PPP to launch full elections manifesto in January

first_imgThe People’s Progressive Party will be formally launching its manifesto for the next year’s March 2 General and Regional Elections sometime in January. This was revealed by General Secretary of the PPP, Bharrat Jagdeo. However, he told reporters at his weekly press conference on Thursday that before the manifesto launch, the Party will be doing a “soft launch” to share some of its policies and measures. “We are gonna put out a summary version earlier… I believe sometime next week you will have this. I haven’t decided on the format yet because it’s not the [full] technical version. It will give you a synopsis of our policies in almost every area of government but it’s not the technical version as yet which will be launched in January,” Jagdeo stated. The General Secretary noted that the “soft launch” is likely to be done at a press conference, which will feature the Party’s Presidential Candidate, Dr Irfaan Ali, along with a few other key members. Then, at the technical launch in January, there will be presentations explaining PPP’s plans for the various sectors in great detail. The PPP has already been giving people an insight into its vision and policies for the future of the country and its people since August. Jagdeo had previously explained that the manifesto is being rolled out in phases. The first version of the manifesto will be in the form of posters circulating, containing some of the policies the Party plans to institute immediately upon taking office. The second phase will be a more popular version of the manifesto, while the final version will be a detailed technical document. Already, the PPP has published on its social media accounts several of these posters, outlining the removal of Value-Added Tax (VAT) on key areas such as electricity, water and healthcare. The VAT on farming, mining and forestry equipment will also be reversed, it promises. Also high on the Party’s agenda is the reversal and/or reduction of the over 200 tax measures imposed by the coalition administration, such as on building materials, data and exports. Another area much emphasis will be placed on is the education sector, which will see 20,000 online scholarships. This will be in addition to plans to offer free university education within its five-year term in office as well as to write outstanding UG loans. Other areas the PPP plans to address when it gets into office include reducing the age limit on the importation of vehicles, which will take more than $1 million off the current cost of vehicles and, thus, be more affordable for Guyanese. Added to this is the restoration of the Joint Services bonus as well as support for small businesses via grants and interest-free loans to promote entrepreneurship. The PPP will also roll out an extensive plan on how Guyanese will benefit from the riches expected from the impending oil and gas sector, as well as outline plans for the security sector with clearly defined strategies to tackle the various forms of crimes. PPP to launch full elections manifesto in January PPP Presidential Candidate, Dr Irfaan Ali Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeolast_img read more

Immigrant groups file suit over protective-visa law

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which issues visas, declined to comment on the suit. “We’re looking at taking our time to ensure that the final regulations we put out are concise and clear and complete,” said USCIS spokesman Chris Bentley. Regulations for a similar visa created under the same law, which allows victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States, were issued in 2002. Schey said there’s no excuse for the government to take this long on the U-visa. Gail Pendleton, a Boston-based immigration attorney and co- chairwoman of National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, said she believes the delay is emblematic of the nation’s ambivalence over immigration. “Undocumented immigrants are being blamed for all the ills of our society, so there is a lot of pressure on the agency on the enforcement side,” she said, “but you also have a Congress that understands the overarching need to help victims of crimes and help the criminal system to get at the perpetrators.” Lawyers for undocumented immigrants who’ve been victims of violent crimes filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Department of Homeland Security for failing to issue protective visas Congress created five years ago. The 2000 law approved visas for victims of violent crimes who cooperate with law enforcement investigations or prosecution of crimes. The visas allowed them to remain in the United States and apply for permanent residency after three years. But regulations detailing how to apply for the U-visa were never published, and no visas have ever been issued. “Congress enacted the law with the dual goal of making communities safer … and as a humane gesture to those immigrants who cooperate with law enforcement agents,” said Peter Schey of the L.A.-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, one of three groups that filed the suit here. “How can the government expect immigrants to comply with the law when it is not complying with its own laws?” The suit was filed on behalf of nine immigrants from California, Texas and Arizona, including several children. Attorneys in the case are seeking class-action status. People who apply for the U-Visa can obtain “deferred action” status, which offers some protection and allows them to work. But they cannot leave the country, and it’s not clear whether time under the deferred status will count toward permanent residency. As of Tuesday, 3,011 people had requested the deferred action status, including family members of victims, and 2,132 requests were granted, Bentley said. Still, a significant number of immigrants who are already in deportation proceedings are not receiving the deferred action, Pendleton said. And USCIS has done little to publicize the visas, meaning many immigrants don’t know they can apply. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

The Top 10 Humboldt County sports stories of the 2016 calendar year

first_imgTime certainly does fly when you’re having fun. Or, in this case, jumping from one sport to the next with seemingly a snap of your fingers.No matter if it was final months of winter, spring, summer or fall — as the leaves changed on trees, the Humboldt County sports scene saw another season filled with thrills and titles.Both local college and high sports delivered the goods in 2016, as Humboldt teams represented the North Coast quite well once again.Here, in no particular order, are the top …last_img

Enceladus Ocean Means Dating Trouble, Not Life

first_img(Visited 55 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 News media are jumping over an announcement that Saturn’s moon Enceladus may have a large body of water under its icy crust, but what does it mean?Cassini scientists, publishing in Science Magazine, announced indirect evidence (via Doppler measurements of gravity anomalies during flybys) that Saturn’s little geysering moon Enceladus probably has a sub-surface ocean of liquid.  The data cannot resolve whether the ocean is regional or global, but is probably regional: “Although the gravity data cannot rule out a global ocean, a regional sea is consistent with the gravity, topography, and high local heat fluxes and does not suffer from the thermal problems that a global ocean encounters,” they said.  That’s because keeping water liquid requires a suitable heat source – the more water, the more heat required:The endogenic (nonsolar) power emitted from the south-polar region, derived from Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer data, is 15.8 GW [gigawatts], with a 20% formal uncertainty. This is equivalent to an average surface heat flux of ~20 mW/m2 and is an order of magnitude larger than conventional estimates of tidal heating if Enceladus’ current orbital eccentricity represents a so-called “equilibrium” resonant state with other satellites. It indicates time-variability in its internal properties, in a resonant state with other nearby moons, or in the rate of heat transport. In any or all of these cases, a plausible internal structure is that of a liquid water ocean overlain by a (thermally conductive) crust.It indicates those options, however, only if Enceladus is 4.5 billion years old, as assumed for solar system bodies.  The BBC News coverage mentions that the ocean could only last for tens of millions of years, “maybe 100 million years,” in steady state, unless some unknown cycles, like episodes of higher eccentricity, intervene.Science journalist Richard A. Kerr, commenting on the paper in the same issue of Science, did not pay much attention to the time problem of maintaining heat for billions of years, other than to speculate, “The presence of liquid water remains unexplained, but Saturn’s powerful gravity probably played a role, by tidally kneading the moon and heating its interior.”  Yet the scientists themselves had stated in their paper that the measured heat flux is “an order of magnitude larger than conventional estimates of tidal heating”.Rather than deal with that, Kerr focused on a different subject: “Suspicions that Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus harbors an internal ocean—one that could host life—have hardened into near certainty with exquisitely precise observations from the Cassini spacecraft,” he began.  His ending mentioned life twice: “Such strong support for a sea beneath the spouting plumes of Enceladus should encourage scientists, mostly Cassini team members, who want NASA to send a new mission to Enceladus to explore for life,” he stated, also speaking of the possibility of “life-laden waters” under Enceladus.The popular media, predictably, focused on life:“The findings … will boost the view that the 500km-wide moon would be one of the best places beyond Earth to go look for the existence of microbial life.”  (BBC News)“Saturn Moon Harbors Ocean, Raising Possibility of Life.” (National Geographic)“New gravity readings suggest it hosts a subsurface sea the size of Lake Superior at its south pole – and that this liquid water is in direct contact with the moon’s core, which is rich in nutrients. Both findings boost hopes that the sea hosts life.” (New Scientist)“Will Ocean Discovery On Enceladus Spur Life-Hunting Missions to Icy Moons of Saturn, Jupiter?” (Space.com – Mike Wall uses word “life” six times)Astrobiology Magazine, naturally, mentioned it, since astro-“biology” is their business: “Even if the reservoir is relatively young on the scale of geologic time, there’s still a chance for life,” the article said (oddly pointing out the possibility that the ocean is young; a young ocean would seem to require believing in life on the fast track).  But once the idea of rapid life enters the imagination, why stop there?  “This unexpected finding of an ocean on a small moon so far from the Sun raises a distinct possibility: that there are more oceans on more moons, each with a chance for life.”  A possible pool of liquid water suddenly became evidence for life all over the solar system!The original paper is more reserved in its claims, as befits scientific modesty: “The interpretation of Enceladus gravity presents a greater difficulty and uncertainty than usual, given the strikingly different appearances of the northern and southern hemisphere and the apparent confinement of endogenic activity to the high southern latitudes,” it cautions.  “Still, the deviation of J2/C22 from 10/3 (the value for a laterally homogeneous body) is modest (of order 5%) and the non–degree-2 gravity is small (of order 2% relative to J2), suggesting that there is some prospect of useful inferences.”Science Daily, echoing a press release from Caltech, did not mention life at all.  To its credit, this report was also very modest in its claims, mentioning that a sub-surface ocean is only a reasonable possibility:The suspicion is that the fractures—in some way that is not yet fully understood—connect down to a part of the moon that is being tidally heated by the globe’s repeated flexing as it traces its eccentric orbit. “Presumably the tidal heating is also replenishing the ocean,” Stevenson says, “so it is possible that some of that water is making its way up through the tiger stripes.”JPL’s press release, however, mentioned the L-word life three times (Cassini is an international mission managed by JPL).  Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker likely fueled the speculations of the popular media: “Material from Enceladus’ south polar jets contains salty water and organic molecules, the basic chemical ingredients for life,” she said. “Their discovery expanded our view of the ‘habitable zone’ within our solar system and in planetary systems of other stars.”  Data: gravitational anomalies on a tiny moon.  Conclusion: life abundant in the universe.It would be hard to find a more clear example of hydrobioscopy in action.  Give evolutionists an inch and they take a light year.  They have even less time to play with, using “chemical ingredients” they cannot see, employing processes that are not well understood, but then they turn around and extrapolate their imaginary microbes evolving around the whole universe!  Spilker, of all people, should know better.  She claims to be a Christian but repeats the water-equals-life mantra in a way that would make atheists applaud.  Doesn’t she know that naturalistic origin-of-life theories are in crisis?  (Survey our Origin of Life category for abundant evidence.)But why stop with microbial life?  Since speculation is OK in science now, let’s dream of underwater cities under Enceladus, inhabited by mermaids and mermen.  They can’t see Earth, but they speculate that if such a place exists, it can’t possibly be an abode for intelligent life.  Perhaps they’re right.last_img read more

Mato Grosso Cotton Planting Up

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorCUIABA, Brazil (DTN) — While corn remains the major safrinha crop for Brazilian farmers, more cotton acreage is being planted in Mato Grosso this spring, as well.Over the past two years, cotton planting has increased by nearly one-third for the safrinha (second crop) in Mato Grosso. The Institute for Mato Grosso Economics of Agriculture (IMEA) forecasts Mato Grosso farmers will plant 1.1 million hectares (2.71 million acres) of cotton this spring. The Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (Abrapa) forecast cotton acreage to grow to 1.4 million hectares (3.46 million acres). Mato Grosso accounts for about 88% of Brazil’s cotton production.China is the top market for Brazilian cotton, and a 25% tariff on U.S. cotton creates expectation that continued trade disruption between the U.S. and China will be to Brazil’s advantage.Still, corn acreage in Mato Grosso is projected to remain steady at 4.7 million hectares (11.6 million acres). Harvest is projected at 28.6 million metric tons, or just under 1.13 billion bushels, according to IMEA.Farmers in other states rely more heavily on corn than cotton for the safrinha crop. Overall, Brazil is expected to plant 12.6 million hectares (31.1 million acres) of corn.Farms owned by Brazil’s largest agribusiness, Amaggi Group, are shifting acreage more heavily to cotton from corn this spring. A manager at an Amaggi farm outside Campo Novo do Parecis told a group of American farmers late last week that the farm was planting 98,800 acres into cotton and just 12,350 acres into corn. That’s basically a reversal from last year when the farm planted 74,100 acres into corn.Amaggi has seven farms in Mato Grosso with 300,000 planted hectares (741,000 acres) in the state, as well as 90,000 hectares (222,300 acres) in mandatory reserve.The manager said all three Amaggi farms in the south-central region of Mato Grosso were moving more heavily into cotton. Amaggi also is increasing its investments in cotton ginning and storage, as well.One possible reason for some farmers planting more cotton this year in Mato Grosso is a new state tax of 0.50 reals on each bag of corn sold, which equates to 2.2 bushels. Farmers are paid 19 reals per bag, ($2.33 a bushel right now based on the exchange rate of $1 equaling 3.7 reals).As Brazilian farmers boost their cotton acreage, the National Cotton Council in Memphis released some economic analysis for 2019 over the weekend. NCC projects U.S. farmers will plant 14.5 million acres of cotton, up 2.9% from a year ago, according to Jody Campiche, NCC’s vice president of economics and policy analysis.World cotton production is estimated to increase by 7 million bales in 2019 to 125.5 million bales, which would be the highest level since the 2011 crop. Each bale amounts to 480 pounds.NCC notes that, “Prior to the implementation of tariffs, the United States was in a prime position to capitalize on the increase in Chinese cotton exports.” Now, Brazil, Australia and other countries have gained market share. Vietnam was the top market in 2018 for U.S. cotton, followed by China and Mexico.China has lowered its reserves and is expected to increase imports to 11.1 million bales, NCC forecasts. The U.S. also is expected to increase cotton exports to 17.4 million bales in 2019, which would be the second only to 2005 if realized.Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(AG/BAS)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Health Ministry to Establish Mental Health/Suicide Helpline

first_imgA mental health/suicide helpline is to be established by the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Choose Life International (CLI), to provide support to persons in need of assistance.The helpline, 1-888-NEW-LIFE (1-888-639-5433), will be toll-free, providing 24-hour assistance to persons with mental health issues seeking help.Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who provided details at a CLI World Suicide Prevention Day Seminar on Friday (September 14) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, said the helpline will ensure that persons have ready access to a support team, particularly persons suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.Dr. Tufton said the theme of the seminar, ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’, underscores the importance of partnerships in addressing this issue.“Mental illness is more prevalent than we think. When you take a broad perspective, as we have to do as policymakers, researchers and practitioners who are directly involved in the field, you recognise how big a challenge it is, and it is a challenge that no one entity can confront. It requires a holistic approach, understanding and sensitisation in dealing with it,” the Minister argued.“The Ministry is committed to playing its role, but partnerships are going to become the order of the day. We are going to strengthen these partnerships and make them work, because that is the best approach to finding solutions,” he added.Dr. Tufton said the Ministry is engaged in several other initiatives to address the issue of suicide.The Ministry operates Child Guidance clinics, which offer child and adolescent mental health services, and is looking to conduct assessments to facilitate greater access to these services.There are 20,000 patients on register in the adult mental health clinics and 3,500 in the child guidance clinics.Another strategy is the collaboration between the Ministries of Health and Education to train school officials in identifying signs of mental illness among adolescents.“Often we see some deviant behaviour among our younger-age cohort and the typical interpretation is that this person is wayward. We need to go beyond that and see it as symptoms of greater challenges, so we intend to have collaboration and training between the two Ministries,” he said.Dr. Tufton said there are plans to work with other stakeholders to establish more Teen Hubs, such as the one situated in the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre, which offer homework help, research facilities, counselling and clinical services as well as mental health support. The centre is manned by Certified Counsellors and Peer Educators.“They will offer psychological services on a weekly basis and possibly provide a basis for referrals for young people who need advice, including advice related to mental illness,” he noted.Other suicide-prevention strategies of the Ministry are the development of a protocol for the management of adolescent suicidal behaviour in the Accident and Emergency Department, with attendant training in 2015 of 240 healthcare workers; and the development of teaching aids in the form of PowerPoint presentations on suicide prevention in adolescents for clinicians, school personnel and students.These initiatives came out of the findings of a research conducted in conjunction with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2013.According to the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey (JHLS) III (2016/17), depression is one of the main predisposition factors to suicide. The survey suggests that the national estimate of the prevalence of depression was 14.3 per cent, with men at 9.9 per cent and women, 18.5 per cent.The prevalence of depression was highest among urban women, 19.2 per cent; and lowest among rural men, 7.3 per cent. Jamaicans over 75 years old had the highest prevalence of depression at 20.8 per cent.last_img read more