City manager will be beneficial to Spa City

first_imgI’ll vote “yes” for the new charter this November and for the council-manager form of government (now the most-used form in the United States).Partisanship and poor institutional memory are two strong arguments against our current commission form. Only a few examples: A part-time city attorney found two overlooked federal/state grant applications; a newly-elected finance commissioner had to hire the previous deputy (of a different party) as a “consultant” to get the database password; a mayor took office (again, from a different party) to find a year’s worth of files missing. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion A city presentation by a Smart City Planning consultant several years ago started with her comment: “We were here 10 years ago with the same information. Let’s try again.”Where is our upgraded police station? Our much-needed third fire station? Twenty years and counting.The office of city manager will “triage” projects, keep track of deadlines and procedures, and save money with improved efficiency. Other benefits will be ours to discover.Watch an interview with Matt Horn, city manager of Geneva, New York, (pop. 8,000 — former assistant city manager in a city of 120,000) for a cogent, persuasive account of best-practices in a council-manager government — on our website, www.itstimesaratoga.com.Jackie PardonSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Union College Concert Series is a local gem

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion In the Nov. 6 edition of The Gazette, your writer, Geraldine Freedman, gave a wonderful review of the superb Union College Concert Series performance the previous day by the young British pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor.This series continues to bring outstanding instrumentalists, quartets and singers from around the world about 15 times per year to the Capital District.Praise is due to the generosity and foresight of its director emeritus, Dan Berkenblit, its artistic director, Derek Delaney, and to Union College for its support of the series.This truly is a gem of the Capital District, immeasurably enriching our cultural life here.Pauline HolmesGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

All taxpayers owed bump-free driving

first_imgI find it ironic what has been said about the roads in Schenectady. Yes, we did have an unusual winter. But as I recall, the roads on what some call The Hill have been deteriorating for years. And it doesn’t help when companies dig holes for one reason or another and do a shoddy job patching them. Now to back my point: I took my son to pay his cable bill. The roads after such a harsh winter were as smooth as all get-out.The roads on Lexington Avenue and around Niskayuna were just as smooth. But to get back to The Hill. Try riding your car down by Martin Luther King School and around the territory and enjoy the bumps. Yes, I know some pay more taxes. But taxes are paid by all of us who have housing. I was going to say “who own property,” but that’s a different story. Thanks for listening.Bonita CadeSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Troopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stopEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Bristol retail

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Gateshead revisited

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

Asian forum on human rights conveys disappointment toward Jokowi

first_imgThe Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, together with its members in Indonesia, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial), the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) and Yayasan Sekretariat Anak Merdeka (Samin), said that Jokowi had much work to do in terms of resolving human rights violations, including those from 1965 and 1998, as well as ones related to protests in September 2019.Read also: One student dies, one in critical condition after protest turns violentThe September protests were expressions of dissatisfaction over the Jokowi administration’s revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission Law and Criminal Code Law.“During the protests in September, there were constant reports of the disproportionate use of violence and force by the police to suppress peaceful protests across Indonesia, resulting in many injuries and even fatalities,” the release said.The forum also explained that the government had failed the working class with the omnibus laws, a set of laws intended to streamline investments in Indonesia. “In the process of drafting the proposed law, which is likely to bring more harm than good as it diminishes workers’ rights, worsens environmental degradation and criminalizes minorities, labor unions were not consulted. This move clearly shows that Indonesia prioritizes businesses and investments over the protection of its workers,” the forum said. (gis)Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s second term has yet to show any signs of progress in resolving human rights violations, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development has concluded.A press release made available to The Jakarta Post expresses concerns that, after his 100th day of his second term in office, Jokowi has once again failed to fulfill his campaign promise of addressing human rights abuses.“We call on the government of Indonesia to take all necessary measures to address the situation and put a halt to the erosion of civic and democratic space in the country,” the press release said.last_img read more

Police search home of French writer accused of raping a minor

first_imgFrench police on Thursday searched the home of a writer accused of raping a minor and who repeatedly described relationships with young teens in his work, a source said.Gabriel Matzneff, who has never made any secret of his preference for sex with adolescent girls and boys, is to stand trial this year on a charge of justifying paedophilia.Specialist investigators are looking for written passages that never appeared in any of Matzneff’s published work, a source told AFP following a raid a day earlier at his Paris-based publisher Gallimard. The safe had been “located” by investigators, according to the Mediapart investigative website.Matzneff has long been tolerated, admired and even protected in Paris literary circles. In 2013, he won the prestigious Renaudot prize.But Gallimard said in January it was halting the sale of his works, and Matzneff risks losing two major state honours.He said in an interview with French television in January that he “regrets” his trips to Asia to have sex with minors, claiming that at the time “no one ever said it was a crime”.On Tuesday, police launched an appeal for witnesses and victims to come forward in the case.A source told AFP that investigators were also interested in Christian Giudicelli, Matzneff’s editor at Gallimard and travel companion to the Philippines.In a separate legal case, Matzneff will be tried on September 28, 2021, for “justification” of paedophile acts in statements he made in the media in response to Springora’s allegations.Charges against him were brought by anti-paedophilia group l’Ange Bleu (Blue Angel).Topics : Prosecutors on January 3 launched a rape investigation after a bombshell book by publisher Vanessa Springora claimed she had a sexual relationship with the author three decades ago, starting when she was 14.In her book “Le Consentement” (Consent), Springora described how her experiences with Matzneff, now 83, left lasting scars.In the mid-1970s, he published a notorious essay called “Les Moins de Seize Ans” (The under 16s).In an interview in 2008, he said he had “self-censored” certain portions of his writing he feared would be judged “especially scandalous”, and hid these away in a bank safe.last_img read more

Algeria announces first confirmed case of coronavirus

first_imgThe disease reaches Algeria at a politically difficult moment, following a year of mass street protests that still occur twice a week.Tebboune was elected in December in a vote opposed by the protesters, whose demonstrations helped bring down his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika.Topics : Algeria has reported its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus, an Italian man who arrived in the country on Feb. 17 and has been put into isolation.The case was announced by the health minister, and President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Twitter that he had ordered medical authorities to take maximum precautions. He urged Algerians to be careful what information they shared online.Northern Italy, home to many Algerians, has been the centre of an outbreak of the coronavirus with more than 280 cases and 11 deaths. Its Milan-based energy company, Eni, is also involved in projects in Algeria.last_img read more

China threatens retaliation over US ‘bullying’ of state media

first_imgVisa weapon China on Feb. 19 ordered three reporters from The Wall Street Journal — two US nationals and an Australian — out of the country in its harshest move against international media in years.China said it took action because the newspaper had not apologized for a “racially discriminatory” headline that read “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” and appeared on an opinion column about the nation’s fight against the coronavirus.The three journalists were not involved in writing the opinion piece.Two of them left the country last week, but the third has been reporting in Wuhan, the central Chinese city that has been under quarantine since late January to contain the deadly coronavirus epidemic.In its annual report released Monday, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said Beijing was using visas as a weapon to intimidate foreign press “like never before” and feared it was preparing to kick out more reporters.It said China had also been reducing the time journalists can stay, with at least 12 correspondents issued credentials for half a year or less — more than double the number from a year earlier.A US State Department official said five Chinese media outlets, which last month were reclassified by the United States as foreign missions, would be allowed to employ a maximum 100 Chinese nationals as of March 13, down from around 160 now.The organization most affected by the new restriction will be the state news agency Xinhua, which will be allowed to keep 59 Chinese staff in the US, according to the official. “Out of a Cold War mindset and ideological bias, the US State Department uses groundless reasons to politically oppress Chinese media organizations based in the US,” Zhao said at a regular press briefing.He said the move exposes “the hypocrisy of the United States’ so-called freedom of the press as blatant double standard and hegemonic bullying”.Saying China reserves the right to react and take further action, Zhao added: “It was the US who broke the rules of the game first, China can only follow suit.” China threatened Tuesday to retaliate against US “bullying” after Washington imposed staff cuts on Chinese state media, two weeks after expelling three Wall Street Journal reporters. The US said its decision Monday to require Beijing’s state-run media to cut the number of Chinese nationals employed in the US was based on levelling numbers between the countries rather than hitting back over content.Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “strongly opposes and condemns” the US announcement, adding that it effectively means the expulsion of Chinese journalists.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Hunt for quarantine locations consumes governments across US

first_imgAny choice can face fierce and immediate blowback.In the hard-hit Seattle area, officials in the suburb of Kent have gone to court to stop the county from housing patients in a former Econo Lodge motel that it bought, renovated and staffed for $5.5 million. In California, Costa Mesa obtained a court order that led federal officials to drop plans for housing patients there. San Antonio briefly tried to block federal officials from releasing quarantined people from a local Air Force base.And yet, public health experts say quarantines can make the difference between overwhelming hospitals with a flood of patients or keeping numbers manageable. And those people have to stay somewhere.“You should try to contain as much of the disease as you can,” said George Rutherford, an epidemiology professor at the University of California, San Francisco. “If you’re talking about an extra 100,000 cases in the ICUs, that’s a lot of ICU beds. Anything that will flatten the curve is good.” Isolation drillGeorgia State Representative Dave Belton, whose constituents live in the rural towns near Hard Labor Creek, said people initially were “angry and shocked” when they heard that infected patients would be quarantined in seven trailers there, about an hour east of Atlanta. “People move out here to get away from this kind of thing,” he said.But when he explained that the quarantine spot was small and far from public areas, that law enforcement would be on duty 24/7 and that trash would be incinerated, they calmed down. “We’re a welcoming community,” he said.San Francisco’s solution may be the most unusual. The city has leased 30 recreational vehicles, at a cost of $443,000, for homeless people who test positive but don’t require hospitalization.The virus arrived as San Francisco, with its sky-high rents, was struggling with a surging homeless population estimated at more than 8,000 people. Leaders fear the results if infection starts spreading through shelters or tent encampments. Aware that 30 campers may not be enough, city leaders are also searching for vacant residential properties — a rarity — and asking hotels to identify unused rooms.“It’s important that we take measures like this to care for our most vulnerable residents,” Mayor London Breed said when she announced the program.Wandering shipsNothing, however, drove home the need for quarantine spaces more than the arrival in California this week of a cruise ship bearing infected passengers and crew.The Grand Princess docked at the Port of Oakland on Monday after days circling the waters off the Golden Gate, kept there by state and federal officials as they searched for a safe place to bring it ashore.By Tuesday evening, more than 760 passengers had been bused to nearby Travis Air Force Base. Another 42 had been flown to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, while 124 went to Georgia’s Dobbins Air Reserve Base and 98 to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Lackland had already housed quarantined passengers from another infected ship — the Diamond Princess.As controlled environments, military bases make for good quarantines, said Nasia Safdar, a doctor who is director of infection prevention at the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. A successful quarantine tends to a patient’s meals, provides medicines or supplies — and keeps the world at bay. Bases have the resources, not to mention the guards.“This is a very high-risk scenario, inherently, and there’s a lot of logistical support needed, so a military environment helps,” Safdar said.Grand Princess passengers showing mild signs of illness — any illness — were further separated, so they could be monitored while being tested. Up to 24 were taken to Asilomar State Beach near Monterey. Others went to a vacant hotel in San Carlos, just south of San Francisco, that can house 120 people. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state had been searching for appropriate quarantine sites for a week and wanted more.But in a sign of just how touchy quarantine decisions can be, Newsom took aim at Texas on Thursday over its stance on passengers from the Grand Princess. Only Texas residents are being accepted for quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base, a decision that San Antonio’s mayor explained on Facebook was made to avoid straining the hospitals.“Folks in Georgia are doing more, and the people, of course the state of California have always done more,” Newsom said at a press conference. “That has not helped in our logistics, to be candid with you, but it is what it is.”Representatives of the Texas Department of State Health Services and the office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott didn’t return requests for comment. Topics :center_img Near the famed Pebble Beach golf course, two dozen people exposed to the new coronavirus sit confined to a cluster of unused buildings on a California seafront park.Hundreds more have been whisked to military bases in California, Georgia and Texas, to count down two weeks of isolation. In San Francisco, a few may soon be housed in recreational vehicles leased by the city. Georgia is using trailers stationed within a state park called Hard Labor Creek.As President Donald Trump prepares to declare a national emergency to slow the pandemic, health officials across the US are grappling with a problem rarely seen since the days when tuberculosis and polio swept the land: where to put people who have been quarantined.last_img read more