Governor lowers Tropical Storm Irene damage estimates

first_imgVermont Governor Peter Shumlin and administration officials today reduced Agency of Transportation damage estimates in response to Tropical Storm Irene. VTrans, which initially believed the cost of repairing all roads, culverts and bridges on the state system could exceed $600 million, now estimates the actual cost will be between $175 million and $250 million. The agency revised its estimate following two intense months of conducting repairs to more than 500 miles of state highway and some 200 state-owned bridges. The new estimate is based on Federal Highway’s Detailed Damage Inspection Report (DDIR) process and includes a contingency for unknown costs and spring repairs. ‘This is great news for Vermont taxpayers,’ said Governor Peter Shumlin. ‘Not only are we recovering from Irene faster than anyone expected, we are also conducting repairs at a cost considerably less than anyone expected.’ Administration officials explained that there are a variety of factors that account for the higher initial estimate: Standard vs. Emergency Construction: Our engineers are trained to estimate construction costs based on standard construction practices, not emergency construction practices.  Normal estimates include lengthy and sometimes costly processes, such as federal and state permitting, utility relocation, environmental mitigation, design reviews, planning, scoping, municipal coordination, survey, right-of-way acquisition and legal proceedings, etc.  These are part of the standard roadway process but were not a part of the emergency response during a declared state of emergency.  Significantly, during Irene recovery, much of the work was done while roads were closed.  This removed the timely and costly burden of trying to accommodate traffic and heavy equipment through work zones.  It also eliminated the mobilization/demobilization that occurs on many ‘normal’ construction projects when you need to reopen roads at the end of each day.  Vermont Strong: VTrans original estimates were based on standard construction practices, and didn’t anticipate the collaborative spirit and sense of urgency that Vermonters shared during this emergency. Irene drove people to work harder, faster, and to use innovation to get the job done more expeditiously.  VTrans repaired over 500 miles of damaged road and opened 32 bridges in just 2 months; this was done in large part from the sense of urgency and teamwork that the estimators could not have foreseen.  Nobody would have ever guessed we could accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, not even us. ‘We cannot emphasize enough that these are only estimates, and continue to be volatile and subject to change,’ said Deputy Secretary Sue Minter. ‘There are Irene related projects that will not be completed for years and we expect our construction costs to change through time, although we do not expect them to exceed $250 million.’ To account for new issues that the Administration anticipates may emerge over the coming months and years, a contingency reserve has been added to current estimates. This reserve will address issues that may arise in the design of permanent repairs, plus work that may need to be redone from spring high water and roadway settlement. There are numerous concerns with river stability and debris as related to sink holes and slides. While the revised construction estimate is good news for Vermont, Governor Shumlin emphasized that repairs related to Irene are still projected to exceed the amount that Vermont would normally spend during an entire highway construction season.  As a result, help from Congress is still needed to ensure the heroic work conducted this fall does not have lasting financial consequences that impede the state’s ability to properly maintain its roads, culverts and bridges into the future. ‘The news today is good, but I caution that we are not out of the woods yet,’ Shumlin said. ‘The magnitude of what happened to us is still enormous, and we will need help from our federal partners to recover properly.’ Governor’soffice. 10.31.2011###last_img read more

An examination of Indonesia’s death toll: Could it be higher?

first_imgSome of these administrations have even gone a step further by revealing the number of fatalities among suspected patients.Banten, a neighboring province to Jakarta, revealed on its website that as of Tuesday 144 of its 1,382 PDPs had died. East Java also reported 235 fatalities among its 2,769 PDPs and 53 among its 18,509 ODPs. These figures are higher than both regions’ number of fatalities among confirmed cases, which reached 41 and 90 deaths, respectively, as of Tuesday.Jakarta does not provide such data but has disclosed on its website that 1,666 people had been buried according to COVID-19 protocols as of April 24. The figure is higher than the city’s official death toll of 370 as of Tuesday.Central Java, meanwhile, does not provide the exact number but rather a map of the spread of such fatalities, which according to The Jakarta Post’s estimation could amount to around 200, while its official death toll is 58. Yogyakarta recorded seven fatalities among its suspected patients, while its official count is seven. South Sulawesi reported 81 of its suspected patients had died despite recording only 37 official deaths, although it has published a disclaimer that the former figure also includes those who later test negative. The actual number of COVID-19 deaths in Indonesia may be substantially higher than officially reported as several regions have recorded hundreds of fatalities among patients under surveillance (PDPs), who are suspected of having contracted the highly contagious coronavirus.Patients under surveillance refer to people with COVID-19 symptoms who have not been confirmed as having the disease, meaning that they are waiting either to be tested or for their test results to come back.The central government’s daily count of fatalities, at 773 as of Tuesday, does not include all PDPs who have died. And it was only recently that the government started announcing the number of PDPs and people under observation (ODPs) nationwide. Previously, only local administrations would reveal such figures. “ODPs and PDPs who died might have tested positive for COVID-19,” biostatistics researcher at the University of Indonesia’s (UI) School of Public Health, Iwan Ariawan, said. “Therefore, it is important [for authorities] to disclose how many of the ODPs and PDPs who died had been tested and later turned out to be positive, not only COVID-19 patients who have died.”In its latest weekly situation report on Indonesia, the World Health Organization said that as of April 11, it had updated the guidance for reporting COVID-19 deaths, in which a COVID-19 death was defined as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there was a clear alternative cause of death that could not be related to COVID-19.”Based on this definition, cumulative deaths from people who had or may have had COVID-19 should be reported as COVID-19 related deaths,” the report said.The government’s spokesperson for COVID-19 affairs, Achmad Yurianto, said he was not aware of such a guideline. He said the tally of deaths he was announcing daily only included people who had tested positive for the virus, which was reported by hospitals. He said that even if Indonesia was to announce fatalities among suspected patients, the figures would be separated from those of confirmed cases.Other countries have begun to revise their death toll linked to COVID-19. New York, the hardest-hit city in the United States, for instance, revised in mid-April its official COVID-19 death toll to include victims presumed to have died from lung diseases but never tested, resulting in a 60 percent spike, Reuters reported.China also revised its death toll by adding some 1,290 deaths in Wuhan, the city where the virus first emerged in December, Bloomberg said, citing Chinese state media reports.The late reporting of deaths was attributed to several reasons, including the fact that some patients had died at home without seeking treatment or being tested for the virus and the late and incomplete reporting by medical workers and institutions overwhelmed by the outbreak.”It would be better if fatalities among ODPs and PDPs [in Indonesia] were also announced. However, I don’t think 100 percent of the fatalities would certainly be due to COVID-19,” epidemiologist at Padjadjaran University, Panji Hadisoemarto said, warning of overestimation.Read also: Govt claims Jakarta, epicenter of Indonesia’s COVID-19 outbreak, has flattened the curveSo far 9,511 of 62,544 people who have been tested in Indonesia have been confirmed to have the virus, a positive testing rate of 15.2 percent as of Tuesday.Persahabatan Central General Hospital, a referral hospital for COVID-19 patients in Jakarta, said 65 percent of PDPs it was treating had tested positive. While the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology said between 20 and 30 percent of the specimens it processed daily came back positive.Nevertheless, experts agree that fatalities among suspected patients paint the possibility of Indonesia recording a higher number of deaths than it is currently reporting because of the lack of testing and a testing backlog. This remains a problem in the country, despite calls from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to boost testing capacity to 10,000 tests per day.”Local administrations need to statistically verify the PDP fatalities into groups: how many had not been tested, were waiting for their results and were tested positive or negative,” said Iqbal Ridzi Fahdri Elyazar, disease surveillance and biostatistics researcher at the Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit. “They need to provide this public information because it’s important for assessing the severity of the disaster and evaluating their control measures.”Iwan of the UI, meanwhile, said the government would need data on suspected patients’ deaths to evaluate how it had been handling suspected patients.Read also: COVID-19: Indonesia claims daily testing capacity increase to 12,000Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) spokesperson Halik Malik said such data would help hospitals evaluate their services and also act as a warning for the public not to undermine the scale of the COVID-19 outbreak to avoid complacency.”Because of late testing results, the IDI is recommending the need for a new policy in handling patients under surveillance,” Halik said. “There’s no need to wait for [polymerase chain reaction] PCR test results; [hospitals] can treat the patients as COVID-19 patients with clinical criteria […] Otherwise, there’ll be many whose conditions will deteriorate while waiting for their test results and not receiving treatment as COVID-19 patients.”Persahabatan Hospital spokesperson Erlina Burhan told the Post on Monday that the hospital was treating PDPs according to COVID-19 protocols until proven otherwise. She acknowledged, however, in an online discussion on April 17, that the testing backlog was a problem.”We should be receiving results in two days, but in reality […] we sometimes receive them in five to seven days. This is making things quite difficult, especially when the patients are in a severe condition,” Erlina said, adding that around 10 percent of the hospital’s COVID-19 patients needed intensive care and ventilators.Wiku Adisasmito, an expert with Indonesia’s COVID-19 task force, said in an April 22 online press briefing to address international media, that limitations in early detection, coupled with tardy diagnostics, had led to the country’s high mortality rate, but he gave an assurance that the government had been improving the country’s laboratory capacity.”Improvements in the quality of data also need to be made, so that mortality rate data can become more reliable,” he said.– Fiqih Prawira Adjie contributed to this storyTopics :last_img read more

Chirn Park cottage has been transformed to adopt a Hamptons-style

first_img26 Geoffrey Ave, Southport.THIS Southport home was the perfect place to adopt a Hamptons-style according to homeowner Marcia Alexander.“My husband and I came across the Chirn Park area about three years ago when it was still coming-to-age but now it is a super trendy pocket in Southport,” Mrs Alexander said.“We thought it was a perfectly undiscovered place and we could easily picture creating a coastal Hamptons-style. 26 Geoffrey Ave, Southport.“My favourite addition are the decks, we spend a lot of time outside,” The mother-of-one said.“If we aren’t sitting on the deck we are walking to the cafes or down to the Broadwater.”The Chirn Park cottage includes stone benchtops and blackbutt timber flooring.A freestanding bathtub adds a touch of luxury in the bathroom while timber features and botanicals bring the home to life. “The main bedroom is one of the most relaxing places, it has its own private balcony and its high up because of the split-level design,” Mrs Alexander said. The property is within walking distance to cafes and schools. 26 Geoffrey Ave, Southport.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North6 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoMrs Alexander said the original home had salmon pink shag-pile carpets and 80s-era wallpaper. The couple said they transformed the home in eight months. “We lived in it for a while to get a feel of how the spaces worked and this year we decided to create our dream Hamptons style,” Mrs Alexander said.The freshly-renovated home is poised on an elevated block in Chirn Park and features two big timber decks.center_img 26 Geoffrey Ave, Southport.“The suburb wasn’t as popular as it is now, we are lucky we can walk to the cafes because getting a park is almost impossible on a Sunday morning.”“It was important for us to live close to the M1 because we travel for work to Brisbane a lot but we wanted a suburb that had a bit of charm too.”last_img read more

Who Dat Nation: Super Saints become America’s Team

first_imgby Ben WalkerAssociated Press Writer MIAMI (AP)—Marshall Faulk ran as far as he could from the dead-end Desire Projects. He bolted the New Orleans streets to play college ball in San Diego, then blossomed into an NFL star with the Indianapolis Colts.Forced to take sides in this Super Bowl, it was easy. Faulk rooted for his roots.From President Barack Obama to a Queen, from Mr. Big to Miss America, the retired All-Pro had lots of company. For one game, the Saints were America’s Team—champions too, after a 31-17 win over the Colts on Sunday night. CHAMPIONS AT LAST—New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush lifts the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL Super Bowl XLIV football game in Miami, Sunday, Feb. 7. “We played for so much more than ourselves,” quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees said.That’s for sure, Faulk said.“This is very important to the city,” he said a few days ago. “For the last five, maybe 10 years, whether it’s Katrina, or the crime rate, the city’s always in a bad light. Now…you’re getting to see some of the great things that we have to offer.”French Quarter hotels and restaurants filled up as Sunday’s game between the Colts and Saints approached, with fans streaming into Louisiana hoping to begin celebrating a week ahead of Mardi Gras.Almost 4-1/2 years after flooding from Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and nearly chased the Saints out of town for good, the club’s first Super Bowl win may well represent the city’s rebirth.“You can’t put it into words,” receiver Marques Colston said after the win. “This city and region have been through so much.”Even the Colts grasped the soulful connection between the Saints and their town.“There’s a reason America is pulling for New Orleans, and why wouldn’t they? They’ve been through a lot,” Indianapolis safety Antoine Bethea said recently. “Sports tends to pull people together, so it’s commendable for New Orleans to be, as I guess you’d say, America’s Team right now.”Who Dat! That’s the shortened version of the team’s rally cry: “Who dat, who dat, who dat say gonna beat dem Saints?”Egged on by New Orleans players, Saints fans started that loud, familiar chant inside Sun Life Stadium an hour before kickoff. Adorned in black-and-gold beads, toting parasols in team colors and stirred by a brass band, they paraded outside. Clearly, they needed no prompting to start the party.Long after the final whistle, Saints fans lingered inside, chanting and cheering. It was a win many of them thought they may never see. The franchise began playing in 1967, one year after the first Super Bowl, and had never reached the big game.Perhaps the Saints’ biggest fan—literally—is the NBA’s Shaquille O’Neal, the 7-foot-plus Cleveland Cavaliers center who got his start at LSU.“It’s good for the city, the economy and the organization. When I went to school, they had, like, a 99-year curse and hopefully that curse is over,” O’Neal said. “They haven’t won it at all. They haven’t always had bad seasons but they’ve always had, like, one play – a missed field goal or a fumble or somebody getting hurt—and now this is their chance.”The Saints have managed only nine winning seasons in their 43-year history, with blooper tapes often replacing highlight reels. Try as they might, their fleur-de-lis logo often stood for losing.But the emblem took on a different meaning this week in South Florida. It came to symbolize the Saints’ spiritual connection to New Orleans—and hope for a city that once had little.The Superdome, which hosts the 2013 Super Bowl, was an even more tangible example of the town’s renaissance.In the days after Katrina, the stadium became a place of last resort, with perhaps 30,000 helpless, homeless people trapped inside without plumbing or power. When the Saints beat Brett Favre and Minnesota in overtime for the NFC championship, the dome was packed again – this time with jubilant fans toasting their heroes.Obama found himself drifting in their direction, even though the Colts were still five-point favorites.“I do have a soft spot in my heart for New Orleans, mainly because of what the city’s gone through over these last several years and I just know how much that team means to them,” he said during a pregame interview broadcast by CBS.Made sense to Queen Latifah, who sang “America the Beautiful” before the game. She’s worked and lived in New Orleans.“It would be kind of fun, it’d be almost a Cinderella story to see the Saints come through against someone who’s as strong and dominant and skillful as Peyton Manning and the Colts,” she said.Ah, Manning. He’s a four-time Most Valuable Player and was MVP of the Colts’ Super Bowl win three years ago. He’s also from New Orleans, where Brees is now the star quarterback.“It’s a special place to me. My family lives there,” Manning said. “What Drew, and really the entire Saints team have meant to that community has been extremely impressive. Being a fellow New Orleanian, I certainly appreciate it.”The Manning vs. Brees matchup attracted a lot of pregame attention. Comedian Chris Rock liked the Saints because of their QB.“Just for a practical reason, not a sentimental one,” Rock said. “Drew Brees has been as good as Peyton Manning the last two years.”New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita left the Cowboys after the 2005 season and signed with the Saints seven months after Katrina.“The Saints are America’s adopted team. There’s no question about it,” he said. “When I chose to leave Dallas, everybody said, ‘Why would you leave Dallas? They’re America’s team.’“Well, they were self-proclaimed America’s Team a couple decades ago, and they have really, really good, loyal fans, but the rest of the country hates them. I mean, let’s be honest,” he said. “So New Orleans, yeah, you’ve got people all over the country who are pulling for us for so many reasons and really, really valid reasons.”Echoed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: “It’s a great success story for us, and while I can’t root for a team, I’m really proud of what happened there and I’m thrilled for the people of the Gulf Coast.”“I don’t think that can be stated enough,” Saints safety Darren Sharper said. “It’s just a close tie between the city and the team. Everyone says, ‘Are you guys playing for the community? Are you guys playing for New Orleans?’ We think that we are.”(AP Sports Writers Brett Martel, Tom Withers and Michael Marot contributed to this report.)last_img read more

Calico The Clown Is Sticking Around, State Says

first_imgBy Joseph SapiaMIDDLETOWN – If the Shoppes at Middletown project comes to fruition, it appears the iconic Calico the Clown sign on Route 35 North will be saved.But the local landmark that has stood near the Kings Highway East since 1956 may have to move to a new home nearby.The slightly sinister-looking “Evil Clown” with the puzzling red-tipped finger has been working for years, advertising the Food Circus and Foodtown supermarkets, and today the Spirits Unlimited liquor store. At 30 feet tall, the steel sign once rotated, but now stands stationary.The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Historic Preservation Office and Division of Land Use Regulation are working with the developer on a plan to protect Calico on the development site, said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna.“The development company has stated verbally that they believe Calico is a New Jersey landmark and intend to keep it, but they need to move it to another location on the property,” said Hajna.The developer of the 118-acre proposed project – John Orrico/Village 35 LP of Purchase, New York – could not be reached for comment regarding Calico. But plans for the project on the ShoppesAtMiddletown.com site, posted by National Realty & Development Co., suggest Calico would be moved more toward Kanes Lane.The Shoppes is to be 338,455 square feet of commercial space on 52 acres of Route 35 between Kings Highway East, Carriage Drive and Kanes Lane. It is to include retail, restaurant and movie theater space.Orrico/Village 35 was to have made its second appearance before the township Planning Board Wednesday, June 15 – after this issue of the Two River Times went to press.On the remaining 66 acres, Toll Brothers of Horsham, Pennsylvania, wants to build the Oaks at Middletown, a 350-townhouse complex. The Oaks project, which would be built along the Carriage Drive end of the property, has not yet appeared before the Planning Board.The 118 acres is owned by Mountain Hill LLC, or the local Azzolina-Scaduto family. The family, which owns the Spirits Unlimited, along with Calico, could not be reached for comment.Leslie Worth Thomas of the Road Ad Sign Company designed Calico, according to Weird New Jersey magazine. Thomas also designed the Asbury Park icon, Tillie, the smiling face once gracing the city’s Palace arcade.To locals and non-locals, Calico is an icon.Margie Rafferty, 55, is a lifelong township resident, a wife, a mother of four, a technical writer – and perhaps Calico’s biggest preservation proponent.“When I was a little girl, sitting in back of the ’64 Chevy, going to the store, the thing (Calico) is revolving and I’m cowering in the backseat,” Rafferty said. “He’s been an affectionate symbol of the town I grew up in.“Most of us want to hold onto him for that idyllic sense,” said Rafferty, who lives in the Chapel Hill area. “Calico becomes symbolic of a simpler time.”A year ago, Rafferty filed paperwork with the state, starting a process to get Calico placed on the federal Register of Historic Places. She also created the “Save Calico, the ‘Evil Clown’ of Middletown, NJ” page on Facebook and the @calicoclown account on Twitter.“It’s kind of been an ongoing labor of love,” Rafferty said.Ana O’Connor, 44, who has lived in Middletown since her freshman year of high school, said she “absolutely” wants to see Calico preserved. But she is OK with moving it for preservation.“’The evil clown,’ everybody calls it,” O’Connor said. “It’s a symbol, it represents Middletown.”Lifelong township resident Gina Gizzi, 48, wants to see Calico preserved somewhere in Middletown.“I remember growing up and seeing it here,” Gizzi said. “It’s sort of, kind of known throughout the state. It’s like the Tillie of Middletown, at least for somebody who grew up here.”John Krilla, 64, remembers passing Calico as a child on his way to the Jersey Shore from his home in Perth Amboy. Seeing Calico was a gauge as to how far he had traveled.Krilla, who now lives in the township, would like to see Calico preserved.“Just the history of it,” Krilla said. “It’s just a landmark, a familiar site.”Luigi Fardini, 55, of Fort Lee was visiting the Shore recently. It was the first time he saw Calico, he said, but he was won over for preservation.“It’s a good idea,” Fardini said. “It’s a big clown, everybody notices.”The township Landmarks Commission has been involved with the matter.“The question was whether it was Register-eligible, for the state and national Registers,” said Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger. “It’s not a matter of support or not, that was the question out there.”The state said it appears to be eligible, Scharfenberger said.Scharfenberger said he did not want to comment extensively on a project before the Planning Board, so as not to have a conflict of interest. Iconic Sign May Be Moved Nearbylast_img read more

Richard Manuba Sets for SWAL Presidential Debate

first_imgThe Sports Writers Association of Liberia’s presidential candidate, Richard Manuba was ecstatic about this afternoon’s double debate.First, Manuba will be on Lux FM to expound his vision for the association from 10-11a.m.Second, he will be at the offices of the PUL on Clay Street, Monrovia at 2p.m. where other candidates, including Leroy Sonpon, lll, Martina Brooks and Roland Mulbah will also assemble to debate to convince the members why they think they are capable to run the association for the next two years.At a private gathering yesterday afternoon on 3rd Street, Sinkor in Monrovia, Candidate Manuba officially launched his campaign drive for the presidency.The elections are set for Jan. 24.Yesterday, Candidate Manuba re-echoed his three key areas that he said he is passionate to change SWAL.“I want to make SWAL an institution,” he said, “then seek corporate sponsorship for SWAL.”Candidate Manuba further said his third target will be SWAL members’ welfare.“We (SWAL) must be able to develop its members to get the needed support in times of need.“At the same time I will make SWAL relevance to get its national recognition,” he said.The debate is set at 2.p.m. today.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

World Summit action plan

first_img4 September 2002After more than a week of tough behind-the-scenes bargaining, over 100 heads of state and government at the World Summit on Sustainable Development have agreed on a plan of action to eradicate poverty and protect the environment, finally concluding negotiations that have taken place over nine months and on three continents.Negotiators at the Summit in Johannesburg finally reached on renewable energy sources, the last major stumbling block in the action plan. The agreed text calls on all countries to: “With a sense of urgency, substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources, with the objective of increasing its contribution to total energy supply” – but without setting any percentage target or target date.The European Union had been pushing for a target of making 15% of energy come from “renewable energy” sources such as windmills, solar panels and waves by 2015. The US and Opec oil-exporting countries, however, were opposed to such targets.Children of the world present a message to the Summit (from left to right): Analiz Vergara (Ecuador), Liao Mingyu (China), Justin Friesen, (Canada), Julius Ndlovena and Tiyiselani Manganyi (South Africa). (Photo: UN Johannesburg Summit)The plan of action, together with a political declaration, was formally adopted at the close of the Summit.Among the provisions agreed on are commitments to increase access to clean water, proper sanitation and energy services, to improve health conditions and agriculture, particularly in drylands, and to protect the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems.Environmentalists scathing, politicians upbeatEnvironmentalists have slammed the plan as toothless, criticising it for, among other things, failing to set targets for the use of renewable energy sources, failing to ensure accountability of multinational corporations, and making no mention of the “ecological debt” that resource-greedy richer nations owe less developed nations.Ministers, however, have praised the plan, describing the environmentalists’ expectations as unrealistic.South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin told the Star newspaper that issues such as getting the United States and Japan to agree on specific renewable energy targets had been politically impossible to resolve, adding: “But we brokered a deal. There are no targets, but there’s no question about it – renewable energy is now a new issue on the sustainable development agenda.”Erwin said that South Africa’s technical and brokering skills in chairing the “Johannesburg Process” that led to final consensus had been appreciated by the world’s trade and environment ministers, adding that the plan contained “about 41 substantial agreements relating to the environment in one way or another”.Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai said that renewable energy targets had been a worthwhile goal, “but the reality is that, with sustained action, we can build up the renewable energy industries to the point where they have the critical mass to compete with fossil fuel-generated energy. We have a commitment to make it happen, and now we need the follow-through.”South African Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Mohamed Valli Moosa said the Summit had made some very significant advances. “In some areas, it has made seminal advances.”Valli Moosa said the breakthroughs came during three days of round-the-clock ministerial negotiations. The idea of ministers sitting for days dealing with the “nitty-gritty” of the issues involved was a surprise, he said. “It represents the seriousness with which the [Summit] is taken by developing and developed countries.”The high-level negotiations were necessary, he said, because the remaining issues needed to be resolved at the political, not technical levels.Sustainable production and consumptionCountries have agreed to establish a voluntary world solidarity fund to eradicate poverty and promote social and human development that, without duplicating existing UN funds, will encourage the role of the private sector and individual citizens.Also agreed on was a provision that encourages countries to develop a 10-year framework of programmes to shift towards sustainable consumption and production – that asks countries, in other words, to live within the means of their supporting ecosystems.Desai, detailing some of the commitments, said that country agreements on water and sanitation were backed up by a United States announcement of an investment of $970-million in water projects over the next three years, and a European Union announcement to engage in partnerships to meet the new goals, primarily in Africa and Central Asia.The UN had received 21 other partnership initiatives in this area, with at least $20-million in extra resources.In energy, Desai said countries had committed themselves to expanding access to the two billion people that do not have access to modern energy services. He added that while countries had not agreed on a target for phasing in renewable energy, they had commited to green energy and the phasing out of subsidies for types of energy that are not consistent with sustainable development.Bolstering these commitments, Desai said, a group of nine major electric companies had signed agreements to undertake sustainable energy projects in developing countries, while the EU had announced a $700-million partnership initiative on energy, and the US had announced investments of up to $43-million for energy in 2003.On health issues, in addition to actions to fight HIV-Aids and reduce waterborne diseases and the health risks due to pollution, countries had agreed to phase out, by 2020, the use and production of chemicals that harm human health and the environment.Proposals for the Global Environment Facility to fund implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification have already been adopted, and will have a major impact on improving agricultural practices in drylands. The United States had said it would invest $90-million in 2003 for sustainable agriculture, Desai said, and 17 partnership submissions to the UN contained at least $2-million in additional resources.There were many commitments made to protect biodiversity and improve ecosystem management, Desai said. These include commitments to reduce biodiversity loss by 2010; to restore fisheries to their maximum sustainable yields by 2015; to establish a representative network of marine protected areas by 2012; and to improve developing countries’ access to environmentally sound alternatives to ozone-depleting chemicals by 2010.These commitments were supported by 32 partnership initiatives submitted to the UN, with $100-million in additional resources, and a US announcement of $53-million for forest management in 2002-2005.“It’s impossible to know just how many resources the Summit has mobilised”, Desai said, “but we know they are substantial. Furthermore, many of the new resources will attract additional resources that will greatly enhance our efforts to take sustainable development to the next level, where it will benefit more people and protect more of our environment.”Boost for Kyoto ProtocolOn Kyoto, countries agreed in the Summit plan that states that have ratified the Kyoto treaty on global warming “strongly urge states that have not already done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in a timely manner”.The Protocol received a huge boost at the Summit, with Russia, China, Canada and Japan announcing their intentions to ratify the treaty, leaving the US and Australia as the only major powers holding out.Minister Valli Moosa told the Star that Russia’s surprise decision meant that the anti-global warming pact could now come into force, as it would bring a “big chunk” of carbon dioxide emissions into the equation.‘There is still the other half’The commitment to a target of 2015 for reducing the numbers of people who lack access to proper sanitation followed the already agreed upon goal of halving the proportion of people who lack access to clean water, one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.“It is hard to imagine how we can implement sustainable development when two billion people lack proper sanitation facilities”, said Desai. “This is an historic commitment, because for the first time the world has made the issues of water and sanitation a high-level political priority. We need this political commitment, and now we need the practical measures and partnerships to ensure that the new goals are met.”Desai cautioned, however, that the new targets, if met, would only bring clean water and proper sanitation to half of the people who lack these necessities. “There is still the other half, and we cannot stop until everyone benefits.”SouthAfrica.info reporter. Sources: Johannesburg World Summit 2002, United Nations: Johannesburg Summit 2002last_img read more

Federer done resting as he begins Wimbledon prep

first_img1 dead in Cavite blast, fire “I was hoping he was going to dominate the claycourt season like the olden days.”Having only played in four tournaments this year as he manages his workload, Federer said he would return to a full program for the rest of the season.“There are no more breaks now,” he told the ATP website.“I’ve had enough breaks. I’m a practice world champion now and that’s not who I want to be.“I want to be a champ on the match courts. So I’m going to be playing a regular schedule for the second part of the season.”ADVERTISEMENT World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Roger Federer of Switzerland said he has rested enough and will begin training for Wimbledon. APSTUTTGART, Germany — Roger Federer will begin his grasscourt campaign where he will bid for a record eighth Wimbledon crown at Stuttgart on Wednesday insisting that he’s rested enough.The Swiss veteran has taken the last two months off after what he described as a surprisingly successful start to the year that resulted in victory at the Australian Open and then the Indian Wells-Miami Masters double.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ No longer NBA champions, Cavaliers are now chasing Warriors Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “I was terribly surprised to win the Australian Open and to back it up and win the sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami was a complete surprise to me,” Federer said.Although 35, he has been in fine form during his limited activity this year, losing only once — a shock reverse to Russian Evgeny Donskoy, then ranked 116, in Dubai.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd while his own resurgence this year has taken him aback, Federer insists that Rafael Nadal’s return to claycourt dominance was not so unexpected.“I think Rafa winning the French Open is less of a surprise because he’d done it nine times before,” he said. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken View commentscenter_img MOST READ What ‘missteps’? Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Federer begins his Stuttgart campaign against German veteran Tommy Haas, where victory would be the 1,100th of his professional career. CBBSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’last_img read more

10 months agoEverton chief Moshiri adamant new stadium will be built

first_imgEverton chief Moshiri adamant new stadium will be builtby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton chief Farhad Moshiri is determined for their new stadium to be built.Planning permission is set to be submitted in the second half of this year, with the first ‘spade in the ground’ anticipated in early 2020.After a number of false dawns over previous projects Moshiri is adamant the stadium will be built.”It has nothing to do with my vision, it is a necessity. That must be understood – we don’t have a choice, we don’t have a Plan B or a Plan C,” he said at their AGM.”Very much like Arsenal and Tottenham that had to build a stadium – they were not given stadiums like West Ham or Manchester City.”We have a lot of experience so I think we will complete this stadium, be sure that will happen. And I will throw as much money as needed.”Private markets will provide £350m, naming rights will give us some more and we maybe have an equity gap of £100m.”I think this club, under the management of Marcel and leadership of Denise (Barrett-Baxendale, the club’s chief executive) is sufficiently robust to see the project through. It is no luxury, we have to get it done.”If we want to have a big club we need a modern stadium and we will get it.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

The 64 Most Annoying Fan Bases In College Sports: Elite Eight

first_imgElite Eight of College Spun's Most Annoying fan bases.We’ve reached the Elite Eight of our ’64 Most Annoying Fan Bases In College Sports’ bracket, and the first 1-seed has gone down. Duke basketball fans, it turns out, aren’t quite as annoying as some of the other groups on our list. The other 1-seeds – Kentucky Basketball Fans, Notre Dame Football Fans and Alabama Football Fans – are holding strong, however.You can see the opening round matchups here, the ‘Round of 32’ matchups here, and the Sweet 16 matchups here. Here’s the updated bracket – you can vote on this week’s four matchups below.The 64 Most Annoying Fan Bases BracketElite8 Vote On The #BBN Region Below1. Kentucky Basketball Fans vs. 3. S-E-C ChantersbbnsecAuburn Football fans were no match for #BBN, as Kentucky Basketball Fans held serve to move onto the Elite Eight, 72%-28%. There, they meet up with S-E-C Chanters, who took down People Who Talk About Their NCAA Bracket Picks, 65%-35%. Will UK supporters join their basketball team in the Final Four?   More Annoying: Kentucky Basketball Fans or S-E-C Chanters?Vote On The #FSUTwitter Region Below2. Florida State Football Fans vs. 4. Fans Who Tweet At RecruitsfsutwitterIt’s a matchup between #FSUTwitter and, well, another group of annoying tweeters. Seminoles fans were voted more annoying than USC supporters, 63%-37%. Meanwhile, Duke Basketball fans became the first 1-seed to fall. Fans Who Tweet At Recruits scored the upset, 55%-45%. We’ll be shocked if they advance again, though.  More Annoying: Florida State Football Fans or Fans Who Tweet At Recruits?Vote On The #WeAre Region Below1. Notre Dame Football Fans vs. 5. Texas A&M Football FansndamNotre Dame Football Fans took down Michigan Football Fans, 58%-42%, in a matchup that perhaps should have been slotted for later in the tournament. Meanwhile, Texas A&M Football Fans were voted slightly more annoying than Texas Football Fans, 52%-48%. Perhaps it’s because they’re in the SEC now? Which group will move onto the Final Four? More Annoying: Notre Dame Football Fans or Texas A&M Football Fans?Vote On The #PAWWWL Region Below1. Alabama Football Fans vs. 3. Paul Finebaum CallersbamafinebaumIt’s beginning to look like Alabama Football Fans may be the most formidable force left in the bracket. Tide supporters took down Georgia Football Fans, 84%-16%, to set up a fitting all-SEC final in the #PAWWWL region. Paul Finebaum Callers, the 3-seed in the region, beat out Big East Nostalgists handily, 64%-36%. Good luck determining this one. More Annoying: Alabama Football Fans or Paul Finebaum Callers?Check Out The Sweet 16 Voting Here >>>last_img read more