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Kolkata: Arjun Singh, former Trinamool Congress MLA from Bhatpara in North 24-Parganas, joined BJP on Thursday, after being denied nomination for the Barrackpore seat. Singh flew to Delhi on Wednesday and joined BJP at its headquarters in New Delhi in presence of party leaders Mukul Roy and Kailash Vijayvargiya, who handed over the party flag to Singh. It may be recalled that Singh previously had a long-standing feud with Roy. Reacting to Singh joining BJP, Trinamool Youth Congress president and party MP Abhishek Banerjee said: “His joining BJP will not be able to create any impact on the prospect of the party. Mamata Banerjee is our only leader and the people of Bengal trust her because of her integrity.” Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersMeanwhile, senior Trinamool Congress leader and KMC Mayor Firhad Hakim said: “Those who have greed are free to go and join any party. It was Mamata Banerjee who made him chairman of a municipality and an MLA but Arjun had the aspiration of getting the ticket. I met him on Thursday. He did not say a word and joined BJP. The people will not forgive him.” Singh, a four time MLA, had expressed his desire to contest from the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat. However, party supremo Mamata Banerjee nominated Dinesh Trivedi for the seat instead, for the third consecutive time. Earlier, she had held a meeting with Singh and made him the party Observer in Jharkhand. On Wednesday, while holding a meeting all 42 nominees of Trinamool at Kalighat, Banerjee had said: “One or two will go to other parties. That will not affect our prospect.” It may be mentioned that the councillors of the Barrackpore constituency have brought a no-confidence motion against Singh.
14 April 2009If progress is to be made on the status of Western Sahara, careful preparation is needed before further talks are held between Morocco and the Frente Polisario on the long-running dispute, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released today. Mr. Ban welcomed the two parties’ commitment to continue their negotiations – as stated in the final communiqué issued at the last round – but he accepted the advice of his Personal Envoy that informal meetings be held first. The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been in place since September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario, which contest the territory. In an April resolution, the Security Council called on the parties to enter into negotiations “without preconditions in good faith.” Talks between the two parties were held under the auspices of the UN in 2007 and 2008 in Manhasset, New York, but no substantial agreements have yet emerged. “As it would appear from the consultations held thus far that little has changed since the last round of negotiations to facilitate a positive outcome for the fifth round, careful preparation is needed,” Mr. Ban wrote in the new report. Morocco holds that its position in Western Sahara should be recognized, while the Frente Polisario contends that the Territory’s final status should be decided in a referendum that includes independence as an option. Mr. Ban recommends that the Security Council stress again that both parties must “negotiate in good faith, without any preconditions, and show political will to enter into substantive discussions and to ensure the success of the negotiations. “My personal envoy is available to brief the parties as well as the Security Council on his assessment of the way forward,” he adds. Christopher Ross of the United States replaced Peter van Walsum as the Secretary-General’s envoy earlier this year. Mr. Ban also voices concern about the humanitarian situation of the Western Saharan refugees, many of whom have been living in camps in the Tindouf area of neighbouring Algeria for years. In that light, he welcomes the fact that family visits between the territory and the refugee camps have continued without interruption. In addition, he notes recent progress made in clearing mines and explosive remnants of war in Western Sahara, as well as the decrease in reports of restrictions on MINURSO military observers. Given the unresolved political situation, however, he advises the Security Council to extend the mandate of MINURSO for a further period of one year, until 30 April, 2010.
The Faculty of Education kicks off its 2013 Distinguished Speaker Series Thursday with Dónal O’Donoghue, chair of art education at the University of British Columbia.O’Donoghue’s lecture “Is Arts-Based Research Anti-Art?” will examine whether we are demanding too much of art while not paying attention to what art does when doing art research.The lecture is at Pond Inlet on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to all. Faculty and students are invited to the Extending the Conversation with O’Donoghue on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at Pond Inlet.The second presentation in the series happens Thursday, April 11 and features a conversation between African-Canadian poets, George Elliott Clarke, poet laureate of Toronto, and poet and playwright Pamela Mordecai. More details about the talk will be posted closer to the date.
HONG KONG — The Latest on the protests in Hong Kong (all times local):3 p.m.A Chinese official responsible for Hong Kong affairs says punishment for those behind weeks of sometimes violent protests in the Chinese special administrative region is “only a matter of time.”The comments Tuesday by Yang Guang, spokesman for the Chinese Cabinet’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, appear to indicate Beijing will take a hard line against the protests and has no plans to open a dialogue on their demands for political reforms.Yang singled out “brazen, violent and criminal actors” and the “meddling hands behind the scenes” as the focus law enforcement efforts, saying “as for their punishment, it’s only a matter of time.”Yang also called on Hong Kong citizens to turn on the protesters by refusing to accept their promotional materials and opposing disruptions to public transport.___1 p.m.Hong Kong protesters have condemned what they call the government’s “empty rhetoric” and instances of alleged police abuse in an inaugural “People’s Press Conference.”Three protesters who spoke to reporters Tuesday said the briefing was intended to counter the regular government and police news conferences in which authorities have repeatedly decried violent acts by some pro-democracy demonstrators.An activist using the pseudonym Jerry Chan said some officers have shown “total lack of self-discipline,” adding that some tear gas was fired on residential buildings during clashes across several districts Monday.The protesters apologized for the inconveniences brought on by a general strike Monday that paralyzed regular workday operations in the city. Major roads and public transit lines were blocked, while at least 77 flights out of the airport were cancelled.The Associated Press
Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said the tragic loss of the Prestige on 19 November has again “brought into sharp focus the environmental and economic issues surrounding the world’s primary energy source, namely oil.”The incident “reminds us that it is the people living on the coasts of major tanker and shipping routes and relying on the natural environment for their livelihoods who pay the price when such accidents occur,” he said.The latest tanker disaster must also mark a new and renewed effort to minimize the risks and to “properly price the environment within the costs of oil transportation,” Mr. Toepfer said, noting that too many ships carrying potentially hazardous cargoes have operated with poorly trained crews and that some of the vessels are of an age and specification that also “brings cause for concern.””It is clear to me that the price of petrol and diesel at the filling station pump is not reflecting the true environmental costs of oil,” he said.The UNEP chief welcomed efforts by the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) to bring in “double-hull” tankers to replace the single-hull ones, which are more vulnerable in the event of a collision or accident, and called for a review of the timetable for phasing-in the stronger vessels.Mr. Toepfer also noted that UNEP has developed a network of regional seas agreements, under which neighbouring countries have agreed to jointly protect their common marine and coastal environments, and said that he will be asking the agency’s experts to review the measures to see where they could be strengthened.
“Everything we do needs to take climate change into consideration,” Mr. da Silva stressed “and the time is now. We cannot afford to wait.” In an address to the seventh Forum on Agriculture in Menkes, Morocco, the Director-General asserted that climate change has reintroduced “an element of uncertainty” – after decades in which hunger was mostly caused by the inability to produce or purchase food, rather than insufficient supplies globally. “Climate change has the potential to reconfigure the planet’s food production scenario,” Mr. da Silva pressed. The world’s poorest are particularly vulnerable. Mr. da Silva explained, that: “Not only do they have fewer means to react, but they also tend to live in already marginal production areas,” where the impact of climate change in agricultural production is felt to an even greater extent. FAO’s Director-General pointed to recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that reflected these concerns and called for urgent action. Noting that the United Nations had declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming, Mr. da Silva also underscored family farming as a tool for rural development and stability.”By providing adequate support to family farming we can combat food insecurity by reaching out to a group that is in itself vulnerable – and by increasing food supply where we need it the most,” he said. He noted that some 500 million family farms account for about 80 per cent of the world’s holdings, yet also include many of the most vulnerable families globally.“Climate change is a challenge faced by both large, modernized family farms as well as small-scale family farmers,” he emphasized.Family farmers make up an estimated 70 per cent of all food insecure households in rural areas of developing countries. Linking productive support to social protection would help to jumpstart local and inclusive sustainable development.“It cuts across a broad range of development priorities, including ending hunger, supporting sustainable production, reducing rural poverty, improving food markets and building resilience,” Mr. da Silva said. The Director-General, the Moroccan Ministers of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries and of the Economy and Finance signed an agreement to support food security projects elsewhere in Africa through the FAO South-South Cooperation programme as an innovative initiative to combine Government and private sector funds.
Tory MP Sarah Wollaston added: “No, @realDonaldTrump, people are marching to demonstrate their support for the #NHS & argue for more funding.”Theresa May backed her health minister’s comments, and a spokesperson said she is proud of the NHS.The spokesperson said: “The prime minister is proud of having an NHS that is free at the point of delivery. “NHS funding is at a record high and was prioritised in the Budget with an extra £2.8 billion. In the recent Commonwealth Fund international survey, the NHS was rated the best int he world for a second time.”Jeremy Hunt is the health secretary and of course he speaks for the government on these matters.”Jeremy Corbyn weighed in, tweeting: “Wrong. People were marching because we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it. Healthcare is a human right.” Simon Stevens used to work in the US healthcare system Credit:PA In the hearing session with MPs, Mr Stevens gave a passionate defence of the NHS, about Mr Trump’s “Twitter attack on the NHS” – and urged the President to come see the health service for himself.He told MPs: “President Trump has been tweeting about the National Health Service today and unfortunately respectfully I think we would suggest that tweet got the wrong end of the stick and in fact people in this country dont want to ditch our NHS … they want to keep it and strengthen it.” Mr Trump had earlier tweeted: “The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working.”Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!”The tweet appears to refer to marches asking for more funding for the NHS which took place at the weekend, organised by anti-privatisation groups.Health secretary Jeremy Hunt responded: “I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover.”NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage – where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance.” I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover. NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage – where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance https://t.co/YJsKBAHsw7— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) February 5, 2018 Donald Trump is now using @NHSEngland as an example of the failure of Universal Healthcare. Over to you @Jeremy_Hunt @theresa_may @jeremycorbyn https://t.co/hGQL7OY1Wr— Jason Elsom (@JasonElsom) February 5, 2018 It was only a matter of time…’The Donald’ crashes into the NHS crisis debate https://t.co/Kx0IHGJlmg— Alastair McLellan (@HSJEditor) February 5, 2018 We’re allowed to insult the NHS but you’re not. https://t.co/Ngga5yUGkR— Louise Adams (@Shladams) February 5, 2018 This should help smooth things out over that presidential visit https://t.co/AIAutagoez— Tom Bateman (@tomb8man) February 5, 2018 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The head of the NHS has hit back at Donald Trump, saying the British people are deeply committed to a national health service which costs half that of US healthcare.At a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee about NHS cyber security, Simon Stevens asked to make “one opportunistic comment” after a day of heated debate about the US President’s claims the NHS was “going broke and not working”.Earlier Downing Street had already responded to Mr Trump’s remarks, saying the Prime Minister was “proud” of the NHS and its funding was “at a record high”.Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt also hit back by attacking the US system which leaves millions without adequate health cover. Mr Stevens continued: “So our invitation in the NHS – should the President be visiting later this year – would be to spend time with brilliant doctors, hospitals, technology experts, scientists, hear about the cataract services, the hip replacements, the modern scanners, the world first liver and heart transplant, the genomic revolution all underway here in the NHS – and go away understanding that healthcare for everybody, delivered at half the cost of the US healthcare system is something that people in this country are deeply and rightly committed to.” Hey, Britain here. Literally nobody here would ever want to trade our National Health Service for what America has. https://t.co/RQD0fIlMEV— James O’Malley (@Psythor) February 5, 2018
For most parents, seeing their children spend hours engrossed in computer games can be a source of frustration. Parents should foster an “inquisitiveness” about how computer games are constructed so that their children have the opportunity to develop an interest in technology from a young age. But rather than despair at the misspent hours, mothers and fathers should ask their children questions about how the games work to encourage an interest in coding, according to a GCHQ recruiter. Chris Ensor, deputy director for skills and growth at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which is part of GCHQ, said that parents play a “huge” role in influencing their children’s futute career choices. …–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Alexander Lewis-Ranwell Credit:Elizabeth Cook/PA Devon and Cornwall Police charged him with the three murders and two charges of grievous bodily harm on Friday.Detective Chief Inspector Roy Linden, deputy head of major crime in the Devon and Cornwall force, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported this investigation. A former public schoolboy has appeared in court charged with murdering three pensioners who were discovered dead in their Exeter homes.Alexander Lewis-Ranwell, 27, from Croyde, North Devon, is accused of murdering Anthony Payne, 80, and twins Dick and Roger Carter, 84, between February 10 and 12.Appearing at Exeter Magistrates’ Court, he was also charged with two counts of causing grievous bodily harm on two other people on February 9 and 11.During the brief hearing, the bearded defendant wore a grey tracksuit and spoke from the dock on a number of occasions. He was flanked by custody staff and police officers.Mr Lewis-Ranwell, a keen polo player who attended West Buckland boarding school, was remanded in custody and is due to appear later at Exeter Crown Court.Mr Payne was found dead at an address in Bonhay Road last Monday. The bodies of the Carter twins were discovered at their home in Cowick Lane the following day. “Given this is now the subject of formal court proceedings, we wouldremind everyone that Contempt of Court rules apply.“It is therefore essential that no one speculates about the investigation, particularly on social media.“It is essential that we maintain the fairness and integrity of the court process.”Superintendent Matt Lawler, Police Commander for Exeter, east and mid Devon, said: “All of our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the victims.“You’ll continue to see officers on foot patrol, speaking to residents, and conducting investigative work at the two addresses in the city over the coming days.”
Poll Results: TODAY A JOINT Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children will meet to discuss legislation that may introduce plain cigarette packaging on all cigarette packs.SmokingHealth and children’s organisations have urged the government to introduce these measures stating that it will prove “vital” in protecting the next generation from the negative health effects of smoking.In light of today’s proceedings in Leinster House today, we want to know what you think of it all: Do you think plain cigarette packaging will deter smokers? Yes (313) YesNoI don’t knowVote No (1818) I don’t know (1893)
Source: Lisa Massey/Twitter @thejournal_ie @broadsheet_ie it’s a pity ordinary decent people had 2 get in2 boat 2 halt work on CAS #savekilkenny pic.twitter.com/qUgk1fDyTd— LisaVerling (@LisaMassey1) July 24, 2014 WORKS AT THE proposed Kilkenny Bridge which has caused so much controversy were halted today after protester got into the river today.A number of protesters themselves went into the river this afternoon, while others went out in a canoe to stop the construction equipment on site from operating. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Sinn Féin Councillor Kathleen Funchion said the protesters were successful in their campaign today as due to people being in the river, the works had to stop due to health and safety reasons.The protesters are objecting to the construction of the bridge as it would mean more traffic, including more trucks, to the centre of the medieval city. A computer generated graphic of the planned bridge. Source: Kilkenny County CouncilAlternative Instead, there are calls for the funding allotted for the project to be used to finish a ring road, which could alleviate any traffic issues.“The protesters were demonstrating today as there is an emergency council meeting being held this Saturday, where a motion, put down by me and Green Party Councillor Malcolm Noonan, will be heard,” explained Funchion.The motion is calling for a review of the project, said Funchion, who explained they will need 12 councillors to back the motion. “It looks like the motion will be passed,” she said, explaining that a lot of pressure has been put on other councillors to call for a review. Despite meetings being held this week and it being agreed that there would be an emergency meeting on the issue where a review would be discussed, the council decided to press on with the works for the next three days.“It is crazy to keep doing the work,” said Funchion.She said that the proposed bridge has been an ongoing issue for some time. She said she hoped that if the motion is passed, the terms of reference of the review would also be voted on at the meeting. “We are calling for an full independent review of the project, with full public consultation,” she said.Leas Cathaoirleach of the council Patrick MaKee said that he supports calls for a fully independent review to be held. He told TheJournal.ie that there needed to be widespread public consultation on the issue.The emergency council meeting will be held this Saturday at 11am.Read: Emergency council meeting to be held over controversial Kilkenny ring road plan>Read: Protest over Kilkenny bridge grows from ‘a dozen to hundreds of people’>
Wednesday 24 Apr 2019, 12:00 PM Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Subscribe By Gavin Cooney STEPHEN BRADLEY COULDN’T hide his frustration after his Shamrock Rovers side fell to a 1-0 derby defeat to Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium last night, meaning they are winless against their rivals since May 2017. For the second time this season, Rovers lost to a Dinny Corcoran goal following a red card.In February Aaron Greene was sent off in the first half before Corcoran scored a second-half penalty; last night Corcoran steered home the rebound of a penalty after Rovers had seen Trevor Clarke and Lee Grace sent off. Clarke was given a straight red card for being adjudged as the last man in pulling back Danny Grant; Grace was given a second yellow when referee Paul McLaughlin ruled a Keith Buckley shot struck his raised arm. Replays suggested it hit him in the head. “Trevor’s one, people say it’s a definite red: it happened us in Inchicore”, an exasperated Bradley told The42 post-match. “Lee Desmond’s the last man in the box, takes down Aaron Greene, and we’re told the rules have changed and it’s not a sending off.“Tonight Trevor’s not even last man and he’s sent off straight away. 31,297 Views Lee Grace, it’s hit him in the head. The referee was so quick to point to the spot he couldn’t change his mind. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable decisions. Big, big games, how they can make these decisions, it’s beyond me. It’s happened to us in Inchicore as well. It’s happened to us a few places. If that’s the rule, Trevor’s last man and is sent off, it should happen everywhere.“I think in big games decisions are going against us.“I think we need to look at who referees these big games, who takes control of them. The fourth official tonight [Robert Hennessy] is one of the best in the league, if not the best, and he’s standing on the sideline.“Sometimes these games are too big for people.” Share Tweet Email Short URL Lee Grace is sent off by referee Paul McLaughlin. Source: James Crombie/INPHOBradley went on to further criticise referee McLaughlin for refusing to explain his decisions. “The scary thing is they don’t even give you the respect of speaking to you. The good ones speak to you. The good ones give you that respect as a man and speak to you.“But it’s actually unbelievable. Big, big games, we have to look at who is taking charge of them as it’s not acceptable.We can’t keep coming in after big games and looking at decisions like that, as it’s taken away from it. Look at tonight: it’s on TV, there’s six and a half thousand [at the game], it’s a great advertisement for the League and it’s ruined as he’s not big enough for the game.“I just asked to speak [to McLaughlin], and they don’t speak to you. The good ones do speak to you, and they explain decisions and right or wrong, you have to accept it.“They don’t speak to you…it’s unbelievable.”Bradley’s post-match emotions were also mingled with pride, having seen his players carve out a number of second-half chances to snatch a draw having played more than half the game with nine players. Yeah, like I said I’m genuinely proud of each and every one of them. A lot of teams would fold there. They are playing 60 minutes with nine men, a lot of teams would fold but we didn’t.“We worked really hard for each other, I think we had three chances in the second-half to get a draw. So immensely proud of each and every one of them. If they produce that in every game, we will be right up there come the end of the season.” Rovers remain top of the league, five and seven points clear of Bohemians and Dundalk respectively having played a game more. They travel to Oriel Park to play the champions on Friday night, with Bradley embracing the challenge as an ideal follow-up to more derby disappointment. “The last thing you want after a game like that and a crowd like that is to go into a game where there is little or nobody watching, and all that comes with that.“We know Oriel Park on Friday will be bouncing, and they’ll be at it. That’s exactly what you want.” Rovers have injury concerns over defender Sean Kavanagh and goalkeeper Alan Mannus, who hurt his hand in the clash with Dinny Corcoran that ended in the decisive goal. – Originally published at 07.00Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here: 34 Comments https://the42.ie/4604131 Shamrock Rovers manager, Stephen Bradley. Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO ‘It’s a great advertisement for the League and it’s ruined as he’s not big enough for the game’ Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley was furious with the referee as his side played more than half of last night’s defeat to Bohemians with nine men. Shamrock Rovers manager, Stephen Bradley. Apr 24th 2019, 7:30 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
While Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was pleased to see Leroy Sane get on the scoresheet in their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, he insists that the German still has a long way to go to get back to his best formThe Germany international is back with the City squad for their preseason tour in the United States after being shockingly omitted from his country’s World Cup squad this summer.And last season’s PFA Young Player of the Year is clearly ready to put the pain of that rejection behind him and scored for a largely inexperienced young City side with an expertly-taken drilled finish after surging past Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.But he efforts were in vain with the returning strike duo of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane netting two goals for Liverpool to end the game with a 2-1 defeat for City.While admitting that he was pleased with Sane’s goal, Guardiola insisted that the German winger still has work to do to rekindle his impressive displays from last season.“It depends on him,” Guardiola told the club website.“He needs more minutes and he needs to regain his principles in terms of playing without the ball.Virgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“He has the talent to do that and we are happy that he scored. Still, he is far away from his best.”Before the game, Sane had revealed his great disappointment at being rejected by Joachim Low for Germany’s World Cup and how he planned to use that pain to reach even further heights for City this season.“It’s just made me want to come back really strong. It was a surprise because I thought I’d played quite a good season,” he said on Monday.“Like I said, I was disappointed and I’m still feeling it a bit but it’s another season for me and I’m looking forward to it.“It gives you motivation. I am really happy, knowing that I can get better. I still make so many mistakes so of course, I can get better. I’m ready to do it.”Sane scored 10 goals and made 15 assists for City last season in his 32 Premier League games.
Bayern Munich’s new signing Alphonso Davies is very similar to Kylian Mbappe, says Vancouver Whitecaps’ youth academy director Craig DalrympleThe 18-year-old winger arrives at Bayern from MLS side Vancouver for a transfer fee of $13.5m and will be available after the Bundesliga’s winter break.Now Dalrymple, who has watched Davies develop for years in Canada, stated that he can be compared with another teenager superstar in Mbappe due to their similar playing styles.Report: Bayern are held by Leipzig George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Bayern Munich was held to another draw, this time by RB Leipzig.Bayern Munich finds themselves in the unfamiliar position of sitting third in the…“Especially in terms of his role and his position, he’s very similar to him,” Dalrymple told t-online.de.“He has the power and the acceleration, and he always looks for the most direct way to goal. He can take a similar path.”Although Davies did join up with his new teammates on Wednesday and participated in a training session at Munich.
Detectives from the Washington State Patrol have determined that a combination of multiple factors led to the death of Trooper Sean O’Connell in a motorcycle collision in Skagit County earlier this year.O’Connell’s motorcycle collided with a commercial vehicle known as a “box truck” shortly before 6:00 p.m. on May 31, at the intersection of Fir Island Road and Greenfield St. south of Mt. Vernon.“There was no one single cause for this tragedy,” said Capt. Charles LeBlanc, commander of the Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division. “There was a combination of circumstances that led to a horrific end.” The investigation into the collision is still not complete, but detectives have determined the fundamental facts of what occurred. Just prior to the collision, O’Connell had checked the length of a traffic backup on the Skagit River Bridge detour and was returning to where another trooper was directing traffic. He was moving up the shoulder, outside the fog line, passing to the right of the box truck. As the two vehicles approached the intersection the box truck made a right turn onto Greenfield and the truck was struck on the right side by O’Connell’s motorcycle. The box truck driver did not see O’Connell’s motorcycle prior to initiating his turn. Speed was not a factor in the collision.
Horizon Lines has operated from the Unalaska Marine Center for more than 20 years. (Annie Ngo/KUCB)After years of financial trouble, Horizon Lines has announced plans to sell off its routes in Alaska and Hawaii.Download AudioHorizon started moving cargo in Alaska 50 years ago. Back then, the company was still known as Sea-Land. And they hadn’t gone through the string of mergers and sales that have become common in the shipping industry.As it’s changed hands, Horizon has been stacking up debt — now more than half a billion dollars’ worth. Chief financial officer Michael Avara says they tried refinancing and restructing, but it just wasn’t sustainable.That’s why Horizon has decided to shut down their operations in Puerto Rico and sell the rest.In Hawaii, a shipping line called the Pasha Group has offered $142 million to pick up Horizon’s service. And for $69.2 million, Matson will get the Alaska operations and all of Horizon’s stock.Avara says they’re in a good position to take it on.“Matson is a large, profitable company with roots tracing back 150 years or so to Hawaii,” Avara says. “They have an excellent balance sheet and I think they’ll be a very good steward of the Alaska service.”Until now, Matson’s mostly been focused on shipping in Hawaii and the South Pacific. They wanted to expand north. But spokesperson Jeff Hull says there wasn’t room — until Horizon fell on hard times.The company was part of a long investigation into price fixing in the cargo industry. In 2011, Horizon pleaded guilty to inflating their rates and agreed to pay a $15 million fine.The Justice Department also asked Matson to produce records, but they were never charged with a crime.Even though Horizon’s been on shaky footing, they’ve still been a major player in domestic shipping under the Jones Act. The law says that operators have to be American-owned, using domestically-built vessels and American crews, in order to move cargo between U.S. ports.Horizon has more than a dozen vessels that meet those standards — including three in Alaska. They provide regular service between Tacoma, Anchorage, Kodiak and Unalaska.“And basically they are carrying our fresh produce, our groceries, household goods,” says Peggy McLaughlin, Unalaska’s ports director.Horizon has been using the same municipal dock in Unalaska for more than 20 years. For most of that time, they operated under a special contract. But since it lapsed in December, Horizon has been paying tariffs to the city government to move cargo.For reasons beside revenue, McLaughlin says the route is important.“We hope that Matson recognizes that that domestic line haul service is really critical to Unalaska and our supply chain — and that the service level remains at least status quo,” McLaughlin says.While there could be some personnel changes in Alaska, Jeff Hull says Matson will leave the actual shipping services intact.In Unalaska, that means Matson will try to step into a partnership with Maersk, the international shipping giant.Maersk exports seafood using Horizon as its local agent, with laborers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Matson already has a contract with the union at other ports on the West Coast, according to Hull.The one thing that could change is Horizon’s fleet. At almost 40 years old, the vessels are showing their age. And Hull says it might take some work to bring them up to speed with new air emissions regulations.It wouldn’t happen until after the deal between Matson and Horizon is approved by federal trade regulators. The companies are expecting to hear back next year.
The billboard at Birchwood ABC Elementary, highlighting the mascots — and new combined mascot — of the students attending. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media)Anchorage School District classes resumed today after being closed for more than a week following last month’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake. While most of the students are in the schools they’ve attended all year, two schools had to relocate because of significant damage.Audrey Tally has two kids who attend Eagle River Elementary School; her son Colten is a 4th grader and her daughter Kenley is a second grader. During last month’s earthquake, their school sustained damage that closed it for the rest of the school year. That means Kenley and Colten will now go to two separate schools. That’s because K through 3rd graders are being relocated to Homestead Elementary and older kids will attend Birchwood ABC.Tally said her son, who is in a special education program, is having a hard time adjusting to the move.“He does not like transition,” Tally said. “He doesn’t like new things, and he’s got trouble like even when there’s substitutes in his class.”Tally also says that her two kids are very close, and the fact that they’re going to different schools is giving them separation anxiety.It’s a problem that Birchwood principal Michael Thomas has heard from several parents who have kids going to two different schools.“Some of it is based on capacity. We don’t have rooms in our fourth grades here, and they don’t, then that split is an unfortunate situation that has to do with that,” Thomas said. “I’ve worked with parents who want to zone-exempt their child into our school. But the caveat in that is that it’s based in student numbers.”He says getting a zone exemption – that would allow Tally’s kids to go to school together – would only work if the school wasn’t at max capacity for the grade. Thomas says he and the staff at Birchwood have tried to make the incoming students feel like they’re part of the school — they’ve even combined the two school mascots.“You know, Birchwood ABC is the Colts, Eagle River Elementary is the Eagles. When you combine that you get a powerful Pegasus,” Thomas said. “So we’ve kind of run with that theme of the powerful Pegasus.”Another issue the school is addressing is how to get students back to a state of normalcy after the natural disaster. Principal Thomas says that the school has been staffed with extra counselors to help get kids through the transition. The teachers have also been briefed about how to interact with their students after this unusual break.“We talked a lot about social-emotional learning when they first come back, and hearing their story and making them feel comfortable and ready to go,” Thomas said. “And then getting back to a routine schedule as soon as you can because then, that’s how people move on through this.”Tally says she’s happy with how accommodating the schools have been with the transition, whether it’s figuring out new bus schedules or the stream of communication from the district.“I know that I had a question about my son’s meds, and so the Eagle River nurse had contacted me,” Tally said. “It was very kind of her to give me her cell number so that I could that way I could get in touch with her whenever I need to”While the Eagle River Elementary students settle into their new schools, the students at the other ASD school that needed to be relocated, Gruening Middle School in Eagle River, will begin their classes on Tuesday at their new school — Chugiak High.