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We’ll Never Forget Where We Came From

first_img[1] SupportAssist is not available on Ubuntu, Steam, Windows R, Windows 10S, Linux, Android or Chrome products.[2] Predictive analysis failure detection is limited to hard drives, solid state drives and batteries.[3] Geographic and service levels vary. See Service Description at dell.com/servicecontracts[4] Based on internal analysis April 2017. Dell launches the most complete support offer for consumers…our family.A few years back, a famous country singer songwriter released a song about her childhood home. It’s about finding yourself by going back to your roots, back to the comfort and familiarity of family memories. That seems a fitting theme for what I’m about to share.Yes, Dell has been in the news a lot lately. Our remit and reputation have evolved to a multinational information technology corporation enabling the largest companies in the world. But, we have not, nor will we ever forget where we came from—our roots as a PC provider run deep.And it doesn’t look like PCs are going away any time soon. Industry pundits are reporting an upward trend in the market. But what’s important is not that PCs are still popular. . .what’s important is keeping up with friends and family online, video conferencing with your new grandchild, organizing your vacation and, yes, dachshund photos, or helping your son with his first small business venture.What’s important is getting started with your new computer in as little time and with as little headache as possible. Wouldn’t it be great to have your own service-genie to help with your data backups, parental controls, and wireless networking?And once you and the family are rolling with that new PC…you need it to work when you turn it on. When you store valuable photos and videos, you need them to be there. Of course, the ideal would be to have no issues with your PCs ever, but if there is an issue, the next best thing would be to have an automated solution identify it and notify support along with a technical expert available to quickly help when needed, until it’s resolved.This is precisely why we’ve launched Premium Support Plus for Inspiron, XPS and Alienware PCs. Premium Support Plus is Dell’s ultimate consumer service—from the moment your new PC arrives we are your service-genies. We’ll help you enjoy your new device, help you get set up, help you protect your PC and your family.The entire support experience is as automated as possible with our exclusive technology, SupportAssist[1] which predicts upcoming issues[2], removes viruses, and optimizes PC settings automatically.If there is an issue, a support case is instantly created and sent to the Dell support experts. If needed, replacement parts are ordered and shipped for your PC without you ever making a phone call. If the issue requires hands-on service, you’ll get a call or email from Dell to schedule your genie’s visit.Let’s talk viruses and malware—those nasty programs that can damage your precious data or impede system performance. There’s great news here. SupportAssist will schedule regular checks to not only detect those critters, but also remove them for you.BTW, this support goes with you even if you travel internationally[3]. And—get this, parents and otherwise fellow clumsy ones—accidents due to electrical surges, drops, or spills are covered too.You see, we designed Premium Support Plus to be the easiest, most comprehensive service available[4], all delivered through innovative technology, for a truly ultimate PC support experience.You are the house that built us. We are dedicated to you and your family because you’re our family too.In the market for a new PC? Look for Premium Support Plus on www.dell.com, grab the service card at one of our retail partners, or ask when you are on the phone with one of our great sales reps.Now, if I could just get a service-genie to train my dachshunds Doodle and Lily to stay off the sofa!last_img read more

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Cotton quality

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaTifton – The quality of Georgia’s cotton crop has declined in recent years. It’s already costing farmers money. Industry experts want to change that before the state’s cotton gets an economic stain it can’t remove.About 60 ginners, farmers, millers, buyers and University of Georgia experts met to discuss the problem here March 16 at the UGA Cotton Fiber Quality Symposium.Stigma?“Georgia once had an exceptional reputation within the cotton industry for high-quality fiber,” said Don Shurley, a cotton economist with the UGA Extension Service. “But some textile mills now avoid purchase of Georgia cotton, and farmers are seeing deducts in certain grade categories.”South Bryan, a cotton buyer for Avondale Mills, one of three domestic mills that purchase half the U.S. cotton production, agreed. Some large mills are not buying Georgia cotton.“Georgia doesn’t have a real stigma now, but that perception could grow if the (quality) problem is not addressed,” Bryan said. And once the stigma is there, it will be hard to erase, he said.Poor grades costShurley figures Georgia farmers lose about 5 cents per pound due to poor cotton quality. In 2002, poor quality stripped farmers of $43 million in potential income. Georgia cotton generally scores well in most grade categories. But it gets poor grades in two important ones: short fibers and inconsistent fibers. Most mills now use high-speed spinning equipment. Short, inconsistent fibers don’t run well through these spinners and can jam them, costing mills time and money.Georgia had the worst cotton fiber length quality in the country last year, Shurley said.Most mills prefer cotton fiber that is “long and strong,” he said. Last year, about 11 percent of Georgia’s cotton met this requirement. Getting that perfect cotton is tough, but other cotton-producing regions come closer. The Memphis region had 24 percent of its cotton meet the high standard.CompetitionGeorgia cotton has to compete against high-quality cotton around the world. It is estimated that 2 out of 3 bales of U.S. cotton will need to be exported because of continued decline in U.S. mill capacity.Other global cotton regions, such as China and West Africa, still pick cotton by hand using cheap labor. They can produce high-quality cotton favored by more modern, fast mills, said Mike Watson, fiber quality researcher with Cotton Incorporated.There are two types of cotton buyers in the world: the high-end buyer and “the bottom-feeder,” those who buy poor quality cotton because it’s cheaper, Watson said, and turn it into low-quality clothing items.Georgia cotton could find a type of cotton-price purgatory, he said, where it’s too poor for the high-end buyers and too good for the bottom-feeders.Cotton demand is strictly driven by consumer wants. If it was strictly up to mills, Watson said, they’d all use man-made fibers that can be made longer and stronger consistently.Fiber fixCotton varieties in development might curb the problem, said Steve Brown, a UGA extension cotton agronomist.Different farmer practices, such as harvest timing, could also help. And the cotton industry as a whole could look at better ways to handle cotton from seed to the mill to preserve quality. Scientists with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will begin cotton quality research this year at a new microgin on the UGA Tifton, Ga., campus. The microgin is a scaled-down version of a commercial gin and will provide scientists a real-world environment for tests.Last year, Georgia and Mississippi produced about 2.1 million bales of cotton to tie for second place in U.S. production behind Texas’ 4.3 million bales.A sample of each Georgia cotton bale is sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Macon, Ga., to receive grades.last_img read more

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N.Y.C. Landlords Flout Rent Limits — But Still Rake In Lucrative Tax Breaks

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Cezary Podkul and Marcelo Rochabrun, ProPublicaAs gleaming new housing towers spring up around New York City, thousands of new rent-stabilized apartments are coming onto the market. And in return for following rent limits, developers get a share of $1 billion in property tax breaks handed out by the city.Is your rent legal? It might not be. Your landlord might be charging you too much, and we want your help figuring that out.Let’s Talk About NYC RentsHave a question about your NYC rent? Do you think it’s too high? Is it legal? It might not be. Send us a question using #NYCRentChat. Our reporters will answer your questions live on Twitter, Tuesday, November 10, at 1 p.m.But while developers bank the tax savings, an examination by ProPublica found that some renters are getting overcharged as government officials fail to enforce rent limits and tenants fail to grasp whether they apply to newer apartments.Julie Renwick recently learned she’s among the tenants who should be paying significantly less rent.In February 2012, Renwick viewed a one-bedroom apartment at The Driggs, a sparkling new luxury building in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood with a doorman, gym, rooftop deck and more. The owners of the building, The Rabsky Group, benefitted from a 93 percent reduction in property taxes this year, owing only $47,000 of what would otherwise be a $678,000 tax bill.When Renwick visited the apartment, she was quoted a rent of $2,875 a month. She figured she could afford it and applied to become the first tenant.That $2,875 should have been a crucial benchmark. Under the rent stabilization law that covers New York City, all subsequent increases must be calculated against that initial number. But when Renwick sat down to review the lease, she noticed something strange: The rent listed was $3,400 per month.“What is the actual rent?” she asked.Her broker said there was “nothing unusual” about the arrangement. He said the $3,400 was just a “legal” rent and meant the landlord could charge no more than that. The $2,875 — known as a “preferential” rent — would be the amount she paid.It looked like a good deal — but not for long. The next year, when the city capped annual rent increases at 4 percent, The Driggs boosted Renwick’s rent 9 percent. More recently, the landlord raised her rent 7 percent even as the city held increases in stabilized units like hers to 1 percent.Today, Renwick pays $3,350 per month, or nearly 17 percent more than when she moved in three years ago. That’s more than triple what the city allowed.Renwick had no idea that high-end apartments like hers were subject to New York’s rent-stabilization laws — a common misconception. So far, she has paid almost $6,000 more in rent than she legally should have, according to ProPublica’s estimate.“I’m a smart, educated person, and to feel swindled by these people — it’s embarrassing as well as maddening,” said Renwick.The Rabsky Group — which owns many other buildings in its home borough of Brooklyn — did not respond to calls, emails and a hand-delivered letter. Rachel Munoz-Shivers, a lawyer for the group, declined to answer questions about leases at The Driggs.There is little doubt that The Rabsky Group broke the law.“It is unfortunate that in the case of The Driggs, the landlord has been able to get away with registering illegal rents,” New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said in response to a request by ProPublica to examine the building’s initial rent schedule and other records. “It is clear that this unscrupulous landlord is violating rent-stabilization laws.”Just how many people have been overcharged like Renwick? No one can say for sure. That’s why ProPublica and WNYC are inviting New York City tenants to share their stories and help us find out what’s really happening under what has grown to become the city’s single-largest program to subsidize housing.Abuse of preferential rents is “a huge issue,” said Sheila Garcia, a tenant representative on the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, which sets annual rent limits. “I can imagine that this is happening across the board, no matter what income you have.”The tax-break program, known as 421-a, was set to expire in June, but lawmakers extended it for six months after a heated debate. Over the last decade, more than 2,600 apartment buildings with 39,000 rental units have received the exemption, according to city Department of Finance data.Much of the criticism of the 421-a program focused on provisions requiring developers to set aside 20 percent of new units for affordable housing in certain high-priced parts of the city. Critics, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, argued that this was far too little when compared to the size of the tax break.Little attention was paid to whether landlords have been meeting the law’s requirement to limit rent increases in buildings receiving 421-a tax benefits.The rent-stabilization rules are clear on how Renwick’s increases should have been calculated. Because she was the first tenant, The Rabsky Group was required to apply the city’s annual caps to the rent “charged and paid.”Once the original tenant moves out, however, the law allows landlords to raise the rent by as much as 20 percent — and to set that as the new “legal” rent for stabilization. If it’s too high to attract renters, they may charge a lower “preferential” rent. But at that point the city’s limits apply to the higher “legal” rent — not to a preferential rent, if one is offered.The upshot: The protection afforded tenants from rent limits quickly fades, while the property owners can collect both higher rents and the lucrative tax breaks. Over time, the gap between legal and preferential rents can grow wide, allowing for big rent increases.“This is really stabilized in name only,” Tom Waters, a housing policy analyst with the Community Service Society, said when ProPublica showed him a renewal lease with a $2,099 difference between the legal and preferential rents.The enforcement of the rent laws is a bureaucratic tangle of state and city agencies that seldom coordinate efforts.The state collects rent registrations from landlords, who are supposed to report both the legal and preferential rents for each apartment. Tenants and landlords can access their data, but the information is otherwise exempt from disclosure under New York’s Freedom of Information Law.ProPublica’s requests for registration data were denied. Questionable rents at The Driggs came to light only because reporters found the building’s initial rent roll in court papers.Tenants who’ve paid too much can get relief, although it may take a lawsuit.In a recent case in the Bronx, a landlord reduced rents because of faulty registrations almost 25 years ago involving preferential rents. The move came after tenants sued. Had the landlord not acted, state law potentially entitled tenants to triple the overcharges.As with The Driggs, the landlord was receiving annual 421-a property tax exemptions.“The benefit they’re getting is because of the tenants,” said Emmanuel Yusuf, a longtime resident who helped organize the lawsuit, “and if they are not fulfilling that promise they made to the government, that’s totally unacceptable.”These days, 421-a buildings aren’t hard to spot. Virtually every tall, shiny, glass-covered doorman building in Manhattan receives tax reductions under 421-a, and it has spawned big, luxury apartment complexes in Long Island City in Queens and downtown Brooklyn.In theory, landlords who fail to comply with rent stabilization rules can lose their tax benefits. But revocations are rare — they have happened only twice in the last three years, city officials said.The city’s Department of Finance gives landlords their property tax breaks but lacks the authority to take them away. That power rests with the city’s Housing Preservation and Development Department (HPD), which has no jurisdiction over rent stabilization.Primary oversight of rent stabilization rests with a state agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The agency handles tenant complaints and collects data on rents that landlords must report each year, but it doesn’t check them for accuracy.These rent histories, which list legal and preferential rents, come with a disclaimer: “DHCR does not attest to the truthfulness of the owner’s statements or the legality of the rents.” (Renters can get their apartment’s rent history. Click here to find out how).“No one is really enforcing what’s happening,” said state Sen. Jesse Hamilton, a Brooklyn Democrat who says his district is rapidly losing rent-stabilized apartments because landlords are flouting the law in a variety of ways.With no referee in the game, tenant groups are left to fill the gap.“So much of what we deal with is simply enforcement of existing housing law,” said Daniel Moraff, an organizer at the Metropolitan Council on Housing, a tenants’ rights group. “The lives of tenants would improve immensely if the state would only do its job.”The state’s DHCR did not respond to repeated emails, voicemails and phone calls about the agency’s enforcement of rent stabilization in buildings receiving 421-a tax breaks. A spokeswoman, Catie Marshall, would only say: “Talk to HPD. It’s their program.”Had regulators been curious, rents at The Driggs might have raised concern from the start.In housing court files, ProPublica found a schedule filed with DHCR listing initial rents for 112 apartments in The Driggs. Preferential rents were universal; the average discount from the stated legal rent was $686, a gap that created the potential for hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent overcharges building-wide.The seven-story complex sits on a quiet corner in a neighborhood known for its mix of hipsters and wealthy professionals. Some residents told reporters their rents topped $6,000 a month.Half a dozen initial tenants contacted by ProPublica were charged increases that exceeded the caps imposed by the Rent Guidelines Board, according to leases they provided or, in two cases, court records. Most asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.Leases provided by a second-floor tenant showed that he paid an 11 percent increase on his first renewal. The tenant said it would cost him more to take a week off to find a new apartment than to pay the $225-a-month increase — five times what the law allowed.Earlier this year, though, he moved out rather than accept another increase that would have set his rent at 25 percent above the initial preferential rent.“I definitely wondered,” he said about the increases. “But I lived in New York now for just about 16 years and have seen all kinds of weird, shady kind of things, and so I didn’t really know exactly how it worked.”Another tenant — a real estate broker — moved out after a cumulative 14 percent rent hike over three years, more than double the applicable Rent Guidelines Board caps.The woman said building employees told her when she moved in that The Driggs was a market-rate building not subject to rent limits. So she was surprised when her renewal lease said the apartment was rent-stabilized. “This landlord was being totally sketchy and trying to skirt the stabilization that they were given, in my opinion,” she said.Renwick compared preferential rent to “a fake sale price. It’s like, ‘We’re going to mark it up and then give you a sale price that is wrong.’”Renwick sensed something wasn’t quite right when she moved in. The Driggs asked her for six months’ rent upfront, comprised of four months’ security deposit and first and last months’ rent, totaling $17,250, she said. Landlords can’t charge more than one month’s security deposit in rent-stabilized apartments, nor can they charge the last month’s rent in advance. But Renwick didn’t know and paid up.One day, an upstairs neighbor, Mark Burstiner, slipped a piece of paper underneath her door. Burstiner was in a dispute with the landlord over his lease and the fact that he had paid four months of rent upfront before moving in. He hoped to organize tenants around the issue of rent stabilization.The Driggs sued Burstiner for withholding rent in the dispute. In late April 2013, Burstiner met with a senior executive from Rabsky Group to talk things over. Burstiner attempted to lay out his complaints, including that he wasn’t given a rent-stabilized lease.“I’m standing up for my rights as a tenant in New York state,” Burstiner exclaimed in the session, which he recorded and posted later on YouTube.“You may have rights and you have everything,” the executive shot back, “but the one thing you should know is I have more time and deeper pockets.”When Burstiner said his steep security deposit broke the law, the executive said: “You know, a lot of people think they studied the law. They go online, they print it out. That’s bullshit. There’s a way to get through that. All you got to do is stay focused to the end — where I win and you lose.”A housing court judge initially sided with Burstiner. But the landlord persuaded a second judge to reverse that decision. Burstiner settled, agreeing to pay $32,650 in back rent.Burstiner has since moved out of the building and left New York. He hopes to move back someday but dreads that future landlords might consider the dispute a mark against him.“How can we be expected to protect our rights if exercising our rights gets us banned from living in New York?” he said.Tenants aren’t necessarily doomed to lose. Take the case of 1111 Gerard Avenue, an unassuming beige building just north of Yankee Stadium, with a sign out front that says, “Stop Illegal Rent Increase.”The building’s initial owners were granted a 25-year property tax break under the 421-a program around 1991. Just like The Driggs, the landlord registered higher “legal” rents than the amounts actually charged and paid by the first tenants.In interviews, several tenants shared rent histories listing initial legal rents of $703 per month versus the $407 in preferential rent they actually paid, a gap in today’s dollars of $517.Diana Caudle has lived in the building since it opened. A single mother of three, she earns $1,600 a month at a day care center. Her last pay raise was three years ago, so Caudle was glad when the Rent Guidelines Board ordered a rent freeze for leases after Oct. 1. It was the first time in the board’s 46-year history that it ordered an increase of zero percent.But not long after that decision last summer, Caudle said her landlord proposed raising her “preferential” rent by 10 percent, to $1,087 a month. She panicked. “My fear is becoming homeless,” Caudle said. “This is my fear every day.”Then, in late September, Caudle got a surprising letter from her landlord: Her rent had been “recalculated based on the initial rent charged for your apartment back in 1991–92.”Her new legal rent is $827 per month — $161 less than the preferential rent Caudle had been paying since November 2014.Lawyers for the Legal Aid Society and Legal Services NYC had filed a lawsuit on the tenants’ behalf in August, prompting the landlord’s action. Edmund Witter, a lawyer for the tenants, said the case is in settlement talks and the landlord has begun refunding overcharges.A lawyer for the landlord, Shree Ganesh Bronx LLC, owned by a Long Island doctor, declined to comment. The property’s 421-a tax break was worth $58,350 this year.Caudle said she had no idea what a 421-a property tax break was. But if it means not being priced out of her apartment, she approves.“Nobody should have to worry about something like that,” she said.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

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Welsh officials announce four H7N2 flu cases, suspect human-to-human transmission

first_imgMay 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Four people in Wales and northwest England have tested positive for the low-pathogenic H7N2 avian influenza subtype found last week in chickens at a small farm in Wales, and local public health authorities suspect some degree of human-to-human transmission of the disease.England’s Health Protection Agency (HPA), in announcing the positive tests 4 days ago, said five other patients whose test results were negative for the virus are undergoing treatment as a precaution because they had similar illnesses. All of the patients who tested positive for the virus had contact with infected birds, the HPA said.The National Public Health Service (NPHS) for Wales said in a statement today that of 221 people who were identified as contacts so far, 12 are ill with conjunctivitis or a nonserious flulike illness. The NPHS said it could not rule out human-to-human spread of the virus but that it had no laboratory confirmation of such cases.”Of the people with conjunctivitis or a flulike illness, some did not have close contact with infected poultry,” said Marion Lyons, lead consultant in communicable disease control for the NPHS, in the press release.On May 24 veterinary officials in Wales confirmed a low-pathogenic H7N2 avian influenza outbreak at a farm near the northern town of Denbighshire. For outbreaks of mild strains of avian flu subtypes such as H7N2, public health officials often order culling of birds and monitor human cases because the viruses could mutate into highly pathogenic forms.Welsh veterinary officials think the infected chickens could have been exposed to the virus on May 7 at the Chelford Market in Cheshire. Tests on birds at another farm in Llyn Peninsula came back negative today, according to a statement from the Welsh government.Of 221 patients identified as contacts, 171 may have been exposed in a workplace setting, including patients and staff at two hospitals, the NPHS statement said. At one of the hospitals, 79 patients and staff were offered oseltamivir because of contact with a healthcare worker who was treated for the H7 flu virus. Lyons said in the NPHS statement that the sick staff member was working between May 21 and 23, when she may have been infectious.At the other hospital, 69 patients and staff were notified because a patient who had the H7N2 illness was recently treated at the facility. Lyons said the patient was discharged on May 18, and after an 8-day incubation period, anyone who was ill would have had symptoms by May 26. “So we are contacting all staff and patients to ensure that they remained well and to reassure them,” she said in the statement.Lyons said that people who have had contact with individuals who became ill with the H7N2 virus are being offered prophylactic antiviral medication.”Investigations also show that, when it spreads from person to person, the illness experienced becomes milder,” she said in the press release.In a related development, children at a primary school in the town where the Welsh farm is located are being given antiviral medication after one of their classmates became ill with suspected H7N2 infection, the London Evening Standard reported today. The ill child visited the affected farm 10 days ago for less than 15 minutes, the Standard report said.”It is very rare to see this particular flu virus, so we are taking every reasonable precaution to eliminate it from the community, ” Brendan Mason, a consultant epidemiologist, told the Standard.Some infectious disease experts say human illnesses associated with the H7N2 outbreak in Wales are a reminder that other virus subtypes—not just the well-known H5N1 strain—could spark a pandemic.”There may be a bit of complacency when it comes to recognizing the pandemic potential of H7 viruses,” Michael Perdue from the World Health Organization (WHO) told the Associated Press (AP) today.The number of [H7] human cases seems large for the small number of bird deaths, he told the AP. “Unless there’s something unusual about the contact with birds, that suggests the virus is finding new ways of getting to humans,” he said in the AP report.Other experts say the focus on the H5N1 subtype’s pandemic potential is justified. “We know that H7 can cause outbreaks in chickens and that it can occasionally jump the species barrier, but it has not done it nearly to the extent of the H5N1 virus,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.David Halvorson, DVM, a veterinarian in avian health at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, told CIDRAP News that H5 and H7 subtypes both have the ability to generate a highly pathogenic virus of the same subtype, but there’s no way to project when and if such evolution will occur. “Whether that will happen quickly, as it did in Chile or British Columbia, or not happen for over 10 years, as it has not done in New York live bird markets, is not predictable,” he said.The WHO’s Regional Office for Europe said human illness from other H7 subtypes has occurred in two other instances in the past few years. In 2006 a poultry worker in the United Kingdom was diagnosed with conjunctivitis linked to an H7N3 poultry outbreak, and in 2003 an outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N7 in the Netherlands resulted in 86 confirmed cases of mild illness, with one death—a veterinarian who died from acute respiratory distress syndrome.See also:May 29 National Public Health Service for Wales press releaselast_img read more

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Investment: The Brits hold back

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

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first_img“[If mudik is not allowed] Lorena might still be able to operate, but what about smaller operators? If there is no support for them, they will be prone to closure and layoffs,” he added. Such government support could come in the form of vehicle ownership tax and income tax exemptions, fuel subsidies, as well as waivers for Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS) premium payments for workers, among other things. Read also: Forget ‘mudik’ this year, govt tells people as Idul Fitri moves closerTransportation Ministry Land Transportation Director General Budi Setyadi said on Friday that the ministry advised the government to ban or restrict mudik this year to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with a final decision to be made at a Cabinet meeting on Monday. Topics : The pneumonia-like illness had infected more than 1,400 people and killed 122 in the country as of Monday.Budi said the ministry along with other stakeholders, such as the National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas), were now preparing scenarios regarding the technical matters of the plan, including how it will be enforced. Budi also said the Transportation Ministry had considered providing support to affected operators if the policy was put in place. Every year, millions of Indonesians travel to their hometowns to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Idul Fitri. The tradition brings increased demand for all kinds of mass transportation.In 2019 alone, around 18.3 million passengers used mass transportation services for mudik in the seven days before and after Idul Fitri.Read also: COVID-19: ‘Mudik’ begins in Java while government mulls over travel banNational flag carrier Garuda Indonesia president director Irfan Setiaputra told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the company would support any policy implemented by the government even if it would hurt the airline’s business. “We will always support the government’s decisions, but of course we will give them input and recommendations too,” said Irfan. Even without the mudik ban, Garuda has already been forced to cancel 30 to 40 percent of its flights as demand for air travel decreases amid COVID-19 fears. In February, Irfan said the COVID-19 outbreak was projected to affect the company’s revenue significantly, as the airline has also been forced to cancel flights to various countries.State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said in March that the ministry was in talks with the airline to restructure its sukuk worth US$496.8 million due in June as Garuda had been severely affected by the suspension of umrah (minor haj) and Australia’s decision to close its borders.Read also: ‘If you love them, don’t go home’: Urban migrants decide to stay put amid COVID-19Meanwhile, state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) spokesperson Yuskal Setiawan said the company was ready to support whatever decision the government made on mudik. KAI has independently started reducing its trip schedule in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.PT KAI has canceled 19 trips scheduled between March 23 to April 1. Meanwhile, the company will cancel 103 of its 532 daily trips beginning April 2, said Yuskal. Some 264,719 train tickets have also been canceled by passengers for journeys between March 23 and 30. The number of cancellations is 12 times higher than normal, he said in a statement on Monday.State-owned ferry operator PT ASDP Indonesia Ferry has also voiced support for the government’s plan to ban mudik.“Mudik is an important tradition, but in a time like this, our health is the most important thing,” ASDP planning and development director Christine Hutabarat said. “We are ready to face the consequences [of the mudik ban].”center_img Transportation operators have pledged to support the government’s plan to ban mudik [exodus] during the Idul Fitri holiday this year to curb the spread of COVID-19 but have said that policies are needed to protect small-scale transportation businesses.The managing director of intercity bus service provider Eka Lorena Transport, Dwi Rianta Soerbakti, said the company would support whatever decision the government made on mudik. “The decision to ban mudik must be followed by other policies that can help us, transportation operators, to survive. [This could be] in the form of incentives, as all employees and stakeholders will be affected by this decision,” he said on Friday.  last_img read more

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Marriage and the fear of democracy

first_imgNationalReview.com 1 Nov 2012Ever since the rise of the progressive movement, the American Left has championed political reforms to create direct democracy: ballot initiatives, popular referenda, direct election of senators, and recall initiatives. But now, apparently, there are exceptions. They favor direct democracy  . . . except when they don’t like the result. Then they turn to rule by enlightened overseers.Bob’s note: Yep. Ignore smacking referendum. Say that asset sales referendum should be adhered toThere is no other way to explain the odd editorial in Tuesday’s New York Times, one week before citizens in Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, and Maine consider ballot questions on marriage. The Times argues, in part:The freedom to marry is a fundamental right that should not have to be won or defended at the ballot box. In fact, ballot initiatives are a bad way to write or rewrite laws of any kind. . . . Thanks to court rulings and legislative victories, same-sex marriage is now legal in six states and the District of Columbia.The editorial comes on the heels of Gallaudet University’s decision to place a senior administrator on leave for signing a petition to refer the marriage question to Maryland citizens. Disturbing readingWhen popular votes in 32 of 32 states go against you, you start taking a low view of democracy. Better to place your hopes with five of nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court.….That is why “we the people” should decide it for ourselves. But as Dominique Ludvigson of the Heritage Foundation (where one of us works) has documented in a new paper titled “Circumventing Citizens on Marriage,” the people repeatedly have been thwarted in their efforts to do just that. Ludvigson draws the right conclusion: “Citizens in the voting booth — not activist courts or agenda-driven bureaucrats — should decide questions about the nature, civic purpose, and public interest in marriage.”Citizens should seek to enshrine in law a sound conception of marriage, taking account of sexual embodiment and complementarity, the way sexual powers are ordered to procreation, and the ideal family structure for providing children with both mother and father.As we argue with Robert P. George in our new book What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense, marriage is a pre-political good springing from human nature itself. Prior to any governmental diktats, marriage is, of its essence, a comprehensive (mind-body) union of persons, ordered to the comprehensive sharing of family life. And only as a result of both these facts, it alone calls in a principled way for comprehensive commitment: permanent and exclusive. Marriage is, in short, a conjugal union. It makes a man and woman “one flesh” — in acts of conjugal love, and in the children that love brings forth — for the whole of life.Because it uniquely fosters children’s development, a healthy marriage culture is in the state’s interest. But once the state gets involved, it must get marriage right — to make it easier, rather than harder, for people to live out the real thing. This includes the stabilizing norms that serve the public good, and that only the conjugal view can explain, or support in practice. Only by reflecting the truth about what marriage is as a human good can marriage law ever hope to serve the common good.To recognize same-sex relationships as if they are marriages is to redefine marriage as simply an emotional union. But there is no reason that emotional union, any more than the emotions that set it apart, should be permanent. Or exclusive. Or limited to two. Or necessarily ordered to family life and hence shaped by its demands….http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/332239/marriage-and-inew-york-timesi-fear-democracy-ryan-t-anderson?utm_source=RTA+Nov+1+Marriage&utm_campaign=winstorg&utm_medium=email#last_img read more

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Norwich fail in Bunn appeal

first_img The Canaries confirmed on their website that the Football Association had upheld referee Chris Foy’s decision to dismiss Bunn after he was ruled to have handled outside his area in the 30th minute of the 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light. Bunn will serve his one-match suspension when Norwich face Wigan at the DW Stadium on March 30. Norwich have failed with an appeal against goalkeeper Mark Bunn’s red card in Sunday’s Premier League match at Sunderland. Press Associationcenter_img “An appeal by City against the red card shown to Mark Bunn by referee Chris Foy during Sunday’s Barclays Premier League game away to Sunderland has been rejected by an independent regulatory commission appointed by the FA,” the Norwich statement read. “Mr Foy dismissed Bunn in the 30th minute of Sunday’s 1-1 draw for denying a goal-scoring opportunity, when he charged down a back-header from team-mate Michael Turner outside the box under pressure from Sunderland striker Danny Graham. “The relevant FIFA law states a player will be dismissed for ‘denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball’. “City appealed to the FA that Bunn had not deliberately handled the ball – but this was rejected and the keeper’s suspension for the forthcoming Wigan game will remain in place.” With first-choice goalkeeper John Ruddy sidelined by injury, Bunn’s suspension will mean a start for third-choice Lee Camp, who made his Canaries debut when coming on as a substitute at the weekend. last_img read more

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Saints surge no shock to Bertrand

first_imgSouthampton’s remarkable start to the season has come as no surprise to Ryan Bertrand. And the left-back believes the club’s “world-class” set-up means their fine form can continue. Many expected Saints to struggle this term after a summer of upheaval on the south coast, with manager Mauricio Pochettino followed out of the club by a host of key players. Press Association Bertrand was coy when asked about a potential top-four finish, but he sees no reason why they cannot keep this fantastic campaign going. “I don’t see why not,” the left-back said. “It’s no fluke. “I think we’ve proved that over time, we’ve been consistent with our victories, consistent with our goals, consistent with our clean sheets. It’s up to us now just to keep it going.” Saturday’s win felt particularly important given more eyes than usual were on Southampton following their 8-0 annihilation of Sunderland. “Having won 8-0 we were telling ourselves that if we did come out and lose this week it means nothing,” Bertrand said. “So there’s that added pressure to go out and put a performance in. The boys did that well and we got another three points and another clean sheet. I think we fully deserved the win.” Stoke will not have long to wait to avenge their defeat, given they host Southampton in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. Charlie Adam concedes Koeman’s men were the better side at St Mary’s, but he is confident Stoke can make amends at the Britannia Stadium. “We learn from it and we’ll go again Wednesday night when we play them again in the cup,” the Stoke midfielder said. “It will be a difficult game but we’re at home and it’s one where we need to go and show something better than we did here. “We had half-chances, but they were in control of the game and we never got close enough to them in the right areas. “We paid the price with the goal but we’ve got a tough game against them again on Wednesday and then West Ham so we have to be ready and learn from our mistakes.” Words such as meltdown and crisis were bandied around, yet Ronald Koeman’s side have made a mockery of such talk with their incredible start to the season. Southampton will start November second in the Barclays Premier League thanks to Saturday’s 1-0 win against Stoke and, while most onlookers are shocked, it comes as little surprise to summer acquisition Bertrand. “Probably from the outside (you could not have predicted this) when you see a club lose a lot of players and a manager – a manager more so, for me,” the on-loan Chelsea left-back said. “But the people behind the scenes at Southampton have brought in a world-class manager and world-class players. “As soon as I came in and saw the players, saw everyone training and what they’re capable of, it’s not a surprise to me. “A lot of people can talk on the outside about how we’re going to finish or what’s going to happen throughout the season, but the only people who can control it is us. “As long as we keep working hard and doing the right things well, we’re coming out on top at the minute.” Southampton may find themselves second only to Chelsea, but few expect them to end up in such a lofty position come the end of the season. last_img read more

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Update on the latest sports-UPDATED

first_imgNASCAR-RICHMONDHamlin seeks to regain mojo at Richmond in home track raceRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Denny Hamlin, disgusted with his performance in the opening playoff race, gets another chance Saturday night on his home track, Richmond Raceway. Kevin Harvick won the first round. Hamlin once held a clear advantage over his rivals at home track Richmond Raceway. He’s won three races and has 17 top-10 finishes in 27 career starts at the Virginia track. He’s only finished lower than sixth once in the last nine races at Richmond yet believes he long ago lost the edge he held over his competitors on the 0.75-miles, D-shaped oval. Hamlin believes data sharing has allowed his rivals to catch him at his favorite track. September 12, 2020 — Kyren Williams ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns in his first start, grad quarterback Ian Book threw for 263 yards and No. 10 Notre Dame beat Duke 27-13 on Saturday at rainy Notre Dame Stadium in the season and Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams. The victory was Notre Dame’s 19th straight at home and the first for the Fighting Irish in a conference after 132 years as an independent. Because of COVID-19, the Irish are playing this season as a member of the ACC. — Louisiana-Lafayette got kick and punt returns for touchdowns to help secure one of its biggest wins in program history, 31-14 win over No. 23 Iowa State. On a day when both offenses seemed overmatched, the Ragin’ Cajuns were ignited by Chris Smith’s 95-yard kickoff return in the second quarter and Eric Garror’s 83-yard punt return in the third. Levi Lewis also threw a 78-yard scoring pass to Peter LeBlanc to give Louisiana-Lafayette a 17-14 lead late in the third quarter. Louisiana-Lafayette beat a Top 25 opponent for the first time, having gone 0-26 against ranked foes away from home. COLLEGE SPORTSBig Ten to meet Sunday on football seasonUNDATED (AP) — The Big Ten university presidents will meet Sunday to hear a presentation about playing a football season — maybe as soon as late October — though a vote to restart the postponed season is not guaranteed. A person with direct knowledge of the situation said the Big Ten’s Return to Competition Task Force met Saturday. The medical subcommittee made a presentation to a subgroup of presidents and chancellors. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not planning to make any announcements about its efforts to return to play, said it was a “positive meeting” that led to the scheduling of a presentation to the full group of presidents and chancellors. Mayfield said he’ll respect whatever decisions his teammates make as far as protesting during the anthems.The Browns open the season Sunday in Baltimore.In other NFL news:— Receiver Cooper Kupp has agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2023 with the Los Angeles Rams a day before the Rams’ season opener against the Dallas Cowboys in brand-new SoFi Stadium. Kupp has been a steady, productive receiver since the Rams chose him in the third round of the 2017 draft. He was Los Angeles’ top pass-catcher last season, leading the team with 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns.The New York Jets have signed quarterback Mike White from the practice squad to serve as Sam Darnold’s backup in the season opener at Buffalo on Sunday. The team also promoted wide receiver Josh Malone and running back Josh Adams from the practice squad Saturday. All three players were among the Jets’ final roster cuts last week and then re-signed to the practice squad. As part of the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, game-day rosters were increased from 53 to 55 players. White will be Darnold’s backup because Joe Flacco was ruled out for the game as he recovers from neck surgery. Osaka’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory on Saturday in New York adds to her trophies from the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open.The 22-year-old was born in Japan and now is based in the United States.The final was played at a nearly empty and mostly silent Arthur Ashe Stadium, a facility with more than 23,000 seats. Fans were banned from the U.S. Open this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, although some tournament workers did dot the stands Saturday.When Osaka walked onto the court she was wearing a mask with the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy who was killed by police in Cleveland in 2014.T25 FOOTBALL-SCHEDULE — Mark Newman, a key front office executive for the New York Yankees during their run of five World Series titles from 1996 through 2009, was found dead Saturday at his home in Tampa, Florida. He was 71. The team was not sure of the cause. A moment of silence was observed before Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.ITALIAN OPEN-SERENA WITHDRAWSSerena Williams withdraws from Rome with Achilles injuryROME (AP) — Four-time champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from the upcoming Italian Open, citing the Achilles issue that bothered her in a loss to Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open semifinals.Williams took a medical timeout for a tape job on her Achilles during her three-set loss on Thursday. In other college sports news:— The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt college sports. Virginia and Virginia Tech have postponed their Sept. 19 football opener because of COVID-19 issues at Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech also will not hold football practice for four days. The postponement is the second for the Hokies since the Atlantic Coast Conference released a revised schedule. Their original opening game, slated for Sept. 12 against North Carolina State, was pushed back two weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak at N.C. State.—Virginia, suddenly faced with not opening its season until Oct. 3 at No. 1 Clemson, announced it has moved its home game against Duke to Sept. 26. The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 14. —Coach Gus Malzahn says No. 11 Auburn had five starters out of practice this week because of COVID-19-related issues. Malzahn said Saturday the Tigers had two new positive tests this week and 10 total players are sidelined from practice because of the virus or close contact. Auburn opens the season Sept. 26 against Kentucky and is set to begin specific game preparation on Sunday.—Notre Dame and coach Brian Kelly have agreed to terms on a contract extension that runs through the 2024 season. The deal was announced between the first and second quarters of the Fighting Irish’s home game against Duke. Kelly is entering his 11th season as Notre Dame coach. The Irish are 92-37 under Kelly, including 33-6 record with a playoff appearance in the last three seasons. Kelly is approaching Lou Holtz’s Notre Dame record for most games coached in program history. Williams’ 3 TDs help No. 18 UNC pull away from Syracuse 31-6UNDATED (AP) —Javonte Williams ran for three fourth-quarter touchdowns and No. 18 North Carolina overcame a mistake-filled performance to beat Syracuse 31-6 on Saturday in the season opener for both teams. Michael Carter added 138 yards of total offense for the Tar Heels, who won in an empty home stadium after the school opted to open with no fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic. Williams’ three touchdown runs in the fourth quarter helped UNC blow the game open after leading just 10-6 entering the fourth.Tommy DeVito threw for 112 yards but took seven sacks for the Orange, who had 202 total yards.In other Top 25 football: COLLEGE FOOTBALL-WEST VIRGINIA-SUSPENSIONSWest Virginia suspends 11 for opener; bans not tied to virusMORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia suspended 11 players for its season opener Saturday for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Coach Neal Brown announced the suspensions Saturday before the Mountaineers played at home against Eastern Kentucky. The school would not specify what the players did, except to say this is not related to the coronavirus.Among them were slot wide receivers T.J. Simmons and Isaiah Esdale, tight ends T.J. Banks and Mike O’Laughlin, and two starting offensive linemen, center Chase Behrndt and left tackle Junior Uzebu. The Lakers lead Houston 3-1 in their Western Conference semifinal series and could clinch their spot in the West finals with a win on Saturday night at Walt Disney World.NHL-STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFSVegas tries to even series in Game 4EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights meet in Game 4 of the Western Conference final Saturday. Dallas leads the series 2-1 after winning Game 3 in overtime on the strength of 38 saves from goalie Anton Khudobin.The Knights and Stars became the first teams in the modern era (since 1943-44) to exchange shutouts in the first two games of a conference semifinal of final series. Game 3 was scoreless until the closing seconds of the second period.center_img Azarenka faces Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final. The Italian Open, which was rescheduled from May due to the coronavirus pandemic, begins Monday.NBA PLAYOFFSLakers can eliminate Rockets in Game 5 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Houston Rockets didn’t show up for Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers until it was too late. They can’t do that again Saturday in Game 5. For the second time in these playoffs, the Rockets’ season is on the line. Update on the latest sports-UPDATED Also suspended were backup offensive linemen Zach Davis and Tairiq Stewart, backup wide receiver Zack Dobson and long snapper JP Hadley. Freshman cornerback Vincent Okloli was the lone suspended player on defense. NFL-NEWSMayfield now says he’ll stand for the anthemUNDATED (AP) — Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has changed plans and will stand for the national anthem.Mayfield had said during the offseason he intended to kneel in protest of racial injustice, but Saturday announced on Twitter that he intends to stand for both the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which will be played before every NFL game this season. MLB-NEWSA’s 3B Chapman needs hip surgery, to miss rest of seasonUNDATED (AP) — All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman is expected to miss the rest of the season for the Oakland Athletics. He was placed on the injured list Saturday because of a strained right hip. He is scheduled to have surgery Monday in Vail, Colorado. Chapman hasn’t played since leaving hurt in the fifth inning of Oakland’s game last Sunday against San Diego. He was a first-time All-Star last season, when he had a Gold Glove for the second year in a row. In 37 games overall this season, Chapman hit .232 with 10 home runs with 25 RBIs. In other baseball news: Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditUS OPENOsaka wins U.S. Open titleNEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka has won her second U.S. Open championship and third Grand Slam title overall by coming back to beat Victoria Azarenka in three sets in the final at Flushing Meadows. Associated Press — The New Orleans Saints say running back Alvin Kamara has agreed to a five-year extension. A person familiar with the contract says it is worth up to $75 million but that the final season includes a large non-guaranteed payment. The person says that effectively limits the team’s obligation to $50 million from 2021 to 2024. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial details have not been released. Kamara has surpassed 1,300 yards from scrimmage in each of his first three seasons. — The Minnesota Vikings have signed running back Dalvin Cook to a five-year, $63 million contract extension. The deal gives their dual-threat star some security the day before the season opener. Cook was picked for the Pro Bowl last year after becoming the eighth different Vikings player to reach 1,000 rushing yards. Since he was drafted in the second round in 2017, Cook has missed 21 of a possible 52 games to injury. In 2019, he came the closest to a full season. He sat out twice with shoulder trouble, still finishing seventh in the league with 1,654 yards from scrimmage.—The Tennessee Titans will be without starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. on Monday night when they visit Denver for their season opener. The Titans announced Saturday they’ll be without five players due to injuries. Jackson is one of their starting cornerbacks and was added to the report Friday with an injured knee. Beasley is expected to back up Jadeveon Clowney Jr. and Harold Landry III. He just passed his physical a week ago and was limited when he practiced. Outside linebacker Derick Roberson also will be out along with rookie running back Darrynton Evans.— Tennessee Titans rookie Isaiah Wilson has been arrested and charged with drunken driving after authorities say he was spotted doing “donuts” in an intersection before crashing into a concrete wall. The offensive lineman was arrested Friday night and released Saturday morning. According to the arrest warrant, Wilson told the officer he was having issues with a back tire, but he struggled with the field sobriety tests. The No. 29 pick overall in April out of Georgia currently is on the reserve-COVID list for the second time. He started training camp on the list before being removed Aug. 3 and was placed on the list again on Sept. 6. MLB-SCHEDULE Luke Voit lifts Yankees past Orioles 2-1 in 10 inningsNEW YORK (AP) — Luke Voit hit a game-ending sacrifice fly leading off the 10th inning, and the New York Yankees beat Baltimore 2-1 Saturday to open a 4 1/2-game lead over the Orioles for the American League’s eighth and final playoff berth.With DJ LeMahieu starting the inning as the automatic runner on second, Hunter Harvey (0-2) bounced a wild pitch that advanced LeMahieu. Baltimore brought the field in.Voit, hitting in shadows, worked the count to 2-2, fouled off three pitches and hit a fly ball to center fielder Cedric Mullins for his 37th RBI. LeMahieu scored without a throw.A day after sweeping a doubleheader from the Orioles, New York (25-21) won its fourth straight game and closed in on Toronto (24-20) for second place in the AL East.last_img read more

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