Month: October 2020

Sharing of hate posts is what’s reprehensible

first_imgWith regard to your Oct. 19 editorial, we are genuinely surprised that the Daily Gazette Editorial Board seems to be more offended by a flyer that reveals the social media posts of the Niskayuna Republican Party than the social media posts of the local party itself. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion We believe the only thing that is “reprehensible” is to share social media posts from extreme outlets such as Alex Jones, Breitbart News and Rush Limbaugh. The flyer stated that these outlets have been linked to anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, climate change denial and conspiracy theories revolving around the Sandy Hook school shooting.Normalizing these extreme groups by regularly sharing their content helps them promote their views. We, as Niskayuna residents, continue to denounce these outlets and the ideologies they espouse, as they run directly counter to what makes our diverse community such a great place to live. We believe our neighbors will reject this, too.The sole intention of the flyer was to inform voters of the extreme social media postings of the Niskayuna Republican Committee.The Niskayuna Republican Committee and its endorsed candidates have yet to disavow the Facebook posts featuring Jones, Breitbart News and Limbaugh. The residents of Niskayuna have a right to know that the Niskayuna Republican Party is normalizing these extremist voices.Geoff HallNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Niskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

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Tightening the belt

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Universities try to make the grade

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Giggs, Scholes and instant noodles: Vietnam takes pot-shot at World Cup

first_imgThe academy is complete with manicured pitches and ultra-modern equipment, including the 360S simulator — a customized room where players receive balls from various angles, and have to hit moving, electronic targets.The facility is a bold venture from Vuong, who started out selling dried noodles in Ukraine before building Vietnam’s biggest private conglomerate and amassing an estimated $7.8 billion fortune.The PVF academy’s technical director, former Japan coach Philippe Troussier — who also leads Vietnam’s U19s — said the results had been positive.”We’ve started a strong process to develop our football, to develop our players, to educate the boys, to export the players to international level,” Troussier told AFP.”We are on the way,” he said. ‘Underdogs’ The training school is currently home to nearly 200 young players aged nine to 19 who have been recruited from across the country and train up to five hours a day.While Giggs and Scholes add star power and top-level experience, Troussier, 64, has undoubted coaching prowess, after leading Japan to the 2000 Asian Cup title and the 2002 World Cup’s last 16.But despite the big money and big names, the next World Cup may still be a stretch for Vietnam.”I don’t think they will qualify for the 2022 World Cup as they have to replace at least one of the Asian powerhouses such as Iran, Japan or South Korea to get one of the few Asian places available,” said Steve Darby, the former manager of Vietnam’s women’s team.  The 2026 World Cup — when the number of teams will jump from 32 to 48 — may be a more realistic target. But even then they would be seen as “underdogs”, said Darby.”Any Southeast Asian nation that qualifies will be seen as a weaker nation and also probably be seeded quite low. It takes time to get to the top,” he said.Still, Vietnam’s national team have caught the eye with their progress, which has pushed them to an all-time high of 94 in the FIFA world rankings.The youth teams are also showing promise, bagging their first spot at the U20 World Cup in 2017 and a year later, and reaching the final of the Asian U23 Championship.Fans across the country spill onto the streets in the wake of Vietnam’s successes, and celebrations would be frenzied if they manage to qualify for a World Cup.Defender Tran Hoang Phuc, who comes from a poor family in Ho Chi Minh City, joined PVF in 2012 when he was 11, dreaming of emulating his idol, Arsenal defender David Luiz.”I will try my best to play for the national team and hopefully to play at the world’s biggest tournament, the World Cup,” Phuc, who has been called up to Vietnam’s U19s, told AFP. After a career that began in instant noodles, Vietnam’s richest man knows all about long shots, and now he’s taking another: trying to get the football-mad country’s national team to their first World Cup.No Southeast Asian team has played on football’s biggest stage, but Pham Nhat Vuong — CEO of the Vingroup conglomerate, and Vietnam’s first billionaire — has not let that deter him.Vingroup’s gleaming, $15 million academy outside Hanoi has already helped Vietnam become a growing power in Asian football, after they reached the Asian Cup quarter-finals last year. Topics :center_img The communist country’s national team were crowned Southeast Asian champions in 2018, and their Under-22s won gold at the Southeast Asian Games last December.The Golden Star Warriors also sit top of their World Cup qualifying group, but they still have work to do if they are to grab one of Asia’s four slots — or a fifth available through playoffs — for 2022.However, they can take heart from the example of World Cup hosts Qatar who, after building a state-of-the-art academy and drafting in foreign expertise, swept to their first Asian Cup title last year.Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have been enlisted as consultants for the Promotion Fund of Vietnam’s Football Talents (PVF) academy, which opened its doors in 2017.last_img read more

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KPK terminates 36 investigations amid declining public trust

first_imgHe added that the terminated cases had been quite diverse, namely allegations of corruption lodged against regional heads, state-owned enterprise (SOE) executives, law enforcement officials, high-ranking officials of ministries and other state bodies, as well as members of the legislative body.However, the spokesperson said that such termination was not unusual as the antigraft body had terminated hundreds of cases since its establishment.“In the last five years, the KPK has terminated the investigation of 162 cases,” said Ali.Read also: Manpower shortage hampers KPK investigations Topics : The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has confirmed that it has stopped preliminary investigations for 36 cases, raising skepticism over the performance of the country’s leading antigraft agency under its new leadership.KPK acting spokesperson Ali Fikri said the antigraft body had considered “carefully and responsibly” before making the decision.“Some cases had been worked on since 2011. They also did not fulfill requirements to be processed further, such as lacking preliminary evidence, not identified as an act of corruption and other reasons that can be legally accounted for,” Ali said in a statement on Thursday.center_img During a preliminary investigation, KPK investigators are tasked with determining whether a case involves an act of corruption. They are also required to gather sufficient and strong evidence before deciding whether to continue the investigation or name any graft suspect in the case. Otherwise, the investigation should be terminated.Article 40 of Law No. 30/2002 on the KPK prohibits the antigraft body from stopping a case at the investigation or prosecution stage; prompting investigators to ensure that all cases at the preliminary stage have strong evidence.The provision, however, was revised in the 2019 KPK Law, allowing the antigraft body to terminate an investigation and prosecution of a graft case if they have not been completed within two years.“Our investigators are still required to handle graft cases carefully,” Ali said.The Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has condemned the investigation termination, doubting whether the antigraft body had carried out case screenings for each case before finally deciding to terminate them.“KPK leaders should not get trapped into committing abuse of power in deciding investigation terminations because the cases allegedly involve important people, such as regional leaders, law enforcers and legislative members,” ICW activist Wana Alamsyah said in a statement on Thursday.“Moreover, the KPK chairman is an active police officer, so it is feared that there has been a conflict of interest,” he went on to say, referring to the antigraft body’s current chairman, Firli Bahuri, a three-star police general.Read also: KPK chairman Firli named in Muara Enim bribery trialWana highlighted the number of terminated cases, saying that the KPK had on average terminated two cases every month in five years. However, the number spiked to 36 cases two months after the new leaders were inaugurated.“When we look deeper into the matter, the current leadership has yet to start an investigation,” he said.The KPK recently arrested Saiful Ilah, the regent of Sidoarjo in East Java, as well as General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan last month. However, the investigation of both cases started during the tenure of previous chairman Agus Rahardjo. The ICW quoted a survey by Jakarta-based pollster Alvara Research Center on Feb. 12 that showed public satisfaction toward the current KPK leadership had plunged.“With the large number of cases terminated in the preliminary investigation process, it reinforces the public’s notion that the KPK’s performance in terms of law enforcement against corruption will decline sharply,” said Wana.last_img read more

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‘Soft groundbreaking’ for Indonesia’s new capital may kick off in July: Bappenas

first_img“A soft groundbreaking means the [start of] developing road access to the new capital city,” she said.The event would be line with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s expectation for construction of the new capital to begin this year, she added.Responding to concerns over the potentially harmful impacts the major project would have on the region’s lush forests, Hayu said the new capital would only occupy 56,000 hectares of the available 256,000 ha of land.The rest of the region will remain populated with lush vegetation in order to avoid any negative effects on the environment, she added.“The ‘forest city, open space’ concept is an integral part [of the new capital’s development].”Construction on Indonesia’s new capital city is expected to cost Rp 466 trillion (US$33.6 billion), according to Bappenas, with the government footing about half of the bill. The rest is to be sourced from the private sector. (rfa) A “soft groundbreaking” and early construction on Indonesia’s new capital city in East Kalimantan may take place in July, the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) announced on Wednesday.The central government is expediting the establishment of regulations and a master plan for the new capital, which will be built in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies, East Kalimantan.The soft groundbreaking will take place as soon as the regulations are established, according to Bappenas capital relocation secretary Hayu Prasasti. Topics :last_img read more

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Legal activists, journalists slam Supreme Court prohibition on recording court hearings

first_img“Such a regulation will boost the operation of the judicial mafia often found [in courts],” the foundation said in a statement on Thursday.Read also: Reforms make Supreme Court more productiveThe YLBHI went on to say that the proper documentation and recording of trials had allowed it to gather evidence about what occurred in trials, which assisted it in preventing judges and prosecutors from misquoting witness testimony.“Recording of a trial also reminds judges and relevant parties that they are being watched. At least they will think twice before committing improper acts or violating the law, because there will be evidence from the recording,” YLBHI said.Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) executive director Anggara said the regulation would affect lawyers who usually used documentation of hearings to build their case.“In general, such a ban will have a serious impact on people’s access to justice and reduce information disclosure, which are guaranteed by law,” Anggara said in a separate statement on Thursday.The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jakarta also lambasted the provision. “It’s about court transparency. We will object if we are banned from recording court proceedings,” chairman Asnil Bambani Amri said, as quoted by kompas.com.Supreme Court spokesperson Abdullah defended the circular, saying it was designed to ensure court hearings proceeded smoothly and without disruption. Court observers and journalists who want to record a court hearing will be allowed with the permission of the head of a local court.“If we don’t prohibit recordings, we can’t differentiate between who are journalists and who are simply attendees at court,” Abdullah said, as quoted by tempo.co. (hol)Topics : Human rights activists and press organizations have lambasted the Supreme Court’s new regulation that prohibits the taking of photographs or making sound and video recordings in courtrooms without proper permits, saying the provision will only benefit the judicial mafia and restrict court transparency.The prohibition is included in a circular letter issued by the Supreme Court about courtroom rules of conduct. The circular was signed by the Supreme Court’s director general of general courts Prim Haryadi on Feb. 7.“Taking photos, recording audio or video [during a hearing] must be approved first by the head of a local court,” as stated in the circular. Prior to the circular, Indonesia was among the few countries that allowed journalists and court observers to take pictures as well as audio and video recording of ongoing court procedures.Ukraine has allowed videotaping of court sessions without obtaining permits from the judge hearing the case, with several limitations, since 2014. The Australian High Court has also allowed video recording of court proceedings since 2013.On the other hand, many other countries have strict prohibitions. The United States, for example, prohibits electronic media coverage of criminal and civil cases under a federal rule.The Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) condemned the Supreme Court’s provision on recording court proceedings, demanding it be removed from courtroom rules of conduct.last_img read more

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Sanders needs Michigan win, but Biden looking strong with key voting blocs

first_imgSanders goes into Michigan badly in need of a win after former Vice President Biden seized control of the race on Super Tuesday this week, winning a bevy of Southern states as well as Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas and causing rivals Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren to drop out.Michigan is the most competitive of the six states that hold nominating contests on Tuesday. It offers the largest number of the minimum 1,991 delegates a candidate needs to secure the nomination outright: 125. And it’s a critical moment for Sanders to try to recapture momentum before the contest shifts to Florida and Illinois the following week.In addition to Michigan, Washington state, Mississippi, Miissouri and Idaho will be holding primary elections on Tuesday. North Dakota will hold caucuses.A Sanders loss in Michigan could give Biden an insurmountable lead as the state-by-state nominating process moves into friendly territory for the man best remembered as No. 2 in President Barack Obama’s historic administration. For Bernie Sanders to remain competitive with Joe Biden in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, he’ll have to repeat what he did four years ago: Win the Michigan primary.This time around, that probably will be harder.Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Biden is showing strength with the same kinds of voters that Sanders, a U.S senator from Vermont, relied upon in his surprise defeat of front-runner Hillary Clinton in the state in 2016. The state also greatly matters for Nov. 3 general election. It flipped Republican in 2016, voting for now-President Donald Trump over Clinton by just over 10,000 votes.”Michigan is your got-to-win state,” said Adam Hollier, an African-American state senator from Detroit who is backing Biden.Biden parlayed his popularity with black voters into huge gains on Super Tuesday, winning 70% of African-American voters in Alabama and Virginia and 60% in North Carolina and Texas, according to exit polls from Edison Research.They will be crucial in Michigan, where they comprise almost 14% of the population. Some areas of Detroit are 80% African-American.”When you look at what he did all across the South, those same demographics are going to be at play in Detroit,” Hollier said.Sanders canceled plans to campaign in Mississippi this weekend, focusing instead on Michigan.Union labelsSanders may have better luck with union voters in manufacturing-heavy Michigan. He won the state’s white working-class voters in 2016, and they remain a reliable part of his base.Richard Cassel, 28, lost his job as an auto engineer in Detroit last month. That same week, he walked into a Sanders campaign office and volunteered to work the phones.”For me, Biden is just more of the same. The middle class is working professionals, and everyone else is slowly drowning,” Cassel said.But Biden has long-standing ties to labor unions and routinely talks about how the middle-class and union members built the nation.The powerful United Auto Workers Union has yet to endorse any candidate, but its spokesman, Brian Rothenberg, said it supports the idea of universal healthcare. Sanders has made a government-run healthcare system, Medicare for All, the heart of his campaign.”The high cost of healthcare is one of the impacts when you’re bargaining, so universal healthcare would actually give you a better ability to bargain at the table,” Rothenberg said.Not all of Sanders’ positions play well with the state’s unions, though. In particular, he has called for the closure of a 66-year-old crude oil pipeline that runs below portions of the Great Lakes, as part of his sweeping plan to swiftly end the US fossil fuel economy to fight climate change.”It’s going to cost (Sanders) a lot of support in our union,” said Terry Gilligan, business manager of Detroit Pipefitters Local 636.And two Michigan chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union endorsed Biden on Friday.Sanders is running ads in Michigan criticizing Biden over his past support for global trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Biden, in turn, argues that he was a key player in the 2009 auto industry bailout that rescued jobs in the state.RURAL RUNIn 2016, Sanders performed surprisingly well in the wealthy suburbs outside Detroit and blew Clinton away in rural counties. But there is evidence he won’t do that again this time.On Super Tuesday, Biden consistently beat Sanders in suburbs outside of cities including Charlotte, North Carolina, and Houston.And in rural regions of Minnesota, a Midwestern state like Michigan with a largely white population, Biden smashed Sanders, 43% to 19%, according to exit polls.This weekend, Biden’s campaign will deploy former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, to stump in Grand Rapids – an area that Sanders won in 2016.Dawn Bryant, 40, a General Motors Co factory worker who was laid off earlier this year, said she was torn between Sanders and Biden.”I’m divided. I’m not sure. I’m going to keep watching and weighing my options on both of the candidates,” she said. “It’s a tough, tough call.”Topics :last_img read more

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Canada reports first coronavirus death as number of infected climbs

first_imgCanada on Monday reported its first death from the new coronavirus as the number of people in the nation who have contracted the disease rose to above 70, officials said.The dead man had been living in a nursing home, the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, British Columbia’s chief health officer Bonnie Henry told a news conference.”We unfortunately have had a death here in British Columbia,” Henry said. Topics : The man was one of two residents infected at the long-care facility with no recent travel history. Henry said the dead man was in his 80s and had a number of underlying medical conditions.Canada now has at least 71 presumptive and confirmed cases of the virus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, up from 51 on Friday and nine more than reported on Sunday.Virus outbreaks are especially problematic in nursing homes because residents live in close quarters and tend to have weaker immune systems and underlying health conditions, so infections can spread easily.On Saturday, Henry said two Lynn Valley residents had contracted the virus from one of the facility’s health workers who had been infected.center_img “The risk to the general population within Canada is still low, but this could change rapidly,” Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer, said earlier on Monday.In a potential sign of future challenges, Reuters reported that millions of face masks stockpiled by Ontario to protect healthcare workers during a future epidemic have expired.That raises questions about the readiness of Canada’s most populous province to deal with the spreading coronavirus.In the central province of Alberta, medical officials said the number of cases had risen to seven from four, all of which were linked to people who had traveled.The novel coronavirus that emerged in central China in December has now spread to more than 100 countries and infected over 110,000 people worldwide with more than 3,800 deaths.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government says it will help people who are forced into quarantine due to the virus. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told legislators on Monday there would also be extra support for the healthcare system.Canada is also now urging people not to take cruise ship vacations.Canada is poised to repatriate more than 200 citizens aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is due to dock in Oakland, California after an outbreak on the vessel carrying some 3,500 passengers and crew. last_img read more

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Ford to resume production at some North American plants in April

first_imgTopics : Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it planned to restart production at some plants in North America as early as April 6, in a sign of hope for US automakers as the industry grapples with the damages from the coronavirus pandemic.The No. 2. US automaker said it was bringing key plants back online, while introducing additional safety measures to protect returning workers from the coronavirus pandemic.”We will continue to assess public health conditions as well as supplier readiness and will adjust plans if necessary,” the company said in a statement.  Ford plans to begin production at its Hermosillo Assembly Plant on one shift.Earlier this week, Reuters had reported citing sources that Ford did not plan to restart production until at least April 6, warning it could be further delayed into April.Detroit’s Big Three shut plants and curtailed production to limit the number of workers on the job to prevent the spread of coronavirus among roughly 150,000 factory employees.The global auto industry is bracing for worldwide sales to plummet more than 12% from 2019, worse than the two-year peak-to-trough decline of 8% during the global recession in 2008-2009, research firm IHS Markit predicted on Wednesday.Detroit auto companies are in a far better financial health than they were ahead of the 2008-2009 crisis. Their balance sheets are healthier. Earlier this month, GM and Ford moved to build cash reserves further by drawing down a combined total of more than $30 billion from credit lines.Shares of the company were down 4.8% in premarket trade.last_img read more

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