September 1, 2005 Letters

first_img Letters JNC Process I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read the August 1 News article about the Judicial Independence Committee’s “exploration” of Florida’s JNC process.Several commentators in the article expressed concerns about the governor’s preference for six, rather than three, candidates for judicial vacancies, and suggested that a larger pool of candidates makes it less likely that the “best of the best” will be selected for judgeships.In truth, the governor’s changes to the JNC have simply reduced the power of a subset of Bar elites, who all too often concluded that the “best of the best” included only those whose views and backgrounds mirrored their own.The numbers speak for themselves. Since Gov. Bush took office and demanded changes, a record number of women and minorities have made it through the JNC process and joined the ranks of Florida’s judges. In addition, there has been a marked increase in the diversity of viewpoints represented on the bench. The governor should be praised for his leadership, not pilloried for politicizing the process. Reginald J. Brown Washington, D.C. Shakespeare Revisited “I hate attorneys” is an often heard refrain. There are those who always wish to share their kind words about attorneys with a Shakespearean quote: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” We are referred to as gunslingers or mouthpieces. What happened to counselors or advisors? These issues of perception and civility have troubled me over the years.We are supposed to be able to communicate a point of view. But what is the point of view we are to communicate? How society views what is right and what is wrong ultimately determines what attorneys will reflect back in their practice of law. It is the attitudes prevalent in a society which impact our legal system.Although we as professionals have our shortcomings and are not perfect, so it is the same with the society in which we practice. It is not perfect. We are influenced by society’s values. Can we create for society a better format for communication than currently exists? Absolutely. We have the ability to maintain civility with our colleagues. We have the opportunity to mediate and help people settle their differences in a more civil manner. We have the ability and knowledge to help change laws which are unfair, ineffective, or overly burdensome. We have the ability to advise people that a matter is not appropriate for litigation and that we will not handle the matter. We have the ability when on the bench to throw out a frivolous case. We have the ability to express our points of view and leave the door open for meaningful discussion without resorting to inappropriate behavior or coercive tactics.I know this is possible because I see the changes in attitude when parties so desire. Even in hostile litigation, counsel can rise above the bickering and communicate on a professional level. They can extend courtesies to opposing counsel so that the process can run smoothly and channels of communication can remain open. Attorneys do not have to be reflective of society’s norms. We can set the tone of how people can communicate on a civil basis, although they may have strong differences of opinion.It is sad that society forgets the intent of Shakespeare’s suggestion to kill all of the lawyers. No lawyers meant no one to protect against antisocial behavior. The statement was actually a compliment and acknowledgment of the important role lawyers play in maintaining law and order in a society.I am an attorney, and I am proud of being one who counsels and mediates. Michael Garlick Boca Raton The Name Game The “It is important to practice under your real name” UPL Update column in the August 15 News misstates the law and illustrates misplaced priorities.The author’s example is that a lawyer licensed as Cynthia R. Jones may not call herself Cindy Jones in her law practice. This contradicts the only formal authority we have in Florida on the subject, Florida Bar Ethics Opinion 74-20, which says, in pertinent part:“We do not believe that a William signing a letter Bill, a Henry signing a letter Hank, or a Francis signing as Frank is going to mislead anyone, particularly where his full name is set out on his letterhead, although we know of no rule absolutely requiring this.”There is simply no possible reasonable reading of Rule 1-3.3 that forbids, for example, use of a middle initial in a signature instead of spelling out an entire middle name or entirely omitting the middle name from the signature or using Jill instead of Jillian. The purpose is to prevent misleading identifications, not to nitpick at practices so universal that enforcement in accordance with this article would make offenders out of perhaps a majority of the members of the Bar.In presenting an overreaching and insupportable interpretation of an otherwise legitimate rule, this column invites resentment and the sense of harassment that fuels so much of the attack, in the legislature and elsewhere, on the Bar’s regulatory authority. Rick Johnson (a/k/a Richard Errol Johnson) Tallahassee( Bar UPL Counsel Lori Holcomb Responds: Mr. Johnson’s letter gives an example from an ethics opinion on how letters may be signed. I do not believe that the column contradicts the ethics opinion. It states that the nickname may be used “particularly where his full name is set out on his letterhead.” Someone seeing the letter would have the full name and be able to find the attorney in the Bar’s records.) September 1, 2005 Letters September 1, 2005 Letterslast_img read more

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Storm Blasts Long Island, Jams Traffic

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A snow thrower operator clears a sidewalk in East Garden City on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2013.The powerful winter storm that rolled across Long Island Tuesday dropped more than a foot of snow on some parts and created treacherous driving conditions that snarled traffic and caused massive headaches for drivers and straphangers.Even Long Islanders who left work in the early afternoon found themselves stuck on jam-packed roads that they had to share with large plows also trapped in bumper to bumper traffic.Some officials acknowledged Tuesday that storm arrived earlier than expected, but they attributed the traffic woes to people cutting their work day short and heading home earlier than usual.“It came a little bit earlier, but what complicates this particular storm is that our residents were able to go to work without any issue in the morning hours” but were faced with a difficult ride home, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano told the Press.But by Wednesday morning Nassau’s roads were “in wonderful shape considering the low temperatures,” Mangano said. He said crews began hitting the streets at 5 a.m. Tuesday and were still treating and plowing roads the next morning.Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told the Press that “all county roads are passable and have been.” But, he said, “there remains snow and ice and people need to proceed cautiously.”“Pretty much we were blanketed all over,” he said of the strength of the storm. “It was that kind of system, it was that huge.”Nassau County received reports of 152 minor accidents during a 13-hour period at the height of the storm, Mangano said, but none were considered major. Suffolk County counted 380 minor accidents from midnight Tuesday until 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to a Suffolk police spokeswoman.The storm forced the Long Island Rail Road to operate on a weekend schedule all day Wednesday due to heavy snow accumulation—the LIRR’s threshold is 10-13 inches before it starts suspending services—and gusty winds.The railroad will operate at about 60 percent its usual service on Wednesday, and there will be no train service at the West Hempstead branch or between Greenport and Ronkonkoma. Limited bus service will be offered instead, the LIRR said.Flights at Long Island MacArthur Airport, which were canceled at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, were expected to resume after 11 a.m. for travelers flying on Southwest or U.S. Airways Express, the airport said. PenAir is scheduled to resume service at 6:40 p.m.Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Nassau and Suffolk counties, allowing the state to make available 239 plows, 27 front loaders and 428 operators to assist local municipalities on LI.Officials throughout the day Tuesday urged residents to leave work early and remain indoors so plows could move freely.“This winter storm will bring a one-two punch of snow and extreme cold. I urge all those in the affected regions to exercise caution, and avoid travel if possible,” Cuomo said.Roads, particularly those in the north shore, will remain treacherous Wednesday with freezing temperatures expected all day, forecasters said.“It’s dangerously cold,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Morrin. “We’ll be lucky to get much past the 10, 11 degree mark [on Wednesday].”He said temperatures were in the single digits Wednesday morning and will remain well below freezing during the day. He noted that gusty winds will drop temperatures to sub-zero levels, possibly around 14 degrees below zero.There will be no respite from the bitter cold until at least Saturday with forecasters calling for a high of 21 on Thursday and 19 on Friday.“This snowpack is going to be around for quite some time because there’s really no moderation in sight,” Morrin said.He added: “It’s so cold that the treatment they used is not going to be effective.”Snowfall amounts came in as predicted with some Suffolk communities—North Babylon, Selden, Blue Point, Centereach—seeing more than 14 inches of snow. In Nassau, Massapequa recorded just over a foot of snow, while other areas measured between 6 and 11 inches, according to unofficial amounts posted by the weather service.The storm didn’t spawn massive power outages, but PSEG Long Island was reporting 343 customers in the dark at 3 a.m. Wednesday. The utility, which took over LIPA’s electric grid at the beginning of the year, said at one point more than 1,200 Coram residents were without power due to a downed pole.With freezing temperatures continuing through the day, Mangano once again urged residents to remain cautious.“If you’re taking to the roadways,” he said, “slow down and you’ll get there safer.”last_img read more

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3 reasons why your credit union website’s scrolling homepage banners are an awful waste of space

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,James Robert Lay JAMES ROBERT LAY is one of the world’s leading digital marketing authors, speakers, and advisors for financial brands. As the founder and CEO of the Digital Growth Institute, he … Web: https://www.digitalgrowth.com Details It happened again.It happens almost every time when we develop websites for banks and credit unions.Maybe you can relate.A financial institution we are currently working with to develop their website requested a scrolling homepage banner in a prototype meeting.“No, that’s not a good idea,” I said. “In the words of Ted Arroway from the movie Contact, ‘Seems like an awful waste of space.’”“Why?” they asked. “Everyone else’s website uses a scrolling homepage banner.”“This is a symptom of R&D, also known as rip off and duplicate. If everyone jumped off a building, would you?”I paused briefly, waiting for the client to respond as they sat confused trying to interpret my analogy and blunt objection to their request.“It’s ok,” I said. “We know how you feel. At one point, we were jumping off buildings too as we used to use scrolling homepage banners before. Even on our own websites. But then through our ongoing research and exhaustive study of digital marketing best practices, we got smart, and stopped jumping off of buildings.”There was another pause.I continued, “And we want to help you do the same.”As the meeting progressed, I played the role of a guide, patiently helping our client back away from this metaphorical ledge as I explained to them why scrolling homepage banners are an awful waste of space.1. No One Is Clicking On Your Homepage Banners To begin, it is important to understand the difference between broadcast marketing tactics and a digital marketing strategy.This is because we find scrolling homepage banners are just another example of a broadcast marketing method that has infiltrated the digital marketing realm.Let’s compare the scrolling homepage banners with an outdoor billboard.The outdoor billboard is used to generate brand awareness, while the objective of a scrolling homepage banner is to generate clicks. Both the billboard and scrolling homepage banner, as currently used by many credit unions, sends one message to many people.And because we can measure clicks, it is possible to measure the effectiveness of scrolling homepage banners.Before developing a website, we use the Digital Marketing Blueprint to assess a bank or credit union’s digital marketing channels. This includes user testing, heatmaps and live screen recordings showing user engagement and clicks on their current website.In the case of this client, we had already completed our assessment on their current website. During our website prototype meeting, we showed the client heatmaps of their homepage, which helped to visualize where website visitors clicked.The client was surprised to find website visitors were not clicking or engaging with their scrolling homepage banner. This was further validated by watching screen recordings and listening to website visitor feedback as they interacted with the website to perform a set of tasks.Finally, we shared with them the findings of a web usability study performed by Notre Dame University. It was found that just 1% of users interacted with any of the universities sliding homepage banners. And of that 1%, approximately 84-89% interacted with the first slide.That means the first promo image in your sliding homepage banner is likely to have just a 0.84% click-through rate. And the click-through rates of the remaining promo images are likely to be evenly distributed with the remaining 0.16%.So if your website’s scrolling homepage banners has five promo image slides, the average click through rate for slides 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be a pathetic 0.04%.2. Your Scrolling Homepage Banners are Costing You at Least $6,000 a YearIn addition to how ineffective scrolling homepage banners are, it is also important to address how they are costing you money.Let’s assume you have five promo images in your scrolling home page banner. And you update each one every month to keep things fresh with the most recent marketing promotions and offers.Furthermore, let’s assume the cost to create each promo image is $100. This includes the cost of design and stock images, regardless of if this is done internally or through a third-party.So over the course of a month, you spend around $500 on five scrolling homepage banners. And over the course of a year, the total comes to $6,000 on something that is rarely clicked.I believe everything we do in marketing should provide a return on the dollars spent. Because this is how we help executives start to view marketing as an investment, rather than an expense.Think about the opportunity costs sacrificed on the banners. I’m sure you can find more effective ways to spend your marketing budget.3. Not Everyone Who Visits Your Website Needs [Promotion of the Month] I strongly believe a vast majority of banks and credit unions do a poor job of positioning themselves in a digital economy. Almost everyone is telling the same story as they all promote their “great rates” and “amazing service.”And this commoditization is evident, even in the scrolling homepage banners. While writing this article, I did a quick survey of local credit union websites. And my findings prove our belief that banks and credit unions need a new approach to telling digital stories that sell.For a moment, consider who these ads are for.The quick response would be for anyone who needs an auto loan. But think for a moment. What about members who already have an auto loan with your credit union? Why are are they being served an ad for a product they already have.The more we serve ads to members who do not need the products that are being promoted, the more we train them to ignore our marketing messages in the future.Instead of promoting redundant ads for products members already have and don’t need, consider recommending products that would be a good fit for them. The Digital Banking Disruption Study from Accenture found that 51% of consumers want their bank to proactively recommend products and services to them while 55% said this guidance would increase their loyalty.How is this possible?Banks and credit unions can serve contextual and personalized 1:1 ads using digital and transactional behavior in addition to implementing logic that can recommend the next best product for a member.A study from Marketo found the use of firmographic and behavior data to deliver customized web and mobile experiences resulted in a 30% increase of conversion rates in addition to a 270% increase in content consumption.These positive results far surpass the 1% click-through rate your current scrolling homepage banners provide.It’s Time To Kill The Scrolling Homepage Banner on Your WebsiteAs the website prototype meeting with my client ended, they thanked me for our insight and made the decision to not include a scrolling homepage banner on their new website.Instead, they opted to go with a homepage banner that would deliver personalized 1:1 ads based upon a website visitor’s previous digital behavior. For example, when someone visited the mortgage section of their website, the next time they came back to the homepage, they would see a mortgage ad.By killing your scrolling homepage banner, and replacing it with a single contextual and personalized 1:1 ad, you can continue your journey to build a website that sells.last_img read more

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Cordray, House panel leaders talk credit union issues at Caucus today

first_imgNAFCU’s Congressional Caucus concludes today and features CFPB Director Richard Cordray, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who will discuss issues of importance to credit unions.Also speaking today are House Financial Services Subcommittee Chairmen Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., Sean Duffy, R-Wis., and Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas. Other members from the House Financial Services Committee – Reps. French Hill, R-Ark., Andy Barr, R-Ky., Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, and Denny Heck, D-Wash. – are also slated.Attendees are encouraged to download NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus free mobile app; users can view the agenda, speaker list, issue briefs and tips for successful lobbying. To download the mobile app, go to nafcu.org/caucusapp or visit the Apple App Store or Google Play store, and search “NAFCU Caucus.” Use the password “washington.” continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Problems with productivity

first_imgLast week, it was reported that U.S. labor productivity, as measured by the amount of gross domestic product (GDP) produced by one hour of labor, declined 0.6% in the first three months of 2017. The decline was more than expected. A problem that Ms. Yellen, along with most Federal Reserve (Fed) governors and presidents, view with strong concern, is getting worse, not better. Moreover, the Fed, along with many economists and economic policy makers, admit that they really don’t know how to fix the problem. Yet in the face of this problem, as noted in their statement on monetary policy Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) was quite sanguine with the prospects for the economy going forward, more or less dismissing the rather soft first-quarter data. There seems to be a disconnect here between the Fed’s concern over productivity, which Ms. Yellen has gone so far in the past as to call “miserable,” their outlook for the economy, and their desire to tighten monetary policy as early as next June.One of the potential reasons that labor productivity remains dismal in the face of increasing employment during this seven-year economic expansion could be that the quality of jobs produced has been dominated by relatively low productivity retail jobs. Nevertheless, during this long, if not spectacular, expansion, manufacturing of durable goods has been growing in sectors such as autos. Additionally, the first half of 2017 experienced a rebound in energy and energy jobs as well.Perhaps the Fed believes that there will be a continued improvement in the productive quality of jobs that will, in relatively quick time, give us the productivity and economic growth befitting an economy that is at or near full employment. However, in my opinion, for the Fed to believe this, they must be discounting the problems we are beginning to see crop up in auto production and energy as temporal. Are they temporal? continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Before Kamala Harris, This Vice President Broke a Racial Barrier

first_imgKamala Harris broke gender and racial barriers this year as the first woman, first Black person and first person of Asian descent to be elected vice president.But historians and Native Americans are also revisiting the legacy of Charles Curtis, whose Kaw Nation ancestry gives him a claim as the first “person of color” to serve as vice president, though the term’s current usage emerged decades later.- Advertisement – Mr. Curtis was born in 1860 in the territory of Kansas to a white father and a mother of Kanza descent, and spent his early life among the Kanza people, who are now part of the Kaw Nation.He learned the language and excelled at horsemanship, according to the Senate. And he pursued his early education in Topeka, shuttling back and forth between the city and the reservation, said Crystal Douglas, who runs the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Okla.Mr. Curtis was eventually elected a county attorney, and to the Senate and the House of Representatives. Mr. Hoover chose him as a running mate in 1928, possibly because of his popularity in the pastoral Midwest.- Advertisement – His embrace of his heritage, however, also came with a legacy that some historians and advocates say undermined Native land rights.‘One of our own men’- Advertisement – Mr. Curtis also had Osage ancestry, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.Ms. Douglas, the Kanza Museum director, said that Mr. Curtis “did some wonderful things” for his people, and introduced bills backing women’s voting rights and child labor laws. She said that Mr. Curtis’s personal papers show he was “disappointed” with how the Curtis Act ultimately harmed tribal identity. Mr. Curtis, who served under President Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933, often referred to the novelty of his background while in public office, speaking of his rise “from Kaw tepee to Capitol,” as his Senate biography notes.Native artifacts adorned his office, he posed for photographs in a Native headdress, and he referred to himself as “one-eighth Kaw Indian and a one-hundred percent Republican,” the biography says. Laura Harris, LaDonna Harris’s daughter, said in an interview on Monday that she and her mother discovered more about Mr. Curtis while preparing for her campaign.“You want people to know that we were politically active back in the 1800s, as well as today,” she said. “And we have served in government and were included in government.”“But he is almost a fluke,” she added. “He did things that, today, we would think they were not very progressive. But that was his time.”Ms. LaDuke said that while Native women had inspired her run, “I just think it is remarkable that a Native person was elected vice president. And a lot of people didn’t know that.” Dr. R. David Edmunds, a retired historian at the University of Texas in Dallas, said that Mr. Curtis represented the 19th-century approach of U.S. policy toward Native people.“Curtis is the last gasp of the old way, and the country moves away from him,” he said. “He has sort of been forgotten because of that.”Rediscovering CurtisIn 1936, when the coffin bearing the body of Mr. Curtis was transported by train from Washington to Kansas, “thousands” were expected to pay respects, according to The New York Times’s coverage of his funeral.Then he faded into relative obscurity, until this year, as Ms. Harris’s selection on a major party ticket renewed interest in his stature as the highest-ranking person of Native descent in the federal government. “There is pride with the Kanza, that one of theirs rose to be vice president of the United States,” said Mark Brooks, an administrator for the Kaw Mission in the Kansas State Historical Society. “But I would say that some would pick that apart and refer to the Curtis Act and what it actually did.” Updated Nov. 10, 2020, 3:26 p.m. ET According to original documents provided by the historical society, Mr. Curtis is referred to as “one of our own men” by a tribal leader, Chief Washungah, who spoke at the Capitol in 1900 about the tribe’s share of lands under treaties with the federal government.“The white people are getting rich off of the lands that have been treated away,” Chief Washungah told Commissioner of Indian Affairs William A. Jones, according to the documents.He added: “I am getting old and I realize that I cannot live much longer, so I am talking for the children now. I want them to stay on the land, and to get some good land.”Mr. Jones, in return, told the chief that “your matters have been carefully looked after by your representative in Congress,” in a reference to Mr. Curtis. In October, reporting on Ms. Harris’s preparations for a debate, the news site Indian Country Today noted that at least two Native Americans had sought the vice presidency in recent decades.One was LaDonna Harris, a Comanche citizen, a candidate for the Citizens Party in 1980 with Barry Commoner; the other, Winona LaDuke, of White Earth Nation, was the Green Party nominee for vice president in 1996 and 2000, alongside Ralph Nader. – Advertisement – Many Native leaders thought a man who grew up with a tribe would look out for their interests. But parts of his legacy, historians say, are overshadowed by his role as the original author of the Curtis Act of 1898, which orchestrated allotment of Native lands and curtailed tribal leadership.last_img read more

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‘It will start at midnight’: Indonesia insists on travel ban despite China’s protest

first_imgIndonesia has insisted on imposing a travel ban to and from China as an effort to prevent a deadly coronavirus from spreading into the country, even after a Chinese envoy expressed his disagreement over the plan.Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi confirmed that Indonesia would stick to the travel ban, which will take effect at 12 a.m. on Wednesday.“Yes, it will start at [midnight],” Budi told reporters on Tuesday. “We’re doing what other countries have already done. We have been very careful about this.” Budi said meetings with the management of domestic airlines would take place on Wednesday to discuss related matters, including the calculation of potential losses they may suffer as a result of the policy.He added that the government was finalizing a policy regarding cargo planes if goods were still being flown to Indonesia. It includes a requirement that the flight crew must undergo a medical inspection upon arrival and cannot get off the plane.Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian previously asked Indonesia to follow the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), which has not recommended that countries restrict travel to and from China despite having declared a global emergency over the new coronavirus.“In this situation, we need to be calm. Don’t overreact and do something that would have a negative impact on investments and the [Indonesian] economy,” Xiao told reporters in Jakarta during a press briefing on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi told a televised news conference on Sunday that Indonesia would immediately bar visitors who had been in China for 14 days.Earlier on Sunday, the government flew 243 Indonesians from China and placed them under quarantine at a military base on the sparsely populated Natuna Regency in Riau Islands.Budi said the government was also discussing efforts to handle around 3,000 Indonesian citizens who were still in China at the moment.Transiting in a country that has not imposed a travel ban on China was one solution, he said.Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said the travel ban would be a big challenge for the country’s tourism as the number of Chinese tourists was quite large, about 2 million in a year.“Once again, our main priority is protecting the health of the Indonesian people. That is the main thing to consider at the moment,” he said.He said the ministry would instead boost domestic tourism and encourage local tourists to travel within Indonesia, also for the sake of reducing the risk of contracting the coronavirus abroad.“Together with the Transportation Ministry, we will set a meeting with about 30 airlines to see the possibility of switching their international routes to domestic ones,” he said, adding that regions most affected by the travel ban would be Bali, North Sulawesi and Bintan Island in Riau.Topics :last_img read more

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Drug debts behind rise in tool thefts in Dunedin, police say

first_imgStuff co.nz 4 December 2018Family First Comment: “Cannabis – and increasingly methamphetamine – were increasingly the driver of such crime, with thieves targeting “big ticket items” to pay off drug debts.”And any legality or soft approach would only worsen the problem.#SayNopeToDope www.VoteNo.nzPaying off drug debts is a driver for the spate of large scale tool thefts, police say.In the latest incident, a padlock was cut from a container and more than $30,000 worth of builder’s tools were stolen from a site on McMaster Rd, near Saddle Hill, Dunedin on Sunday night.Acting Inspector Craig Dinnissen urged builders to consider cameras to protect their sites, as police battled an increase in tool burglaries.The tools were often sold cheaply over Facebook, and he urged buyers to be vigilant.Tools such as DeWalt and Makita were being offered for a fraction of their retail price.“If it is too good to be true, it probably is,” Dinnissen said.Deals over Facebook were conducted over private messenger, with the items paid for with cash and/or drugs, he said.Cannabis –  and increasingly methamphetamine – were increasingly the driver of such crime, with thieves targeting “big ticket items” to pay off drug debts.READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/109070247/drug-debts-behind-rise-in-tool-thefts-in-dunedin-police-sayKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

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Ethiopia distributes wheat and oil to millions facing hunger

first_imgEthiopia’s government has started distributing rations of wheat and oil to people facing hunger in the north and northeastern parts of the country.The government is now supplying 15 kilograms of wheat and half a litre of cooking oil per adult in the areas hit by drought conditions, according to Mitiku Kassa, secretary of the Ethiopian Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee.More than 8 million people require urgent food assistance, and the Ethiopian government says there is enough food aid to feed them through December.Sisay Gebrselassie, a resident of Wukro town in Northern Ethiopia who recently moved to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, said he believed one in five families in his hometown lost their crops. “They have now left their farmlands for their cattle to scavenge whatever they can get from it,” he said, adding that many farmers are selling their cattle before they die.The UN says the scale of the developing emergency exceeds resources available so far.The food insecurity is fuelled by the failure of Ethiopia’s spring rains that resulted in poor crop yields.last_img read more

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At least five dead in Iraqi ‘day of rage’ protests

first_img Share 42 Views   no discussions Share Share The crowds tried to pull down concrete security barriers in the centre of BaghdadAt least five people have been killed in anti-government protests in Iraq as thousands take to the streets in cities across the country for a “day of rage”.Baghdad has been virtually locked down, with the authorities banning traffic in the city centre and deploying several thousand soldiers on the streets.Still, several hundred people gathered in Baghdad’s own Tahrir Square, calling for reform, but not regime change.Mass demonstrations are also being held elsewhere in the Middle East.In Libya, witnesses say government troops opened fire on protesters in Tripoli, as the authorities crack down on opposition protests – at least five deaths were reportedYemen saw some of the largest marches yet by pro- and anti-government protesters in the capital SanaaEgyptians in their thousands returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to mark two weeks since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak from the presidency and to press for reformsTens of thousands attended a day of mourning in Manama for those killed in recent unrest in BahrainMore than 3,000 people have joined the largest protests yet in Amman, Jordan, calling for greater political rights and economic reformsDemonstrations are expected to be held in the West Bank city of RamallahThe protests follow a wave of Arab revolts that have toppled the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, and challenged the rule of Col Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.Lock downSoldiers blocked every road leading into Baghdad to try to stop protesters from carrying out their planned day of rage, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head in the Iraqi capital.No vehicles were allowed into the city centre and thousands of riot police took up position in and around Baghdad Tahrir Square.Protesters threw rocks and stones at riot police and tried to overturn concrete barriers blocking the Jumhuriyah bridge, near the square.On Thursday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged people not to join the protests for security reasons, and accused the protest organisers of being al-Qaeda insurgents and Saddam Hussein loyalists.But several hundred people still braved the intimidating military presence to rally in the square, denouncing corruption and poor services, says our correspondent.But the cry was for reform not revolution. The government was elected only a year ago and includes most of Iraq’s main factions, he adds.“We don’t want to change the government, because we elected them, but we want them to get to work,” the AFP news agency quoted one 24-year-old student as saying.“We want them to enforce justice. We want them to fix the roads. We want them to fix the electricity. We want them to fix the water.”Another man told Reuters he had walked for two hours from the poorer district of Sadr City to attend.“People are hungry. We ask the government to find job opportunities for the young. All my sons are unemployed, I’m here to express the injustice that we live in,” he said.The protesters also criticised the comparatively high salaries paid to MPs when many people are struggling to get by.Violent clashes  Outside Baghdad, protests have been more violent and at least five people have been killed.In the northern city of Mosul, at least three people died and 15 were wounded in clashes, a police source said.At least two others were killed and 22 injured in scuffles in the northern town of Hawija as protesters set fire to a local council building, a police source said.About 4,000 people protested outside a governor’s office in Iraq’s second city of Basra, knocking over concrete barriers and demanding the lawmaker resign.Protests were also held in Falluja, Kirkuk and other smaller cities – the latest in weeks of protest as Iraqis vent their frustration over poor living conditions, widespread corruption, and lack of jobs. News At least five dead in Iraqi ‘day of rage’ protests by: – February 25, 2011 Sharing is caring! Tweet BBC Newslast_img read more

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