BC Liberals say jobs the top election issue while NDP pledges climate

first_imgVANCOUVER – The New Democrats started the last full week of British Columbia’s election campaign by pushing a climate-change agenda while the Liberals put jobs at the top of their campaign bid to win votes.NDP Leader John Horgan attended a town hall meeting Monday with members of a climate leadership team the Liberal government had tasked in 2015 to advise them on climate-change recommendations.Prominent environmentalist Tzeporah Berman, who was a member of the climate-action team, said Monday she is endorsing the NDP because as premier, Liberal Leader Christy Clark didn’t follow the panel’s recommendations after hailing its work at a climate-change conference in Paris.Horgan said he would re-establish the team within the first 100 days in office if he wins the election on May 9 and would work to implement 32 recommendations that include an increase in the carbon tax to fight climate change.He said the NDP would introduce a federally mandated carbon price of $50 a tonne by 2022, but do it over three years, starting in 2020.“It’s going to be a gradual implementation and we’re going to make sure that almost 80 per cent of British Columbians will get some form of a rebate so they can have less money out of their pocket than before,” he said.The plan calls for low- and middle-income families to get a rebate cheque intended to mitigate increases in the carbon tax.Berman said Green party Leader Andrew Weaver’s climate-action plan is also strong but that the NDP’s agenda is more robust, with initiatives to create jobs in the mining, agriculture and forestry sectors.“Under Christy Clark, the B.C. Liberals have focused on trying to increase fracked gas and LNG. Now our greenhouse gas emissions are going up.”Berman said she met with Clark after the task force was convened in June 2015 and the Liberal leader seemed serious about implementing climate-change initiatives that would take into account affordability and a strong economy.However, the plan the party introduced last August will allow climate pollution to increase for the next 10 to 14 years, Berman said.The carbon tax was launched in 2008 by then-premier Gordon Campbell but Clark froze it when she took office three years later.The tax sits at $30 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions though Berman’s team had called for a $10 increase starting in 2018.Clark told a crowd at a Vancouver biotech firm on Monday that the biggest threat facing the province is U.S. President Donald Trump and his anti-trade rhetoric.When asked by reporters about Berman’s claims, Clark said the Liberals accepted many of the panel’s recommendations.“We did not, though, accept the key recommendation in the minds of some of the folks from the environmental movement, which is that we double the carbon tax,” she said.“Is now the time to double the carbon tax, to hike business taxes, to hike personal income taxes, when we are facing a rising tide of protectionism and a tax-cutting government down south of the border? I think it would be disastrous for jobs in our province.”Clark said British Columbia remains a leader on climate change.“Nobody else in North America is paying a $30-a-tonne carbon tax, nobody,” she said. “And we should be very proud of our leadership position. As other people catch up we’ll be in a position to rethink that policy. But we are going to freeze it.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.last_img read more

Judge rules SNCLavalin headed to trial on charges of fraud corruption

first_imgMONTREAL — A court of Quebec judge has ruled that SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is headed to trial on charges of fraud and corruption.The decision is the latest step in criminal proceedings that began last fall after the Montreal-based engineering and construction giant failed to secure a deferred prosecution agreement, a kind of plea deal that would have seen the firm agree to pay a fine rather than face prosecution.Over the past four months, SNC-Lavalin has found itself in the centre of a political controversy following accusations from former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould that top government officials pressured her to overrule federal prosecutors, who had opted not to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement with the company.SNC-Lavalin and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have argued that a criminal trial could trigger the company’s exit to the United States and the loss of thousands of jobs.The RCMP has accused SNC-Lavalin of paying $47.7 million in bribes to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011. The company, its construction division and a subsidiary also face one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of $129.8 million.The company can choose a trial by jury or by judge alone. Prior to that, it can opt to apply within 30 days to the Superior Court of Quebec to have Wednesday’s lower court decision quashed.Companies in this story: (TSX:SNC) The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Helmet maker vows fight against Hernandez concussion lawsuit

first_imgDEDHAM, Mass. – Football helmet maker Riddell says it intends to vigorously defend its products and its reputation against concussion-related lawsuits like one lawyers for late New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez have filed in Massachusetts against it and the NFL.Des Plaines (dehz playnz), Illinois-based Riddell says it introduced helmets designed to mitigate concussion risks more than 15 years ago.Hernandez’s attorneys filed a federal lawsuit last month after Hernandez killed himself in prison and an autopsy revealed he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (ehn-sehf-uh-LAH’-puh-thee), a brain disease found in people who’ve suffered repetitive brain trauma such as concussions.The lawsuit was refiled Monday. It accuses the NFL of hiding the dangers of football and names Riddell. It seeks damages for Hernandez’s daughter.The NFL hasn’t responded to emails seeking comment.The Patriots have been removed from the new lawsuit.___This story has been corrected to show that Riddell is based in Des Plaines, Illinois, not Elyria, Ohio.last_img read more

Concerned at appalling state of Darfur Annan urges Security Council to beef

Among options discussed were strengthening the African Union (AU) monitoring force, at present numbering 1,900 troops out of an original target of up to 4,000, and setting up a possible UN force, to end the Darfur conflict, in which tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and almost 2 million forced from their homes since fighting erupted between the Government, allied militias and rebels in 2003.“There have been a lot of efforts on the humanitarian side, and by the African Union on the security side, which go in the right direction. But they are not enough,” Mr. Annan said in a statement issued after the meeting. “I was glad to hear from Council members that they hope to have a new resolution in the course of this week, which will include agreement on a mechanism for holding individuals accountable for these dreadful crimes. That is good. We must send a clear message that the world is not going to tolerate them,” he added. A Commission of Inquiry, set up last year by Mr. Annan, found there had been war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both sides, but primarily by Government forces and militias, and said their perpetrators should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Noting that everyone agreed that a stronger international presence on the ground is crucial, Mr. Annan said “clearly everyone’s first preference” is for the AU to stay in the lead, “but for the rest of us to give it more effective help, while keeping other options open.” Where the AU troops are, things are better for the population, but there are far too few of them, he added. He also welcomed pressure from the public and media for stronger and faster decisions on this issue. “We here are getting thousands of letters from people urging stronger action. I am sure national governments are getting them too,” he said. “I will hold a meeting next week with some of the leading NGOs (non-governmental organizations), to discuss with them the best ways of canalising this pressure so that it results in effective action by governments.” Mr. Annan also noted that everybody at the meeting agreed on the “vital” need to keep a separate peace process on track in southern Sudan, where a peace treaty signed two months ago between the Government and rebels ended Africa’s longest civil war. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, on a four-day trip to Sudan, said over the weekend he was concerned at the low level of funding for the country’s 2005 work plan, with only 5 per cent of the funds needed in hand for rehabilitation and repatriation of 4.5 million refugees and displaced people in the south. “Either the world comes up with the investment or we lose the historic opportunity to put right one of the worst wars of our generation,” he declared, stressing the disturbing discrepancy between what the world promised to do once the peace agreement in the south was signed and what it has delivered so far. Mr. Annan took up the same them, stressing that it is vital to treat Sudan’s problems in their totality. “So we urge all donors to come through with their promises of aid for the south, and we don’t think it would be a good idea to ‘cannibalise’ the UN peacekeeping mission there for the sake of Darfur,” he said. Meanwhile, Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, today visited Asmara, Eritrea, for talks with Government and Darfur rebel representatives in a bid to resume negotiations between the parties in Abuja, Nigeria, aimed at enforcing a ceasefire and leading to peace talks. read more

Carbon Blows Past ALA

The Dinos had a road region game on Tuesday against the American Leadership Academy Eagles.Carbon broke out in the first with four runs produced by stringing multiple hits together. Carbon added two more runs in the fourth for a 6-0 lead.ALA got back in the game with a four-run fifth, but the Dinos choked out the would-be comeback with five runs in the sixth and seven more in the seventh to win 18-4.Ty Anderson hit three triples in the game and had three RBIs. Kade Dimick also had a triple and three RBIs in the contest. Jordan Faussett, Anthony Jones, Collin Lewis and Kaleb Nelson all had doubles to aid in the Dino win.Carbon (4-6, 3-0 Region 14) will play Provo (7-2, 0-0 Region 8) on Thursday at home. read more

Smithfield makes move on market for pighuman transplants

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedHuman organs grown in pigs may help transplant patients, scientists sayJune 9, 2016In “Health”Legislation outlawing commercial human organ trafficking in the works- MOPHFebruary 2, 2017In “Health”Woman lives six days without lungsJanuary 26, 2017In “World” By Julie Steenhuysen and Michael Hirtzer | CHICAGOPigs are seen at a Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, farm in the United States in this image released on April 11, 2017. Courtesy Smithfield Foods/Handout via REUTERS(Reuters) Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, has established a separate bioscience unit to expand its role in supplying pig parts for medical uses, with the ultimate goal of selling pig organs for transplantation into humans.Routine pig-human organ transplants are years away, but recent scientific advances are breaking down barriers that frustrated prior attempts to use pigs as a ready supply of replacement parts for sick or injured people, making it an attractive new market.“Our bread and butter has always been the bacon, sausage, fresh pork – very much a food-focused operation,” Courtney Stanton, vice president of Smithfield’s new bioscience unit, told Reuters in an exclusive interview.“We want to signal to the medical device and science communities that this is an area we’re focused on – that we’re not strictly packers,” she said.Smithfield, the $14 billion subsidiary of China’s WH Group (0288.HK), in its first move has joined a public-private tissue engineering consortium funded by an $80 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. Smithfield is the only pork producer, joining health-care companies including Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N), Medtronic (MDT.N) and United Therapeutics Corp (UTHR.O).Transplants are used for people diagnosed with organ failure and who have no other treatment options. Transplants from animals could help close a critical gap to help those in need. The United Network for Organ Sharing estimates that, on average, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant.Smithfield already harvests materials for medical use from the 16 million hogs it slaughters each year. The company owns more than 51 percent of its farms and hopes to sell directly to researchers and health-care companies, which now typically buy from third parties.Stanton said the U.S. market for pork byproducts used for medical, pet food and non-food purposes stands at more than $100 billion, and that excludes any potential market for animal-to-human transplants, known as xenotransplants.Smithfield has deals in the works to supply pig organs to two entities, though Stanton would not disclose the names.“It’s just a huge potential space, and to be at the leading edge and focused on building those relationships is critical,” she said.HOG HEARTSPigs have long been a tantalizing source of transplants because their organs are so similar to humans. A hog heart at the time of slaughter, for example, is about the size of an adult human heart.Other organs from pigs being researched for transplantation into humans include kidney, liver and lungs.Prior efforts at pig-to-human transplants have failed because of genetic differences that caused organ rejection or viruses that posed an infection risk. Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG (NOVN.S) folded its $1 billion xenotransplantation effort in 2001 because of safety concerns about pig viruses that could be passed to humans.George Church, a Harvard Medical School genetics professor and researcher, tackled that problem two years ago, using a new gene-editing tool known as CRISPR to trim away potentially harmful virus genes that have impeded the use of pig organs for transplants in humans.Church has since formed a company named eGenesis Bio to develop humanized pigs that do not provoke a rejection response or transfer viruses to people. The company last month raised $38 million in venture funding.Eventually, Church said, the process could enable researchers to harvest a dozen different organs and tissues from a single pig.Church estimates the first transplants involving humanized pig organs could occur in a clinical trial later this year, but these would only be used on people too sick to receive human organs.Genome pioneer Craig J. Venter’s Synthetic Genomics Inc has been working for two years with United Therapeutics on editing the pig genome and mixing in human cells to overcome the complex issues involved in immune rejection. “It’s not like changing a couple genes and you’ve got it solved,” Venter said.Stanton would not rule out breeding genetically modified animals, but said Smithfield’s first ventures will likely involve whole pig organs that go through decellularization – a process in which existing cells are washed away and replaced with human cells.Miromatrix Medical Inc, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, for example, is using whole pig livers to make a surgical mesh used in hernia repair and breast reconstruction, and it is working toward developing replacement livers, hearts and kidneys.Church welcomes the involvement of a big pork producer. “Even though we’ve got companies like eGenesis that would make the first pigs, you still need someone who will breed them and do it to scale,” he said.(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen and Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Leslie Adler) read more

Deer Run mine resumes longwall mining and will conduct longwall move

first_imgForesight Energy has resumed longwall mining operations at its Deer Run mine, under a plan approved by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and will continue those mining activates over the next several days, until it reaches a location where the longwall can be safely recovered and relocated to a new longwall district. Elevated carbon monoxide levels at the mine in excess of action levels had forced an evacuation of the mine on March 26.Upon completion of this longwall move, Foresight will seal the current longwall district and then use continuous miners to resume development of the next longwall district, in a new area of the mine. Foresight continues to work with regulatory agencies for the purpose of completing this longwall move and fully resuming normal longwall mining operations at the Deer Run mine.Hillboro Energy’s mining complex, located in Montgomery County, Illinois, USA, is designed to support up to three separate longwall mines producing up to 28.5 Mt/y. It began development of its first mine, Deer Run, in October 2010 and began coal production in 2011. Its first longwall began operating in August of 2012. Deer Run Mine No 1:One longwall mineTwo continuous miner units2,000 t/h preparation plantProductive capacity: potentially 9.5 Mt/ylast_img read more

Futuristic Boeing Air Force jets will be remotely piloted and netcentric

first_imgAlthough human pilots have hardly been replaced by computers yet, the bottom line is that the average pilot is infinitely more fragile than his fighter jet… and that can become a serious problem when you’re pulling enough Gs to pulverize a skeleton. That’s just the consideration that has prompted the United States Air Force to announced that when the next generation of fighter planes debut, they expect all of them to be capable of remote piloting.AdChoices广告The Air Force calls these future fighter planes Next Generation Tactical Aircraft, or TACAIR. They’re years off, but Boeing, at least, will be making one.What will these future TACAIRs look like? Very streamlined, with an appearance that is much more drone-like than current fighter planes. These new jets would feature advanced situational awareness and something called “net-centricity/”The idea here is to not make airplanes that pilot themselves, but to take pilots out of the cockpits of fighter planes and allow them to do the dangerous missions from a reclining chair back at base. You know, gamer style. Considering how hard and expensive a decent pilot is to replace and how many “impossible” maneuvers a jet pilot could pull off if he wasn’t actually strapped inside the mouth of the plane he was flying, we think the Air Force is on the right track. Then again, though, I guess this could just be the first step towards Skynet.Read more at FBOlast_img read more

Trump draws criticism as he repeats respect for killer Putin

first_imgTrump draws criticism as he repeats respect for ‘killer’ Putin Trump was speaking in an excerpt of a Super Bowl interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly. Feb 5th 2017, 6:24 PM Short URL Sunday 5 Feb 2017, 6:24 PM 125 Comments Source: Michael McFaul/Twitter https://jrnl.ie/3223879 Share303 Tweet Email center_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article ‘Major fight’ against ISMainstream Republicans have repeatedly called on Trump to distance himself from Putin, with little impact.Throughout the election campaign, Trump refused to criticise the Russian leader, saying better relations with the Kremlin would be in the US national interest.The new president has advocated working with Russia to combat the Islamic State group in Syria.“If Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all around the world, major fight. That’s a good thing,” Trump told Fox.Moscow has deployed aircraft, naval assets and troops to Syria, but has so far trained its fire on rebels with the aim of propping up Bashar al-Assad’s regime.In December, US intelligence agencies went public with their view that Russia conducted a hack-and-release campaign aimed at swinging the US election in Trump’s favor.Trump’s repeated criticism of NATO – a common target for Putin – has only fueled suspicions that Trump is ready to side with Moscow over allies in Europe.Across Europe, there are growing concerns that the continent might be wedged between a hostile Russia and a hostile United States.Trump’s stance on Ukraine has also raised eyebrows. After a call with Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko yesterday, the White House said the pair addressed “Ukraine’s long-running conflict with Russia.”Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March 2014 and has supported separatists in the east of the country.Former national security advisor Susan Rice publicly criticised Trump’s framing of the situation.“This distortion of even recent history is deeply troubling,” she tweeted.- © AFP 2017Read: US court denies request to immediately reinstate travel banRead: US State Department reverses visa ban after judge halted Trump’s order> 26,346 Views This moral equivalency that Trumps continues to draw between the USA and Russia is disgusting (and inaccurate). https://t.co/swArfIzZh7— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) February 5, 2017 PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has drawn fire from Republicans and Democrats alike after he defended a softer stance on Russia, playing down political assassinations and Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.Trump – now two weeks into his four-year term – showed no signs of yielding to demands from within his own Republican Party to distance himself from President Vladimir Putin, plunging himself into a fresh political firestorm.“I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them,” Trump said in an excerpt of a Super Bowl interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that will air in full later tonight.When pressed in relation to Putin’s alleged links to the extrajudicial killing of journalists and dissidents, Trump said, “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers.”“You think our country is so innocent?” Trump asked rhetorically.Trump’s fellow Republicans, including Senate leader Mitch McConnell, were quick to criticize the president’s remarks.“I don’t think there is any equivalency with the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does,” McConnell said.“He is a former KGB agent, a thug, not elected in a way that most people consider a credible election,” he told CNN.That criticism was echoed by Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia and advisor to former president Barack Obama, described Trump’s comments as “disgusting.”“This moral equivalency that Trumps continues to draw between the USA and Russia is disgusting (and inaccurate),” he said on Twitter. By AFPlast_img read more

Kane bags hattrick as England put six past Panama in their biggestever

first_imgFollowing Panama complaints, the goal was referred to VAR for offside but allowed to stand.Kane then scored his second penalty in first-half injury time after he was almost farcically wrestled over at a corner, despite further Panama complaints.At that stage, Panama, who received five bookings in their first match and three more here, threatened to implode, so bad was their lack of discipline.Kane’s hat-trick was completed in bizarre fashion in the 62nd minute after a Ruben Loftus-Cheek deflected off the English captain’s heel into the net.Again, the referee checked with VAR for offside, but once more the goal stood.The second-half was largely an anti-climax, with Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling going close to making it seven.37-year-old defender Felipe Baloy latched onto a free-kick to score his nation’s first-ever goal at the finals, but it was no more than a consolation.GOAL PANAMA#ENG 6-1 #PAN 78mins: Panama score their first ever World Cup goal as Felipe Baloy guided the ball home from a free-kick.#RTEsoccer#Updates: https://t.co/tPwx8hfUhW pic.twitter.com/ujxBQ0c7MN— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 24, 2018 By AFP Jun 24th 2018, 2:57 PM ENGLAND RECORDED THEIR biggest ever World Cup finals win by thrashing an ill-disciplined Panama 6-1 to breeze through to the knockout stage after two games.A hat-trick from captain Harry Kane — which means he is now the leading scorer in the tournament with five goals — two from John Stones, his first ever in an England shirt, and a beauty from Jesse Lingard completed the crushing victory.The result also confirmed Belgium’s qualification for the knockout stage and means Panama exit the tournament alongside Tunisia.The records tumbled for England on an easy afternoon by the River Volga.The rout was the first time England have scored more than four goals at a World Cup finals since winning the tournament in 1966.It was the first time in England’s history they have managed five goals in a first half and Kane became the first England player to score a World Cup hat-trick since Gary Lineker in 1986.It is also the first time they have qualified for the knockout stage since 2010, and the biggest victory so far at this tournament.Intriguingly, it also means they are level on points, goal difference and goals scored with Belgium in Group G. The two sides meet in Kaliningrad on Thursday.Despite the result, England started slowly and it was Panama who should have scored first in the fifth minute when Anibal Godoy blasted high and wide after the Central Americans carved open England’s defence.England took the lead in the eighth minute when John Stones powered home a header from a Kieran Trippier corner, held up by the referee because of wrestling and pushing by the Panamanians, something which was set to become a theme of the match.England extended their lead from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute after Lingard was brought down in the box by two defenders.That opened the floodgates.Lingard scored the game’s best goal in the 36th minute, a 20-yard curling shot past a helpless Jaime Penedo, then Stones added his second four minutes later, another header, following an intricate England free-kick.GOAL ENGLAND#ENG 3-0 #PAN 36mins: Jesse Lingard adds number three for England with a spectacular effort into the top corner.#RTEsoccerUpdates: https://t.co/tPwx8hfUhW pic.twitter.com/Ge8qXa9MWS— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 24, 2018 Kane bags hat-trick as England put six past Panama in their biggest-ever World Cup win The Tottenham striker is now leading the goalscoring charts at Russia 2018, while Gareth Southgate’s side are through to the knockout stages. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Sunday 24 Jun 2018, 2:57 PM Kane (right) salutes fans. Image: Owen Humphreys https://the42.ie/4089312 Follow us: the42.iecenter_img Image: Owen Humphreys 21,607 Views 46 Comments ‘Modric would maybe be a Ballon d’Or winner if he was German or Spanish’Swiss pair could be set for bans following controversial goal celebrations Kane (right) salutes fans. – © AFP 2018 The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us! Short URL Share12 Tweet Email last_img read more

Babyloid un bébé robot pour lutter contre la dépression chez les personnes

first_imgBabyloid : un bébé robot pour lutter contre la dépression chez les personnes âgéesBabyloid, c’est le nom d’un robot thérapeutique aux allures de peluche, conçu au Japon pour tenir compagnie aux personnes âgées, et ainsi lutter contre la dépression qui peut être engendrée par leur solitude.Un nouveau robot thérapeutique est né au Japon. Baptisé Babyloid, il pourrait avec ses airs de jouet en peluche, devenir une nouvelle arme contre la dépression chez les personnes âgées souffrant de la solitude. À lire aussiBoulimie : définition, causes, conséquences, de quoi s’agit-il ?Ce bébé robot a été développé par Masayoshi Kanoh, professeur à l’Université japonaise Chukyo, qui le présente sur son site Internet. Au milieu de son visage rond en silicone, Bayloid est doté de deux points noirs, qui clignent comme des yeux, et d’une petite bouche capable de sourire. Ses joues sont équipées de LED, qui deviennent rouges lorsque le robot est content, et bleus quand il est malheureux. Comme tous les bébés, le robot pleure, et pour le consoler et l’aider à s’endormir, rien de plus efficace que de le prendre dans ses bras et le bercer.Babyloid est capable d’émettre quelque cent sons différents, tous enregistrés par Masayoshi Kanoh auprès de son propre bébé. Des études expérimentales ont été menées dans une maison de retraite, et le chercheur a constaté que les utilisateurs interagissent avec le robot pendant sept à huit minutes en moyenne lors d’un séance, et au total 90 minutes par jour. La compagnie de Babyloid aurait sensiblement contribué à soulager les symptômes de la dépression chez les personnes âgées qui ont interagi avec lui.Pour l’heure, le prix du prototype du robot est très élevé, environ 2 millions de yens, soit 19.500 euros environ. Mais son créateur espère parvenir à le proposer pour 100.000 yens (195 euros) lorsqu’il sera lancé sur le marché.Le 18 décembre 2011 à 12:10 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Indigenous icon Morales losing grounds among native people

first_imgPeople sit in front of signs against Bolivian President Evo Morales` bid for re-election in 2019 in La Paz. Photo: ReutersIn 12 years as president of South America’s poorest country, Evo Morales has accomplished many of the goals he set forth when he became the first indigenous person to lead Bolivia.The 58-year-old leftist and former coca farmer has presided over an economy that has grown by an annual average of 4.6 percent since he took office, more than twice the rate for all of Latin America.After nationalizing the country’s bounteous natural gas reserves, he pursued market-friendly economic policies and invested export revenue in social programs that helped lift more than two million people, nearly a fifth of the population, from poverty.With a new constitution in 2009, he even changed the name of the country from the Republic of Bolivia to the Plurinational State of Bolivia, reflecting diverse ethnicities that for centuries had felt like second-class citizens.For Bolivia’s more than 4 million indigenous people, support for Morales appeared to pay off. The poverty rate dropped from 59.9 percent in 2006 to 36.4 percent last year. Access for indigenous communities to electricity, sewerage and water service all grew, according to the World Bank. Here in Charagua, in the country’s remote southern lowlands, Guarani people recently dissolved the local municipality and launched Bolivia’s first experiment in autonomous government. The move, made possible by the new constitution, is meant to replace distant, homogenous rule with policies tailored to the local, indigenous reality. Yet here and across Bolivia, indigenous people are increasingly turning against Evo, as the poncho-wearing Morales is known. The dissatisfaction – over everything from proposed development of indigenous lands to his successful gambit to end term limits – is marring what had been widespread acclaim for a leader emblematic to first peoples’ movements worldwide.   “His way of thinking and his actions aren’t indigenous,” said Gualberto Cusi, a former judge and ethnic Aymara, an influential Andean tribe from which Morales himself also hails. Cusi, who was barred from the Constitutional Court by Congress last year after disagreements with the government, now leads a group of indigenous dissidents. Many Aymara have flourished under Morales’ rule. Building upon a long history selling textiles along Lake Titicaca, they now thrive in commerce, like importing Chinese electronics they sell as far afield as the Amazon rainforest.  But even they are increasingly fed up. “He should go,” said Joaquin Quispe, a cook whose Aymara family moved from Bolivia’s interior to El Alto, a city where a swelling indigenous influx in recent years made it outgrow nearby La Paz, the country’s administrative center.What particularly bothers some are moves by Morales, using supporters in Congress and the judiciary, to consolidate power.Although his own 2009 constitution set a limit of two five-year terms, Morales asked voters in a 2016 referendum to let him run again in 2019.When they said no, Morales convinced the Constitutional Court to let him anyway. The court, consisting of jurists nominated by Congressional allies, ruled that term limits are a violation of his “human rights.” Morales’ spokeswoman, Gisela Lopez, declined to make the president available for an interview and didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story. A close ally, former Senate President Jose “Gringo” Gonzales, said Morales hasn’t abandoned indigenous peoples, but has evolved as president to represent and work with everyone.  “He can sit for one minute with a businessman and the next with a worker,” said Gonzales, who stepped down from the Senate last week for undisclosed reasons. “He still has the humility and simplicity that were highlighted when he took office.”Morales is now the longest consecutively serving head of state in the Americas. He is the sole leader remaining from a wave of leftists, including Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who dominated Latin American politics early this century.His name, which graces schools, stadiums, and cultural centers, is increasingly voiced in street protests and scrawled in graffiti. All over the divided country, “Bolivia said no!” sprayings compete with ”Evo Yes!” signs painted by supporters of his party, Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS.Morales won’t go before voters again until late next year. And the opposition remains fragmented, meaning no other leader in Bolivia as yet compares in political stature.Still, in a July poll commissioned by newspaper Pagina Siete, support for the president among likely voters fell to 27 percent from 31 percent last November. A survey by pollster Ipsos this week showed a similar level of support, at 29 percent of likely voters, with a six-point drop over the past year in his approval rating, now at 43 percent.Over the past eight months, Reuters traveled across Bolivia to better understand the waning support for the president among indigenous peoples. From his native Altiplano, the high, arid plateau home to the Aymara, to gas-rich lowlands, where the government has authorized extraction on indigenous lands, many native Bolivians say they no longer feel represented by Morales.“A NEW ERA”For many, the years following Morales’s 2005 election were marked by jubilation and hope.Before his official inauguration in January 2006, Aymara “maestros,” or ritual leaders, held their own ceremony at the pre-Incan site of Tiwanaku, west of La Paz. Morales, in a traditional red tunic, climbed the Akapana pyramid, where shamans presided over a fire ritual and presented him with a staff symbolizing his right to lead the assembled tribes.“Today begins a new era for the native peoples of the world,” Morales said. Tens of thousands of indigenous activists, along with native delegations from as far away as Chile and the United States, cheered.Within months, he began asserting his plans to “decolonize” Bolivia and give locals more voice in government and a greater share of national wealth. On May 1, Labor Day, he ordered troops to occupy natural gas fields and nationalized all hydrocarbons.“The time has come, the longed-for day, a historic day for Bolivia to retake absolute control of our natural resources,” he said in a speech while surrounded by soldiers at an oil field operated by Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, the Brazilian energy company.Morales began renegotiating energy contracts for a bigger share of the profits, a move that ultimately many companies agreed to. The negotiations earned him plaudits from supporters and boosted government revenues at a time when gas prices were soaring.With the windfalls, Morales enacted measures including school vouchers for kids and pensions for workers who had never held formal employment.For the day-to-day business of governance, Morales appointed women, indigenous peoples and labor leaders to his cabinet. He embraced grass-roots organizations and forged a so-called “Unity Pact,” comprising leaders of Andean, lowland and Amazon tribes. Together, they helped draft the new constitution, approved by 60 percent of Bolivians in a 2009 referendum. That year, in a landslide, Morales won a second term.Tensions with indigenous groups first emerged in 2011.  Enjoying what by then was steadily improving economic growth, Morales proposed a 300-kilometer road through the Isiboro Secure Indigenous Territory, or Tipnis, a Jamaica-sized refuge in the Amazon. The highway, Morales argued, was necessary to bring basic services to remote tribes.But native groups and environmentalists were enraged.The road, they argued, more likely would facilitate drug trafficking, illegal logging and other unwanted activity. Protesters marched for more than a month, during which police and demonstrators clashed in clouds of tear gas and flurries of rubber bullets. “When Evo took office we thought indigenous people would never have to march again,” said Adolfo Chavez, a native Tacana and former president of The Confederation of Indigenous People of Bolivia, or Cidob, a grouping of 34 lowland tribes.The marching succeeded, at least for a time. That September, Morales halted work on the road for further study. But relations with some native groups were damaged.Two major indigenous rights organizations, Cidob and The National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu, left the Unity Pact. Since then, the split has widened into divisions that fall along political lines, not rivalries among Bolivia’s three dozen ethnicities.Soon, government supporters began to pressure both groups, using MAS loyalists to stage what some members described as coups within the organizations. Politics and loyalty to Morales began to matter more than the indigenous cause, they said.  Cidob leader Chavez was voted out in 2012. Chavez, who left Bolivia and now lives in Peru, says he was a victim of political persecution for leading the Tipnis demonstrations. Pedro Vare, Cidob’s current leader, in local media has continued to back Morales and criticize the protesters. Reuters was unable to reach Vare for an interview.One rainy evening in December 2013, MAS activists broke down the door of the two-story La Paz headquarters of Conamaq, as the other indigenous rights group is known. Once inside, they forced members, some of whom were visiting La Paz from remote regions and living there during their stay, to leave.“We had nowhere to go,” recalls Cristobal Salles, an Aymara and Quechua speaker who was a Conamaq councilman and now farms potatoes.  Dissent at both groups vanished.Hilarion Mamani, a 41-year-old  Quechua who led the Conamaq takeover, told Reuters a purge had been necessary. Using a charge long wielded against opponents by some leftists in Latin America, Mamani said previous leaders were acting on behalf of “North American imperialists.” Now, he added, “there are no divisions.”That’s because most of the previous members went on to form  dissident indigenous groups. Those groups have campaigned to enforce presidential term limits and against renewed efforts to build the Tipnis road and other projects on native lands.  In 2014, Morales began his sustained effort to stay in power.Despite the constitutional limit of two terms, Morales argued that his first administration shouldn’t be counted because he had been elected under a previous constitution. In the Constitutional Court, by then composed mostly of judges nominated by allies of Morales in Congress, he found a sympathetic audience.Except for one justice – Cusi, the fellow Aymara who at that time sat on the court. Cusi sought a strict interpretation of the charter and argued against another term. But the other judges prevailed. Morales ran for re-election and, with 60 percent of the vote, won a third term starting in January 2015. Before long, relations with native groups grew worse still.  In February 2015, a government comptroller discovered a $10 million shortfall in a state fund for indigenous projects, finding records of initiatives that had been funded, but never carried out.  Two of Morales’ former rural development ministers were convicted of misusing public funds and served brief jail terms.Some onetime Morales supporters were outraged. “It seems corruption has been institutionalized,” Edwin Prada, a lawyer and former advisor to Conamaq, said in an interview.Morales in public comments has said the fund was poorly run. Reuters couldn’t reach either of the two former ministers for comment.That year, natural gas prices fell from a peak in 2014. The country’s economy, while still healthier than that of many neighbors, cooled.Criticism of Morales and his party grew.   “LORD KING EVO MORALES”In  March 2015, residents of El Alto, formerly a bastion of Morales support, handed MAS its first big electoral defeat. They voted out the city’s MAS mayor, who had polarized local voters because of municipal spending, and elected Soledad Chapeton, an Aymara from a center-right party who became the city’s first female mayor.Morales, meanwhile, kept working to prolong his own mandate – first through the failed referendum and then through another plea to the Constitutional Court. By last year, the court was firmly allied with Morales.After opposing other government initiatives, Cusi, the Aymara judge, was impeached by the Senate. The day before the May 2017 ruling, Cusi donned chains in front of government headquarters and scoffed at what he considered his foregone ouster. “Lord King Evo Morales,” he said before television cameras, “order your puppet senators to condemn me.”  Officially, Cusi was accused of failing to fulfill duties. But many government critics called his removal political.“They found a pretext to oust me,” Cusi told Reuters. Now the head of a Conamaq breakaway group, Cusi recently announced he would seek the office of attorney general.With the go-ahead to pursue a fourth term, Morales stoked even more ire.Early last year, students at the Public University of El Alto, a bastion of political activism, began demonstrating for more educational funding. The ruling on term limits sparked further discontent, fueling demonstrations that continued into this year.In a clash with police, one student died. Police said the student, Jonathan Quispe, was killed when students hurled marbles. University officials said he was shot by police. Reuters couldn’t independently determine what led to Quispe’s death.Last August, Congress approved a project to restart the Tipnis highway. Other construction projects are also drawing fire.At a cost to taxpayers of $7 million, Morales last year inaugurated a three-wing museum with large modern windows in Orinoca, the remote Altiplano town where he grew up herding llamas. The “Museum of the Democratic and Cultural Revolution” tells Bolivia’s recent history through Morales’ own achievements.This month, Morales presided over the opening of a new 28-floor presidential palace in La Paz. He calls the $34 million building “the big house of the people.”The projects, some critics say, are further proof Morales lost touch. “He always said he would consult the people,” said Salles, the former Conamaq leader. “Now he doesn’t.”In Charagua, the lowland Guarani region, residents are struggling with autonomy. One recent afternoon, locals at a school auditorium hashed through problems now plaguing their experiment, the first of three autonomous regions approved by voters recently.Charagua, roughly the size of Panama, in the 1930s was the site of successful resistance against Paraguayan invaders who sought to seize area gas reserves. Despite having gas, however, Charagua remains poor, accessible only by dirt roads. The regional budget, financed in part by La Paz, remains the roughly $4.5 million it was before autonomy. But locals say the national government has all but abandoned them otherwise.“We are worse than before,” said one resident who identified himself as Victor before storming out of the auditorium. “I want a recall on this autonomy.”Reuters was unable to reach the Morales cabinet official in charge of indigenous autonomy.Guarani leaders there said they, too, are unhappy. Ramiro Lucas, a 44-year-old leader of a southern portion of Charagua, lamented that the region recently had to halt school breakfasts because money was needed for health centers. “Now we have land, but what good is that if we don’t have resources?” he told Reuters.last_img

Geek deals Preorder an Amazon Echo Dot for 50

first_imgIf you’ve ever used personal assistants like Siri or Cortana, you know how compelling these software secretaries can be. Now, it’s easy and affordable to have that same kind of functionality available at all times in your home. Setting alarms, checking the weather, and controlling your smart home can all be accomplished with just a quick command when you invest in the Amazon Echo Dot. Set this tiny disc on your counter or desk, and Alexa will be at your beck and call.Pre-order an Amazon Echo Dot for $49.99 With an array of seven far-field mics built into this machine, you can speak normally from across the room, and the Echo Dot will act accordingly. Even if your room is noisy, it can still detect your voice quite clearly.If you’re using smart home devices like the Nest thermostat or Philips Hue lighting, you can use Alexa to control your house. And since it can connect to your speakers over an aux jack or Bluetooth, you can pump the jams simply by streaming your music from the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Prime. Order now, and you’ll receive the Echo Dot when it releases on October 20th. If you want it on release day, you’ll need to select the two-day shipping option. And if you’re a Prime member, that won’t cost you anything extra. Better yet, you can get six for the price of five when you apply coupon code “DOT6PACK” in your shopping cart. That way, you can have Alexa available in all of your most-used rooms.Our commerce group sources the best deals and products for the Geek Deals posts. We operate independently of Editorial and Advertising and may earn a percentage of the sale, if you buy something via a link on the post. If you are interested in promoting your deals, please contact us at commerce@ziffdavis.com.For more great deals, head over to TechBargains.last_img read more

Radio gaga

first_imgFor long, the intimacy of a voice has been pivotal during travel sojourns, walk in the woods, congested drives, after fights with your best friend, in crowded marketplaces or even when you are all by yourself.This is none other than the radio jockeys giving you company with intermittent beauty tips, social issues, interactive debates and of course good, old melodies. With the benefit of hindsight, the radio has changed over the years. From news-based transmissions to today’s all-encompassing caucus of over-zealous listeners participating in a vast range of discourses. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’RJ Siddharth from Big FM, Mumbai, says, ‘The change has been phenomenal. What started as an entertainment based format with the advent of private FM industry in the early 2000 has taken a giant leap to become a revolution involving each and every strata of society perhaps becoming the only format catering to the infotainment needs of individuals. And the biggest change that has happened is the pin-pointed and targeted programming at the most local level in a language they understand and giving a never-heard-or-seen-before opportunity to both the parties – advertisers and consumers (say listeners).’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHe further adds, ‘Today’s radio jockeys should be the voice of the city and the people. It is essential for an RJ to have an opinion. They should be honest and of course need to have an in-depth knowledge on the issue/topics he is talking about. Pretence is something which must be avoided at any cost.’There is a lot to achieve and lot to explore vis-a-vis radio industry and the radio market are concerned. With almost 13-14 years of its existence, there is an ample space to bring in languages, different formats, music and personalities to make an inroad into segments where radio is yet to make its presence felt. Speaking about the essential elements of radio, he says, ‘Understandably, music and especially film music is an essential part of radio and unlike western countries where private FM is immensely popular, film music is a genre in itself and we can’t visualize entertainment without taking it into account. We are working on an infotainment format hence music is there to stay till the time we find a suitable and more effective alternative.’India’s radio industry is undergoing a makeover with the government’s approval to allocate new radio licences through e-auction and increased foreign investment limit. This move will boost advertising revenue in the long-run, promote business consolidation and lower expansion cost, according to analysts and industry experts.According to RJ Koushik Bhattacharya from Kolkata, ‘There has been resurgence in the popularity of radio. The radio boom has thrown open a number of avenues and opportunities for young, energetic and enthusiastic people who have an ear for music and a passion to entertain. This has become a wonderful career for different professionals. At the same time, day by day, number of listeners is increasing from different sphere of life.’For RJ Prateek Sharma, who works with BIG FM 92.7 in New Delhi, the Indian radio industry is expanding by leaps and bounds. ‘The government is also being very helpful in the expansion of this medium. Norms are changing, reach is increasing, more and more people are tuning in, and many more brands are associating with the radio as a medium. Good and better days lie ahead certainly.’Prateek is one person who has worked in the international market and feels, ‘I think the response has been very encouraging. The kind of music that Indian radio stations play and the content that we provide, there is a big audience, ready to consume it. And if that music and content helps them to stay in touch with their Indian roots, what more can one ask for!’last_img read more

Phoolan Devi story set to return as web series

first_imgA quarter century after Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen generated a massive worldwide buzz following its premiere in Directors’ Fortnight in 1994, the epochal film’s producer, Bobby Bedi, has firmed up plans for a 20-episode web series on the life and death of Phoolan Devi, the dreaded Chambal dacoit-turned-Member of Parliament who was assassinated in the heart of Delhi in July 2001. The web series, titled ‘Phoolan Devi’, will be directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, with Tannishtha Chatterjee taking on the role of the protagonist. Dhulia was the casting director of Bandit Queen. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSpeaking on the sidelines of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, Bedi reveals that the web series will go into production within the next few months. It will be spread out over two seasons of 10 episodes each. “The first season will end with Phoolan’s eight-year prison term, while the second will largely cover the years in the aftermath of her release,” he says. “Her prison term was extended by four years, but within two years of her release she became a Member of Parliament,” says Bedi. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”Bandit Queen hinged on how a woman had to suffer huge indignities in rural India on account of being low caste. It focused on crushing caste oppression. In an urban setting, conversely, she demonstrated the political power of a low-caste woman,” says Bedi. For a long time, the New Delhi-based producer had toyed with the idea of doing a sequel to Bandit Queen. “Then the web space opened up and we realised it would be the best option because it allows the storyteller all the time to develop characters and settings,” he says. Bedi was sure from the very outset that he wanted Tannishtha for the role of Phoolan Devi. The actress came on board instantly once she was convinced that the web series would be completely unlike Bandit Queen in tone and substance. The new production is neither a sequel nor a remake the format is long enough to allow us to handle a wider canvas of the Phoolan story.last_img read more

Proposal for luxury resort in natural area being met with criticism

first_imgRiviera Maya, Q.R. — The proposal for a new multi-million dollar luxury resort in is being met with criticism since other projects proposed for that area have been rejected.Palmares del Country SA de CV of Guadalajara wants to build La Calma Eco Resort Luxury at Xcacel-Xcacelito, a natural area of mangroves and protected turtle nesting sites. The new project would be a combined tourist and residential development across 26 hectares that would include up to 30 rooms per hectare.La Calma Eco Resort Luxury Master Plan would consist of four blocks of accommodations, a lobby, spa, restaurant, administrative building, two pools, parking, walkways and two artificial lagoons. It is sited to be built in an area between kilometers 247 and 248 of the federal highway with a private investment of $21 million USD over a period of eight years.Palmares del Country SA de CV has already submitted the request for construction permits, however, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is still evaluating the environmental impact.In the application, the company recognizes that part of the property is within the limits of the Ecological Ordinance Program of the Region called Cancún-Tulum Corridor with a conservation policy.They say that since it is a nesting area for sea turtles, “the land use in the areas adjacent to the turtle nesting beaches will be subject to an environmental impact authorization that demonstrates the non-affectation of the nests”.They add that areas where buildings are forbidden will be used to “practice camping activities, interpretive routes, observation of flora and fauna and photographic walks”.A petition to stop the project has been launched on Change.org since previously similar projects have been rejected due to their environmental impact.Guadalupe Rosa Villalba, former president of the Citizen Ecology Movement of Yax Cuxtal, said they will request a public hearing to express their opposition to the project.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Wentworth tapped to lead new House special committee

first_img14Jan Wentworth tapped to lead new House special committee Categories: Wentworth News Temporary panel to be centered on auto insurance reformState Rep. Jason Wentworth today was appointed by Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield to chair a new committee specifically tasked with crafting a lasting solution to the state’s highest-in-the-nation car insurance premiums – offering affordability for all Michigan drivers.The temporary House special committee will focus on auto insurance and work with representatives to deliver a remedy to one of the most pressing issues facing the state – Michigan’s no-fault insurance system.“I am honored to be called upon by Speaker Chatfield to lead the deliberation process of one of the most dire issues impacting families statewide,” said Wentworth, of Clare. “For each day that passes without a devised, lasting solution, Michigan families continue to be trapped between converging walls of financial hardship. It’s going to take both of us – Democrats and Republicans – to come together in a bipartisan effort, set our differences aside and finally figure out a way to deliver historic car insurance reform.”Members of the special committee will be announced later this week.Speaker Chatfield noted public support for reform statewide has reached a new high, adding he can’t think of a better person to lead the panel responsible for spearheading critical legislation Michiganders not only demand, but deserve.“The ridiculously high cost of auto insurance is the single biggest issue holding back our state and getting in the way of further growth,” said Chatfield, of Levering. “This special committee will allow us to focus on delivering a real solution this term and lowering rates for hard-working Michigan families. It’s time we cut through the politics on this issue and finally move our state forward with real reform. The people we represent are demanding car insurance reform, and we are taking real, measurable steps to get it done.”Wentworth has begun his second term representing the 97th House District, which includes the residents of Clare, Gladwin and Arenac counties as well as parts of Osceola County. Wentworth was unanimously voted in by his House colleagues last week for the leadership position of Speaker Pro-Tempore.last_img read more

COLUMN Juvenile justice reforms will result in brighter futures for troubled teens

first_img A bipartisan plan approved by the Michigan House last week has the potential to dramatically improve the way young people are treated in our state’s legal system.Right now, any 17-year-old who breaks the law in Michigan is required to be processed through the adult legal system, regardless of the severity of the crime. That means high school juniors and seniors – who can’t legally vote, sign a contract or serve on a jury – are charged, tried and even sent to serve in prison alongside adults.Michigan is one of just four states where this law remains, despite all of the research that shows placing 17-year-olds in adult prison hinders their ability to re-enter society and lead successful, productive lives.Teenagers in prison face a greater chance of being sexually assaulted and subjected to other forms of violence. They’re also more likely to attempt suicide.Instead of bringing the full weight of the adult legal system down on 17-year-olds, the solution I support will help them turn their lives around by giving them access to the rehabilitation programs available in the juvenile justice system. These programs are already designed to help young people by focusing on education, career and technical training, and family involvement.Including 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to reduce recidivism by 34 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.This plan does nothing to prevent minors who commit heinous crimes from being charged as adults. Prosecutors and judges will continue to have discretion – just like they do right now with other teenagers who commit violent crimes.However, most teenagers who commit a crime in Michigan are first-time, non-violent offenders. They deserve a chance to fix their mistakes and straighten out their lives.In addition to producing better results for Michigan teens, raising the age for juvenile justice in Michigan will save public tax dollars, freeing up funds to be invested in schools, roads and other services critical to Michigan families.Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts are among the states that have experienced millions of dollars in savings, decreases in the number of reoffending youth and declines in judicial costs after raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.Putting 17-year-olds with non-violent records into adult prisons is harmful to young people, expensive for taxpayers and does absolutely nothing to make our communities safer. I’m pleased to be able to report that change could soon be on the way.###— State Rep. Sarah Lightner is serving her first term in the Michigan House representing residents in portions of Jackson, Lenawee and Eaton counties. 29Apr COLUMN: Juvenile justice reforms will result in brighter futures for troubled teens Categories: Lightner Newslast_img read more

San Francisco Helps Its Nonprofits Pay the Rent

first_imgShare52Tweet2Share24Email78 Shares“Crazy hills of San Francisco” by Håkan DahlströmMay 26, 2017; San Francisco Chronicle and HoodlinePerhaps it seems obvious, but the degree to which local economies drive the revenue streams and financial needs of many nonprofits make the management of each its own special puzzle. For instance, in some locales, municipal governments are pushing for payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTS, but in others cities must subsidize the costs of some nonprofits’ facilities costs to keep them where they are needed.For example, the San Francisco Bay Area is at or near the top of the most expensive real estate markets in the U.S. On the other hand, it also has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the country and is the engine pulling California’s economic recovery after the Great Recession. Despite all the prosperity, there is plenty of need for charities and nonprofits to support the underserved communities and populations in the midst of it all, and the high rents have been especially tough on the nonprofits that survive on grants and donations, struggling to stay open in the neighborhoods they’ve long served.Help is on the way, according to reports in the San Francisco Chronicle and on Hoodline. The city, understanding the importance of local charities, awarded $2.7 million this year to 13 nonprofits so they could afford to buy or lease facilities amid skyrocketing real estate prices. A strong local economy, bolstering the city’s tax rolls, gives it the wherewithal to help.“The role of nonprofits in the city of San Francisco was, in my opinion, born in the Summer of Love,” Mayor Ed Lee said at a news conference where he announced the grants from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Making reference to the “hippie era 50 years ago,” he added, “Our city registered itself as the place of love and embracement of different cultures and populations.”The strong influence that nonprofits exert over San Francisco’s civil society and local political and government leaders is evident in the support they are getting. The responsiveness of the city’s leadership is testimony to the importance of local advocacy efforts by any community’s nonprofit sector.Lee is seeking $1.2 billion in city contracts for nonprofits in a nearly $20 billion two-year budget proposal that he will present to the Board of Supervisors (San Francisco’s city council). A total of $6 million in grants, distributed over two years, will be included in the mayor’s budget proposal.“In San Francisco, leases for many of these groups are being terminated and not renewed, or they’re being renewed at substantially higher rates,” said the director of consulting services and program development at the Northern California Community Loan Fund, which is helping administer the subsidies.The Chronicle points out that, unlike a business or household, community-based nonprofit service providers can’t just move across the Bay to lower-cost Oakland (which is experiencing its own real estate boom with escalating prices). They need to be rooted in the communities they serve. Most of the grants will enable local charities to purchase the buildings they have been renting, or will provide the funding to withstand the rent increases that come with new, more expensive, leases.The grants are part of the city’s Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, an effort Lee launched in 2015 to keep more service organizations in San Francisco. Hoodline reports that there are approximately 7,000 nonprofits in the city. The grant money will create 26,000 square feet of new, permanent nonprofit space and 36,000 square feet of leased space for nonprofits.The director of business development for San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development told the website that “she’s pleased with the diversity of this year’s grant recipients, noting different districts and types of services are represented, ranging from arts classes and legal services to child care and employment training.”—Larry KaplanShare52Tweet2Share24Email78 Shareslast_img read more