USS Ross Departs the Black Sea View post tag: europe View post tag: americas Back to overview,Home naval-today USS Ross Departs the Black Sea View post tag: USS Ross The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) transited the Bosphorus Strait departing the Black Sea, Sept. 12, after conducting a series of engagements designed to promote peace and stability in the region. September 12, 2014 View post tag: Naval View post tag: Departs View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Black Sea View post tag: Navy Ross’ presence in the Black Sea served to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to strengthening the collective security of NATO allies and regional partners while also working alongside them to enhance interoperability and improve regional security.Ross joined several Black Sea nations to participate in Sea Breeze 2014. Now in its 13th iteration, this multinational maritime exercise involved naval forces from Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Latvia and the U.S., as well as ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 Task Unit 02.“I believe exercise Sea Breeze will be the next step in increasing stability, building relationships and understanding with all of the participating nations and will be the hope for the future,” Vice Adm. Serhiy Hayduk, commander in chief Ukrainian navy, said during the opening ceremony aboard Ross.The goal of the exercise was to have participating nations work together in order to strengthen interoperability. Focus was on maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security. Other key components of the exercise focused on communications, search and rescue, force protection and navigation.This is the ship’s first patrol since being forward deployed to Naval Station Rota, Spain.[mappress]Press Release, September 12, 2014; Image: US Navy Authorities Share this article
Glasgow-based Newlands Bakery has launched home delivery and collection services.Newlands Home Bakery initially closed all its shops to comply with the government’s social distancing guidelines but customer queries about the re-opening of the business caused bosses to re-think the move. With management working in the main bakery at Thornliebank, no public access to the site and a large space available, it was possible to continue making breads, cakes and pastry products every day, it added.“We decided to offer a small selection of our most popular products for local home delivery,” said Alisdair Irvine, director at Newlands Bakery.“The service has provided such a success that we have extended our offer to customers who live outside our delivery service reach and so we are now offering a collection service available at our Thornliebank shop, with only one person allowed in the shop at any time.”The most popular item has been its sourdough bread, followed closely by flour. Newlands has also been supplying a sourdough starter pack for customers to bake at home.“We wanted to go further than just offering freshly baked quality products to our customers. We have been donating lots of cakes and pastries to Kilbryde Hospice to say thank you to the NHS for working so hard during this difficult time,” added Irvine.Newlands Home Bakery comprises five premises in Thornliebank, Clarkston, Cathcart, Newton Mearns and Shawlands.
Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford have reunited as Audioslave for the first time in over a decade at the Anti-Inaugural Ball at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles last night. The Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine supergroup performed three tracks off their debut 2002 self-titled LP, including “Like a Stone”, “Cochise”, and “Show Me How to Live.”The band hadn’t performed together since November of 2005, and officially broke up in early 2007 after releasing their third LP Revelations. It’s not likely that the band will continue this reunion in any shape or form, rather, it seemed to have been a one-time thing for the anti-Trump concert.Watch the entire performance below, courtesy of YouTube user Ted Weitzman:In a previous statement the band explained, “The Anti-Inaugural Ball is a celebration of resistance. Resistance to racism. Resistance to sexism. Resistance to homophobia. Resistance to bullying. Resistance to environmental devastation. Resistance to fascism. Resistance to Donald Trump. We are staring down the barrel of a dystopian nightmare unless we act NOW, unless we fight back NOW. We intend to create ‘No Trump Zones’ across the country; in our homes, our schools, our places of work, and our concert stages. Bad Presidents make for great music. Join us as we get loud and stand together to defend our rights, our country, and our planet.”The event also featured performances from Prophets of Rage, along with special sets from Jackson Browne, Jack Black, Vic Mensa, and the Los Angeles Freedom Choir.
The numbers tell a story of desperation.A recent United Nations report said that more than 100,000 refugees fled the violence in Syria in August, the most of any month since hostilities began early last year between Bashar Assad’s government and rebel forces. Some estimates put last month’s death toll at 5,000. Both sides have been accused of war crimes in a conflict that has taken more than 20,000 lives, including many civilians.Early last week, the United Nations’ new envoy to the war-torn country, Lakhdar Brahimi, called his mission to end the crisis “nearly impossible.”As outside officials struggle to find a way to stop the violence, one scholar offered his perspective on the conflict during a discussion last Thursday sponsored by Harvard University, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.Repeating a refrain from recent weeks, Murhaf Jouejati, a professor of Middle East studies at the National Defense University and a member of the Syrian National Council, a coalition of exiled opposition groups based in Turkey, called the situation in Syria a “catastrophe of huge proportions” and one of “unprecedented brutality.”A Syrian native and a specialist on Middle East affairs, Jouejati described the chaos on the ground, including, he said, the government’s recent use of airstrikes against civilians. “Imagine you go to a bakery in the morning hoping to buy a loaf of bread, and you are attacked by an F-14.”Still, although some analysts believe that Assad’s well-armed troops will be difficult to defeat, Jouejati insisted that the regime is close to collapse. He cited as evidence of the government’s slippage: approximately 80,000 members of the opposition forces, largely composed of former Syrian soldiers who refused to fire on civilians; the high-ranking military officials who have defected from the regime to the rebels; and the nation’s skyrocketing inflation and unemployment rates.According to Jouejati, the greatest blow to the government came in July when a blast killed four of Assad’s top security chiefs. That attack, he said, had “a debilitating effect on the regime.”But when it came to offering the crowd that jammed a meeting room in Harvard’s Knafel Building a solution to the crisis, Jouejati was less clear. Answering his own question, “Where do we go from here?” he responded with, “Only Allah knows.”He imagined two polar extremes, but acknowledged that anything in between could happen. He said the best-case scenario would mean the collapse of the Assad regime, the emergence of a transitional government, and ultimately a civil and democratic state. The worst-case scenario, he said, would find the country shattered along ethnic and sectarian lines.“What happens to Syria is a function of what the international community does now,” said Jouejati, who warned that Assad isn’t concerned with sanctions, international courts, or condemnation. “Assad is firmly determined that Syria is his family farm, and he is determined that if he is going to go down, he is going to take down with him the rest of the country.”That mindset, Jouejati said, has led to a lack of political will on either side, with Assad refusing to compromise, and the rebels refusing to negotiate with a leader who has “blood on his hands.”Jouejati insisted that some leaders in the Syrian regime are “good apples,” and that those uninvolved in the violence could negotiate with the rebels and play an important part in a transitional government. He also called for a no-fly zone and a protected area for refugees, created with the help of an international coalition.“I think there could be the emergence of a concert of nations in which there was a distribution of tasks, in which every country is comfortable with its own task,” said Jouejati, adding that many in the Syrian opposition want better weapons, not massive military interventions.Jouejati added that simply the threat of the use of force from the United States and other countries could help deter Assad. He recalled the words of U.S. Sen. John McCain, who in March threatened to use American “airpower” to stop the regime’s attacks.“The same day,” said Jouejati, “four military generals defected. The same day the Syrian pound went from 50 to the dollar to 73 to the dollar. That is because Sen. McCain used the threat of the use of force, and that threat was enough.”He also condemned China, Iran, and Russia for sending military aid to support Assad. “The government of Russia is a partner in mass murder, and let history show that,” Jouejati said.Above all, he called for “human decency.”“We have a civilian population bombed by MiG-23s when they line up for bread, and we are still debating: ‘Should we do this? Should we do that?’ What happened to the words ‘never again’? What happened to human solidarity? How many thousands of Syrians have to die before we take a decision on what to do?”
They came into the tent at Harvard’s Community Football Day wearing the “wrong” colors. At first they drew some looks — the Crimson were playing the Princeton Tigers, whose colors are black and orange, after all — but it wasn’t long before they spotted some friends and made themselves at home. The Brighton High Bengals Football Team, whose colors are also black and orange, were old hands at Community Football Day.“I’ve been coming to Community Football Day for years,” said Coach Renel Jean. “We bring the team every year, and they really love it. I played for Brighton, and my head coach took me every year, so I feel like I should do the same for these boys. It’s become sort of a tradition.”The team joined nearly 1,400 other residents from Allston-Brighton and Cambridge for the annual event, as they cheered undefeated Harvard. It was perfect football weather, partly sunny with a slight nip in the air — great for some hot chocolate and connecting with others.For many visitors, it was their first time at a Harvard game, and the Crimson didn’t disappoint. They trounced Princeton, 42-7, winning their 20th straight game. (Stew Milne/Harvard University)For many visitors, it was their first time at a Harvard game, and the Crimson didn’t disappoint. They trounced Princeton, 42-7, winning their 20th straight game, 14th straight Ivy League game, and 10th straight home game. Since the start of the 2013 season, Harvard Football has the best winning percentage in Division I: 25-1.Lena Litvak, an eighth-grade teacher at the Putnam Avenue Upper School in Cambridge, brought 40 students to the game. “[They] felt very special to be able to witness the Harvard football team’s 20th straight win,” she said. “It served as a great incentive in the classroom. And more importantly, it served as a great bonding and learning experience for the students, many of whom had never seen a football game live, and where better than at the historic Harvard football stadium?”
<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e13NRP_pQpQ” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/e13NRP_pQpQ/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Harvard achieves science-based climate goal set in 2008 On desktop, click and drag your mouse for 360° views. On mobile, use the YouTube app to watch these videos, and move your phone to explore. With a headset, such as Google Cardboard, use the YouTube mobile app to load the video and look around. In addition to the overall effect from being in a better building, several specific factors were found to have impacts on participants’ cognitive function scores. The high-performing, green-certified buildings used in the study had environments more frequently within the thermal comfort zone defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) organization, which resulted in 5.4 percent higher cognitive function scores. Brighter, blue-enriched lighting, such as daylighting, in the green-certified buildings was also associated with better sleep quality at night, which in turn led to better cognitive performance the following day. This finding supports research showing the impacts of lighting on circadian rhythm; a bigger contrast in daytime and nighttime light exposures can help regulate the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. Curbing carbon on campus Related The key to working better, sleeping better, and feeling better could be rooted in the design, maintenance, and operation of the buildings where we spend the majority of our time, a new Harvard study has found.The national study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHGE) and SUNY Upstate Medical, is the first to show that working in high-performing, green-certified buildings can improve employee decision-making using objective cognitive simulations.Researchers looked at 10 high-performing buildings in five cities across the United States, including Harvard’s double LEED Platinum Blackstone South building. The team collaborated with the Office for Sustainability (OFS) and Harvard Real Estate to use Blackstone as a “living laboratory” to study the relationship between building conditions and occupants’ productivity and well-being.Researchers assessed the effect of lighting and thermal conditions on the cognitive performance of office workers. Courtesy of Piers MacNaughtonThe study found that occupants in high-performing, green-certified office environments scored 26 percent higher on tests of cognitive function, had 30 percent fewer symptoms of sick building syndrome, and had 6 percent higher sleep quality scores than those in high-performing but noncertified buildings.“Our University is the perfect test bed for innovation and research related to buildings and health. Through our partnership with the Office for Sustainability, we were able to kick off our study at the Blackstone buildings at Harvard before scaling our research to four other cities across the U.S.” said Piers MacNaughton, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Chan School and project manager for the study.Twenty-four Harvard employees agreed to participate in the weeklong health assessment, which included two cognitive function tests, daily surveys, and wearing watches that tracked sleep quality. On each testing day, environmental conditions, such as thermal conditions and lighting, were also monitored in each participants’ workspace.360° Comparison of Harvard’s Blackstone Buildings: Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function “Our goal is to improve the health of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, every day. To do this we are merging building science with health science and advocating for what we call ‘buildingomics’ — a new approach that examines the totality of factors in the building-related environment that influence human health, well-being, and productivity,” said Joseph Allen, assistant professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and principal investigator of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment. “We are passionate about moving science out of public health journals and into the hands of decision-makers, so we developed ‘The 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building,’ a concise synthesis of 30 years of scientific data on the key elements that make buildings healthy.”The research grew out of the team’s previous COGfx Study, which found cognitive function scores doubled when participants were in simulated green building environments with enhanced ventilation compared to environments representative of conventional buildings. For this study, the team built on those results by going from the lab to real building environments, concluding that even in buildings that have high ventilation rates and low chemical concentration, there are additional benefits of green certification, and factors such as lighting and thermal conditions, which may improve the work and health of occupants.Jack Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation, the co-principle investigator of the study, placed this study in a larger context. “When you think of the urbanization that is going on around the world, we will see a doubling of our built environment before the century is over. We better do it right — energy wise, material-wise, and to optimize the human condition in those environments.”Members of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health research team Erika Eitland (from left), Memo Cedeño Laurent, and Professor Joe Allen discuss the study. Courtesy of Harvard Chan SchoolIn related research, CHGE recently received the inaugural grant from the Office for Sustainability’s new Campus Sustainability Innovation Fund to study and quantify the health impacts of biophilic design, the concept of introducing nature into the built environment. The team will use the grant to fund a mobile virtual reality lab to simulate exposure to indoor environments, and to recruit student and staff participants to monitor in the lab and in Harvard buildings with varying levels of natural elements.The fund is part of Harvard’s reinvigorated “living lab” initiative, which encourages and supports projects that use the campus as a test site for developing solutions that enhance well-being and mitigate climate impact, or help neighboring communities tackle these problems. As part of this effort, OFS and CHGE are engaged in a multiyear partnership to use campus spaces to inform public health research and apply the findings in capital projects and renovations, such as House renewal.“It is especially important now to be taking the evidence presented to us through scientific discovery and acting on it as an institution and as individuals,” said Heather Henriksen, director of the Harvard Office for Sustainability. “Exciting possibilities for scaling change result when we use the campus to inform research and then translate the findings of that research into practical changes in the way we construct and operate our buildings.”Blackstone was the first building in New England to receive a second platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance program. Originally awarded in 2007 under the LEED for New Construction rating system, it was the first building at Harvard — and in all of higher education — to achieve LEED Platinum. Driven by the University-wide Sustainability Plan and the research of its faculty, Harvard is committed to building and operating healthier, more productive spaces. With 113 LEED-certified spaces, the University currently has more certified projects than any higher education institution in the world.In addition to numerous energy and water-reducing strategies employed at Blackstone, the building’s indoor environmental quality was and remains a priority for the management team. An indoor air-quality plan was implemented during construction that minimized dust; all carpet, fabric, adhesives, and paints are nontoxic; a green cleaning program is used; more than 90 percent of occupants have access to daylight; windows and ceiling fans are operable; and views of the Charles River were emphasized as part of the design.
45SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr On Tuesday the CFPB announced an enforcement order against Navy Federal Credit Union for engaging in unfair and Deceptive collection practices against delinquent members whose accounts were delinquent. One of the violations cited by the Bureau raises questions about one of the most fundamental precepts of credit union law: The right to restrict services to members who have caused a loss.According to the Bureau, Navy engaged in Unfair and Deceptive Practices by denying electronic account access and services for about 700,000 accounts after members became delinquent on a Navy Federal Credit Union credit product. As explained in the press release “ This meant delinquency on a loan could shut down a consumer’s debit card, ATM, and online access to the consumer’s checking account. The only account actions consumers could take online would be to make payments on delinquent or overdrawn accounts.”To be clear, this practice was just one of a group of hardball collection practices some of which, if true, violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. But the CFPB’s finding on Navy’s account practices is hard to square with one of the bedrock rules of credit union land. As the NCUA has explained in opinion letters over the years . “Long standing legal interpretation is that an FCU may limit services to a member who has caused a loss” so long as the member retains the right to vote at the annual meeting and maintain a share draft account. continue reading »
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A man and woman from Manorville were shot to death in Bay Shore on Friday night, Suffolk County police said.David Arzu, 29, and 28-year-old Janelle Curella were walking on Center Avenue when they were shot near the corner of Oak Street at 9:25 p.m., police said.The two were taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where they were pronounced dead.Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information on the shooting to call them at 631-852-6392 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-200-TIPS.
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A UK workers’ trade union has hit out at a proposal from Royal Mail Group for a hybrid pension scheme to replace its existing defined benefit (DB) scheme, which is due to close next year.Last month Royal Mail – which is responsible for the UK’s postal network and was privatised in 2014 – announced plans to close the £7.6bn (€9bn) scheme to future accrual from April 2018.Royal Mail expects employer costs to more than double to £1bn a year from 2018 under the current system.For its proposed replacement scheme, Royal Mail said in a statement released last week that it was “looking at options”, including a version of a previous proposal from the Communication Workers Union (CWU). The union had proposed a hybrid, risk-sharing structure combining a guaranteed element with a bonus pool linked to investment performance, instead of indexation.The CWU indicated that its proposed investment policy would be “aggressive” and heavily equity-based, in stark contrast to the Royal Mail’s current DB strategy. According to Royal Mail Pension Plan’s 2016 report and accounts, the group’s two main schemes had roughly 6.7% of their combined assets invested in listed equities at the end of March 2016.Royal Mail’s new “cash balance” scheme contained elements of the CWU plan “without some of the inherent risks to the company that, in our view, the CWU scheme would have created”, the statement said.“We very much appreciate the care that the CWU applied to its proposal and we have agreed to meet them to discuss it further,” Royal Mail said. “However, at the moment we do not believe the CWU proposal, in its current form, meets the fundamental principles underpinning our 2018 Pension Review. These are: sustainability, affordability, and security.”A spokesperson for Royal Mail told IPE that the company felt the CWU’s equity-based strategy was “too risky”, and would cost “significantly more than we can afford”. In addition, Royal Mail had calculated that the scheme’s liabilities “could be larger than the value of the company” within six years, and could “continue to grow quickly”.“Having reviewed matters with its actuarial advisers, the company believes that the risk to the company of [Royal Mail’s] proposed DB cash balance scheme would be materially lower than under the current plan,” Royal Mail’s statement said. “The company would also take steps to manage risk further through an appropriate investment strategy and a proportion of the company contributions would be held as a pension risk reserve for additional security.”However, this morning the CWU attacked Royal Mail’s proposal as “intellectually boring, morally sickening, and an insult to its employees”.Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary for postal at the CWU, said: “It is an example of the closed-minded, idea-redundant mentality that the CWU are up against. It beggars belief that the company really do consider that this mutant defined contribution proposal is in any way an adequate response to the work and imagination that the union has put into our ‘Wage in Retirement Scheme’ proposal.”He added that the union had been gathering “intellectual and moral support for our efforts”, and stated that the pension negotiations were “far from over”.Unite, the UK’s largest union, is also involved in the ongoing negotiations. Its officer for the Royal Mail Brian Scott said the talks were “complex and difficult”, and warned that the unions had not ruled out industrial action if no solution was agreed.