DP World Bags 30Year Port Concession Deal in Congo

first_imgzoom Dubai-based port developer DP World has won a 30-year concession with an option of a further 20-year extension for the management and development of a greenfield multi-purpose port project at Banana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).The Port of Banana will be the first deep-sea port in the country along its small coastline of 37 kilometres, which currently only has the riverine port of Matadi.Under the deal, DP World plans to set up a joint venture with 70 pct control with the government of DRC holding a 30 pct share, to manage and invest in the port.The first phase of the greenfield project, with an estimated initial investment of USD 350 million, will include a 600-metre quay and 25-hectare yard extension with a container capacity of 350,000 TEU and 1.5 million tonnes for general cargo, DP World said.The construction is expected to start in 2018 and will take approximately 24 months to complete.The initial investment of USD 350 million will be spread over 24 months and the total project cost of more than USD 1 billion over four phases will be dependent on market demand for the port, industrial and logistics zone infrastructure, DP World said.The development gives the Democratic Republic of the Congo the opportunity to reduce its dependency on the neighbouring countries’ ports.“ Investment in this deep-water port will have a major impact on the country’s trade with significant cost and time savings, attracting more direct calls from larger vessels from Asia and Europe, and ultimately acting as a catalyst for the growth of the country and the region’s economy, “ Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said.As explained, for DP World, the investment in Congo is part of the company’s push to enlarge its footprint in Africa and promises to deliver attractive returns to shareholders over the longer-term.“The Port of Banana will offer the first deep-water port to the Democratic Republic of the Congo that will dramatically improve the cost and time of trade as the majority of the cargo is still handled by neighbouring countries,” Jose Makila Sumanda, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Communications, Democratic Republic of the Congo, said.“The project will provide us with a first-class marine facility comparable to other African countries in terms of capacity, draft and ability to handle the latest generation of vessels.”Separately, the company reported that it has signed two framework agreements with the government of Kazakhstan relating to the acquisition, governance and management of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Aktau and Khorgos.Following the agreements, DP World now plans to acquire a 51 pct stake in the Khorgos SEZ and 49 pct in the Aktau SEZ in line with the development of the New Silk Route and the Belt and Road Initiative.last_img read more

The NBA Playoffs Sleepers Favorites And Best FirstRound Matchups

4Cavaliers50-3216251444510 At long last, it’s time to put regular-season basketball in the rearview mirror and move on to the NBA’s main event — the playoffs are finally here! And FiveThirtyEight is here, too, to help predict how it’ll all go down. With the help of our CARM-Elo projection model, and the betting odds1According to Sportsbook.ag. as a second opinion, what follows is our survey of both the Eastern and Western Conference postseason landscapes. And in a departure from last season, when the Warriors were near-universal favorites on the eve of the playoffs, there’s actually some uncertainty in the playoff outlook this time around. TeamRecordRatingWin Conf.Win TitleWin Conf.Win Title 7Bucks44-3815001<120 CARM-Elo chancesVegas chances How Elo is forecasting the Western Conference playoffsAs of April 12 8Wizards43-391487<1<121 7Spurs47-3516226310 Vegas odds based on the implied probability of betting line.Source: VegasInsider.com 6Heat44-381491<1<110 5Pacers48-3415473<110 1Raptors59-23168342%17%29%7% 5Jazz48-3416639531 TeamRecordRatingWin Conf.Win TitleWin Conf.Win Title Vegas odds based on the implied probability of betting line.Source: VegasInsider.com 376ers52-3016593011175 CARM-Elo ChancesVegas Chances Statistical favorite: The numbers say this might finally be a breakthrough year for the Toronto Raptors, who are in the playoffs for a fifth straight season but have only one conference finals appearance (and zero NBA Finals berths) to show for it. Everything seemed to come together for Toronto this season, from a mega-efficient offense to a defense that improved to fifth-best in basketball. Add in a career year from DeMar DeRozan and a world-beating second unit, and the result was the top seed in the East — with a 42 percent chance to win the conference, according to CARM-Elo. That number is much higher than the 30 percent chance that CARM-Elo is giving the 76ers, the team our model thinks has the second-best chance of making it to the NBA Finals. And it’s hugely better than the 14 percent we’re giving the three-time defending conference champion Cavaliers. If the regular-season indicators mean anything, Toronto has earned every bit of its favorite status.Betting favorite: Another year, another case of the stats underrating the Cleveland Cavaliers’ chances in the East. Our model struggled to assess the Cavs last season too, and LeBron James’s squad proved the data wrong by tearing through the East with only one loss en route to the NBA Finals. The same scenario is shaping up to happen this season — and Vegas knows it. That’s probably why the Cavs are favored by the markets to win the conference again (albeit as less of a favorite than in the past), despite a regular season that was unimpressive by the standards of a LeBron team. In the battle between skepticism over Cleveland’s inconsistent form and trust that James can will his team to an eighth consecutive NBA Finals,2Including his time with Miami and his second stint in Cleveland. the bettors are still giving LeBron the benefit of the doubt.Dark horse: Although our ratings are higher on the Philadelphia 76ers than the Las Vegas odds are, both predictions think the Sixers are an intriguing pick to contend for the East crown. On the one hand, Philly’s near-total lack of playoff seasoning is a troublesome indicator for the postseason, where experience matters more than we sometimes acknowledge. (A late-season injury to star big man Joel Embiid also complicates matters; Embiid is recovering but probably won’t be ready for Game 1 of Philadelphia’s opening series with the Heat.) But Philadelphia is loaded with talent, from Embiid down low to likely rookie of the year Ben Simmons at the point and No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, who on Wednesday became the youngest player to post a triple-double. The Sixers are also playing at something close to peak form going into the playoffs, having won 16 straight games to close out the regular season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest winning streak ever for a team entering the playoffs, and it’s one big reason why both our model and the Vegas odds list Philly as the only East team other than Cleveland or Toronto with a double-digit probability of winning the conference title.Best first-round series: The East doesn’t have as many quality first-round duels as the West, but the Celtics and Bucks should be an interesting matchup. Boston lost its star player, Kyrie Irving, with just a week to go before the playoffs. The Celtics have home-court advantage and enough supporting talent to win a postseason series without Irving, but the onus will be on Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier to cap off their breakout seasons with great playoff performances. On the Milwaukee side, the Bucks have largely underachieved this season, although they’ve been slightly better after firing Jason Kidd in January. They also have the best individual player in the series by far, according to Basketball-Reference.com’s Value Over Replacement Player, in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak had an MVP-type season this year, and he possesses the skills to potentially take over a series all by himself. It’s been a year since the Bucks put a scare into the Raptors before losing in the first round, and Milwaukee could be poised to actually win this time around. 2Warriors58-241628844435 3Trail Blazers49-3316126332 4Thunder48-3416589532 2Celtics55-2715789231 6Pelicans48-3415954210 1Rockets65-17177257%44%44%35% 8Timberwolves47-3515651<110 How Elo is forecasting the Eastern Conference playoffsAs of April 12 Statistical favorite: After years of taking a backseat as Golden State dominated our pre-playoff predictions, the Houston Rockets are now front-runners to win the West. Specifically, CARM-Elo gives soon-to-be MVP James Harden and friends a 57 percent chance of making their first NBA Finals appearance this summer. Incredulous? Fine, but doubt Houston at your own peril. Remember that this season’s Rockets team shares many of the same characteristics with the Warriors back when Golden State was first making the climb toward transcendence. Teams that produce all-time great seasons like Houston has this season tend to win NBA titles at a tremendously high rate. Nothing in the regular-season numbers suggests that the Rockets should be anything other than solid favorites to take the conference — if not more.Betting favorite: There is a huge disparity between the chance our model gives the Golden State Warriors of winning the championship and what the betting markets say. CARM-Elo gives the defending NBA champs only an 8 percent chance of winning the West, tied to the team’s relatively unexceptional 58-win campaign that ended with Steph Curry injured and Steve Kerr calling his team out over a series of listless final-month losses. And yet, Golden State remains the betting market’s Western Conference co-favorite (alongside the Rockets), with an implied 44 percent chance of going to the NBA Finals for a fourth-straight season. Similar to the situation with the Cavaliers, the Warriors’ strong odds can be attributed to disagreement over how much we should read into a talented team’s regular-season struggles. The oddsmakers are clearly putting a lot more weight on Golden State’s track record than what we’ve seen on the court in 2017-18 — and considering how well we know the Warriors are capable of playing, that’s probably a good call.Dark horse: The West is so crazy that we could highlight a few teams here, but the Utah Jazz stand out in particular. According to CARM-Elo, they rank as the NBA’s third-best team going into the playoffs — trailing only the Rockets and Raptors — even after making our adjustment for playoff experience (of which the Jazz have very little). Utah put itself in a bit of an unfortunate position by losing to Portland on the final day of the regular season, which dropped the Jazz from the No. 3 seed down to No. 5. As a result, Utah lost home-court advantage in the first round, and the formidable Thunder were locked in as its first-round opponent. (It also set them up for a potential second-round collision course with the Rockets.) Even so, our model lists the Jazz as tied with OKC for the second-best chances of winning the West, and they could prove a dangerous opponent for the top seeds if they make it out of the first round.Best first-round series: CARM-Elo says the closest matchup of the first round is the aforementioned clash between the Thunder and Jazz. Oklahoma City is a slim favorite at 52 percent, by virtue of having home-court advantage. But these teams are very evenly matched: Both posted 48-34 records, and only 5 points of CARM-Elo separate their ratings. This one might be a referendum of sorts on the importance of playoff seasoning — the Jazz are the least-experienced team in the postseason field, while the Thunder rank fourth-highest behind only the Cavaliers, Warriors and Spurs. That edge might be enough to push OKC over the top, although whoever wins the prize likely has a date with the Rockets in the next round. Enjoy these teams while they last.Check out our latest NBA predictions.CORRECTION (April 12, 2018, 4:45 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the possibility of the Utah Jazz facing the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round if the Jazz had won their final game. Although Utah would have been the No. 3 seed if it had won, it could have played several different teams depending on the results of other games. read more

LIBRARY LINEUP How To Talk To The Other Side on Sept 10

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below is a list of FREE upcoming programs for adults, teens and kids at the Wilmington Memorial Library.Registration begins 30 days prior to the event. Please register online using our Calendar of Events at www.wilmlibrary.org or by calling (978) 694-2099 (for Adult) or (978) 694-2098 (for Children/Teen). Please note we request registration for programs that are marked *RR. Thank you to the Friends of the Library for funding support for library programs!Adult EventsIntro to the Cloud *RRWednesday, September 4, 7 pmLearn about that mysterious Cloud. Technology Librarian Brad McKenna will discuss such cloud-based technologies as email, file storage, music/movie streaming, and more.Pints + Pages Book Group *RRThursday, September 5, 7 pmFeatured Book: Killers of the Flower Moon by David GrannLocation: Red Heat Tavern (patio)-WilmingtonSocial book group geared towards readers in their 20’s and 30’s. The group meets on the first Thursday of every other month.  Librarians from the Wilmington and Reading Public Libraries host the book discussion.Fiction Critique Group*RRSaturday, September 7, 9:15 am Love writing fiction? Whether you are drafting a short story or a novel, joining our Critique Group is a great opportunity to meet other writers and get constructive feedback in a supportive environment. When registering, please provide your email address so you can receive an agenda and any prep materials before the meeting. Open to all experience levels writing in all genres. Led by local writing enthusiast, Barbara Alevras.Great Decisions Discussion Series (cost $10 per person)Mondays, September 9, 16, 30, and October 7, 7:30 pmWednesdays, September 18 and 25, 7 pmThis six-session Great Decisions program focuses on some of the most thought provoking foreign policy challenges facing Americans. Long time facilitator Keith West will lead the four Monday night sessions and Library Trustee and high school history teacher Dan Hall will lead the two Wednesday night sessions. Register at the Main DeskInternet Search Strategies *RRTuesday, September 10, 10 amHaving trouble finding what you are looking for online? Learn effective strategies for getting the best results from search engines like Google.How to Talk to the Other Side* RRTuesday, September 10, 6:30 pmMediumship is the ability to sense the Spirit of those who have lived on earth before and decipher the messages they wish to share with us. In an intimate setting, Kim Dunsmore and Leslie Gabriele (www.withloveandgratitude.com) will relay messages from family, loved ones, and friends who have passed from your life. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods for the Wilmington Food Pantry.Stephen Bates Quartet* RRThursday, September 12, 7 pmThe Stephen Bates Quartet will perform an eclectic program of classical music featuring works by the three Bs — Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms — as well as pieces by 20th-21st century composers Astor Piazzolla, Bela Bartok, and Armando Ghidoni. These highly regarded musicians and teachers have performed in orchestras and chamber groups around the globe.Kids & Teen EventsTeen Advisory Board *RRTuesday, September 3, 7 pmThis is your chance to tell us what library programs you want to attend and what books, movies, and games we should have available for checkout in the Teen Zone. You’ll earn one hour of community service for your time and input into making the library a more teen-centered place!Wednesday, September 4, 6:30 pm*RRMagic Show with Stephen BrennerCome see an educational, fun, and interactive magic show filled with animals who appear and disappear! Children will learn about and get to pet animals in between magic tricks during this silly and entertaining show! Ages 4+LEGO Building Thursday, September 5, 3:45 pmBuild a unique LEGO creation.  Kindergarten+SAT Practice Test *RRGrades 10-12Saturday, September 7, 12:30-4:30 pmPractice the SAT for free! Students take the entire 3 hour and 50 minute test allowing an extra 25 minutes for breaks, and then receive their results courtesy of The Princeton Review. Please bring pencils and a scientific calculator.Wilmington Community PlaygroupMonday, September 9, 9:30 amAt this drop-in playgroup we will begin with a story and then play together! Led by the CTI Family Resource Network.Ages 2-5Art Adventures *RRTuesday, September 10, 3:45Create your own masterpiece! We’ll explore different forms of media and techniques to make one of a kind artwork for you to take home.  Grades 1-5Read to Thor *RRTuesday, September 10, 5-6:30Come read to Thor, a beautiful dog who loves to listen to kids read! Sign up for one 15 minute session per reader.Kindergarten Book Club *RRThursday, September 12, 3:45This book club is for Kindergarteners who miss storytime or those who love to be read to. We will read and discuss a few books together, then do a fun activity.Labor Day Weekend HoursThe library will be closed Saturday, August 31 through Monday, September 2.(NOTE: The above listings are from the Wilmington Memorial Library.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.comShare this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedLIBRARY LINEUP: Library To Host 6-Week Great Decisions Series On Foreign Policy TopicsIn “Community”LIBRARY LINEUP: FREE Bach, Beethoven, & Brahams Concert On Sept. 12In “Community”LIBRARY LINEUP: Storytime at Farmers Market on Aug. 4; Revere Beach Memories on Aug. 5In “Community”last_img read more

Its official Salman Khan thrilled to romance Alia Bhatt in Sanjay Leela

first_imgSalman Khan, Alia Bhatt and Sanjay Leela BhansaliCollage of photos taken from Twitter and FacebookBollywood superstar Salman Khan and actress Alia Bhatt have confirmed the news that they will be seen together in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming Bollywood movie titled Inshallah.Sanjay Leela Bhansali had earlier worked with Salman Khan in movies like Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999). Of late, it was rumoured that they will come back together after 20 years. The filmmaker took to his Twitter account to put all the rumour mills to rest.Bhansali Productions tweeted, “Finally all speculations and wait end as 2019 brings together #SLB, @BeingSalmanKhan and @aliaa08 in his next film, #Inshallah. Wishing that this entire journey be filled with a lot of love and Inshallah, the team is blessed with hope and faith♥️ @SKFilmsOfficial @prerna982″Salman Khan took to his Twitter account to share his excitement over teaming up with Alia Bhatt in Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The B-Town superstar tweeted, “It’s been 20 years but I am glad Sanjay and I are finally back in his next film, Inshallah. Looking forward to work with Alia and inshallah we will all be blessed on this journey. #Inshallah #SLB @aliaa08 @bhansali_produc @SKFilmsOfficial”Alia Bhatt has worked with most of the popular Bollywood actors. This is for the first time she will be working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The actress tweeted, “I was 9 when I first walked into Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s office, all nervous and hoping and praying that I would be in his next film. It’s been a long wait.”Later, Alia Bhatt added, “Dream with your eyes wide open they say & I did. Sanjay Sir and Salman Khan are magical together & I can’t wait to join them on this beautiful journey called “Inshallah” ❤ #Inshallah #SLB @BeingSalmanKhan @bhansali_produc @SKFilmsOfficial @prerna982.”last_img read more

Vijay becomes one among commoners waits in the queue to cast his

first_imgA collage of Vijay standing in the queue to cast his vote.TwitterThalapathy Vijay is one among the many early birds to cast his vote in the second phase of Lok Sabha election held on Thursday, 18 April. The Tamil actor exercised his democratic right at a school in Adyar in Chennai.The Kaththi star was spotted around 7.20 am at the polling both. Vijay became one among the common people and waited in quite a long queue to cast his vote. His arrival had electrified the atmosphere as the people around him saw the star in awe.Vijay apparently smiled at the public and unwilling posed for the selfies. Notably, the actor refused to disappoint the kids who came to him for photographs.In fact, people around him recorded his presence in their cell phones and shared it on social media sites. As a result, the pictures and videos of Vijay at the polling booth have gone viral.Not just Vijay, Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Ajith Kumar, Khushbu Sundar, Suriya, Karthi, Jyothika, Meena, Shruti Haasan, Anirudh Ravichander among many others.Vijay is currently working on his next movie, presently referred to as Thalapathy 63. Atlee Kumar-directorial movie is a sport drama, which has Nayanthara in the female lead, while Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff is playing the role of a villain.The shooting of the film is underway in a massive set erected on the outskirts of Chennai. Vijay has taken a day off to cast his vote.The second phase of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections is being held on April 18 in 95 seats in 11 states and one union territory (Puducherry). In Tamil Nadu, the voting process is happening in 38 constituencies that include Chennai Central, Chennai North and Chennai South where large number of celebrities reside.#Thalapathy #Vijay waiting in queue to cast his vote pic.twitter.com/xM1vaO7Lfh— FridayCinemaa (@FridayCinemaa) April 18, 2019 @actorvijay casts his vote in the #2019LokSabhaElections today #Elections2019 #ElectionDay #LokSabhaElections2019 #LoksabhaElections #Kollywood #Kollywoodcinemaa #TamilNadu #TamilNaduElections pic.twitter.com/XFM8rU7LGi— Manigandan K R (@cineobserver) April 18, 2019 Thalaivaaaaa ???? Mr. Joseph Vijay ??#Vijay #ThalapathyVijay #Elections2019 #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/vpUdf5u5wE— Rajnandan Vfc (@Rajnandan2210) April 18, 2019last_img read more

Nokia confirms participation in MWC 2017 Finnish company poised to return with

first_img[Representational Image] Nokia confirms participation in MWC 2017; Finnish company poised to return with a bang. In Picture: Nokia office buildingReutersFormer mobile phone pioneer Nokia has confirmed to participate in the next year’s globally acclaimed MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2017, hinting the Finnish company is ready for the second innings in smartphone business.Nokia (via Twitter) announced that the company’s CEO Rajeev Suri will present keynote speech at MWC 2017, which is scheduled to kick off at Barcelona (February 27-March 02).The revelation comes days after Nokia became legally free to start work on mobiles phones.Also read: Samsung brings Galaxy Note7’s key display feature to Galaxy S7 series via software updateIn 2014, the Finnish company, while parting the mobile division to Microsoft, had agreed not to launch a Nokia-branded phone until the fourth quarter of 2016. Nokia had only sold its smartphone division to Microsoft, while its Nokia-branded feature phone business was sold to HMD Global Oy and Foxconn.With the period of the non-compete clause coming to an end in September, Nokia’s affiliate HMD Global Oy last week re-hired ex-Nokia veteran Pekka Rantala (former Rovio CEO), as their new chief marketing officer to lead the mobile division.Just a two months ago, Mike Wang, president, joint management team, Nokia China, confirmed that the company planned to launch two smartphones and two tablets and probably debut around December.We’re excited to share the news: our CEO Rajeev Suri will deliver a keynote at #MWC17. Read more: https://t.co/HNdnn46tED pic.twitter.com/mU9XPXFHMd— Nokia (@nokia) October 15, 2016Nokia confirms participation in MWC 2017; Finnish company poised to return with a bangNokia via TwitterWith the new announcement, it looks like Nokia might delay the launch of the devices by a couple of months.Also read: New Apple iOS 10.0.3 update released, fixes cellular connectivity bug in iPhone 7 series [How to install]That said, specifications of the Android-powered two flagship Nokia phones and a tablet (code-named D1C) have surfaced online suggesting, Nokia has commenced the testing of the prototypes and may probably see the light of the day in late February, where rival Samsung is speculated to announce the new marquee phone, the Galaxy S8.Word on the street is that, Nokia, known for its expertise in cameras in top-notch Lumia-branded smartphones, is expected to incorporate superior SoC (System-on-Chip) and high-grade construction materials to take on the incumbent players—Samsung, Apple and Huawei.Nokia’s Android phones: What we know so farIt is widely reported that Nokia is working on two flagship phones with different sizes, one a 5.2-inch screen and another with 5.5-inch display. Except the size, both the devices are said to share similar internal hardware.They are expected to come with QHD OLED-based screen with 2560x1440p (2K) resolution and high-grade metal-based shell on the back with IP68 water-and-dust resistant certifications similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 series.Nokia D1C tablet: What we know so farUnlike the smartphones, Nokia D1C is said to be mid-range tablet and come with 13.8-inch full HD display having Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core CPU, Adreno 505 GPU, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, Android 7.0 Nougat, 13MP primary camera on the back and an 8MP front camera.Keep an eye on this space for more updates.last_img read more

Bomb recovery in BSMMU worries BNP about Khaledas life

first_imgBNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi. Prothom Alo File PhotoBangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has voiced deep concern over the life and security of its chairperson Khaleda Zia as a bomb-like object was reportedly recovered from the administrative building of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Thursday, reports UNB.Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Naya Paltan central office, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Friday demanded adequate security for their chairperson at the BSMMU where she has been receiving treatment since 1 April last.”How did a petrol bomb end up at the BSMMU amid tight security? We’re deeply worried over the life and security of our leader (Khaleda),” he said.The BNP leader said people suspect that such kind of incident cannot happen without either patronage of government high levels or a blue print of it.According to media reports, a crude bomb-like object was found in front of the registrar’s room at BSMMU administrative building on Thursday.Rizvi said the incident of the bomb recovery from BSMMU has stunned the country’s people since a three-time prime minister has been undergoing treatment at the hospital.He accused the government of making efforts to eliminate its political opposition through ‘destroying democracy’.Rizvi also said the government has kept their chairperson in jail unlawfully and deprived her of justice.He also demanded that the government ensure proper treatment of their chairperson.BNP leader also criticised the government over the demolition of the heritage building — ‘Jahajbari’ — in old Dhaka by ruling party men. “The incident has manifested that Awami League has turned into a grabbers’ party.”last_img read more

Local Law Enforcement HISD and HMAC Work Together On Project Safe Start

first_imgPhoto: HISD via Twitter / @HoustonISDHISD Police Chief Paul Cordova (center at podium) said during the launch of the 2018 edition of ‘Project Safe Start’ that the recent mass shooting at the Santa Fe High School is “weighing heavy on our hearts.”Once again, local law enforcement agencies, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and Houston Ministers Against Crime (HMAC) are working together on ‘Project Safe Start’ and this year the recent mass shooting at the Santa Fe High School is in the minds of the people involved in the initiative.Coinciding with the end of the school year and local students starting their summer vacation, ‘Project Safe Start’ entails increased law enforcement patrolling around schools and neighborhoods, especially near the so-called hot spots where trouble may arise because of, for instance, simmering feuds that some students might want to settle.The initiative, which has been going on for more than 20 years, covers mostly HISD’s middle and high schools.“You have some students who may be interested in settling scores or maybe interested in causing problems,” commented HPD Assistant Chief Sheryl Victorian during a press conference held on Tuesday to announce the launch of the 2018 edition of the initiative.References to Santa Fe“We could not come to this without the burden and the concerns of the Santa Fe situation,” noted Reverend F.N. Williams, II, from the Antioch Baptist Church church and a member of HMAC.Paul Cordova, Chief of HISD’s Police Department, also made a reference to the mass shooting and said that “it is weighing heavy on our hearts and we know how serious this is and we have our full attention on the matter.”Chief Cordova also commented his department is forming an Emergency Response Team that will be able to be deployed “rapidly,” although he didn’t provide details.The Police Department of Texas Southern University also takes part in ‘Project Safe Start’. Sharelast_img read more

Weighing The Costs of Pay Parity for Houstons Firefighters

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Andrew Schneider/Houston Public MediaOne of the biggest decisions facing Houston voters next month falls at the bottom of the ballot. Proposition B would require the city to start paying its firefighters the same as its police officers. The issue has driven a wedge between the firefighters and the mayor they once considered their ally.“The city of Houston has had pay parity between the fire department and police department since 1975,” says Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. “That was broken by the ex-police chief and then-Mayor Lee Brown in 2001.”Since then, the pay gap has grown wider under successive mayors. Houston is currently the largest city in the United States in which firefighters and police do not have pay parity. Lancton says his union campaigned hard for Mayor Sylvester Turner because they thought he’d change that.“We had a longtime, 26-year friend in [then-State] Representative Sylvester Turner,” Lancton says. “We went out and we helped Mayor Turner get elected. We put 1,200 firefighters on the streets, block walked 75,000 homes, just so that we could get somebody that would equally value the service and sacrifice. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.”Turner spent much of his first two years as mayor working to overhaul the city’s pension system to keep Houston out of bankruptcy. The mayor argues all that work will be undone if Proposition B passes.“You cannot add another $100 million to the bottom line under the revenue cap and expect to absorb this particular item,” Turner says.Lancton says Turner is just trying to scare voters. He points to the Fiscal Year 2016 budget on the city’s website. It’s the last budget that includes a breakdown for the fire department’s payroll. The firefighters haven’t had a raise since.“The mayor talks about a 20 percent base salary increase, 5 percent incentives,” Lancton says. “If you take what the mayor is out there telling the public, and you do the math, it’s nowhere near what the mayor is saying it costs.”The City Controller’s office, which acts as Houston’s financial watchdog, prepared its own analysis. Controller Chris Brown presented it to the City Council earlier this month.“We demonstrate the annualized cost due to pay parity could be as high as $85.1 million beginning in Fiscal Year 2020, and this $85 million does not include the proposed 7 percent raise for the Houston Police Department,” Brown said. Later that day, the council approved the raise negotiated with the police, driving up the projected cost of pay parity to more than $100 million a year.The cost argument is a familiar one for Lee Adler of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Adler advises firefighter unions from upstate New York to Los Angeles.“It just gets tiring to see these explanations advanced all over the country – north, south, east, and west – about why people who risk their lives every day are not entitled to get a wage that they believe they’re entitled to,” Adler says.Jay Aiyer disagrees. Aiyer teaches public affairs at Texas Southern University and served as chief of staff to former Mayor Lee Brown. He says that concept of fairness must account for the changing nature of what firefighters do.“About 85 percent of what [Houston firefighters] do now is EMT calls for service,” Aiyer says. “They spend as much time doing rescue work as they do fighting fires. So from a public safety perspective, they’ve changed dramatically. Police have largely stayed the same.”That’s one reason Houston police oppose Proposition B as strongly as the firefighters support it.“This is a self-imposed crisis on their part,” says Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union. “They voted down a 4 percent raise in 2014. They now refuse to accept a 9.5 percent raise from this mayor. So they have been treated fairly. They just refuse to accept the pay raises because they don’t want to take any concession.”Both Mayor Turner and Controller Brown say the only way to meet pay parity will be to lay off thousands of city employees. That’s what worries Gamaldi the most.“They’re going to have to lay off a minimum of 850 firefighters,” Gamaldi says, “and then they’re going to have to start laying off our cadets and our young police officers, and we simply cannot afford to lose a single police officer.”Police officers and firefighters both have critical, life-saving roles in Houston, but voters will decide next month whether their pay should be equal. Listen X 00:00 /03:58last_img read more

Murder of TMC worker Prime accused arrested

first_imgKolkata: The prime accused in connection with the murder of a Trinamool Congress worker in Cooch Behar was arrested on Saturday night from an area near the Indo-Bhutan border.Police said the arrested person, Avijit Barman, was behind the murder of Trinamool Congress worker Majid Ansari. It may be recalled that Majid was shot dead from a point black range on July 13. The police had earlier arrested five persons in this connection, but Avijit was at large. He was moving from one place to another. Finally, he had taken shelter in a hideout at the bordering Kumarganj area. He had chosen the bordering area to stay so that he could easily flee if police conducted raid to arrest him. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeActing on a tip off, a team comprising senior police officers went to Kumarganj and conducted a raid at the hideout. They found Avijit present there and arrested him. It may be recalled that Majid was attacked when he was returning from college. He was stopped at Chowpathy area by some people and shot at from a point blank range. Two bullets were fired at him. The first bullet had missed the target. But the second bullet hit him in the stomach. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedLocal people went to the spot hearing the sound of firing and found Majid lying in a pool of blood. Police went to the spot and took Majid to a hospital. He was finally admitted to a nursing home at Siliguri. He succumbed to his injuries after two weeks from the incident. Trinamool Congress leaders had demanded the arrest of the people involved in the incident and also organised a rally protesting against the murder of Majid. Police had initiated a case in this connection under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including murder (302 IPC) and criminal conspiracy (120B IPC). Police initiated a probe and names of six persons including that of Avijit had cropped up, who was at large since the incident. They had arrested five persons and continued their investigation in search of Avijit.last_img read more