of children, it is also inevitable, said Maria Cancian, who was deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Administration for Children and Families, over the refugee resettlement office, from 2015 to 2016.“Sometimes things are going to happen that shouldn’t happen,” she said.The refugee resettlement agency tightened oversight, Cancian said, including increasing unannounced visits to shelters by field representatives.“Was it enough? Almost certainly not,” she said. “There’s almost never a child service organization in this country that is adequately resourced.”Cancian said she visited shelters that were “overwhelmingly staffed by people who were trying to do their best, and by and large, they were places that provided high-quality care.”“The exceptions are absolutely not acceptable,” she added, “and it’s appropriate to shine a light on that.”Reporters Aura Bogado and Vanessa Swales contributed to this story. It was edited by Ziva Branstetter and Amy Pyle and copy edited by Nikki Frick.Will Evans can be reached at wevans@revealnews.org, Lance Williams can be reached at lwilliams@revealnews.org, and Matt Smith can be reached at msmith@revealnews.org. Follow them on Twitter: @willCIR, @LanceWCIR and @SFMattSmith. Sharelast_img read more

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