Drug package including shatter seized at Atlantic Institution in New Brunswick

first_imgRENOUS, N.B. – A package of drugs that included a marijuana concentrate known as shatter has been seized at the federal Atlantic Institution prison in New Brunswick.A news release from the jail says the contraband seized included just over 27 grams of the potent form of cannabis, which sometimes looks like a sheet of maple syrup or thin toffee on wax paper.The Correctional Service of Canada says it has been heightening its measures to stop contraband from entering the high-security jail.It says the tools include ion scanners and drug-detector dogs to search buildings, personal property, inmates and visitors.There were no details provided on when the seizure occurred or how the drug was detected.Evidence regarding the seizure at the prison in Renous has been handed over for further investigation by RCMP in the area.last_img read more

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Trans Mountain a frustrating angerinducing process for Alberta premier

first_imgFORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the challenges facing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion shows her province can do everything by the book and still get shortchanged.Notley says the recent Federal Court of Appeal decision quashing the expansion project has provoked frustration and anger in Alberta, but her government will continue to fight to get it built.She says without it, the ongoing pipeline bottlenecks will continue to cost Canada $40 million a day in a discounted price for oil.“I know I speak for everyone here in this room and every Albertan in saying that we are frustrated and, let’s go with it, angry about the recent court decision on Trans Mountain,” Notley said at the official opening of Suncor’s new Fort Hills oilsands extraction site, north of Fort McMurray on Monday.“Alberta and Albertans have done everything right and so far it hasn’t worked, but you know what we are not going to let it rest. We are going to keep fighting.”The Appeal Court recently struck down the pipeline on the grounds the federal government did not consult properly with First Nations and did not take into account the impact of tanker traffic on marine life.The Trans Mountain project would double the existing line from Alberta to B.C. to triple the amount of oil shipped to the coast, allowing producers to sell to Pacific Rim markets and fetch a better price.The Alberta government says lack of pipeline access is forcing its producers to sell exclusively to the U.S. market at a substantial price reduction.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is considering all options to get the project restarted. Notley met with Trudeau last week in Edmonton and said Trudeau promised her a new timeline within weeks.Ottawa now owns the existing Trans Mountain line, purchasing it along with other assets recently for $4.5 billion to ensure the expansion gets completed.In the meantime, Notley has pulled Alberta out of the federal climate change program, which calls for escalating levies on carbon emissions.Notley has said getting Trans Mountain up and running was quid pro quo for Alberta signing on to the federal carbon program, and that Alberta will stay on the sidelines until the Trans Mountain problem is fixed.Alberta retains its own climate plan, which taxes carbon at $30 a tonne, but for now won’t increase it in 2021 to keep it in lockstep with the federal program.— By Dean Bennett in EdmontonNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version stated Notley said the battlenecks were costing Alberta $40 million a day.last_img read more

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Aunt of Sarah McIver says she believes school officials in China made

first_imgDRUMHELLER, Alta. — The aunt of an Alberta woman who has been released from custody in China says she believes it was a mistake by her niece’s employer that resulted in her arrest.Sarah McIver was detained earlier this month over a work-permit issue related to her teaching job, but her aunt Rhona McIver says Sarah is now on her way back to her hometown of Drumheller, Alta.Rhona McIver said she believes her niece arrived in China to learn that the school she’d planned to teach at no longer had a job for her, so officials gave her work at another school.“That’s where the mistake got made,” McIver said from Drumheller in an interview Saturday.“She probably didn’t even think about it.”McIver’s arrest followed those of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians living and working in China, on allegations they were harming China’s national security.China arrested Kovrig and Spavor separately after Canadian authorities detained a Chinese technology executive in Vancouver. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of electronics giant Huawei Technologies, is wanted in the United States on allegations she lied to American banks as part of an effort to get around sanctions on Iran.China and Canada both insisted McIver’s case was different from Kovrig’s and Spavor’s.Rhona McIver said Sarah’s mother and sister have driven to B.C. to pick her up. She explained that while in China, McIver adopted a puppy, and even though she was able to fly from China to Canada with the dog, there was a problem flying it to Calgary.“One morning she was going to school and somebody threw out some pups, so she rescued one,” McIver said, adding they could be back in Drumheller by Saturday evening.McIver said her niece like to travel and had been to China before, but only as a tourist.A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said last week that a Canadian woman had received an administrative penalty for illegal employment but did not provide further details.A spokesman with Global Affairs Canada confirmed Friday that a Canadian citizen who was detained in China this month was released and has returned to Canada, but would not release further information due to provisions under the Privacy Act.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Badr Hari Celebrates Birthday With Controversial President of Chechnya

Rabat – Moroccan super heavyweight kickboxer Badr Hari celebrated his 30th birthday last weekend with the controversial president of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov. The former K-1 heavyweight champion shared photos of his birthday on his Instagram account. He also posted photos of himself posing half naked in a golden bathtub while carrying what appears to be an AK47 machine gun, also in gold.Hari commented on the photos by saying that it was “the best birthday” of all time. “Everything in gold, I take all what life brings to me! Only in Mother Russia! Much love to the one true president,” reads the Golden Boy’s official Instagram account which has ever since been removed. Badr Hari is reportedly staying in Chechnya to give kickboxing lessons to President Ramzan Kadyrov and his bodyguards. read more

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UK to Announce it will Join US Electronics Flight Ban

Rabat – An announcement is expected anytime from the UK, saying it will be joining the indefinite US ban of electronics aboard commercial airlines.The US announced a ban on large electronics as part of carry-on luggage aboard commercial flights from a select group of Middle East and African airlines. Devices included in the ban are laptops, tablets, DVD players and E-Readers. These devices and others like them will only be allowed as checked luggage. So far, cell phones have been exempted from the list and will be allowed in the cabin.According to a report from BBC News, the device ban will affect 9 airlines and 10 airports, including Royal Air Maroc, operating from Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca. Other airlines are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. The ban, which has no foreseeable end date, is thought to have been instituted based on what BBC security correspondent, Frank Gardner, calls “evaluated intelligence.” Gardner takes it as a sign that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) receivedsome sort of credible word of an extremist plot targeting commercial airlines.In a statement released by the DHS, officials are clearly concerned about a continued threat to commercial flights from some quarters. “Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling devices in various consumer items.”It should be noted that no US airlines will be affected by the ban. UK restrictions, when announced, may differ from the US ban. BBC home affairs correspondent, Daniel Sandford, has reported that the imminent UK ban is “… obviously part of coordinated action with the US.”As reported by Morocco World News, the US ban is linked to reports that Al-Qaida is close to being capable of hiding explosive devices inside electronics to target commercial flights.The news first emerged from a now deleted tweet by Royal Jordanian: “Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited.” read more

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Amaya Inc revenue soars with PokerStars net loss grows to 267 million

MONTREAL — Amaya Inc. says it had a $26.7-million net loss and $368.6 million of revenue in the fourth quarter, both up substantially from a year earlier, largely because of the Montreal-based company’s acquisition of PokerStars.Amaya’s revenue was nearly 10 times higher than the $37 million recorded a year earlier while its net loss was about four times higher than the $6.8 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2013.Excluding items and discontinued operations that have been sold or are up for sale, Amaya had $85.7 million in adjusted net earnings, up from $11.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.Amaya to sell Cadillac Jack game development unit for $476 million to AGSIntertain Group follows Amaya’s lead in quest to become online bingo kingAmaya Gaming Group stock tumbles after it confirms securities watchdog probing share tradingIts fourth quarter net loss including discontinued operations was 20 cents per diluted share, up from eight cents a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were 42 cents per diluted share, up from 12 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2013.Amaya has made several major deals, including a recent sale, that are shifting its focus to online games.The company announced Monday it plans to sell its Cadillac Jack casino game business for $476 million. Last week, it announced that it will form a new public company called Innova Gaming Group that will own Diamond Game, which designs and develops games for the North American lottery sector.The moves follow Amaya’s US$4.9-billion deal last June to buy the world’s largest online poker company, operator of popular brands PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. read more

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Shaminda Eranga hospitalised in UK with heart ailment

Eranga had been called for a suspect action during the second Test at Chester Le Street. He was to face a bowling test at the Loughborough University on Monday. Fast bowler Shaminda Eranga has been hospitalised in England with a heart ailment, Sri Lanka Cricket sources said, according to the Press Trust of India.Eranga’s hospitalisation takes place just two days ahead of the first ODI in Nottingham. His absence will be a blow to Sri Lanka who missed the services of Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera during the Test series. There was a danger of him being asked to be sidelined in the event of him proving to bend his arm more than the allowed 15 degrees, SLC sources said. read more

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Prison bus shot at 7 including underworld leader killed

A prison bus was shot at in Kalutara today killing seven people including an underworld member.The police said that gunmen who arrived in a vehicle opened fire at the bus. Underworld member Aruna Udayashantha, alias Samayan, was killed in the shooting incident.The police said that two prison officers were also killed in the shooting incident. The police said that five police teams have been deployed to investigate the shooting incident.The police media unit said that according to initial investigations, the gunmen had been wearing clothes similar to a police uniform. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Open Text says firstquarter revenues grew 40 per cent as profits rose

by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 22, 2014 2:43 pm MDT Open Text says first-quarter revenues grew 40 per cent as profits rose AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Open Text Corp. (TSX:OTC) said Wednesday that first-quarter profits more than doubled as its corporate software business was boosted by soaring performance in cloud computing.Canada’s largest software company, which reports in U.S. dollars, said that net income rose to US$64.7 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, compared with $30.6 million or 26 cents per share a year ago.Adjusted earnings were 97 cents per share, an improvement over 69 cents per share in the prior-year period.Total revenue grew 40 per cent to US$453.8 million from $324.5 million.The results mark the strongest first-quarter performance in the company’s history and were reached despite a tougher economy, chief executive Mark Barrenechea said during a conference call with analysts.Cloud services revenue continued its strong performance, growing 260 per cent to $150 million, which matched the rate of increase in the previous quarter.Open Text has been focused on growing its cloud services business as more customers migrate their infrastructure online.The division had a gross margin of 61.3 per cent in the quarter and has proven to be “highly profitable,” Barrenechea said.However, he told investors he was “not satisfied” with results from licence revenues, which grew six per cent compared with a year ago, reaching $58.6 million.He said Open Text would have delivered double-digit growth in the division if it weren’t for pressures facing the global economy.“Geopolitical and economic issues began to grow and accumulate and ultimately had an effect on customer buying behaviour,” Barrenechea said.“We believe it is prudent to assume these issues will continue over the short term and thus, we’ll prioritize more on value while this uncertainty is present.”Customer support revenue was up nine per cent.Open Text, which started as a technology spinoff from the University of Waterloo in 1991 with four employees, now has more than 8,000 workers worldwide.During the quarter, Open Text worked with customers that included the Alberta government’s Ministry of Justice, Talisman Energy (TSX:TLM) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.Shares of the company, which released its results after markets closed, have risen nearly 25 per cent this year. Its shares ended $1.18 lower at $60.96 Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.— Follow @dj_friend on Twitter. read more

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UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie appeals for more aid to help Syrian

“The international response to this crisis falls far short of the vast scale of this human tragedy,” declared Ms. Jolie, who travelled to the Jordan-Syria border to sound the alarm about the staggering number of people forced to their flee their homes – estimated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at some 1.6 million, 540,000 of whom are in Jordan.Along with Jordan, other countries hosting refugees sparked by two years of fighting between the Syrian Government and forces seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad include Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. UNHCR estimates that the number of refugees could reach almost 3.5 million by the end of this year. The conflict has also left more than 93,000 people dead and another 6.8 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Earlier this month, UNHCR updated the amount of funds needed for the Syria Regional Response Plan to almost $3 billion for international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). An additional $830 million is needed for the Governments of Jordan and Lebanon.Making her visit to the region just ahead of World Refugee Day, marked annually on 20 June, Ms. Jolie listened to the stories of men, women and children who had fled Syria just hours before. In a press release, the agency said that the envoy arrived in the country yesterday with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. Mr. Guterres started his visit to the region in Lebanon, where he met with refugees and Government officials. In Jordan, he and Ms. Jolie plan to meet with Government representatives and refugees living in Jordan’s cities, as well as in the sprawling Za’atari refugee camp.“Much more humanitarian aid is needed, and above all, a political settlement to this conflict must be found,” Ms. Jolie said, urging the world to do much more to help the people of Syria. read more

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Williams Broome lead Cincinnati past UNLV 6561

LAS VEGAS — Keith Williams scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Cane Broome scored 14 with four assists to help Cincinnati post a wire-to-wire 65-61 victory over UNLV on Saturday.Williams hit both of his 3-point tries for the Bearcats (7-1), who sank half of their 12 shots from distance. Cincinnati has won seven straight games since losing its opener 64-56 to visiting Ohio State.Sophomore reserve Amauri Hardy hit three 3-pointers and scored a career-high 22 points to pace the Runnin’ Rebels (4-3). Kris Clyburn pitched in with 12 points and nine boards and Bryce Hamilton scored 10. UNLV shot just 35 per cent on its home floor (18 of 51) and made only 7 of 24 attempts from beyond the arc (29 per cent).The Bearcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. Cincinnati led 33-24 at halftime. UNLV closed to within 59-56 on Hardy’s free throw with 1:45 remaining in the game, but Williams and Justin Jenifer both made 1 of 2 free throws and Jenifer sank a jumper with 34 seconds left to help preserve the Bearcats’ win.UNLV, which has lost two straight following a four-game win streak, hits the road for the first time after opening the season with a seven-game homestand.The Associated Press read more

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Wartime sweethearts reunited after grandmother sees Spitfire mechanic on TV decades after

The sweethearts were reunited after Wood, by then a widowed grandmother, switched on her television to watch a documentary about Spitfires, and was amazed to see Roddis appear on screen. When Joe Roddis and Betty Wood said a tearful farewell at Worthing railway station in 1944, they did not expect to meet again. The wartime Spitfire mechanic had fallen in love with the WAAF corporal but they could not be together because Wood had a fiance who was returning from the Middle East. She wrote to the television company, they met – fittingly enough, on a railway platform – and finally had their happy ending, setting up home together when Roddis was 83… But true love waits, in this case for 60 years. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires Trump picks fossil fuel

first_img http://jrnl.ie/3126765 By AFP Thursday 8 Dec 2016, 7:03 AM Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York yesterday. 14,462 Views ‘Putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires’ – Trump picks fossil fuel advocate for top environment job Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has spent much of his political career battling the EPA. Share64 Tweet Email2 PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD Trump has tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.Transition officials made the announcement to US media yesterday, drawing loud criticism from Democrats who warn the fossil fuel ally is a climate change denier.The Republican Pruitt has spent much of his time as Oklahoma’s top law enforcement official battling the very agency he is now being nominated to lead, with his official biography proudly highlighting his role as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda”.Republicans have long argued that President Barack Obama’s administration, through the EPA, has imposed burdensome environmental regulations such as anti-pollution measures on US corporations, many in the name of fighting climate change.Trump campaigned this year on vows to terminate or curtail such regulations.With the maverick businessman now set to assume the office in January, such Republicans, and notably the energy industry, can expect to have an ally running the EPA.The EPA chief also has a strong impact on US actions to combat climate change: the agency both determines what international commitments the country is able to make, and implements the measures.Trump’s transition team has yet to officially announce the nomination.Pruitt (48) has sued the EPA on behalf of Oklahoma utilities, seeking to “roll back our landmark environmental laws” in the words of outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.He has sought to limit federal regulations and restore more regulatory oversight to US states. In a pending lawsuit with several states Pruitt has attempted to halt Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.In an opinion piece in the National Journal, he described the debate over global warming as “far from settled”.Pruitt’s “reluctance to accept the facts or science on climate change couldn’t make him any more out of touch with the American people — and with reality,” Chuck Schumer, who will lead US Senate Democrats beginning in January, said, adding Pruitt will face “many tough questions” in his Senate confirmation hearings.In a more forceful statement, Senator Bernie Sanders called the nomination “sad and dangerous” and said he would oppose it.Mr. Pruitt’s record is not only that of being a climate change denier, but also someone who has worked closely with the fossil fuel industry to make this country more dependent, not less, on fossil fuels.The Sierra Club, a leading environmental organization, equated the nomination to “putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires”.But Republican Senator James Lankford, a fellow Oklahoman, praised Trump’s EPA pick and said he was looking forward to working with Pruitt “to restore a balanced approach to regulations.”- © AFP, 2016Read: Man who wrote ‘hate-filled’ articles about MP found guilty of racially-aggravated harassmentRead: At least 97 dead and hundreds injured in Indonesian earthquakecenter_img Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York yesterday. Image: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik 83 Comments Dec 8th 2016, 7:03 AM Image: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

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Kotsiras meets with Samaras

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Nicholas Kotsiras, Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources met with Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras this week in Athens. Together, the minister and PM discussed a number of issue impacting on Greek Australians. They discussed in length Greece’s economic challenges and it’s future, the closing and restructuring of public broadcaster ERT, and Greeks abroad.Both Mr Samaras and Mr Kotsiras both come from Messenia, in Greece’s Peloponnese region.last_img read more

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Weather Eye Autumnal days not yet driven from years stage

first_imgBe still. Listen to the wind. The sun shines bright. Barren branches grace the sky. The chill is here. The season welcomes you into Nature’s world. Delicate ice crystals flee the rising sun, gathering in the shadows. Be still. Listen to the wind. It talks to you. Now, just nod and smile.Clear skies and sunshine graced our landscape Saturday and will repeat once again today. Brisk east winds, fresh from snow-covered lands, ushered in yet another round of winter’s chill. Autumn sits back in a vexed mood while Winter storms onto the stage.“You are a bit early, are you not?” asks Autumn. Winter ignores Autumn’s soft tone and takes a deep breath, ready to expel another cold gust of wind. “Do you not hear my request of reprieve? We are not ready for your chill. Your time will come but mine must continue for a short while. I am not finished with my task. Your presence has so quickly discolored my season — too early, it seems. Can I not have more days?”Winter steps back and stares at Autumn. “I suppose we can make a compromise. Perhaps we can share the realm of time. Am I all of what it seems? Is there not beauty and solace in my offerings? Perhaps I was a bit hasty to enter the land. I will grant you a reprieve for just a short while. But remember, I will be close by. Finish your cheer. Moisten the air and leave your puddles upon the ground. And then after that, I will return.”Autumn smiled. “Thank you, my dear friend. As you leave, I will reign once again a few days hence. I will bring back the clouds and rain, and offer a south and west wind to temper your chill.”last_img read more

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Muhith spells out massive publicity initiatives

first_imgAbul Maal Abdul Muhith. File PhotoThe Awami League government has taken steps for massive publicity of 10 special initiatives for branding Bangladesh. finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said on Thursday.The initiatives have been selected by prime minister Sheikh Hasina, the finance minister said in his speech of 2018-19 Fiscal national budget in parliament.This is the last budget of the Awami League government during its current tenure as the coutry is set to go to general elections in December this year.“Steps have been taken for massive publicity/promotion on 10 special initiatives selected by the honourable prime minister for branding Bangladesh worldwide,” Muhith said.The government has started the construction of “Information Complex” in every district for increasing the capacity of the press and media, the minister said.Steps have been taken to open nine new press wings in foreign missions abroad, he mentioned.The minister further said they are going to establish communication channel for women and child development, two 10KW FM radio centres in Mymensingh and Gopalganj, and implement construction work of six full-fledged TV centres of Bangladesh Television in order to ensure free flow of information and the right to obtain public information.last_img read more

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WATCH Texas High School History Exam May End Up Being A Civics

first_img Share Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/05112729/civicsvid.mp400:0000:0002:14Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Since 2015, more than a dozen states have required High School social studies curriculum to include material covered by the 100 questions people take to become U.S. citizens. lessons focus more on items like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.But the stakes are higher in Texas, where the History test is one of five that students pass to earn a diploma. The proposal would swap it for one similar to the citizenship test, while not otherwise alerting History curriculums. The bill passed via voice vote on Wednesday, and needs only a final, largely formulaic vote to go to the State Senate.See the 100 questions for the naturalization test last_img read more

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In Texas You Probably Wont Get Welfare Benefits — Even If You

first_imgGrandparents and other “kinship” caregivers might qualify for “child-only” benefits. In those cases, state payments apply only to the children and not to the adult, and the caretaker could  draw assistance for the kids even if their monthly incomes eclipse limits for those applying for family-wide benefits.But the state frequently counts kinship caregivers’ income against them, policy experts and advocates say, leaving some who should qualify for benefits empty handed.That doesn’t happen for kinship families applying for Medicaid, which operates under similar rules, said said Rachel Cooper, a senior policy analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning policy organization. But bureaucratic glitches leave the same family unable to draw TANF benefits.“This has been going on for years,” Cooper said. “We’ve been talking to [the agency] for years.”Mann said agency policy prohibits such denials for kinship caregivers.Unclear is whether the confusion lies solely with state workers or in the design of benefits applications, which critics say could be clearer.“People I’m dealing with at HHSC seem to care about this population, but it’s one of those bureaucracy things — changing a form is an epic event,” said Katherine Barillas, director of child welfare policy at One Voice Texas, a network of private and nonprofit organizations in Houston.Mann, the spokeswoman, said her agency plans to give staffers more help in deciding eligibility by upgrading its processing system. The new system will automatically re-determine eligibility when a kinship caretaker eclipses income limits — a change from the current manual process.As for Smith’s case, Mann said she would need more personal information about the grandmother to know whether the agency properly rejected her application.    In the meantime, Smith is trying to make do. “I just do what I got to do, and I pray,” she said.   Smith is proud of her grandkids. One grandson is now starting football. Her 11th-grader is a talented amateur hairstylist and could become a beautician.Smith is thinking about pursuing full-fledged adoptions to ensure stability for her grandkids.“I don’t want to let them down,” she said. Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneBetty Smith, who is currently taking care of 16 kids of which 12 were given to her by CPS but was still deemed ineligible, speaks at a Grand Parents Support group meeting in Houston on Oct. 19, 2017.A $733 federal disability check doesn’t stretch far each month when you have more than a dozen children to feed and clothe.But don’t tell Betty Smith — the mother of four adopted youngsters (ages 10, 14, 16 and 18) and legal guardian of 12 of her grandchildren (ages 10 months to 16 years old) — that life threw her a raw deal.“I’ve been blessed,” the 60-year-old Houston resident says in a conversation punctuated by thank-yous to Jesus. The cancer diagnosis nine years ago that knocked her out of work? Now in remission, Smith says. Her ex-husband? “He normally tries to help” with the bills. And those dozen grandchildren? “They’re good to see another day” and better off with Smith than they would be in the state’s reeling foster care system, she says.That’s not to say Smith would refuse help from the state of Texas. It’s just that she can’t figure out how to get it and why she’s been rejected.  “I tried three times — went over there three times. Still couldn’t get it,” the weary-eyed grandmother recently explained to a room with a half-dozen other women in similar, if not less extreme circumstances. “They give you 12 of your grandkids but refuse to help you?”With nods, headshakes and “mmm hmmms,” Smith’s fellow Grandparent Support Group members indicated they understood her frustration. They had felt it, too.The grandparents gather every third Thursday in a southwest Houston community center to discuss the challenges of stepping in when their sons and daughters can’t raise their own children. Picking at plates heaped with salad, fruit and fried chicken, several grandparents shared stories of frustration when it came to getting government welfare assistance. Those interactions with bureaucracy left them feeling that state rules for distributing federal aid — including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) — are incredibly harsh, and sometimes applied arbitrarily or incorrectly.Social workers and advocates for poor families suggest that perception is a reality. “We have to fight,” said Deborah Dickerson, president and founder of the six-year-old Grandparent Support Group. The 62-year-old confronted that bureaucracy 12 years ago while raising four grandchildren of her own. The state rejected her TANF application, she said, because she made $7 per month more than the income limit.“My pride wouldn’t let me come back,” Dickerson told the other grandparents in the white-walled room. “I was so humiliated, and just confused. I’m not going to beg.”Over more than two decades, Texas’ rolls of cash assistance recipients under its TANF program have steadily shrunk. Fewer Texans are qualifying for cash assistance, freeing up millions in federal dollars that state lawmakers have shifted to core state programs, like Child Protective Services, or to help cover costs at facilities like mental health state hospitals, that also serve middle- and upper-income Texans. But Texas’ poverty rate has largely remained consistent in that time, and requirements have gotten stricter for the few Texans who do qualify for TANF cash assistance, which totals $188 each month for a single parent or caretaker with two children.What’s more, experts say, the acronym-laden bureaucracy guarding the state’s safety net makes it difficult to access those benefits, even for Texans who fit the requirements. Sometimes officials at the Health and Human Services Commission, the high-turnover agency that administers the TANF program, do not inform qualified applicants about their options, social workers and advocates told The Texas Tribune. Other times, inexperienced state workers don’t seem to know their own rules, they added.“The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and the right hand is taking advantage,” said Nicole Washington, a case manager at Methodist Children’s Home in Houston,which offers foster care and “family preservation” services.Asked about the confusion, Christine Mann, a Health and Human Services Commission spokeswoman, pointed to improvements at the agency. She said it recently reminded staffers about policies for handling TANF applications from non-parent caretakers, and it’s making other changes to its system. That includes updating an eligibility handbook and staff training.As grandparent caretakers, the women in Dickerson’s group have more than one avenue to apply for TANF benefits.A Texas program gives certain grandparents a one-time $1,000 payment for taking care of grandchildren. But assets like cars, retirement savings and Social Security benefits make it harder for some older adults to qualify. The state rejects grandparents who made more than twice the federal poverty level or have more than $1,000 in resources. Sharelast_img read more

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Pedestrians at crosswalks found to follow the Levy walk process

first_img Journal information: Journal of the Royal Society Interface When large groups of people stand on either side of a road waiting for the light to change and then find themselves walking toward one another, they tend to walk in predictable ways. The approach taken is not generally one that typically provides the most direct or the quickest route, but one that takes into account the other people around them. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the behavior of people in such situations by studying them very closely in action.To learn more about how people behave in crosswalk-type situations, the researchers enlisted the assistance of volunteers and asked them to walk in what they describe as mock corridors. As the volunteers did so, the researchers filmed them in action. They noted directional changes, the number of steps taken and step patterns.The researchers found that individuals tended to deviate from their expected straight-ahead path as a means of most efficiently reaching their destination, and in so doing, faced a trade-off between path length and speed of transit. They noted that each individual made adjustments to their path based on the actions of those traveling in the same and opposite directions. They also found that collective action tended to arise, though the individuals involved did not seek to become participants. The collective action typically involved the formation of streams of people walking in uniform ways in both directions. Thus, rather than people continually meeting face to face, walkers would simply follow a person moving in the same direction, preventing the constant need to shift their path. Doing so increased efficiency both for the individuals and for the crowd as a whole. The researchers also found that streams created by walking individuals followed the Lévy walk process.The Lévy walk process is a mathematical description of a type of walk in which the pedestrian takes small steps, but then takes long steps at regular intervals. Mathematician Paul Lévy showed that it leads to a power-law distribution of step lengths. Citation: Pedestrians at crosswalks found to follow the Levy walk process (2019, April 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-pedestrians-crosswalks-levy.html Explore further © 2019 Science X Network A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo has found that large numbers of pedestrians meeting in crosswalks tend to follow the Lévy walk process. In their paper published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the group outlines their work observing crowd movement and what they found.center_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain Escalator etiquette: Should I stand or walk for an efficient ride? This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Hisashi Murakami et al. Lévy walk process in self-organization of pedestrian crowds, Journal of The Royal Society Interface (2019). DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0939last_img read more

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Donation worth flaunting

first_imgIn the 65 years since its inception, National Museum (NM) for the first time, is hosting an exhibition of a treasure-trove donated by a private individual. Close to a 100 works which C L Bharany and his father collected from across India will be displayed for over a month in a specially designed gallery. Sculptures in stone, bronze, and wood, besides paintings (on paper and cloth), manuscripts and textiles across the past two millennia will be showcased at the month-long show, titled A Passionate Eye. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The exhibition, mounted on 6,000 sq ft carpeted space, brings out select items from a donation of close to a thousand objects Bharany made to the museum in 1976 in memory of his father. ‘It thus acknowledges one of many people who have helped gather items of our cultural heritage,’ says Venu V, Director-General of National Museum. ‘It highlights the role private collectors have played in enriching the nation’s public museums.’Giles Tillotson, one of the curators of the exhibition, notes the Bharanys – starting from Radha Krishna, the late father of Chote Lal (now 87) — are among the most significant collectors of Indian art in the 20th century. ‘What is striking is not just the range and quality of the works they assembled; their contributions to the work of scholars and of the country’s museums are immense,’ he says. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe objects at the show are diverse in terms of social context as well, ranging from courtly art and elite items to rural and folk art. ‘Indeed Bharany’s breadth of vision is a notable feature of his collecting: irrespective of where and when works were made, and for whom, his eye alights on anything of beauty,’ says curator Venkateswaran. Through its design, the exhibition seeks to reflect this variety and eclecticism. Objects are grouped sometimes by material such as textile and sometimes by subject matter or themes such as asceticism – irrespective of provenance and date – to highlight the varied and layered links that inspire collecting. Venu says National Museum is keen to share more of the collections with people, and similar exhibitions will allow visitors to show more than what is on permanent display. ‘This is the first special exhibition National Museum is holding to explore this subject,’ he adds.last_img read more

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