Some New York Lawmakers Push To Make Police Records Public

first_imgCutout Photo: Elvert Barnes / CC BY-SA 2.0ALBANY – New York State lawmakers are drafting legislation that would make police disciplinary records more accessible to the public.Currently, section 50-A of New York State Law prevents local officials from releasing records of police officers, firefighters and correction officers without written consent from the employee, or a court order.As protesters continue to mourn the killing of George Floyd, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he would support a bill that would either repeal or reform the section.Currently, Assemblymember Pat Fahy (D) is co-sponsoring legislation for repeal. Earlier in the week, the Cuomo said he didn’t believe that 50-A blocked local governments from releasing disciplinary records, but a spokesperson for the New York Civil Liberties Union said it’s time for a repeal.“In December of 2018, the NYS Court of Appeals held that 50-A is a categorical bar to the disclosure of officer disciplinary records. So even if a police department wants to release records to the public they’re prohibited from doing so until the state legislature takes action,” said NYCLU Lead Policy Counsel Michael Sisitzky.However, there’s been opposition to changes.Over the weekend, NYC Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said in a statement, “… we saw violent criminals targeting New York City police officers with bricks, brass knuckles and Molotov cocktails, for no reason other than the uniform we wear. It is inconceivable that Governor Cuomo would want to arm those extremists with confidential police personnel records, so that they bring their weapons to our front doors.”The legislature is expected to be back in session next week. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Soap Aloe

first_imgSoap aloe is one of those plants that stirs up a passion in gardeners and plant aficionados across the country. Known as Aloe maculate, you would swear it is from Mexico at first glance, but it’s actually from South Africa, more than 9,000 miles away.I fell in love with it when I traveled to the California Pack Trials and drove from San Diego to San Francisco. Then it seemed that 70 to 80 percent of the homes in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas had it in their landscapes. It is one of those plants that just seems to be at home in hot, arid, frost-free climates.When I arrived in Savannah, Georgia, I was wonderfully surprised to see it flourishing in the sweltering heat and humidity. I was even more delighted to see that a bone-chilling 18 degrees Fahrenheit had no lingering effect. It seems that good drainage and sunlight are the two most necessary elements for it to thrive in the home landscape.An internet search will suggest it belongs from zone 9 to 11 with an occasional suggestion of zone 8. All are correct. Here in Savannah, we are in zone 8b. Don’t let those zones deter you from growing this incredible plant. It looks most exotic in containers, which allow for them to be moved for protection during the winter.There’s a lot to like about soap aloe. The leaves are speckled and offer wonderful, contrasting texture in the landscape. To be honest, the flowers simply mesmerize me. When it’s mature, the foliage reaches around 18 inches tall and about 18 to 24 inches wide. The plant produces spikes of flowers that range from 24 to 36 inches tall and are red-orange.This year, these plants mystified me. We have several here at the garden. I was shooting my first-bloom photos in mid-April. We had blooms in May and June. Now our soap aloe plants growing at the garden entrance are blooming in conjunction with the yellow-flowered esperanza.The eye-catching, tall flower stalks attract ruby-throated hummingbirds and other species that take their time feasting on each and every flower. This is a memorable moment in the garden.We have the soap aloe in our Mediterranean Garden, where it looks at home, and at our entrance. It also excels in modern and rustic gardens, and it looks at home with tropical plants or partnered with cactus, agave and rocks in xeriscapes.As the name suggests, the sap from the leaves will foam up to become a soap substitute, but try this sparingly as too much can cause irritation. In my opinion, a plant that produces a flower this gorgeous and brings in hummingbirds is a winner.Once you get your soap aloe, you’ll notice the “pups,” new plants that form, can be used elsewhere or shared with friends and family. Give me a call, I may need some.Follow me on Twitter @CGBGgardenguru. Learn more about the UGA Coastal Botanical Garden at the Historic Bamboo Farm at read more

Italians in China caught between two epidemics

first_imgTopics : Trip cancelled Marco, a Beijing resident working in the theatre industry, has not left China since the start of the outbreak and cancelled a planned trip home to Italy in March, his first in over two years.He said he did not want to “create panic” arriving from China in his Tuscan hometown of only 16,000 people with his wife, who is Chinese.”People are not always so good at rationalizing things,” he told AFP, adding that he did not want his family to endure any negative reaction from other residents of his hometown.Before Italy confirmed its first cases of the virus, Chinese communities in the country said they faced racist behavior.Chinese tourists were spat at in Venice, a family in Turin was accused of carrying the disease, and mothers in Milan used social media to call for Italian children to be kept away from Chinese classmates.”I am worried more for my family actually,” Marco said, “and about the poor sense of community that my country is having lately.” “They are freaking out, because it’s something they’re not used to,” Platto said of people in her home city of Brescia in the northern region of Lombardy, where most of Italy’s infections have been detected. “What I’m saying to everybody is don’t panic, because panic is worse than a virus.” Surveillance Platto’s Chinese neighbors in Wuhan were touched by her decision to stay in the city, where the virus was first detected in December and has been cut off from the world with no air transport since January 23.They brought her a “big bag of spaghetti” and a note that said “Sara, be strong” after learning that she was from Italy.But as the number of infections in China falls while overseas outbreaks continue to grow, Chinese authorities have stepped up surveillance of foreigners for fear of imported cases.Beijing on Wednesday ordered all international arrivals to the city to go into 14-day quarantine, while airline passengers from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan are being handled separately from other travellers.In one central Beijing district, neighborhood volunteers and police repeatedly demanded information from Italians specifically, including making unannounced house calls, even for people who had not left China recently.Francesco Abbonizio, a youth football coach in the capital, spent the first two weeks of his time on a recent trip to Italy avoiding social contact — and now has to quarantine himself again after returning to China on Wednesday.”Someone in my family was very scared of the virus and refused to meet me even after the two weeks,” he said.”Right now all of them are locked down in their house.”center_img She has spent more than 50 days cooped up at home, taking turns with her son to use one computer for online classes and work.Italians enduring China’s health crisis and draconian measures that have left them effectively housebound for weeks now find themselves watching similar scenes unfold at home.Italy — where the virus has killed more than 1,000 people in just over two weeks, making it the hardest-hit country outside China where over 3,100 have died — has imposed a lockdown unprecedented in Western Europe.All stores except for pharmacies and food shops have been closed and residents are to stay at home except to travel to work, shop for provisions, or seek medical help. Sara Platto’s mother in Italy called her “crazy” for staying in Wuhan even as the virus-hit city was quarantined in January. Now she’s offering advice to people back home on how to cope.Platto, who lives with her 12-year-old son at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, rejected four offers of evacuation from the Italian government after refusing to abandon her two cats and deciding it was safe enough to stay in China.”It’s not Ebola,” Platto, who works at Jiangnan University, told AFP.last_img read more

Why Kamala Harris may prove an elusive target for Trump

first_imgTopics : Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate provides a brand-new target for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign that has struggled to find an effective line of attack against his Democratic rival.But going after Harris comes with its own risks and challenges.Within minutes of Biden’s announcement on Tuesday, Trump had called Harris “nasty,” “horrible” and “disrespectful,” while his campaign painted her as an extremist who would yank the moderate Biden to the left. “If he wants to use misogynistic tropes against Kamala Harris, I think that is deeply challenging for him,” said Neera Tanden, a top aide to Clinton during her presidential bid. “He has no room for error with suburban women.”According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, Biden had an advantage of 10 percentage points among women and a 6-point lead among those who live in the suburbs. Overall, Biden leads Trump by 11 points, less than three months to go before the Nov. 3 vote.Sarah Longwell, a Republican pollster, said Trump’s advisers would likely want the president, known for fiery and bombastic rhetoric against his political rivals, to be more cautious about attacking Harris unless they had reason to believe suburban women distrusted or disliked her.”But there’s no evidence yet that they do dislike or distrust her,” Longwell said. “In fact, my guess is that she’ll play pretty well with suburban women.”Looking for an edgeTrump’s standing with the public has faded badly amid the coronavirus pandemic, the economic downturn and nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice.Scrambling for something to alter the trajectory of the race, Trump and his Republican allies quickly launched a fusillade of attacks at Harris moments after the pick was announced.The campaign hosted a conference call with reporters to assail her early stances during her own White House bid, when she supported progressive policy proposals such as the Green New Deal, a sweeping clean energy plan, and Medicare for All, a single-payer, government sponsored healthcare plan. Biden has not backed either proposal.Harris shifted several of her policy stances in the course of the campaign in a bid to move toward the center. But the Trump campaign made clear it will attempt to paint her as an unrepentant leftist, while suggesting that the 77-year-old Biden could soon be out of office and replaced by her.At the same time, the campaign said it will also seek to highlight criticism of Harris from the African-American community over her criminal justice record, hoping to drive a wedge between her and the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency.Privately, however, Trump’s aides acknowledged Harris would be a formidable adversary. One senior White House official said that the Harris pick means Vice President Mike Pence would have a tough debate in October.Trump, in his White House news conference, acknowledged Harris’ aggressive questioning of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his 2018 confirmation hearing.”She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing the way she treated now-Justice Kavanaugh, and I won’t forget that soon,” Trump said.Harris and Biden’s immediate challenge, in fact, will be to stamp out any brush fires among progressives who had urged Biden to choose a more overtly progressive candidate, such Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democratic activists say.During her presidential bid, Harris was fiercely criticized by progressives who viewed her prosecutorial record as overly supportive of law enforcement. She has since become a vocal supporter of progressive criminal-justice reforms.Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, an advocacy group that has worked with Harris on police reform efforts, said the nominee will have to engage her progressive critics to win them over.“These are questions she has to answer head-on,” Robinson said. “She has to answer questions about her evolution. Talk about the challenges that she has and talk about where she has moved.”center_img But there is little evidence at the moment that suggests that the public views Harris, a former California prosecutor and attorney general with strong ties to the Democratic establishment, as a radical.In fact, she’s more liked by Republicans than Biden, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Aug. 10-11, just before she was announced as Biden’s pick. The poll showed 21% of registered Republican voters have a favorable impression of Harris, compared with 13% who had a similarly favorable view of Biden.More concerning for Trump: Attacks that could appear sexist or racist against the first Black woman on a major party ticket in US history could complicate his campaign’s effort to shore up his standing among suburban women, a critical voting bloc he must win back in order to get re-elected, strategists on both sides say.Already, leading Democratic women warned against a replay of Trump’s match-up in 2016 with then Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who was subject to gender-based critiques as the first female presidential candidate. Trump has also called Clinton “nasty” and accused her of playing the “woman’s card.”last_img read more

UK roundup: Brunel Pensions Partnership, FCA, MiFID II, Zurich

first_imgThe Brunel Pensions Partnership (BPP) has added its voice to those calling for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to rethink its stance on MiFID II.The FCA, in its most recent consultation on implementing the wide-ranging European directive, proposed classifying local authorities as retail investors, providing them with greater investment protections but restricting the asset classes in which they can invest.This risks undermining efforts to overhaul local government pension schemes, which are run by local authority staff.The BPP, a collaboration of 10 LGPS funds based in the south and south-west of England, argued that not being classified as professional clients was “likely to be significantly negative”. In a statement on its website, it said: “Costs would likely increase because of the higher regulatory burden. Particularly at risk would be most alternative investments: as illiquid or complex investments, they are not considered suitable for retail clients.“In particular, investment in infrastructure could be curtailed significantly, undermining the government’s stated desire to see LGPS funds have an increased ambition to invest in infrastructure.”Other pools, including the Local Pensions Partnership and the London CIV, have also called for the FCA to classify LGPS funds as professional investors, as has the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.In other news, Zurich Assurance has completed a £300m (€341m) longevity swap transaction with an unnamed UK pension fund.The deal was a “named life” longevity hedge, meaning it covered 2,300 named pensioners and their dependants.It is the fifth such deal for sub-£1bn schemes to be completed in the past 12 months, according to advisers Mercer.Suthan Rajagopalan, lead transaction adviser and head of longevity reinsurance at Mercer, said: “These deals pave the way to competitive longevity reinsurance pricing for small and medium-sized schemes, which are more exposed to so-called ‘concentration risk’, and where there is potential for greater variability in members’ life expectancy due to diverse pension amounts.”He added that the longevity swap was “a significant step towards a “DIY pensioner buy-in’”, something Mercer claimed had never been achieved before for a deal of this size.Elsewhere, more than half of FTSE 100 companies could pay down their pension shortfalls within two years by foregoing dividend payments, according to JLT Employee Benefits.The consultancy’s research found that just six companies in the index were paying more into their pension schemes than to their shareholders, but 53 could erase deficits within 24 months.In contrast, eight companies had pension liabilities worth more than their market capitalisation.Charles Cowling, director at the firm, said: “The good-news aspect of all this is that it is clear that, for the very large majority of FTSE 100 companies, their pension deficits can be easily managed within the normal ongoing management of their capital structure – even for some of those with very large pension deficits.”In the 12 months to the end of June, FTSE 100 companies contributed £6.3bn in deficit recovery payments, up from £6.1bn in the previous 12-month period.Darren Redmayne, head of Lincoln Pensions, pointed out that there was no regulatory requirement to pay down deficits as soon as possible.He said: “Withholding dividends where there is a healthy sponsor covenant that can afford to pay a deficit over time could worsen shareholder value, make UK [companies] less investible and negatively impact the businesses supporting the pension schemes. “So somewhat counter-intuitively, such an approach could damage both the shareholder value and the security of the member benefits you are trying to improve.”Lastly, almost one-third of pension schemes in the UK have been hit by fraud, according to a survey by audit and tax consultants RSM.However, more than half of respondents said fraud was “not a significant threat”, which RSM said showed a “worrying level of complacency among trustees”.One-quarter did not realise fraud prevention was a responsibility of pension scheme trustees.Hoaxes included ‘pensioner existence fraud’ – dependants continuing to receive benefits despite the pensioner having died – and pensions liberation fraud.“Worryingly, schemes and administrators have experienced an increase in suspicious member transfer requests since the introduction of new pensions freedoms introduced in April 2015,” RSM said.last_img read more

Canaipa Passage Dredging Project Wrapped Up

first_imgThe Canaipa Passage dredging project has been completed in time for the busy summer season, reports the Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA).GCWA invested $500,000 to maintain safe navigational access to the important link between Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast.They also added that the dredging will provide a depth of -2.5m LAT (Lowest Astronomical Tide) in the channel. This project was finished ahead of schedule and under budget due to favorable weather conditions and GCWA’s streamlined project delivery processes.GCWA Acting CEO Jessica Bourner said that the Authority has committed over $15 million to dredging projects across the next four years to make sure navigation channels and destinations remain safe and accessible for all waterways users.“As a waterways city, these works are vital to ensure we’re sustainably managing Gold Coast waterways for everyone who uses them,” said Ms Bourner.“Our Program ensures that the waterways are well planned and maintained so that those who use and enjoy them can do so safely and responsibly. It’s also about making sure that they remain an important asset for current and future residents, visitors and businesses to enjoy.”“Over the coming years, more dredging will be carried out in the Coomera River, at Jacobs Well, Jumpinpin, Main Channel, Nerang River, North Channel, South Channel, South Wavebreak Island and West Crab Island.” said Ms Bourner.The Canaipa Passage project focused on maintaining safe navigable depths and replenishing the foreshore at Slipping Sands and is an important part of GCWA’s Waterways Management Program.last_img read more

Jury finds Garvin George guilty of murdering Julien Junior Joseph

first_imgLegal scales. Image via: sturgislawyers.comA nine member jury has found Garvin George of Calibishie guilty of the death of Julien Junior Joseph of Vieille Case.At Wednesday’s High Court sitting the Director of Public Prosecutions Gene Pestaina in addressing the members of the jury said that this is an indictment in which we are alleging that on the 5th of February 2010 the accused murdered Julien Junior Joseph at Calibishie and that they are the judges of that fact. Pestaina warned the jury that ‘if there is any doubt in their mind that goes to the foundation of the state’s case, the benefit must go to the accused as in our law he is innocent until we convince you that he is guilty’.According to Pestaina the deceased did not have time to concoct or plan anything to say which is evident in one of the witnesses’ statement. He told the witness ‘Andy and G-Boy beat me up, go and get a transport for me, I’m feeling cold’ and later said while he was being transported to the Marigot Hospital ‘I going now’ and never spoke again. Pestaina told the court that the accused cannot be believed when he said the deceased came up to his face when he admitted that he was the one who confronted him. He added that the accused was the one who confronted the deceased and later claimed that he was ‘afraid and defended himself’ but it was the deceased who ran away from him.The prosecution also discredited the accused reliance on self defense by explaining that ‘self defense does not run wild; if a man hits you and you take a sledge hammer and knock him out, this cannot be self defense, it is excessive force. When you look at the facts, there is no self defense as the accused did not have any scratches on his body nor proof of provocation by the deceased’. He further admonished them to ‘be bold enough to make the correct decision, don’t let sympathy get the better part of you. Don’t say he is a young man, you should return a proper verdict of guilty’.Counsel for the defense, Wayne Norde began by thanking the members of the jury for performing their civic duty and went on to explain that the defense has ‘absolutely nothing to prove’ the accused can stay in the prisoner’s box and say absolutely nothing. In every criminal trial the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Garvin killed Julien. He said that it is a sad and tragic event that a young man has lost his life but sympathy plays absolutely no role. In his address to the jury, Norde described the prosecution’s case as disjointed, unclear and lacking evidence which is evident by the number of brilliant questions they asked in search of clarity.He also pointed out that ‘the prosecution’s witnesses support our version of self defense’. He stated further ‘there are so many unanswered questions and the prosecution wants you to draw inferences as if you are an artist, this is no cat and mouse story, this is a serious murder case. The prosecution must present strong evidence, proper witnesses and not ask you to draw inferences’.Norde added that ‘I see many doubts, evidence missing and unanswered questions’ pleading with the jury to be fair to Garvin as his life and freedom rests in their hands. Any doubts you have resolve it in favor of Garvin. Only if you are sure beyond a reasonable doubt you should find him guilty. Return a verdict of not guilty based on the evidence that was presented to you’.Justice Bernie Stephenson-Brooks, in summing up the evidence and directing the jury said that ‘you are to decide what facts you believe and which you reject, what evidence to believe, who to believe and what part of the evidence you believe. Use common sense to determine who is speaking the truth or who is not speaking the truth; evaluate each witness for credibility, accuracy and reliability.Justice Stephenson-Brooks told the jury that ‘a person who acts reasonably in their defense is not guilty of murder. But you must find out what the accused intended, whether he intended to kill Julien Junior Joseph. The prosecution must prove that he intended to kill the deceased. Look at all existing facts and circumstances and find whether the accused intended to commit an unlawful act or cause harm to the deceased’.The jury retired to the jury room at 12:55pm and returned at 3:05pm with an eight to one guilty verdict. Justice Stephenson-Brooks instructed the jury that the verdict for murder must be unanimous and sent them back to deliberate. They returned at 3:15pm with a unanimous guilty verdict.Counsels for the State and the Defense were directed to file brief written submissions regarding sentencing by the 2nd of December 2011. Garvin George is expected to return to court on December 5th, 2011 for sentencing.Dominica Vibes News LocalNews Jury finds Garvin George guilty of murdering Julien Junior Joseph by: – November 23, 2011 Sharing is caring! 42 Views   no discussions Tweetcenter_img Share Share Sharelast_img read more

19-year-old threatens to shoot up Santaluces Community High School

first_imgOfficials have arrested a former Santaluces Community high school student after he reportedly threatened to “shoot up” the school.The threat was first reported to authorities on February 3rd after 19-year-old Richard Dye posted the threat on his Instagram page stating:“I’m deadass boutta shoot up Santaluces Community High School.”Teachers also told authorities that this was not the first threat from Dye and that the former student made similar threats toward teachers in the past.Authorities then went to Dye’s home where they made contact with his mother. The mother, however, informed them that she reported her son missing on Jan. 30th.She also told them that her son has been “off of his medication” and that “he had not been himself. ”The Palm Beach Sheriffs Office were able to local Dye by pinging his cellphone and found that he had been hiding out in Orlando.He has since been arrested and was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail on charges of written threats to kill or do bodily injury. He is being held without bond.last_img read more

Tennis News Daniil Medvedev Shows Middle Finger Towards The Crowd In US Open 2019, Vows To ‘Behave Better’

first_imgDaniil Medvedev defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the previous round.Daniil Medvedev is seeded fifth in the US Open 2019.The incident was not seen by chair umpire Damien Dumusois. highlights For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.center_img New York: Daniil Medvedev said he was working to do “better next time” after his middle-finger gesture angered the crowd during his third round match at the US Open. The Russian fifth seed received a code violation for angrily snatching the towel from a ballperson, threw his racquet and then covertly raised his middle finger next to his head as he began to walk. The incident was not seen by chair umpire Damien Dumusois but was caught on television and shown on video replay inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.  “It was tough. I was in the heat of the moment and started losing the momentum. I don’t really remember but I paid for it the whole match after,” said Medvedev, who was roundly booed by supporters after a fired-up post-match interview. “I want all of you to know, when you sleep tonight, I won because of you. The energy you gave. The more you do this, the more I win,” he said in the wake of a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 win over Feliciano Lopez.  Medvedev said he apologized to the Spaniard and his coach after the match, insisting his meltdown was in no way related to his opponent.  Asked whether the New York crowd would forgive him after qualifying for the last 16, where he will meet German qualifier Dominik Koepfer, Medvedev replied he wasn’t sure.  “What I can say is that I’m working on myself and hopefully I will be better next time,” he said. last_img read more

French prosecutors investigating 2018, 2022 World Cup awards

first_img(REUTERS)-French prosecutors are investigating the decision by global soccer body FIFA to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, a source close to the investigation said on Thursday.The national financial prosecutor’s office (PNF), which specialises in investigating economic crimes, began a preliminary investigation last year.It is looking into possible offences which include private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling, the source said.The source added that former FIFA president Sepp Blatter was interviewed as a witness by Swiss prosecutors in the presence of two French magistrates in Switzerland on April 20.The 81-year-old Blatter, who has been banned for six years by FIFA’s own ethics committee for ethics violations, was not immediately available to comment.FIFA has been in turmoil since several dozen sports officials, including a number of senior FIFA officials, were indicted in the United States on corruption-related charges in 2015.In the same year, Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings against individuals on suspicion of mismanagement and money laundering related to the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.Hosting rights for both tournaments were awarded at the same vote by the FIFA executive committee in Zurich in December 2010.Two members of the committee, Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu, were suspended one month before the vote after they allegedly offered to sell their votes to Sunday Times reporters posing as lobbyists for an American consortium.As a result, only 22 of the 24 executive committee members voted.Russia and Qatar have denied any wrongdoing and FIFA’s own investigation, completed in 2014, said it had found no grounds to strip either country of the right to host the event.last_img read more