By Dialogo March 15, 2011 Security in Central America, which has become one of the world’s most unsafe regions due to gang and drug-cartel activity, will dominate the agenda at a meeting between UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and isthmus leaders on 16 March in Guatemala. Ban will arrive in Guatemala on the evening of 15 March and will participate on the following day in bilateral meetings and a plenary session with the Central American presidents, who are seeking aid from the international community to confront the pressing security problems in their countries. All the presidents of the isthmus “have confirmed their attendance” at the meeting with the UN head, who will leave Guatemala on 17 March, Guatemalan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andrea Furlán told AFP. In the case of the Dominican Republic, which is also a member of the organizations promoting Central American integration, Vice President Rafael Albuquerque will attend, Furlán added. Central America, which has forty million inhabitants, has become one of the world’s most unsafe regions due to the activity of its feared ‘maras’ or gangs, which victimize business owners and drivers of public buses through extortion rackets, and of cartels shipping drugs from South America to North America. Three countries on the isthmus — Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — have high homicide rates, but the crime wave has also spread recently to the other nations in a region in which more than 40% of the population lives in poverty. The process of Central American integration has been stalled for almost two years, first as a consequence of the June 2009 coup d’état in Honduras and then due to the border dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which broke out in October 2010 and is now in the hands of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. At the last Central American summit, held on 16 December on an island in Belize, only four of the eight invited presidents attended, so the meeting with Ban in Guatemala on Wednesday may incidentally contribute to relaunching the process of regional integration. Ban is coming to Guatemala to sign an agreement to extend for two years the mandate of a UN special commission working to strengthen the country’s judicial system, which has a reputation as corrupt and ineffective, and to eradicate clandestine groups sheltered by the state apparatus. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) was created by the UN General Assembly in 2006, and its current mandate concludes in September. A UN source indicated that Ban will recommend the creation of a fund for the consolidation of peace in Guatemala, fifteen years after the end of a civil war (1960-1996) that left 200,000 dead and missing, according to a UN report. In addition, Ban will thank Guatemala for supporting UN peace-keeping missions, since it has troops in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the source told AFP. This will be Ban’s first visit to Guatemala, and he will be accompanied on the trip by officials from several UN agencies.
Aug 5, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Three more cases of H5N1 avian influenza in Vietnam, two of them fatal, were officially recognized today by the World Health Organization (WHO) after confirmation came from that country’s Health Ministry, bringing the count to 90 cases with 40 deaths.The two deaths were in a 24-year-old man from southern Tra Vinh province and a 26-year-old woman from Ho Chi Minh City. They both died the last week of July and had been reported on previously in the media but not officially recognized by the government. The source of infection in both is considered to be chicken they had eaten.The third new case involves a 49-year-old woman from Ha Tay province in the north. She remains hospitalized, and her illness, too, apparently stems from eating chicken she bought locally.Vietnam began vaccinating large numbers of chickens and ducks in northern Nam Dinh and southern Tien Giang provinces this week in the largest such program ever undertaken there. Plans are to vaccinate over 2.9 million birds by the end of this month, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua, and to cover all of Vietnam starting in October. More than 400 million doses of vaccine are expected to be used in all, at a cost of about $37 million dollars, reports an Associated Press (AP) story.Birds are to receive three doses over a period of several months, according to the Vietnam News Service. The H5N1 vaccine is being imported from China, and an H5N2 vaccine from the Netherlands.WHO and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) both support Vietnam’s actions, although the country is being cautioned that healthy birds can carry the virus. Challenges inherent in the vaccination program are many, according to the AP, including the facts that the vaccine needs to be kept cool and that milions of the birds are running freely and have to be caught for vaccine administration each time a dose is given.Close to 70% of the waterfowl in the Mekong delta have tested positive for H5N1, according to a story in the Vietnamese paper Labor, says an item posted on ProMED Wednesday. This number is similar to findings reported last spring (see CIDRAP News story cited below).See also:Aug 3 WHO statement http://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_08_05/en/index.htmlCIDRAP case count table, giving official and unofficial numbersApr 13, 2005, CIDRAP News story reporting earlier prevalence of H5N1 in Mekong delta read more
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The home at 45 Middle Street, Coopers PlainsAFTER 43 years in the same family, this cute post-war home in Coopers Plains is looking for a new owner.The cherished house located at 45 Middle St was home to Estelle Sundholm before she recently passed away at the age of 86.Everything from the floral wallpaper and lace curtains to the well-established garden has her mark on it.According to her daughter, Robyn Cooke, nothing much has changed about the property since her mother and father bought it in 1974. The home has an eat-in kitchen.“It’s very much still that era,” Mrs Cooke said.“She and Dad decorated the place together and he passed away in 1983 so I think keeping it the same way reminded her of Dad.“She’d never live anywhere else.”More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020Mrs Cooke is now reluctantly selling the property with her brother, Rodney Sundholm.“It’s got an immaculate garden,” Mrs Cooke said. “The garden was (our mother’s) life.”Strip back the wallpaper and the carpet over the hardwood floors and it’s easy to see the potential the two-bedroom property offers. The home has hardwood floors under carpet.The house has two sleep-outs, a separate toilet and a spacious living area.The traditional eat-in kitchen is spacious and has plenty of bench and cupboard space and natural light. The home is on concrete stumps and has a garage, laundry and storage space downstairs. There is also a big lockup shed with rear access on the 620sq m corner block. Russell Matthews of Matthews Real Estate said the property would make an excellent investment or a great place to live.Middle St is a short walk to schools, shops, buses, rail, QE2 hospital and Griffith University.The home is on the market for $585,000. read more
With a slim majority, the Swiss government’s occupational pensions expert body has recommended its minimum interest rate be kept at 1% for 2020.The Mindestzinssatz is the minimum interest rate that every pension fund in Switzerland has to grant annually on active members’ accrued savings based on mandatory contributions.According to a statement from the BVG-Kommission, the politically appointed body of occupational pension stakeholders, its members had made suggestions for the rate ranging from 0.25% to 1%, and different versions were voted on.Both its formulas – the basis for its annual recommendation – had produced a lower value than 1%, but other factors were considered. These included the rate’s affordability for pension providers given the investment returns they could achieve. The BVG-Kommission also noted that the rate “should strengthen trust in the second pillar”.The president of the commission told IPE it had considered the latest public annual report from the federal pensions regulator, which showed that funding levels had improved since the beginning of the year and that it could therefore “answer for 1%”.The government decides on any changes to the minimum interest rate. Last year it decided to keep it unchanged at 1% despite the BVG-Kommission having recommended 0.75%. That was the first time the government went against the expert body’s recommendation. Pension fund body urges ‘depoliticisation’ Asip, the Swiss occupational pension fund association, called for the rate for 2020 to be set at 0.5%, and for a review of the process for setting the rate and the variables in the main formula. “The parameters in the [occupational pensions law] have to be depoliticised,” it said in a statement. “This would allow the parameters to be based on objective models or calculation methods that can be made sense of.”It noted that as at July, both the old and new formulas used by the expert commission produced results between 0.5% and 0.6%.Although the BVG-Kommission took into account other factors, the basis for the rate must be the current rate environment, said Asip. This had fallen even further than last year, it added.Switzerland’s main employer association and the insurance industry body strongly criticised the BVG-Kommission’s recommendation, and called for the rate to be set at 0.5% and 0.25%, respectively.The main trade union welcomed the recommendation, saying that pension funds were in a situation that allowed a 1% minimum “despite the economic uncertainty”.Pension funds are free to apply a higher rate if they are able to.Last year the expert commission voted to adjust the formula that forms the basis of its discussions, increasing the weight of equities and real estate and dropping a long-term smoothing of government bond yields in favour of the current rate of the 10-year sovereign bond. read more
HBC has completed the Ørsted subsea inspection campaign on Race Bank offshore wind farm, Borkum Riffgrund offshore wind farm, Gode Wind 1 offshore wind farm and Gode Wind 2 offshore wnd farm.According to the company, the campaign was carried out in a safe manner without any accidents, while maintaining a high quality standard, to ensure the subsea integrity of all the assets.In the past three years HBC has performed a wide array of subsea inspection and maintenance tasks during the Ørsted campaign across Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.“We thank all the HBC project personnel as well as the client. The great dedication and collaboration between Ørsted and HBC ensured the success and safety of the campaign,” the company said in a press release. read more
Press Association Sunderland owner Ellis Short has admitted he got it wrong when he appointed Paolo Di Canio as head coach. The 45-year-old Italian lasted only 13 games in the job despite guiding the Black Cats to Barclays Premier League safety last season, and was replaced by Gus Poyet earlier this month. Writing in his programme notes ahead of Sunday’s derby clash with Newcastle, Short said: “With the euphoria from our successful survival fight at the end of last season and the optimism surrounding our pre-season, we could never have imagined in our worst nightmare being in the position we are in now. “The club has been in turmoil as a result of the change of head coach so early in the season. “I have to take the blame for that. Clearly at least one of the decisions I made over the last several months was the wrong one. “I believe this period of uncertainty is now over with the appointment of Gus Poyet. “Gus’ challenge at Sunderland is to establish stability, get what I consider to be a good squad of players together as a cohesive unit and to begin fighting our way back up the table. “This will have to be a steady, one-game-at-a-time recovery.” read more
The Syracuse offense reaped the benefits of Kevin Rice’s field vision all afternoon.The junior attack operated from behind the goal and captained the SU offense by picking out cutting teammate after cutting teammate.On a day designed to knock off the rust, Syracuse’s front looked like a well-oiled machine with Rice pressing all the buttons.“He played well and I think the whole attack played well,” SU head coach John Desko said. “I think the group is picking up from where they left off last year.”As the Orange poured in goals in scrimmages against Hofstra and Le Moyne in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, Rice’s name continually boomed over the loudspeaker as the resident assist man. Syracuse beat Hofstra 12-8 then Le Moyne 15-4, and Rice and Co. were as good as they’ve been advertised in the last couple weeks.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn the two games combined, Rice tallied three goals and seven assists, and helped fellow attacker Dylan Donahue collect seven total goals.“The guys know that I like to feed and create,” Rice said. “Every time I dodge they do a great job moving off ball and I thought we were sharp today and guys were getting open.”Against Hofstra, Rice set the tone at the end of the first quarter by finding Donahue and senior Derek Maltz for two quick goals.Then after scoring at the start of the second quarter, he lulled the Pride defense by slowing down play. Hofstra quickly caught on to Rice’s speed and shiftiness, but when he stopped and cradled behind the net, a group of watchful defenders left a gaping hole in front of the net.Donahue dove into the gap and slotted an uncontested goal. The duo was not only effective, but effective in different ways.“I’ve played a lot with Kevin and today felt good,” Donahue said. “He’s a guy that when he has the ball you just have to cut and be ready.”Rice continued his dominance against Le Moyne and was rewarded with a goal-scoring chance of his own. With over 13 minutes left in the second quarter, Maltz tossed a pass to him in front of the net and after faking two shots he slid it past Dolphins goalie Ben Romagnoli.He likes playing the part of the helping hand, but admitted after the game that being on the receiving end wasn’t so bad either.“At first I thought ‘this is weird,’” Rice said. “But it was nice to get a pass and get to put it home.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 25, 2014 at 5:52 pm Contact Jesse: firstname.lastname@example.org | @dougherty_jesse read more
Famed Olympian, World War II veteran and lifelong Trojan, USC alumnus Louis Zamperini, ’40, died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a battle with pneumonia. He was 97.“After a 40-day battle for his life, he peacefully passed away in the presence of his entire family, leaving behind a legacy that has touched so many lives,” Zamperini’s family said in a statement to USA TODAY. “His indomitable courage and fighting spirit were never more apparent than in these last days.”Zamperini was recently the focus of Angelina Jolie’s upcoming film, Unbroken, which chronicles the life of the former Olympian during his performance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, as well as his experience as a prisoner of war during World War II. The film, based on Laura Hillenbrand’s award-winning biography “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” is set to hit theaters in December.Long before Zamperini was a war hero, however, he was a Trojan. A year ago, Zamperini returned to his alma mater as part of the “5 Traits of a Trojan Speaker Series,” in which he spoke about the power of resilience throughout his time at USC and beyond.“Life is full of problems,” Zamperini said students on March 13, 2013 in Bovard Auditorium. “Sometimes the problems are difficult, but you have to be resolute.”Long before he spoke to current USC students, Zamperini made his mark on campus in the 1930s as an athlete, competing in the 5,000 meter run. His track career ultimately led him to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he made his notable 8th place finish. Following his time at USC, he went on to serve in the United States Army Air Corps. On May 27, 1944, Zamperini served as a bombardier in a rescue mission that would ultimately end in a crash-landing into the Japanese-controlled waters of the Pacific Ocean. The crash left both him and his fellow crew members stranded at sea for 47 days. Zamperini was eventually captured and served nearly two and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war.“Every morning I woke up and expected that this was the day,” Zamperini said of his POW experience. ‘This is the day they’re going to kill us.”Zamperini’s service earned him numerous national accolades, including three Purple Hearts and a Prisoner of War Medal. Looking back, Zamperini said he was able to survive the war by recounting the lessons of his former track coach.“You have to take the bull by the horns and fight ‘til the finish,” Zamperini said.Zamperini is survived by his son, Luke, and his daughter, Cynthia Garris. read more
She stands at the shoreline the cool breeze makeing its way through the spaces between her hair, lifting it slightly. The sounds of the waves crashing against the shore echo in her ears as she enters the water, surfboard in hand.Making waves · Freshman Brendon Ballo is part of a revived USC surfing team that has gained recognition in the one semester since the team was reborn. Sponsors have been quick to support the team which has traveled to a variety of events to compete against other schools. – Photo courtesy of USC Surf Club Once in the water, she commands the elements as she glides on every wave, fusing with each one to ride back to the shore.The sport of surfing has been an iconic part of California culture. Here at USC, however, that sport seems non-existent.After a two-year absence, three USC students — junior and president of the club Mark Lathrum, sophomore and vice president Jena Sussex and sophomore and captain John Funnell — refounded the surf team at USC just this fall as a branch of the surf club.“We’re under the surf club, but we’re a separate entity of the surf club who actually competes, does all the contests and has a roster,” Lathrum said.The thought of a surf club at USC is a peculiar idea.USC is known for many sports; however, a surf team seems impossible — especially considering USC’s location.“We’re actually as close to the ocean as San Diego State, but they don’t have traffic, so they can get there in 10 minutes. We just have to work our schedule around it,” Funnell said.The team has less structured practices in order to balance traffic with being a student and an athlete.But to these students, this team is not just merely another sport.“It’s an escape,” Funnell said.Daily Trojan | Photo courtesy of the USC surf teamFor some students, the team is a gateway to reconnect with home and escape the busy, fast-paced environment of Downtown Los Angeles.“A lot of us are beach kids, and it’s great to get out of the city and be in the ocean again,” Sussex said.It seems the news of the team has been spreading, bringing together those who have the same passion.“[We started on] day one with only three people who surf and trying to build a roster — now we have 25 people on our roster,” Lathrum said.The team has seen a tremendous increase in interest and publicity in the short amount of time since it began the season. The popularity even reached the ears of sponsors Quicksilver and Shacked.In addition to bringing the surfing community of the USC campus together, and reinvigorating the surfing scene in Los Angeles.“California is known for its surf culture, and we’re just bringing that to this school,” Sussex said.As for its first season back from hiatus, the surf team has surprised even its founders with its success.“We’ve actually performed way better than I had expected when we started this team,” Lathrum said.The Trojan surf team has put forth a great effort and is confident that it will reach state competition, and it even has the aspirations to attend nationals in the National Scholastic Surfing Association.“I’m just surprised so many people in college have such great skills in surfing,” Sussex said. “Usually surfers go pro rather than joining the college circuit. I’m glad we have them in our team.”Photo courtesy of the USC Surf ClubThe No. 17 USC surf team is currently ranked near the middle of its 30-team league but is constantly improving.“We have surfers regularly making it to second heat and third heats,” Funnell said.The more surfers that survive each heat, the more points they can gain for their team.Despite its recent improvement in performance, the USC surf team still strives to better itself.“Our only obstacle is balancing surf team and school,” Funnell said. “When you have surf team, you have to basically give your whole day to it.”While athletic and academic balance may be the Achilles’ heel for the team, the participation act to counter it.“We have so many great surfers that can fill in for anyone — we really aren’t worried if one can’t make it to a heat,” Lathrum said.The USC surfing team has shown that even at an urban school like USC, the beach and surf culture can still thrive. Whether it is for the sheer joy of the beach, or the competitiveness, the team has built a haven for those with a passion for surfing.With every passing competition, the team is proving itself and setting high goals. The team ‘s ambitions show commitment to bringing surfing back to a school that seemed to have forgotten the sport existed. To Funnel, its clear what the next step is.“We’re gonna make nationals,” Funnell said. read more