We Must Develop a Culture of Work – PM Holness

first_img “It is clear that the policy of the Government can’t just be employment. The policy of the Government has to be to create a culture of work. Employment can only happen in a significant way when there is a culture of work where people appreciate the value of their labour. So, it’s not just the employer that must appreciate the value of labour but people themselves and that culture is not always fully spread in the population. So, an agency like HEART has to configure its program to address this issue as to why it is some of its people (who) just don’t want to work and frown upon work and I hear it coming through in some of the criticisms of the BPO industry and I would rebuke those criticisms,” said Prime Minister Holness. Story Highlights Commenting on the increase in Global Services Sector through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the country and the record number of employment, Prime Minister Holness stated that the Government must increase training to support the expansion of the industry. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the policy of the Government is not just to create employment but to create a culture of work. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the policy of the Government is not just to create employment but to create a culture of work.Commenting on the increase in Global Services Sector through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the country and the record number of employment, Prime Minister Holness stated that the Government must increase training to support the expansion of the industry.“It is clear that the policy of the Government can’t just be employment. The policy of the Government has to be to create a culture of work. Employment can only happen in a significant way when there is a culture of work where people appreciate the value of their labour. So, it’s not just the employer that must appreciate the value of labour but people themselves and that culture is not always fully spread in the population. So, an agency like HEART has to configure its program to address this issue as to why it is some of its people (who) just don’t want to work and frown upon work and I hear it coming through in some of the criticisms of the BPO industry and I would rebuke those criticisms,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister further explained that a culture work creates an environment that limits the chances of nefarious activities.“The truth is that you have to start somewhere, and we must recognise that it is better to be employed than doing nothing becoming candidates for all kinds of nefarious activities,” stated Prime Minister Holness.In the meantime, the Prime Minister charged the BPO industry and HEART NTA to transform the way they do business.“We the Government are very seized and understand that this industry is susceptible to rapid change. My view is that the industry will not go away but it will be transformed. Artificial Intelligence will transform the industry, so Jamaica cannot rest comfortably at the level that it is in the industry. It must increase its performance levels from merely being telephone operators to absorb more of the high-value skills. So, it has to move now, significantly and rapidly from the Business Process engineering and development to more the knowledge process and we can measure how that transformation is going,” said Prime Minister Holness.In that regard, the Prime Minister noted that Jamaica is in a competitive space and must conclude on certain decisions for the greater good of the economy.“We must conclude that we have to give priority to business and investment and we must become efficient in how we give our approvals,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister was speaking at the Official Opening Ceremony for the Montego Bay Free Zone Company Limited Data Entry Building Number 7 on Wednesday, January 9.The facility was constructed by The Port Authority of Jamaica in the Montego Bay Free Zone (MBFZ)last_img read more

Biggest Fleet Boost for Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM

first_imgzoom Container shipping giants Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM have claimed three top spots on the list of companies that had the biggest fleet capacity increase last year.As shown in Alphaliner’s 2014-2015 fleet review, Maersk increased its capacity by 12%, MSC by 7% and CMA CGM by 9%.A.P.Møller-Maersk increased its total container vessel capacity by 318,000 TEU,  reaching 2.89 MTEH at the end of 2014.The group’s fleet was boosted by the delivery of nine Maersk-owned Triple-E ships of 18,340 TEU, as well as by charters of 19 newbuildings from non-operating owners, Alphaliner said.In 2015, the carrier will take delivery of its remaining seven Triple-E units, together with four chartered ships of 9,000 – 10,000 TEU.MSC’s fleet increased its operating capacity by a 168,000 TEU, or 7% in 2014, to reach 2.54m TEU on a fleet of 497 owned and chartered vessels.The company is going to expand its fleet with 30 new ships this year totaling in 357,000 TEU.French liner CMA CGM grew its fleet by 9% in 2014, adding 139,000 TEU to reach 1.6m TEU for 446 ships. The carrier is expected to expand its fleet with 25 ships this year, adding 268,800 TEU more, Alphaliner’s data shows.The fourth place in terms of fleet capacity was claimed by Hapag-Lloyd / CSAV followed by Evergreen on the fifth place.All of the world’s top 20 carriers recorded capacity increase in 2014, except Hapag-Lloyd / CSAV whose capacity was down by 2%, Hanjin Shipping which saw 3% dip and APL, which posted the biggest capacity decline amounting to 12%.last_img read more

Irans Rouhani hails special ties with Iraq ahead of visit

first_imgTehran: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Monday described ties with Iraq as “special”, as he prepared to travel to Baghdad on his first official visit to the neighbouring country. Rouhani’s three-day visit comes as Iraq has been under pressure from Washington to limit ties with its neighbour, particularly after the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and hit Tehran with sanctions. “Iran-Iraq relations are special,” Rouhani said at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, state television reported. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping “Whenever the people of the region had a problem and asked Iran for help, the people and government of Iran rushed to their help with all their power,” he added. Iran has close but complicated ties with Iraq, with significant influence among its Shiite political groups. The two countries fought a bloody war from 1980 to 1988 and Tehran’s influence in Baghdad grew after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq toppled the government of Saddam Hussein. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in Xinjiang Iran was the first country to respond to Iraqi calls for help after Islamic State group jihadists captured Mosul in 2014 and threatened to overrun Baghdad and Kirkuk. Tehran dispatched “military advisors” and equipment overnight along with the famous Revolutionary Guards elite Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani to prevent IS jihadists from approaching its western borders. Following the defeat of IS in Iraq, Iran is trying to position itself to gain a prime role in rebuilding the war-ravaged country. “Iran-Iraq relations are not comparable with (Iraq’s relations) with an aggressor country like America,” Rouhani said. “America is despised in the region. The bombs that the Americans dropped on Iraqis, Syrian people and other countries cannot be forgotten and,” he said. Rouhani’s visit to Iraq will be the first since he became president in 2013. He is set to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, President Barham Saleh and the country’s chief Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, according to the Iranian government’s website. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived Sunday in Baghdad to prepare for the visit.last_img read more

Triangular contest on cards as Delhi votes

first_imgNEW DELHI: The stage is all set as the National Capital goes to polls on Sunday where the incumbent BJP, Delhi’s ruling AAP and the Congress are locked in a fight on all seven Lok Sabha seats.The Congress is looking to bounce back after ending up at the third spot in the 2014 elections. The lead up to the polls has not been without drama, with allegations and counter-allegations flying, and with all the trappings of a soap opera that could give the daily shows a run for their money. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesThe high-octane poll campaigning in the national capital ended on Friday but not before it saw a plethora of stars descending here to campaign for their respective parties. If Hema Malini and Sunny Deol provided the Bollywood quotient to the saffron party’s campaign, Raj Babbar and Naghma added the star quotient to the Congress, Prakash Raj, Swara Bhaskar and Gul Panag campaigned for the AAP. From Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal being slapped to AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi breaking down at a Press conference over “derogatory pamphlets” to BJP’s Udit Raj leaving the party and joining the Congress after being denied a ticket from northwest Delhi, the last two months have been quite eventful and have kept everyone on their toes. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe seven seats will see 164 candidates battling it out of which 18 are women. Prominent among them are former chief minister Sheila Dikshit from northeast Delhi, BJP’s incumbent MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who is contesting from New Delhi, and Atishi . BJP’s incumbent MP Manoj Tiwari is up against Dikshit for the Northeast Delhi seat and has already said that her entry has made the poll contest “one of the most interesting in the country”. AAP’s Dilip Pandey is also in the fray from the seat. Other prominent candidates in the race include veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, Olympian boxer Vijender Singh, who is making his electoral debut from South Delhi, Union minister Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk, and cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir . Voting will begin at 7 am on May 12 and it is scheduled to go on till 6 am. The 48 hour-period from 6 pm Friday to 6 pm Sunday, known as the silence period, will also be observed as ‘dry day’. A total of 13,819 polling stations will be set up at 2,700 locations in Delhi, with one model polling station in each of the 70 assembly segments. Seventeen polling stations will be staffed only by women. As many as 523 polling locations have been identified as critical and 60,000 personnel, including those of the Delhi Police, Home Guards and paramilitary, will be on their toes to ensure that there is no untoward incident. The campaign got off to a slow start as alliance talks between the AAP and the Congress lingered on till the last days of nomination, but it gained momentum over the last fortnight with senior leaders drawing huge crowds at mega rallies and road shows in the national capital. The campaign reached a crescendo in its last lap, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a massive rally at the iconic Ramlila Maidan here, Congress president rahul Gandhi addressing two public meetings, and his sister Priyanka gandhi Vadra taking out two roadshows in the city. From trying to strike a personal chord with voters in parks at six am to holding door-to-door campaigns till late night, the candidates literally sweated it out in the oppressive heat as mercury crossed the 40-degree Celsius mark. While the BJP’s campaign revolved around the party’s high-pitched nationalism narrative and the popularity of Modi, the Congress kept him in the cross hairs and sought to hard sell its minimum income guarantee scheme, Nyay.last_img read more

Media Controversy and InfluencePeddling in Ronaldo Rape Case

Rabat – Footballing megastar Cristiano Ronaldo has been feeling the heat of the #MeToo movement in the past weeks.Late last month, Kathryn Mayorga, a 34-year-old American woman, spoke up against the star’s alleged sexual assault. The woman claims the Portugal and Juventus forward raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.She says she was coerced into signing a non-disclosure agreement of $375,000 in 2010. However, in late September, her lawyers filed a civil suit against Ronaldo for the rape. Fake news, fabrication, and manipulationFollowing the new lawsuit, the past few weeks have seen a media war between Ronaldo (and his attorney), the media, and his former club Real Madrid.According to Italian news outlet La Repubblica, the footballer last week said that he was convinced his former employer, the Spanish giant Real Madrid, had a hand in the affair. He believed they manipulated the American woman into filing a lawsuit.Ronaldo, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, has called the allegations “fake news” fabricated to sabotage his solid reputation. He added that his “conscience is clear” because he has been an example of professionalism and personal integrity during the nine years he spent in the Spanish capital.Der Spiegel vs. Ronaldo attorneyIn his defense of his client’s conduct, Ronaldo’s lawyer, Peter Christiansen, asserted that the footballer had consensual sex with Mayorga.Most importantly perhaps, Christiansen cast doubts on the authenticity of the news reports. He said the non-disclosure agreement and other documents used to corroborate the rape allegations were “fabricated” and “pure invention.”Der Spiegel, the German outlet which first broke the Ronaldo story, did not take long to reply. The newspaper stood by its report and said that the non-disclosure document used in their report was authentic and fact-checked multiple times before publication.“We have hundreds of documents from different sources that substantiate our reporting. We stand by our reporting. We have no reason to believe that those documents are not authentic.“Furthermore, as always and before publishing every single article in Der Spiegel, we have meticulously fact-checked our information and had it legally reviewed. The statement that was issued by Peter Christiansen on behalf of Cristiano Ronaldo presents the usual path that Mr Ronaldo and his lawyers have taken in the past when unsuccessfully fighting our investigative work.”Madrid sues Portuguese outletBut the latest episode of the Ronaldo-Real Madrid-Mayorga media circus came from a Portuguese outlet, Correio da Manha. On Wednesday, the outlet published a story closer to Ronaldo’s allegations that Madrid played a part in the newly reopened rape investigation.According to Correio da Manha, Ronaldo had consensual relations with Kathryn Mayorga, his accuser, but he was reluctant to financially settle with her.The newspaper reported that Ronaldo was convinced of his innocence and strongly opposed to any settlement deal. However, Real Madrid at the time forced him to settle the case.Madrid has since fumed at the Portuguese outlet’s allegations, strenuously denying having anything to do with the affair. In fact, Real Madrid did not even know that Ronaldo had a relationship with Mayorga, according to statement released by the Spanish club.Real said it has “absolutely no knowledge of any of the information the newspaper published.” The paper’s story, Real added, is “categorically false” and intended to “seriously damage the image of this club.”The Guardian reported on Thursday that the Spanish club has taken legal action against the Portuguese newspaper for defamation.Just like Der Spiegel, however, the Portuguese outlet has challenged Madrid. It says it stands by its report because everything in it was verified and diligently fact-checked.While Ronaldo, seemingly unperturbed, continues his recently signed contract with Italian giant Juventus, the dark clouds above the Portuguese star are nowhere near dissipation.The Las Vegas police have reopened an investigation into the case. read more

Somalias ills worsening humanitarian situation for hundreds of thousands Annan

Although the United Nations has been able to maintain a strong presence in northwestern Somalia, access to the northeastern, central and southern areas remains restricted because of the volatile security situation, the Secretary-General says in his report to the UN General Assembly, which looks at assistance for humanitarian relief and the economic and social rehabilitation of the country.Mr. Annan notes that security-related programme disruptions directly cause greater suffering among the Somali people, and calls on the Somali leaders throughout the country to ensure the safety of UN personnel and staff from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the areas under their control, as well as to facilitate the provision of assistance to those most in need.Despite these obstacles, the United Nations has continued to deliver humanitarian and development assistance in many areas of Somalia, and with more than 900 projects, the world body remains strongly committed to helping the country, the Secretary-General says.”Unfortunately, the low donor response to the consolidated appeals in 2001 and 2002 prevents United Nations agencies from fully addressing the emergency needs in Somalia,” Mr. Annan says, urging Member States to support humanitarian, recovery, and development activities in Somalia actively through the Consolidated Appeals Process and other mechanisms. read more

CPP upgrades not needed by all those in many public sector plans

by Craig Wong, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 28, 2016 9:37 am MDT Last Updated Jun 28, 2016 at 10:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – The tentative deal for an improved Canadian Pension Plan will help thousands of young Canadians better prepare for retirement, but not everyone needed the help.Ian Lee, a professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, says workers with generous defined benefit pension plans, including many government and public sector employees, were already on course for a secure retirement.“The large corporate sector, they also have very good pension plans, by and large,” he added.Lee called the enhancement of the CPP an “squandering of resources” because reports suggest only around 15 to 20 per cent of Canadians are ill-prepared for retirement.“It’s not that the resources are going to disappear into nothingness, it is just that we’re using resources that are scarce on a problem that doesn’t exist for 80 per cent of the population,” he said.Instead, Lee added, a more targeted solution was required.While the private sector has moved to shift the risk of pension plans to employees with a move to defined contribution plans, many in the public sector have managed to hold on to those plans.Under defined benefit plans, the employer guarantees an employee will get a set, pre-defined level of benefits. If the pension fund’s investments don’t do well, the employer has to make up the shortfall.To avoid that risk, many employers switched to defined contribution plans, where they provide a certain amount towards an employee’s savings, but it’s up to the employee to manage the money — and they carry the risk if the stock market tanks. The size of pension the money can buy at retirement isn’t guaranteed.Nonetheless, those in public sector defined benefit plans haven’t entirely escaped unscathed.The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has made changes in recent years that will result in teachers sharing some of the risk, and the benefit, if the plan has a deficit or a surplus, while the OMERS plan has also made adjustments.Under the former Conservative government, Ottawa made revisions that will see federal civil servants pay more for their pensions and work until they are older before they qualify for a full pension.The average age of someone in the Public Service Pension Plan retiring with a full pension in the last fiscal year was 60, while the average unreduced pension they started to collect was $40,633 a year.Defined contribution pension plans have been growing in popularity while enrolment in defined benefit plans has declined.According to Statistics Canada, defined benefit plans in 2014 accounted for 71.2 per cent of employees with a pension plan, down from more than 84 per cent a decade earlier.Meanwhile, enrolment in defined contribution pension in 2014 was up about 18 per cent from where it was in 2004.The changes come as the C.D. Howe Institute raises questions about the burden of the federal government’s employee pension plans.In a report earlier this year, the think tank estimated the cost of federal employee pension plans is more than $100 billion higher than the government says it is because Ottawa is underestimating the future costs.Colin Busby, associate director of research at the think-tank, says the interest rates Ottawa uses to value its pension obligations are too high and understate their future costs.“You don’t really want future increases in taxes to have to pay for these things if there are shortfalls,” Busby said. “You don’t want to be distributing the burden on to future taxpayers to pay for past benefits.”The Treasury Board, however, said it uses the accounting standards set out by the Public Sector Accounting Board and adds that the Public Sector Pension Plan annual report is audited every year by the Office of the Auditor General. CPP upgrades not needed by all; those in many public sector plans already secure read more

With losing streak finished Ohio State mens lacrosse gets ready for No

OSU players celebrate after a goal during a game against Michigan on April 16 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo Editor“Back to business” might be the best way to describe the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team’s mentality.The Buckeyes (6-7, 1-2) are set to take on No. 5 Maryland (10-2, 3-0) on Sunday, the team’s first game since ending its six-game losing streak on Saturday against Michigan in the annual Showdown in the Shoe.“It (had) been so long since we’ve won, and to have that feeling again was great,” said senior midfielder and co-captain Kacy Kapinos. “We had guys in the locker room saying, ‘Dang this is what it feels like to win again.’”However, with the matchup against the fifth-ranked Terrapins on the horizon and still standing on the outside looking in when it comes to the Big Ten tournament, OSU coach Nick Myers said his team is focused on what’s ahead.“When you get to this point in the year, every game is crucial. We understand the importance of these next two games, and, of course, to qualify for our league tournament,” he said. “But I think the focus still needs to be put on playing Buckeye lacrosse and the execution and efforts to get the result that you want.”Kapinos added that the team is viewing it as a must-win.“Going down to Byrd Stadium will be a great fight, and we’ve definitely got to get this W,” he said.After losing two its first three games, Maryland comes into the game on a nine-game winning streak, including a 10-5 triumph over No. 7 Navy on Tuesday.The Terrapins are 5-0 at home this season. However, Myers said his team is focusing on the matchup and not the venue.“We don’t look too much into the numbers in terms of what their records are. We just know that they’re a great team,” Myers said. “We just got to be really clean and execute our game plan.”Kapinos echoed his coach’s words, stressing the need for the Buckeyes to not be intimidated by the opponent.“We have to be smart with the ball, time our slides well and make sure that we’re … possessing the ball and not afraid to play,” he said.Reliance on seniorsSenior attacker Carter Brown was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after scoring two goals and adding two assists in Saturday’s win over Michigan.Senior attacker Ryan Hunter made plays for the Buckeyes on offense, and senior defensemen Robby Haus and Chris Mahoney anchored a defense that only allowed seven goals on the day.Myers said the veteran leadership his seniors provide are essential as the season comes to a close.“I think any time you’re making a run at the end of the year and you’re coming down the home stretch, your seniors really set the tone,” Myers said.The experience of these seniors could certainly help with the team’s confidence on Sunday. OSU defeated then-No. 6 Maryland last season in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals — a game that was at College Park, Maryland.Emergence of offenseAfter failing to score double-digit goals in six straight games, the Buckeyes have posted two consecutive contests above the 10-goal mark.Myers, however, said there is still a lot of room for improvement for his 44th-ranked offense.“We’ve got to finish the ball better than we have,” Myers said. “We still think we haven’t shot the ball the way we’re capable of. So those are going to be important pieces.”The offense will have to continue to step up as it faces a tough Maryland defense on Sunday.The Terrapins’ defense ranks 10th in the nation, only allowing 7.75 goals per game. Additionally, Maryland senior goalie Kyle Bernlohr is 20th in the nation with a save percentage of 54.4 percent.Kapinos said the gameplan Myers and assistant coach Brad Ross have put together will help the offense to be successful on Sunday.“As long as (the offense) can execute the gameplan and make the fundamental plays, as far as putting the ball in each other’s sticks, throwing their hands when a double comes and making the smart plays, I feel like that’s when they’ll be successful,” Kapinos said.What’s nextThe Scarlet and Gray are scheduled to finish their regular season next week when they take on Rutgers on April 30. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. read more

Man who had luggage searched by Dublin Airport police after alleged theft

first_imgWe wish to speak to you.  We wish to speak to you concerning a theft from Duty-Free.  You were seen on CCTV taking a watch from Duty-Free.But English told Collins it was impossible for these words to have been spoken to him on the aircraft since there had not been a theft from Duty-Free on that day, 22 April 2017. English, who appeared with David Martin of Gore & Grimes solicitors, told Alan Collins in the Circuit Civil Court that the DAA was not only categorically stating Collins was not the thief who snatched the watch from a woman’s check-in basket at security in the airport or from Duty Free, but were also categorically stating he had never been a thief.Counsel told Collins, of Fortlawn Drive, Blanchardstown, Dublin, that he was wrong in claiming he had been accused of stealing the watch in Duty-Free as there had been no such theft. The theft, as shown on CCTV, had taken place from a basket that had passed through a security check.Counsel said Collins had been invited to step off the plane for the sake of privacy but had refused. He had voluntarily turned out his pockets and had allowed his carry-on bag to be searched at the service area on the plane.Collins said that when police officers considered he fitted the description they had been given of the thief he had been asked to stand up and show his identification.He had refused to step off the plane as there was no way he was going to miss his flight. He told them he had done no wrong and that they could search him and his bag on the aircraft.Police Officers Sutcliffe and O’Brien told the court they had not accused him of stealing a watch from Duty-Free and had not spoken the words they were accused of saying.  They were investigating the theft of a watch stolen from the security line.In a full defence to the claim, English said Collins had not been requested to be searched on the aircraft in front of other passengers.  He had refused several offers to disembark the aircraft and have the matter discussed in private.English said the airport police officers concerned were entitled to fully investigate the report of the stolen watch and enjoyed the protection of qualified privilege in doing so.Judge Ni Chualachain said the defence of qualified privilege had been made out by the defendant. Dismissing Collins’ €75,000 claim, the judge said she did not accept the police officers had spoken the words complained of.  She made no order regarding costs. 36,254 Views A DUBLIN SECURITY officer, who turned out his pockets and had his carry-on luggage searched by police on a plane following “an alleged theft” at Dublin airport, has lost his €75,000 claim for defamation of character.Judge Sinead Ni Chualachain told barrister Shane English, who defended the case on behalf of Dublin Airport Authority, that airport police as agents of the DAA had at all material times behaved responsibly in their investigation into the theft of a Giorgio Armani watch.An Alan Collins claimed he had been sitting with his partner on a Ryanair plane about to take off for Alicante when he was one of a number of men, who apparently bore a resemblance to each other, spoken to by airport police officers Aisling Sutcliffe and Jessica O’Brien.He claimed they said to him:  Man who had luggage searched by Dublin Airport police after alleged theft loses €75k defamation claim The DAA was investigating the theft of a Giorgio Armani watch. 8 Comments Share3 Tweet Email https://jrnl.ie/4523105 By Ray Managh The departure gates at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport Image: PA Wire/PA Images The departure gates at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport Image: PA Wire/PA Images Monday 4 Mar 2019, 2:18 PM Mar 4th 2019, 2:18 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URLlast_img read more

New bill allows Greek technical colleges to close departments

first_imgThe Greek Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos introduced a bill into Parliament last week, which envisages the shutting down of departments at technical colleges (TEIs) that do not attract enough students.The bill aims to satisfy the demands of many TEI presidents who fear that keeping open departments where few or, in some cases, no students attend classes could eventually put the viability of the colleges at risk.“Today, we have to look forward,” said Spiliotopoulos. “We have to plan productively with an educational logic and a social perspective.”This means we need reforms without preconceptions and narrow minds. This has to do with the viability and future of many institutions, especially in the regions.” The Education Ministry has identified some 50 TEI departments that could be shut down because of a lack of interest from high school graduates. The bill will give the technical colleges five years to consider whether some departments should be shut down, according to government sources.There has been a steady decline in the number of high school students enrolling in technical colleges each year, largely as a result of the Government’s decision in 2006 to prevent any pupils who score less than 50 percent in their exams from being offered a place by the technical colleges. Since this decision, some 45,000 places at the schools have not been filled.The large number of empty places also has to do with a lack of coordination within the tertiary education sector and poor communication with senior high schools, leading to the creation of new departments within the technical colleges in areas of little interest to students.“If the broadening of the tertiary education sector happened with the cooperation of everyone involved, we would not have these problems now,” the president of the Patra TEI, Sokratis Kaplanis said.“There is no way the attitude that ‘I do what I want when I want’ can work.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Heart disease more fatal for women than men

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram What would you guess is the cause of more deaths in women – cancer or heart disease? Most would vote cancer, namely that of the breast; however according to statistics provided by the Heart Foundation, women are three times more likely to die of a heart attack than breast cancer. Adding to that scary statistic is that the primary symptom we have been told to look out for – chest pain – is unlikely to be felt by upwards of 40 per cent of women being affected. Greek Australian Penelope Theodorelos is an example of this, when at 35 she misdiagnosed the pain in her left hand for a tennis injury. “I didn’t think much of it. The pain was there for a few days when I realised it was not going away – it was actually getting worse. I went to my physio who suggested that I had a pinched nerve,” Ms Theodorelos told Fairfax Media.It took weeks of pain, a second trip to the physio and hours in emergency before the pain was finally diagnosed as the sign of an impending heart attack. Despite the lengthy time it took to correctly diagnose the pain, Ms Theodorelos was one of the lucky ones who received medical attention in time before things became fatal. However, it’s not just women who are at risk of ignoring the signs says Dr John Voukelatos, a cardiologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. “If we’re looking at chest pain, people may be missed because that may not be the initial presenting symptom. Women, elderly people and diabetic people tend to have fewer symptoms of chest pain and more shortness of breath,” he tells Neos Kosmos. The most likely symptoms women may experience prior to a heart attack are nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue and back pain – all fairly generic experiences, which could easily be passed off as something less serious. Combine the varied spectrum of symptoms with the fact that each individual has a different pain threshold and you can understand why it is often hard for people to differentiate between something that is serious to just a one off. “Some people will call any sort of pain a severe pain, the same pain another person might grade as a niggle or maybe interpret it as indigestion. So the interpretation of any sort of bodily pain, in particular chest pain, is always problematic, and certainly women can have a different threshold compared to men and their symptoms may be misinterpreted,” says Dr Voukelatos. Although the Heart Foundation reports that twice as many men experience heart attacks than women, the fatality rate is almost equal, which the cardiologist partially attributes to biology. “Women don’t seem to do as well with procedures as they often tend to have smaller arteries compared to men. So we certainly know that their response to any form of intervention in terms of surgery or angioplasty tends to be not as good, and that may partly reflect the calibre of their blood vessels,” he explains.Blood vessels aside, lack of awareness regarding what symptoms to look out for is one of the most significant factors.And according to Kelie-Ann Jolly, director of cardiovascular health at the Heart Foundation, the lack of awareness also extends to medical staff, who she claims are less likely to consider that a female patient is presenting symptoms of heart disease.“There is also some evidence that medical staff may be more likely to classify women at lower risk of cardiovascular diseases than men despite similar calculated risk, may not recognise [the disease] in women at its initial manifestation, and may have difficulty recognising presenting symptoms in the emergency department, possibly causing delays in access to diagnostic tests and treatment,” she told Fairfax Media. For this reason, the Heart Foundation will be devoting the month of June to raising awareness of women and heart disease, with all Australians asked to do their bit in wearing something red on 11 June 2015.With regards to primary prevention however, Dr Voukelatos recommends men and women endeavour to see their general practitioner on a regular basis, particularly if there is a family history of premature coronary artery disease or if someone is at a higher risk due to smoking, weight, diabetes or hypercholesterolemia.“If any patient has any discomfort from the navel to the jaw, and if it has any relationship to exhaustion or physical activity, or if that patient does have relatives who have had premature coronary disease, they certainly need to see their GP.”For more information regarding heart disease, call the Heart Foundation on 1300 36 27 87 or visit www.heartfoundation.org.au/ for information in English and Greek. In the case of an emergency, dial 000.last_img read more

More than 500000 employers complete their autoenrolment duties

first_imgMore than half a million (503,178) UK employers have completed their pensions auto-enrolment duties as of 31 March 2017, according to research by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).Its Declaration of compliance report, which is based on information submitted by employers when they complete their declaration of compliance documentation, also found that more than 7.6 million employees are now saving for their retirement after being enrolled into a workplace pension since 2012.Between January and March 2017, 136,000 small and micro employers complied with their auto-enrolment duties, and a further 600,000 are due to begin enrolling staff into a workplace pension this year.Approximately 1.3-1.4 million UK employers have auto-enrolment duties to meet, of which 503,178 have now done so.Richard Harrington, pensions minister, said: “These impressive new figures show that by setting up a workplace pension, employers are getting their staff on the road to a financially secure retirement. But, there are nearly a million employers out there who still need to enrol their staff and I would encourage them to take up the support on offer from The Pensions Regulator. Pensions can seem daunting, but there is a wealth of information available to help you get set up.”Charles Counsell, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, added: “We expected that the number of employers becoming compliant would increase dramatically this year and I’m delighted that we’ve reached the 500,000 mark. Hundreds of thousands more employers are due to follow suit over the coming months and it is vital that they act early and do not leave themselves open to being fined.“Some employers may see becoming compliant as a challenge but we have written to each of them and are here to help them to meet their responsibilities. I would urge every employer to check today that they know what they need to do and when they need to do it. Now is the time to seek help if [they] need it.”last_img read more

University of Miami Hurricanes will honor Jose Fernandez with helmet patch

first_imgAfter a touching final tribute to fallen Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, the mourning continues.The University of Miami Hurricanes football team will honor the memory of Jose Fernandez during their upcoming game against Georgia Tech on Saturday.The Hurricanes will wear helmet patches with Jose’s initials, JF and #16. Fernandez was scouted by the Marlins in 2011, and quickly became a star baseball player, after making his major league debut only three years ago.Canes Football tweeted the picture of their helmets, and a statement honoring Jose.The Miami Hurricanes will face Georgia Tech Saturday in Georgia, with the game set to kick off at noon.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This past Sunday, we lost a big piece of our community. Tomorrow, we honor his memory. #JDF16 pic.twitter.com/LVGLosJPbC— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) September 30, 2016Jose Fernandez died early Sunday in a Miami boating accident, he was 24 years old. last_img read more

SpaceX delays Falcon Heavys first commercial launch

first_img Now targeting Falcon Heavy launch of Arabsat-6A on Wednesday, April 10 – weather forecast improves to 80% favorable— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 8, 2019 SpaceX SpaceX SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, is being readied for its first ever commercial launch, but unfavorable weather conditions have pushed back the launch — by a day. According to a tweet by SpaceX on Monday, the second ever flight of the mammoth Falcon Heavy, is now on track to be launched on Wednesday, April 10. Liftoff is currently scheduled for 3:35 p.m. PT. The SpaceX YouTube channel will carry that one live, should all go as planned. 16 Photos Sci-Tech 0 Elon Musk shows off the shiny SpaceX Starship The Falcon Heavy famously carried a Tesla Roadster to orbit on Feb. 6, 2018. It is the most powerful rocket currently in use, generating a huge amount of thrust thanks to its 27 engine configuration. Visually it looks like three Falcon 9 rockets stuck together, but Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, has previously mentioned how much work went into developing the beast of a spacecraft.The Falcon Heavy’s second ever launch will blast off from Pad 39A, the same pad that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 lifted off from when ferrying the Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS back in March. It will be carrying Saudi Arabia’s Arabsat-6A, a 6,000 kilogram (approx. 13,227 pound) satellite that will provide telecommunications access across the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Should all go well, at least one other Falcon Heavy launch is planned for this year.SpaceX currently plans to retrieve all three of the Falcon rockets that make up the Heavy, a feat it could not achieve during Heavy’s first launch because the core booster missed the drone ship that was designed to capture it and slammed into the Atlantic Ocean. Share your voice Post a comment Tagslast_img read more

Kartarpur Corridor IndiaPakistan meet to discuss second round of talks

first_img Close Kartarpur, PakistanReutersIndia and Pakistan began their second round of discussions finalising modalities and technical issues of the proposed Kartarpur Corridor at the Pakistan side of the Wagah Border on Sunday.”Pakistan is fully committed and cooperating to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor. Work from our side is underway in an expeditious manner. More than 70 per cent of the Gurudwara construction work has been completed. We hope to have a productive discussion with the Indian counterparts,” said the spokesperson for Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohammad Faisal.The Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, SCL Das, and Joint Secretary Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Deepak Mittal, will be discussing details including infrastructure, pilgrims movement and safety, according to authorities on Friday, reported ANI news agency.The authorities have also said that India will demand the construction of a bridge by Pakistan in the creek area. India also plans to address the risk of possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib due to the construction of an embankment-filled road of the corridor on Pakistan’s side.The project will cost India Rs 500 crore to build. The sum will be used to install high-tech security cameras to monitor the safety of pilgrims as well as an all-weather facility to cater to 10,000 to 5,000 pilgrims on both special and daily basis.The Pakistani government has set aside Rs 100 crore in its recent budget for the development of the corridor, reported PTI.Last year, both the countries announced the development of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. The route which is three kilometres away from Gurdaspur region in Punjab will connect the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev – Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India.National SecurityThe senior officials have said that the pilgrims to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur will be screened for security threats once the corridor opens for public.The rising incidents of Sikh pilgrims being recruited by Pakistani intelligence agencies for pushing pro-Khalistan movement in India as well as for spying purposes have become a matter of concern for the Indian security establishment.While Pakistan had banned pro-Khalistan activities, Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been known to promoting the agenda. IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:00/1:02Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-1:02?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Operation Blue Star anniversary: Pro-Khalistan slogans raised inside Golden Temple The issue of pro-Khalistan has been the issue in the panel members of Pakistan’s Kartarpur Corridor Committee. The talk was earlier scheduled for April 2 in Pakistan but was pushed back after India raised concerns of the appointments of contentious pro-Khalistan activists including Gopal Singh Chawla, Tara Singh, Besant Singh, Manendar Singh and Kuljeet Singh. However, security officials have said that since the pilgrims will have to return to their own country on the same day of the pilgrim, the chances of recruitment by ISI agents will likely to be limited in the corridor.The construction of the corridor is expected to be completed by 31 October 2019 ahead of the Guru Nanak Parab celebrations, the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.last_img read more

BNP in dilemma over ways to overcome election debacle

first_imgLogo of BNPBangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is still in mire after defeat in the 11th general election, in a dilemma over whether to wage a movement for fresh polls or focus on reorganising itself.A number of senior leaders said that the party lacked proper leadership during the 30 December election.Meanwhile, certain leaders seem to have lost steam after the election, while others are putting emphasis on changing the party leadership, many insiders say.Two veteran BNP leaders, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and Moudud Ahmed, in their speeches on the occasion of the party’s founder Ziaur Rahman’s birth anniversary, asked the ‘ failed leaders’ to step down and to create space for the youth.Such remarks of the two most senior leaders created a stir inside the party, according to other leaders.The other senior leaders are pondering over who Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and Moudud Ahmed referred to as ‘failed leaders’.“It will be decided who failed the party in the reorganising process,” Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told Prothom Alo.Moudud Ahmed said, “I don’t need to explain what I have said. We are already going through a tough time. Words will only worsen the situation. It will be decided at the council.”A number of leaders at various levels said, the comments of Khandaker Mosharraf and Moudud Ahmed put several party policymakers in an awkward situation.They were trying to figure out why the leaders suddenly talked about changes in the leadership.Earlier, at the standing committee meeting, the duo criticised the role of Jatiya Oikya Front leaders in the election.Following the election debacle, the steering committee members, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed and Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, did not attend in the last meeting of Oikya Front.However, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul rejected media reports regarding the speech of the two leaders by calling them ‘rumours’.“Media make such reports when they run out of ideas. They kept silent after such massive vote rigging. They are only up to demeaning BNP and making it weaker. I can assure you that there is no infights in BNP,” Mirza Fakhrul told Prothom Alo.Moudud Ahmed believes that BNP should focus on rehabilitating party activists who were at loss during the election.“Thousands of BNP men are still in jail. They have to be released. There are others who were disabled in polls violence. We have to stand by their side,” Moudud told Prothom Alo.“The first thing we have to do is to restore their faith in the party. To be strong again, we have to reorganise the party and then will think of other changes,” he added.Several leaders at a policymaking level said, BNP was placing priority on freeing Khaleda Zia who has been jailed in graft cases.Apart from legal initiatives, they were also discussing other possible options which include announcing protest programmes and stepping up international lobbying.BNP thinks ruling Awami League is trying to obstruct Khaleda’s release through legal means.Quarters in the party also said that BNP might discuss or compromise with the government to free Khaleda Zia.There are considerations that the elected BNP leaders may take oath as members of parliament in exchange of Khaleda Zia’s release. The entire process would depend on Khaleda Zia’s nod though.“The difficulties BNP is going through is not the problem for BNP only. They whole nation is suffering. It cannot be solved overnight. Discussions are underway,” Mirza Fakhrul said.However, BNP rejects the 11th parliamentary election results held on 30 December alleging ‘unprecedented vote rigging’. The party’s elected MPs abstained from taking oath after that. The session of the new parliament will start on 30 January.BNP leaders have criticised the election in several indoor meetings, but till now no programme for protest has been announced. The leaders have not mentioned any plan of action regarding reorganising the party either. *This piece originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English my Farjana Liakatlast_img read more

The Sojourner Douglass College Struggle Continues

first_img“Atlanta’s Morris Brown College Down to 35 Students” “An HBCU That Closed: But Education Hopes Continue” Sojourner-Douglass College’s very existence hangs in the balance as the school faces a “historic” challenge that can only be weathered with the community’s support, officials say.“My appeal is to the public, we need their support—both financial and spiritual,” said founder and president, Charles Simmons.Birthed during the Civil Rights Movement and based on the Freedom School model of Black self-determination, the community-based college has always faced an upward battle in carrying out its mission.“We’ve been through struggle before,” Simmons, a former civil rights activist, said.“We’re not the school that has all the state money and corporate money and rich donor money. We started as a grassroots movement to educate and empower our community.”But the school’s current financial troubles, which has endangered its accreditation, is unlike any other challenge he has seen in his 41-year tenure, the 75-year-old said.On March 6, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the accrediting body for colleges in states such as Maryland, told the institution it had to “show cause” by Sept. 1, why its accreditation should not be revoked.The college would need to show how it planned to fix its dismal finances, which was brought about by a “perfect storm” of circumstances, Simmons said.Two years ago, the Department of Education reduced the Pell Grant disbursement to two semesters annually—Sojourner-Douglass offers three semesters a year to help its adult student population graduate faster—resulting in decreased enrollment and a loss of about $2 million. The next year, the department put a lifetime cap on Pell Grants, which further negatively impacted the college’s student body—many of whom had staggered college matriculation—and cost the school another couple million.“When these students drop out, not only do we lose the Pell money, we also lose supplemental funds, we lose any money the students pay out of pocket, we lose the money they pay for books…and so we accrued $5 million-$6 million in deficit over a couple of years,” Simmons explained.And the burden of debt only grew heavier.“All of that happened at the same time that a balloon payment became due on a mortgage on our academic building at 200 N. Charles Street. And the loan became due just when auditors were evaluating the books at the bank. They saw our financial statement, and the fact that we had lost all this money, and told the bank it couldn’t renew our loan,” the university president said.“And, as a result of losing all of that money, we found ourselves behind on our taxes.”The school owes the Internal Revenue Service about $5 million in tax liens, 40 percent of which is penalty and interest.Simmons said it would take about $14 million-$16 million to pull the school out of the red, and the school had already implemented a plan to rescue its finances.To contain costs, the school has eliminated 10 non-mission-critical positions, instituted across-the-board salary cuts and cut other expenditures, for example, the bookstore has been outsourced.To enhance revenue, the school has put more resources and talent toward recruiting new and former students, is looking for investors to support the college and searching for a financial institution to consolidate and refinance its loans at a lower interest rate.More importantly, Simmons said, the school is reaching out to the community for support.“We’re a small, private school and we really have not asked for a lot of support; we’ve just been focused on serving our community,” Simmons said. “So this is the first time we’re asking for help.”Raymond Winbush, director, Institute of Urban Research at Morgan State University, said the financial troubles facing Sojourner-Douglass are all too familiar in the current post-recession period, particularly for schools that serve the underserved.“Sojourner Douglass plays an incredibly important role in the Baltimore community, in Maryland, and communities around the world,” Winbush said. “It has a history and strong tradition of teaching those students who did not go to college at the expected age of 18.”The institution, which has campuses throughout Maryland and in the Bahamas, serves working adults, usually with families. The average age of the student body—which currently stands at 1,339 undergraduate and 56 graduate students—is 36-38 and it comprises 80 percent female heads-of-households.Alumni say not only did the school boost them professionally—59 percent go on to graduate school and many serve in managerial positions, Simmons said—but also personally, as the school encourages its students to give back to the community.“Nowhere else could I get the knowledge and awakening experience of self-determination and self-empowerment other than my college experience at SDC,” said graduate Anton Conaway, West Coast Division manager for A&A Global Industries, one of the nation’s largest merchandise suppliers, in a written testimonial. “Not only was I able to get an excellent education at SDC, I was able to volunteer and give back at the same time.”Given that rich history of service, Winbush said, he believes Sojourner-Douglass will get the support it needs.“Sojourner-Douglass has such an inestimable value to communities in Baltimore, Maryland and around the world that it would be an educational tragedy if it were to fail,” Winbush said. “But I have every confidence that the community will rally to its aid.”Click for related articles:last_img read more

Police make arrest in the death of a lesbian woman burned alive

first_imgLesbian shot, locked in a car boot and burned aliveWorld Tourism with IGLTA2017 turns to a Rainbow in St. Petersburg, Florida2016 IGLTA Honors announced annual awardsRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/police-arrest-death-lesbian-woman/ Kerrice Lewis with her best friend’s son. | Photo: Video/ABC 7 Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… GAYSTARNEWS- On 28 December 2017, authorities discovered the body of Lewis afre responding to reports of gunshots.She was shot and then burned alive in the trunk of her own car. Police reportedly heard Lewis’ screams when they arrived on the scene.After they extinguished the fire, they found Lewis unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds.Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the Metropolitan Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, said at this time, ‘there is no reason to believe the issue of sexual orientation contributed to Ms. Lewis’ murder’.center_img eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Two other men were also killed on the same day of Lewis’ death. She allegedly knew both of them.According to court documents, the deaths were all linked by a credit card scam.The woman was looking forward to a ‘full life’Lewis’ grandparents raised her after her parents died.‘Anytime you lose a family member, especially like this, it just rips your heart out,’ her grandfather, William Sharp, said.After spending some time in jail, Lewis began to take classes and turn her life around. Sharp said she was looking forward to taking more before her death.2017 was the deadliest year on record for LGBTQ people in the United States.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . Washington DC police made an arrest in the death of Kerrice Lewis, a 23-year-old lesbian. They arrested Ashton Briscoe, a resident of Northeast DC, and charged him with first-degree murder.last_img read more

Opposition coalition wins control of Venezuelas National Assembly What that means

first_imgCARACAS, Venezuela – The Venezuelan government lost control of its National Assembly early Monday morning, amajor electoral defeat that revealed the deep discontent with President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist administration and the country’s unraveling economy.The victory by the opposition coalition set the stage for further confrontation and could energize a movement aiming to remove Maduro from power before the end of his term in 2019. The result also marked a turning point for the “revolution” launched 16 years ago by the late Hugo Chávez.About a half hour after midnight, the head of the country’s electoral body announced that the opposition coalition had won at least 99 of the 167 legislative seats. Cheers went up at the opposition’s campaign headquarters in a Caracas hotel. Another 22 seats had yet to be called, giving the opposition a possibility of winning an even larger majority.The country has experienced a wrenching economic crisis in recent years. Opponents blame government mismanagement; Maduro – who is a tireless critic of the United States, as Chávez was – blames enemies in the business community for sabotaging the economy to turn people against his government.“I can say today that the economic war has triumphed,” Maduro said in a televised address. He added that he accepted the results. A supporter of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro dressed as guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, waits for election results. Federico Parra/AFPAs oil prices have plummeted, sapping revenue from the country’s main industry, the crisis has worsened, causing widespread shortages of basic goods and soaring inflation. Venezuela also has faced rising crime and one of the highest murder rates in the world.The mounting problems have energized opposition candidates in the election for the 167-seat National Assembly. Their supporters hope they can seize a majority and begin to roll back the power of Maduro’s government. Polls showed the opposition coalition, known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable, leading by around 20 percentage points, but pollsters said the gap narrowed in the days before the election.One of the opposition’s prominent leaders, Leopoldo López, has been imprisoned by Maduro’s government for almost two years.Tension has been building as opposition protests have grown. Depending on the reported outcome of the Sunday’s election Sunday, fears are growing that those protests could sharpen considerably. More than 40 people died during street protests last year.Maduro threatened last week to take to the streets with his supporters if his side lost its majority in the assembly, although he backed away from those warnings Sunday. The two sides remain determined enemies; opposition leaders say they haven’t talked to government officials in more than a year. Venezuelan opposition supporters celebrate the results of the legislative election in Caracas, on the early morning of Dec. 7, 2015. Venezuela’s opposition won at least a majority of 99 out of 167 seats in the National Assembly, electoral authorities said Monday. Luis Robayo/AFPIn a city coursing with nervous energy, residents formed orderly lines Sunday to cast their ballots. Maduro’s government has blocked many international observer missions from monitoring the election, but the opposition brought in more than 100 foreign parliament members as observers. There were reports of some irregularities, including malfunctioning machines and government supporters campaigning near voting places, but no immediate reports of violence or major disturbances during the day. The government outraged the opposition by keeping polling places open for an extra hour, until 7 p.m., a tactic the opposition assumed was used to rush in late voters for the other side.The opposition relied heavily on social media to spread its message before the vote. Denied access to Venezuelan television stations, it formed a YouTube channel.“We showed we could overcome democratically a system that isn’t democratic,” opposition leader Julio Borges said in an interview at his coalition’s campaign headquarters Sunday night. “We confronted all the obstacles of repression, the media, the abuses of power. The good thing about this story is that when people are determined, they’re capable of overcoming any obstacles.”The economic unraveling has sapped the morale of many Venezuelans. Nine words into her answer about what it’s like to live in this country, Omaira Laja was in tears.It wasn’t only the economy that troubled the 51-year-old manager of a women’s clothing store, or how her chain, which had 40 employees, is now down to 19, or that the prices of dresses have risen 60 percent just in the past few months, or that three-fourths of her income is gone. Standing outside a public school on Avenida Libertador in Venezuela’s capital, Laja worried that the country had grown so divided that a dangerous confrontation was coming regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s election.“I want freedom, I want peace,” she had begun. And now, “There isn’t any.” A handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency press office shows Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during a press conference after learning of the first results in the legislative election, in Caracas, on Dec. 7, 2015. AFP/PresidenciaIt is unclear how much pressure an opposition victory would apply to Maduro’s government, which might be able to largely ignore what has been a rather inactive legislature. But some argue that an opposition win could accelerate calls for Maduro’s impeachment before the end of his term in 2019 and the freeing of political prisoners.Even among supporters, Maduro has nowhere near the popularity of Chávez, and he has lost some former allies, who accuse him of bungling the economy by holding fast to outdated subsidies that make gasoline close to free and encourage the smuggling of Venezuelan goods out of the country. Maduro is also criticized for refusing to devalue the currency and instead holding on to four different exchange rates, including an official rate that helps government allies enrich themselves.“What can’t be forgiven is that a government that tries a radical transformation of the Venezuelan economy and society is committing errors that help the attacks of those who want to retake power,” said Victor Álvarez, a leftist economist and government minister under Chávez who is critical of Maduro’s administration. “They didn’t correct a series of decisions that remained from the Chávez years and committed additional errors that have aggravated all of these problems.”The government still has a formidable political machine at its disposal. In the working-class neighborhood known as January 23, a bastion of support for Chavismo and the site of Chávez’s grave, the vote-whipping was in full swing. As in previous elections, government supporters set up shop outside polling stations to write down the names of residents who voted. One of the volunteers, Carolina Hernández, said she had been working since 3 a.m., sending text messages to encourage residents to vote and ferrying the handicapped in ambulances. For Reyes Medina, a 47-year-old supporter of Venezuela’s socialist project, the day felt momentous because “what’s at stake is the continuation of the revolution.”“The people are going to respond to Chávez,” he said.In La Vega, another Chavista stronghold, Armando Pereira found himself in a familiar place while waiting his turn: “One more line,” he said.The 62-year-old electric technician had voted for the left throughout his life, and Sunday was no exception. For many Venezuelans, the goodwill, even adoration, that Chávez generated through his charisma, omnipresence on television and attention to the poor has left a residual pool of support for Maduro even as he has stumbled through the punishing economic crisis.“Yes, there are difficulties, but since Chavez arrived they’ve never let them govern,” Pereira said.After the victory was announced, an impromptu crowd convened in the street outside of opposition headquarters, cheering and exchanging hugs. Jan Carlos Romero, a 36-year-old stylist, waved a Venezuelan flag in celebration.“Free. I feel free,” he said. “Now we’re going for the presidency.”Joseph Poliszuk contributed to this report.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Quick Venezuela facts on Election Day Venezuelan voters showed ‘overwhelming desire for change,’ says John Kerry Struggles loom as Venezuela opposition vows to fix crisis Former Colombian, Bolivian leaders warn of looming humanitarian crisis in Venezuelacenter_img Workers taking apart stage at Caracas plaza where Maduro was supposed to speak. Election results still not in pic.twitter.com/k9lPArp7h2— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) December 7, 2015last_img read more