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    Category: Cabinet Replacement


    Busy intersection in Great Falls will be partially closed on Tuesday – KRTV Great Falls News - June 15, 2020 by admin

    GREAT FALLS One of the busiest intersections in Great Falls will be temporarily closed for a while next week.

    The City of Great Falls says that it will close northbound and southbound traffic at the intersection of 10th Avenue South and 9th Street for several hours on Tuesday, June 16th.

    The closure is needed for the replacement of a damaged signal cabinet.

    Detours will be provided for northbound and southbound traffic along 9th Street, and eastbound and westbound traffic on 10th Avenue South will remain open with signal lights dark.

    Northbound turns from 10th Avenue to 9th Street will be prohibited.

    The closure will be in place by 6 a.m. on Tuesday, and scheduled to reopen by 4 p.m. - but the time and duration of the closure may be altered due to weather or technical difficulties.

    Read more here:
    Busy intersection in Great Falls will be partially closed on Tuesday - KRTV Great Falls News

    Morehead Regional Driver Licensing Office re-opens with limited service June 10 – WMKY - June 15, 2020 by admin

    Gov. Andy Beshear today announced the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) regional driver licensing office in Morehead will reopen for limited services starting Wednesday, June 10.

    It is part of Gov. Beshears Healthy at Work initiative to safely reopen essential Executive Branch offices and services that were closed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

    We are gradually and carefully reopening our commonwealth and resuming some high-demand, in-person public services, said Gov. Beshear. Those services include issuing, renewing and replacing operators licenses and official identification cards. Our fellow Kentuckians depend on those credentials for employment, travel and emergencies.

    Services at the Morehead Regional Drivers License Office are limited at this time to residents who meet one of the following qualifying criteria:

    Replacement of a lost license, permit or identification card;

    License or ID card needed for employment;

    New resident replacing a valid out-of-state credential;

    New applicant who has successfully completed Kentucky State Police driver testing; and

    Renewal of a credential that expired before March 18, 2020, when license and permit expiration dates were automatically extended for 90 days by emergency order

    The same services are offered at the KYTC REAL-ID Regional Driver Licensing Office in Frankfort, 200 Mero Street.

    We look forward to resuming in-person customer service in our Morehead office, KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. But it is essential that we resume that service in a way that protects the health and safety of our customers and our employees. Were implementing new practices that encourage social distancing and our experience will guide the phased opening of other regional drivers license offices around the commonwealth.

    The Regional Drivers License Office, 126 Bradley Ave., in Morehead will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT.

    Qualifying applicants may make appointments online at realidky.com to request either a standard or REAL ID credential. A limited number of workstations will be available to serve walk-ins. To avoid gatherings in common waiting areas after checking in, applicants may be individually notified when to return to the issuance office to be served.

    To maintain the safest possible environment, employees of the office will adhere to Gov. Beshears Healthy at Work standards, which include wearing a mask, and customers will be asked to do the same. Social distancing will be observed. Surfaces will be cleaned and touch pad equipment sanitized after each use.

    (provided by Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)

    View original post here:
    Morehead Regional Driver Licensing Office re-opens with limited service June 10 - WMKY

    Dr. Amy Acton resigns as Ohio Department of Health director – cleveland.com - June 15, 2020 by admin

    COLUMBUS, Ohio--Dr. Amy Acton, Ohios state health director who has become a household name around the state during the coronavirus crisis, has resigned effective immediately, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday.

    Acton will remain as the governors chief adviser on health issues, DeWine said. Lance Himes, the Ohio Department of Healths general counsel who briefly served as state health director twice under ex-Gov. John Kasich, will become interim director, the governor said.

    Asked why shes leaving now, Acton said the decision to resign is something Ive been struggling over the last couple of months.

    She said her routine during the past couple months, which involved getting up at 4 a.m. to read and catch up while going to bed late, wasnt a sustainable thing.

    Acton said with the state reopening, Ohio is entering a new phase of learning to resume life with the coronavirus.

    I think there is a sort of natural shift that is occurring here that makes it sort of a good time so I can refocus," she said.

    The governor said he tried in vain to convince Acton to stay as director, and he praised her wise advice and counsel and extraordinary bedside manner since he appointed her last year.

    Acton has drawn wide admiration in Ohio, as well as around the nation, for her appearances during DeWines daily coronavirus briefings, providing easy-to-understand analysis and information about the virus in a calm, soothing voice, and passionately pleading with Ohioans to stay at home and take other precautions. Bobbleheads and cartoons have been made featuring her.

    An April poll found almost 64 percent of Ohios registered voters had a favorable opinion of Acton, and almost 84 percent said they trusted the coronavirus information she was providing.

    But as the DeWine administration has moved in the past six weeks to lift the states stay-at-home and business-closure orders, Acton and the Ohio Department of Health have become increasingly sidelined. Starting last month, the governor turned to a number of working groups," composed of business people and experts, to determine how various sectors of Ohios economy will reopen.

    Acton has also become a lightning rod of criticism from opponents of the DeWine administrations coronavirus orders, who claimed she overestimated the deadliness of the coronavirus and overreached her authority in ordering closures.

    Republican lawmakers tried to strip her of her power, and protesters demonstrated outside her home in suburban Columbus.

    Asked how she felt about the criticism, Acton said any human being would be affected by the backlash, especially as she has never run for public office.

    But, she said, for anyone doing this job, youd be surprised how much a lot of that isnt your focus.

    She added: For me, my focus -- the need to protect Ohioans and save lives was so intense, especially during those first days (of the crisis), she said. I can honestly say, like -- it had to be a single point of meditation on the task at hand, and that remains that.

    Acton was named health director in April 2019, becoming the final member of DeWines cabinet to be appointed. Before joining the DeWine administration, she most recently served as a community research and grants administrator at the nonprofit Columbus Foundation.

    A Youngstown native, Acton has described how she grew up abused, neglected, and occasionally homeless. She attended Youngstown State University, and she paid her own way to earn a medical degree from what is now Northeast Ohio Medical University, followed by a masters degree in public health from Ohio State University.

    Read more Ohio coronavirus coverage:

    Meet Lance Himes, Dr. Amy Actons replacement as Ohios health director

    Ohio AG Dave Yost argues diner owners who reopened early shouldnt face criminal charges

    Bill to change how state health officials collect, report coronavirus information passes Ohio House

    At least 2,457 Ohioans have died with coronavirus: Wednesday update

    How much did coronavirus closings sink sales tax collections for Ohio, the counties and transit agencies?

    Originally posted here:
    Dr. Amy Acton resigns as Ohio Department of Health director - cleveland.com

    George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution – Governing - June 15, 2020 by admin

    The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

    Harvard University Press

    The thesis of Lindsay Chervinskys excellent new book is that the U.S. Constitution of 1787 established the national government of the United States in general terms, but it did not descend to particulars. Article II, which lays out the powers and responsibilities of the executive, left so many things vague that the first presidents had in many ways to invent the American presidency. None played a more important role than the hero of the American Revolution, George Washington. To which we must say, thank goodness.

    Washington did not particularly want to be the president of the United States. After the war of independence ended, he resigned his commission on Dec. 23, 1783, with a characteristic show of republican modesty. He had saved the country. All he wanted now was to retire to his beloved estate at Mount Vernon, like the Roman hero Cincinnatus in the pages of Plutarchs Lives, and spend the rest of his life in the quiet enjoyment of agricultural pursuits. As early as 1776, Washington wrote to his brother John, Nothing in this world would contribute so much to mine as to be once more fixed among you in the peaceable enjoyment of my own vine and fig-tree.

    Washington had to be cajoled even guilted into attending the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787, and then to accept the unanimous summons of the people to serve as the first president of the United States. He wound up fulfilling two terms, mostly because his closest associates, including Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, assured him that he must stay at his post long enough to secure the post-revolution settlement. By the time he left public life once and for all for Mount Vernon in March 1797, the great man was spent. He had only two years and nine months to sit under his fig tree and bask in his fame before his death on Dec. 14, 1799. Even Great Britains King George III had conditionally called Washington the greatest man in the world.

    Washington assumed the presidency on April 30, 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City. He was 57 years old. Because the Constitution was silent on so many questions and he had no prior American tradition on which to model himself, President Washington had to invent a large number of presidential protocols, including the cabinet. As always, he was acutely aware that he was playing a role in the theater of the world. To his friend Catharine Macaulay Graham, he wrote, I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any action, whose motives may not be subject to a double interpretation. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.

    The whole world was watching. Washington knew that history was watching, too, and the future of the American republic depended on his getting it right. He understood that if his presidency for any reason failed, the fragile American republic might not survive. As he traveled to New York City to take the oath of office, Washington wrote an astonishing letter to his friend Henry Knox: My movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.

    Washington was determined to bring dignity, formality, a somewhat severe deportment and perhaps even a touch of what we would call majesty (a term he would have disclaimed) to the office. He did not want to behave like a king. Americans had had enough of that and Washington was genuinely committed to the creation of a sustainable American republic. But he did not want to be so informal that the American people would fail to show sufficient respect to the office, to the one individual who represented the entire country, not merely a state or a congressional district. Washington wanted the American people to look up to their president as a person of unimpeachable decorum a man of substance who measured his words before releasing them from his pen or mouth, a person of exquisite civility, perhaps a slightly aloof civility, a man who embodied the best qualities of the American experiment, a person who carefully avoided anything that was low, vulgar, indecorous, or demagogic. He sought to be the president of all of the American people, not merely those whose political views he preferred. Washington put up with Thomas Jefferson as secretary of state for two and a half years, even though Jefferson was somewhat disloyal and already, with his closest friend James Madison, laying the groundwork for an opposition party.

    Washington had to make a dizzying number of decisions about presidential deportment and protocol with the whole world watching (and judging) his every move. How should a president travel? Should the president ever stay in a private citizens home? Should he shake hands with mere citizens? Should he wear a ceremonial sword? Should he have a formidable title? Who makes the first visit, the president or the other gentleman or woman? (If youve ever read a Jane Austen novel, you know that this was a big issue in the 18th century.) Should the president address Congress in person or through intermediaries? Should he hold public receptions, which any decently attired American could attend? What exactly did the Constitution mean by indicating that the president should seek the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate on some issues? Should the president tour the country? How does the president balance his ceremonial functions and his political ambitions? What is the role of the presidents wife (not yet known as the First Lady)? How much should the president cooperate with congressional requests and investigations; when should the president invoke executive privilege? Under what circumstances should a president veto congressional legislation? Can he do so over policy disagreements, or must he believe the legislation to be unconstitutional? Should the president write a veto message? Should the Supreme Court be consulted informally on constitutional questions? How strictly should the separation of powers doctrine be interpreted? If the country goes to war, should the president serve as commander in chief in the field?

    Lindsay Chervinksy, author of The Cabinet.

    One of the great strengths of Chervinskys book is her interest in the social behavior of the first couple. George and Martha Washington had to establish the protocols of how the presidential couple made themselves available to the government insiders and average citizens of the republic. The Washingtons erred on the side of a somewhat frigid formality. At his weekly levees (on Tuesday afternoons), Washington bowed slightly, but did not shake hands with his guests. Martha Washington hosted slightly less intimidating gatherings for women (and some men) on Friday evenings. When the democrat Jefferson assumed the presidency in 1801, he swept aside the pomposities, walked to his first inaugural, met guests in his house slippers, corresponded freely with a wide range of citizens, rich and poor, powerful and plain, and let his pet mockingbird Dick wander freely through the White House. His presidential protocol, he famously said, was pell-mell.

    The Constitution Washington had helped to create and now embodied did not establish a formal cabinet. It authorizes but does not compel the president to require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices." The Constitution does not specify what the executive departments will be, or how many, or what their responsibilities should be. The First Congress of the United States (1789-91), which settled some of these questions, is regarded by some historians as an extension or at least application of the Constitutional Convention.

    One reason the Constitution is silent about a presidential cabinet, Chervinsky argues, is because the Founding Fathers still had a bad taste in their mouths about the British cabinets that had preyed upon the liberties of the American people during the colonial era. Perhaps partly for that reason, Chervinskys painstaking research reveals that Washington was slow to establish a cabinet and that once he had put it together, he soon ceased to find it a useful or congenial way to sort out administration policy. The first cabinet meeting was held on Nov. 26, 1791, fully two-and-a-half years into his first term. The four-man cabinet met only three times in 1791, and six times in 1792, but then 51 times in 1793, a crisis year in America. Thereafter, the president convened the cabinet significantly less often. By reducing the role of his cabinet in his last years as president, Washington ensured, says Chervinsky, that the cabinet developed very little institutional power.

    Today there are 15 cabinet members, each one requiring Senate confirmation. In the first few administrations, there were only four: The Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War, and the Attorney General. For Washington, these positions were filled by Jefferson of Virginia (state), Alexander Hamilton of New York (treasury), Henry Knox of Massachusetts (war), and Edmund Randolph of Virginia (AG).

    Chervinsky opens the book with one of the most important pivot points in the history of the presidency. On Aug. 22, 1789, just four months into his first term, Washington appeared before the U.S. Senate to seek advice about Indian relations. He believed that such consultation was the intention of the Constitution makers, that on certain questions the president would seek advice from the Senate before acting or making a decision. Washington had sent the relevant paperwork ahead, including a specific list of questions he wished to discuss with the 22 senators. Sen. William Maclay of Pennsylvania, who was something of a contrarian, stood up to suggest that the matter be referred to the appropriate Senate committee for careful deliberation, after which the president would be invited to come back for a final discussion. At this, President Washington, who had a volcanic temper which he usually managed to keep under tight control, blew up and shouted, This defeats every purpose of my coming here! Says Chervinsky, As he returned to his carriage, Washington muttered under his breath that he would never return for advice. He kept his wordAugust 22, 1789, was the first and last time he visited the Senate to request guidance on foreign affairs.

    If Maclay and the Senate had spent the afternoon sorting these things out with the president, American administrative history might have played out in a very different way. In this case, a negative precedent was set. Later presidents have occasionally visited Capitol Hill to meet with congressmen and senators, but Washingtons frustrating experience largely foreclosed that option and helped to cement the separation of powers doctrine at the heart of the American Constitutional system.

    One of the best moments in the book is Chervinskys account of a cabinet meeting on April 19, 1793, as the administration attempted to find a peaceful path for the infant U.S. as the wars of the French Revolution began to disrupt the Atlantic world. The five men, Washington plus his four secretaries, met in the presidents private study on the second floor of his residence in Philadelphia, where the national government was headquartered during the 1790s. The room was modest, just 15 by 21 feet, and was dominated by the presidents 5-foot-long desk, a wood burning stove, a dressing table, a large globe, and bookshelves, plus a table and chairs brought into the room for the meeting.

    Five of Americas most important men were in that small room. This quintet included Washington, the Father of His Country, a 6-foot-2-inch man who was already a living legend; the physically imposing Henry Knox (who weighed at least 250 pounds); Edmund Randolph, the proud but indecisive scion of one of Virginias most distinguished families; and two giants of the early national period, Americas Renaissance Man Thomas Jefferson, also 6 feet, 2 inches, but less bulky and formidable than the president, and the idefatigable policy wonk Alexander Hamilton, who like him or not was perhaps Americas greatest secretary of the treasury. Thats a lot of ego for one small room. Jefferson later admitted that he and Hamilton were daily pitted in the cabinet like two cocks. Washington did not say much at these meetings, but Hamilton, according to Jefferson, tended to hold forth with all of his overweening confidence for interminably long periods of time. Chervinsky concludes, When Washington and the four secretaries gathered in the room, it would have been rather cozy at best, claustrophobic at worst.

    Chervinsky also carefully examines the first cabinet scandal in American history. In August 1795, Secretary of State Edmund Randolph, Jeffersons replacement, was accused of taking bribes from the French government in exchange for trying to influence the administrations foreign policy. We now know that while Randolph was the weakest of Washingtons cabinet ministers, and undoubtedly guilty of bad judgment, he almost certainly did not take bribes or betray his country. Randolph resigned immediately, under a cloud, then promptly wrote a long defense of his honor and his conduct. Chervinsky provides an excellent analysis of Washingtons invocation of executive privilege, the first instance in American history, when Congress requested that he turn over documents relating to the highly controversial Jay Treaty of 1795. And the first presidential veto, April 5, 1792, of an apportionment bill.

    Washingtons immediate successors accepted the idea of the cabinet though each of them handled them differently. John Adams made the terrible, perhaps fatal, mistake of retaining Washingtons cabinet when the venerable old man retired. This meant that he was never able to surround himself with men of his own stamp. It meant, too, that these holdover cabinet members never felt genuine loyalty to him. In fact, several of them took their marching orders from Alexander Hamilton, who had retired from Washingtons cabinet in early 1795, but who took joy in playing shadow president from New York, where he had undertaken a lucrative law practice.

    Hamilton despised Adams for not being decisive and warlike enough, but particularly for not governing in a Hamiltonian fashion. Adams returned the contempt. It was he who called the illegitimately born Hamilton the bastard brat of a Scotch Pedler. Adams greatest act as president sending a second peace delegation to France in 1800 after the first one was mistreated, thus ratcheting down the likelihood of war was undertaken without any consultation with his disloyal cabinet. They were livid, of course, but Adams later decided it was his greatest achievement as the second president of the United States.

    Jefferson was too shrewd to hamstring his administration with holdovers, particularly since he regarded his election in 1800 as the second American revolution. The suave and conflict-averse Jefferson assembled what still ranks as perhaps the most harmonious cabinet in American history. His principal coadjutor was one of the most talented men in American history, Secretary of State James Madison, soon enough to be the fourth president of the United States. The harmony was so cordial among us all, Jefferson wrote, that we never failed, by a contribution of mutual views, of the subject, to form an opinion acceptable to the whole.

    This well-researched, thoughtful, and fascinating book points to the strength and the weakness of the U.S. Constitution. Because it lays out the powers and responsibilities of the three branches of the national government in only general terms, it gives each president considerable freedom to define the office to suit his purposes and his management style. So long as the office is occupied by an individual who understands the gravity, dignity, and fragility of a republic, America is in good hands. Between 1789 and 1797, George Washington formulated the standards against which all subsequent presidents must be measured.

    See the original post:
    George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution - Governing

    Fewer than 100 new daily infections reported for first time in over week – The Times of Israel - June 15, 2020 by admin

    Israel boots son of US media mogul for breaking quarantine

    Brandon Korff, the grandson of American media tycoon Sumner Redstone, is being kicked out of Israel after failing to adhere to quarantine rules, the Interior Ministry announces.

    According to the ministry, Korff got special permission to enter Israel claiming he wanted to visit his brother, who is serving as a lone soldier in the IDF, and arrived Friday.

    Instead of hanging out alone for 14 days, though, he went out almost immediately to surprise his girlfriend, named in press reports as actress, model and soldier Yael Shelbia.

    According to media reports, Shelbia planned on spending quarantine with her squeeze.

    Korff signed a statement committing to adhere to isolation according to guidelines and said he would not come into contact with anyone else. Despite that, he met his partner and stayed with her in the same apartment, the ministry says.

    Because of this, authorities have ordered that he leave immediately, it adds.

    The incident appears to be the first case of a tourist being deported for breaking quarantine rules.

    There has been rising unhappiness about the rich and well-connected seemingly being able to skirt virus rules.

    Korffs mother is Shari Redstone, who controls CBSViacom and movie theater proprietor National Amusements.

    Read this article:
    Fewer than 100 new daily infections reported for first time in over week - The Times of Israel

    New Zealand to buy five Super Hercules for $1bn – Australian Aviation - June 15, 2020 by admin

    An artists impression of a C130J-30 Super Hercules in Royal New Zealand Air Force livery. (New Zealand government)

    The New Zealand government has confirmed its set to buy five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules for more than NZ$1 billion.

    The planes will replace the militarys existing fleet of Hercules planes, whichhave suffered a number of embarrassing breakdowns over the years.

    Defence Minister Ron Mark said, Last year, cabinet selected these aircraft as the preferred option to replace the current Hercules fleet. Procurement of the Super Hercules has been my highest capability priority as Minister of Defence.

    Along with the new fleet, the $1.521 billion project will deliver a full mission flight simulator and other supporting infrastructure.

    Minister Mark said the new planes would be used for operations in New Zealand, the South Pacific and Antarctica.

    Generations of New Zealanders have grown up and grown old with the Hercules, and they know these aircraft are an essential first line of response. This decision ensures the Defence Force will have the capability it needs to meet expected future tasks, he said.

    This fleet will ensure the Defence Force can continue to support New Zealands community resilience, our national security, our contribution to our Pacific neighbours and the wider global community.

    This decision ensures tactical airlift will remain available to undertake operations in New Zealands immediate region, as well as support our interests in Antarctica, often in support of other government agencies.

    The new aircraft offers an upgrade in capability on the old retiring Hercules aircraft.

    The new aircraft will carry a greater payload, is faster and can travel further than the current Hercules aircraft,MinisterMarkcontinued.

    Each aircraft will also be fitted with additional specialist capabilities, including wide bandwidth, high-speed satellite communications system and an electro-optical/infra-red camera.

    This equipment will make our new Super Hercules among the most capable in the world. The satellite communications system will allow imagery, video and data to be streamed in real-time, and the camera allows for aerial surveillance, including at the same time as the aircraft is undertaking transport tasks, particularly useful on humanitarian and disaster relief operations and search and rescue missions.

    Three of the nations current C-130 Hercules planes date back to 1965 and the other two to 1969. They have been upgraded over the years, but frequent breakdowns have hampered some high-profile missions. At one point last year, the entire fleet was temporarily grounded.

    New Zealand will take delivery of the first of the new Hercules aircraft in 2024, with the full fleet operating by 2025.

    The price tag of NZ$1.5 billion includes a flight simulator and supporting infrastructure.

    Continued here:
    New Zealand to buy five Super Hercules for $1bn - Australian Aviation

    Work begins to replace historic Witton Park bridge – The Northern Echo - June 15, 2020 by admin

    WORK to replace a historic bridge that is a lifeline for a community is set to start up again after the lockdown.

    The task of replacing Witton Park Bridge, near Bishop Auckland, is due begin next week, starting on Monday.

    A 2.5m project will see the demolition and replacement of the crossing, which was found to be suffering from structural issues in 2018.

    Since its temporary closure two years ago, engineers have been exploring a number of options for its replacement.

    As a result, a detailed design and construction programme was developed. This included the demolition of the existing structure, repairs to the abutments and piers and the installation of the new bridge.

    The replacement bridge is scheduled to open in late autumn 2020.

    Durham County Councillor Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships at Durham County Council, said: "This is an important crossing for local residents. I am delighted our engineers have been able to identify a solution and work can now start on the replacement.

    Brian Buckley, strategic highways manager at Durham County Council said: The planning of this project has been a thorough process. The installation of the new bridge is a complicated one, due to the rail bridge which passes diagonally over.

    "But it is necessary work and is important to ensure safety and long-lasting accessibility.

    The health and safety of our workers is paramount and will dictate how we work going forward. We will ensure that current government guidance is adhered to in relation to social distancing.

    The C93 will remain closed between the villages of Witton Park and High Grange, with a signed diversion continuing via the A68 and the neighbouring village of Witton-le-Wear.

    As a result of the closure the area around the bridge has become a hot spot for fly tipping, with chunks of meat being disposed of the side of the road in February.

    Durham County Councillor for West Auckland Rob Yorke said: Most of the steelwork and fabrication work has been carried out offsite, we expect to have workman on site within the next few week to dismantle and erect the new bridge. We are hoping the new bridge will be completed as planned by this autumn.

    More here:
    Work begins to replace historic Witton Park bridge - The Northern Echo

    Greens call for ‘race’ to be removed from German constitution – DW (English) - June 15, 2020 by admin

    The term "race" should be removed from the German constitution, two leadingGreen politicians said Monday. In recent weeks, Germany has seen widespread anti-racism protests and dialogue around systemic racism in a German context following the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US.

    "We have to unlearn racism," Green co-chair Robert Habeck and party vice-president for the state of Schleswig-Holstein Aminata Tour wrote in the German daily Taz. "Racism is also a German phenomenon. As a black woman and a white man we are affected differently by this, but it affects us all."

    "The word race should be removed from the Basic Law," they added. "There is no such things as race, there are only people."

    Read more:Germany struggles to face its own police racism

    Germany's Basic Law is the country's constitution, penned in the immediate aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, and so goes to great lengths to forbid the Nazi regime's worst crimes.

    "No person shall be favored or disfavored because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavored because of disability," section 3 of Article 3 says.

    Habeck and Tour argue that the term race implies the existence of different categories of people, claiming it undermines anotherkey clause of the Basic Law: "All people are equal before the law."

    The politicians did not suggest a replacement word or an exact alteration.

    The word "Rasse" in German, renderedas "race" in the official translation of German law, is described in the German Duden dictionary as dated and potentially discriminatory. It also has an ambiguity not as present for the word "race" in English; as itcan also refer to different breeds of animals.

    Defense minister: 'Discrimination exists'

    The German cabinet is planning to discuss all aspects of racism and xenophobia in a special sitting, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told DW on Monday.

    "It's a fact that discrimination exists in day-to-day life here in Germany as well," said the one-time possible successor of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Read more:Opinion: George Floyd killing opens racism wounds for European blacks

    One of the key talking points will be possible laws to allow people to anonymously apply for accommodation or jobs, to remove possible discrimination based on name or appearance.

    The Greens believe that sensitizing institutions and organizations to racism through training and education could offer a solution. Tour and Habeck cite training for the police on racism as key.

    Recent polling has put Germany's Greens in secondor third place after Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats.

    Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of theday's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up toreceive it directly here.

    See the original post:
    Greens call for 'race' to be removed from German constitution - DW (English)

    87 ship crew members fly home to India from Singapore on chartered plane after being stranded at sea – straits times - June 15, 2020 by admin

    SINGAPORE - Chief engineer Awadhesh Prasad was looking forward to going home to India after his four-month contract with shipping company Executive Ship Management ended.

    But the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic scuppered his plansas borders were closed, and he and the crew of the Crimson Monarch could not disembark from the bulk carrier.

    This meant that Mr Prasad, 54, could not return home to Ranchi, capital city of eastern Jharkand, in February as planned.

    He ended up continuing on the ship's journey to Canada, Brazil and Australia, among other countries, for about four more months, before his employer found him a way back on a chartered flight.

    The bulk carrierhad not reached any port since May 9, when it left Brazil.

    "Finally, today, I can go home," he told The Straits Times at Changi Airport Terminal 1 Departure Hall on Friday (June 12).

    Mr Prasad was one of 87 ship crew members who boarded a chartered flight to Mumbai on Friday afternoon, after he disembarked from the Crimson Monarchto a smaller vessel which took him to Marina South Pier.

    The chartered plane had flown 54 crew members from Mumbai to Singapore to replace the departing crew on six ships for their onward journey from the Port of Singapore.

    The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Friday that it has approved more than 4,000 cases of crew sign-on and sign-off for more than 300 companies and 500 ships since March 27.

    Chief engineer Awadhesh Prasad was looking forward to his return to India. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    Signing-on and signing-off refer to the ship's handover process when one crew replaces another.

    Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan raised the issue of seafarers being stranded due to Covid-19 restrictions worldwide on his Facebook page on Tuesday in response to a Financial Times article.

    "Many crew have worked several months beyond their contracts, due to recent travel restrictions which bar crew from disembarking to return home," said Mr Khaw.

    "This has led to the international shipping industry threatening to cease sailing unless replacement crew can be brought in."

    Mr Khaw said this issue could potentially disrupt or clog up the global supply chain, given that commercial vessels carry 80 per cent of world trade.

    Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min said in a Facebook post on Friday that the Republic has been facilitating crew change with a new protocol outlined in the Singapore Crew Change Guidebook.

    The guide was developed by the Singapore Shipping Association and the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union, with MPA's support.

    Seafarers posing for a selfie after disembarking from the STI Carnaby vessel. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

    MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon said: "We have seen a sharp increase in the daily crew change applications since our last Port Marine Circular (on May 22)... Singapore has a responsibility to facilitate crew change in a safe manner for both the country and the ships, given the ongoing pandemic.

    "The (guidebook) sets out a 'safe corridor' which companies can now use consistently and reliably for crew changes."

    Getting a flight into India, which has banned air travel, was not easy, said Executive Ship Management managing director S.P. Singh.

    "International flights are banned in India... In order to charter a plane, we had to go through a long process to get the relevant permissions. The Singapore authorities had been very cooperative," he added.

    The crew checking in at Changi Airport Terminal 1 before leaving for Mumbai. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    The back-up plan was to wait for governments to reinstate international flights, which Mr Singh felt was not a viable option.

    "The seafarers were having a tough time, not seeing their families," Mr Singh said, adding that the crew's family members in India had been asking the company when their loved ones could come home.

    Mr Prasad said that he called his wife and daughter every couple of days to check in.

    "They are very understanding of the situation because it's all reported in the news. They kept asking me to take care," he said.

    The vessel was never at risk of running out of food, and the crew could use high-speed Internet to call home, but it was the uncertainty of securing a way home before the pandemic ceased that frustrated Mr Prasad.

    "It's very difficult, not knowing when I can go home... I worry for my family," he said.

    Continued here:
    87 ship crew members fly home to India from Singapore on chartered plane after being stranded at sea - straits times

    More than $1.2 million spent on indoor plants for new NSW Government office – ABC News - June 15, 2020 by admin

    A NSW Government department has defended spending more than $1.2 million on indoor plants for its new corporate offices in Parramatta.

    The Department of Planning recently approved a contract worth $1,246,000 for the indoor plants in the 4 Parramatta Square building, not including external landscaping costs.

    The three-year contract with supplier Tropical Plant Rentals includes the "supply, installation, watering, maintenance and replacement" of indoor vegetation.

    A department spokeswoman said the indoor plants would complement the new building's green-star rating across 30 floors.

    "Environmental sustainability of the built environment is one of the key focuses of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the offices at 4 Parramatta Square will have a 5-star Green-Star Rating in accordance with the Green Building Council of Australia," she said,

    A website for the local supplier offers indoor plant options including green walls, cabinet walls and vertical pot plants, although the exact details for the offices has not been released.

    Stewart Little from the Public Service Association the union currently fighting a bid to freeze public sector wages said the contract "beggars belief".

    "It's astonishing," he said.

    "In the wake of the worst bushfire crisis we've ever seen, but also going into the COVID-19 crisis where really everyone's had to work under very, very strained circumstances, and you've got a situation now where the Government's seeking to impose a wage freeze.

    "To have one department sign up to well over $1 million on indoor plants it's just extraordinary.

    "They often tend to just look at one section of the budget and not look at where that's money could be spent elsewhere this is a classic example of that.

    "You'd have to question that when you have an expenditure like this, what else is out there that we're missing?"

    While not commenting directly on the Government contract, Tonia Gray from Western Sydney University said incorporating nature into workplaces otherwise known as biophilic design could have benefits.

    "Biophilic design means letting nature in and that in itself has a myriad of benefits," Professor Gray said.

    "Not only was productivity better but mood states and the fact that absenteeism was declined and just general camaraderie seemed to have an enormous spike as a result of bringing nature in.

    "Even water features or the sound of water is cathartic and soothing in itself.

    "A babbling brook is a lot better sound than the ping-pong of your emails coming in, isn't it?"

    The Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, declined to comment.

    See original here:
    More than $1.2 million spent on indoor plants for new NSW Government office - ABC News

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