Burn Institute Firefighter Boot Drive Posted: March 5, 2019 KUSI Newsroom, 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The 20th Annual Firefighter Boot Drive will have crews from fire departments all over San Diego County come together at intersections within their communities to collect donations in their boots to benefit the Burn Institute.On March 6th, during the morning and evening commutes firefighters will ask passing motorists help to fill boots with their spare change.The Boot Drive is the Burn Institute’s largest one-day fundraiser of the year, raising over $200,000 in 2018.If you don’t see a firefighter, you can still make a donation at burninstitute.org. Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter March 5, 2019 KUSI Newsroom
MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A homeless man died after, police said, he was stabbed in South Beach, Friday night.Miami Beach Police responded to the scene of the reported stabbing along the 200 block of Española Way, at around 9 p.m. Investigators blocked off the street as they processed the scene.The victim was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.Detectives are working leads as they look for the subject, who, according to a witness, may also be homeless.If you have any information on this stabbing, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Stay on target Bayonetta Gets Wicked!Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is huge. Not just in terms of hype and importance and sales potential, but just in terms of sheer stuff. The Nintendo Switch mascot fighter features over a hundred stages, nearly a thousand songs, and too many Pokemon and items and Assist Trophies to think of crammed onto a cartridge you can plan on the go or on a TV. When you have as many big franchises as Nintendo, putting them all in one game will make that game is very big boy indeed.But the biggest, most exciting thing about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is its mind-blowing, heartwarming roster of playable characters. Fighting games pride themselves not just on the strength of their mechanics but the strength of its fighters, especially in a crossover fighters like this. And Super Smash Bros. Ultimate crushes all rivals by including every single playable character from the across the four previous games in the twenty-year-old series. Include the new combatants and so far we have over 70 fighters to wrap our heads around. We’re excited, but we’re also intimidated. So to get ready for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, every day, character by character, we’re creating the ultimate guide to all of its characters. Today’s fighter: Bayonetta.AdChoices广告 ‘Astral Chain’ and Other Dumb Nintendo SongsThe Ultimate Super Smash Bros. Character Guide: Hero Who Are They?Bayonetta is a sassy, sailor-mouthed witch who summons the limbs of demons with her hair clothing and foot guns in order to kill angels. She’s beautiful. She’s my wife and yours too. She’s the reason people care about Platinum Games and the best thing to (indirectly) come out of the Devil May Cry series of stylish action games. Bayonetta 2 is one of the few absolutely diamond-perfect video games that exist in this crummy world.Smash HistoryFor the final DLC character in Smash Wii U/3DS, Nintendo let fans vote on who they wanted to see join the battle. Imagine what that data must’ve looked like. How many times did “Goku” show up? In the end, among “possible characters,” Bayonetta won in Europe and was among the top five everywhere else. And that’s great because beyond basically having a fighting game moveset in her own game, Bayonetta is an unapologetically mature and sexual character whose very presence breaks the family friendly Nintendo universe even more than Solid Snake.What Looks New in Ultimate?Along with being the last and most surprising character in Smash Wii U/3DS, Bayonetta was also by far the best. She was arguably broken with her ludicrous mid-air ladder combos and ability to freeze opponents with Witch Time. The last couple big Smash tournaments devolved into Bayonetta mirror matches the players didn’t even take seriously. So surprising no one Bayonetta is much worse in Ultimate. She just can’t combo or kill nearly as effectively, much to the relief of any Smash Wii U/3DS veterans. The fundamentals are the same, but the power is way lower.Our Hopes?Bayonetta needed to get nerfed. But we hope in the end these nerfs just lead to her being balanced instead of her being bad. She’s so cool we want people to still have a good time if they choose to play as her. What better way to advertise Bayonetta 3 than to have all sorts of awesome Bayonetta combo videos floating around that Smash Bros. video app Nintendo teased that one time.Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now. Read our review of this majestic video game pageant. And for more check out cool Switch games to play that aren’t Smash Bros., because those definitely exist.View as: One Page Slides1/761. Read Mario’s Guide2. Read Donkey Kong’s Guide3. Read Link’s Guide4. Read Samus’s Guide5. Read Dark Samus’s Guide6. Read Yoshi’s Guide7. Read Kirby’s Guide8. Read Fox’s Guide9. Read Pikachu’s Guide10. Read Luigi’s Guide11. Read Ness’s Guide12. Read Captain Falcon’s Guide13. Read Jigglypuff’s Guide14. Read Peach’s Guide15. Read Daisy’s Guide16. Read Bowser’s Guide17. Read Ice Climbers’ Guide18. Read Sheik’s Guide19. Read Zelda’s Guide20. Read Dr. Mario’s Guide21. Read Pichu’s Guide22. Read Falco’s Guide23. Read Marth’s Guide24. Read Lucina’s Guide25. Read Young Link’s Guide26. Read Ganondorf’s Guide27. Read Mewtwo’s Guide28. Read Roy’s Guide29. Read Chrom’s Guide30. Read Mr. Game and Watch’s Guide31. Read Meta Knight’s Guide32. Read Pit’s Guide33. Read Dark Pit’s Guide34. Read Zero Suit Samus’s Guide35. Read Wario’s Guide36. Read Snake’s Guide37. Read Ike’s Guide38. Read Pokemon Trainer’s Guide39. Read Diddy Kong’s Guide40. Read Lucas’s Guide41. Read Sonic’s Guide42. Read King Dedede’s Guide43. Read Olimar’s Guide44. Read Lucario’s Guide45. Read R.O.B.’s Guide46. Read Toon Link’s Guide47. Read Wolf’s Guide48. Read Villager’s Guide49. Read Mega Man’s Guide50. Read Wii Fit Trainer’s Guide51. Read Rosalina and Luma’s Guide52. Read Little Mac’s Guide53. Read Greninja’s Guide54. Read Mii Fighters’ Guide55. Read Palutena’s Guide56. Read Pac-Man’s Guide57. Read Robin’s Guide58. Read Shulk’s Guide59. Read Bowser Jr.’s Guide60. Read Duck Hunt’s Guide61. Read Ryu’s Guide62. Read Cloud’s Guide63. Read Corrin’s Guide64. Read Bayonetta’s Guide65. Read Inkling’s Guide66. Read Ridley’s Guide67. Read Simon’s Guide68. Read Richter’s Guide69. Read King K. Rool’s Guide70. Read Isabelle’s Guide71. Read Ken’s Guide72. Read Incineroar’s Guide73. Read Piranha Plant’s Guide74. Read Joker’s Guide75. Read Hero’s Guide76.
“The railways wants private capital for carrying out its enormous task. Getting private capital is not harmful to public nor to anybody. There should not be any misgiving about it. It is not privatisation,” he said in an informal chat with reporters here.Station development, utilisation of advertising space and commercialisation of vacant land are some of the areas which are being explored by the railways for attracting private investment, besides allowing 100 per cent FDI in the rail sector. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIRailway unions have been raising their voice against any move towards privatisation in the railway sector.Prabhu said at present, the railways is in the need of about Rs 6 lakh crore to Rs 8 lakh crore for completion of its all ongoing projects.He said a White Paper is being prepared to be presented in Parliament which will have all details.“First, there will be a diagnosis, then solution. White Paper is the diagnosis and then we will formulate a plan as a solution to the problems,” he said Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindWhen his attention was drawn towards the claim of Rs 90,000 crore surplus made by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, he said the prevailing condition in the railways is the result of the policy pursued in the past few years. “It is not because of recent happening. It is because of last 20/25 years that the railways has come to this pass,” he said, without naming anybody.“I am not blaming anybody for this. Whatever problems we will try to solve these,” he added. Emphasising on the drastic need for improvement in the railways, he said, “Improvement in customer service, safety upgradation, and modernisation of rail infrastructure is the need of the hour and these require money.” He further said there are two sources of getting additional funds. “One is passenger fare, the other is gross budgetary support (GBS).” Prabhu, considered to be pro-reform said, “We need additional resources to improve customer service. Freight tariff is already high. Passengers will happily pay more if we improve service.” On attracting private investment, the Railway Minister said a new model is being worked out for development of stations with private participation. “It is in the final stage and we will take it to the Cabinet for its approval before launching the model for private players.” He said there is also a remendous scope in earning more from the advertising in rail premises. “We can earn Rs 10,000 crore from advertising alone. The scope and benefit for advertisers in railways are much more than other areas as there is a larger captive audience for longer hours.”
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, wanted in Japan and Costa Rica, is ready to do battle again this year against Japanese whalers. “Operation Zero Tolerance” in the Southern Ocean starts this month.AFP No related posts. AC: Because of legal issues, I really can’t talk about the case. We’re pretty much where we were the last time we spoke. Only now, Paul is listed on a red notice by Interpol based on the same testimony, and obviously, Japan took the opportunity to present their own red notice. We have two red notices that are in our opinion clearly politically motivated.A red notice really doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a request from Interpol to contact them when someone who is red-noticed enters a country. And then Interpol will contact the requesting country, letting them know that a person has entered that country. Japan and Costa Rica, in this case, can present a request for provisional arrest. And then that person can be held while that country investigates whether they’re going to extradite. In the case of Japan, we’re worried because Japan has a 95-97 percent conviction rate, and if Paul entered Japan he would never leave.The funny thing about Japan is that the whole case, the whole red notice is based on testimony of one guy, Pete Bethune, who was arrested for boarding a [Japanese] whaling ship. He was then taken to Japan, and there he pretty much pointed the finger at Paul saying Paul made him do it, even though we have video evidence proving differently. But because we were not heard in Japan, the Japanese government decided to prosecute Paul, which is what they wanted anyway. So they’re using Pete Bethune’s testimony to get to Paul.Obviously they don’t want us to leave port because we’ve been very successful in stopping Japanese whalers. So, they’ll do whatever they can, and $30 million of tsunami relief money will bring you a long way to stop a nongovernmental organization that is operating on a budget that is less than a third of that.They’re definitely getting increasingly worried, though. We’re keeping the whale kill numbers down.It’s very important we get these charges against Paul dropped. Obviously it’s a legal matter and the judges need to decide, but we need a little pressure to make this case go away, because really what are we talking about? A fisherman who allegedly broke his finger 10 years ago? A fisherman who was convicted the year before for illegally fishing in Galapagos? When I got back to Galapagos, I started investigating and found out that the same vessel with the same crew [involved in the 2002 incident that led to Watson’s arrest] was arrested in 2001 in Galapagos for illegal entry into the Galapagos Marine Reserve. …Ideally we’d like to see this case dropped altogether. We don’t think it’s fair. He’s being charged with attempted shipwrecking with injury. And what you can see on the video is no damage; they went immediately to check and nobody was injured. A couple months later, they said there was all this damage, broken windows, etc. It’s all fiction.In the [Costa Rican daily] La Nación interview [with fishermen involved in the 2002 incident aboard the Varadero I], one guy was saying, “I feared for my life, the windows on the bridge broke,” etc. When you look at the video, not one window broke. It’s complete fabrication. The story also mentions this guy who came back and was so depressed that he eventually became addicted to drugs. Hang on, so now we’re responsible for someone using drugs? It’s completely ridiculous.I don’t know what sort of fishermen you have in Costa Rica, but I’ve been through a lot worse than a small collision. I’ve been in 50-foot waves thinking you’re going to lose the vessel. I think they used the press to get sympathy for their case, and I think it worked. They printed whatever the guys said without checking the facts.Tell me about Sea Shepherd’s campaign to stop Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. This past year for us was the most disastrous campaign. First, we lost the Brigitte Bardot [Sea Shepherd’s 35-meter monohull trimaran], then we actually had a serious engine problem with the Bob Barker that was not shown on “Whale Wars,” but basically we were out of commission for the entire campaign. We blew our turbo chargers and continued at a maximum speed of 10 knots. But nobody knew that, so the Japanese at some points had two harpoon ships following us. So we figured, OK, we can’t do anything because of a broken engine, so we might as well keep them busy and keep them out of the game. That way we were very successful. We kept the kill quota down to 26 percent, which was still more than the year before, at 17 percent. But if you think about it, a small organization with three ships and a bunch of volunteers manages to keep Japanese whalers on their knees for two consecutive years.This year, the operation is called “Zero Tolerance,” and our goal is to reach a zero percent kill quota. We want to meet [Japanese whalers] up in the North Pacific; we’re going to wait for the whaling fleet just outside of Japan. As soon as they leave the 200-mile limit, we’ll be waiting for them.We’ll have four ships this year, instead of three; we have eight small boats, 120 volunteers, a helicopter, three drones and a bunch of supplies. The good thing is thanks to the success we’ve had over the last few years, we’ve grown as an organization, and we’ve expanded our toolbox. Meanwhile, the Japanese whaling fleet has taken enormous economic losses, and we’re hoping that this year, if we can manage a zero percent kill quota, it will be the final blow to the industry. …Last year was my fifth Antarctic campaign, and it was the worst I’ve ever experienced. We were going from one storm to another. It was absolutely horrible. We were going through 15-meter waves and storm after storm. Of course that also made things difficult for the Japanese whaling fleet.Our ships are very seaworthy. The Japanese ships are made for speed, very narrow, very sharp, with pointy bows and lots of weight in the bottom of the ships. So they’re riding very fast and if they take a roll, they shoot up very quickly. When they hit a storm, you can see those boats slamming up and down like a cork. They must be very uncomfortable. We know they must absolutely hate us right now. At some point in the past campaign they were changing ships so they could get a break and other crews could come in.So, obviously Paul is safe from arrest while he’s at sea. But will this case in Japan ever go away?In international waters, there’s nothing that can be done [to arrest Watson]. We’re looking at our options. Our primary goal is to get both arrest warrants dropped. We want to get the Costa Rican case resolved first, and then the Japanese case. We’re working on that with legal teams all over the world. We’ve got lawyers in Germany, the United States, Costa Rica and Ecuador. I think our primary goal at the moment is to get the Costa Rica case resolved, because that’s one red notice that will go away, one international arrest warrant that will go away, and then we’ll focus on the case in Japan. And again, the case in Japan is based solely on the testimony of one person. It’s ridiculous. …Of course, Japan doesn’t want to drop this case. They’re doing whatever they can. We have a court case in [the U.S. city of] Seattle; they’re trying to get an injunction to prevent us from leaving port. Of course, they failed miserably and now they’re appealing. The court of appeals is going to send the case back to the same judge that ruled in our favor.They tried to get Paul arrested with an international arrest warrant, they’ve tried to stop the ships from leaving port, strip our flags by pressuring the Dutch government, and they’ve tried to pressure the Australians to stop us from leaving port. They’re doing everything they can to try to stop us from going out this year.Where do other nations stand on this?In the international community many countries are against what the Japanese whalers are doing. Obviously, the whole world is against whaling. Everybody sees that this is not scientific whaling. It’s commercial whaling. They’re just testing the waters to resume commercial whaling, and they admit it. This whole scientific program they have is to keep their vessels going and keep the industry alive.If other nations are against whaling, what is needed to stop it?Increased political pressure from other governments. The problem is Japan is an economic power and trade negotiations are more important than a couple of whales. It’s as simple as that. But on the other hand, if you look at the whale-watching industry in Australia, which generates about $300-$400 million a year, and then you look at the Japanese whaling industry, which is now saying they want to target humpbacks this year, if they would kill the humpbacks, then the humpbacks would stay away from the whale-watching boats, and that would mean that a $300 million industry would cease to exist or would be greatly diminished. For what? For 200 sailors who make a living off of whaling. They can easily do something else.The Japanese government owns the vessels, and they’re not making a profit. They have serious losses due to the intervention of Sea Shepherd over the last few years. It’s not even economically viable. It’s plain stubbornness.The Japanese say they are conducting research. Others say that’s a loophole. What has to happen to really ban whaling as opposed to allowing it through these loopholes?Enforcement of international conservation law. What we’re doing on the high seas is nothing more than enforcing international law. What Japan is doing, even though they’re hiding behind so-called research, it’s a commercial hunt. And people need to recognize that. Even the IWC [International Whaling Commission] is saying it’s not research. Plus, they’re killing whales in an established whale sanctuary. They’re targeting an endangered species, and they’re using factory vessels inside the Antarctic zone, which is another violation. So, it’s clear what they’re doing is illegal. They’re breaking numerous treaties, they’re in violation of an Australian court order, and they simply don’t give a damn, because there’s no enforcement.What about Costa Rica?It’s a nice country. [Laughs] There are a couple of developments in Costa Rica that are promising. The new law that’s been written about sharks definitely has some future, but there’s still a long way to go. As it is now, the law’s not going to work. They need to make some adjustments.But still, we at Sea Shepherd are against shark finning, and shark fishing altogether. We think that the only solution is to stop shark fishing globally. Shark populations have plummeted so much, and all these measures that are being put out by the European Union, and now by Costa Rica, that say you can still kill sharks as bycatch? No, that’s not going to be sufficient. Plus, you’re always going to keep this back door open by creating a loophole. As our experience shows with Japanese whaling, loopholes are not the way to go.I think it’s really important, which is what we’re seeing at Galapagos, is that tourism operators need to take a position; people working in tourism need to step up and rise to the occasion and defend their rights on tourism. Basically, you’ve got a couple fishermen who are destroying the livelihoods of a lot more people who work in tourism. Tourism is a sustainable industry that will go on forever, whereas shark finning will eventually stop. It’ll happen in our lifetime. If we continue killing sharks, in the next 10-20 years there won’t be any more sharks. …What about the argument that these resources belong to all Costa Ricans?I think the most important thing here is not to consider them resources. And also, they don’t belong to Costa Rica. We’re talking about an ocean and nothing in the ocean belongs to anybody. We’re talking about wild animals that do not belong to anybody. You can’t say that this part of the water belongs to a country. I know that from a government’s point of view that is the case. Of course, EEZs [Exclusive Economic Zones] are established. But if you look at it, it’s madness. You can’t say 200 miles belongs to us. Animals migrate, so animals now inside your waters two days later will be in Ecuador’s waters, so we transfer ownership of that animal? It’s an insane way of thinking. We don’t own nature, we’re part of nature, and it’s really important that people understand that we have to stop separating ourselves from nature. When we kill nature, we kill ourselves. …What about regional initiatives?I think that’s finally getting the point. Ideally, in the end, we’ll see a global network of control, sort of like a United Nations to patrol the oceans. That would be ideal. Corridors are a step towards that, and it’s also a step toward letting go of the idea that this is our ocean. As people understand with the Eastern Pacific corridor, there’s migration between the parks, and the animals are not bound or owned by certain countries. So the area that needs protection is much larger. And it’s really important that people start thinking that way.At Costa Rica’s Cocos Island, fishing boats are sitting right outside the protected area. Some go in there at night.We’ve got the same thing in Galapagos. We’ve got the Galapagos Archipelago, in which the area is protected 40 miles away from the baseline; so the lines connecting the other side of the island, and then 40 miles out to the ocean, is the national park. So, what you’re seeing in the national park’s control center with a VMS-satellite-detection system is that all the Ecuadorian fishing vessels are sitting right at the 40-mile mark, just outside. But some of them are sitting there for two or three days in a row. It’s pretty obvious what they’re doing.At night they’re sending in their lanchas and fishing illegally. They send in the little speedboats at night and put out their lines, wait until early morning, pick it up and go back to their boats. If they got caught, they’d lose a few lanchas. But the main ship would stay out of the picture.What can you do to prevent that?Patrol. If I compare Galapagos to Cocos Island, I think Costa Rica has such an easy job to protect that island. We’re talking about an archipelago [in Ecuador] with islands and with shadows. We’ve got an AIS system with nine repeater sites, so we have shadows in between the islands, and we can never get full coverage. But with Cocos, it’s so simple. It’s one island. You put one [radar tower] on top and you’re done. And enforcement would be so simple. You put radar, you put AIS, VMS, whatever you have, and you put two boats, one on either side of the island, and nobody would ever fish there. It’s that simple.With absolute minimal effort you could get maximum results, 100 percent. So I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet.There have been offers, not only from Sea Shepherd, but also from other NGOs to help with this. …You have to say nobody is allowed to come inside these waters. And if you get caught, you cannot just say you have to be fishing to get convicted and prosecuted. You say that by merely being there you’re in violation.Boats have been caught there many times and nothing ever happens.We’re working with that in Galapagos, trying to improve environmental laws. We’ll hopefully soon have a court that specializes in environmental violations. It would be the first one ever. And now for the first time we had a judge deny bail to fishermen caught in the park. In the past, they’ve always been released because they said they don’t have a proper jail, food, etc. Then they go to the continent and they never show up to court, and the case expires. Now for the first time, we have a judge who said I’m not going to grant bail. That is a big deal. … We’re celebrating these small victories, because that’s the only way we’re going to get there, step by step.We have vessel confiscation and loss of license, but what we want is the precedence of people going to jail. Because that would send a very clear signal that if you come to Galapagos, you lose your boat, you lose your license and you go to jail. And that will be a very strong incentive for people to rethink their possible entry into a protected area. I think that’s the only way. You have to scare them.You could control Cocos for an initial investment of less than $3 million and then a recurring annual cost of a couple hundred thousand dollars. I can guarantee there are NGOs that would be happy to help. We’re still willing to help, despite everything that happened and these ridiculous events that continue to unfold; but if we get the opportunity to help protect Cocos, we’re there.What’s at stake with these marine conservation efforts?Fish are disappearing. The fishing sector is weaker than it’s ever been. People are losing money, everybody’s losing their businesses, and boats are being sold, because there’s no more fish. And not just in Costa Rica, everywhere. We’ve pretty much fished it all out. It’s definitely time that people come to the conclusion that maybe we’ve done enough to the oceans, maybe it’s time to treat the oceans a little more cautiously. …We live on land and therefore don’t look at the oceans. It’s not just here in Costa Rica, it’s worldwide. The oceans are being ravaged by illegal activity, not just fishing, but also toxic dumping, some by governments. People don’t care because they don’t know about it. Here you can drive into the forest and if someone is killing animals, you say it’s ridiculous.If we continue to kill our oceans, it’s going to affect life on land. People talk about protecting the rain forest because it provides our oxygen, but the oceans provide 70 percent or more of all the oxygen on our planet. If we kill the oceans, we kill ourselves. …I do see a growing movement worldwide where people are becoming more aware of what’s happening. People are starting to see on TV that things are really bad in the oceans. People want to help, but they don’t know how to help. Maybe it’s our job to provide them with that knowledge.How can people help?People are talking about sustainable fisheries, but I’m personally against eating any kind of fish, because I think at this point, that’s the only thing that’s going to save the oceans. We’re too late with all these measures. … We need to be far more serious about conservation. But if I go and say stop eating fish, people will say that’s extreme, so I can’t say that. I can’t say it in Ecuador, not even in Europe. So, what I always say is stop eating tuna. Tuna boats are not only killing the tuna, which is quite a problem right now because tuna populations are dropping worldwide, but they’re also killing dolphins. And everyone wants to see dolphins, so by eating tuna you’re directly contributing to the killing of dolphins.I think if we would have stuck to going out ourselves into the ocean with a rod and a hook, catching a fish, preparing the fish and eating it, we wouldn’t have problems now. But because of commercial fisheries, there’s been so much destruction going on and everybody wants to go to the fish market and be presented with this array of choices. …In Europe, there are no fish left. We’re fishing in Africa, all over the world. This huge factory trawler from a Dutch company has been blocked in Australia. We started a petition to block them from fishing in Australian waters, and the federal government banned them from fishing in Australian waters. This is an important step to ban these commercial vessels from raping the waters. They’re huge trawlers, they’re swooping up thousands of tons. European fleets are the most destructive. We always point the finger at places like Costa Rica, but we’re just as guilty in Europe. Fishing fleets from Europe are fishing in Africa.Somali pirates were poor fishermen who could no longer sustain their families. They went out and pretty much attacked the foreign fleets fishing in their waters, because they were going out with their lines and catching just enough to feed their families, and all the sudden, these foreign fleets came in and there was nothing left. So they got really angry. If you go to a fish market in western Africa, all you can buy are fish heads. Those are the parts the Europeans don’t want, and they give them to the local market and all the filets are being transported to Europe in the fish markets.The first Somali pirates were just poor fishermen. We are responsible for piracy in Somali waters. …But how can you tell people who have been eating this for generations not to? You can wait until there are no more fish left, or you can just keep hammering away at the point. Facebook Comments International conservation group Sea Shepherd has been all over the news in recent years, thanks to the group’s aggressive tactics to protect marine species around the world and the media savvy of its 61-year-old founder, Paul Watson.Watson became a household name in Costa Rica when he was arrested in Germany in May on Costa Rican charges that he endangered the lives of Tico fishermen in a high-seas confrontation off the coast of Guatemala in 2002. Sea Shepherd accused the fishermen of illegally fishing and finning sharks.The incident was documented in the film “Sharkwater,” where Costa Rican fishermen aboard the Varadero I are seen fishing sharks.Interpol issued two active red notices for Watson, who fled house arrest in Germany. One notice is from Costa Rica and another is from Japan, which hopes to stop Sea Shepherd from battling the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, the subject of Animal Planet’s television series “Whale Wars.”Alex Cornelissen, director of Sea Shepherd’s operations in the Galapagos Islands and the group’s director for Latin America, also captains the Bob Barker, a main vessel in Sea Shepherd’s fleet against Japanese whalers.The 44-year-old Dutch captain spoke with The Tico Times during a visit to Costa Rica. Excerpts follow:TT: What’s the status of Paul Watson’s case in Costa Rica?
12Jun Marshall’s Cronin Building receives renovation grant State Rep. Dave Maturen has announced that Community Development Block Grant funds totaling more than $380,000 have been awarded to renovate the historic Cronin Building in Marshall’s downtown area.The funds come from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and will be used to correct structural issues, remove asbestos, and eliminate blighted conditions on both the interior and exterior of the building. The historic structure — built in 1870 — will be renovated to include seven apartment units, two extended-stay suites, and a tavern with a patio and banquet area.Rep. Maturen voiced his gratitude for the economic development efforts.“This grant will not only generate more small business activity in downtown Marshall, but also create sustainable jobs that benefit the entire community,” said Rep. Maturen, R-Vicksburg. “I want to express my most sincere thanks to the MEDC and all other stakeholders in the community who made this renovation possible.”The renovation will create 18 jobs and generate a total capital investment of more than $1.6 million.### Categories: Maturen News,News
02Jun Rep. Lauwers: Free Fishing Weekend is great opportunity to get outdoors Categories: Lauwers News Fishing license fees waived on June 11 and 12The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Free Fishing Weekend is fast approaching, and state Rep. Dan Lauwers encourages residents of the 81st House District to take part.Anglers are invited to cast a line without purchasing a fishing license on June 11 and 12. All other fishing rules, such as size and species limits, still apply.“This weekend is the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy our state’s natural resources with family and friends,” said Rep. Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “Locally, we have the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair, as well as dozens of other inland lakes, streams and rivers.”Family-friendly fishing is available at the 40th Street Pond, Harsens Island South Channel Drain and at the Black River.A list of activities planned for Free Fishing Weekend, as well as suggested locations for family-friendly fishing can be found online at www.michigan.gov/dnr.#####
Categories: Barrett News 06Dec House approves Rep. Barrett’s air ambulance legislation The Michigan House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved air ambulance reform legislation sponsored by state Rep. Tom Barrett, of Potterville, ensuring patients fully acknowledge and understand the potential costs of air ambulance transport when it is not medically necessary.Barrett’s measure requires hospitals to only utilize air transport when medically necessary to save patients from outrageous and unnecessary medical costs. The provision does not apply in medical emergencies or where it is determined to be medically necessary to transport a patient by air.“In many instances, nonemergency patients are airlifted to hospitals only to later receive a medical bill costing tens of thousands of dollars, which has force many people into bankruptcy,” Barrett said.Some air ambulance companies currently participate in a practice called “balance billing” where the patient’s health care provider will pay for a portion of the bill, but not its entirety. This leaves patients with medical bills exceeding $10,000.“This common-sense legislation builds a framework to help lower medical costs and provide transparency,” Barrett said. “I want to thank my colleagues for voting in favor of this measure and keeping the best interests of patients at heart.”House Bill 5218 now moves to the Senate for consideration.#####
State Rep. Peter Lucido of Shelby Township continues “Coffee and Conversation with Pete” this month. Coffee hours give residents the opportunity to share thoughts or ask questions related to state government and connect directly with their state representative. For convenience, Rep. Lucido holds morning and evening coffee hours each month to be available for residents with conflicting schedules.“My role in Lansing’s to represent the people of Macomb County,” Rep. Lucido said. “It is imperative to be accessible and accountable to you. Listening to your thoughts and concerns is the best way I can accomplish this, so I hope you will join me for these opportunities.”The coffee hours will be held at the following times and locations:Monday, April 23 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Shelby Township Senior Center, 51670 Van Dyke in Shelby Township; andMonday, April 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Washington Township Senior Center, 57880 Van Dyke in Washington.No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend or who have questions related to state government, contact Rep. Lucido’s office by calling (888) MICH-REP or by email at PeterLucido@house.mi.gov.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Peter Lucido speaks with local residents at a recent “Coffee and Conversation with Pete.” Categories: Lucido News 10Apr Rep. Lucido to host coffee hours
Categories: Hauck News 10Apr Rep. Hauck plan requires physical therapists to report suspected child abuse or neglect State Rep. Roger Hauck today testified before the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee in support of a plan to require physical therapists and assistants to report child abuse and neglect.Hauck’s plan adds physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to the long list of health professionals who must report suspected child abuse or neglect to Children’s Protective Services.“Physical therapists and assistants are trained to notice cases of abuse and neglect,” said Hauck, of Union Township. “Requiring them to report suspected abuse and neglect will protect children who might be in danger.”House Bill 4108 remains under consideration by the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.###
Categories: Berman News The Michigan House today approved a landmark plan to fix our state’s much-maligned car insurance system and reduce rates for all Michigan drivers, state Rep. Ryan Berman announced.Berman voted in favor of the plan to offer drivers personal injury coverage options, rein in medical costs and fight fraud – features designed to end Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the costliest car insurance rates in the nation.“The plan passed by the Legislature today cracks down on the waste, fraud and abuse that has plagued Michigan’s auto insurance system for decades — all while retaining life-saving medical coverage in the event of an accident,” Berman, of Commerce Township, said after the vote. “If Governor Whitmer makes the right decision to sign this plan into law, Michigan drivers will finally see the rate relief they deserve.”Michigan’s costs are high largely because it’s the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance, without any underlying cost containment. The plan allows those currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable options.The plan:Guarantees lower rates for all Michigan driversGives drivers a choice on health coverage optionsStops price gouging on medical services for car accident victimsCombats fraudulent claims to help lower costsThe sweeping legislation now advances to the Senate for consideration. 09May Rep. Berman votes to lower car insurance rates for Michigan drivers
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesAmidst standing ovations he received from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, Eric Shinseki made some astounding statements about his review of the burgeoning scandal regarding VA hospital appointments—and they weren’t his apologies to veterans, Congress, and the public. They were statements reflecting a cabinet officer who seemed out of his element, in a job in which he failed—not to remake a long troubled system, but to even recognize the extent of the problems.Shinseki sounded all muscular, hardly ready to turn in his resignation to the president, whom he was scheduled to meet with only a couple of hours later. But earlier in the day, the cards were on the table. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), herself a wounded veteran and often seen as a bellwether for President Obama’s opinions on veterans issues, called for Shinseki to resign. If Shinseki was on a short leash for the last month or so, Duckworth’s statement announced that Shinseki’s time was up.The president met with Shinseki, and Shinseki offered his resignation. They met at 10:30 on Friday; after meeting with Shinseki, Cabinet Secretary Rob Nabors, and Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, the president announced that he accepted Shinseki’s resignation at 11:15 and suggested that it was Shinseki’s judgment that he would be a distraction going forward were he to stay in office. As we have stated previously, while Shinseki was likely to be gone sooner or later in the hospital wait time scandal, the problem goes much deeper than the man himself. It reflects dynamics with the White House, within the VA, and with CongressInside the VA: The president said that Shinseki was disappointed that “bad news did not get to him.” In his morning speech at the National Coalition, Shinseki expressed shock that he was lied to by subordinates about the existence and extent of the waitlist problem. “I cannot explain the lack of integrity among some of the leaders of our healthcare facilities,” he said. “This is something I rarely encountered during 38 years in uniform. And so I will not defend it, because it is indefensible, but I can take responsibility for it and I do.”Contrary to the President’s and General Shinseki’s concerns, the bad news has been public for a decade, through 18 Inspector General reports and confirmed by other analyses such as the General Accounting Office’s 2013 report. If they weren’t reading the reports from the OIG, Shinseki could have looked at the CNN truck camped outside his office since November with investigative reporter Drew Griffin providing breaking news about the Phoenix VA hospital’s fraudulent waiting lists. As Shinseki hit the bricks, both he and the president cited the numerous accomplishments of the administration on a number of veterans issues, including a reduction in veterans homelessness. But the core mission of the VA is that it is a healthcare delivery system. For a decade, report after report was telling Shinseki, his subordinates, and his predecessors exactly what was going on. Claiming that they didn’t know because subordinates lied to them doesn’t wash.Moreover, in our society’s rush to manage by stretch targets such as promising veterans waits of no longer than 14 days for hospital treatment, the incentive for VA managers is to somehow meet the target. Solving the problem falls by the wayside so long as staff can find ways of fudging the books to show that the goal was met—and that managers could get their bonuses. The culture of the VA is hidebound, overly bureaucratic, stuck with viewing problems through the limited, distorting prisms of specific programs and targets. General Shinseki might have been a fine military commander (especially if it is true that he never had subordinates lie to him in the way his subordinates at the VA appear to have routinely dissembled), but he fell short as a leader of a national healthcare system—which is what the VA is. Inside the administration: All those IG and GAO reports went to the White House too—not just the Obama White House, but to the Bush administration as well. It is clear that both administrations fell horrendously short of competently preparing for the return of demobilized veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Diehard defenders of both administrations point to budget cuts in the VA, presuming that Congress had cut the VA like all others, but those budget simply cuts don’t exist. The VA has constantly had budget increases while other federal agencies have found themselves slashed and eviscerated, with annual increases that have actually speeded up in recent years:Total VA Budget by Fiscal Year$12006 $73.1b$12007 $81.8b$12008 $91.0b$12009 $97.7b$12010 $127.2b$12011 $125.2b$12012 $126.8b$12013 $139.1b$12014 $153.8b$12015 $163.9bSourceWith increasing budgets, the VA had resources to try to resolve some dimensions of the crucial problems in its core medical delivery and benefit functions, but even with a reduction in the benefits backlog, the results are still far from acceptable, made worse by the current albeit longstanding hospital wait-time scandal. The White House has a number of offices and functions—including Rob Nabors, the Cabinet Secretary—who are in positions to spot ten years of IG reports and numerous others to call cabinet secretaries like Shinseki to the White House to demand explanations and action. In this instance, the VA scandal is one of managerial shortcomings within the VA itself, but also within the White House’s oversight of the second largest agency of the executive branch. If Shinseki is taking responsibility, the responsibility ought to be shared by others in the White House.Inside Congress: When the IG reports first were issued about the VA hospital crisis that exists today, President Obama was Senator Obama and a member of the Senate committee charged with oversight of veterans issues. In the intervening years, the IG and GAO reports have been given to Congress and to members of the House and Senate committees concerned with the VA. Is it possible that the dozens and dozens of members of Congress and their staff members simply failed to look at these reports, to notice their titles, to glance through the executive summaries—until they were somehow shocked to learn about the deaths alleged to have occurred while veterans waited for appointments in Phoenix?What a dereliction of legislative branch oversight of the executive branch of government! The response of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to Senator Richard Burr’s (R-NC) denunciation of veterans’ service organizations for being in bed with Shinseki and the VA summarizes the performance or lack of performance of Congress for veterans:“Unfortunately, when we have come to Congress for help, all too often we have been let down by Washington politicians. We have been especially disappointed by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which amazingly, still lacks a single member who is a combat veteran. If the committee was made up of at least a few veterans, we have no doubt you and the Committee would be more aggressive, more effective, and more connected to the veterans community. But since you are not, we expect you to listen that much more and work that much harder.“Thus far, this Senate has failed to live up to its promise to veterans. Instead, political stunts and obstructionism have supplanted the duty that you and others in the Senate have to our nations’ veterans. It is also now painfully clear to all Americans that you and Senate leaders (of both parties) have not effectively exercised your oversight responsibility or passed needed legislation.”Where to go next: Shinseki’s temporary replacement is the Assistant Secretary of the VA, Sloan Gibson, who was formerly the executive director of the USO, the Congressionally-chartered nonprofit that runs 150 or so USO centers across the globe to boost the morale of transitioning and deployed troops wherever they may be stationed. It was clear in the president’s statement that he will be recruiting a new VA secretary, and it didn’t sound like it was Gibson, for whatever the reason might be. The result is that Gibson is in a great position to do something radical about the systemic problem of the VA, to change its hidebound, bureaucratic culture from filling out forms in triplicate to solving problems.There’s no secret that, among the 40,000 nonprofits nominally focused on veterans and the others that also serve significant veterans populations, there are a number of organizations doing little of much utility. There are others that punch way above their way, especially those veterans’ nonprofits that represent and serve post-9/11 veterans, who are returning to stateside to a dysfunctional VA bureaucracy that hadn’t done much to plan for their needs and numbers. Many things can be done to correct the specific problems associated with the fraudulent waitlists, and even Shinseki announced some worthwhile initiatives—such as firing the managers in charge—during his speech to the homeless veterans group. But to get at the systemic problems of the VA, it’s time for the VA to give more than lip service to public private partnerships. It should be convening the many competent and impressive veterans’ organizations, particularly those with post-9/11 veteran constituencies who sometimes return home with a variety of hidden disabilities such as PTSD, and begin a thorough diagnosis and overhaul of the system to identify and eradicate the stultifying culture that infects so many parts of the agency. It’s time for the young, energetic military groups to stand up and help the VA enter the 21st century. The VA has been making some strides—under Shinseki—to work better with nonprofits, including through programs such as the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) grant program, drawing on nonprofit energies, talents, and commitments. For however long Gibson remains at the helm of the VA, he should harken back to his nonprofit identity as the former CEO of the USO and turn to the nonprofit sector to breathe life back into this crucial agency. Veterans deserve nothing less from the VA—and from the 40,000-plus nonprofits that say they exist to serve veterans.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share169TweetShare6Email175 SharesBoarded-up Row House / Paul SablemanJanuary 9, 2016; Pittsburgh Post-GazetteHow about this for an alternative to Baltimore’s mass demolition? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting on a plan by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to use housing choice vouchers (HCV) to support mortgage payments on blighted properties in Pittsburgh’s struggling neighborhoods. The article, “Peduto administration pitches use of Section 8 funds to subsidize home ownership,” describes a plan the mayor has been kicking around for many months:Mr. Peduto’s proposal envisions repurposing money allocated through the federal Section 8 rental-subsidy, under which low-income families pay 30 percent of their income to a landlord, and a voucher pays the balance of the rent. Mr. Peduto wants to subsidize homeownership instead, taking the anticipated value of 30 years’ worth of one household’s vouchers to purchase and renovate a home. Public housing officials would select the homes and finance the work, then set up buyers with a mortgage whose payments would also be set at 30 percent of their income.The mayor has actually been touting this plan for a while. Last month, Peduto appeared at a housing forum sponsored by the Center for American Progress. At the CAP event, “he and U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro led a panel on opportunities for renters in low-income communities. ‘We have thousands of people who need affordable housing and we have tens of thousands of vacant lots and properties. We’d like to bridge that,’ Mr. Peduto told policy makers and fair housing advocates in the audience.”Both Secretary Castro and his boss, President Obama, have been paying some attention to Pittsburgh lately—for two good reasons.Pittsburgh and the surrounding Allegheny County are hubs of Democrats in “swing state” Pennsylvania. Unlike Philadelphia (the other Democratic hub in Pennsylvania), Pittsburgh and its suburbs are majority white and could become a swing area. In another contrast to Greater Philadelphia, Pittsburgh has been relatively free of the shady dealings that have plagued Democrats in the City of Brotherly Love.In Pittsburgh, Mayor Peduto has been able to create a progressive agenda across race and class lines. There’s a least a superficial resemblance to New York’s Bill de Blasio in that both men come to the mayor’s office with a long career in city government, both more progressive than their predecessors, and both with a housing agenda. “We all ran on similar platforms,” Peduto says. “There wasn’t communication among us. It just emerged organically that way. We all faced the reality of growing disparities. The population beneath the poverty line is increasing everywhere. A lot of us were underdogs, populists, reformers, and the public was ready for us.” With New York being a media capital, de Blasio gets more press, but not from lack of effort on Peduto’s part.Creating homeownership vouchers is far from a fully-fledged plan at this point. At their joint appearance, Secretary Castro did not give any expression of support for the mayor’s ideas. That may be because a policy of pushing housing choice voucher holders into blighted homes in low-income neighborhoods is exactly opposite from what’s being promoted by the Obama administration. Another barrier may be local opposition. Mayor Peduto has already angered local landlords with a new registration program that requires fees and mandatory inspections. It’s also easy to imagine Western Pennsylvanians who are locked out of the home-buying market by tight mortgage requirements looking askance at subsidized opportunities for the predominantly African American households who would be empowered by Peduto’s plan. Lastly, there could be opposition from low-income households who are on the waiting list for housing choice vouchers so they can move to opportunity communities.Still, it’s not crazy to think that there may be some ways to empower urban homesteaders to fix up blighted inner-city homes in Pittsburgh. Other municipal tools could be used to support acquisition and rehab. Later this year, funds from the National Housing Trust Fund will be flowing to states. These dollars must be used for households at or below 30 percent of area median income (AMI) and go primarily to “hard” costs like acquisition and rehab rather than housing services. Under current rules, it will be up to each state how to allocate these funds, which are expected to grow each year as the home purchase market slowly recovers from the Great Recession.Another source of support could be “density bonuses.” Like many urban areas, Pittsburgh has experienced a demand for upscale rental properties. A development bonus could give developers permission to build or rehab more densely (i.e., more cheaply) in exchange for a donation to an affordable housing fund administered by the City. Finally, the City could be using some of the tactics honed by municipal land trusts—like tax foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, nuisance abatement receiverships, and donations from banks—to acquire blighted properties that can be rehabbed.Total reliance on HCVs to fund the idea is not necessary and, since HCVs are funded annually, not practical. Still, as noted in the Post-Gazette article, “A rising tide lifts all boats—if you have a boat. Renters don’t.”—Spencer WellsShare169TweetShare6Email175 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMarch 29, 2016; Washington PostIn a vivid illustration of the effect Justice Antonin Scalia’s death will have on its decisions, the Supreme Court yesterday found itself in an even 4-4 split on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that could have overturned the ability of public unions to charge nonunion public employees compulsory fees for collective bargaining. This leaves standing an original decision made in the lower court upholding compulsory public union dues for collective bargaining purposes and is at least a temporary defeat to conservative activists who have been campaigning hard to weaken the negotiating position of public unions.The case, which had been brought by the libertarian Center for Individual Rights, took a considered risk based on the court as it was constituted with Scalia in place, asking the lower courts to rule against its clients so they could file an appeal in the Supreme Court.If the court had ruled to overturn 1977’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, as might have happened were Antonin Scalia still on the bench, public unions and their supporters may well have been weakened at a point when Republican governors were seeking to break their negotiating strength on state workforce issues. When the case was heard in January, Scalia’s questions appeared hostile to the unions.The court did not necessarily need to act on the case now and let the appeals court decision stand, since it could have deferred the case and called for a rehearing next year, but the refusal of Republicans to consider a nominee has left the timing too uncertain for the court to delay.Unions spun the stalemate as a win—which by default it was, however provisional. “The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a political ploy to silence public employees like teachers, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, higher education faculty and other educators to work together to shape their profession,” said National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García. “In Friedrichs, the court saw through the political attacks on the workplace rights of teachers, educators and other public employees. This decision recognizes that stripping public employees of their voices in the workplace is not what our country needs.”Advocates who were relieved by the outcome took the opportunity to call for Congress to move forward in the process for considering a nominee for the ninth position on the court. Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released a statement that read in part:Friedrichs was always simply a naked attempt to undermine American workers and unions, so today’s ruling provides some relief, even as conservatives plan new attacks. However, the Court’s 4-4 ruling is a fresh reminder of Senate Republicans’ obstruction around the Supreme Court vacancy. More than 100 million Americans—including women, students of color, and many in immigrant communities—will be affected by cases currently before the Court. More split decisions like today’s could lead to different laws impacting people in different parts of the country or, at best, with the Supreme Court never able to actually rule on key questions facing our country. Today, it is clearer than ever that the U.S. Senate must fulfill its constitutional duty and do its job of considering the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share12TweetShare1Email13 SharesSouth Sudan Independence Day Celebration at Diversey Harbor Grove / Daniel X. O’NeilDecember 14, 2016; United Nations Human Rights CommissionSouth Sudan is the world’s newest nation; it was formally declared in 2011. However, it lacks many of the basic elements that make up strong nations, and as Yasmin Sooka, Chair of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, recently declared, it is embroiled in its third civil war in 50 years and on the brink of genocide once again.Sooka shared devastating statistics with the UNHRC. A quarter of South Sudan’s population is displaced, one third are severely food insecure, and in the refugee camps that house these displaced people, 70 percent of the women have been raped. The government, with 837 percent inflation rates, per capita spending rates five times that of its neighbors, and a lack of constitutional mandate or even agreement, is helpless to stop the problem alone.Sudan and South Sudan have been at war far more than at peace since Sudan’s independence in 1953. The conflicts stem from problems that are numerous, complicated, and deeply entrenched. Egypt nominally controlled the Sudan from 1820–1953; through the Egyptians, first the Ottomans and then the British maintained interests and control in Sudan. The north, which was mostly Muslim, Arabic-speaking people living in arid conditions, was governed separately from the south, whose population was mostly English-speaking animists and Christians living on fertile land. Between the two regions, which the colonial government deliberately pitted against each other, lie rich oil fields.South Sudan owns the oil fields, but since it is a landlocked nation, it is obliged to use the pipelines and ports in the north, allowing for tentative revenue sharing. Six months after independence, South Sudan shut down the oil fields because of a fee dispute, cutting off 98 percent of its revenue for fifteen months. The lack of revenue hampered the ability of the government to provide stability, and South Sudan reverted to internal armed conflict in 2013, when President Salva Kiir dismissed a number of officials, including vice president and former warlord Riek Machar, whom Kiir accused of orchestrating a coup.In addition to the geographic divides, Sudan and South Sudan are home to numerous ethnic groups. Members of the military have been ethnically based armed units far longer than they’ve been an institutional army, and when faced with instability and conflict, that’s what they have again become. Machar is particularly adept at manipulating ethnic tensions, and is partially responsible for ethnically motivated atrocities such as the Bor Massacre in 1991.Because of the many strong conflicts among South Sudanese groups, there is widespread agreement that outside intervention is needed to broker peace. A peace agreement was signed in 2015, but Alex de Waal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation, has said it is not a practical solution.“It was based on three false premises,” says de Waal. “First, that the political rivals could reconcile and resolve their differences. Second, that funds would be there to make it materially worthwhile for them to participate in a power-sharing agreement—but the country has actually gone off the macro-economic cliff and into meltdown. And finally, that the security of the national capital Juba could be provided jointly by two armies that were still bitterly unreconciled and deeply distrustful of each other. A crisis was only a matter of time.”UN officials, UNHRC officers, and others have compared the pending ethnic disaster to the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda. These two names are stains on our global conscience, episodes of mass atrocities in which the West was complicit, which they did relatively nothing to stop. Darfur itself has not yet achieved peace, but as journalist Nick Kristof said, “It’s no longer news that the Sudanese government is slaughtering its people.”The UN maintains a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, but forces encounter resistance from both the South Sudanese government, which doesn’t want them, and the international community, which has accused them of failing to protect civilians. Aid workers themselves have been victims of violence, hampering the ability of NGOs and other aid groups to get to the people suffering in the countryside. There have been calls for UN intervention, U.S. sanctions, African Union intervention—anything that has a chance to stop the deaths of millions.A humanitarian worker was quoted saying that “he simply couldn’t understand why the international community was still at the stage of talking about an arms embargo or about whether genocide was happening, when he witnesses atrocities on a daily basis.”The situation is overwhelming, complicated, and without an obvious solution. Still, we cannot allow this to become another Darfur or another Rwanda, where we shamefacedly print apologies ten years later and condemn leaders in the history textbooks that come to be written. The civilians of South Sudan have never known peace, but there’s always time to change the story.—Erin RubinShare12TweetShare1Email13 Shares
French cable operator Numericable has added ESPN America HD to its line-up.The service, which offers sports including Major League Baseball, NFL football and NCAA basketball, is available on Numericable’s channel 160.Numericable said it now offered 25 channels in full HD on its platform.
Set-top vendor EchoStar Europe has licensed the Conax conditional access system for use in a new range of connected devices.The first product ready for market is the EchoStar HDC-420, a high definition set-top box that is pre-integrated with CA and embedded software for running a suite of applications including user interface, electronic programme guide and access to IP services. The product can be upgraded to incorporate DVR services via a user-installed USB hard disk drive. EchoStar will target cable operators throughout the European territory.“We are delighted to announce our relationship with Conax and also the availability of a new range of off-the-shelf connected device solutions for cable operators”, said Rhod Williams, senior vice-president and general manager of EchoStar Europe. “We are constantly looking to broaden our technology expertise and gain access to new markets, and this latest agreement adds to our already strong portfolio of technologies that are specified by pay TV operators”.
A German court has blocked plans by ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL to launch a catch-up TV service in the country. The commercial broadcasters had wanted to launch an online service with their own, and third-party content. The country’s competition watchdog the Bundeskartellamt ruled last year that the ProSieben and RTL service would take too great a share of total advertising revenues. The broadcasters appealed that decision, but yesterday the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf also ruled against them.ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL denied the service, dubbed Amazonas, would create a duopoly as it would have been a technical platform that was open to all broadcasters.Meanwhile, a group of producers and distributors from the German TV and movie business are pushing ahead with Germany’s Gold, a new venture that will launch a video-on-demand service using the partners’ content. Seventeen companies are involved in the service, which will be based in Berlin, including Beta Film, ZDF, MME Moviement and Studio Hamburg.Hulu has been tipped to launch a service in Germany. So far, its only international roll out has been in Japan. Netflix is also expanding in Europe and Lovefilm already has a service in Germany.
UK free-to-air satellite platform Freesat has added four new music channels to its line-up.From today, Box Television’s new music showcase channel The Box, R&B, dance and hip hop channel Kiss, chart music station Smash Hits and rock channel Kerrang! Will be available to Freesat viewers.