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A boost for new ways to learn

first_imgHarvard University Provost Alan Garber announced today the appointment of historian and humanities scholar Peter K. Bol as vice provost for advances in learning. Bol, the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, will oversee the University’s longstanding and expanding efforts to support faculty experimentation in novel pedagogies, research on learning sciences, and the use of technologies and tools to enhance teaching and learning on campus and online.“With the creation of the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) in October 2011 and the launch of edX and HarvardX in May 2012, it has become clear that the University’s work in these areas have reached a level that warrants dedicated academic leadership,” said Garber. “Peter’s stellar teaching, experience with technology, and broad understanding of Harvard’s culture and community make him the ideal choice to ensure that our efforts in advancing learning, both on campus and online, are well-coordinated, strategic, and effective. He will be a staunch ally for the faculty, always listening and learning as we pursue both innovation and excellence in our teaching.”Bol’s appointment comes at a critical and exciting time for Harvard and higher education. As President Drew Faust remarked in her opening-year address, this is an era when “new understandings of human behavior and the brain, along with advances in technology, have opened the door to remarkable new possibilities for teaching and learning, both face-to-face and online.”An expert on the history of China’s cultural elites at the national and local levels from the seventh to the 17th centuries, Bol has long been a pioneer in considering and actualizing such technological and pedagogical experimentation. He has served as the chairman of the Harvard Academic Computing Committee, led the University-wide effort to integrate geospatial analysis in teaching and research, and developed one of the initial HarvardX online courses, SW12x, “China” (a course being offered concurrently at the College and at the Extension School).In his new role, Bol will report directly to the provost and oversee both HarvardX and HILT. Working with faculty and deans from across the University, his broader charge is to guide and develop Harvard’s strategies for advancing pedagogy and enhancing the residential educational experience.“Peter balances the ineffable magic of teaching with the power of technology,” said Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “His innovative teaching enriches our College courses. He has an amazing ability to help students gain a deeper historical perspective by tapping into Harvard’s unique museum and library collections, as well as our new digital resources. Deftly and dynamically, Peter elevates knowledge without ever overwhelming students.”Bol expects to further conversations about innovations in teaching and learning and their implications for Harvard and the world. The constantly changing technical landscape in higher education — from social media to Web-based tools to learning management systems — and the desire of Harvard faculty to enhance the student experience present tremendous opportunities for exploration and experimentation.“Peter’s new role will help us all advance the University’s priority to be a leader in teaching and learning,” said Erin Driver-Linn, associate provost for institutional research and director of HILT. “HILT’s activities have catalyzed innovation and excellence in learning and teaching, and fostered a growing community of pioneering faculty, staff, students, and researchers at Harvard. Peter’s ability to connect across scholarly and organizational boundaries will help us take these activities to another level of integration and dynamic possibilities.”In particular, educational researchers such as Andrew Ho, associate professor of education and research chair of HarvardX, are eager to gain insights into how students learn online and to discover ways to improve student learning in residential settings. The wealth of new data generated from online learning efforts allows faculty to evaluate curricula, grading, and feedback strategies, as well as interventions to improve course completion rates.“I couldn’t be more thrilled with Peter’s appointment,” said Robert Lue, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology, faculty director of HarvardX, and Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. “He will bring things together in a profound way. While scholarly research has long enjoyed shared facilities and tools and close communities of best practice, until now, teaching at Harvard has not formally been supported in such an integrated way. A flexible and networked infrastructure for learning led by Peter will be a powerful means for faculty to put even the wildest ideas to the test.”Through recent, University-wide endeavors such as HILT and HarvardX, Bol plans to work with the Schools to develop policies and best practices and foster closer collaboration with the Harvard Library, the museums, the Division of Continuing Education, and Harvard University Information Technology, as well as teaching and learning hubs such as the Bok Center. He used the University’s extensive collection of Chinese artifacts, for example, to help bring his online and campus course on Chinese history to life.“It is an honor to further the work of Erin Driver-Linn and HILT, Rob Lue and HarvardX, and Andrew Ho’s research group,” said Bol. “The HILT program has shown us how much learning and teaching matter to all of us across the University. HarvardX has given us an opportunity to develop new methods of engaging students at Harvard in learning and sharing knowledge with the world. We look forward to the research that will help us understand the implications these efforts at Harvard and elsewhere hold for the future of education.”last_img read more

LaBrie, 76, substance abuse researcher affiliated with HMS

first_imgRichard Anthony LaBrie, 76, of Watertown, who long held an affiliation with Harvard Medical School (HMS), died Dec. 31, 2014.LaBrie, a former Cambridge resident, served in several capacities at Harvard, including as deputy director of the National Technical Center for Substance Abuse Needs Assessment at HMS, where he was also an instructor in the School’s Department of Psychiatry.A native of Haverhill, Mass., LaBrie graduated from Lowell State teachers college. He taught at John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary School and later earned an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.LaBrie was the founder of LaBrie Associates, a medical research consulting firm, which in 1966 created the Drug Intake Management and Evaluation System, Inc. (DIMES). DIMES was a pioneering desktop program that enabled physicians to see potential adverse effects from prescription drug interactions. LaBrie ended his distinguished career as the associate director for data analysis at the Division on Addiction with the Cambridge Health Alliance.LaBrie is survived by his wife of 48 years, Polly Bitzer LaBrie, also of Watertown and formerly of Cambridge; five daughters, Lori Gayle, Elisa LaBrie, Paula Giorgi, Kathleen LaBrie, and Christina LaBrie; his sister Lucille Boucher; a brother-in-law, John Bitzer, and sister-in-law Katrina Woodhouse; and several grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Marjorie Blair.In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in LaBrie’s name to the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, 101 Station Landing, Medford, MA 02155. A private memorial will be held later this month.last_img read more

Iron Bacteria

first_imgThe smell of foul odors as well as the sight of brown or red, slimy substances or an oily sheen on the surface of streams and wetlands has some people concerned about water quality.As the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Morgan County, Georgia, homeowners I talk to immediately believe a foreign contaminant or hazardous material is causing the problem. The truth is, people are witnessing the result of a naturally occurring – and fairly common – issue related to minerals, chemistry and biology. Microorganisms, known as “iron bacteria” or “iron-eating bacteria,” are commonly found in soil, surface water and shallow groundwater. While most bacteria get their energy from decomposing organic matter, these bacteria derive their energy from oxidizing ferrous iron. Iron has two forms in the environment. Ferrous iron, which is in a reduced state, is mobile in anaerobic, or oxygen-free, environments. Ferric iron, which is the oxidized form, is insoluble in aerobic, or oxygen-rich, environments, forming solid, rust-colored particles. Iron bacteria residue occurs where an area of water becomes exposed to oxygen. The iron bacteria use the oxygen in this zone to convert ferrous iron into ferric iron. As a result, the iron changes into a rusty, red precipitate. This material can also appear as a fluffy or filamentous, organic material as a result of the bacteria growing. Another indicator of the presence of iron bacteria is a foul, swampy odor, similar to the smell of rotten vegetables. An oily sheen may also appear in streams and pond banks. Unlike some bacteria that are concerns in surface water or groundwater, iron bacteria have not been shown to pose any human health risks. But, especially in plumbing and wells, the red, slimy sludge that the bacteria produce can clog pipes and pumps.Although a limited number of iron bacteria can exist in groundwater, they typically exist on top of the ground. If these bacteria are present in a well, it is most likely the result of an introduction from surface water or soil during well drilling, pump installation or any other maintenance or pump work. The bacteria can be introduced by pipes or pumps that were on the bare ground during construction, where iron bacteria live in the soil. Well drillers can also introduce these bacteria by using chlorine-free drilling water, which may contain iron bacteria. After construction, iron bacteria can enter a poorly constructed or maintained well through flooding surface water, septic systems or other sources.No tests are typically conducted to determine if iron bacteria are present in groundwater as visual inspection is usually sufficient for identification. No drinking water standards exist (as with total coliform or E. coli) since there are no human health concerns. Positive test results for total coliform bacteria would indicate that surface water has entered a well and could also indicate the likelihood that the water contains iron bacteria.If iron bacteria are found in a well, control can be extremely difficult, so prevention is key. Control is much easier early on, before the problem becomes severe. In the early stages of bacterial infestation, half-yearly applications of shock chlorination can be effective. If heavily infested, control measures will be expensive and only partially successful. In severe cases, the pumping equipment must be removed and disinfected, the well casing must be scrubbed and shock chlorination needs to be applied to the well. UGA Extension recommends a higher chlorine concentration for shock treatment than for treatment of other bacterial contaminations (500 ppm as compared to 200 ppm). Given the difficulty of disinfecting the well, pumping equipment and well casing, working with a qualified well professional is recommended.Again, seeing iron bacteria in creeks and wetlands can be alarming, but the resulting residue is a natural occurrence. And, it isn’t the result of pollution and causes no risk to human health. However, when these bacteria are introduced into groundwater and wells, water quality and plumbing problems can quickly arise. For assistance with potential water contamination by iron bacteria, contact your local UGA Extension office through extension.uga.edu and a local, certified well professional. More information can be found in the UGA Extension publication “Iron (Manganese) and Sulfur Bacteria in Your Well Water” (Bulletin 1457).last_img read more

More fish test positive for Sr-90, but not due to Vermont Yankee

first_imgNew fish samples taken from the Connecticut River on April 23 and analyzed by Vermont Yankee’s contract laboratory have tested positive for strontium-90 (Sr-90). Concentrations of Sr-90 detected in the inedible portions of these fish are in the range of what would be expected as a result of fallout from nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s, and the Chernobyl release in 1986.Specifically, the laboratory results for Sr-90 were 70 pCi/kg from fish taken near the plant in the Vernon Pool, and 100 pCi/kg from fish taken about 5 miles upstream, near the Route 9 bridge as it crosses the river north of Brattleboro. A New York study found background levels of Sr-90 in fish to be in the range of 120 to 360 pCi/kg (see New York Fish Study below).Vermont Yankee reported these latest test results to the Health Department on June 30. The first samples of fish to be analyzed were taken in February 2010 from the same locations, and these fish also tested positive for Sr-90. In both cases, concentrations are within the expected range. Sr-90 has not been detected in edible parts of the fish. Like calcium, strontium accumulates almost entirely in bone.Because the Sr-90 results are all within what is considered to be the normal “background” range, and because no Sr-90 has been measured above the lower limit of detection in groundwater on site at the plant, the Health Department considers it unlikely that these findings in fish are a result of recent events at Vermont Yankee.Fish caught from the Connecticut River are among the many samples being analyzed for radioactive materials by the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Yankee, and by contract laboratories employed by both.So far, soil samples analyzed by the Health Department’s contract laboratory for hard-to-detect radionuclides are the only samples to be positive for Sr-90, or for any other radioactive materials, that can associated with Vermont Yankee operations. Should other radioactive materials such as cobalt-60 or cesium-137 be detected in groundwater or fish, this would be evidence that the strontium in fish was strontium from Vermont Yankee.To date only tritium, which moves easily through the soil as tritiated water, has been detected in groundwater samples, and only in groundwater on site at Vermont Yankee. No drinking water on site or off site, nor any river water has been found to be contaminated with tritium above the laboratory’s lower limit of detection.New York Fish StudyThe amount of Sr-90 in fish as a result of nuclear weapons testing and Chernobyl is in the range of 120 to 360 pCi/kg, according to a study published by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation in November 2009: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/sr90fnlrprt.pdf(link is external)   (exit VDH)The New York study results were published after radioactive materials leaked from the Indian Point nuclear power station on the lower Hudson River. These levels, presumed to be background, are based on Sr-90 results from more than 150 fish caught about 70 miles north and upstream from the Indian Point plant.Groundwater ExtractionVermont Yankee officials have indicated that another extraction well will be in operation soon. This will be either be a new extraction well, or modification of an existing monitoring well such as GZ-15, which is located in the area of the plume that now has the highest tritium concentration. Vermont Yankee has set a goal of pumping out 300,000 gallons of tritium-contaminated groundwater. The original extraction well has so far pumped out about half that volume, and tritium concentrations in groundwater still being pumped from the original extraction well are now approaching the lower limit of detection.Monitoring Well Test Results – as of July 2, 2010For the first time, groundwater samples from well GZ-20, which is located near the condensate storage tank and northeast of the Advanced Off-Gas (AOG) pipe tunnel and drain line, are showing measurements for tritium below the lower limit of detection (This means that GZ-20, along with other wells no longer located within the plume of contamination from the AOG leak, can now serve to detect any new leaks that may occur. At the height of the AOG leak investigation, as many as 12 groundwater monitoring wells were showing tritium contamination. This week, only seven wells are showing tritium contamination above the level of detection, and only three of them–all located next to the Connecticut River–have increasing tritium concentrations. The other wells that are still contaminated have decreasing tritium concentrations. The results that follow are as reported by Vermont Yankee for tritium. To date, gamma spectroscopy and special analyses for hard to detect radionuclides have not identified any other nuclear power plant related radioactive materials in groundwater, drinking water or river water. Note that well GZ-6 which had not been sampled for about 6 weeks, is back on a weekly sampling schedule.All results are expressed in terms of picocuries per liter (pCi/l), or below the lower level of detection (GZ-1: Source: Vermont Health Department. 7.2.2010last_img read more

‘Voices of Kidnapping’ radio show provides hope for Colombian abduction victims

first_img For 20 years, the radio show “Voices of Kidnapping” has been using the airwaves to send messages of hope to kidnapping victims and their loved ones. The show begins every Saturday at midnight, and lasts for six hours. Throughout Colombia, thousands of relatives and friends of kidnapping victims turn on their radios to listen to the show. Hoping that their loved one is listening, some of the relatives and friends call in to the show to deliver messages of love, faith, and courage. The show is hosted by journalist Herbin Hoyos Medina. Hoyos has been a war correspondent for much of his career. He covered the Persian Gulf War, and conflicts in Bosnia, Sarajevo, Kosovo, Pristina, Belgrade, and Sierra Leon. He is the author of the best-selling book, “The Wars of Terrorism.” The Colombian National Police and the country’s Armed Forces have made great strides in rent years in reducing the numbers of kidnappings by the FARC, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and other organized crime groups. Between 2000 and 2007, authorities recorded more than 14,000 kidnappings in Colombia, according to researchers at the University of La Sabana in Bogotá, from 2000 to 2007. In 1996 the government created the Unified Action Group (GAULA), an elite anti-kidnapping unit. Since 2007, the GUALA has dismantled 47 kidnapping gangs. GAULA’s work has brought positive results. For example, in 2013, 299 kidnappings were reported in Colombia, according to government statistics. The Colombian intelligence service DAS (Department of Security Administration) estimated that from 1991-1999, relatives, friends, and business associates of kidnapping victims paid $1 billion to secure the release of kidnapping victims. The idea of creating a radio show dedicated to helping kidnapping victims and their relatives came to Hoyos when he was kidnapped in 1994 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In 1994, FARC operatives kidnapped Hoyos, and forced him walk through the jungle. He was hungry and thirsty, and developed blisters on his feet. Eventually, Hoyos and his captors reached a FARC campsite. The FARC operatives tied Hoyos to a tree. Another kidnapping victim, a man, was tied to a tree a few meters away. Hoyos spoke to the man, who said he and six others had been in captivity for two years. Hoyos promised the man that if he got out alive, he would do his best to send out “messages Colombian Army soldiers battled the FARC for 13 days. Soldiers killed four FARC operatives and rescued Hoyos on March 29, 1994. The journalist had been in captivity. Hoyos launched the radio program less than two weeks later, on April 10, 1994. “I returned to the station and told the radio listeners that the hostages could sometimes listen to the radio. We began to produce the program with the help of volunteers,” Hoyos said. “The first weekend we received 50 calls and the second weekend we had 500 callers trying to send a message to their loved ones.” The kidnapping by FARC operatives was not the only time Hoyos almost lost in life. In 2000, Hoyos went to Chechnya as part of a humanitarian mission. Chechen paramilitary forces captured Hoyos. For several days, the paramilitaries beat and tortured Hoyos. They threw him in a mass grave and left him for dead. But Hoyos survived, and returned to Colombia to resume his radio program. The dramatic experiences have given Hoyos a greater appreciation for his mission of helping kidnapping victims. “Life has given me many opportunities. Now I live to the fullest. And my passion is helping the victims of the war and kidnapping in Colombia and many parts of the world,” said Mr. Hoyos who is regarded as a fearless hero by many Colombians. Support for the military By Dialogo April 15, 2014 Members of the Colombian Armed Forces were guests on a recent show. They provided words of encouragement for soldiers who had been kidnapped. Enrique Alfonso Celis has called the program every Saturday for the past 17 years. FARC operatives kidnapped his brother-in-law, Héctor Velásquez Carrillo, in a jungle region in the department of Caquetá in 1997. Velásquez was 22 when he was abducted. . “Dear Héctor, I send you a hug from afar. We want everyone in the jungle to receive warmth and love from home,” Celis said. “Winter begins in Colombia and we worry all the kidnapped have shelter and blankets. May all military police and civilian abductees have warmth,” said Mr. Celis. “Héctor had a great sense of humor,” Celis said in an interview. “He was very intelligent and his brother soldiers loved him so much. He had a great talent as a military instructor.” Pais Libre, a non-profit organization dedicated to prevent kidnapping and help victims of kidnapping believes there are about 200 soldiers currently being held captive by illegal groups in Colombia. Security forces fight kidnapping At the beginning of each broadcast, Hoyos asks the kidnappers to allow the hostages to listen to the program. “To the kidnapper gentlemen we ask you to provide a radio to the kidnapped so that they can listen to us,” Hoyos says. “If they are asleep we ask you to wake them up. So that they are motivated and they want to live. So they’ll have a positive attitude and will not be a problem to you.” “This is a pedagogy with the guerrilla so they understand that when a kidnapping victim has no contact with his family wants to die or be killed looking to no longer live in solitude,” Hoyos said. “A depressed or violent kidnapped is a problem for them. If the kidnapped hears their loved ones knows it has to eat in order to be well. “Faith and hope and the will to fight for life is achieved with the energy of loved ones,” said Mr. Hoyos. “With this communication we could achieve that guerrillas give their kidnap victims what we now call ‘kidnapping kit’ consisting of radio, batteries, wires, toothbrush and toothpaste,” Hoyos explained. At times, the loved ones of kidnapers dedicate songs to the person they knew who was abducted. Each week, a segment of the program celebrates the memory of a specific kidnapping victim. victim. The program broadcasts as many as 700 messages in one night. Loved ones of kidnapping victims who listen to the show also send messages of support to each other on social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Radio Caracol and its 116 affiliated stations broadcasts the program in Colombia. The World Radio Network distributes the program to 2,300 radio stations around the world. The program reaches an estimated 5 million listeners each week. The radio program report reports news of kidnappings, disappearances, and human trafficking throughout the world. Excellent article, we hope it reaches many people that are unaware of the reality that exists in Colombia. It is vital that it fell into the hands of INTERNATIONAL ENTITIES OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN INTERNATIONAL LAW, so that the claims of the many victims reached THE CRIMINAL INTERNATIONAL COURT, and with its actions stopped those armed, inhumane terrorist groups. Good work I would have never thought of such a thing to do. I hope some kidnappers would listen. I have always admired this journalist for his courage and tenacity. Kidnapping in all of Latin America has become a horrible epidemic. The kidnappers have to be caught and punished severely in order for this to be stopped. It is affecting the economy, because everyone is afraid to travel to places where we loved to go, now the fear factor of something so evil is preventing travelers to visit. The families of the victims are tortured with worry and unbelievable inability to do anything about their family members that are being kidnapped. White slavery is making millions of dollars at the cost of many innocent lives. Until the government makes a true effort to stop these criminals it will continue to affect all of AMERICA. The journalist who writes these articles is in grave danger and needs to be supported for his courage to tell the truth. Kidnapping is a crime, as several others, that cannot be part of “perdón y olvido” in a peace treaty. Kidnappers, whomever they may be, have to pay in jail for that coward crime. Excellent job. This journalist deserves all support international community can affort, himself has made a great effort denouncing these atrocities but needs to be backed up and protected, to keep him in doing it, for all organization that can voice out what he is doing. Excellent article. very informative, hope it brings some hope to the victims. Like my Abuela would say. La Esperanza muere al ultimo. FARC kidnapping leads to radio show Keeping the memories of kidnapping victims alivelast_img read more

Suspect charged in connection to slashing at Endicott deli

first_imgThe Endicott Police Department says an individual was charged with assault in the second degree. ENDICOTT (WBNG) — A suspect has been charged in connection to a slashing incident that occurred on Sunday, June 14. The police department says the slashing incident occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. on June 14 at the NYC Deli on 2 Washington Ave.center_img Authorities say the individual slashed a victim with a knife, causing injury to their wrist. They say the victim was transported to the hospital.last_img read more

Jokowi refuses to impose lockdown on Jakarta

first_img–Margareth S. Aritonang contributed to this story.Topics : Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said he had formally proposed imposing a territorial quarantine on the capital, prohibiting all activities in the city except for those related to energy, food, health, communications and finance. However, he abided by the central government’s decision not to do so.   “For two weeks, Jakarta has closed schools, workplaces and places of worship and other public centers, but we have limited authority to enforce this. That is why we hoped there would be legal restrictions,” he said.The President has resisted the idea of imposing a national lockdown, saying it would be unsuitable for Indonesian society and has instead called on the public to practice social distancing as a preventive measure to contain the outbreak.A draft government regulation on health quarantine, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, however, does not stipulate sanctions for those failing to abide by the social-restrictions order.National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Doni Monardo said the government would base its regulations on the battle against COVID-19 on three laws: Law No. 24/2007 on Disaster Response, the Health Quarantine Law and Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No.23/1959 on civil emergency (Perppu 23/1959). “The government will certainly not follow [policies that have] been ineffective in other countries. In handling disasters, [a policy] should not create a new problem, or a new disaster,” he said at a press conference, while referring to the possibility of imposing a lockdown.  Doni gave an assurance that while preparing regulations, the government would guarantee the supply of staple commodities in all areas in the country, including medical supplies such as face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant.Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said the police had yet to restrict toll road access despite a drill that was exercised on Sunday. “Jakarta has yet to be quarantined. That is a decision for the central government,” he said.But Yusri said police personnel in the capital were ready if and when the government decided to do so.Constitutional law expert from Jakarta-based Jentera School of Law Bivitri Susanti said the use of the civil emergency status was misguided in the context of handling the COVID-19 outbreak since the situation, as stipulated in Perppu No.23/1959, implied a heavy-handed security approach.“The regulation was issued in 1959 when Indonesia was dealing with armed rebellions. Its approach is very much security-based,” Bivitri told the Post over the phone. “Whereas we are dealing with a virus, not an insurgency.”There are four quarantine measures stipulated in the Health Quarantine Law, namely home quarantine, hospital quarantine, territorial quarantine and large-scale social distancing.The 2018 law defines a territorial quarantine as restrictions on entry into a specific territory deemed to be a hotspot of disease transmission or contamination area, while large-scale social distancing measures relate to the restriction on activities within specified areas to prevent the transmission of disease or contamination.Bivitri said combining the large-scale social distancing, which implies some form of restriction on social activities, with a territorial quarantine, which implies restrictions at points of entry into a specific area, was the best possible way for the country to contain the transmission of the viral disease under existing legal mechanisms.The government could allow for territorial quarantines on a smaller scale, Bivitri said, given that imposing a nationwide territorial quarantine, according to the 2018 law, entailed that the central government would provide all the basic necessities for its citizens during the period.“For me, the failure of the central government, up to this point, to provide instructions [to the regional administrations] has confused the regional administrations. Don’t blame the regional administrations [for enacting various policies] because there has not yet been any directive from [the central government],” said Bivitri. (trn) The President also instructed his aides to craft a clear regulation to act as guidance for regional administrations to implement the large-scale social distancing, although he added that the final decision on quarantine measures rested with the central government.“The policy [to announce] health quarantine, including territorial quarantines, is within the authority of the central government, not regional administrations. I hope that all ministers ensure that the central and regional governments have the same vision and policy,” he said.The Jokowi administration has been under pressure to impose a lockdown on the capital, which has become the region worst-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Indonesia recorded 1,414 cases with 122 deaths as of Monday. Jakarta accounted for 698 cases and 74 deaths.  Provincial and city administrations, as well as communities, have begun to take initiatives to close their borders to prevent the spread of the outbreak to their regions. But with Jokowi’s decision, these measures cannot be described as a “lockdown” or “quarantine”, because only the central government has the power impose such measures. center_img While once again dismissing the option of imposing a lockdown on the capital, the government said on Monday that it would instead impose stricter regulations on social distancing coupled with “civil emergency measures”, a move that critics warn could exacerbate the coronavirus crisis.   After a virtual Cabinet meeting on Monday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo instructed his Cabinet to prepare regulations on mass social distancing based on Law No. 6/2018 on Health Quarantine that restricts movement in particular regions.“I ask that large-scale social restrictions and physical distancing policies be enforced more strictly and more effectively, which is why I said they should be coupled with civil-emergency policies,” Jokowi said in a teleconferenced meeting from Bogor Palace, West Java.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Supports Recommendations of Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Approved by Secretary of Health

first_img April 16, 2018 Human Services,  Medical Marijuana,  Press Release,  Public Health Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today released the following statement applauding the efforts of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and Department of Health to enhance the state’s medical marijuana program and Secretary of Health Levine’s review and approval of its recommendations:“My administration is committed to ensuring patients who need and would benefit from this medicine have access to it. The final report of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board continues to put patients first and will improve the program to give greater access to patients by breaking down financial and administrative barriers.“Allowing dry leaf for vaporization will shorten the time it takes to get medication to dispensaries, expand options for the growing number of patients, and hopefully make the program less cost-prohibitive for some patients.“I thank the Department of Health, advisory board members, and Dr. Levine for their careful review of potential program improvements and their continued efforts to enhance and expand this important program that is already serving more than 10,000 patients with another 20,000 registered.”The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, created by Act 16 of 2016, is made up of medical professionals, regulators, and patient advocates, and is charged with making recommendations to the Health Secretary regarding the Medical Marijuana Program.Regulations to enact the recommendations will be available in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on May 12.Free program registration, along with more information, is available at www.medicalmarijuana.pa.gov. Governor Wolf Supports Recommendations of Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Approved by Secretary of Healthcenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

What you should know before buying a Strata property

first_imgMore from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020Damien Keyes is a prominent Townsville real estate agent and REIQ zone chair for North Queensland.If you are considering purchasing an apartment or unit run by a body corporate then you should carefully review the records of the body corporate. This will give you important insight into financial matters, past minutes of body corporate meetings and correspondence relating to the body corporate. This enables you to properly understand what you are buying into and current issues impacting the body corporate. You should also consider the financial responsibilities which are associated with buying a unit or apartment. Make sure you review the balance of the sinking and administrative funds and the ongoing contributions you will be required to make if you become the owner of the property.An administrative fund is for the everyday expenses of the body corporate such as garden and grounds maintenance. Meanwhile, the sinking fund contains moneys for the capital expenses of the body corporate. For example, internal and external painting of the building. It is important these funds contain adequate moneys to cover the necessary expenses when they fall due. Where the funds are not sufficient, the body corporate (made up of the owners) will be generally required to make the contributions for any shortfall.When you buy a lot in a community titles scheme you are automatically a member of the body corporate. This gives you voting rights when issues come up that require a vote. If you’re thinking about buying a Strata property, there are a few things to consider.INCREASINGLY, Queenslanders are embracing apartment living and with 17 per cent of us now living in an apartment — the second highest apartment-dwelling state, behind NSW at 22 per cent — more of us are learning about body corporate rules and what it means for us if we buy an apartment.Indeed, there are more than 43,000 community titles schemes with more than 400,000 individual lots managed by a body corporate.But what is a body corporate and what does it do?In very basic terms it’s the organisation that is in charge of running the apartment building and handling all of the common area issues. There must be a minimum of two lots on the titles scheme, so that could apply to a duplex, a residential unit block, a townhouse complex, a high-rise accommodation building, a shopping complex or a business park.last_img read more

Lithuanian pension funds generate positive returns despite market turmoil

first_imgLithuania’s voluntary second-pillar pension funds managed to weather market volatility, although end-of-June returns were below those recorded three months earlier.According to the Bank of Lithuania (BoL), the sector’s regulator, year-to-date nominal returns averaged 4.7% compared with 7.55% three months earlier.The five high-risk funds, which can invest up to 100% in equities, once again generated the highest return, of 9.8%.The nine medium-risk funds (with equity limits of 50-70%) returned 5.37%, followed by the four low-risk funds, investing 25-30% in equity, at 2.67%, while the eight bond funds generated 0.49%. Audrius Šilgalis, senior specialist at the Financial Services and Markets Analysis Division of BoL’s Supervision Service, wrote: “After an impressive start in the first quarter of this year, the second quarter was not as successful for pension funds.“Turmoil in European and global financial markets led to a decline in the unit value of most second-pillar pension funds in the second quarter.“However, due to a very successful beginning of the year, the return of only one conservative investment pension fund in the first half of this year has been negative.” Membership since the start of the year grew by 2.5% to 1.19m, and assets by 9.4% to €2.04bn.Investment returns contributed €77.9m to this year’s asset increase.A further €15m came from additional contributions from members choosing to top up their 2% contribution with a further 1% of their wages, and €17.9m from the match-funded state contribution for these members.In the smaller third pillar, returns averaged 6.06%, with the five high-risk funds generating 8.79%.Returns from the medium-risk funds averaged 4.88%, with two of the four generating negative returns, while the three low-risk funds averaged 1.25%.Membership of the sector grew by 11.2% since the start of the year to 44,395 and assets by 12.6% to €54m.last_img read more