The Limassol children’s carnival parade and party scheduled for Sunday were postponed because of the continuous downpours, the Limassol municipality announced.The carnival party, scheduled for 11.30am, as well as the party that would follow at 12.30pm at the Old Port, were called off due to the heavy rainfall on Sunday morning that was expected to continue throughout the day.A new date for the children’s carnival parade will will be announced at a later stage, the municipality said.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
A team of British legal experts is on the island to take stock of an ongoing programme for reform in the justice system.Led by Lord John Dyson, the team met on Monday with the institutions committee of the supreme court.During their stay in Cyprus, the foreign experts will also be meeting with the Courts Reform Steering Committee and the bar association.In what is an EU-funded project, the team has been tasked with reviewing the courts’ civil procedure rules.The foreign experts had come to Cyprus in May 2018, at which time they presented to the supreme court their preliminary recommendations for improving civil procedure rules.A month later the supreme court’s institutions committee published a progress report on its website.The final report of the British experts is scheduled to be unveiled in May this year.The EU Justice Scoreboard 2017 showed that while perceived judicial independence is relatively high in Cyprus, achieving greater efficiency in the system remained “a serious challenge”.It noted that the length of court proceedings and the level of backlogs in litigious civil and commercial cases are among the highest in the EU.As regards the quality of the Cypriot justice system, the EU Justice Scoreboard also showed that deficiencies regarding the availability and use of information and communication technologies, that a low proportion of judgements are accessible online, that alternative dispute resolution methods are rarely utilised, and that standards on timing for case management or other performance measures are lacking.Significant delays of up to four years in courts of first instance, and a further delay of up to five years on appeals, led to a situation where the state was required by the European Court of Human Rights to pay damages to citizens impacted by those delays. You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
The cabinet on Monday approved a request by the ENI-KOGAS consortium to extend its exploration activities by two more years.The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting at the presidential retreat in Troodos.The exploration licencee was renewed for offshore blocks 2, 3 and 9.The consortium’s concession was due to expire in February 2016; it has now been extended to February 2018.Speaking to reporters later, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said the Italian-South Korean joint venture has asked for more time in order to “re-assess the energy potential, which is all the more necessary now after the developments in Egypt’s Exclusive Economic Zone and the discovery of the Zohr gas reservoir.”Responding to questions, Lakkotrypis confirmed that, under the extension, ENI-KOGAS would be carrying out more drilling, but could not say where or when.According to a preliminary plan shown to the government a few months ago, he said the consortium would place their next drill around mid-2017.“But this I say with every reservation,” said Lakkotrypis, noting that it depends on the consortium’s re-evaluation of its geologic model.He said that currently a large ENI team is working on the geologic model for blocks 2, 3 and 9.“I hope and I expect that within January we shall have the first results from this re-evaluation.”Previously, following two unsuccessful exploration drills in Cyprus’ Block 9, ENI had been reportedly considering abandoning its operations here.The minister may have been referring to a new model employed by ENI, which tracks carbonate reservoirs rather than sand reservoirs.It is this model which ENI used when in the summer it discovered the Zohr prospect in Egyptian waters – the largest gas find ever made in the Mediterranean.Zohr lies just 6km from the boundaries of Cyprus’ Block 11, licensed to French oil major Total, and about 90km from the Aphrodite reservoir in Block 12.Earlier this month, the government also approved the extension of energy giant Total’s exploration licence in Block 11 for two years.Meanwhile AKEL MEP Neoclis Sylikiotis raised questions over the “ease” with which the government renewed the licence.In a statement, Sylikiotis said that the government reserves the right to renew such contracts, but only provided that the concession holders fulfil their obligations.In this case, he added, the licence is being renewed without the companies fulfilling the technical part of their contract – evidently alluding to the number of drills ENI-KOGAS were supposed to carry out.“In addition, the government is promoting this renewal without briefing the political parties or parliament and without adequate documentation or transparency.”This, the MEP noted, “once again confirms that the government’s actions are piecemeal and are not based on a comprehensive energy strategy.”In an interview with daily Alithia, Lakkotrypis said Total has found indications of potential drilling targets.In the same interview, the minister revealed that a mooted synergy for joint development of the Aphrodite and Zohr reservoirs was now all but ruled out.The reason, he explained, is that ENI and the Egyptian government want to pipe the Zohr gas unprocessed, whereas the development plan for Aphrodite provides for transporting processed gas. You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoModernizeIf Your Home Has Old Roofing, Read ThisModernizeUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
12Jan Two local communities awarded DEQ water management grants State Rep. Gary Howell today announced that the village of North Branch and Elba Township have each been awarded grants from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to improve wastewater and storm water management.Howell, of North Branch, said that the DEQ provides funds to local communities to assist in the planning, design and testing of storm water and wastewater facilities. Ordinarily, a local 10 percent match is required for the first $1 million in project costs.“Among the many obligations local governments have to families in their communities is ensuring that they have clean and safe water,” Howell said. “These grants will enable the village of North Branch and Elba Township to be better stewards of the environment and maintain the public health and well-being of people in their communities.”The $425,500 grant to North Branch will be used to develop both a wastewater and a storm water asset management plan. The DEQ has identified North Branch as a community that will not be required to provide the 10 percent local match.Elba Township will use the funding to develop a wastewater asset management plan. Grant activities will focus on the Potters Lake Sanitary Drainage District. Development of the asset management plan will allow the township to move from reactive – to predictive – maintenance and minimize the risk of failure of critical components.Collectively, the statewide grant awards total $64 million for 80 communities.##### Categories: Howell News,News
14Aug Rep. Bellino named Ducks Unlimited ‘Legislator of the Year’ Categories: Bellino News State Rep. Joe Bellino, center, and Rep. Gary Howell, second from left, accept the Legislator of the Year award Saturday from Michigan Ducks Unlimited administrators.State Rep. Joe Bellino of Monroe was recently recognized by Ducks Unlimited as the group’s Legislator of the Year.Bellino, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, was honored alongside committee chairman Rep. Gary Howell last week for their work to establish a voluntary wetland restoration program in Michigan.“Right now, community organizations such as Ducks Unlimited that are dedicated to restoring wetlands in Michigan are treated no differently than people with plans to develop property and disrupt wetlands,” Bellino said. “Our plan would remove the obstacles and establish a policy that encourages – rather than prohibits – good stewardship of Michigan’s natural resources.”The plan laid out in House Bills 5854 and 5855 establishes a voluntary wetland restoration permit process that allows the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to better consider the effects of a proposed project as it relates to the health of the entire ecosystem.“It has been a pleasure to work with Ducks Unlimited to develop a smart solution that will help restore more wetlands and benefit all of our fish and wildlife population,” Bellino said. “I’m honored to receive this award.”###
16May Rep. Reilly introduces plan to crack down on ‘swatting’ Categories: Reilly News State Rep. John Reilly this week introduced a plan to crack down on “swatting” – a practice where people make false reports alleging serious crimes in an attempt to get a SWAT team deployed to a specific location.Reilly, of Oakland Township, said swatting is an increasingly common crime that must be taken seriously. Incidents of swatting in Michigan have occurred in Grand Blanc, Lowell, Chesterfield, Ionia, Bath Township, and one family in Commerce Township has been swatted more than once.“Swatting has three groups of victims: the innocent people having police sent to their homes expecting an active shooter, the police departments whose resources are needlessly diverted, and the public who must live with the risks,” Reilly said. “Some instances of swatting have even resulted in the deaths of innocent citizens.”In 2017, a terrible tragedy occurred in Kansas after a swatting call was made to police. The caller claimed a man had shot and killed his father, was holding his mother and younger brother hostage, and was planning to set the house on fire. An innocent man was killed in his home by the police believing they were responding to an active shooter.Reilly’s plan would increase the penalty for swatting to equal that of attempted murder. Additionally, the penalty for swatting that leads to death would increase to that of first-degree murder under the plan.House Bills 4598-99 have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares Maljalen / Shutterstock.comAugust 2, 2014; Sacramento BeeOur new environment of accountability means that people are more readily able to sense whether they are a part of a larger group of people offended by an institution’s behavior. And in this case, a lawyer for the group in question says that that kind of offense can be whipped up.The James family of Wilton, California like their dog, Bolt, but he is far from the trained service dog they paid $14,000 to acquire from Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions to help their autistic son, Sammy. “Bolt is a very good boy,” said Emily James. “He will always have a home with us. But he’s not a service dog by any means.”And apparently clients from across the country say that they have had similar or worse experiences with the three-year-old nonprofit, which provides dogs for people with autism and developmental disabilities. They claim they have been defrauded and want refunds. Four of the families have filed a lawsuit against the corporation, which has now filed for bankruptcy, and there are 20 other families that may join in, either because they said they got dogs that were not well trained or because they gave the group money but never received a dog. (In fact, the James family claimed its dog before the training period was done, once word had spread online that the group had filed for bankruptcy and was failing to deliver dogs to those who had paid for them.)The suit alleges that the group defrauded the families in that it claimed to have trained the dogs at a cost of $25,000 apiece to perform tasks like helping to keep children with their parents, locating children if they wandered away, and “applying pressure” to children when it helps to calm them. Families were asked to pay about half of the cost of training; the dogs were to be carefully matched to the child and support was to have been provided post-placement.The group’s bankruptcy lawyer says that the suit is the result of a campaign that was started by “one disgruntled person” and snowballed.The suit asks for an injunction preventing Pawsitive from misrepresentations to the public, but the families are also are calling for state regulatory oversight of the service dog industry “so that families with developmentally disabled children, who already are stressed, don’t fall prey to unscrupulous or incompetent ‘service dog mills’ such as what we’ve seen here.”—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share6TweetShare5Email11 Shares“Red Cross Red Velvet cupcake – Sprinkles Cupcakes in Dallas TX January 2010.” Credit: David Berkowitz.March 27, 2017; IRIN NewsAt the World Humanitarian Summit in May of 2016, 14 governments and 20 organizations signed a covenant they called the Grand Bargain, a shared commitment to better serve people in need. Among the tenets of the agreement, the signees—including several United Nations agencies—agreed to work more with local organizations in the communities they serve, passing along a bigger share—at least 25 percent—of the funding they are allocating to local aid groups.The [25 percent] target is a response to the recognition that a small handful of large UN agencies and international NGOs receive the lion’s share of all international humanitarian funding, leaving local agencies feeling misused, unfairly exposed to risk, and unable to mature institutionally.Advocates say, however, that little progress has been made on this point.According to the document, “The Grand Bargain is about harnessing the vast experience and expertise from across the humanitarian ecosystem and bringing it into a realignment which is better prepared for tackling the emergency needs of more than 125 million people.”But a year later, the signatories of the Grand Bargain are still struggling with three key points: the definition of “local” when it comes to organizations, what should be counted in the 25 percent of aid pledged directly to local groups, and how direct “directly” needs to be. For instance, do pooled funds given to local agencies count? What about subcontractors?Anne Street, head of humanitarian policy at CAFOD, the official Catholic international development agency for England and Wales, objects to the massaging of numbers and the quibbling over classification “because the objective was not to show you’re already doing it, but to do things differently in order to enable more effective and efficient humanitarian response, which is more locally led.”Often, large funding agencies, particularly international ones like the World Health Organization or United Nations agencies, do not do a great job of tracking local contractors and building networks of local partners. This often means that the people doing the work on the ground aren’t the ones deciding where the resources go. For instance, according to the Local to Global initiative,While Syrian humanitarian actors were responsible for delivering 75% of the humanitarian assistance in 2014, they received only 0.3% of the direct and 9.3% of the indirect cash funding available for the overall Syria response. Despite their crucial role, Syrian NGOs struggled to get their most basic costs covered in the sub-contracting and partnership agreements they have with international agencies.The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides humanitarian support all over the world, but in many countries, they work with few or no local partners. In Ethiopia, only one of the top 10 regional partners is an NGO based in the region; in Kenya, which is home to the largest African-based health development nonprofit, the only local partner in the top 10 is the Kenyan government. In Pakistan, about half a percent of aid goes to local agencies, while in Malaysia only about a tenth of a percent does. The 2015 Agency Financial Report details expenditures but gives no indication of how much went to organizations in the countries where work was being done.A 2007 study from Harvard Business School noted that “the strengths of the NGO model also produce corresponding weaknesses in agenda-setting, decision-making, and resource allocation,” which are exactly the areas in which local voices can provide insight. The researchers also noted that “NGOs have achieved increasing political influence: for example, the share of World Bank projects with some degree of “civil society” involvement (encompassing NGO participation) increased from 6 percent in the late 1980s to over 70 percent in 2006.” If billions of dollars are being spent building up society, shouldn’t the people who live in those societies be involved?NPQ readers may remember that similar issues have been surfacing for some time in disaster relief. Senator Chuck Grassley’s recent investigation of the Red Cross raised questions about the group’s strategy of subcontracting in Haiti through local groups while taking multiple cuts off the top. In that investigation, Grassley objected to what he called obfuscation in accounting that blockaded a real clear view of the disaster spending.It is up to the decision-makers at NGOs and the UN to find a way to reframe their work to create not just the appearance of local partnerships but actual relationships that help local communities build capacity for self-directed humanitarian aid.—Erin RubinShare6TweetShare5Email11 Shares
Following its satellite TV launch, Orange Romania will roll out services on multiple devices to complement this offering in the next couple of weeks, according to Mirek Smyk, managing director, MSCG, who consulted on the project. The availability of content on multiple screens is seen as a key differentiator of the service, said Smyk. Orange is primarily building a TV service in Romania based on appeal to viewers who want HD services and are currently frustrated by the lack of content available in the market, he told attendees at Informa’s Digital TV CEE event in Krakow yesterday.The Orange TV service includes 40 HD channels – a record for the Romanian market, according to Smyk – including 26 that were not previously available in the country. In total, 16 of the 100 channels on the platform are new to the Romanian market, said Smyk.Orange is offering a single subscription for multiscreen, anytime anywhere, usage and Existing Orange customers will be offered a special price. The offering is made up of three packages, including Local HD, which gives 36 Romanian channels, six of which are HD.A second package, World HD, includes 65 channels with 19 HD services, including international services, while the third package, Universe HD, includes 95 channels with 37 HD services. There is also a further adult package for an additional fee.Local HD costs about €5, or €4 to Orange customers with one SIM card. World HD costs €8 or €6.40 to Orange customers. Universe HD costs €12. Further discounts are available to Orange customers with mulitiple SIM cards.The Orange service will also be differentiated by the quality of the set-top box and the strength of satellite reception via the Astra aposition at 31.5 degrees, said Smyk.Orange Romania is the largest Romanian mobile operator and is a mobile-only player without a fixed line infrastructure. Smyk said that the operator wanted to tap into the fact that Romanians are increasingly looking for HD content and are increasingly viewing content on multiple screens thanks to the country’s advanced broadband infrastructure, especially in urban areas.Other factors that make the Romanian market attractive include the fact that it is moving towards digital switchover after a long delay. The satellite market is continuing to grow, while mobile video consumpition is increasing, and 4G networks are giving mobile users access to fast data connections.“You need to deliver high quality service to the main screen and only after can you make additional revenue from other devices,” said Smyk.While pay TV penetration in Romania is over 85%, one key differentiator in the market is that Romanians consume five and a half hours of TV a day compared with a global average of three hours and 17 minutes. Each household has 1.64 TV sets. Eighty per cent of new TV sales are for HD sets.Consumers are connecting these TV sets to existing cable and satellite services but are not getting HD quality from these service providers, said Smyk. About 15% of households now have HD sets as their main screen, and 18% of Romanians watch online TV services regularly, compared with a EU average of 6%, Smyk told attendees.
Netflix’s Marco PoloNetflix’s big-budget action adventure series Marco Polo has been handed a second run less than a month after season one debuted.The show, which follows famous explorer Marco Polo’s early days in the court of Yuan dynasty Emperor Kublai Khan in the 13th century, launched on December 12 as the streaming service’s latest original.Meanwhile, Netflix has set premiere dates for four new originals.Tina Fey’s Universal Television comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which Netflix picked up after NBC dumped it, will launch on March 6; while family drama Bloodline, which is from Sony Pictures Television, premieres on March 20.Marvel’s Daredevil, from Marvel Television, then follows on April 10, with Skydance Productions’ irreverent comedy Grace and Frankie rounding off the launches on May 8.On the kids content front Netflix launches episodes of The Adventures of Puss in Boots on January 16 in selected territories, as TBI reported this week, followed by a global debut for Ever After High: Spring Unsprung on February 6 and the second season of Mako Mermaids to launch on North America, Latin America, UK and Ireland, the Nordics and Benelux on February 13.