Premier Stephen McNeil offered congratulations today, Sept. 19, to the Nova Scotia athletes who competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “These athletes put in a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication in becoming members of the Canadian team and Nova Scotians are proud of their efforts,” said Premier McNeil. “I congratulate all the athletes for the spirit they showed in competition at the Games.” Sailors Paul Tingley of Halifax and Scott Lutes of Mahone Bay won bronze medals as part of Canada’s Sonar crew on the weekend. Nova Scotia’s other Paralympians were: -30- Devin Gotell, Antigonish – swimming Danial Murphy, Bedford – swimming Jamey Jewells, Donkin, Cape Breton Regional Municipality – wheelchair basketball Pamela LeJean, Sydney – F53 shotput Jillian MacSween, Halifax – goalball
26 May 2011The Security Council has stressed that a planned consultative meeting of Somalia’s leadership next month should result in agreement on a schedule for elections in the Horn of Africa country, where the interim federal institutions remain divided over governance issues beyond August when the transitional period expires. “The international community expects that at that their meeting there should be agreement on the timing of elections, roadmap and benchmarks for the way forward in the political process in Somalia,” said Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom at a news conference yesterday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where members of the Security Council focused on the situation in Somalia.The consultative meeting is slated to take place in Mogadishu, the Somalia capital, between 11 and 16 June.Nairobi was the last stop on a trip to Africa that took the Council members to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for discussions with Africa Union officials, and to Sudan, where they visited the capital, Khartoum, as well as Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.Political divisions between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and interim Parliament have undermined the momentum of the country’s peace process, Augustine Mahiga, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, told the UN News Centre in an interview earlier this month.The Parliament voted in February to extend its term for three years after the end of the transitional period, a move rejected by the TFG, which has instead proposed extending the interim period for one year, saying it wanted to try to enhance political stability and security.Mr. Lyall Grant said the Council, which met with Somalia’s president, prime minister and speaker of parliament in Nairobi, had demanded that they “should stop the infighting and unilateral extensions of their respective mandates.”Secondly, they should focus on key transitional tasks to which they previously had been committed – outreach, reconciliation, the draft constitution, governance and financial accountability, he stated.“And thirdly they should engage immediately and constructively with SRSG Mahiga who has the full support of the UN Secretary-General and the whole of the Security Council in the consultative process he is facilitating,” Mr. Lyall Grant added.Members of the Council also expressed their full support for the work of the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and paid tribute to Ugandan and Burundian troops for their efforts to improve security for Somalis in Mogadishu.They also stressed the need to strengthen the Somali security forces, and called for a comprehensive and collaborative campaign against maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia. Women must also participate in the peace process, they added.
Calgary’s mayor lobbies for greater market access for Alberta oil by Posted May 31, 2015 8:17 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Calgary’s mayor was a special guest recently on CNBC’s Power Lunch.Naheed Nenshi used the hit to lobby for greater market access for Alberta oil.Nenshi also spoke about how Calgary’s economy has become less reliant on energy revenue.He says not to long ago, “50 per cent of economic activity was a result of energy deals; today that figure is closer to 30 per cent”.“And because of that, 17 out of 20 global investment banks are there, it’s increasingly becoming a large financial centre,” said Nenshi.“Once you know how to do deals in energy, you know how to do other deals. So, we’re seeing a lot of tech, a lot of entrepreneurship, a lot of small business, and just as the city grows, as any city does, a lot of services.”Nenshi also defended the Keystone XL Pipeline Project suggesting the project is barring all the sins of the carbon economy.He says Keystone is critical–but not vital–adding there are many other options.
“We need to make sure, at any cost, that the cessation of hostilities, in spirit and in substance, continues to give hope to the Syrian people, because that is what made all of them believe that, in fact, even if they have to wait for the intra-Syrian talks, their lives are at least improved,” UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva.He indicated that the humanitarian task force set up by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) – comprised of the UN, the Arab League, the European Union and 18 countries that have been working on a way forward since late last year – to ensure access and the delivery of aid will tomorrow be “very actively” addressing the incidents so they can be contained.“Indeed, it will be quite appropriate I think, just because we need to make sure that if incidents in the cessation of hostilities are too often repeated they could at least deteriorate the spirit and the confidence in it,” Mr. de Mistura said.The UN envoy recently returned from visiting Moscow, Amman, Damascus and Teheran, where he said all government officials indicated interest and support in reaching a political transition.“The main purpose was to sound [out] the authorities in these capitals about their own advice on how to make sure that this current phase of the intra-Syrian talks are as productive or as effective as possible,” Mr. de Mistura explained. “With all of them I have been very clear that what we aim at is actually an agenda which is based on political transition, with the issue of governance and constitution as per [Security Council] resolution 2254, and none of them actually expressed any doubt that that is the priority and agenda,” he noted, adding that “the word governance is crucial,” and no one had any objection to that point.He also indicated that he had the first meeting today with the delegation of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC).Meanwhile, he confirmed that the government delegation will be arriving on Friday: “To my understanding when I was in Damascus, [it] will be led again by [Bashar Ja’afari, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations] so that we will be able to expand discussions and negotiations related to the three points of the agenda,” he said, referring to political transition, governance and constitution. He concluded his remarks by reminding the press that it is normal for each delegation to state its strong position, but that they do come to negotiate.
Jobs STEARNS, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Matt Bevin joined Congressman Hal Rogers, local officials and executives from Fibrotex USA for a ribbon cutting on a new manufacturing facility.The $12.1 million investment is expected to create up to 350 full-time jobs in McCreary County.- Advertisement – Announced in October 2018, Fibrotex USA was awarded a 10-year, $480 million contract to supply Ultra-Lightweight Camouflage Net Systems (ULCANS) to the US Army.Leaders at the company project it will create 150 jobs at the new Fibrotex facility to manufacture material used in ULCAN and additional signature management technologies moving forward.The investment includes accommodation for a 200-job expansion at Outdoor Venture Corp. (OVC) s McCreary County operation. The ULCANS is a modular camouflage system used to conceal military equipment, facilities, troops and other assets in a wide variety of environments.Related Article: Inmates attack guards at prison in McCreary Co.Founded in Stearns in 1972, OVC is a prime supplier of next-generation military tent systems for the U.S. Department of Defense, allied international governments and private industry.OVC operates four facilities in McCreary County, where the company employs 225 people.To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December 2018 approved OVC for up to $200,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA) based on a $12.1 million investment. KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers long snapper Kyle Nelson has been suspended 10 games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.Nelson will miss the final four games of this season and the first six in 2019 under the suspension handed out Tuesday. He will be able to participate in the off-season program and preseason games before resuming his suspension.Nelson says he believes the positive test came from a legal supplement. He says he is looking into what supplement caused the positive test and says he will seek legal action against the manufacturer when he finds out.Nelson has spent the past five seasons in San Francisco, playing all 76 games. He has also played for the Chargers and Washington in his seven-year career.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLThe Associated Press
Rodgers is second only to Andy Dalton of the Bengals in Points Above Replacement.2Points scored above what would be expected with a replacement-level quarterback. Ranking and chart limited to QBs on pace to qualify for ESPN’s QBR leaderboard with highest PAR on their team. Yet the Packers have spent the fifth-smallest amount on offensive non-quarterbacks for the 2015 season. Part of this is because the Packers are fiscally responsible and aren’t spending much in general on payroll. But they also specifically rank near the bottom consistently in spending on the guys who play with their quarterback. Here’s how the Packers’ offensive spending over the past three seasons (including this one) stacks up to the rest of the league: Check out win and loss projections and playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams. The NFL salary cap alone explains some of this chart. Teams spending more on QBs often end up spending less on other offensive players, simply because they have to spend less money somewhere. But it’s striking to me just how much a lot of teams with big-name, big-money QBs lean on them. For example, the Packers, Steelers and Giants all spent less money than average on offense despite having three of the top QB salaries in the business. In general, many of the top QBs in the game probably deserve even more esteem than the considerable amount they receive already. For instance, Eli Manning should get a bit more of a break sometimes, as he receives literally the least financial support for his offensive teammates in the league.Rodgers, despite his team spending barely more money on offensive teammates than the Giants have for Eli Manning, has put up much better numbers. He has 73 TDs and 15 interceptions (counting the playoffs) since 2013, compared with 58 and 43, respectively, for Manning. What could Rodgers have done with another $60 million worth of offensive linemen?Twitter question of the weekAs usual, tweet me questions @skepticalsports and there’s a chance I’ll answer them, even if they seem a bit silly. Like this one: OK, silly, but interesting. The precise mechanism of NFL home-field advantage is still an open question. The conventional wisdom is that it has something to do with atmosphere, for example how crowd noise affects signal-calling. I can see how these kinds of effects might reach a nadir immediately after the half. But using ESPN’s play-by-play data, I tried filtering for drives by away teams that start immediately after the half, and found that they averaged a similar number of points as other drives.3Ditto for expected points for the handful of plays immediately after the half: I filtered for offensive plays by the visiting team in the first 100 seconds of the second half and found their average expected points added to be virtually identical to that for the visiting team on other plays. But for the margins we’re dealing with, that sample size is way too small to be meaningful.4I looked at about 2,200 third-quarter drives between the 2006 and 2015 seasons. So I fished around a bit and found that, broadly speaking, the third quarter is better for road teams than average.5That is, teams in the third quarter improved their chances of winning (as modeled by win probability added) by just about 1 percent per drive (over around 9,800 drives) in the third quarter (while matching modeled WPA in other quarters).Now, contra the conventional wisdom, many — though not all — statistically minded NFL analysts think home advantage is more likely to relate to officiating. So with that in mind, I looked a bit more carefully at penalties in particular. Penalties tend to favor the team on offense, but they favor the offense even more often when it’s the home team. The margins here also don’t look huge, but it’s pretty clear over more than 400,000 offensive plays: For every 100 plays a home offense runs, it normally nets about three (expected) points from all penalties called. The equivalent rate for away offenses is just more than two expected points per 100 plays. That difference adds up to about a point per game: not a large fraction of your typical scoreline, but a pretty big chunk of the total home-field advantage that we tend to see (generally around two to three points per game).But here’s the interesting bit: The home team’s advantage from penalties isn’t divided equally by quarter. Nor is it strongest in the fourth quarter, when calls are most crucial, as in basketball. The home team’s largest advantages are in the first and second quarters, with the smallest coming in the third quarter:Curious!I really don’t have any explanation for this, and at this point I would categorize my speculation as “wild.” For instance: Perhaps the second half is when refs start trying very hard not to give in to their unconscious bias toward the home team.Most empirically significant game of this weekThere are many great and potentially revealing matchups set for this weekend, including the Panthers at the Seahawks. A lot of rookie quarterback theory hinges on the fate of Cam Newton — whose rookie campaign bore the hallmark (namely lots and lots of production) of a potential all-time great, but who has had only one winning season in his first four years.But Carolina-Seattle gets only an honorable mention, because the matchup of the week is clearly the Patriots at the Colts. Since the AFC championship game thrashing by the Pats (known for a certain controversy), these two teams — and their two star quarterbacks — have been on very different trajectories. The Patriots obviously did this little thing called winning the Super Bowl, and have started this season on a tear reminiscent of their 16-0 campaign in 2007. Andrew Luck, meanwhile, has been outplayed by 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck — the oldest non-kicker in football this year.After having one of the league’s strongest offenses last year, the Patriots have managed one of the league’s biggest offensive improvements this year (the biggest improvers have been the Cardinals, who with Carson Palmer back at quarterback have had the league’s second-best offense):Rodgers essentially has maintained his MVP form, while Peyton Manning seems finally to be in real decline. But the Colts and Luck, their 26-year-old quarterback, have underperformed by nearly as much as the Broncos have with 39-year-old Peyton Manning at QB.Luck, who is practically the patron saint of Skeptical Football, is expected to return. Given the result the last time these two teams met, the Patriots are expected to romp. Whether that happens or not, we should learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most important figures and phenomena in the sport today.Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Ella Koeze and Reuben Fischer-Baum. Stop the presses! Last Sunday, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, his first in Green Bay since December 2012. Granted, they were completely inconsequential, and at least the first was pretty much a freak accident — his pass deflected off a linebacker — but Rodgers accepted at least some of the blame for them all the same. Despite the embarrassment, his touchdown-to-interception ratio remains the stuff of legend. Now in his eighth year as a starter, he has 66 interceptions for his career, along with 262 touchdowns (counting the playoffs). Normally, I’m not impressed by such stats. As I wrote last year (and have defended on numerous occasions), I think that his incredibly low interception rate is in part the result of a potentially costly unwillingness to gamble — particularly in situations where his team is down multiple scores late. I haven’t changed my mind.But I don’t think this quirk of Rodgers substantially diminishes his value. Or put another way, he is so valuable to begin with that even if he’s slightly too risk-averse, it’s largely irrelevant. Of course, Rogers is still relatively young (he’ll turn 32 in December), and he hasn’t had to deal with the ups and downs of a full career yet, either. But he’s a huge outlier, even for a quarterback at this stage of his career. For example, here is how he has accumulated touchdowns relative to interceptions game by game for his career, compared to every QB in NFL regular-season history since 1960:For most quarterbacks, losing causes interceptions just as much as interceptions cause losing. Rodgers is no different; he’d be even more valuable if he made certain win-maximizing adjustments (even though they might hurt his statistics a bit). But the steepness of Rodgers’s rise has no parallel. Criticizing him for it is a bit like criticizing Bill Belichick for not going for it enough on fourth down, or criticizing Lionel Messi for playing tiki-taka football so much instead of trading as many possessions as possible with his opponents. That is, they’re still pretty much the best at what they do, but could possibly be doing a little bit better.There’s one more reason to give Rodgers the benefit of any (skeptical) doubt. Which brings us to our …Chart(s) of the WeekNaturally, a quarterback’s ability to win games is affected by his team’s running game, defense, special teams, coaching and everything else. Even his broader statistical portfolio is largely a team accomplishment, and untangling everyone’s contributions can be nearly impossible. But one indicator of the strength of a quarterback’s teammates is money paid on their salaries. Some teams spend lavishly to surround their quarterbacks with high-powered offensive teammates.1Whether NFL teams are any good at this is a different question. The Packers, not so much:
Steve Burks, Managing Director of Whittle Consulting (Africa) has reported the completion of an Enterprise Optimisation study of Assmang’s Managanese Division. Assmang is a company incorporated in South Africa for the purpose of supplying raw material to the world’s steel mills and alloy plants. It is jointly and equally owned by African Rainbow Minerals and Assore. Assmang mines manganese ore at the Nchwaning and Gloria mines operated by Black Rock Mining near Postmasburg and Hotazel about 700 km southwest of Johannesburg. Most of the Group’s production is exported to the Far East, Europe and the USA. The balance of the manganese ore is used at Assmang’s Cato Ridge smelter in KwaZulu-Natal for the production of ferro-manganese (FeMn) alloy most of which is also exported. The manganese operations are grouped together as an operating division operating independently of the Chrome and Iron Ore Divisions of Assmang. After record sales in financial year 2007/08, production at the Nchwaning mine was reduced in 2009 due to the financial crisis and the cutback in steel production by mills throughout the world. The market situation was monitored constantly during 2009, and the opportunity was used to proceed with projects to increase capacity at Nchwaning Phases II and III from 3.6 to 4.2 Mt/y of ore by 2011 and at Gloria from 0.48 to 0.96 Mt/y by the beginning of 2010.Senior Assmang staff attended a Whittle Consulting Enterprise Optimisation course in November 2009 and expressed interest in having a study of the manganese operations done. Work commenced in April 2010. The Assmang Manganese Division includes several underground mining operations with different Mn grades and Fe/Mn ratios, multiple export and smelting options necessitating stockpiling and blending, complex logistics and transport issues over great distances, and a mix of short and long term product contracts all with different prices and product grade and size requirements. Optimisation of the entire value chain is a complex problem beyond the capability of most mining houses or manufacturing companies to solve without the assistance of a consulting group such as Whittle. In this case, the main items identified by Assmang which were investigated during the exercise were:Mining sequence of each ore area subject to development and stoping constraints at any timePotential for dynamic mining width which would affect tonnage, grade and yield from each orebodyCut-off grade, stockpiling and product blending strategyProduct strategy, including viability of the smelter with and without sintering, and comparison of value added by producing FeMn instead of exporting orePossibility and potential timing of mine, crushing/screening plant, smelter and logistics capacity increasesConfiguration of the above to maximise project value since all of them are interdependent.Phase 1 of the work focused on the mining operations and the first six steps of Whittle Consulting’s typical suite of optimisation mechanisms ( for underground mines these are mine phasing, scheduling within phases, cut-off grade, blending by grade band, stockpiling and simultaneous application of the preceding steps) and was completed between April and August 2010. After an extensive phase of data collection, a Data Input Model for the entire Assmang Managanese Division was developed and consolidated into a single document. This typically represents as much as half of the total effort of these studies since few companies operating in multiple locations with several profit and cost centres capture all of the operating and financial data required to optimise the enterprise in a central location. In Phase 1, a mathematical model of the mining operation was developed which selected and determined the net value of ore blocks, grouped them into phases or areas, applied sequencing rules for the development and stoping of these phases enabling Whittle’s proprietary Prober optimisation software to prioritise them, then applied scheduling optimisation for specific ore blocks within each phase. A Base Case was generated which was carefully compared with the current operational business plan. Assmang is a complex organisation with many internal stakeholders whose assistance to verify and approve the input data from each department and the output of the base case Prober Runs is gratefully acknowledged. The verification process was a lengthy exercise which had to be completed before subsequent work could proceed.Working from the Base Case, Phase 1 also investigated dynamic cut-off grade, blending of ore to achieve product minimum Mn grade and also minimum Mn:Fe ratio, transport and smelting costs for various alternative strategies already being followed, and optimisation of the different ore products currently exported each of which has a different sales price. The capacity limits of each step in the value chain were also taken into account. Approximately 40 Optimisation Runs were completed in this phase of work, each of which generated about 30 tables and 40 charts containing annual operational and financial information over the entire planned life of the operation. The major output tables were analysed after each Run in order to set the input parameters for the future work.After Phase 1 was presented to senior Assmang management in a half day workshop, a second phase of work was commissioned. Phase 2 was completed between November 2010 and March 2011. Additional ore resource block model information was incorporated and an assessment was made of optimisation of possible mine, logistics and smelting expansion plans in parallel with engineering and costs studies being done by others. In addition, seven major alternative smelting strategies were considered each of which had several subordinate categories. Variable and dynamic mining width was considered for each of the ore bodies; the implication being that increased mining width would result in a considerable increase in recoverable ore resource provided that product Mn grades and Mn:Fe ratios could be maintained. Approximately 40 additional Optimisation Runs were completed during Phase 2 and the interim and final results were presented to senior Assmang management on several occasions.The work was sponsored by Henk Bouwer (Executive Technology: ARM Ferrous) and led by Christo Kuhl, Manager Mining: ARM Ferrous. Henk was able to provide the customer’s assessment of the work done by Whittle Consulting and concluded as follows:The exercise has been of great value in aiding decision-makingThe whole process enabled the team to better understand the Assmang manganese businessThe Business Enterprise Optimisation Model will be used again in future to aid in long term decision makingWhittle can add considerable value if a company has a complex ore body and complexity regarding logistics and processing options.
THE CABINET IS holding a special meeting this morning to consider the government’s medium-term economic strategy that is expected to be published next week.Ministers will gather at Government Buildings at 8am to discuss the document which will be signed-off and published after the State formally exits its EU/IMF bailout programme on Sunday.The strategy document will detail the coalition’s economic priorities up to 2020 and will outline how the government intends to meet its various targets over the next seven years including bringing down its deficit to GDP ratio to 3 per centTaoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil last month that the strategy will “include a recommitment to bringing Government borrowing down to sustainable levels during the remainder of this Government’s term of office”.“It will be an economic plan based on enterprise, not speculation,” Kenny said at the time.Read: Taoiseach to make televised address to the country on Sunday nightRead: Government budget advisors: No room for tax cuts until after 2016
HENDERSON, Nev. — President Barack Obama is shrugging off Republican criticism of his actions to lift the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States.In an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Obama said it was important that he act unilaterally to prioritize the deportation of criminals and recent arrivals and spare those who have lived here illegally for at least five years and have roots, including children who are American citizens.“Why we would prefer a system in which they’re in the shadows, potentially taking advantage of living here but not contributing?” Obama said in the interview, which was taped Friday in Las Vegas after Obama delivered an immigration speech there.The president pointed to executive orders issued by Democratic and Republican predecessors and said presidents exercise “prosecutorial discretion all the time.”Obama’s executive actions, which he announced Thursday, have drawn a withering response from Republicans, but also has laid bare divisions within the GOP over how to deal with immigration.Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, rejected Obama’s claim of prosecutorial discretion. “Essentially he’s gotten in the job of counterfeiting immigration papers, because there’s no legal authority to do what he’s doing,” Cruz said on “Fox News Sunday.”
By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, email@example.comCherri Branson is no stranger to Montgomery County politics and as a candidate for one of the four at-large seats, wants to make the process works for everyday residents.Branson is one of 33 candidates for the Democratic nomination to the Montgomery County Council. She served on the county’s legislative body from January-December 2014, replacing Valerie Ervin, who is now running for Governor, and is ready to get back to helping her fellow residents.Cherri Branson is a former member of the Montgomery County Council who is seeking . (Photo Courtesy of Cherri Branson)“There is a sea of change taking place in Montgomery County,” Branson told the AFRO. “This is a very appropriate time for someone who has experience in county government to be on the council. A lot of our indicators say that the county is at a crossroads and we could either go in a direction where people are doing well or not. I want to make sure that Montgomery County is on the path of prosperity and inclusion.”Montgomery County is the largest jurisdiction in Maryland in terms of population. A 2017 U.S. Census estimate shows the county has 1,058,810 residents and 29.2 percent of its people over the age of 25 have bachelor’s degrees, the highest percentage in the country.Montgomery County recently became majority-minority with 20 percent of its population Black, 16 percent Latino, 16 percent Asian and with Whites making up the rest. Branson said the new racial status of the county is revealing.“We are the new majority,” she said. “Even though we are majority-minority, minority interests are represented in the county. When you run at-large you have to look at the county as a whole and address those issues.”Branson said the interests of Silver Spring are different from Germantown and that is also the case with wealthy Bethesda-Potomac as opposed to more working-class, multi-ethnic eastern parts of the county.Branson has an extensive background working for different levels of government. She works as the director of the county’s procurement program and served as the chief counsel on oversight and senior investigator for the Homeland Security committee for the U.S. House of Representatives.A native of Shepherdstown, W.V., Branson got her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, a juris doctorate from Indiana University School of Law, and a master’s of laws degree from Emory University School of Law.In the race for the Democratic nomination for the four seats, are six other African Americans: Brandy Brooks, Craig Carozza-Caviness, Lorna Phillips-Forde, Will Jawando, David Lipscomb and Jarrett Smith.Branson said if elected, she knows what to do and will get it done. “I will request seats on the education committee and also government operations,” she said. “We want to make sure that Montgomery County schools are the best that they can be. My work on Capitol Hill and as the county procurement officer will be useful because I understand how government works and how to make it work better.”Branson said her life experiences will influence her service as a county legislator. “My life has taught me to pursue fairness and openness in government, seek practical solutions to problems and to assure that everyone has a place at the table,” she said. “I believe this county must be a great place to live and work for all of its residents and I am committed to pursuing policies that bring about that goal. If elected, my priorities on the council will be economic development, housing affordability, transportation and land use.”
By Jeffrey L. Boney, NNPA Contributing WriterA spirit of hope and change hovered over the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center in Houston’s historic Third Ward community Thursday, November 15th, as dozens of engaged parents, educators, elected officials and community members were on hand at the Black Parents’ Town Hall Meeting on Educational Excellence, where a lively discussion about the state of education for Black children in the Greater Houston area took place.The event was made possible by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who partnered with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) to create a three-year, multi-media public awareness campaign focusing on the unique opportunities and challenges of The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESEA) and replaced No Child Left Behind, received bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 10, 2015. The regulations are administered by the U.S. Department of Education and went into effect on January 30, 2017.Black Parents’ Town Hall attendees listening to panelists. (Photo Credit: Jeffrey L. Boney)Under ESSA, states across the country adhere to more flexible federal regulations that provide for improved elementary and secondary education in the nation’s public schools. The law also ensures that every child, regardless of race, income, background or zip code has the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education.By raising awareness of ESSA policies, the NNPA, which is a national trade association of approximately 211 Black and women-owned U.S. media companies with a weekly print and digital readership of over 20.1 million Black Americans, seeks to empower parents to advocate for instructional strategies that are in the best interest of their students and communities. In addition, this is a tremendous opportunity to increase support around academic issues that will make a difference in closing the achievement gap and ultimately the wealth gap.Attendee and parent Johnny Taylor addressing the panelistsDr. Elizabeth V. Primas, who serves as the program manager for the NNPA ESSA Public Awareness Campaign and is a life-long educator, was on hand to welcome attendees and talk about ESSA being a tool to help increase the effectiveness of public education in every state, including Texas. Lynette Monroe, who is the program assistant for the NNPA ESSA Public Awareness Campaign, served as the event moderator.The panelists were asked questions regarding several topics, including how the Texas Education Agency funding structure promotes or inhibits equitable school funding, their views on standardized testing overall and specifically African American student performance, effective ways to communicate and foster engagement with African American family members, how to increase community engagement, and things the Texas Education Agency or other entities can do to better prioritize the needs of students who receive special education services.“You must get engaged in your child’s education to ensure they don’t become a statistic,” said parent and community activist Monica Riley.ESSA Houston Black Parents’ Town Hall participants – Larry McKinzie, Monica Riley, Lynette Monroe, Treyvon Waddy, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Dr. Elizabeth Primas, Forward Times Publisher/CEO Karen Carter Richards, Chirelle Riley and Jeffrey L. Boney. (Photo Credit: Jeffrey L. Boney)Monica was one of the five panelists, along with her daughter Chirelle Riley, who participated in this powerful panel discussion, which also included Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones, educator Larry McKinzie, and Texas Southern University (TSU) student and Forward Times intern Treyvon Waddy.Monica, who is the mother of seven girls and a product of the public school system, talked about the passion she developed about education, particularly after having to make tough choices about her children’s educational future. After sending her children to public school, private school and even choosing to home-school them, Monica became an educational advocate in order to tackle the issues she saw that were not being addressed by the school administrators tasked with addressing those issues.Chirelle, who is an 18-year-old sophomore at Houston Community College, spoke about her educational experience from a millenials perspective and emphasized the need for school leaders to ensure students are being taught information that can benefit them beyond simply taking a test.Skillern-Jones spoke about her own experiences dealing with the educational choices for her kids, which is what drove her to run for public office and become a school board trustee and seek to bring about change from within. Skillern-Jones stated that the elected decision makers at the state level have made things difficult for school districts to solve many of the problems African American children face. She remained optimistic, however, that community engagement could change the current state of the educational system in Texas.“I think that teachers should contact parents in some way on a consistent basis, not just to say your child is doing this well or this what your child did in class that day, because that’s not personal enough,” said Waddy, who is a graduate of HISD and attends TSU. “Teachers should seek to build trust with the parents and seek to know the parents on a first name basis, so they can stay in the loop. I think that will go a long way and would open the door to discuss more personal things that may be affecting the child.”McKinzie, who is a 24-year-educator, parent of two public school students and a community activist, states that parents must talk to all elected officials and administrators and be an activist for their children. He believes that the charter schools, which are only located in Black and Brown communities, take away the necessary resources from the public schools in those same communities which disparately impacts those schools.This regional town hall meeting was a follow-up to the National Town Hall which took place on June 26th at the Gethsemane Community Fellowship Church in Norfolk, VA, which was a part of the NNPA’s Annual Conference. This regional town hall meeting was one of several that are taking place across the country, with the focus being on encouraging parents to get involved and stay engaged in their child’s education.
The Federal Communications Commission in May voted to dismantle net neutrality rules established by the previous administration.But what does that really mean for the everyday Web user? Brace yourself: porn sites could slow to a glacial pace.Adult entertainment service Pornhub has enlisted in the Internet-wide Day of Action to help protest the FCC’s “attack on net neutrality,” according to the firm.On July 12, organizations and activists—including Amazon, Etsy, GitHub, Imgur, Kickstarter, Reddit, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—will band together to show support for and create awareness of net neutrality.The protest, scheduled five days before the first public comment deadline on the FCC’s proposal, is a concerted effort to stop Internet service providers (ISPs) and the government from regulating the Web.“Net neutrality is an essential driver of innovation for startups, Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said in a statement. “It has helped us and many others create leading-edge solutions that have huge benefits for consumers.”In 2015, President Obama led the reclassification of broadband as a telecom service under “Title II” of the Communications Act, rather than an information service.Under the tutelage of new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, however, those recently enacted rules—intended to give the Commission more legal standing to regulate broadband providers—may be overturned.“It’s a fight worth fighting, and we’re excited to stand alongside industry leaders to protest the FCC’s planned rollback of net neutrality rules,” Price said. “I encourage all our fans across the world to stand together on July 12 and help spread the word.”There is no word on what users can expect from a Pornhub protest. But Motherboard tipped something along the lines of a loading icon, “to emphasize, how it could make some sites much slower.”Without net neutrality, companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are free to introduce “slow lanes” and force users to pay more for access to specific sites—, particularly pornography.“No one in the porn industry ever yells ‘slower, slower, slower,’” Price told Motherboard. “We’re much more accustomed to ‘faster, faster, faster.’ Here at Pornhub, we want to keep it that way.” Pornhub Maybe Wants To Buy TumblrPornhub Credits Government Shutdown For Traffic Increase Stay on target
The gaming world is excited to play Anthem, BioWare’s answer to Destiny and other big-budget online shooters — but an exclusive preview weekend for the mech-flying game has struggled to get off the ground. Of course, it wouldn’t be a game launch these days without a few hiccups to spice things up, but it is a little embarrassing.The 40-gigabyte demo was made available today to those who had pre-ordered the game, as well as press and other “VIPs.” The game, announced last year at E3, is a loot-focused shooter where you pilot mechs through a huge open world, engage in cooperative combat and exploration and all that.At least, so they say. Reports immediately came flooding in on forums and social media that not only was Origin, the service on which the demo is offered, failing to function properly, but that the game itself wasn’t connecting to servers, or if it did, wouldn’t load beyond the intro sequence.I encountered this myself; after eventually getting loaded and logged in, I managed to get into the starting town area where you will, in the full game, upgrade your gear, accept quests and so on. But when I attempted to launch the first mission or otherwise enter the actual game world, the loading bar would stop about 95 percent of the way done and stay there forever (I waited about five minutes and reloaded a couple times to make sure it wasn’t just my aging rig). Those who made it all the way in complained of lag and glitches.No one really ever expects a major title, especially one with a major online components, to launch even in a limited way without a few speed bumps, but something like this can really put the brakes on a hype train. Publisher EA admitted to the laundry list of issues from a support Twitter account:Funnily enough EA Help’s own servers were having trouble as well, so not only could people not play Anthem, they couldn’t report that they couldn’t play Anthem.Patience is a necessary virtue in today’s AAA game launches, but the people hoping to play this weekend aren’t randos but paying customers; this preview demo weekend was supposed to be a pre-order bonus, but the first day is a bust so far. Considering BioWare and EA knew exactly how many players could be trying to connect today — and those numbers are likely far less than those who will try the open beta or connect on launch day — it’s rather odd that they were seemingly caught so off-guard.Anthem is certainly promising and the developers have gone out of their way to assure players that many of the hated practices of online games these days would not find a home on their platform. But launch problems always jar the confidence of undecided buyers, and there’s almost no question that the game will be better a month or two after its actual debut. Launch numbers could be affected by players not believing the game is ready to play, and therefore not being willing to pay.I fully anticipate these issues getting resolved at some point soon, however, and will collect my impressions of the game in a separate post when that happens.
Last year in November at the Chrome Dev Summit keynote, Google introduced .dev, a domain dedicated to developers and technology. The registration process has already started on Feb 16 and the team is set to launch its Early Access Program. The registration process has already started on Feb 16. According to the timeline shared at the Chrome Dev Summit, the Early Access Program will start on Feb 19th at 8:00 am PST to February 28th at 7:59 am PST. Under this program, users can register available .dev domains by giving an extra fee. This fee will decrease as we get closer to the General Availability phase, which starts February 28 onwards. After registering the domain, users will be required to pay $12/year cost for .dev domains. In addition to a dedicated space for developers, this domain will provide built-in security, as it is included on the HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) preload list. This essentially means that all the connections to .dev websites and pages will be made using HTTPS. Looking at Google’s track record of killing its products over time, some Hacker News users were little skeptical about this service. One user commented, “I wouldn’t lease the domain through Google domains. Use a different registrar — if possible, one that you’ll be able to trust. That registrar will work with the registry of the TLD, which would be google in this case, and has a much better chance of actually resolving issues than if you were a direct customer of Google Domains.” Another user said, “They have a well-established track record of enthusiastically backing exciting new projects way outside of their core competency just to dump them like hot garbage several years later…It doesn’t seem like a smart move to lease a domain from a politically active mega-monopoly that might decide to randomly become your competitor in 2 years.” Countering this argument, one of the Google developers from the team launching .dev said, “You’ll be glad to know that TLDs can’t simply be discontinued like other products might be. ICANN doesn’t allow it. The procedures in place preventing a live TLD from shutting down are called EBERO.” Read more about the .dev domain on its official website. Read Next Chromium developers propose an alternative to webRequest API that could result in existing ad blockers’ end Google Chrome developers “clarify” the speculations around Manifest V3 after a study nullifies their performance hit argument Regulate Google, Facebook, and other online platforms to protect journalism, says a UK report
RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. announced Tuesday the immediate appointment of COO Adam Contos to RE/MAX Co-CEO sharing responsibilities with Co-Founder and now Co-CEO Dave Liniger. Contos led many key functions at RE/MAX in the last 14 years and was named COO in 2016. With the appointment of Contos, Liniger will now be able to focus on furthering the company’s leadership position in the industry while driving special strategic initiatives.RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. announced Tuesday the immediate appointment of COO Adam Contos to RE/MAX Co-CEO sharing responsibilities with Co-Founder and now Co-CEO Dave Liniger. RE/MAX Holdings is the parent company of RE/MAX, LLC, a real estate brokerage service, and Motto Franchising, LLC, franchisor of the Motto Mortgage network of mortgage brokerages. Liniger will now be able to focus on furthering the company’s leadership position in the industry while driving special strategic initiatives.“I’m proud to have Adam, who has successfully led many key functions in our business over the last 13 years, partner with me at the CEO position,” said Liniger. “We have a talented and dedicated group of leaders at RE/MAX and I’ve been actively working with them to build our future. Under Adam’s leadership, I know this dynamic team will further our position as the number one name in real estate.”RE/MAX has utilized the Co-CEO structure in several of its CEO transitions. The approach ensures continuity in RE/MAX leadership, in its successful and unique business model, and in the overall company strategy.“We’re fortunate to have a deep and talented executive team at RE/MAX,” Liniger continued. “They share the same drive and desire to succeed that I had when I created this company over 44 years ago. We’re all strongly aligned around the core strategy, values, culture and mission that have made this company great. I’m confident that the strength of our management team supported by our exceptional agents, brokers, franchise owners and employees will continue to drive our future growth and success.”Contos managed RE/MAX daily operations including IT, HR, Business Development, Events, Brand Marketing, Communications, Media, and Public Relations as COO.“Dave’s founding principles and culture of success along with the dedication of RE/MAX agents and owners have made RE/MAX the greatest real estate company in the world,” said Contos. “I’m honored to drive RE/MAX forward on behalf of over 110,000 agents who represent this iconic brand by delivering exceptional service to their clients. We will continue to advance RE/MAX and the real estate industry by delivering the products and services that have made our franchisees and agents so successful for the last four decades.”In 2004, Contos joined RE/MAX working with offices in the Mountain States Region. He was promoted to the Region’s VP the following year. Between 2007 and 2013 he served first for the California & Hawaii Region and then the RE/MAX Florida Region. He was promoted to VP, Region Development, in 2013 and then to SVP of marketing, in February 2015. According to RE/MAX, during his marketing tenure, he and the business development team built a franchise sales process that fueled record growth. In 2016, Contos was named COO.Serene Smith, SVP of Financial Planning and Business Analytics, succeeds Contos as COO. Smith joined RE/MAX in 2006 as the Senior Manager of Internal Audit. She then was named VP of Financial Planning and Analysis in 2014 and a SVP in January 2016. June 2, 2017 594 Views Share in Featured, Headlines, News Adam Contos RE/MAX Serene Smith 2017-06-02 Staff Writer RE/MAX COO Appointed as Co-CEO
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