Police to investigate mobs verbal abuse after Enosis vote Update 3

first_imgPolice announced on Saturday that they have started an investigation into the goings-on outside parliament following Friday’s voting on a contentious proposal effectively reversing an earlier decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis (union with Greece) referendum in state schools.Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said he plans to ask the attorney-general and the House speaker to look into incidents of hate speech during Friday’s tumultuous plenary session.Exiting parliament after the session, Kyprianou fell victim to severe verbal abuse by an angry mob of far-right Elam supporters, who called him a “traitor”, a “Turk-lover”, and a “sell-out”.On Saturday, police spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed to the Cyprus News Agency that chief Zacharias Chrysostomou has ordered an investigation into the events that unfolded outside parliament after the plenary session.During Friday’s plenum, Kyprianou had made a point of noting that parliament last year criminalised hate speech, arguing that Elam calling those who backed the proposal “national traitors” and members of other opposition parties suggesting similar views even if not saying them outright, constituted hate speech.According to daily Politis, he plans to follow up on his argument by sending a letter to attorney-general Costas Clerides and House speaker Demetris Syllouris, asking them to look into whether such remarks constitute a violation of the law on hate speech and rules on parliamentary conduct, respectively.The letter will refer not only to Elam officials, who accused the proposal’s backers of treason directly, but also those who implied it but did not explicitly make the accusation – most notably Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos. Kyprianou believes that Papadopoulos has crossed the line with his oft-repeated argument that Disy and Akel passed the proposal “at the urging of Turkey”, as well as his calling the proposal “Akinci’s law”.“All of these unacceptable events did not come out of nowhere,” party spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said on Saturday.“There are instigators, and they are political parties, politicians, media, whose weeks of hate speech caused tension and division.”For weeks, they all referred to “red and blue treason”, Stefanou said, referring to Akel’s communist red and Disy’s nationalist blue, to “conceding and yielding”, to “complying with Turkey’s demands”, to “Ephialtes” (nightmares), and to “a humiliation of parliament”.“These parties, politicians, and media outlets cannot now pretend to be sad, innocent, or impartial,” Akel’s spokesman said.“In a letter, Akel will report the series of events to both the attorney-general and the House speaker.”Ruling Disy, which had sponsored the proposal, was equally critical.“The so-called centre bloc, and especially its leadership, must abandon the dangerous political games,” the party’s spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said.“No one can present themselves as the ‘patriotism police’. Diko’s leader must realise that, much as he wants to be a candidate [in next year’s presidential election], he can’t don the guise of national Holy Inquisition.”They name laws passed by the House of Representatives with Turkish names and submit to the people that they have been humiliated, Prodromou said.“These things are dangerous,” he added.“They feed a marginalised part of politics that wants to transform national sensitivity to a howl of hatred.”Commenting on Friday’s exchanges in parliament, President Nicos Anastasiades said he could “only express sadness”.“It is inconceivable that in a European country in 2017 political parties or the public can be divided into traitors or patriots,” he said.“Let us finally take the lesson, since we truly want to honour the Enosis (union) referendum, of the outcome any time division has overwhelmed the minds of politicians.”Meanwhile, socialist party Edek, which also opposed the proposal, called on Anastasiades to state whether he plans to sign it into law. They also asked Education Minister Costas Kadis, to whom the bill now bestows the power to now set school commemorations, whether he plans to remove the Enosis referendum from the list.“We ask the president to clearly state whether he will accept and sign Friday’s parliament decision,” the party said in a statement.“We also call on the education minister to state his intention. Will he remove or keep the brief reference to the 1950 Enosis referendum?”Neither Anastasiades nor Kadis commented on the outcome of the vote on Saturday.Edek reiterated its view that the transfer of decision-making authority on school commemorations from parliament to the minister is unconstitutional.Citizens’ Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas, who has otherwise aligned himself with the rejectionist bloc on the overall strategy in the Cyprus problem talks, appeared conciliatory and urged for restraint and unity.“It is acceptable to have disagreements and strong opinions,” he said in a statement.“But fostering a divisive atmosphere when our country is still occupied and Turkey continues to threaten us is a disservice to our country.”Lillikas called on the public to “stay away from fanaticism and extremism”. You May LikeTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Government posts fiscal surplus of 04 of GDP in 2016 update

first_imgThe Cypriot government generated a fiscal surplus of €64.4m, or 0.4 per cent of economic output, in 2016, after posting deficits over the past in eight years, the statistical service said.Improved fiscal performance was on a 1.5 per cent increase in revenue last year to over €7bn, accompanied by a 2.4 per cent drop in spending to below €7bn, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Monday.The government posted a fiscal surplus of €146.3m in the first quarter and a deficit of €188.7m from April to June, Cystat said. In the third and fourth quarters, the budget produced a surplus of €185.8m and a deficit of €79m respectively.In 2015 and 2014, when the government had posted fiscal shortfalls of €208.9m and €1.5bn, or 1.2 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively, it was mainly on capital assistance extended to the Cooperative banking sector.Until October, the government was expecting to generate a fiscal deficit of 0.3 per cent of the economy last year.According to a Eurostat statement published also on Monday, Cyprus was among the best fiscal achievers in the 19-member currency bloc last year. Luxembourg generated the largest fiscal surplus of 1.6 per cent of gross domestic product, followed by Malta with 1 per cent, Germany and Greece with 0.8 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. The Netherlands also generated a fiscal deficit of 0.4 per cent.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoAll Pro SaverCalifornia: Seniors Born Before 1970 Surprised By New Mortgage RuleAll Pro SaverUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Car destroyed in earlymorning blast

first_imgA car in Limassol was destroyed on Wednesday morning by a fire caused by a blast, a police report said.According to the report, the Fire Service received a call at 3:56am about a burning car that had been parked outside a block of flats in Polemidia, Limassol.Two fire engines rushed to the scene and the fire was placed under control less than 10 minutes later.The vehicle, owned by a 23-year-old, was completely destroyed, while the glass panes at the building’s entrance, as well as an adjacent kiosk, were shattered.Investigation revealed that the fire had been caused by the detonation of an improvised explosive device, after the front of the car had been doused with a flammable liquid.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoGundry MDHow To Make Your Dark Spots Fade (Effortless 2 Minute Routine)Gundry MDUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Turkey hints at twostate solution again as framework debate rages on

first_imgTurkey said Thursday a federal solution cannot be achieved in Cyprus because of the Greek Cypriot side’s mentality as the debate over the interpretation of a proposal by the Turkish Cypriot leader raged on.“A federal solution cannot be achieved with the Greek Cypriots’ mentality,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said. “We now believe that a new path should be tried.”Aksoy said the talks have been going on for 50 years without progress and Turkey was not prepared to play the same game.“As long as there is no change of mentality in the Greek Cypriot side we do not intend to play the same game,” Aksoy said.His statements, implying that a new kind of solution should be sought, came amid reports that during a recent visit to Cyprus, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had proposed to the Turkish Cypriots to put confederation or a two-state solution on the table.It was reported at the time that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci rejected the suggestion.Akinci on Monday had called on Anastasiades to accept as a “strategic package” without any alterations, the framework drawn up by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Crans Montana, Switzerland, just days before the negotiations collapsed last July.But the Turkish Cypriot leader’s overture became bogged down in which version of the proposals put forward in Switzerland last year the two sides were willing to discuss.Instead of accepting the proposal, Anastasiades asked whether Akinci accepted the framework, “as it was finalised on July 4, 2017”.Anastasiades was referring to changes to the framework suggested by himself on July 4, but not accepted by the Turkish side or adopted by the UN secretary-general.On Thursday, Akinci said he had confirmed the contents of the document point by point, during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York in September last year.“What I have conveyed is the document put before us at Crans Montana and we accepted. If they are ready to announce, declare, this as a strategic package please do so,” he said.Since making the proposal on Monday, Akinci came under fire from various parties in the north; he urged them to settle down because the final decision would be the people’s.“I only look at the interests of the Turks of Cyprus,” he said.One of those was the breakaway state’s ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay who said he did not know Akinci would make such a statement.Ozersay said the Guterres framework contained a lot of ambiguities and everyone interpreted it according to their view.Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis said the two leaders had a different approach on all six points of the framework.“At this moment we are trying to understand what the new element is,” he told state radio on Wednesday morning. “We haven’t figured it out yet.”He said he did not know what Akinci was trying to say but the Greek Cypriot side wants to resume talks from where they ended in July last year.“They were interrupted because it was impossible to agree on security issues – guarantees mainly, because Mr. Cavusoglu rejected what the UNSG wanted to record,” Mavroyiannis said.The UNSG spoke about the six points, but he didn’t have time to record them because of Cavusolglu’s reaction, the negotiator said.“But he managed to say that it was necessary to scrap guarantees immediately.”Mavroyiannis said the document was neither a bible nor could Greek Cypriots accept it as is.“It was up for negotiation. In this way, the UNSG simply put the whole package on the table.”Akinci said on Wednesday that the Guterres framework as it was presented on June 30 did not concern just security and guarantees but also political equality, land, and property.He added that the secretary-general had put the framework together thinking it could be used as a way out and that it was not up for negotiation. If these principles are accepted by the Greek Cypriot side, he said, “I am ready to accept it”.Akinci said that the rotating presidency is clearly stated in the Guterres document, adding that there is also a reference to effective participation in decision-making.Mavroyiannis said it was a fact that as part of a comprehensive package that would include all points, like scrapping guarantees, the drastic reduction of Turkish troops to 650 and a sunset clause for them to also leave, and territorial concessions, President Nicos Anastasiades would be prepared to accept rotating presidency with a 2:1 ratio provided there are dispute resolution mechanisms, clear definition of authority, common ticket, cross voting, and so on.UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutterres’ framework as presented to the two leaders at Crans-Montana on June 30 last yearYou May LikeMoney BuddyAmazon Won’t Be Happy If Everybody Knows These Money-saving HacksMoney BuddyUndoFood PreventWhat Might Happen if You Eat 2 Bananas a DayFood PreventUndoHabit TribeThere’s One WD-40 Trick Everyone Must KnowHabit TribeUndo Greece to overturn law that made universities no-go zone for policeUndoClear winner in first round of Kition bishop voteUndoFilm review: Child’s Play ***Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Coop official slams ECB over vetoing CSE listing

first_imgBy Stelios OrphanidesFormer Co-op board member Kypros Ellinas told investigators on Thursday that bank’s plan for a listing of its share that would have otherwise allowed it to tap private capital was unfairly blocked by supervisors, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported.Ellinas, the first witness to testify on Thursday at the committee appointed by Attorney-General Costas Clerides tasked with probing the reasons that led to the demise of the state-owned bank recapitalised by the taxpayers with €1.7bn, said that the bank had already prepared itself for a listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) in 2016, which would have allowed it to seek fresh private equity whenever deemed necessary.“We started early (and) had two years (ahead) to tap capital,” said Ellinas who served as board member from July 2016 until June 2018, when he stepped down.The disappointing outcome of the Co-op’s attempt to get its stock listed was one of the events that gave the bank the impression that it was treated unfairly, and prompted his resignation, he said.After supervisors told the Co-op in September that it wouldn’t require additional capital, the onsite inspection that took place early this year produced an unprecedented result both at home and abroad, as it concluded that provisions for loan impairments had to be increased by €800m, the former board member said. This led to supervisory pressure to find a strategic investor for the bank with procedures which were not very transparent.While supervisors, i.e. the Central Bank of Cyprus and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Single Supervisory Mechanism, did insist on shorter procedure that would have taken 30 days, this deadline was extended to 40 days which proved insufficient to attract investors, he said.The SSM was pressuring towards the sale of the Co-op’s operations, especially in 2018, Ellinas said.He added that the sale of the bank could have not been completed before a merger with the 18 independent cooperatives it administered had been completed which ultimately happened in early 2017.In March, two months after the disappointing results of the SSM’s onsite inspection, he travelled to Frankfurt together with chief executive officer Nicholas Hadjiyiannis and chairman Giorgos Hadjinicholas, to convince the supervisor of the merits of the bank’s privatisation plan via capital increase.The message they got there was that the supervisor was favouring a break-up of the bank into a bad bank and a good bank that could be acquired by another Cypriot lender, as this would benefit the Co-op, the banking system and the economy, he said.He added that the supervisors already objected to the listing already in 2017, Ellinas said.While the Co-op was making progress in reducing its non-performing loans, its supervisors did not give more time to reduce them, he said. A target ratio of 20 per cent for its delinquent loan portfolio was impossible to achieve given that the lender’s portfolio comprised mainly of mortgages. Still, the lender managed to reduce them by €800m at the end of last year compared to August.The sale of loans, he continued, was not possible with the legislation in place at the time. Ellinas questioned the timing of the amendment in the law on the sale of loans early July, part of a reform package aiming at facilitating the management of non-performing loans requested by the European Commission in exchange to the approval of the sale of the Co-ops assets to Hellenic Bank.The majority in the bank’s board was in favour of assigning a prominent external loan manager to allow the sale of immovable property.Ellinas said that rumours about a possible bail-in in the Co-op led to an increase in supervisory pressure to the bank amid an increase in deposits outflow, while the issue of the €2.4bn government bond in early April in favour of the bank and the subsequent deposit of €2.5bn was considered state aid.While supervisors were mainly concerned about governance and to a lesser degree, about weaknesses they spotted at the bank’s officials, they failed to have those they considered incompetent replaced he said.The lender, he said, did have a skills gap, as it lacked the proper human resource management systems.Ellinas said that the bank’s plan to offset the reduction in net income from the management of non-performing loans, via its insurance business, a reduction of its deposit rates and a voluntary exit scheme plus a reduction of its branch network, could have worked.He also said that other banks were eying the Co-op for years amid rumours about a possible bail-in which intensified ahead of the presidential elections. Indicatively, Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest, expressed interest in acquiring the cooperative bank of government employees, while a consultancy company advised Hellenic Bank to buy the Co-op early on.With respect to Altamira, the Spanish non-performing loans management specialist, Ellinas said that Citi, the US bank hired to assist the Co-op find investors, opined that it the agreement was fair for the bank and that related expenditure would have a neutral impact on the bank.You May LikeNew ArenaWhen This Children’s Hospital Doctor Saw The Faces Of His Young Patients, He Knew How To Cheer Them UpNew ArenaUndoTopsJournal.xyz10 Most Beautiful Places In IndiaTopsJournal.xyzUndoHealthZapMulti-Millionaire Does The Unthinkable In A Cave Fearing The Consequences of The Cold WarHealthZapUndo Clear winner in first round of Kition bishop voteUndoKorkolis brings magic to the stageUndoProperty owners price themselves out of the marketUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Energy MoU signed with Palestine

first_imgENERGY Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation between Cyprus and Palestine following a meeting with chairman of Palestine’s Energy Authority Dr Omar Kittaneh.The MoU, signed during a meeting of Cypriot and Palestine delegations in Nicosia, provides for the establishment of a Joint Committee, which will set out the framework for conducting dialogue between the two sides on energy-related issues.It provides for the holding of meetings, exchange of information and staff and the realisation of joint training initiatives.The memorandum covers the exploration of opportunities for cooperation in the field of energy, notably in the sectors of electricity and renewable energy sources. You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoSenior Living | Search AdsCheap Senior Apartments in Rowland Heights Are Turning HeadsSenior Living | Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Retail trade value and volume rise in October

first_imgBy Stelios OrphanidesRetail trade value and volume rose in October 20014 a provisional 0.9 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively compared to the month before, the statistical service said.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

An agonising attempt to break the deadlock

first_imgBy Christos P. PanayiotidesTHE Security Council, in its resolution 2453 (2019), requested the UN Secretary-General to submit a report by 15 April on the progress attained towards reaching a consensus starting point for meaningful results-oriented negotiations for resolving the Cyprus problem.In the resolution, the Security Council also urged the sides to agree terms of reference which would constitute a consensus starting point for such negotiations, leading to a settlement within a foreseeable horizon and to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under United Nations auspices.  The report, which focuses on developments from October 6, 2018 to April 10, 2019, was submitted by the due date.Reading the report leaves little room for doubt that the progress attained over the past six months in reaching the objectives that were set by the Security Council was very limited, if any.In his report, the Secretary-General is very careful not to assign blame for this lack of progress.  To the extent that he does, he blames both sides on an equal basis in an attempt to avoid alienating any one of the parties, at what he considers to be a critical stage of the process.I am certain that in the event of a failure to break the deadlock, he will not be as reserved as he is at this stage in assigning responsibilities.  It follows that the two sides are well advised not to make such a naive assumption about the future in formulating their present stand.An extremely interesting part of the report is the following paragraph, which is set out verbatim:  “I remain convinced that for a solution to be sustainable, the two communities will have to be well-informed about the contours of a settlement as well as the consequences of not achieving it.  This requires an open and constructive discourse that transcends polarizing rhetoric and that focuses on the benefits for all Cypriots.  More efforts in this regard are essential and I encourage the sides, in particular the two leaders, to consider ways in which positive messaging and greater information about the process and the overall context can be further strengthened.”This is exactly the message that I have been transmitting in my articles for a long-time.  For some peculiar reason, which I fail to understand, the Greek Cypriot leader consistently ignores the need to do exactly what the Secretary-General is advocating.In fairness to him, I must say that I do not speak Turkish and, as a consequence, my ability to follow closely what is happening on the other side of the fence is, indeed, very limited, resulting in my inability to pass judgement on the Turkish Cypriot leader on this issue.What I also found to be a clear warning in the report was the following reference:  “The Council has been consistent over the decades in its support for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation that reflects the political equality of the two communities on Cyprus.  To aid the parties in advancing toward this vision, on 30 June 2017, I offered a framework of six points to help clarify the differences on key issues.  I urge the parties to constructively consider these points.”  I read this as saying wake up this may be your last chance. Christos Panayiotides is a regular columnist for the Cyprus Mail, Sunday Mail and AlithiaYou 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 Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Building permits up 42 in January to July Cystat says

first_imgThe construction area of projects that obtained a building permit in the first seven months of the year rose 42 per cent, to 773,251 square meters, compared to the respective period of 2016 and their value rose 49 per cent, to €857.6m, the statistical service said.This is mainly due to a 41 per cent year-on-year increase in the construction areas of housing projects that received a building permit, to 607,547 square meters, and a 50 per cent rise in their value, to €623.1m, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Thursday. The construction area of non-housing projects rose 18 per cent, to 131,427 square meters, and their value 11 per cent, to €136.2m.The number of residential units that received building permits rose 40 per cent in January to July, to 2,807, compared to a year before, Cystat said. Almost half of them are detached houses.Building permits are a significant leading economic indicator.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 AboutLivestlyUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Bill cosponsored by Bumstead honoring Trooper Butterfield signed into law by Gov

first_img10Feb Bill co-sponsored by Bumstead honoring Trooper Butterfield signed into law by Gov. Snyder State Rep. Jon Bumstead joined Rep. Ray Franz in honoring State Trooper Paul K. Butterfield at a recent bill signing with Gov. Rick Snyder that named a portion of M-116 in Mason County after the fallen trooper.House Bill 5257, now Public Act 441 of 2014, was introduced by Franz and co-sponsored by Bumstead to honor the fallen trooper, who was shot in the line of duty on Sept. 9, 2013. After serving in the Army, Butterfield joined the state police in 1999 and transferred in 2011 to Hart Post #66, located in Oceana County.“Paul was a kind-hearted man who bravely served our community by protecting us and upholding our state’s laws,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to take part in honoring this officer for giving the ultimate sacrifice while serving our state.“By memorializing him with this highway, we celebrate his life and his profound influence on the lives of all who knew him.”Trooper Butterfield’s fiancé, Jennifer Sielski, and his mother, Pat Butterfield, were also present at the bill-signing ceremony, along with members of the Mason County sheriff’s department and state police troopers.The Trooper Paul K. Butterfield II Memorial Highway is located on M-116 in Mason County, beginning at Lincoln River and stretching north to Big Sable River.### Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rep Franz welcomes granddaughter to State of the State address

first_img20Jan Rep. Franz welcomes granddaughter to State of the State address Categories: Featured news,News Tags: #SB, Franz, HD101, MISOTS16 center_img LANSING, MI – Onekama lawmaker State Rep. Ray Franz, right, welcomed granddaughter Meghan Franz, left, to the House chamber tonight to hear Gov. Rick Snyder’s State the State address.“It is a true blessing to have my granddaughter here with me tonight to share in this experience,” Rep. Franz said. “Like so many Michigan families across the state, family comes first and my family means everything to me. This is also a great opportunity for Meghan to see what her grandpa really does in Lansing. This will be the last address I attend in the House chambers as state representative and I couldn’t think of a better person I’d rather have at my side than Meghan.”Meghan Franz is originally from Toledo, Ohio and is currently a sophomore at Northwood University studying marketing and finance. “I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to attend the State of the State with my Grandpa,” Meghan said.  “He has served his constituents with dignity and integrity and I am so proud of him.”######last_img read more

Rep Cole to serve on two key House committees

first_img State Rep. Triston Cole has been appointed by Speaker Lee Chatfield to serve as vice chair of the House Government Operations Committee and as a member of the House Transportation Committee.The Government Operations Committee will be one of just four main committees with the authority to advance legislation to the House floor during the 2019-20 legislative session.Cole, who was previously selected by his colleagues to serve as majority floor leader for the next two years, said he is pleased to have an opportunity to continue working on a wide range of issues. As majority floor leader, Cole will help decide which proposals are considered by legislators and lead parliamentary procedure on the House floor, among other duties.“While the bulk of my time will be spent managing the day-to-day operations of the House floor activities, I am also looking forward to continuing work on issues important to Northern Michigan families,” said Cole, of Mancelona. “Michigan has come a long way in the last four years, but there’s more work to be done. I’m honored to play a leading role in our continued effort to make Michigan a better place to live, work and play.”Cole, in his third House term, has more than 20 years of leadership experience at the state and local level. He previously chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during the 2017-18 term.### Categories: Cole News 17Jan Rep. Cole to serve on two key House committeeslast_img read more

Congressional Grilling of Planned Parenthoods CEO More Like Flailing

first_imgShare1TweetShareEmail1 Sharescan you hear me? / Stefan PowellSeptember 29, 2015; Washington PostWith so many declaring that they will personally spearhead investigations into Planned Parenthood’s alleged selling of fetal tissue, one would have thought that CEO Cecile Richards would have been answering questions about that yesterday as she appeared for a grilling in front of a House oversight committee, one of six panels she is scheduled to attend. Instead, there was a great deal of relatively confused posturing that played like an adolescent mob. The Washington Post described the hearing as five hours of “hectoring and finger-wagging” that wandered into such areas as Richards’s salary level and the organization’s travel expenses.In the hearing announcement, the GOP announced that due to the “disturbing nature” of the sting videos on which the “baby parts” rhetoric is based, questions must be raised about Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funding. Not only have the videos been shown to be doctored, but when Democratic committee members requested to have the videos’ maker, David Daleiden, appear in front of today’s panel, GOP members refused. Committee chair Jason Chaffetz said the videos were unavailable in full and, oh yes, he confessed, “Without the videos, we can’t have a good discussion about them.”In general, Chaffetz and other members of the committee covered their lack of content with bluster. Chaffetz at one point put up a slide that purported to show Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings declining as the number of its abortions spiked. When Richards said she didn’t know where those numbers came from, Chaffetz was outraged. “You’re going to deny?” he said, claiming they came from Planned Parenthood reports.Richards begged to disagree. “Excuse me, my lawyer is informing me that the source of this is actually Americans United for Life, which is an antiabortion group. So, I would check your source.”But, let’s face it; the GOP is at a disadvantage in that, according to polls, many more Americans have a good impression of Planned Parenthood than they have of the GOP. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Americans have a generally favorable image of Planned Parenthood, with 41 percent viewing the group favorably and 31 percent unfavorably, and this indicates that the nonprofit’s approval ratings have increased slightly during this last flap, though that may be due to the margin of error. By contrast, a mere 29 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the Republican Party and 45 percent view it unfavorably. Additionally, that poll found 61 percent of Americans oppose the defunding of Planned Parenthood.Meanwhile, in other developments: In Missouri, a state investigation released its finding that Planned Parenthood in that state does not in any way mishandle or profit from donations of fetal tissue. Dan Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and his wife illustrator Lisa Brown pledged a million dollars to the organization, and a Utah judge blocked Governor Herbert’s order to cut off state funds to the organization..@lisabrowndraws & I are giving 1 million dollars to @PPFA. We’ve been very fortunate, and good fortune should be shared with noble causes.— Daniel Handler (@DanielHandler) September 28, 2015So does all this mean that Planned Parenthood is headed toward a less turbulent time? We doubt it. The organization is likely in for an even more rocky journey, during which every detail in the large organization will be scrutinized.—Ruth McCambridgeShare1TweetShareEmail1 Shareslast_img read more

A Necessary Component of True CSR Chobani Workers Get Ownership Shares

first_imgShare15Tweet5Share19Email39 SharesMay 1, 2016; Los Angeles TimesLast week, NPQ published an interview with Douglas Rushkoff suggesting that we might be seeing more worker-owned businesses in the future as the country becomes more focused on equity and sustainability in the economy, and this story may be a strong model for such emerging forms.Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of Chobani yogurt, announced to his company’s 2000 employees last week that each worker would be given “Chobani Shares” based on the workers’ tenure and role at the privately-held company. These can be converted to cash or shares if the company goes public or is sold.Ulukaya is a Turkish immigrant who has actively advocated for other businesses to hire more refugees. Not only has pledged to give away half his wealth, but this latest commitment to worker ownership principles has raised his CSR (corporate social responsibility) profile considerably. In his mind, the commitment is not a gift but “a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility,” he wrote in a memo to employees. “How we built this company matters to me, but how we grow it matters even more. I want you to be a part of this growth—I want you to be the driving force of it.”Bruce Elliott, manager of compensation and benefits for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), said that although startup tech companies, for example, will incentivize employees with ownership shares, it’s rare to see founders offer workers shares when the company is already on a strong growth trajectory. Moreover, although many companies may include shares of stock in the compensation of the higher-ups, it is rare to see such distributions among rank-and-file employees.Elliott says that in making the commitment, Ulukaya is diluting his own stake in Chobani, but the move could ensure natural alliances among investors, preempt unionization efforts, and create a stronger connection between workers and management. “It definitely creates an ownership culture,” he said. “It focuses not only management but employees on bottom-line and top-line figures.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare15Tweet5Share19Email39 Shareslast_img read more

Trainings Advance Nationally to Stem Police Violence Against People with Disabilities

first_imgShare43TweetShareEmail43 SharesPixabay. Public Domain. [CC 0]March 23, 2017; St. Louis TodayAfter multiple police shootings of people with disabilities, along with violent arrests, nonprofit organizations are working with law enforcement to train officers on how to assess situations and best communicate with suspects who may have communication, learning, or other disabilities. The scenario reminds us in some ways of the battered women’s movement of thirty years ago. Then, as now, it was a national network of nonprofits with violence-against-women programs that advocated with localities and states (as well as nationally) to help deliver police trainings and raise awareness.The cases of the last few years clearly indicate that too many police do not receive enough instruction to develop an adequate understanding of how disabilities might manifest and how to react appropriately. Although officers do receive some training, Captain Gary Higginbotham of the Jefferson County Police Department in St. Louis believes that “Fear causes a lot of these issues.”Thomas Horejes, executive director of Deaf, Inc., a nonprofit organization in St. Louis, offers some scenarios when he trains law enforcement. Take, for example, the arrest of a deaf person. To start with, the suspect may not hear sirens or the officer’s voice over the loudspeaker. If the suspect starts using animated sign language in an attempt to communicate, the potential is there for the officer to misunderstand what the deaf person is doing, particularly if there is an object in their hand. If the officer attempts to handcuff the deaf person, they may become incredibly frightened, as their primary means of communication is with their hands. From the officer’s point of view, this can be interpreted as resisting an arrest. Deaf, Inc. works closely not only with police departments but also deaf people in the community so each understands the other’s perspective and can change behavior as needed.Similarly, advocates have designed trainings to teach law enforcement how to recognize and respond appropriately to persons with developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, and Down syndrome. Particularly in the case of autism spectrum disorders, characteristics such as lack of eye contact that are common for those on the spectrum can be confusing for officers. Persons with cerebral palsy, seizures, or traumatic brain injury can present with slurred speech, a dazed look, and trouble walking that may appear as intoxication.Some states have gone beyond offering trainings and have proposed laws requiring such trainings for officers. Just last week, the Connecticut legislature unanimously approved a law that would require officers to participate in training focused on interacting with persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities. A bill proposed in Ohio takes a different route. Ohio lawmakers proposed creating a voluntary registry for persons with disabilities that officers can access prior to or during an arrest. Such a system could take the purported burden off of the police officers who need to concurrently identify a disability, respond appropriately, assess the situation for threats, and potentially make an arrest. It would also relieve the need for a person with a disability to communicate that disability in a tense or stressful situation.To some extent, this stands as an update to a problem long recognized by police departments and in research. NPQ first wrote about this serious civil rights issue in 2015 in a newswire entitled “Excessive Police Force toward Persons with Disabilities Needs National Discussion,” which brought to our attention the Ruderman Foundation’s excellent materials on the matter. Sometimes, there can be a long pause between the identification of an issue like this and the implementation of new standards. Regardless, further training is needed for both persons with disabilities and law enforcement to reduce the occurrence of misunderstanding and violence.—Sheela NimishakaviShare43TweetShareEmail43 Shareslast_img read more

Two Education Appointments to Worry Over If You Care about Civil Rights

first_imgShare67Tweet6Share2Email75 SharesApril 2, 2017; Washington Post and Education WeekConcerns about the Trump administration’s commitment to protecting civil liberties rose this week. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that he has ordered a review of the Justice Department’s efforts to combat police racism made front-page news. Less attention was paid to two appointments to two senior positions at the U.S. Department of Education that may portend a serious change in that department’s approach to combatting discrimination in public schools.Within the Department of Education, its Office for Civil Rights was established “to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.” During the Obama administration, an aggressive OCR leadership saw its caseload grow to more than 16,000 complaints annually. The recent nominations of Carlos Muñiz as the Education Department’s general counsel and Candice Jackson as acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights appear to be strong signs that President Trump and Secretary DeVos want to make the department’s civil rights efforts less vigorous.Jackson’s new position gives her the power to direct the OCR in its task of serving “student populations facing discrimination and the advocates and institutions promoting systemic solutions to civil rights problems.” Her legal experience includes a stint at Judicial Watch, a “conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law,” and a private practice in Vancouver, Washington. It remains unclear what experience she has in civil rights law and its specific application in the work of the Education Department’s OCR.Mr. Muñiz as general counsel becomes the department’s lawyer-in-chief. While not directly responsible for the operation of the OCR, he will influence its enforcement efforts, how and when it chooses to litigate in response to complaints it receives, and the department’s investigations of potential bias. According to Education Week, Muñiz “was most recently a senior vice president at the consulting firm McGuire Woods, was the deputy attorney general and chief of staff to Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general and a Trump ally. Before that, he was deputy general counsel under former Florida governor Jeb Bush.…[While at] McGuire Woods…he defended a Florida public university in a government investigation and civil litigation over Title IX compliance issues.”Secretary DeVos is on record as seeing her department as having only a limited need to intervene in how local authorities operate their schools, despite data indicating that public schools continue to racially segregate. In an interview covered by Axios, she described her thinking.I think in some of the areas around protecting students and ensuring safe environments for them, there is a role to play. […] When we had segregated schools and…girls weren’t allowed to have the same kind of sports teams—I mean, there have been important inflection points for the federal government to get involved. But are there any remaining issues like that where the federal government should intervene? I can’t think of any now.Both Jackson and Muñiz require U.S. Senate confirmation, so we will have the opportunity to learn if these first impressions are accurate. For anyone who worries about equality in public education, these will be hearings to watch closely.—Martin LevineShare67Tweet6Share2Email75 Shareslast_img read more