Take steps to curb flooding problems

first_imgThe National Environmental Policy Act was never intended to be a club to beat down every major construction project; it was meant to balance the environment versus other needs. The only negative environmental effect of the Prattsville Pumped Storage Project might have been more turbid water entering the Esopus Creek trout fishery.However, this could have been mitigated with a release of hypolimnion water at the base of Gilboa Dam. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion This would support a renewed trout fishery between Gilboa Dam and the Blenheim-Gilboa lower reservoir. Water leaving Blenheim-Gilboa would support a warm water bass fishery, water for recreation, for irrigation and for purity.If the PPSP had been built in the ‘70s with a flood gate, they could have drawn down Gilboa reservoir some 30,000-40,000 acre feet of water ahead of the major storm in 1996 because there was six inches of water in the snow pack. When the storm hit, the reservoir could have impounded water during the worst part of the storm, reducing peak flow from 80,000 cfs [cubic feet per second] to 40,000 cfs. Seventy-five percent to 90 percent of the flood damage would not have occurred and the two man who died during the flood would not have died.The PPSP would have required only five miles of new rights-of-way to connect to the existing Blenheim-Gilboa r.o.w.I suggest that the Power Authority pay New York City $300 million towards the cost of rehabbing Gilboa Dam and pay the city, as a large industrial user, how much it takes to keep water in Gilboa Reservoir during droughts to keep its project running effectively.Richard Moody Jr.SchoharieMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Don’t leave Uber’s status to the courts

first_imgIt needs to be recognized, and regulated, accordingly. The U.K. government, in fact, is open to the idea.Earlier this year, the Taylor review proposed a new employment status of “dependent contractor,” a category that Canada and some other jurisdictions already have.The report said the absence of a requirement to perform work — a standard feature of the gig-economy model — shouldn’t automatically exclude employment rights.At the same time, though, the dependent contractor’s looser relationship with the platform provider suggests a more limited set of obligations.According to circumstances, these might include sick pay and paid time off, and in some cases the statutory minimum wage.   What dependent-contractor status means, and the rights it would confer, still needs to be worked out, so the idea won’t bring disagreement on the subject to an end. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appears on Bloomberg View:A London tribunal’s ruling last week that Uber drivers aren’t self-employed was hailed as a victory by the company’s critics.The court upheld an earlier finding that Uber resorted to “fictions” and “twisted language” in denying its obligations as an employer, and that its claim to be a service linking 30,000 small businesses to their customers was “faintly ridiculous.”Clear as that might seem, the judgment doesn’t settle the matter. But it puts the main points of contention in the right place — in the realm of politics not litigation.Uber’s characteristic method of barging into markets and deeming itself exempt from the existing rules has made it many enemies.Yet it can hardly be considered a failure — certainly not from the customer’s point of view.Its ferocious innovation, and that of other platform enterprises, has left employment law behind. The rules need to catch up, preferably in ways that don’t squelch the benefits.That’s a job for lawmakers, not judges.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationcenter_img The legal fight will continue in Britain, as in many other jurisdictions, with no end in sight.This is what happens when courts are asked to apply outdated laws to a rapidly changing labor market.A San Francisco judge presiding over a similar case put it well:The jury, he said, is being “handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes.”The crucial question is for lawmakers to resolve.Uber’s drivers aren’t employees in the old-fashioned sense — and they aren’t independent contractors in the old-fashioned sense either.This is a new kind of employment relationship.last_img read more

Heathrow investment

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Alchemy goes for gold with £250m hotel sell-off

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‘I knocked on hell’s door’: This is what it feels like to catch the coronavirus

first_imgFor one coronavirus patient at ground zero of the outbreak, the journey from infection to recovery was a nightmare scenario that entailed multiple hospital visits, symptoms so severe he thought he would die and quarantine under police watch.Tiger Ye — not his real name — is a 21-year-old student in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the new, still little understood virus first emerged. Ye, who doesn’t want to be identified for fear of being ostracized, first suspected he’d caught the illness that’s spread around the world on Jan. 21, when he felt too weak to finish dinner. He checked his temperature, and it was up.At the time, little was known about the virus now known as 2019-nCov, but paranoia was rapidly building after authorities confirmed the highly contagious pathogen was spreading between humans in the city of 11 million. It was midnight when Ye arrived at Wuhan’s top-tier Tongji Hospital to see a waiting room filled with people like him. Feverish, he knew he would have to wait hours to be tested. “I was scared,” he said. “Countless cases were piling up on the desks, and every single doctor was wearing protective clothes, something I’d never seen before.”What followed was more than two weeks of anxiety and desperation as Ye tried to confirm if he had the pneumonia-causing virus and get treatment for his increasingly severe symptoms. He was one of the lucky ones, beating the sickness in part because his father — a health care worker — was aware of the risks earlier than most of Wuhan’s population.Under SiegeMore than 1,000 people have died from the new coronavirus in Hubei, the Chinese province that Wuhan is the capital of, as a severe shortage of hospital beds, testing kits and other basic medical equipment mean many have to stand in line for hours to get diagnosed, and some die before even seeing a doctor. China has quarantined vast swathes of Hubei, and the outbreak has caused parts of the world’s second-biggest economy to shut down as scientists across the world race to find a cure. The night Ye first sought treatment, he was able to procure medicine from a smaller hospital nearby after abandoning the wait at Tongji. Because his symptoms weren’t classed as very severe, doctors told him to just go home and quarantine himself.The first four days of the illness were brutal.“I suffered from a high fever and pains that tortured every part of my body,” said Ye, who’s a big fan of Japanese culture and has ambitions of becoming a voice actor. He spent the days watching Japanese cartoons to distract from the discomfort.‘Coughing Like I Was Going to Die’By the time his follow-up appointment at the hospital arrived four days later, the Wuhan government had locked down the city, barring anyone from leaving to stop the virus’ spread. Everything changed in an instant: roads were empty, prices for fresh fruit and vegetables surged, and residents were unsure if they were even allowed to leave their apartments.Ye’s condition had also deteriorated. “I was coughing like I was going to die,” he said.At the hospital, multiple CT scans showed it was highly likely Ye had contracted the novel coronavirus and that it had spread to his lungs. Doctors deliberated if he qualified for a nucleic acid test, which would use the virus’ genetic sequence to confirm if he had been infected, but it was decided his case wasn’t severe enough, and the precious supply of test kits had to be reserved for more critical patients.‘Hell’s Door’Diagnosis has emerged as one of the major stumbling blocks in getting the virus under control in Hubei, where the number of those who fear they are infected far outweighs the capacity of hospitals to confirm if they are. On Thursday, Hubei began counting patients who were diagnosed via CT imaging alongside those who tested positive with the nucleic acid kits, resulting in a more than 45% surge in the number of confirmed cases, to nearly 50,000 people.As Ye convalesced at home after his second hospital visit — not knowing if he had the virus or not — his brother and grandmother also began to show symptoms of infection. Overnight, Ye’s condition worsened to the point he thought he might die.“I thought I was knocking on hell’s door,” he said.Ye went back to the hospital after his temperature soared to 39 degrees Celsius (about 102 degrees Fahrenheit). Doctors put him on an iv and administered Kaletra, a combination drug used to treat HIV that has shown some success in combating the virus, bringing his temperature down to 37 degrees by the end of the day.A week after the symptoms first began, Ye appeared to be reaching a turning point.Virus ConfirmedThe young student’s condition was steadily improving when he finally secured one of the coveted test kits on Jan. 29. It confirmed he had the virus that’s triggered travel bans around the world. His doctor gave him a five-day course of the antiviral drug Aluvia and sent him back to his three-bedroom apartment for quarantine, in part because the hospital didn’t have enough beds to accommodate him.Nine days later on Feb. 7, another set of nucleic acid tests came back negative for the virus, but Ye wasn’t out of the woods. After reports that even patients who tested negative could slip into critical distress, the local government quarantined him in a hotel that had been turned into a makeshift hospital. Police stood guard outside to prevent anyone from leaving or entering.Ye was allowed to go home five days later, ending a saga that began more than three weeks ago. He‘s thankful he survived, and salutes the doctors and nurses who put their own lives at risk to help him. Some doctors told him they suspected they had the virus, but continued to treat patients.Like many Chinese, Ye is critical of the government’s response to the outbreak, especially the slow initial response from local officials that meant a precious opportunity to contain the virus early on was missed. The two most senior Communist Party cadres in Hubei were replaced Thursday, as Beijing tries to gain control of the spiraling crisis.“Hubei has missed one opportunity after another while they were trying to keep things under wraps,” Ye said. “Things wouldn’t have come to this point if the government hadn’t hidden information a month ago.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

Five killed, 90 hurt in violence in Indian capital, hospital official

first_imgOne police constable was among those killed in the violence that erupted just ahead of US  President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to the capital city. Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are set to meet for talks on Tuesday at a venue located a few miles away from where the clashes occurred.Tension in parts of the city remained high on Tuesday with schools remaining shut in some areas, amid news reports of fresh clashes. At least five metro stations in the city were closed.Monday’s clashes were among the worst seen in Delhi since the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) began in early December. India’s capital has been a hotbed of protests against the law, which eases the path of non-Muslims from three neighboring Muslim-dominated countries to gain Indian citizenship.This has led to accusations that Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are undermining India’s secular traditions. The BJP denies any bias against India’s more than 180 million-strong Muslim minority, but objectors have been holding protests and camping out in parts of New Delhi for two months.Topics : At least five people were killed and about 90 were injured in clashes in the Indian capital during protests over a new citizenship law, a senior hospital official told Reuters on Tuesday.”Some of the people brought in had gunshot wounds,” Dr Rajesh Kalra, additional medical superintendent at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said of Monday’s clashes.The clashes erupted between thousands demonstrating for and against the new citizenship law. Police used tear gas and smoke grenades, but struggled to disperse the stone-throwing crowds.last_img read more

Ronaldinho lawyers push for footballer’s release over fake passport scandal

first_imgLawyers for Brazilian football great Ronaldinho are trying to organize a hearing to get him temporarily released from detention for allegedly entering Paraguay with a fake passport, defense sources told AFP on Monday.Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto were arrested on Friday and held in pre-trial detention in Asuncion for entering Paraguay using forged documents.Sources close to his defense team told AFP the lawyers were trying to get the brothers a hearing on Tuesday in the hope of securing their temporary release. Topics : The brothers are spending a fourth day behind bars in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion, where late summer temperatures have soared to 40 degrees Celsius.Queiroz wants the pair to be released and allowed to return to their home country. He said prosecutors originally agreed that the footballer had acted in good faith before a judge ordered their detention, which Queiroz described as unwarranted.Ronaldinho, considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, was one of the stars of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win and played for European giants Barcelona Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, among others.He and his brother arrived in Asuncion from Brazil on Wednesday and showed their passports to immigration police, who did not immediately notice any problem with the documents.Hours later, when the passports were determined to be fake, investigators raided the hotel room Ronaldinho was staying in and seized the brothers’ identity cards and travel documents.Ronaldinho said the passports had been given to him by people who had invited him to attend conferences sponsored by charities working with disadvantaged children.A Brazilian businessman has also been arrested in connection with the fake passports, while two Paraguayan women have been placed under house arrest and Paraguay’s migration director has resigned.Queiroz said the brothers were offered the passports “to facilitate the possibility of doing business” in Paraguay.”The idea was to position Ronaldinho with brands and companies,” he added.Paraguayan president Mario Abdo on Monday revoked by decree the legal status of the foundation that invited Ronaldinho to the country.Defense lawyers for the “Angelic Fraternity” foundation’s administrator, Dalia Lopez, acknowledged that she had requested official Paraguayan passports for the brothers but said she had no idea that those delivered were fakes.Authorities have issued a warrant for her arrest.Lopez’s lawyers said the brothers had handed over $5,000 to “accelerate the process to issue the passports” and that she “never suspected” intermediaries dealing with the request would have submitted false information to authorities.Her lawyers also denied she had paid Ronaldinho to come to Paraguay or that she was involved in business with him.But the arrested businessman, Wilmondes Sousa, claimed Lopez was responsible for making the fake passports.center_img Brazilian press reported that the country’s justice minister, Sergio Moro, had contacted Paraguayan authorities over Ronaldinho’s case.”Moro only called to obtain information on the case, because… the Brazilian government is following it,” a justice ministry official said, denying that Brazil was trying to meddle in the case.Ronaldinho’s Brazilian lawyer Sergio Queiroz has previously insisted that the two-time world player of the year’s detention was “illicit, illegal and unlawful.””Ronaldinho did not commit a crime because he did not know that the passport they gave him was faked,” he said.last_img read more

Austria will deny entry to people coming from Italy, Chancellor Kurz says

first_imgAustria will deny entry to people arriving from Italy and ban indoor events of more than 100 people, drastically stepping up measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday.The announcement comes a day after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the whole of his country was being placed under lockdown until next month, an unprecedented and unexpected new attempt to beat coronavirus in Europe’s worst-affected country.”The utmost priority is to prevent the spread and thus the importing of the illness into our society. There is therefore a ban on entry for people from Italy into Austria, with the exception of people who have a doctor’s note [certifying they are healthy],” Kurz told a news conference. Kurz and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced other measures, including a ban on indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events of more than 500 people. University lectures will stop on Monday at the latest and companies are being asked to let their staff work from home.Austria had previously said it would introduce spot health checks at its border with Italy on Tuesday, targeting vehicles with Italian license plates in particular. It also said last week it was banning direct flights to the Italian cities of Milan and Bologna, as well as to Iran and South Korea.Austria has had 157 confirmed cases so far and no deaths, compared with more than 9,000 cases in Italy and 463 deathsTopics :last_img read more

Pertamina secures fuel and household gas supply as more people stay home

first_img“We will continue to monitor rising demand for 3 kilogram LPG canisters.”She also noted that daily use of subsidized gas canisters had risen 1 percent to 22,117 tons since many regions across the country implemented work from home policies.Pertamina is among state-owned energy enterprises, including electricity company PLN, that have pledged supply stability for customers during the pandemic in a bid to avoid mass social unrest.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo declared a public health emergency over the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths across the country.As of Friday, Indonesia has reported 1,986 confirmed cases, with a death toll reaching 181. Pertamina has guaranteed that domestic supplies of fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) remain secure, even as the state-owned oil and gas company implements a “work from home” policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.The company said its stock of diesel and gasoline, including the highly demanded Pertalite gasoline brand, could last more than 22 days, which was “ a safe level”, Pertamina spokeswoman Fajriyah Usman said. Pertamina has also secured supply for its LPG cooking canisters for 16 days, which was adequate for intensified household activities as many people remained at home following restrictions in public spaces to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.“We’ve maintained fuel stock at more than 22 days even though, throughout the work from home period, nationwide daily fuel consumption has fallen 16 percent to 113 million liters,” she said on Friday. Topics :last_img read more