Vermont report that shows today’s youth more engaged because of civics education efforts

first_imgVermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz has returned from the National Civics Summit in Minneapolis where she addressed national leaders in civics education and secretaries of state from around the country.  Markowitz released a report titled The Impact of Civics Education on the Attitudes, Behaviors and Disposition of Youth. The report analyzes the effect of mock election programs on young people s attitudes about government, politics and their own ability to be engaged and active citizens.Markowitz said, The report shows that the newest generation of Vermont adults will be more active and engaged than the ones before it. It also affirms the value of civic education programs and, in particular, mock election programs that teach kids the importance of voting.In 2007 the Secretary of State s Office undertook a study of Vermont students to assess the impact of the Vermont Votes for Kids mock election program on civic attitudes, behaviors and dispositions.  With the assistance of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the entire senior class of 2007 was surveyed.  Students answered questions about their participation in mock election programs during their school career and how they intend to participate in the democratic process in the future.  Students who were exposed to mock election programs were significantly more likely to say they are better informed about politics, understand the issues facing our country, and will vote in the future.  Students who accompanied a parent to the polling place scored even higher, confirming the belief that parental involvement is a key factor in shaping civic attitudes. These findings demonstrate the value of investing in civics education programs like Vermont Votes for Kids, said Markowitz.  When we teach young people the mechanics and value of voting, and provide them opportunities to develop and practice the skills necessary to be engaged citizens, we see results.Markowitz continued, It is our hope that the findings of the VSAC survey and this report will encourage educators, government officials, and opinion leaders to see the importance of civics education so that in future years every Vermont student is given an opportunity to participate in a civics education and mock election program.A copy of the report is available by calling 802-828-2148 or by visiting the Secretary of State s website at www.sec.state.vt.us/Mock_Election_Report.pdf(link is external).The Impact of Civics Education on the Attitudes, Behaviors and Disposition of YouthKey Facts and FindingsVermont s Mock Election Program.Vermont s first statewide mock election program was developed in 1999 by the Secretary of State s Office.  The program is currently called Vermont Votes for Kids.Vermont s mock election programs are voluntary.  Schools can choose to participate but are not required to do so.Mock election programs are offered every two years around the time of the general election and include classroom activities, curricular materials and a mock election that is held on or before Election Day.The VSAC survey showed that 72 percent of the seniors remembered participating in at least one mock election over the course of their school careers.Correlation Between Participation in a Mock Election Program and Civic Skills, Knowledge and Disposition.A. The key finding of the VSAC survey is that there is a strong correlation between students participation in a mock election program and their positive feelings about their civic skills, knowledge and dispositions. Students who participated in more than one mock election were 68 percent more likely than students who did not participate in a mock election to agree with the statement when political issues are discussed I have something to say.These students were also 84 percent more likely than non-participants to agree with the statement I am better informed about politics than most students.Students who participated in multiple mock elections were 62 percent more likely than non-participants to agree with the statement my education has helped me to understand the political issues facing the country. B. Students who participated in mock election programs reported greater civic knowledge and skills than their counterparts who did not experience a mock election program.Students who participated in mock elections were 78 percent more likely to say that they had learned how to research candidates for political office than those who had not participated in a mock election program.Students who participated in mock elections were 65 percent more likely to say that they had learned how to examine social problems than those who had not participated in a mock election program.Students who participated in mock elections were 59 percent more likely to agree with the statement I learned how our elections work than those who did not participate in a mock election program.  C.  Students who experienced more than one mock election reported a better understanding of how to solve problems in their communities than their non-participating counterparts.These students were 55 percent more likely to report that they had learned ways of addressing community problems than students who had never experience a mock election.These students were 77 percent more likely to say that they had learned how political action groups can solve problems than students who had never experience a mock election.These students were 61 percent more likely than non-participants to agree that they had learned about individuals responsibility to community.D. Students who experienced more than one mock election reported at a higher rate than students who did not participate in a mock election that they would vote in a state or presidential election.The vast majority of students reported that they would vote in the presidential election.  However, of those students who participated in at least one mock election, 96 percent reported that they planned to vote for president, while only 78 percent of those students who did not participate in a mock election reported that they would do so.Seventy percent of the kids who did not participate in a mock election reported that they planned to vote in a state election, while more than 90 percent of those who participated in at least one mock election reported that they would do so.last_img read more

Western Australia environmental regulator approves Asia-focused 9GW renewable energy export hub

first_imgWestern Australia environmental regulator approves Asia-focused 9GW renewable energy export hub FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Plans for a massive renewable energy generation and export hub based in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have firmed up this week, after being recommended for approval by the state’s Environmental Protection Authority.Environmental approval for the 9GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub was recommended on Monday, subject to conditions including consultation on management plans with traditional landowners and managing and monitoring impacts on migratory birds.The project is one of a handful of truly massive proposed renewable energy investments, along with the 10GW solar plant and huge battery storage project initially backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest in the Northern Territory.Approval for the massive Pilbara project, which includes up to 1,743 wind turbines (an estimated 7GW) and around 2,000MW (2GW) of solar panels about 220km east of Port Hedland, also covers the installation of four subsea power cables – part of the huge project’s plans to pipe green power to both Indonesia and Singapore.The consortium behind the project – which includes global wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, Australia’s CWP Renewables, Macquarie Group and Intercontinental Energy – had at one point aimed to develop 15GW of wind and solar, with a focus on powering local industry and exporting “green” hydrogen.[Sophie Vorrath]More: Massive Pilbara wind and solar export hub gets environmental green lightlast_img read more

Peru And Chile Will Meet To Analyze Equalization Of Military Expenditures

first_img The top Peruvian and Chilean military commanders will hold the first technical meeting to establish shared criteria for the equalization of military expenditures between the two countries in Lima on 26 July, Peruvian defense minister Rafael Rey said. The minister indicated that “the technical meeting on 26 July between the top Peruvian and Chilean military commanders was agreed during his visit to Santiago and is part of Chilean president Sebastián Piñera’s new policy of seeking closer relations,” according to the Andina official news agency. At the same time, Rey announced that the Chilean defense minister, Jaime Ravinet, will visit Peru in August, although a specific date has not yet been set. The Chilean minister’s visit will reciprocate Rey’s visit to Santiago in May, Andina reported. Peru and Chile have made efforts in recent years to improve their relations, and in this context, a “two-plus-two” mechanism was designed, by which the two countries’ foreign and defense ministers met periodically with the aim of building trust and establishing mechanisms of transparency in the military arena. These meetings ceased to be held after Peru sued Chile in the International Court of Justice in The Hague in January 2008 over a maritime dispute. By Dialogo July 21, 2010last_img read more

Operation Martillo: 635 kilograms of cocaine seized

first_imgBy Dialogo February 26, 2013 SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The U.S. Coast Guard seized 635 kilograms of cocaine from a go-fast boat in the Caribbean as part of ongoing counter-narcotics missions in the region, officials said. The seizure occurred on Jan. 24 in the southwest Caribbean, north of the Colombian coast, but was not announced until recently when the confiscated cocaine reached U.S. soil. The shipment, worth at least US$17 million, and four suspected drug smugglers were turned over to authorities at the Coast Guard Station in Miami Beach, Fla. On Jan. 24, a patrol aircraft operated by Customs and Border Protect spotted a go-fast boat with four people aboard. Officials notified the Coast Guard Mohawk, a cutter based in Key West, Fla., which was diverted to the area to intercept the boat. The crew aboard the Mohawk launched a helicopter, which pursued the go-fast boat. The helicopter crew “witnessed the suspected smugglers jettison the contraband,” according to the Coast Guard’s prepared statement. A small Coast Guard crew boarded the boat, detained the four suspects and recovered 18 bales of drugs from the water. The drugs tested positive as cocaine. The cocaine shipment and suspects were taken to the Coast Guard cutter Valiant, which is based in Mayport, Fla. It arrived at Miami Beach on Feb. 19. The seizure and arrests are part of Operation Martillo, an international mission that gathers Western Hemisphere and European nations in an effort to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. The U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South leads the operation in which 14 countries participate, including Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain and the United Kingdom. About 80% of cocaine shipments are moved via maritime routes. Nearly 90% of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. The 635 kilograms were not the largest illicit shipment seized under Operation Martillo, but Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, assistant chief of enforcement for the 7th Coast Guard District, highlighted the importance of ongoing interdictions. “As part of Operation Martillo, they successfully denied drug smugglers from bringing illegal narcotics into the Central American transshipment route and ultimately prevented these drugs from crossing national borders,” he said in a prepared statement. In 2012, its first full year, Operation Martillo seized 127,000 metric tons of cocaine and confiscated 56 go-fast boats. “Seizures at sea are the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep contraband off the streets of America,” Cronin said in a statement. “The crew of the Mohawk and their embarked … helicopter crew flawlessly executed another successful at-sea interdiction.” Operation Martillo is only one part of the U.S. government’s approach to cutting down smuggling routes. On Feb. 19, the U.S. Navy announced that members of the Navy and Air Force – including Marines – landed in Big Creek, Belize, as part of a regional partnership with Caribbean nations aimed at improving security. “We’ll be working with the Belize Defense Force Special Boat Unit,” Navy Lt. Joe Turner said. “We will train with them and share ideas and best practices. This enables us to work together better as a unit to fight criminal activities on the waterways and in the rivers.” That program is intended to help train Belize authorities as part of the Southern Partnership Station 2013 mission, which focuses on maritime security in the Caribbean. “This is an opportunity for us and our partner nations to come together, join efforts and enhance regional maritime security,” Cmdr. Bob Poling said. “The Caribbean nations and the U.S. share common interests and multinational maritime partnership missions.”last_img read more

Florida ready for data integration innovation

first_imgFlorida ready for data integration innovation February 1, 2006 Regular News Who’s involved Florida ready for data integration innovation to information from multi-agencies computers Jan Pudlow Senior Editor The Article V Technology Board pulled off what it considers a remarkable feat.Techies and policymakers from 17 state agencies forgot about the different logos on their business cards and guarding their own turfs and agreed to work together for the greater good: figuring out how to make computers talk to each other across agency lines so judges have accurate information at their fingertips to make good decisions in cases.The outcome is an unprecedented blueprint for sharing information that promises to be smarter, quicker, and cheaper — all spelled out in a January 2006 final report to the governor, Senate president, House speaker, and Florida Supreme Court chief justice.The next step is for Second Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Charles Francis, the board’s chair, to explain the recommendations to lawmakers during legislative committee meetings. His hope is that legislators will fund the effort, which includes a permanent statewide governing board with authority to compel further cooperation among agencies, as well as 20 judicial circuit boards with authority to spend money generated by court clerk recording fees for technology needs on all counties within a circuit, a major shift from current policy.“incorporating the recommendations of the board, the State of Florida can accomplish something that no other state has been able to accomplish so far. That accomplishment can be the integration of disparate systems at a level never before achieved,” according to an executive summary of the report.James McMillan, principal court technology consultant at the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, VA, has read the Florida report and agrees the effort is unprecedented.“Florida is the largest and most disparate state to date to fully endorse the concept of communicating justice rather than simply data gathering,” McMillan said. “The great advantage to the Florida approach is that it saves local working systems that are both well-tested and fully operational. This maximizes the taxpayers’ investment by reusing and sharing that information between these systems and agencies. And, when information is shared, justice improves because offenders, as well as innocent persons, can be identified and their full records provided.”If approved by the legislature, the groundwork has been laid to allow players in the court system to share information with each other, as well as other participating agencies through an integrated technology system.“It’s so technical that the average person on the street doesn’t realize how it’s done,” said Judge Francis. They just want it done, he said, and that is to share information on their computer screens.The greater good of the board’s goal to a judge like Francis is to have complete and accurate information at his fingertips about everything from an out-of-town defendant’s prior record at a weekend first appearance hearing to a child’s school record in dependency court.The board’s recommendations call for no new systems, no new hardware, no bids, and no vendors. What’s new is a sea change of collaboration that involves mixing funds and information-sharing that allows agencies’ existing computer systems to talk to each other.“The board has found that state court system entities and other participants that will not agree to work together is the most common impediment to integration and progress. For reasons of ‘security’ or the feeling that data is too valuable to be shared freely, or too proprietary to be seen by others is the general response given for not cooperating in this regard,” the report said.But great strides were made in cooperation and collaboration among agencies during a total of 50 public board meetings and subcommittee meetings since August 2004, said Francis. Sharing Information Boosts Public Safety “We have to think about everyone. That’s what is different,” Judge Francis said.Everyone includes sheriffs’ deputies who log booking information at the jail.“One of the real benefits is the ability of a judge sitting on the bench to have the complete story about a defendant,” said Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford, a member of the board. “What that means is greater public safety.”Right now, just in the court system alone, there are 798 different data bases and a minimum of 1,500 distinct data bases when you add in other participating state agencies, said Terry Brown, legislative staff director for the board.The solution spelled out in the board’s report recommends GJXML (Extensible Markup Language to transport criminal data) and LegalXML (Extensible Markup Language to transport civil data) as standards and protocols to be used by all state and local organizations transporting information. The standards serve as translators from one agency’s computer system to another.As McMillan, the national expert, noted: “The endorsement by Florida of the U.S. Department of Justice Global XML Data Model allows the state to obtain federal funding to support the effort.”Not to get too technical here, but the key is that no control is taken from participating agencies. The philosophy embraced by the board is to accommodate others with information that is public record, while keeping confidential that which agencies are statutorily required to do.“The culture of the Florida Legislature has always been to throw money at agency problems. Agencies get money and solve their own problems. Then they find out a lot of other people need access to that information and they have to go back and retrofit their systems. That’s the culture we are changing,” said Brown.“This will be the largest integrated effort undertaken — ever.”The key to making the plan work, Judge Francis said, is the creation of a state board — which would include a Florida Bar appointee and a chair appointed by the chief justice — that will have the authority to order the various entities to continue to cooperate.“We want the legislature to say this board has done enough to bring everything together and fund a permanent state governance board and judicial governance boards with adequate authority, staffing, and funding to carry on the work we have begun,” Francis said. A Funding Policy Shift And Working Out the Details In addition, funding oversight would occur at the judicial circuit level. In a major departure from the current scheme, a $2 recording fee now collected and spent at the county level would be administered on a judicial circuit level by a committee comprised of the state attorney, public defender, and chief judge. This is especially critical in multi-county circuits where smaller, rural counties do not generate sufficient recording fees to pay for technology.A living document the board staff is still working on is a comprehensive, searchable database called a Catalog of Common Data Elements, which Jim Reynolds, information systems project administrator with the board, says “puts some sanity into all the pieces of information” so that they can be shared across agency lines.Reynolds described the ongoing process of creating the central repository as compiling a “Sears wish list of data elements” that codes information agencies are willing to share.Judge Francis added it is like “the catalog number for what we want to buy.”Who should have access to that information is still a work in progress.Another initiative of the board is to develop a “unified statute table” for all court system entities and other participants. Now, out of necessity, each state attorney in Florida has developed a proprietary “table of charges” developed for their own automated systems, but the case filing information sent from the state attorney to the court clerk cannot always be accommodated by the clerk’s system. This often results in incomplete information the clerk sends to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. And adjudication and plea bargain dispositions from the court often do not match the original charges and statutory references.“The most important problem is that a one-to-one relationship between the criminal incident and a single Florida statute number being used to represent that violation does not exist,” the report said.Another pending issue is the need for a “unique personal identifier” that could be used to link individuals in dissimilar types of cases.“There is currently no single method of identifying individuals involved in court cases (criminal or noncriminal) in any state including Florida,” the report said, adding that “more research, much discussion, and consensus-building will be necessary (by a lot of agencies) before a solution can be finalized for submission to the legislature.”The board recommends a change in judicial rules that would provide “additional information necessary to positively identify an individual, and that the clerks be assigned the responsibility for collecting and maintaining that additional information.”If you are interested in the technical details, the report is available on the board’s Web site at www.articleVtechboard.state.fl.us. Plan would provide judges with instant access Agencies that appointed staff to work with the Article V Technology Board include: Office of the State Courts Administrator, Florida Public Defender Association, Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptroller, Florida Association of Counties, Florida Legislature Division of Statutory Revision, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida Department of Management Services, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Revenue, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Education, Chief Financial Officer of Florida, and the Florida Sheriffs Association.last_img read more

Removing barriers for disabled lawyers program slated for Annual Convention

first_img May 15, 2006 Regular News Removing barriers for disabled lawyers program slated for Annual Convention Removing barriers for disabled lawyers program slated for Annual Convention The Bar’s Equal Opportunities Law Section will present Removing Barriers to the Legal Profession for Lawyers with Disabilities at the Annual Convention June 23 in Boca Raton from 8 a.m. till noon.More than 40 Florida lawyers with disabilities worked together in 2005 to identify issues and barriers that limit their full participation in professional and Bar activities and to develop recommendations and creative solutions to reduce these barriers. The project has complemented the Bar’s diversity initiatives and was coordinated by the Disability Independence Group, a nonprofit organization committed to expanding career opportunities in the law for persons with disabilities.National and state leaders will present the seminar, as well as Florida lawyers with disabilities. The seminar is designed to expand lawyer’s knowledge of their colleagues who have disabilities, provide a substantive update on the ADA, model accessible meeting features, and address the Florida courts’ commitment to the inclusion of persons with disabilities.The Disability-Diversity Initiative Report will be distributed and, possibly, a report of a more comprehensive survey of lawyers with disabilities to be conducted in 2006. In conjunction with the seminar, disability equipment and information vendors will participate in the Annual Convention vendor fair, providing the opportunity for Bar members to view the latest technology and adaptive equipment that enhance the work environment for lawyers with disabilities.Those speaking at the event include Justice Fred Lewis, Grace Morrell Grant, Barbara Kornblau, Rosa Emilia Llaguno, Ed Lopacki, Kelly McCabe, Gordon Palmer, George Richards, Joseph Smith, Olegario D. Cantos VII, and Matthew W. Dietz.last_img read more

West Nile cases surged in past week

first_img MMWR West Nile report for Jul 31 to Aug 6, 2003http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5231a6.htm Aug 5, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The number of West Nile virus cases reported in the United States this year jumped more than 50% with the addition of 141 cases between Jul 28 and Aug 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 38% of the cases reported to the CDC this year (156 of 406) have been severe, involving meningitis, encephalitis, or myelitis, the agency says. Last year about 28% of the reported cases were in this category. (However, the CDC estimates that only about 20% of people infected with West Nile actually become ill and fewer than 1% have neurologic involvement.) See also: CDC. West Nile virus activity—United States, July 28-August 3, 2004. MMWR 2004;53(30):686-7center_img The number of West Nile cases so far this year is somewhat ahead of last year’s tally at this point. By Aug 6, 2003, 153 cases had been reported to the CDC, including 109 cases in the week of Jul 31 through Aug 6. The CDC said the cases reported by states last week increased the total for the year from 265 to 406. More than half of the cases—247—have been in Arizona. California ranks second with 69 cases and Colorado is third with 44, according to the Aug 6 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Seven people have died of the illness this year. The report says evidence of West Nile infection has been found in donated blood from 38 people this year, including 31 from Arizona. Nine of these blood donors later became ill with West Nile symptoms.last_img read more

What on earth was Nunberg doing? A few theories

first_imgBy the end, he had suggested that President Donald Trump may have worked with the Russians, dared Mueller to throw him in jail, repeatedly inquired as to what journalists thought his fate might be, and said he thoughtTrump knew about that Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer.Nunberg did no fewer than three separate interviews with CNN, two with MSNBC and several others.So what on earth was all that about?Below are some ideas. (And it bears noting that not all of these are mutually exclusive.)It was an elaborate, Roger Stone-ian showIf there’s one key piece of the puzzle when it comes to explaining the mess that was Monday, it might well have been this: Sam Nunberg is not just some random political operative; he’s a close ally of Roger Stone.Stone is known for bizarre antics that are just as often self-serving as self-destructive. We all react to stress differently.Perhaps Nunberg, who was known for being very freewheeling and open with the media, simply started talking and couldn’t stop himself.Maybe he found himself in a tough spot and his first reaction was to try to talk his way out of it.His comments were targeted at TrumpNunberg’s relationship with Trump is nothing if not complicated.As CNN recaps, Trump has fired him, rehired him, fired him again and sued him for $10 million before the two of them settled a lawsuit over Nunberg’s alleged breach of their nondisclosure agreement. The White House has also been dismissive of Nunberg whenever he has occasionally offered comments it didn’t like.During Monday’s interviews, Nunberg oscillated between saying Trump hadn’t colluded and suggesting he might have had some arrangement with Russia.He at one point said Trump was too smart to fall victim to Russian blackmail, only to later say that Trump “caused this, because he’s an idiot.”He also said that “there is nobody who hates [Trump] more than me.”“I’m not a Donald Trump fan, as I told you before, okay?” Nunberg told CNN. “He treated me like crap.”If Nunberg really does harbor such resentment toward Trump, maybe publicly speculating about Trump having had an arrangement with Russia and having known about the Trump Tower meeting is one final piece of revenge. Coming from someone who has been interviewed by Mueller’s team, that certainly carries some weight.Maybe he wanted to suggest Trump had done something wrong while sounding like he was defending him. Indeed, Nunberg did little to suggest Monday that this wasn’t some Stone-orchestrated scene.He repeatedly talked about how he felt Mueller was targeting Stone for alleged collusion with WikiLeaks, and he repeatedly argued that Stone was innocent.Despite plenty of inconsistencies in his appearances, this was one point he kept coming back to.“I’m not going to cooperate when they want me to come into a grand jury for them to insinuate that Roger Stone was colluding with Julian Assange,” Nunberg told MSNBC. “Roger is my mentor. Roger is like family.” (If you are unfamiliar, I highly recommend Netflix’s “Get Me Roger Stone.”)“Politics with me isn’t theater,” Stone once told the Weekly Standard. “It’s performance art — sometimes, for its own sake.”Rick Wilson tweeted: Or maybe, like former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, Nunberg is truly frustrated by what Trump has done — including to him — and couldn’t help himself.And maybe he even felt that Trump needed some kind of bat-signal delivered through cable news about how much trouble he’s in.He was trying to impeach himself as a witnessThis one comes via Post columnist Ruth Marcus, who says Nunberg has now “successfully destroyed his credibility and therefore his utility as a trial witness for Mueller. Mission accomplished?”Indeed, if Nunberg was trying to look erratic and unreliable on Monday, mission accomplished.But would Mueller suddenly lose interest just because of this performance?Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Washington Post political blog, The Fix.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? When New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi reached Nunberg’s mother by accident, she said his mother told her Nunberg was unavailable because “he’s not doing well.”Olivia Nuzzi tweeted:  Categories: Editorial, OpinionFormer Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg had a surreal day Monday.After deciding he wouldn’t cooperate with a grand jury subpoena from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, he went on a media blitz to, well, air some things.Each interview seemed intent upon out-shocking the last. He added in another interview with MSNBC: “I’m not going to go in there for them to set up a case against Roger. Roger did not do anything. Roger and I were treated like crap by Donald Trump, okay?”But even if you grant that this was all some contrived spectacle to assist Stone in some way, that still doesn’t answer how.Refusing to assist Mueller would seem to be help enough; why go on a media blitz saying all kinds of bizarre things? Perhaps this was just performance art for performance art’s sake.He broke under pressureIn one of Nunberg’s later interviews, with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Burnett asked him a question that might have otherwise seemed off-base: Are you drunk? In fact, Burnett didn’t just ask; she said she smelled alcohol on his breath.Nunberg denied he had been drinking and said he wasn’t on anything “besides my meds — antidepressants.”Even separate from that question, though, it was clear Nunberg was under plenty of pressure.That tends to be the case when you’ve got jail time hanging over your head for ignoring a subpoena.last_img read more

Teachers, parents fret over health risks as schools prepare to reopen

first_imgTody Yusuf, 35, said he became worried upon hearing that his child’s kindergarten in East Lampung may soon reopen.The regency is among the few regions that was labeled a “green zone” by the national COVID-19 task force as of June 7, meaning that it has the lowest risk of infection.Tody, who works as an official at the East Lampung Planning Agency, had yet to hear about any updates from the school as of Wednesday, but he said he would check the premises himself during the planned reopening to gauge whether or not to allow his children to go back to school. Around 90 cities and regencies across the nation are considered green zones, Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim said during an online press conference on Tuesday.The number of students in those areas is roughly equivalent to 6 percent of all students in the country, while the remaining 94 percent must continue their education through online learning modules.The minister said schools could be closed again if there was any COVID-19 transmission in the areas, or if the risk status of the area had changed to yellow, orange or red.Nadiem said he would hand over the final say to reopen schools in green zone areas to their respective regional administrations, but added that schools must still fulfill strict requirements and health protocols before they can reopen. All students are also still required to wear masks and practice physical distancing.Read also: School reopening raises concerns as health risks loomDespite the gradual easing of restrictions, people who live outside the designated green zones are worried that the government might be making a big mistake.Adithya Eka Putra, 38, a private sector employee from South Tangerang, said that the reopening plan did not convince him to allow his 5-year-old child to go back to kindergarten, even if officials decided to resume activities.The reason, he said, was that the number of COVID-19 infections was still high in his area. South Tangerang recorded 355 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, the second-highest in Banten province, according to infocorona.bantenprov.go.id.“I would rather have at-home learning until the government can absolutely ensure that the situation is conducive [to going back to school], even though we don’t know when that will happen,” he said.Teachers have also raised concerns.More than half of all school administrators across the country said they were not ready to resume face-to-face learning or usher in the so-called “new normal” period, mostly due to a lack of infrastructure and funding, a recent survey by the Federation of Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI) revealed.Read also: Indonesian schools not ready for ‘new normal’: SurveyIn South Tangerang, kindergarten and playgroup teacher Ellisa Tisbiawati, 37, said that building awareness among her students to follow and maintain health and safety measures would be a major hurdle – the younger the student, the more challenging it would be.“That task is hard because many of us parents may get carried away by our busy schedules, while [us teachers] are either overwhelmed or not ready to respond positively or wisely to this situation,” she said.Health experts have also weighed in on the situation, concerned that the government’s decisions may have wider implications than can be predicted.Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Griffith University in Australia, urged the government to delay learning activities at school until the end of 2020.He advised both the central and regional governments to consult the relevant experts should they insist on reopening schools, even for areas that are in green zones.The current zoning system and the data provided were “relatively unreliable”, he said, owing mostly to limited testing capacity preventing any real-time observation.“The fact remains that our situation in the pandemic has yet to reach its peak, and that [effective] control has yet to be optimized,” Dicky said.Instead, schools and the government should still keep the option to learn from home on the table to cater to parents who won’t allow their children to go back to school.Online and long-distance learning or door-to-door teaching in small groups may have their own merits given the circumstances, he said.[RA::Teachers go extra mile to teach students as schools remain closed:https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/08/teachers-go-extra-mile-to-teach-students-as-schools-remain-closed.html]Andreas Tambah, an education expert from the National Commission on Education (Komnas Pendidikan), supported delaying the reopening of schools, given the probability that COVID-19 will continue to spread and that some segments of the general population still lack the discipline to follow health protocols.He urged schools to clearly communicate what health procedures would be enforced to appease parents and calm fears over the heightened risk of transmission.“Reopening schools is very risky,” he said. “Family backgrounds vary – some will obey [protocol] while others won’t, but the students will [intermingle all the same].”Forty-five-year-old Eko Purwanto, a civil servant from East Lampung, said he was happy to hear that his children could go back to school, as long as health protocol was observed.“We feel sorry for our children; they say they are already tired of [learning from home], and they always ask me when they can go to school again,” he said. “Indeed, East Lampung is in the green zone, but we don’t know what will happen in the future,” Tody said.His worries echo the concerns of many other parents in Indonesia following the Education and Culture Ministry’s decision to allow a gradual reopening of schools located in COVID-19 low-risk areas beginning in July.According to the ministry’s updated official academic calendar, the 2020-2021 school year will start on July 13.Read also: Indonesia to allow phased reopening of schools in COVID-19 ‘green zones’: Ministercenter_img Topics :last_img read more

Jakarta secretary Saefullah latest high-ranking official to die of COVID-19

first_img“Today, the Jakarta administration lost one of its best leaders […] Pak Saefullah was a good man, a hard-worker, someone who always prioritized completing the tasks assigned to him,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said at Saefullah’s wake at Jakarta’s City Hall on Wednesday.Prior to his passing, Saefullah had been on the frontline, day and night, in the city’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Anies said. He even attended meetings with the governor almost every day.Read also: Indonesia’s latest official COVID-19 figuresAnies said that on Monday last week, the secretary had to excuse himself from a plenary session with the Jakarta Legislative Council (DPRD) for the first time, saying that he did not feel well, before he was eventually taken to a hospital a few days later. Indonesia has lost yet another senior government official to COVID-19 following the passing of the Jakarta administration’s secretary Saefullah, who has spent the last 36 years of his life working for the capital.Saefullah died at age 56 from irreversible septic shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to COVID-19 at 12:55 p.m. on Wednesday at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital (RSPAD) in Central Jakarta.The COVID-19 transmission led to a severe infection of his lung tissue and his whole bodily system, causing irreversible respiratory failure and inadequate oxygen absorption, according to details from the administration. The senior city official had previously received treatment at the MMC hospital in South Jakarta since Sept. 8 before he was transferred to the city’s COVID-19 referral hospital, Gatot Subroto Hospital, on Sunday. Saefullah was buried with COVID-19 protocols at the Rorotan cemetery in North Jakarta on Wednesday. He is survived by his wife and four children.”He was the most active in providing supplements to his colleagues so they remained healthy. The person who always thought of other people’s well-being, is now laid to rest,” Anies said.Saefullah, a Betawi native, was born in North Jakarta on Feb. 11, 1964. He started serving the city in 1984 as a teacher, before rising to become the deputy head of Jakarta’s elementary education agency in 2008 and the head of the city’s sports and youth agency in 2009.He was Central Jakarta mayor from 2010 to 2014 prior to taking the role of the capital’s regional secretary from 2014, serving under three different governors: current President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, his replacement Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and current Governor Anies Baswedan.President Jokowi, formerly Jakarta’s governor from 2012 until he was elected president in 2014, conveyed his condolences on Wednesday in a statement issued by a spokesperson, saying that Saefullah had been “a close friend and colleague”.Ahok, who was previously the deputy governor to Jokowi and took over the governorship from 2014 to 2017, also offered his deep condolences on his official Twitter account on Wednesday, saying that Saefullah had been someone who was “diligent and fast in his work”.Home Minister Tito Karnavian expressed his sympathies on Saefullah’s passing in a statement, which described the latter as not only a good and hard-working man but also a “role model for ASN [civil servants] at the Jakarta provincial administration”.Read also: Office workers unconvinced of stricter curbsHis passing also marked a loss for Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama; Saefullah had chaired the tanfidziyah (executive board) of its Jakarta branch.NU secretary-general Helmy Faishal Zaini said Saefullah had always campaigned for religious tolerance, including through deradicalization measures, as well as mainstreaming wasathiyah (moderate Islam).Saefullah, Helmy said, had been among the few initiators of the first city-owned grand mosque, KH Hasyim Asy’ari Grand Mosque, which is named after the NU founder, in hopes of promoting Islam Nusantara, or Islam of the Archipelago.It was also evident when the city was embroiled in identity politics following the 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial election.”His [consistency] throughout the administrations of Jokowi, Ahok and Anies showed that, even though [they were] quote, unquote in two opposing camps, he was well-versed in positioning himself,” he said.Indonesia has lost a handful of high-ranking officials to COVID-19, among them mayors and regents, according to various reports, as the disease does not differentiate. Others infected include former and current ministers.Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo is reportedly infected while former deputy minister Dino Patti Djalal has tested positive for the disease. The latter is currently undergoing intensive treatment in hospital.Read also: Former deputy foreign minister Dino Patti Djalal tests positive for COVID-19The Health Ministry reported 3,963 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, a new record high, and 135 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the tally to a total of 228,993 confirmed cases, 164,101 recoveries and 9,100 deaths.Jakarta, which has seen its new daily cases reaching over 1,000 lately and hospital beds almost fully occupied, has reimposed the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) starting on Monday for at least two weeks.Anies also said the administration would close down a building at the City Hall complex for three days starting on Thursday, after at least two of its workers – one of them in middle management – tested positive, while the others were still awaiting their test results. This protocol follows the city’s PSBB regulation.”I’ve always said to never see COVID-19 deaths merely as statistics and percentages. These are human beings; the husbands, wives, children and fathers to someone,” he said.”I hope that all Jakartans can see this as a lesson that the situation has truly become worrying […] The situation is not one to be underestimated. Someone who’s been on the front line, who always followed the protocols and reminded others to do so, has faced the biggest risk of it [that is death],” Anies said.Topics :last_img read more