Despite pandemic disruptions, UN carries on — by videoconference

first_imgOpen but empty Despite stay-at-home measures and orders closing schools, museums and theaters in New York, the UN headquarters remains open.But it was emptied of its huge workforce in mid-March when most began working from home.Before the pandemic, more than 11,000 people would enter the United Nations on a typical day. Now, no more than 140 do, according to UN figures.Guterres initially came in every day to work at his office. Now, he wears a mask and this month began splitting his time between the office and his residence, a house with a garden on the East River. The usually buttoned-down world of the United Nations is having an unruly April as it copes with the global coronavirus pandemic in a city that is suffering terribly from it.The UN Security Council’s president is stuck in the Caribbean. Closed-door meetings of ambassadors have been upheaved by news leaks. Video conferences have been disrupted by unintended guest appearances.So far, the UN appears to have been largely spared the epidemic raging in New York, the epicenter of the disease in the United States. Topics : Transparent meetings Although they are normally quick to denounce news leaks of their conversations, Security Council ambassadors surprised journalists with how porous their first session on the COVID-19 pandemic became.No sooner had the “strictly closed door” meeting begun Thursday than one country’s mission posted a screen shot of the participants on Twitter.Others followed with excerpts of speeches, some going so far as to email Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ speech to AFP before the session had ended.”There is more transparency behind closed doors,” quipped one UN official. Intimate video conferences The diplomats have taken to videoconferences with abandon.”We see poorly; the sound isn’t terrible,” but “it forces us to be brief,” said one ambassador. “We do WhatsApp and videos. It’s a pain,” but “it gets the job done.”The UN diplomats also have multiplied the use of Zoom to conduct informal briefings.These too can be revealing. Diplomats have shown up on screen in their bedrooms. In one case, a diplomat mistakenly replaced himself on screen with a giant image of his wife.center_img Few in its 3,000-member workforce have tested positive for the disease, perhaps because it implemented working-from-home measures earlier than the rest of the city.To keep working in such exceptional circumstances, however, calls for exceptional measures — and, like most other organizations, the UN has experienced a few hiccups along the way.  The presidency of the 15-country Security Council rotates each month in alphabetical order. After China in March, it has been the turn of the Dominican Republic in April.But Dominican ambassador Jose Singer is in Santo Domingo, stranded due to border closures.Thanks to videoconferencing he has been able to conduct discussions — but, according to one ambassador, endured some teasing when he showed up one day wearing his “local outfit.”  Security Council in paradiselast_img read more

Voters OK minimum wage for Geneva as wealth gap widens

first_imgThe unions behind the initiative argued that it was impossible in Geneva to live in dignity making less than 23 Swiss francs ($25, 21 euros) an hour, or 4,086 francs a month for a full-time 41-hour work week.Rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment is at least 3,000 francs, and a coffee costs four or five francs.Geneva’s minimum wage vote was just one of many national, regional and local issues on the ballot Sunday as part of Switzerland’s famous direct democratic system.At a national level, voters appeared poised to make history on another social issue by approving paternity leave for the first time in the country long renowned for its traditional approach to family models and gender roles.That referendum to grant new fathers two weeks paid leave looked set to pass with nearly 57 percent of the vote at the national level, according to partial results, while full results in Geneva showed the canton backing the measure by over 79 percent.Topics : Geneva voters on Sunday came out in support of introducing a minimum wage, guaranteeing every worker in one of the world’s priciest cities at least US$25 an hour.Switzerland as a whole has no minimum wage, and voters in 2014 turned down a chance to adopt one at a national level. Geneva voters themselves have twice previously rejected calls to introduce a minimum wage in the city. But on Sunday the winds appeared to have changed as the coronavirus pandemic has deepened the wealth gap, with 58 percent of voters in the canton coming out in favor of the unions-backed initiative.The result made Geneva the third of Switzerland’s 26 cantons to set a minimum hourly earnings rate after Jura and Neuchatel.The initiative, which had the support of all the left-leaning parties, had been presented as a remedy to poverty and precariousness, which have become increasingly visible in wealthy Geneva since the coronavirus crisis began.Long lines of people waiting for handouts of food and other necessities have become a common sight in the city.last_img read more

Stunning Caravonica home goes on the market for the first time

first_img57-59 Fig Tree DrTUCKED away at the bottom of the Macalister Range, northwest of Cairns City, is one of the region’s premier homes.Private and flawlessly built, it encapsulates the virtue of planning to perfection.Now, for the first time in almost three decades, the 8508sq m property at 57-59 Fig Tree Dr is being taken to the market.“When you sit out on the patio of an afternoon, it is so lovely and peaceful,” said co-owner Cathy Bugeja.“You can see the traffic on the highway, but don’t have any of the noise – we will really miss the serenity of the place.”Bugeja, a lifelong Cairns local, and her husband Paul bought the spacious Caravonica land in the late 1980s before spending about two years building their dream home.The four-bedroom, three-bathroom masterpiece has since been an ideal tropical haven for the family.“The area was so private and view just beautiful, we could see our family growing up here and enjoying the place forever,” Bugeja said.The original marble flooring was one of the few elements left untouched when the home underwent a large-scale renovation in 2010-11.Extraordinary views can also be enjoyed from the kitchen, while the property is replete with living space.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days agoA theatre room is one of the home’s many featuresOther notable features include a home cinema, saltwater pool, covered outdoor entertaining area and majestic gardens.“We’ve had so many wonderful family celebrations here,” Bugeja said. “The most we ever had on Christmas Day was 70 people, from both sides of the family.”With their children now having young families of their own, Mr and Mrs Bugeja – who own Lemura Sand – have decided to downsize.She said they would miss their home of 27 years dearly.“Even when it is a horrible grey day in Cairns, the view still looks nice of a morning,” Bugeja said. “We did not expect to be selling, but we made the decision and it’s time to move on.”The property is for sale by formal offer and inspections can be arranged by appointment.Selling agent Tom Quaid said no expense had been spared in making the home special. “Fig Tree Dr at the top of Caravonica has long been considered a prestige address, with homes regularly selling at the million-dollar mark and above,” he said.“This particular home however, stands out even from that level.“Never before offered to market, set on two acres and commanding a hilltop position with sweeping views, this family home was the subject of a seven-figure renovation with the view to continuing enjoyment for years to come.“This is a comfortable home that can hold its own with the best the Far North has to offer, and with the majority across a single level, it offers true family living.”last_img read more

Updated original gem on offer in Mt Ommaney

first_imgThe home at 8 Flinders Court, Mt Ommaney.“The house we bought was effectively a much smaller house, it was about 160sq m, and when we walked in there it just had very good architectural bones, and good structure and we could see the potential,’’ Mr Culbert said.More from newsDigital inspection tool proves a property boon for REA website3 Apr 2020The Camira homestead where kids roamed free28 May 2019“We then took that house from 160sq m to about 440sq m. We first and foremost did all the extensions around the existing house and then once that was complete we then pulled the existing (house) apart and refurbished all of that to bring it up to total new standard.’’ The home at 8 Flinders Court, Mt Ommaney.There are city views from the balcony and a resort- style swimming pool wrapping around part of the home.The open plan living area has sloping ceilings. In the kitchen are stone benchtops, frosted glass cabinetry and pendant lighting.There is an integrated bar downstairs and all bedrooms have glass doors which open to a side patio and garden. The home at 8 Flinders Court, Mt Ommaney.Mr Culbert said one of the best things about the house was the different living area zones.He said their plan with the work they had done was to preserve the initial intent of the architect and enhanced it.“It was architecturally designed to be an incredible liveable house,’’ he said.The home is on a 1378sq m block and features floor-to-ceiling windows and louvres. center_img The home at 8 Flinders Court, Mt Ommaney.WHILE 8 Flinders Court, Mt Ommaney, underwent a massive extension and makeover when its current owners bought it 13 years ago, they made sure it stayed true to the intent of the original architect.Owners Phil Culbert and his wife Kristin Todd undertook the work with the plan to remain in the home forever, but a move back to New Zealand means they have now listed it for sale.Mr Culbert said it was one of the street’s original houses, with six of them built in one of the first courts in Mt Ommaney.last_img read more

Nigeria’s Cafe Neo is ‘returning coffee to its African roots

first_imgRelated Young Nigerians returning home from studies abroad are blazing a trail with the establishment of companies meant to service a growing middle class in the West African country. Ngozi Dozie and his brother Chijioke set up a coffee shop in the commercial city Lagos.Being the first of its kind, Cafe Neo attracts a large number of customers. But the brothers say they face many challenges, as Nigerians are not traditionally coffee drinkers. AFRICAN NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP African Union offers its condolences to the people of Cuba South African Rand sinks to its lowest in yearslast_img

Queen of Kings- Karene Asche wins Caribbean Calypso King of Kings in St.Kitts

first_img Share 85 Views   no discussions Share Share Karene Asche. Photo credit: SKN NewsCarnival Village, St.Kitts:-Reigning Trinidad Calypso Monarch Karene Asche defeated 10 Calypso Kings and Queens from throughout the region to win the Caribbean King of Kings Calypso Monarch title in Carnival Village , Basseterre St.Kitts. Amassing a total of 761 pts the Trinidadian Calypso Queen outclassed the regions finest which included Dominica’s Tasha P who placed 1st runner-up, 3 times Kittitian King Pungwah who placed 2nd, 5 times St.Kitts King Sacrotes placed 3rd while Antigua’s Zakari placed 4th runner-up.Other participating regional Calypso Monarchs in the show included St. Croix’ Mighty Pat, St.Lucia’s Queen Menelle, Nevis’ King Meeko, St.Maarten’s King Timo and St.Thomas’ Kung Fu Plenty among others.Results:Monarch- Karene Asche (Trinidad and Tobago)- 761 pts• 1st Runner-up: Tasha P (Dominica)- 721pts• 2nd Runner-up: Pungwah (St.Kitts)- 711 pts• 3rd Runner-up: Sacrotes (St.Kitts)- 691 pts• 4th Runner-up: Zakari (Antigua)-673 ptsSKN Newscenter_img EntertainmentNewsRegional Queen of Kings- Karene Asche wins Caribbean Calypso King of Kings in St.Kitts by: – January 9, 2012 Sharing is caring! Tweetlast_img read more

Lady Bulldogs Battle Lady Cubs On The Diamond

first_imgBatesville Lady Bulldogs hosted the Madison Cubs tonight. The lady bulldogs played excellent defense again only giving up 2 runs on 3 hits, but were unable to generate any runs of their own on 3 hits. Leaving 4 runners on third in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th innings. Final went in favor of the Cubs 2-0.Whitney Axsom went 2-3 tonight with 2 doubles and pitched 6 innings recording 7 strike out but giving up 2 runs and 2 hits.The Bulldogs are now 2-4. They will travel to connersville Monday to take on the lady Spartans.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Todd Reed.last_img

Grilled chicken products recalled due to contamination concerns

first_imgWashington D.C. — Suzanna’s Kitchen, Inc., a Peachtree Corners, Ga. establishment, is recalling approximately 15,363 pounds of grilled chicken products due to an unapproved substance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The product contains concentrations of thallium.The ready-to-eat (RTE) grilled chicken strip items were produced on June 20, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]8-oz. boxed packages of “NATURE RAISED Farms organic GLUTEN FREE GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST STRIPS” with a “Use By” date of June 20, 2019 and a lot number of “1718SUZ01”.The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 1381” on the side panel of the box. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.The problem was discovered when the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services tested retail packages of Nature Raised Farms Organic Gluten Free Grilled Chicken Strips produced by Suzanna’s Kitchen, Inc. and found concentrations of thallium in the product. The concentration levels do not present an immediate health hazard; however, FSIS is recommending this Class II recall out of an abundance of caution because prolonged ingestion of contaminated product in sensitive populations could cause some health effects. FSIS is working with the involved parties to identify the source of the contamination and prevent any further product from going into commerce.There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.last_img read more

Allardyce happy as Spurs un-Ravel

first_img Press Association “The penny has dropped with him,” Allardyce added. “It has dropped in lifestyle and attitude and his timekeeping, all of a sudden there is a belief that he doesn’t want to do anything other than break into our first team. “I think that 12-month spell at Birmingham gave him a time to reflect on what it takes to be a player on a week in and out basis.” Allardyce revealed that former United boss and close friend Sir Alex Ferguson told him he was getting a potential star when he signed Morrison in a deal that was reported to cost the London club just £1million. The West Ham boss said: “When I signed him Sir Alex said ‘I hope you can sort him out because if you can he will be a genius’. “He needed to get away from Manchester and start a new life and it looks like it is paying off for us. “The fans at Tottenham today thought it was going to be a nice easy breeze today, a nice comfortable three points. “But the Premier League will tell you that if you think like that you are going to get your backside kicked and they got their backside kicked today.” A shell-shocked Andre Villas-Boas looked like a man who had just had his backside kicked when he sat down to sum up his feelings after the game. Tottenham had only conceded two goals prior to today’s game, but Andros Townsend looked the only player capable of making a difference for the north London club and the fans who were left inside the stadium at the final whistle made their feelings known by booing the team off the pitch. Villas-Boas, who had claimed four wins from six games prior to the derby, called for a bit of perspective, though. “It’s a wake up call that we have to react to, we have to bounce back and I trust the team to do that,” the Spurs boss said. “I think we can’t undermine what we have been doing up to now. “Obviously it’s a defeat. Had we won this game we would have been just one point behind. It’s something we don’t like, but we have to put into perspective of what we’ve done before.” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce paid tribute to Ravel Morrison, the “genius” who gave Tottenham the runaround at White Hart Lane on Sunday. The former Manchester United man picked the ball up inside his own half and slalomed past Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson before cleverly lifting the ball over Hugo Lloris. West Ham had struggled without the injured Andy Carroll so far this season, but Morrison performed admirably up front, much to Allardyce’s delight. “That was a genius goal,” the West Ham boss said. “Tottenham had conceded two goals before today, but he just headed directly to Vertonghen and Dawson, slipped them like they weren’t there and he used his outstanding ability to dink the goalkeeper. “For me you will struggle to see a better goal this season.” Many questioned Allardyce’s decision to sign Morrison from United last year. The midfielder was convicted of two counts of witness intimidation and he was also fined £7,000 by the Football Association for a homophobic tweet. The player failed to settle originally at West Ham and was loaned out to Birmingham last season, but 12 months on, Allardyce says the 20-year-old is a changed man. Andre Villas-Boas suffered the biggest home defeat of his reign as Tottenham manager on Sunday evening as West Ham ran riot, claiming a fine 3-0 victory in north London thanks to three goals in 13 second-half minutes. Ricardo Vaz Te doubled West Ham’s lead after Winston Reid’s opener and Morrison then brought the away fans to their feet with a fantastic solo goal. last_img read more

US firm acquires United shares

first_imgAn American investment firm has acquired a quarter of all Manchester United shares available on the New York Stock Exchange, it has been confirmed. Press Association Baron Capital has been buying up stock and now owns 24 per cent of all the United shares that were sold by the Glazer family in 2012, though that still only represents 2.5 per cent of the club. Analysts believe the accumulation of shares reflects the firm viewing United as a good long-term investment, rather than Baron Capital making any bid to secure a controlling interest in the club. center_img The Glazer family only released 10 per cent of the club on to the stock market – they still retain 90 per cent and control the vast majority of votes. Nevertheless, Baron Capital’s actions explain why the share price has been slowly rising despite the club’s struggles on the pitch. This has also been fuelled by expectation of an announcement of a new Nike kit deal worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Baron Capital’s United shareholding was confirmed in a securities and exchange commission filing on the Manchester United investor relations website. It says Baron Capital now owns 9,581,636 shares, which were worth 151million US dollars (£90million) at the close of the market on Monday. Baron Capital says on its website the company remains positive about United’s future. It said: “Shares of Manchester United dropped… due to a delay in the signing of a new global merchandise deal with Nike and the team’s poor performance on the field. The Nike deal is still expected to be signed, but has been pushed out from this fiscal year. We remain positive on the company’s prospects going forward.” London-based financial analyst Andy Green, who writes a blog on football finance and advises the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, said the move by Baron Capital appeared to be purely an investment strategy and was not the start of a takeover bid. Green said: “This is absolutely not the start of any takeover. You could buy all the shares available on the stock market and you would still only have 10 per cent of the club and about 1.3 per cent of the votes. “I am sure they are looking at the investment opportunities and rumours of the new Nike deal. They have a reputation as a long-term investment company.” The United share price closed at 15.84 US dollars on Monday – the highest level since November. last_img read more