first_imgFew things in life can be said with certainty. The fact that the majority of people who come out of Oxford will go on to lead utterly unremarkable lives just happens to be one of them.As the biggest pandemic in recent history prepares to spread its menacing wings over Europe, the complacency with which the problem is being tackled is even more worrying than the destruction that it could bring.With all the potential for catastrophic losses and yet none of the glorious epitaphs that dying in battle for king and country entails, the idea that something as devastatingly unglamorous as bird flu could have a profound effect on the socio-economic and political landscapes of this century verges on the inconceivable.And yet the pandemic and its global spread are inevitable. The birds are definitely coming, the rest is just a matter of time and scale. And as we stare blankly at conflicting figures of casualty estimates thrown up by our computer screens, anonymous specialists around the world are working on finding ways to control the outbreak.It is all too easy to write off the daily “avian flu” headlines as just another editor’s bird-fetish-inspired whim; story-fillers whose sole destination will be the dustbin of medical history, following the previously trodden paths of mad cows and SARS.In reality the new war we face involves working against an ever-changing and invisible enemy. It is an enemy too intangible to be used to motivate or induce fear the masses, too vague to be of any use in morale-inducing propaganda. A purely intellectual war, its battlefield will be labs and its soldiers decked in overalls. Something so distant from our ordinary lives and understanding seems natural to be left to the specialists to sort out. And yet the decisions they make in the coming months could determine whether the death toll is 5 million or 150 million.The dangerous tendency to be complacent and rely on others to deal with such problems is all to easy to fall back on. Of all the supposedly top intellects in the country graduating each year from Oxford, only a small few will go on to hold positions of any real responsibility. And even though the next in line to have his or her past retched out before them by a hoard of hungry journalists could be standing next to you, the majority of students will be happy to carry on leading their day-to-day lives, knowing that nothing of such a potentially devastating scale could ever depend on them.The death toll of the Spanish pandemic of 1918-1919 matched that of the Second World War, a fact difficult to reconcile with the difference of public perception of the two events.However, considering the fact that the tactics in fighting the former ‘war’ included outlawing handshakes and imprisoning those who coughed in public, this is not surprising.Hitchcock envisaged a world where birds poke people’s eyes out; Bulghakov wrote about failed attempts to breed giant chickens generating an army of killer snakes. The reality is much less exciting, and its effects in the context of our complacent ignorance all the more grim. Our trust is placed blindly into the hands of unseen specialists. Meanwhile the rest of us continue to measure out our lives with coffee spoons; the only overwhelming question that we can bring ourselves to ask concerning the uncertain future of pigeon post.ARCHIVE: 2nd week MT 2005last_img read more

Press release: Department for International Trade: 2 years on

first_img This department has become the hometown stadium for a fantastic team of dedicated professionals, that have already built a formidable trade policy machine from the ground up. It’s nothing less than a privilege to be adopted by it. Earlier this year, DIT launched the International Trade Profession, a government profession designed to build trade expertise across the civil service, in the UK and overseas, maximising opportunities for the UK with an independent trade policy. I look forward to heading up this exciting new profession and helping to develop a new wave of trade talent. The UK has always been an outward-facing, trading nation and as we move towards our departure from the European Union, our priority is to establish the UK as a fully independent member of the international trading system and pursue trade agreements with new friends and old allies. Since its creation 2 years ago, the Department for International Trade has formed strong global trading relationships, begun the process of establishing Britain’s independent seat at the table, supported British businesses to export to new markets, and set out the strategic direction for exports and investment post-Brexit. We have come a long way in a short space of time, and I look forward to seeing this work reach fruition, as we exit the European Union. Since DIT started 2 years agoENDSBackground Second Permanent Secretary and Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser, Crawford Falconer said: Permanent Secretary Antonia Romeo commented: Two years ago the UK voted to leave the EU, triggering the formation of the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help businesses export, attract investment, negotiate market access and free trade deals, and champion global free trade.In that time, the department has seen exports grow by an average of £7 billion per month for the last 23 months with DIT actively helping firms secure more than £70 billion worth of export wins. During that same period, DIT has overseen a boom in total trade which has grown 15.7% to a record-breaking £2,381.8 billion.Jobs have been created across the country with DIT figures showing that 4,337 investment projects were recorded over the last 2 financial years, creating 151,194 new jobs and safeguarding 47,735. This amounts to nearly 1,500 new jobs per week.Two years on and DIT is also nearing the completion of a capability building programme ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU. In that time, the department has grown from some 2,500 people at inception to around 3,500 people now – more than 500 of whom work in DIT’s specialist trade policy group.More recently, there have been significant additions to the senior leadership team and changes to how DIT operates, with 9 new Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners to lead the trade and investment business across the world and new Directors-General for Exports and Investment with decades of experience at the world’s biggest banks.All this work will ensure that DIT is able deliver on the government’s ambition to build a truly global Britain operating the UK’s first independent trade policy in more than 40 years.Prime Minister Theresa May said: The Department for International Trade Annual Report and Accounts 2017 to 2018 can be found at: gov.uk Export and total trade figures measured over 23-month period between July 2016 to May 2018 and comparable to the prior 23 months to May 2016. Trade deficit figures measured over the latest available 12-month period between June 2017 and May 2018 and comparable to the prior 12 months to May 2017. Export wins figures consolidated over 2 year period, where there has been a change to methodology and validation. In 2016/17 there was no systematic validation in place, but in 2017/18 2 new processes were introduced to deliver a proportionate but robust validation approach. £70 million export win figure is measured from April 2016 to March 2018. For further information The department published its flagship piece of legislation, the Trade Bill, currently in Parliament, established a new approach to foreign direct investment and outward direct investment and we are shortly to publish our Export Strategy. As we reach our second anniversary, I am proud of the significant progress the department has made. International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP said: Contact the DIT Media Team on 020 7215 2000 or email [email protected] Follow us: @tradegovuk or visit gov.uk/dit As we celebrate our second anniversary, there are many great achievements which reflect the dedication and hard work of my international economic department. After 150 years, DIT has reconstituted a Board of Trade for the 21st century, we have developed export and investment strategies; and have begun legislating for our trading future by taking the Trade Bill through Parliament. We have succeeded in ensuring continued record export performance which has seen the trade deficit narrow by £3.9 billion in the year to May 2018, and made sure the UK remains the number one destination for inward investment in Europe.last_img read more

Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission adds Emergency Management Planner

first_imgToby Dusha recently joined Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission as an Emergency Management Planner in support of the Federal Homeland Security initiative.He will be developing a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and large-scale training exercise for all Chittenden County emergency response agencies.Dusha brings with him over 25 years experience in Public Safety including Emergency Management Director,9-1-1 Coordinator, and Emergency Services Communications Center Director for Washington County New York.last_img read more

BRO Athletes: Violeta Jiminez’s Quest for the Crest

first_imgSometimes our casual choices smack us in the face. Case in point: it was a beautiful Saturday morning, and I was halfway up a mountain, my legs burning, holding onto what may have been a tree root with one hand, thinking holy sh*% I’ve only gone a mile and a half??Rewind a little. I registered for the Quest for the Crest 50km because I heard the Crest trail was incredibly beautiful. Truthfully I didn’t give it much thought—I’m a pretty strong mountain runner, and when race after race is described as the HARDEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO you tend to start ignoring the hype. My chief worry was finding good wingpeople to make the drive up with me, and I successfully conned a couple friends into coming, though one required advanced persuasion techniques (she’s running Fat Dog 120 in August, and the only thing that would get her from Atlanta to North Carolina was if we both ran the 10km Saturday and the 50km Sunday. Yes, my friends are special people). Somehow this turned into us being voluntold to safety run the Vertical K/10km, but after showing up with full packs, we were summarily fired due to double booking. We figured that the beer in our packs (safety first!) wasn’t going to be any better at the bottom of the trail, so we headed out onto the course anyway.This brings me back to “taking it easy” on the Vertical K. I generally question my decisions and my hobbies at some point during a race—it’s just not usually a mile and a half in (a couple thousand feet of vertical notwithstanding). I made it to the top, cracked open my beer, and tried to remember what the rest of the course profile for the 50km looked like.But it’s hard to be grumpy when you’re drinking beer amidst stunning views and your mildly insane running buddy has just peeled off the trail to join you on what you’ll dub a “drinking rock.” “So… how much do you think tomorrow’s going to suck?” she asked me. “Well, probably a lot.” We drank our beer, hollered encouragement at the people running by, picked up our other friend, then headed down the mountain to what was (today) the finish line and (tomorrow) our first aid station and turnaround point.I’m happy to say I was wrong. The 50km didn’t suck, not even a little. I started the race feeling less than awesome—tired, a bit stiff, wondering what I’d gotten myself into. But I got up to approximately the same place at which, the day before, I’d had a minor existential crisis. I turned around, saw the sun rising over the mountains, and I wasn’t worried anymore.I ran the four or so miles down to the turnaround, refilled my bottles, stuffed myself with pickles and Bark Thins and God knows what else, and headed back up. It was a long down and a longer up. But I got to say hi to and high five all the people coming down the mountain—honestly one of the most energizing things in ultrarunning, in my opinion—and chat a bit with my fellow up sufferers. At the top, it was cool and green. There was a front hitting one side of the crest, and it was all clouds on the right and all mountains on the left. It felt impossibly beautiful.I found a few friends as we slid and scrambled. We talked about goals and races and whether the new savory Clif gels are any good (verdict: severely mixed). I proselytized about Electrobites, which I consider required eating for summer racing. And I realized, as we finally started to descend again towards the mile 18 aid station, what a privilege it was to be there. We were on a (mostly) point-to-point course on a gorgeous, difficult trail. To run that distance and that course without aid or markings would be difficult for most of us.That’s the thing about a trail race: it can bring you somewhere you might never otherwise visit, and facilitate an adventure you might never otherwise have. This is not something everyone understands, the desire to run all day (or more) in incredible places, with the security and camaraderie provided by an organized race. The question of whether races belong on trails has been asked on the Pacific Crest Trail as well as in our own Blue Ridge Mountains, in particular on the Benton MacKaye Trail.I wish the people who have trouble answering that question could be there for races like Quest for the Crest, and feel the energy and joy in the runners who look up from the last a 3000-foot climb to mile 25 to see the land spread out in front of them like green velvet. I wish they could have struggled up to the last turnaround at Old Tom Gap, which I deeply resented because I expected we were going up to tag some summit or something, but actually we just had to stamp our numbers at a tiny little sign saying “50km turnaround.” I wish they could have been there with me on the last long 4-mile down, when the little crazy dial in my head revved and I bombed down like there was nothing in the world to lose. (One of my friends whom I’d seen at the Georgia Death Race and then again at Quest for the Crest greeted me by saying, “I remember you. You passed us like a banshee going down Coosa.” I won’t bomb downs until I know I won’t need my quads afterwards, but when the time comes, it’s my favorite way to end a race.) I wish we could have shared some barbecue and Pisgah Pale Ale at the finish.I run trail races because of experiences like this, that make me swear and laugh and wonder how soon I’ll get to run there again. I’ll be back next year, and I hope you’ll be there too.Violeta finished 6th female in 9:43.last_img read more

Suffolk Starts Offering Translations at County Offices

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County Legis.-elect Monica Martinez speaks at a Brentwood forum held by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table and New York Communties for Change on Wednesday, Nov. 12 2013. (Long Island Civic Engagement Table).Suffolk County will begin making language assistance services available at its offices Thursday to accommodate the estimated more than 100,000 eastern Long Island residents with limited-English proficiency (LEP) when they need government services.County Executive Steve Bellone signed last year an executive order mandating free translation and interpretation services in all county offices for anyone who speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, French Creole and Polish.“I can’t promise perfection, but I can promise that you’ll have all the tools,” Assistant Deputy County Executive Luis Montes said Wednesday in Spanish to a crowd of nearly 100 at a community meeting in Brentwood.The meeting was organized by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York, three nonprofit advocacy groups that termed the move the first new pro-immigrant policy in recent memory as well as the only one of its kind in suburban New York.Advocates also noted that the policy is a welcome change after the recent five-year anniversary of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero’s slaying by a group of teenagers in Patchogue—one of several high-profile hate crimes that drew international headlines.“Now, instead of turning the immigrants into something they’re not, we’re working with the community,” said Daniel Altschuler of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table.Several people at the meeting shared their experiences in which language barriers made it difficult or impossible to receive help from police, health care and social service providers.Marcia Estrada recalled how she once waited three hours for a translator to help her file a police report, but she had to leave the station house before one arrived.“I had to take care of my child,” Estrada said in Spanish. “They said they were going to send an officer, but they never arrived.”Before the new policy and in response to such criticisms, Suffolk police in recent years have set up phone lines that allow police to contact translators by phone if one is not available to assist LEP residents.The new policy also codifies that anyone seeking services at county government offices will not be asked about their immigration status—a question that can have a chilling effect in the immigrant community.“Even my parents have to this day,” Legis.-elect Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) said in Spanish, “when they go to get services…I have to go with them.”For more information about the program, the Long Island Language Advocates Coalition will be hosting a conference, “Navigating a Roadmap for Language Access: Celebrating Our Successes, Addressing Our Challenges,” from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday at Touro College in Central Islip. Tickets are $30.last_img read more

First-time homebuyers find relief with private mortgage insurance

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » We see that prices and costs are rising in the homebuyer market, but how do we maintain growth, especially with first-time homebuyers? Historically, first-time homebuyers have relied on mortgage products that allow for lower down payments (loan-to-value greater than 80%), demonstrating that down payments can be a barrier to entry into the housing market for first-time homebuyers when compared to repeat purchasers. Supporting this point, 454,000 (79%) of first-time homebuyers used low-down payment mortgages this quarter. Policymakers, lenders, and housing advocates pushing for increased homeownership should take this factor into account. While this percentage hasn’t increased over the last year, it is up four percentage points over the past three years.Government lending has long been a critical tool for first-time homebuyers. However, during the second quarter, government lending programs were down 5% from a year ago, helping 252,000 homebuyers. Homebuyers using these programs represented 44% of all loans, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2008. Government programs were necessary during the housing crisis, but the first-time homebuyer market is no longer in need of this level of government assistance. This diminishing presence has many borrowers and lenders moving to better alternatives.last_img read more

Arsenal scouts urged Arsene Wenger to sign Juan Mata as Cesc Fabregas’ replacement

first_imgCesc Fabregas pushed to leave Arsenal in the summer of 2011 (AFP via Getty Images)Arsenal’s top scout urged Arsene Wenger to sign Juan Mata as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas, according to reports.The Gunners suffered a huge blow to their squad in the summer of 2011 as both Fabregas and Samir Nasri left the club.Fabregas was sold to Barcelona in a £35 million deal, while Nasri joined Manchester City for around £25m.According to The Athletic, Arsenal’s chief scout Francis Cagigao and the club’s recruitment team urged Wenger to sign ‘like-for-like replacements’.ADVERTISEMENTCagigao recommended that Arsenal sign Mata and Santi Cazorla to compensate for the departures of Fabregas and Nasri.But Arsenal could not get the deals over the line as Mata moved to Chelsea for £23.5m, while Cazorla joined Malaga. Arsenal scouts urged Arsene Wenger to sign Juan Mata as Cesc Fabregas’ replacement Comment Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 11 Apr 2020 4:15 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.1kShares Advertisementcenter_img Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri both left Arsenal in the summer of 2011 (AFP via Getty Images) Arsenal scouts wanted both Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla to join the club (Getty Images)Cazorla, who had been monitored by Cagigao for over 10 years, ended up signing for Arsenal 12 months later.AdvertisementAdvertisementBut Mata escaped the Gunners as he made the surprise switch from Chelsea to Manchester United for £37.1m in January 2014.Meanwhile, Fabregas admitted in an interview last month that he regrets pushing Wenger in his attempt to leave Arsenal in 2011.‘The only thing that kills me in a way is that I had to be so pushy with Arsene, Fabregas told Arseblog.‘The guy gave me absolutely everything. The guy who had confidence in me to play me at 16 years old.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘The one that made me start big games at 17, [he’s] the guy who made me have my debut for Spain, because without him Luis Aragones wouldn’t have taken me. Going to a World Cup at 19.‘I owe everything to him, all my career, I know that. After I had to work for it, and I think I worked very hard to earn his trust and it was up to me many times to prove him right.‘But that is one of those things I don’t feel well with it because I pushed my move in 2011. I did things I’m not proud of.‘But if I didn’t do it it would’ve never happened. And it had to happened at that moment. I couldn’t have another year of “yeah, we played well, next year”.’Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page. Advertisementlast_img read more

Governor Wolf: Supreme Court Decision a Victory for Seniors, People with Disabilities

first_img Human Services,  Press Release,  Seniors,  Statement Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf said today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision to allow his 2015 homecare executive order to proceed is a victory for seniors and people with disabilities in Pennsylvania.“Today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision is a victory for seniors, people with disabilities, and homecare workers,” Governor Wolf said. “The court’s decision affirms a key part of my plan to provide choices for seniors, improve home and community-based care and attract more qualified homecare attendants.“Pennsylvania’s older population is rapidly growing. By 2030, one in four people in the state will be age 65 and older, and half of those will need some form of daily care. Most seniors prefer to live in their own home with their families to get that care. They deserve to have that choice while also saving costs to taxpayers. We must prepare now to meet the demand and ensure the homecare sector can attract the qualified workers to care for those who need it most.”Governor Wolf signed the executive order in January 2015 as a first step in rebalancing the state’s homecare system. The order ensures that homecare workers have a voice in shaping the future of the industry and seniors have choices about where to receive care. The executive order does not grant collective bargaining rights to workers, does not force them to join a union, does not make them state employees, and does not give them a right to enter into a contract with the state.Since the order was signed, the departments of Aging and Human Services have been successfully implementing programs to expand services for older Pennsylvanians, reduce long-term care costs and ensure seniors have choices about where to age, as well as launching an online homecare directory.To address providing access to quality care in seniors’ home and communities, the Wolf Administration successfully launched Community HealthChoices (CHC) in the southwest region in January 2018. Now, approximately 80,000 participants have an active voice in how and where they receive their services and supports. When fully implemented, CHC will impact the lives of 420,000 Pennsylvanians, 94 percent of whom are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. This population includes our most vulnerable friends, family members, and neighbors. The CHC program will be rolled out in SE Pennsylvania in 2019 and the remainder of the state in 2020.The state’s online homecare directory, PA Link to Community Care, features 12 service and support categories, including Advocacy, Behavioral Health, Employment, Finance, Health Care, Housing, In-Home Services, Legal, Meals, Protection from Abuse, Support Groups, and Transportation. Users can find information about organizations, services, and programs within these categories.One major component to the site is its homecare directory, which connects individuals to in-home services available in their county. More than 350 in-home service providers appearing on the searchable directory may offer personal care, assistance with activities of daily living, companionship services, respite care, and/or habilitation services. Listings currently include only organizations that provide in-home services, but enhancements to the directory will be made using data and feedback from users to expand the resources and information provided. Future enhancements will allow individuals to search for independent direct care workers as well. Since the site’s November 2017 launch, over 7,500 users have accessed the website more than 20,000 times for information on services and supports available in their local communities.“We continue to make progress in support of seniors and people with disabilities and the court’s decision in favor of the executive order will help us in that effort, as well as offer support for the homecare workers providing these vital services.” Gov. Wolf said. Governor Wolf: Supreme Court Decision a Victory for Seniors, People with Disabilities SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img August 21, 2018last_img read more

Seven-bedroom Parramatta Park house shows how thinking outside the square can pay off

first_img108 Martyn St, Parramatta ParkSEVEN-BEDROOM Cairns houses are often tucked away in mansion-replete suburbs like Edge Hill and Bayview Heights, but this behemoth Parramatta Park Queenslander goes against the grain.Built in the 1930s, the home at 108 Martyn St has undergone a significant transformation in recent years.Now on the market for the first time since 2009, the new-look property is already gaining strong market interest.“This home was originally a lowset Queenslander that’s been lifted,” said selling agent Tim Winborn-Sharp of Twomey Schriber Property Group.“It has 1930s character but all the facilities you’d expect from a contemporary Queenslander.”Set on a 655sq m block, the home has four bedrooms in a self-containing downstairs area; the remaining three, including the master suite, are upstairs. Mr Winborn-Sharp said the current owners had enjoyed “wonderful success” while listing the property through Airbnb. He also said it was “very unique” for a Parramatta Park Queenslander to contain seven bedrooms.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days agoOther features include a new magnesium swimming pool, freshly-painted walls and NBN connection.“The market interest has been phenomenal,” he said.It comes amid a purple patch for properties at Parramatta Park, one of Cairns’ older inner-city suburbs. According to the latest CoreLogic statistics, Parramatta Park median house prices have risen by almost 32 per cent over the past three years. The suburb had an average house selling price of $475,000 during the 12 months to April – well above the Cairns average of $400,000.Mr Winborn-Sharp said Parramatta Park was emerging as a Cairns real estate hotspot. “It is definitely an up and coming suburb,” he said.“It has been underrated in the past but it’s just so close to the city.“Places like Edge Hill are always more pricey, but Parramatta Park is a suburb to watch.” The property at 108 Martyn St is open for inspection on Sunday from 12-12.45pm.last_img read more

BP to buy BHP Billiton’s US onshore oil and gas assets

first_imgUK-based major BP has agreed to purchase BHP Billiton’s interest in the Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Permian and Fayetteville onshore US oil and gas assets for $10.8 billion.Under the terms of the agreement, BP America Production Company will acquire from BHP Billiton Petroleum (North America) 100 percent of the issued share capital of Petrohawk Energy Corporation, BHP’s unit which holds the assets.On completion, $5.25 billion, as adjusted, will be paid in cash from existing resources. $5.25 billion will be deferred and payable in cash in six equal installments over six months from the date of completion, BP said in its statement.Commenting on the acquisition, BP’s chief executive, Bob Dudley said, “this is a transformational acquisition” for the company’s lower 48 business and a step towards delivering its upstream strategy.Following completion of the acquisition, BP intends to make new divestments of $5-6 billion, predominantly from the upstream segment.The proceeds are intended to fund a share buyback programme of up to $5-6 billion over time. The divestments will be in addition to BP’s ongoing programme of around $2-3 billion divestments a year.last_img read more