Gold mining in Nova Scotia and its history, geology, and impact will be the special focus at the Department of Natural Resources Mining Matters conference in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Thursday, Nov. 10. The conference will provide a forum for geologists, prospectors, and people involved in community economic development across the province to discuss the role of mineral resources in the province’s economic growth. “Mining Matters is an important conference for anyone interested in the minerals that can be developed for the economic, artistic, and recreational benefit of Nova Scotians,” said Scott Swinden, executive director of mineral resources for the Department of Natural Resources. “This province is blessed with a bountiful supply of minerals that adds to the economic base of the province. Besides gold and coal, we have deposits of stone, such as granite and marble, that can compete with any supplier in the world in quality and appearance.” On Wednesday, the main topic at the conference will be gold deposits and mining techniques, and the potential economic impact of gold in Nova Scotia’s economy. Other topics to be explored include: the legacy of glacial lakes in Nova Scotia; and an overview of mineral deposit projects. Elizabeth Kosters of Acadia University will provide a special luncheon presentation entitled Geological and Cultural Ingredients of the Katrina Catastrophe. The second day of the conference will offer presentations on groundwater resources, mitigating coastal hazards, naturally-occurring radionuclides in Nova Scotia, and arsenic and mercury contamination from historical gold mine tailings. Representatives of the Mi’Kmawey Debert Cultural Centre will speak on Tan Wetapesksi’k (Where we come from). “Geology plays a key role in the everyday lives of Nova Scotians, whether it is linked to the occupations of those employed in the mining industries, or even those who walk through some of the province’s communities and cities and enjoy the stone facades of our older and historic buildings,” said Mr. Swinden. The conference will take place at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel and is open to the public.
The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) released its year-end results today, June 26, with a net income of $226.4 million on $592.9 million in total sales. The net income is $1.5 million above budget and a $4.9 million, or 2.2 per cent, increase over the previous year. For the period of April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, wine sales grew by 6.3 per cent at NSLC outlet and 3.2 per cent at private wine and specialty stores. A detailed news release can be found by following the News Releases link on the NSLC website at www.myNSLC.com . -30-
Mumbai: The release date of “Sooryavanshi” has been advanced to avoid a box office clash with “Inshallah”, featuring Salman Khan, the makers of the Akshay Kumar-starrer announced on Wednesday. “Inshallah” and “Sooryavanshi” were all set to lock horns at the box office on Eid 2020 but now the Rohit Shetty directorial will arrive in theatres on March 27. “Sooryavanshi” producer Karan Johar shared the news on Twitter. “The ultimate Khiladi and the blockbuster director are arriving on 27th March, 2020 with #Sooryavanshi! Special love to @BeingSalmanKhan!” Johar tweeted. Also Read – ‘Will be acting till I die’ Salman also took to the microblogging site to confirm the news and shared his photo with Rohit. “I always thought of him as my younger brother and today he proves it…@itsrohitshetty. ‘Sooryavanshi’ releasing ?on 27th March, 2020?’,” the “Bharat” star tweeted. “Sooryavanshi” also stars Katrina Kaif in the lead. The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed “Inshallah” will see Salman paired opposite Alia Bhatt. The film will release on Eid 2020.
WINNIPEG – Some Manitoba survivors of the ’60s Scoop are encouraging others to opt out of a settlement with the federal government.They say they were not consulted in the agreement meant to resolve several class-action lawsuits and suggest lawyers will walk away with more money than the Indigenous people who were affected by the adoptions.“We as children had no say in where we were sent and now they are giving us no say in how we are going to be compensated,” said Coleen Rajotte, who was taken from her community in Saskatchewan when she was a baby and raised by a Manitoba family.In October, the federal government announced it had reached a $750-million agreement with about 20,000 people who were placed in non-Indigenous foster homes as far away as New Zealand between 1951 and 1991. The agreement, which is yet to be finalized, would see survivors each receive between $25,000 and $50,000.The four law firms involved would get a separate $75 million. Another $50 million was set aside for the Indigenous Healing Foundation.Priscilla Meeches and Stewart Garnett were the lead plaintiffs in the Manitoba lawsuit and were in Ottawa for the announcement. They said they didn’t see the agreement before they were brought on stage with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett.At a news conference organized in Winnipeg on Friday by a local ’60s Scoop survivors group, they said they are opting out of the settlement.Meeches said she has felt a loss of identity and home throughout her life because of being adopted out during the ’60s Scoop. She said she spent her life trying to find a place to say, “I’m here. I’m home,” and the settlement has only brought up more feelings of loss.“I’m not happy with the fact there was no transparency,” Meeches said.Garnett said Manitoba was the epicentre of the ’60s Scoop and its impact can be seen on the streets of Winnipeg, where many people who were taken from their families are struggling in life after losing their identities.They said if people accept the agreement they will be signing away the right to sue for sexual and physical abuse that some adoptees experienced.The group also criticized the settlement for leaving out Métis survivors. The federal government has argued that Métis weren’t recognized as having Indigenous rights at the time, so Ottawa can’t be held responsible for those children.Jocelyne Bourbonnais said no one asked about her rights when she was adopted in 1965. She said it’s important that Métis support survivors opting out so that her people can be included in a new agreement.“I am of this land that we call Canada and after 55 years I’m defined as Métis and left out of this settlement,” said Bourbonnais, who added that her mother is Anishinaabe.The National Indigenous Survivors Network in Ottawa is also trying to get people to opt out.The groups say there is a clause in the agreement that if 2,000 people agree to opt out it can be declared void.A statement from Bennett’s office said the proposed settlement resolves issues in the longest-standing case and similar class actions, and represents a significant first step in “resolving this historic injustice.”“We know that there are other claims that remain unresolved, including those of the Métis and non-status,” the statement said.It added that the office is committed to resolving remaining litigation through negotiation.
MONTREAL — A national Muslim organization and a civil liberties group have begun making their case in court against Quebec’s secularism law.Lawyer Catherine McKenzie argues that Bill 21 — which bans some public sector workers from wearing religious symbols at work — is unconstitutional.She told a judge today that Quebec is trying to legislate the relationship between the state and religion and doing so is the sole jurisdiction of the federal government.The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Ichrak Nourel Hak — a Universite de Montreal education student who wears a hijab — are listed as plaintiffs in the case.They are seeking an immediate judicial stay on the sections of the law that prohibit public sector employees from wearing religious symbols at work.They are also seeking a stay on the section that requires people to give or receive state services with their faces uncovered.Bill 21 invokes the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Constitution, which prevents citizens from challenging the law for violating fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the charter.McKenzie says the notwithstanding clause doesn’t prevent the courts from reviewing larger issues around the constitutional divisions of power. She says Quebec is attempting to assert its vision of secularism on citizens for moral purposes, something only the federal government can do.Arguments are expected to continue throughout the day.The Canadian Press
Sri Lankan-Chinese trade more than tripled since 2010 to about $5 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Trade with India doubled to $6 billion, with most of that increase coming under Wickremesinghe’s watch. Sri Lanka and India in September also pledged to bolster security in South Asia and their maritime region. “There is no phobia,” Wickremesinghe, 67, said in an interview in Singapore. “Basically, any agreement with China will be to accommodate everyone in investments, any agreements with India will accommodate everyone. And any agreements with Singapore or Japan will be that way. We have no problem with all our friends.” China, alongside countries such as Japan, India and Singapore, is seeking investment in Sri Lanka as that country’s economy emerges from a decades-long civil war, and given its geopolitical significance as an Indian Ocean gateway. Sri Lanka sits 64 kilometers (40 miles) from India’s coastline along a busy shipping route in which tankers carry oil from the Middle East to Asia. Issues with the port city development in Colombo have been “ironed out,” he said, with a task force preparing legislation on the project. Also, Chinese companies will be cooperating in public-private partnerships on harbor and airport developments in the southern city of Hambantota, with a liquid-natural-gas plant and refinery also set to be provided by Chinese investors.The goal, the prime minister said, is to make Sri Lanka “the hub” of the Indian Ocean for a revived Maritime Silk Road trading route to Europe. Chinese President Xi Jinping has touted the concept as part of his “One Belt, One Road” trade-and-infrastructure initiative, as he seeks to project China as a revitalized global power with a strong navy.“We will take whatever investment comes in,” said Wickremesinghe, who has been prime minister twice before and a lawmaker since 1977. “It is going to be mostly from East Asia,” he said. “We need the investment, we need the growth, we need the economic transformation.” The Government says it will accept refueling visits by China’s navy as long as they follow the proper procedures.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Bloomberg Sri Lanka is agnostic about what countries it accepts foreign investment from, including China. Wickremesinghe said the country had hosted warships from many nations, but had a close engagement with India on security matters. Those security ties have raised the risk of tensions in the region with China on a military level, as India watches warily the expansion of Xi’s navy.China showed its growing naval prowess when it deployed a nuclear-powered submarine to patrol the Indian Ocean for the first time in 2014, while a diesel-powered one docked twice in Sri Lanka. The visits fueled doubts that China’s strategy of building ports in the Indian Ocean was purely economic.Still, Wickremesinghe said the country would potentially accept refueling visits by China’s navy. “Whether it is Chinese, American or anyone, as long as they follow the proper procedures and we keep our special engagement with India, there is no problem,” he said. Chinese-funded projects include a $1.4 billion plan to build a city roughly the size of Monaco on reclaimed land at Colombo port, Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign-funded investment on record.Wickremesinghe’s coalition initially pledged to break the $82 billion economy’s reliance on China after coming to power last year, but has since worked to rebuild ties as a ballooning budget deficit and depleted reserves force it to seek external help. The port project, which stalled briefly when Wickremesinghe took office, is back on track. The International Monetary Fund in June approved a $1.5 billion loan to help Sri Lanka lower borrowing costs. On the recent arbitration ruling by a tribunal in The Hague that dismissed China’s claims to exclusive access to a large part of the disputed South China Sea, he said Sri Lanka was confident that engagement between China and the Southeast Asian nations involved should “to a large extent be able to sort out the problem.”He called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China to implement a code of conduct — which has been in discussion for years with little progress — for the South China Sea, a key waterway through which about $5 trillion in trade moves a year.“We are looking at Asean at being the major bloc that represents all those countries concerned and China,” he said.“But remember this is the emergence of Asian power and it means China, Japan, India, and there will be some issues of their relationship with each other and with some of the other Western powers, but we don’t think anything is going to lead to war,” Wickremesinghe said.The rise of Asian nations didn’t mean the U.S. — which has dominated security in the western Pacific since World War II — no longer had a role, but “the U.S. has to define what that role is,” he said. “It didn’t happen under the Obama administration, so a lot will depend on what happens at the next presidential election.” (Colombo Gazette)
“I have come to Cyprus to tell you that the entire international community is hoping and praying that a Cyprus settlement, so long delayed, is at last at hand,” the Secretary-General said in a statement to the press upon his arrival in Larnaca. “It is no exaggeration to say that you have a rendezvous with destiny.”Mr. Annan told reporters he would hand over a revision of his settlement proposal – which he first presented last November and then revised in December – to the parties today and that he planned to discuss it with them tomorrow.Among his appointments, the Secretary-General first called on the Greek Cypriot leader, Glafcos Clerides, at his home before meeting with the incoming Greek Cypriot leader, Tassos Papadopoulos, at the residence of the chief of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. Afterwards Mr. Annan met with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, at the same residence.Last night, before leaving Greece, the Secretary General met in Athens with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou and explained to them the plan he intends to submit to the parties. They also touched on Iraq.In a press encounter afterwards, the Secretary-General noted the unique opportunity for a united Cyprus to be brought into the European Union. “It is an opportunity and a window that is not going to remain open forever,” he said.
“The refugees started fleeing the Darfur region of western Sudan in April when fighting broke out between the Khartoum Government and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM),” the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement. “A ceasefire deal was reached between the warring factions on 4 September and was supposed to last 40 days. Both sides have accused the other of breaching the truce.”As the UNHCR emergency team visited refugees in border sites, it heard reports about security incidents, the agency said. Landmines had injured two children in one area. Cross-border raiders had stolen livestock at points in Chad that refugees said were as far as 40 kilometres from the border. And fighters from the military wing of the SLM were seen stocking up on supplies in Tine, a town that straddles the border.”Tine and surrounding areas have one of the highest refugee concentrations, with an estimated 28,000 new refugees. UNHCR has, however, been unable to verify numbers as the refugees continue to be mobile and scattered across vast areas, often mixed with the local population,” the agency said. Some refugees from farming areas were taking casual work from host communities, it added.The Chadian Government had deployed military personnel to protect some refugee settlements and the UNHCR team was only able to travel to some refugee sites with a military escort, it said.Meanwhile, UNHCR had identified locations that could be developed as communal kitchens where its partners could prepare food for small children, pregnant women, the sick and the elderly and also as sites for the distribution of supplies to other refugees.The team was looking for locations for new refugees that would have accessible water even when the dry spell started and the riverbeds dried up, UNHCR said.
Seeking to reach East African adolescents and young people in the battle against AIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched its first interactive feature in Swahili, an online game that empowers the young to make good life choices and prevent HIV.The game, called ‘Ungefanyaje’ or ‘What would you do?’ in Swahili, takes the player through a series of relationship-based scenarios that emphasize the importance of HIV prevention and testing.“Although prevention is essential to half the spread of HIV/AIDS, an alarming 80 per cent of all young people still don’t know how to protect themselves from the virus,” UNICEF said in a news release, noting that sub-Saharan Africa has been especially hard-hit by the epidemic. “By speaking openly about the threat that HIV and AIDS poses to young people, we can help give them the knowledge they need to keep them safe from infection,” said Amber Oliver, Coordinator of Voices of Youth, an Internet site created by UNICEF for the young who want to know more, do more and say more about the world.“It is estimated that of the 2.3 million children under 15 living with HIV, 2 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Reaching young people with prevention education and services is a crucial step towards an AIDS-free generation.”
“Girls are getting education and employment opportunities in the Pacific, but they also face harassment within school and work environments, as well as other social issues like domestic violence,” Tahere Si’isi’ialafia’s Baha’I, 24, told UN Women in the capital Apia.There are 91,000 Samoan women. According to official figures, the population of around 180,000 also includes 49,500 young people between the ages of 15 and 24. “Youth representatives are often included in the preparatory stages of high-level conferences; however, when the outcome documents are released there is often little mention of youth concerns,” Ms. Baha’I said, such as youth employment or training opportunities.At the four-day Third International Conference on Small Island and Developing States, one of the six multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues focuses on women and youth, as well as social development and health, including family planning and non-communicable diseases. The overall goal of the partnerships is to bring together representatives of government, private sector, civil society and the UN family to network and partner for sustainable development on small island nations. According to UN figures, islanders have high rates of teenage pregnancies, poor access to good quality education, and sexual support and reproductive health services, especially in rural areas. Through a partnership with UN Women, the SVS group distributed cell phones to rural women in 2012, enabling them to report abuse to a centre helpline. In the first five months, some 1,700 calls were logged, according to Ms. Chang. The callers, whose ages ranged from 14 to 80, were put in contact with a counsellor or the police, as needed.In 2005, the UN World Health Organization reported that 3 in 5 Samoan women had experienced physical violence, and 1 in 5 had suffered sexual violence. More than half of the abused women had not talked to anyone about it. Of those who sought help, 4 in 5 women characterized the abuse as “normal” or “not serious.” The head of Samoa Victims Support Group (SVSG), Lina Chang, said that women in Samoa struggle with “feelings of being second best as well as being less educated and often need someone to turn to for help.” Another issue facing rural women is climate change and erratic weather patterns which impact agriculture, particularly subsistence farming. Speaking to the UN News Centre earlier this week, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson stressed that “climate has to be an issue that women and young people and the very poorest have their voices heard.” Mrs. Robinson is planning an event with her Foundation, UN Women and other partners to highlight the importance of women’s participation on climate change, to coincide with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit on 23 July.A local women’s rights advocate, Leilani Jackson, said that Samoan women are naturally vocal, many of them participate in women’s committees in their towns, but she would like to see more of them “bring solutions to the table.” One way to break the barriers might be through education, according to Tepora Wright. A former high school teacher in Samoan history and economics, Ms. Wright now works with the Government. “Education expands the choices available to women and young people,” she said. “And I don’t just mean in the formal sense, but also life skills, entrepreneurial skills which are usually transferred non-formally.” In Samoa, many women are also finding such solutions in business. Micro-financing has enabled close to 1,000 rural women to set up successful small businesses.For example, the art of traditional Samoan finemat weaving was revitalized over the past decade. Expert weavers can take up to six months to make an ‘ie sae’ from a particular type of panduna plant. The mats are so fine that a standard 9 by 12 ie sae can be folded up and put in a purse. Its price ranges near to $1,500. A university lecturer on textiles and industries, Uila Leota is also a weaver. Her colourful handmade quilts, cushions and floor rugs are prominently displayed at the conference, and even attracted the attention of the head of UN Women.Self-taught and self-motivated, Mrs. Leota is starting to share these skills with her teenage grand-daughters, so they can earn income to assist with family and school expenses. She told UN News Centre that she wants to share her skills with unemployed women.One of the 300 partnerships announced this week is the “Women’s Economic Empowerment Driving Sustainable Development in SIDS.” A Pacific partnership, it aims to increase women’s access to finance and economic security, as well as create faster market places for women market vendors, who in the Pacific number up to 90 per cent. The partnership includes UN Women, UN Development Progamme (UNDP), a microbank and banks, as well as Governments of at least seven countries, and street vendors. Another joins women’s parliamentarians and women’s rights organizations with advocates to establish the Pacific Islands Women’s Caucus to empower a movement that promotes women’s democratic participation and leadership in the Pacific. In Samoa, the Government unanimously passed a law last year reserving 10 per cent of parliamentary seats for women in an effort to improve women’s political participation. One of the longest serving Samoan MPs is a woman. Justice Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa followed her father’s footsteps into politics as a young woman. She said that women are still a large untapped human resource and urged them to speak out with their own voices about the issues that matter.
In just a few hours, we will finally all know the new fruits that will come from HP‘s acquisition of Palm last year. We’ve already heard tell of two new webOS tablets called the Topaz and Opal, but it appears those are code names, as it’s now been confirmed by two separate sources that the Topaz will actually be launched as the HP TouchPad… and one of those sources is HP’s own website.The first indication that the HP TouchPad is coming comes to us via PreCentral. The blog got on the site of HP’s webOS announcement early and overheard mention of the HP TouchPad, confirming that it’s a 1.5 pound tablet that is 13mm thick and runs a new version of webOS. AdChoices广告Unfortunately, the PreCentral guys were moved on by security before they could overhear any more details, but what they did hear is now being confirmed by HP’s official website. On HP’s Home and Home Office shopping page, a dro-down under “Deals and Offers” not only maes mention of the Touchpad, but also the HP Veer and the Pre 3… three devices which are slated to bring webOS in “S, M and L” flavors to users.The Pre 3 is obviously the successor to the Palm Pre and Pre 2, but what’s the Veer? HP filed for the name back in December, but if I had to guess, it’s the launch name of the Opal.Very interesting stuff. The afternoon should give us full details on HP’s new webOS offerings, but it certainly appears that they’ve got a trifecta of touchscreen devices to woo us all with.Read more at PreCentral
The crowd had their paws up for Moshow, the “cat rapper” of viral internet fame, at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington on Monday night as the organization hyped its upcoming Walk and Run for the Animals events.Moshow, the Portland musician who garnered some fame for his music videos, which prominently feature his four cats and cat-centric lyrics, headlined the Humane Society’s party.The annual walk and run is one of the Humane Society’s two big fundraising events, President Stacey Graham said. The actual walk and run isn’t until May 6, but building things up now gives people time to form teams and grow a friendly fundraising competition, she said.In previous years’ kickoff parties, the Humane Society has brought in Elvis and Michael Jackson impersonators to start the fun.Monday’s act, Moshow, Dwayne Molock’s stage name, moved to Portland in 2015, after growing up in low-income housing in Baltimore and attending college in Pennsylvania.After college, he started producing rap videos in which he sings and dances with his cats.“I’m just a rapper and I love cats,” he said.His online fan base has grown to more than 60,000 followers on Instagram and 70,000 on Facebook. He’s been featured on local news outlets, in multiple write-ups for online news sites including The Huffington Post to Complex and, last year, he gave a live performance at the Portland Art Museum in front of a huge — and, according to the gallery, world’s greatest — cat painting.
Nacer Chadli wants to “achieve great things” at AS Monaco after completing his transfer from West Bromwich Albion on ThursdayThe Ligue 1 giants announced the signing of Chadli on Thursday on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.The 29-year-old winger scored six goals in 37 games for the relegated West Brom in last season’s Premier League.He also helped Belgium record a best finish of third in this summer’s World Cup.Chadli told the club website: “I am very happy to join AS Monaco, a great French club that participates in the Champions League.“The results of the last seasons prove the quality of the project and the ambition of the club.PSG ultras sent a warning letter to Neymar Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Brazilian superstar Neymar might play today his first game of the season for Paris Saint-Germain and the team’s ultras have warned him.“I will do everything to help AS Monaco achieve great things and achieve its goals.”The Belgium international could be in line to make his Monaco debut in Sunday’s Ligue 1 home game against Marseille.? Cible en approche… ÉPISODE 2#UniqueForever pic.twitter.com/CRbFdElNnO— AS Monaco ?? (@AS_Monaco) August 30, 2018
The late rock and roll titan honored by friends and family in Pacific Palisades, Calif.Nate HertweckGRAMMYs Oct 17, 2017 – 3:02 pm Late rock and roll hero Tom Petty was honored by friends and family at a private service on Oct. 16 at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, Calif. While the speakers and attendees of the service are unknown, AnnaKim Violette Petty, Petty’s daughter, posted a photo from the private service with a caption citing a lyric from the song “The Dark Of The Sun” from his 1991 album, Into The Great Wide Open.Read More: Jack Antonoff, Paul McCartney, Lorde Mourn Tom PettyRead more Tom Petty’s Friends And Family Say Goodbye tom-petty-laid-rest-private-service-california https://www.instagram.com/p/BaU7v8MByMl/?taken-by=inviteloveinvitelove Tom Petty Laid To Rest At Private Service In California Twitter Petty’s tragic death on Oct. 2 after going into cardiac arrest came just after the conclusion of his 40th Anniversary tour with his legendary band the Heartbreakers. A Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Petty has charted albums in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 in each of his five decades as a recording artist. His most recent recording with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, entered at No. 1, his first career chart-topping album. NETWORK ERRORCannot Contact ServerRELOAD YOUR SCREEN OR TRY SELECTING A DIFFERENT VIDEO Oct 3, 2017 – 2:01 pm Recording Academy Remembers Tom Petty Email News Facebook
Share State District Judge Maria Jackson stood up behind a shaky makeshift bench in the basement of the Harris County jail and came eye-to eye with an inmate in an orange jail uniform 3 feet away.“We’re trying to get cases moving, so you need to make a decision,” the judge told the handcuffed young man accused of rape. “If you need to talk to your attorney, go ahead.”The Houston Chronicle reports the inmate and his lawyer took three steps back to huddle, wedged in between eight other inmates along a cinder-block wall.Brief and overcrowded procedural hearings like this basement exchange have generated hundreds of pleas and dismissals, dubbed “Harvey deals,” in what has become the new normal for the state’s largest criminal justice system in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction.The county’s criminal courthouse, a 20-story skyscraper that sits on the banks of Buffalo Bayou on the north side of downtown Houston, remains shuttered after it was flooded with 4 feet of water during the August storm.Damage extended throughout the building after water seeped in through the walls and pooled in the basement, triggering a malfunction in computers that regulate the water pressure. This in turn sent water gushing through sinks, toilets and water fountains on some upper levels, causing pipes to burst and flooding courtrooms that wouldn’t otherwise have been damaged.Now, two dingy and crowded classrooms-turned-courtrooms locked behind clanking steel doors in a jail basement have become the epicenter of an ever-growing docket of felony criminal filings. In a small room in another jail building, the judges and prosecutors handling misdemeanors are dealing with the same pressures.The nearby Jury Assembly Building, which was built underground with a park on top, was destroyed. Another 111 county buildings sustained $127 million in damages, according to initial estimates.County Engineer John Blount said he couldn’t begin to estimate how much repairs and flood-prevention measures at the main courthouse would cost. But he said it will likely remain closed for at least another six months, with court staff and other county employees gradually moving back into their offices and courtrooms as work is completed over the next year. For now, criminal trials are being conducted in the nearby civil courthouse.The county is following FEMA guidelines and will be hiring consultants this month, he said.Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the storm affected all aspects of county government.“Obviously the county is working overtime and as hard as possible to get things up and running and as close to normal as we can, but it’s still going to take some time,” he said.District Attorney Kim Ogg — whose staff of 700 has scattered to nine different locations, some as far away as the Galleria area — said her office is contending with the challenge.“It is hard on our people and it’s hard on the public,” she said. “We’re gritting our teeth and bearing it.”In a ballroom-sized area on the top floor of a downtown office building, almost 90 of Ogg’s 300 prosecutors work elbow-to-elbow contacting victims, witnesses and defense attorneys to hash out misdemeanor cases. Instead of being an elevator ride away from court, prosecutors are working blocks or even miles away.“It really looks like a giant telemarketing company,” Ogg said of the makeshift misdemeanor bureau.The DA’s office lost workspace on six floors in the criminal courthouse, and Ogg said the effort of transporting files to court is now driving an initiative to go paperless.During an afternoon in late October, Jackson presided over a jailhouse courtroom packed with more than 20 inmates, sheriff’s deputies, court staffers, prosecutors and defense lawyers. At one end of Jackson’s bench, a staffer handed out forms kept on an end table, fashioned from a pair of stacked milk crates. Attorneys signed forms to reschedule court hearings and piled them on the lid of a trash can.The judge, a soft-spoken woman with silver spectacles balanced on her nose, said she was initially concerned about laying down the law to suspects just an arm’s length away.“We’re real close,” the judge said, referring to inmates near enough to make contact. “I’m not used to that. It wasn’t what I was expecting. But as long as I have at least two deputies standing there, I feel safe.”In the adjacent courtroom, state District Judge George Powell shepherded cases through his criminal docket.“It’s inconvenient, but everybody’s been inconvenienced. It’s not just us,” Powell said. “We don’t want (inmates’) constitutional rights violated. We want to make sure they don’t stay there any longer than they have to, and we need to get the cases moving.”Every weekday, there are two docket calls in each of the pair of classrooms where two of the 22 felony judges alternate in holding court from a “bench” consisting of two chipped wooden desks lined up end-to-end. They are trying to move the cases of inmates charged with the most serious crimes waiting to go to trial.Within earshot of a half-dozen other inmates, criminal suspects have their only opportunity to resolve their case for at least a week, until the court to which their case is assigned holds another hearing.Defense lawyers in sneakers shuffle between the courtrooms and a “bullpen” set up in the jail’s law library.“It’s a tight squeeze,” said attorney Angela Weltin. “It definitely has its challenges, but everyone is doing their best to make sure these guys get a fair shake.”In the bullpen, prosecutors and defense attorneys work out plea deals. Once an agreement is reached, the defense lawyer, the inmate and the prosecutor stand shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the judge who can approve the bargain.Defense lawyer Carlos Rodriguez said the parties are trying to make the best of a tough situation.“Because they can’t have court every day, when the inmates get to come to court, they really take advantage of it,” he said.Other lawyers said the crush of criminal cases has caused judges and prosecutors to evaluate their dockets with an eye toward getting rid of as many cases as possible.“If the case is something not so serious, you’ve got a chance at getting a ‘Harvey deal,’ ” said one lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But if it’s serious, you get delays.”Ogg confirmed that in the wake of the storm, her top lieutenants reviewed about 600 low-level drug cases in a feverish bid to make plea deals.“We dismissed about 110 of those cases, and we pled about 200 others,” Ogg said. “There were about 300 that we couldn’t plead.”Ogg said her office sought to expedite state jail felony drug cases, which typically involve possession of small amounts of cocaine or other drugs.“I intend to continue to try to clear our table of cases that produce the least public safety benefit but suck the most resources,” she said. “And those are low-level drug cases and those that involve the mentally ill.”Until the storm, the courthouse housed the 22 state district courts presided over by felony judges like Jackson and Powell, as well as 16 misdemeanor courts. Each day, sheriff’s deputies and detention officers escorted more than 800 inmates from the two nearby jails to courtrooms.A covered walkway extends from beneath the jail, spans Buffalo Bayou and leads to the center of the courthouse at 1201 Franklin. In the core of the building, banks of secured elevators move inmates to dozens of holding cells in courtrooms from the eighth floor up to the 20th.Historically, about 70 percent of the 9,000 inmates in the jail are waiting trial, although those numbers have been going down because of recent bail reforms. Most will resolve their case with a plea deal. But the number of criminal filings, which tops 100,000 a year, keeps going up.Now, deputies move 300 to 450 inmates a day from jail cells to one of seven locations, including the jail basement or substitute courtrooms in the civil, juvenile and family courthouses.Judges and defense attorneys praised Sheriff Ed Gonzalez’s staff for maintaining an orderly process.“It’s been a test, but it seems like, so far, we’re passing the test,” said HCSO Chief Deputy Darryl Coleman.Across the bayou from the jail complex, the county’s 17-story civil courthouse has been pressed into service with the civil and felony criminal courts doubling up in courtrooms to accommodate suspects who are out on bail. It is still crowded, but defendants and lawyers are able to do their business in traditional courtrooms.In a top-floor conference room divided into thirds by glass walls, big screen TVs equipped with cameras show what’s going on blocks away in the basement of the jail. The room is carpeted, with chairs and several tables.It’s a place for suspects’ families to view what’s going on without trying to get into the jail courtrooms.On a Friday morning in October, an older man with a hearing aid focused on the TV and waited for his son to appear, hoping to see the case resolved.As his adult son approached the judge and signed a form on the makeshift bench, the father stood close to the TV to hear what was going on.A minute later, an attorney held the form up to the camera to show the case had been postponed yet again. The older man leaned toward the closed-circuit TV to make out the date scribbled on the yellow form.Then the father, who declined to give his name, gathered up his hat and newspaper and sighed.“Another reset,” said the man, who shook his head and left.___Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com
Share Florian Martin/Houston Public MediaThe Pecan Park house where four police officers were shot Monday while serving a search warrant.Five police officers were wounded, four of them by gunfire, Monday afternoon and two suspects died during a shooting in Southeast Houston.The incident occurred shortly before 5 p.m. at the 7800 block of Harding Street when a group of HPD officers was serving a search warrant, according to HPD Chief Art Acevedo.Acevedo said that, overall, about 12 officers from the Narcotics Division and about six patrol officers from the East Side Division were participating in the operation.Immediately upon breaching the door of the house, the officers were met with gunfire from one or two suspects who were inside.Acevedo detailed that one of the suspects retreated to the back of the house and then re-engaged the officers. Ultimately, the two suspects died in the shooting. Speaking in Spanish, the HPD Chief said he believes the suspects were Hispanic.Of the five officers wounded, four were struck by gunfire. The fifth officer sustained a knee injury.Florian Martin/Houston Public MediaUpon breaching the door of the house, the officers were met with gunfire from one or two suspects who were inside.The injured officers were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital and, as of Monday night, two of them were critical but stable.Acevedo declined to provide the names of the officers, but gave their ages and rank. One of them is a 50 year-old sergeant who has been with HPD since 1991. Another is also 50 years-old and has been with the police department since 1993.Another injured officer is a 54 year-old senior police officer who has been with HPD since 1984. Acevedo noted that officer was the case agent in the operation and has been shot in the past.“When most people would call it a day after being shot and surviving, this man is 54 years-old, he’s the case agent on this case and he was there in the front lines. So, if that doesn’t tell you about their heart of the men and women we have the privilege to lead, I don’t know what will,” the HPD Chief underscored.The fourth officer who was struck by gunfire is 33 years-old.Acevedo said that, according to the investigation, black tar heroin was being sold at the house where the search warrant was to be conducted.Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stood by the HPD Chief as he briefed local media and underlined “this has been a tough day for our city.” He also said Texas Governor Greg Abbott called him to express his support.Abbott described the shooting as a “horrific attack” via his Twitter account.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement saying the shooting should “serve as a reminder of the courage with which law enforcement officials serve each day.”You can watch Chief Acevedo’s media briefing here:Mayor @SylvesterTurner and Police Chief @ArtAcevedo Media Briefing on Shooting of 5 HPD Officers https://t.co/1PkSvaDg9j— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) January 29, 2019
There’s only one episode left in the seventh season of Game of Thrones, and if last night was any indication, we’re in for some insanity. The pace this season has been out of control, rocketing forward and running over anything and everything in its path. Story-wise, it’s made for some questionable decisions, but it’s sure given us some exciting TV. I could hand-wring over the fact that characters are acting stupid, or that spectacle has replaced character development and political intrigue, or that travel inexplicably takes no time at all now. I could do all that, but honestly? When each episode has me gripping the edge of my couch for over an hour, I find it hard to complain.The episode just before the season finale has always been the biggest and most shocking. Last year, we got The Battle of the Bastards. Last night gave us the first real fight with the White Walkers. We finally got to see the Night King in action, and everyone’s pretty well screwed at this point. Jon Snow’s forces were vastly outnumbered, and even with three dragons on his side, you still couldn’t call what happened a victory. But we’ll get to that in a little bit. For now, let’s talk about what happened in the rest of Westeros.Interestingly, the Lannisters (aside from Tyrion) didn’t make an appearance at all this episode. Even without Cersei doing anything, things just seem to go her way this week. By the end of the episode, Daenerys is significantly weakened, and her two greatest threats to the north are fighting each other. Daenerys and Tyrion spend most of the episode arguing about what kind of ruler she’s going to be. Tyrion has taken Varys’s advice to heart, and is doing everything in his power to prevent her from taking her dragons to King’s Landing. The last few episodes have done a decent job of showing Daenerys’ tyrannical potential start to show through. As she’s grown more desperate, she acts more like her father. In last week’s episode, it added some needed tension to her story. We’ve been rooting for her this whole time, and now the show was forcing us to ask if we were cheering on a tyrant.Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke (Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO)This week, the argument serves to… lay the groundwork for a relationship with Jon Snow? Show us that Daenerys hasn’t planned for every possible outcome? It’s less clear. They argue over the rules of succession, which Daenerys doesn’t even want to discuss until after she’s won the Iron Throne. Given that she keeps riding dragons into battle, Tyrion thinks she’d be wise to figure that out sooner. After Gendry sends a raven to Dragonstone detailing what’s going on beyond the wall (those birds travel quick, don’t they?), she gets on her dragon and flies north, despite Tyrion’s protests. The entire point of this argument is to set up a dramatic climax where Daenerys and her dragons save Jon and crew at the last possible moment. Contrived? A little bit. Exciting as hell? Oh yes.Meanwhile, in Winterfell, the dumbest subplot in the history of the series rages on. This is where the pacing brought on by the short season is actively hurting the story. After making a huge deal of the Stark sisters finally being reunited, the show is going to great lengths to make it not matter. Remember all that stuff about Sansa not trusting Littlefinger, seeing through him and knowing exactly what he wants? She’s apparently forgotten all of that. She tells him everything about her interactions with Arya, which is exactly what he planned. Why is Sansa suddenly unable to see through Littlefinger’s manipulations? Because the story needs to drive the sisters apart for some reason.Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams (Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO)Arya acts even more illogically, this episode by first threatening Sansa with the note Cersei forced her to write. Again, she doesn’t even consider where she found it. Both of these women should know that Littlefinger is the world’s least trustworthy person by now, and they don’t even consider that he’s up to his old power-grabbing tricks in Winterfell now. Later, when Sansa goes looking for the letter, she finds Arya’s bag of faces. I’ll give these scenes credit where it’s due: Maisie Williams is at her creepiest and most menacing in this episode. These scenes are tense and scary, even if they don’t make a whole lot of sense. Good actors can elevate questionable material, I guess. The most frustrating thing is that the writers are seemingly unable to commit when it comes to Arya’s character. She rejected becoming No One last season, reclaimed herself as Arya Stark, and went back home. Now, it’s like the show regrets having her completely leaving the faceless men behind, so they’re trying to pull her back for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. It feels like they’re taking steps backward in her character development. This is one of those things that may have been more acceptable if it had more time to build. If we could see that Arya has a reason for acting like this. But with just over half a normal season to work with, the show didn’t have time for that. As a result, this character backtracking comes out of nowhere.Speaking of acting stupid, Jon’s plan for bringing back a white walker is pretty dumb. Instead of trying to set a trap or lure one close to the wall, they attack a small host. They capture one, but it screams loud enough to bring the Night King and his entire Army down on Jon’s crew. Hey, at least it led to some pretty great fights, including one with a zombified bear. The Red Priest is mauled in that fight, and though they’re able to cauterize his wounds, he still ends up freezing to death. It was smart to kill a character we have little attachment to here. It made us think that his was going to be the episode’s big death. It made us let our guard down for what was about to come next. The writing may get incredibly stupid at times, but Game of Thrones knows how to pull off some great and terrible surprises.Richard Dormer (Credit: Courtesy of HBO)Jon’s group gets trapped on a rock in the middle of a frozen lake. The walkers surround them, but dare not traverse the thin ice after a few of them fall through it. Of course, the ice hardens up overnight, which is made apparent when one of Jon’s men can’t help but throw rocks at the undead hoard. Is there anyone in this episode who isn’t a complete moron? A gigantic battle ensues, and just when everything looks hopeless, Daenerys and her three dragons fly in to save the day. Watching three dragons burn through an army of zombies is so much fun, it makes you forgive all the stupidity that got us here. And then… The Night King, who’s apparently been practicing his javelin throw, hurls a spear directly into Viserion. This might be the most devastated I’ve ever been by a death on Game of Thrones. Yes, it’s worse than the Red Wedding. Robb was a dumbass who put himself into that situation. Viserion did nothing wrong! We knew one of the dragons was going to die as soon as we saw that Cersei had that massive crossbow. But that made us assume the dragons were safe as long as that weapon wasn’t on-screen, making this death all the more shocking. As frustrating as Game of Thrones writers can be, they are experts at this kind of sleight-of-hand.If there is anything good to come out of this battle, it’s that Daenerys and Jon are working together in earnest now. Jon swore fealty to Daenerys, after seeing the kind of leader she really is. There is also an undeniable affection between them that is almost certainly going to lead to something more. How messed up is it that this show has us all cheering for an aunt and nephew to get it on? I guess after seven seasons of Cersei and Jaime; it seems downright normal. Of course, the episode couldn’t end without making things a thousand times worse. The final scene shows the Night King resurrecting Viserion. There’s a White Walker dragon now. Perfect.Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke (Credit: Courtesy of HBO)Story-wise, this was the most frustrating Game of Thrones episode we’ve seen in a long time. It sure made for some great spectacle though. It’s to the point where I’m thinking this is kind of what the show has always been. Maybe it’s never been as smart as we’ve given it credit for. In past season’s it’s had to spread its stupidity out over 13 hours. The spectacle was padded out with just enough politics and character development that the infuriating decisions felt more like occasional missteps than the norm. Now, the writers have half the time to get the characters where they need them to be. As a result, the stupid decisions and plot conveniences come at us fast and furious. Game of Thrones has always been about shock and awe over character and story. This season is just forcing us to come to terms with that. If you can accept that, it’s still a hell of a fun ride.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. ‘Game of Thrones’ Director Explains Why Arya Ambushed the Night King’Game of Thrones’ Star Sophie Turner Predicts Sansa Stark’s Future Stay on target
You recognize their drivers and delivery vehicles because of their distinctive brown uniforms and paint jobs, but UPS wants you to know they’re focused on being green. That’s why the company is trying out some ultra-eco-friendly new wheels.This compact three-wheeled number is part of a pilot project UPS kicked off last year in (where else) Portland. Now their electric cargo bikes are replacing vans on some routes in Pittsburgh, too. Next on the expansion list could be Pasadena, Phoenix, Philadelphia, or Pueblo, because clearly UPS is trying to check off all the Ps first.Whatever the real reason UPS chose Pittsburgh, city mobility and infrastructure chief Karina Ricksis excited about being second on the company’s list. “We’re happy to see this technology deployed in our downtown, where we have very narrow streets, where we struggle with traffic congestion,” she told reporters as the first bike rolled out of a UPS warehouse.UPS says the bikes have room for between 15 and 20 packages. That’s a lot less capacity than one of their vans, but that’s something they can counter by setting up centralized storage facilities that riders can circle back to easily.Riders can move the bikes with muscle power alone, but 300-or-so pounds of cargo in the back can make that challenging. That’s where the e-assist comes in. The bike’s battery supplies enough juice to keep the wheels turning for about 18 hours. Pedaling will recharge the battery on-the-go, too.They’ll be used throughout the winter in Pittsburgh — weather permitting, of course. That windscreen doesn’t offer a whole lot of protection from the elements.UPS has actually been using the bikes in Hamburg, Germany since 2012. They’ve been a big hit in Europe, and UPS is confident that they can replicate that success back here in North America. This Clever Seat Post Is Also a Bike LockThe Netherlands Now Has The World’s First Recycled Plastic Bike Path Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target
In the alleged rape of a 21-year-old girl by her PG owner in Gurgaon, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said that the government is making inquiries into the case and all allegations against police officers are also being investigated. The girl, who was a resident of Ludhiana, has alleged that she was raped on the evening of November 26 and filed a complaint the next day. In a complaint filed at the Gurgaon woman police station, she said that her PG owner Dharmveer Thakran forcibly entered her room and raped her. Also Read – Man arrested for making hoax call at IGI airportOn Monday, the rape survivor’s counsel sent a letter asking the Punjab and Haryana high court Chief Justice to intervene. Meanwhile, sources said Dharampal Thakral, the accused’s son, submitted an application to police that said the woman had falsely implicated his father.The rape survivor has also alleged police of mistreating her and showing reluctance in filing a complaint. Police are yet to arrest the PG owner.In the letter to the Chief Justice, the girl said: “I first went to the police commissioner’s office but the commissioner told me to go away, saying I had no work there. When I persisted, the guards took me to the guesthouse of the accused without even registering a complaint. I was then taken to the women’s police station where I was told to go back to my home town and even told that a medical test cannot be done as the doctor was not available. The accused was treated as a VIP in the police station.” Also Read – Disqualified AAP MLA Kapil Mishra, women’s wing chief join BJPHowever, in a statement issued by the Gurgaon Police commissioner, the ‘rape survivor’s’ charges were baseless and issued a point-by-point rebuttal. “No victim has ever been turned away from the CP’s office without legal recourse,” the statement said.Police said the woman had gone missing from her house in Ludhiana, at which her parents filed a case of abduction there. “The woman was handed over to her family in the presence of Punjab Police. She had come to Gurgaon in search of a job last month,” said the police. “We’re conducting raids to nab the accused, who is absconding,” said Dharna Yadav, ACP (Sadar), Gurgaon.