Charter review deserves time

Charter review deserves time

first_imgMayor Meg Kelly has formed a new Charter Review Commission comprised of the commissioners and deputies, to review the existing charter and propose improvements. Fortunately, the 2016-17 Charter Commission produced a compendium of recommendations in this direction (separate from the Council Manager proposal) that the new commission would do well to consider.Amending the existing charter was our hedge against the possibility that the council/manager proposal was defeated at the polls. So in this way, at least, the mayor’s initiative is in keeping with the former commission’s mandate. If the new commission’s proposal is on the November ballot, there will be plenty of time and space to comment.For now, advocates of charter change need to lower their voices so that the discussion can be heard how the commissioners want to change things. We also need to give Mayor Kelly the consideration due to anyone who enters a competitive election and ends up on top. The voters made their choice, and the outcome deserves its time on the stage.GORDON BOYDSaratoga SpringsThe writer was treasurer of the 2016-17 Charter Review Commission.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: 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? Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionLast November’s referendum on the Saratoga Springs City Charter produced an excruciatingly close result. The 10-vote margin against change, out of more than 9,000 cast has, if anything, amplified the voices on both sides who want the issue to be settled their way. As a member of the former Charter Review Commission and an activist in the Yes campaign, I think it is in everyone’s best interest at this point to lower the volume and give the community a breather.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Monday, May 6

Letters to the Editor for Monday, May 6

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionStop the slander and get more informedToo often, we fire words with reckless intent to smear and demean.A recent writer’s brash claim, “Many Americans are surrendering their values” supporting a president whose “motives are driven by narcissism” trashes both our president and voting citizens exercising their right.Is the writer privy to the president’s motives, or uttering the mantras of a hostile media?Continuing to “illustrate” surrender of “values,” the “horrified” writer asserts, with nary a shred of evidence, that appointing William Barr as attorney general was a “sinister plot” by Trump to gain a protector in the position of the office. She then declares, in an unclear and unsubstantiated statement, “he has forever tainted and dishonored the office of United States Attorney General.”We bear the responsibility to be informed. Though we no longer rely on the media to report facts, we have easy access to information. Bill Barr’s Memorandum of 8 June 2018 on Mueller’s “Obstruction” Theory addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is online. You will find more than 18 pages of articulate, carefully measured and weighed reasoning, referencing many legal cases. Kids get a taste of reality about vapingHere’s a lesson for you.One of my daughter’s friends, a teacher, stopped by and told me about a recent lesson she taught at one of the local middle schools.She started her lesson by saying to her 13-year-old students, “Today, we are going to make milkshakes, and we are going to use some of the same ingredients that are used in making e-cigarettes. Let’s start with blueberries. Flavor is important to both concoctions. Next, a little formaldehyde. It’s used to manufacture the colorless, gaseous stuff that makes the smoke in e-pens. Yes, it’s used in fertilizers and embalming fluids, but only large amounts are harmful.Next is the e-liquid. That’s the propellant used to get the smoke into the lungs. It causes cancer in rats and heart disease in humans, but only if used to excess. How about a little arsenic? It’s used in rat poison, but it keeps the ingredients in vape machines free of rodents in stores. Then, a little cyanide. It’s only dangerous in large amounts, but it, too, adds flavor to the smoke inhaled. In keeping with that flavor, let’s add a little yogurt. Our milkshake is complete and just as tasty as those trendy little e-pens. Now, who wants to try my milkshake?”  No hands went up, but a great discussion took place on whether to vape or not to vape.Allen R. RemaleySaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccinecenter_img U.S. Attorney General Barr is not a novice. He has served under a previous president. His reports to Congress are patient, intelligent, “just the facts” responses to even the most hostile and rude congressional members.Let us all determine to stop the slander and false accusations that ignite hostility.An informed citizenry engaging in civil discussion is one of the greatest blessings in our democratic republic and we ought to carefully safeguard it.Joanne DarlingPattersonvillelast_img read more

Public-private partnerships: One on One

Public-private partnerships: One on One

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

VAR taking the fun out of football, Premier League fans tell survey

VAR taking the fun out of football, Premier League fans tell survey

first_imgMore than two-thirds of Premier League fans believe the introduction of VAR has taken the fun out of football, according to a YouGov survey.The technology is in use for the first time in the English top-flight this season and its implementation has been met with consistent criticism.In contrast to other Europan leagues, referees have been advised not to use pitchside monitors to review their own decisions and are instead overruled by an official watching the game at the league’s VAR hub in London. Even though the referees are not consulting the monitors, the process has often led to long delays while decisions are reviewed. There have also been complaints about a lack of communication to fans inside the ground.The poll found that 67 percent felt matches were less enjoyable since the introduction of VAR.Six out of 10 of those surveyed felt the system was working badly, and its performance was scored four out of 10 on average by the sample.However, only 15 per cent of those surveyed wanted the system to be scrapped, with 74 per cent saying it should be kept, but modified.The most popular proposals for reforming VAR included referees using the pitchside monitors, showing fans in the stadium the incident at the same time as the VAR officials and having a time limit for decisions.Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUMBakamla vows to increase presence in strategic waters

PREMIUMBakamla vows to increase presence in strategic waters

first_imgFacebook LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Forgot Password ? Log in with your social account Google Topics : Linkedin Newly inaugurated Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) chief Vice Adm. Aan Kurnia has said increasing the agency’s presence in the country’s strategic waters, including around the resource-rich Natuna islands near the highly disputed South China Sea, is one of his immediate priorities.Aan took an oath before President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo last Wednesday at the State Palace, taking over from Ahmad Taufiqoerrochman, who is retiring.“I will increase [Bakamla’s] presence at sea, particularly in the areas where our presence is needed,” Aan said at the Bakamla headquarters on Friday.He also vowed to improve coordination and synergy with other maritime stakeholders, a measure he deemed necessary to help overcome Bakamla’s lack of human resources, weapons systems and patrol boats to support its operations.“[Bakamla’s] weap… #Bakamla Bakamla #maritime Natuna #Natuna #SeaPatrollast_img read more

Cyclists await test results after coronavirus hits UAE Tour

Cyclists await test results after coronavirus hits UAE Tour

first_img“Tomorrow morning we will know the results. It’s gonna be a long night and we hope that everyone will come back home without any trouble,” it said in a statement on Twitter.The UCI, the sport’s governing body, released a statement saying the last stages were “cancelled late yesterday evening after two cases of coronavirus were suspected among two staff members of one of the participating teams”.”While waiting for the results of tests and their communication, the United Arab Emirates authorities, the event’s organizing committee and the UCI, by mutual agreement, took the decision to interrupt this event in the interests of the health of riders and their staff, and to avoid the virus spreading.”Britain’s Adam Yates, who had led the overall race after Thursday’s fifth stage, was declared the winner of the event after the final two stages fell victim to the new coronavirus outbreak.Second was Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia with Kazak Alexey Lutsenko third.”The final two days of racing are cancelled due to concerns around Coronavirus,” Yates’s Mitchelton team tweeted on Thursday.”Riders and staff remain in the hotel and will be tested shortly, with their health taking priority. We hope anyone affected makes a fast recovery.” Unprecedented move Meanwhile, Danish cyclist Michael Morkov of the Deceuninck–Quick-Step team, who took part in the first four stages of the UAE race, has been placed in isolation in his hotel room after arriving in Berlin to take part in the world track championships.”The UCI and the organizing committee [in Berlin] have been closely monitoring the situation in Abu Dhabi and its potential impact on the championships in Berlin,” said a spokesman, confirming the isolation of Morkov as “a preventative measure”.The cancellation of the UAE Tour came just a day after Italian golfers Edoardo Molinari and Lorenzo Gagli were quarantined in neighboring Oman over coronavirus fears before being cleared to play in the country’s European Tour event.Gagli had suffered flu-like symptoms and as Molinari, the older brother of former British Open winner Francesco, was his roommate, both were forced to withdraw from the tournament and placed in isolation as a precautionary measure.However, they were then cleared to play after the Oman health ministry reported that Gagli’s test results were negative.The UAE on Friday announced six more cases of coronavirus, taking its total to 19. It did not say if the two Italians were included in the new total.Gulf countries have announced a raft of measures to cut links with Iran to prevent coronavirus spreading, after infections emerged among people returning from pilgrimages to the Islamic republic, which is battling the deadliest outbreak outside China.Kuwait on Friday announced two more cases for a total of 45, and there were another two cases in Oman for a total of six. Bahrain reporting three new cases — all Bahraini women returning from Iran — pushing the total to 36.Saudi Arabia has no reported cases but has suspended visas for visits to Islam’s holiest sites for the “umrah” pilgrimage, an unprecedented move triggered by coronavirus fears that raises questions over the annual hajj. Cyclists including Britain’s Chris Froome awaited the results of coronavirus tests from their hotel lockdown Friday, after the UAE Tour was abandoned when two Italian staff members tested positive.”The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race’s participants,” the UAE Tour organizing committee said in a statement.It said the United Arab Emirates health ministry would screen all the race’s participants, administrative staff and organizers, and adopt measures “including quarantine” to prevent the spread of the disease. “It’s a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first,” tweeted Froome, a four-time winner of the Tour de France.”We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases #coronavirus.”A total of 24 Italian cyclists started the race in the UAE. Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe, with 650 people infected and 17 deaths.Italy’s Vini Zabu-KTM team said its riders had been tested already.  Topics :last_img read more

Too much information? Privacy questions over S. Korea virus details

Too much information? Privacy questions over S. Korea virus details

first_img‘Delicate balance’ South Korea has an advanced medical system, a free press and a strong culture of public accountability, and Seoul’s foreign minister says the government has stressed transparency when tackling the public health crisis.But even a health ministry civil servant could not avoid online bullying after contracting the virus.The municipal government of Sejong — where the ministry is based — revealed that she took gym classes taught by an infected instructor, as well as a detailed breakdown of her daily schedule.Most online comments slammed her as “irresponsible” for going to a gym during the outbreak, but others picked on items such as her lunch hours, saying they were too long for a civil servant and accused her of “slacking off”.The government’s Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters was forced to step in to defend her, saying her gym visits took place before authorities advised people to avoid public gatherings and adopt social distancing.”Excessive attacks and indiscriminate accusations against those infected will not only greatly hurt the individual, but will also impede prevention activities,” it said.A Seoul National University study has since shown South Koreans were more afraid of being “criticized” should they get infected, than the virus itself.There was a “delicate balance” between risk, information and privacy, said Jason Farley, a nurse practitioner and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.Simpler releases listing an infected person’s locations between certain dates would be sufficient, he told AFP, but the details being made public were leading to “significant stigma, discrimination and, in some cases, threats to individuals known to have COVID-19. “This behavior is unacceptable and should be discouraged.”  Allegations of affairs, revelations of membership of religious sects: South Korea’s openness about infected patients has been key in its fight against the coronavirus but raised uncomfortable questions over privacy and stigmatization.South Korea has confirmed more than 7,500 infections, one of the largest totals outside China, where the virus first emerged, although new case numbers have been declining for several days.Officials say that has been made possible by widespread testing of potential contacts — the South has carried out more than 210,000. And the consequences have been sometimes been embarrassing, even brutal, with the National Human Rights Commission describing them as “human rights violations”.”We can’t help but worry about the situation where the confirmed patients become subject to secondary damages, such as being criticized, ridiculed and abhorred online,” it said in a statement.Two confirmed patients have been accused of having an extra-marital affair, after their travel logs showed similarities.One Samsung Electronics employee who tested positive said she received hateful comments online after a city mayor revealed her boyfriend is a member of Shincheonji, the controversial religious sect linked to more than half the South’s cases.”I am having a hard time mentally, more so than (physical) pain,” she wrote on her Facebook account, which she has since turned private, asking other users not to share her personal information.”I’m so sorry to my family and friends,” she added.Michael Hurt, a sociologist at Korea National University of Arts, said that while the alerts reassure the public that authorities are dealing with the epidemic, they can unintentionally lead to “the stigmatization of areas as infected or ‘dangerous’.”Companies identified as visited by infected people have been hit.”I’m having a very hard time, we are basically getting no customers after an emergency alert went out which included our address,” a restaurant owner in Seoul told AFP.”I understand these alerts are necessary, but at the same time, my business has been virtually destroyed.” Topics : Across the country, local authorities have been issuing emergency alerts by mobile phone to those living or working in districts where new cases have been confirmed.The text message arrives with a shrieking warning, announcing nearby locations visited by patients before they were diagnosed with the virus and their links to other cases. More information is available on municipal websites, sometimes with breakdowns of individuals’ daily schedules, even down to the minute, and details of their residence and employer — often making them identifiable individually.In a country where virtually everyone owns a smartphone, doxxing — maliciously spreading private information about individuals and businesses online — has long been a problem.last_img read more

Suspect in South Korea sex blackmail case identified amid outcry

Suspect in South Korea sex blackmail case identified amid outcry

first_imgSouth Korean police took the unusual step of publicly identifying the 24-year-old accused leader of an online sexual blackmail ring after the case lead to a national outcry in a country still focused on battling a coronavirus outbreak.Cho Ju-bin was identified by police as the central suspect in the case after more than 5 million South Koreans signed multiple petitions calling for authorities to release his name.Cho is accused of organising an online network that lured at least 74 women, including 16 underage girls, into what authorities have called “virtual enslavement” by blackmailing them into sending increasingly degrading and sometimes violent sexual imagery of themselves. “Through strict investigation, the police will entirely transform the social apathy to digital sex crime and strongly root out such crime from our society,” Min Gap-ryong, the commissioner general of the Korean National Police Agency, said on Tuesday.Min said police will mobilise “all available power” to investigate those who shared the videos of sexual exploitation.He said police will strengthen cooperation with law enforcement in the United States, the United Kingdom and INTERPOL, as well as with global IT giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter to track down digital crime on foreign servers.The National Police Agency told reporters that 124 suspects had been arrested and 18 operators of chat rooms on Telegram and other social media had been detained as a result of investigations into such sexual crimes since last September. Cho is accused of being one of those 18 operators.Topics : He is facing charges of violating the child protection act, the privacy act and the sexual abuse act, as well as abuse, threats, and coercion, according to police, who have now referred the case to prosecutors.”I apologise to those who were hurt by me,” Cho said as he was led away from a Seoul police station on Wednesday, but did not respond when asked by reporters whether he admitted to the charges.”Thank you for ending the life of a demon that I couldn’t stop,” he said.The case brought new pledges from police to investigate not only the organisers, but also participants of the chat rooms who paid as much as 1.5 million won ($1,210.12) to view the images.last_img read more

Uzbekistan reports first coronavirus death as it widens lockdowns

Uzbekistan reports first coronavirus death as it widens lockdowns

first_imgUzbekistan reported its first coronavirus death on Friday, as it locked down more cities and districts, having declared large bonuses for medical workers in the battle on infections, which climbed to 83.A 72-year-old woman in the city of Namangan died of cardiac infarction, the healthcare ministry said, adding that she had suffered from a host of other diseases in addition to the virus.She appeared to have been infected by her daughter who had travelled to Turkey, it added. Topics : Municipal authorities in the province of Navoi, home to large gold- and uranium-mining companies and chemical plants, said they were locking down the cities of Navoi and Zarafshan, as well as several districts.Authorities in the major tourism hub of Bukhara also said the city would close its borders.The central Asian nation has already locked down some of its biggest cities, including Namangan and the capital, Tashkent, outside which it has built a quarantine facility housing more than 20,000 beds in modified cargo containers.Eleven infections were among medical workers, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said late on Thursday, announcing large bonus payments for those working in direct contact with infected people.Doctors will get $2,500 every two weeks, or several times their normal monthly pay, while nurses and laboratory workers will receive $1,500, junior medical workers $1,000 and others $500, Mirziyoyev said.Medical workers who get infected while treating virus patients will get $10,000 each.last_img read more

COVID-19: Surabaya plans on imposing large-scale social restrictions

COVID-19: Surabaya plans on imposing large-scale social restrictions

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued a government regulation on PSBB last week, requiring provinces or cities to obtain a permit from the Health Ministry prior to imposing the policy. Regional heads have to submit the request alongside data on the increase of cases and proof that transmission had occurred in their region.The request would then be discussed by an expert team appointed by the health minister, who must make a decision within two days after the submission of the request.Read also: Anies slams red tape in pandemic fightFikser went on to say that Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini would submit the request with the East Java provincial administration once the assessment was completed. Risma has vowed to impose stricter measures to contain the outbreak, even without reporting the measures to East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa. Among measures taken were the partial closures of 19 roads connecting the provincial capital city to surrounding areas.Surabaya has been the city hardest-hit by the disease in the province, as health authorities confirmed 84 COVID-19 cases as of Monday with six fatalities. Surabaya satellite city Sidoarjo has also recorded 18 cases.Authorities mapped at least six clusters of the disease, including a manasik haji (haj rehearsal) at the Sukolilo haj dormitory in Surabaya organized by the Religious Affairs Ministry from March 9 to 18.At least 20 confirmed cases have been linked to the event. Three of them died, including Blitar Religious Affairs Agency head M. Solekan.Surabaya was not the first city to move to impose PSBB in the province. Malang Mayor Sutiaji announced in mid-March his policy to lock the city down, following the confirmation of the city’s first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in February. The policy, however, was immediately annulled and corrected by the mayor himself.Trenggalek regency has also closed most roads connecting the region, leaving only three national roads open.Read also: Indonesia’s strategy to combat COVID-19: What we know so farGovernor Khofifah has been giving the cold shoulder to mayors and regents’ wish to impose stricter measures to contain COVID-19, asserting that the administration “doesn’t use the term lockdown.”She warned on Sunday regents and mayors to first consult with her before requesting to impose PSBB in their respective regions.An official with the provincial COVID-19 task force, Joni Wahyuhadi, had repeatedly talked about the province’s wish to reach herd immunity, rather than confining its residents.“We will continue all these curative measures for those suffering from the disease, while we wait to reach the herd immunity stage,” he told journalists last week.According to the official tally on Monday, there were 189 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the province with 14 fatalities. Meanwhile, 40 people have also recovered from the disease, according to the health authorities. (kuk)Topics : The Surabaya administration in East Java is pondering the idea of submitting an official request for large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) with the central government, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increase across the city.The city’s COVID-19 mitigation task force spokesperson, M. Fikser, said the administration was assessing its readiness to impose the policy.“Relevant agencies are analyzing the impact of the policy. We have to finish the assessment before submitting the request,” Fikser said on Monday.last_img read more