Amid all the bad news, signs of hope

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Bad news: Hannaford rewards are only for people who have e-mails and smart phones. I don’t. Bad news: When your husband dies, Spectrum turns off your e-mails until you bring in a death certificate and puts the account in your name. Your TV still works as long as you pay your bill and get their new all-digital box.Good news: I work as a home health aide, and my lady forgot her doctor’s address on Route 9. I stopped at the Ripe Tomato in hopes of finding a phone book. They not only looked it up — no easy task, as he had moved — but found the address on a map and told me just how to get there, all the while with a smile.There is hope for our world.Peggy HohensteinScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff…Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Memorial shouldn’t be focused on hate

first_imgThe proposed site backs up to the Lishakill Preserve and creek in the back; on one side is the Holy Redeemer Cemetery. On the other is woods. The memorial will have a boxcar — closed but easily able to be broken into. The memorial won’t be fenced in, with not enough lights and no guard.The Niskayuna police have offered to conduct drive-throughs, but it won’t be enough. Our police force is small and we’re paying too much overtime as it is. I can see the site becoming a teenage party site, a place to deal drugs, even a gang hangout.I’ve lived on Route 7 for 52 years and have seen too many accidents. If commercial development is allowed, all ancillary roadways will be impacted by vehicles avoiding Route 7.Why not instead put the money toward improving and expanding the Holocaust Education Center on Washington Avenue Extension? The location is accessible from all Capital District cities and outlying areas and there’s a service road, ideal for school buses. I can’t believe Dr. Lozman and the Jewish Federation want this to become a hate issue. The issue is really zoning, safety and traffic. Let’s address and debate these three issues only.Margaret WexlerNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Puccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Some of our politicians and some people in favor of the Niskayuna Holocaust memorial have labeled residents who are against it anti-Semitic, anti-memorial and anti-education. This accusation makes me very sad and it’s untrue. This is a very simple issue. It only involves zoning, traffic and safety.Troy-Schenectady Road from Union Street to Vley Road in Colonie is residential, If we allow the  memorial to be built, we’re opening the door to other businesses, large and small, office buildings, other memorials. The town won’t be able to stop it.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Friday, April 5

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionMohon not getting adequate state aidMohonasen schools are facing a budget crisis. Inadequate increases in Mohonasen’s state foundation aid, the base aid for New York’s schools, have left our district with difficult choices to make in the upcoming district budget.With the end of the state budget process, Mohonasen is a glaring example of what happens when the state underfunds our schools. The decisions at hand are not about how to expand our programs or extra-curricular activities to better serve our students; they’re about how many staff positions need to be cut and what programs need to be scaled back.Mohonasen is still owed about  $4 million in state foundation aid. The executive budget proposal called for just an $80,000 increase, to which state legislators added $58,000 in the final budget.We cannot keep reducing resources and services at the local level, which impacts our class sizes and our learning environment, because the state has not followed through on full funding of foundation aid. It’s not fair to our students, our parents and our entire school community.As educators, we strive to provide our students with every opportunity to succeed. After 33 years in the Mohonasen School District, I feel as if I’m at the apex of my career and still have much to give my students. However, without real state support, my fellow educators and I are forced to work against strong negative currents.The fix is simple. Fully fund our public schools. It’s time the state stepped up.Maria  S. PachecoSchenectadyThe writer is a teacher in the Mohonasen Central School District. America shouldn’t favor one religionIn Jim Norris’ March 21 letter, he complains that George Will’s column on March 17 was part of an attempt to “de-Christianize our good old United States of America.”This sounds as though he believes the United States should primarily be a Christian nation, and he thinks too many people are working against that.Actually, “the good old United States of America” is not quite what he is longing for. Let’s go back to that good old day when the First Amendment was written, and note that the first sentence therein states (paraphrasing): The government must remain neutral regarding religion, and may not favor one over another.George Washington was more explicit in his letter to the Tauro Synagogue in Providence, R.I., (again paraphrasing) that the idea of tolerance was not of one group granting other groups the privilege of being here, but rather that no one could have such discretion in the first place.What he calls de-Christianizing is actually the growing trend, especially among younger citizens, to reject religion altogether, mostly because it has become irrelevant to them.The only way he can increase the presence of Christianity in our country is to get more of the flock to return to their churches (of course without using government to help him). Spa day provided a touch of tendernessAs we all struggle with headlines evidencing a world about us which is stressful and worrisome, I was able to witness a genuinely human, praiseworthy outreach to a group of Baptist Health Nursing and Rehab residents on the morning of March 20.This facility is working hard to bring a tenderness to its residents.A spa day was highlighted in which ladies were fussed over, nails buffed and polished, feet and shoulders massaged. A sense of caring and touching conveyed in a way far from the hostilities of the outside world.To care about what it takes to make someone significant and feel good about themselves — such is the goal of the Baptist health care team. I was privileged to see a special sweet side of life.Nancyjane BattenScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18center_img We should be striving to reinforce the idea of the equality of all religions and atheism, not weaken it.Bob ScherClifton Parklast_img read more

Bristol residential: Flat-out development

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Israel’s president to ask Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz to form government

The announcement came at the end of a day in which Rivlin held consultations with all parties in the 120-seat Israeli parliament, the Knesset.”At the end of the consultations, 61 Members of Knesset had recommended… Benny Gantz, as opposed to 58 Members of Knesset who had recommended the current prime minister and head of Likud, MK Benjamin Netanyahu,” the statement said. One member of parliament gave no recommendation.Unlikely PartnersAs things stand, a Gantz coalition would likely have to be underpinned by two bitter enemies, who have both endorsed him.One is the Joint List, a coalition of lawmakers from Israel’s 21% Arab minority, and the other is hawkish former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu.Netanyahu, 70, was due to go on trial this Tuesday, but the coronavirus emergency has promoted restrictions of gatherings that delayed the start of proceedings for alleged bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges. He has denied any wrongdoing, accusing his enemies of a witch-hunt.Netanyahu proposed a six-month “national emergency” government, led by him, to confront the coronavirus crisis.Rivlin has voiced support for a unity government to break the deadlock. But Gantz, who made an issue of Netanyahu’s character during the election campaigns, has been cool on teaming up with his rival.Lieberman said on Sunday: “We recommend Benny Gantz for a very, very simple reason. In the previous election, we said the most important thing was to prevent a fourth election.”And Joint List head Ayman Odeh said his Arab coalition’s voters had said “an emphatic ‘no’ to a right-wing government and Benjamin Netanyahu”. Odeh said his bloc would not join a government led by Gantz, but could potentially provide it enough votes to govern.About a fifth of Israeli citizens are Arabs, Palestinian by heritage but Israeli by citizenship. No Israeli government has ever included an Arab political party.Netanyahu’s office announced on Sunday that he had tested negative for coronavirus. Topics : Opposition leader Benny Gantz will be asked to form a new government, Israel’s president said on Sunday, boosting his chances of ousting veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.It was a blow to Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political life amid unprecedented political deadlock and a criminal indictment for corruption, which he denies.But it remains unclear whether Gantz’s centrist Blue and White Party can break a stalemate that has been marked by three inconclusive elections in less than a year. Netanyahu, 70, is Israel’s longest-serving leader and has been heading the country’s efforts to combat the coronavirus.But last year he twice tried unsucccessfully to put together a ruling coalition.And on Sunday Gantz won support from two key parties, leading President Reuven Rivlin to say that he would get the first chance at forming a government after the latest election on March 2.”Tomorrow, around midday, the president will assign the task of forming the government to head of (Blue and White party) Benny Gantz,” Rivlin’s office said in a statement. read more

Top Indonesian doctors call for lockdown, say physical distancing not enough

first_imgOn Friday, the figures had climbed to 1,046 confirmed cases and 87 deaths.“More than 500 scholars in the world have stated that physical distancing is not enough to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, so what we need are further restrictions. Strict rules are needed to make sure people stay at home. [The government] should apply fines for individuals or companies that violate the rules,” the council’s chair, Siti Setiati, wrote.Using Wednesday’s figure and factoring in the global fatality rate of around 4.3 percent, however, the council suggested that the disease might have infected some 1,300 Indonesians, not 790.“Our health facilities are not ready. With Greater Jakarta and Surabaya [in East Java] becoming the epicenters of the infection, our health facilities are still having trouble in getting protective equipment,” the statement went on. Dozens of Indonesian medical professors have called for “local lockdowns”, saying that the government’s policy of physical distancing is not “effective”.The call comes after medical workers and scholars in the midst of the fight against COVID-19 have died, while others continued working in dire conditions.In a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday, the Medical Professors Council at the University of Indonesia’s (UI) School of Medicine said Indonesia had recorded the fifth-highest fatality rate in the world at around 8.7 percent with 790 cases and 58 fatalities as of Wednesday. “Moreover, only a few hospitals have ventilators available, leading to a high mortality rate,” the council wrote.“Studies show that Indonesia only has two intensive care unit (ICU) beds per 100,000 people. That is the lowest proportion in Asia,” the statement continued. “Imagine if the disease spread throughout Indonesia, not only would citizens be affected but medical workers on the front-lines would fall one by one as well,” the council said in the statement.The professors council has about 75 active members, all veteran doctors.Last week, a professor from UI’s School of Public Health, Bambang Sutrisna, an epidemiologist, and another pharmacology professor from Gadjah Mada University, Iwan Dwiprahasto, died of COVID-19.The two professors were among 10 doctors who were members of the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) to die from COVID-19 amid the fight against the disease, according to IDI’s official Instagram account. Seven of them were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.One of them, Toni Silitonga, died not of COVID-19 but he was busy helping prepare health facilities for COVID-19 in his last days, IDI said. On Friday, the IDI reported the deaths of two of its members but the association had yet to confirm the cause of death. To prevent further disease transmission, the doctors advised that the government impose local lockdown measures by closing some areas or provinces where the COVID-19 spread had soared.As of Friday, the disease had been reported in 28 provinces out of the 34 in the country. Provinces in Java have recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with Jakarta, West Java, Banten, East Java and Central Java making up 84 percent of total nationwide cases. Many cases outside Greater Jakarta had been imported after the patients visited Greater Jakarta.The council took examples from other countries that had enforced lockdowns, such as China, which had restricted movement and social activities in Hubei provinces, ground zero of the disease.“Implementing lockdowns and strict social activity restrictions in Hubei province, China have shown to be effective in reducing cases by 37 percent more than other cities that do not implement this system,” the statement wrote, adding that enforcing a lockdown in Hubei had severely reduced the transmission rate in the area.The council also cited a study by the United Kingdom’s University of Southampton, which shows that implementing isolation and early detection policies in China one week earlier would have cut the number of cases by 67 percent out of the 81,000 cases the country has recorded.As authority to declare a lockdown falls in the hands of the central government, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has dismissed the possibility several times due to social and economic concerns. He instead advised people to stay home, reduce social activities in crowds and maintain a distance from others in social interactions. The council, however, believes that the current measures have been ineffective.Locking down some areas, however, would affect informal workers that relied on a daily income the most. The council, however, said that money received from taxes could be allocated back to the people in the case of a lockdown.The council took examples of Jakarta, where ensuring the livelihood of its 9.6 million residents for two weeks would cost around Rp 4 trillion compared to the country’s Rp 1.3 trillion tax income in November.“With such calculations, it seems possible to impose a local lockdown or quarantine of the area in order to prevent the further transmission of COVID-19. Returning some of the tax money from the people, for the people in the event of a pandemic like this is common sense,”.The council ends its statement by making a call for the government to exercise evidence-based decision-making. “The government should involve experts, including those in the public communication field,” it said. (mfp) Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19: PT KAI cancels 28 Jakarta train routes

first_imgThe Jakarta Kota Station has only two trains affected, namely KA Menoreh (Semarang) and KA Kutojaya Utara YK (Yogyakarta).Besides the reduction of trips, KAI said that physical distancing measures would also be implemented on trains.“Our passenger capacity has been reduced by 70 percent,” Eva said.Passengers who have already purchased a ticket for a trip within the cancellation period will receive a full refund.“We won’t reschedule their trips. Passengers can purchase a new ticket for the next available schedule,” she said.KAI advises passengers to cancel the tickets online through the KAI Access application. Cancellations can also be done at Gambir, Pasar Senen, Jakarta Kota, Cikampek, Bekasi, Rangkasbitung, Serang and Bogor Paledang stations.As of Sunday, Indonesia has reported 1,285 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 675 of which are located in Jakarta. (aly)Topics : KAI closed four routes connecting Malang in East Java and Jakarta on Wednesday, as well as three connecting Surabaya in East Java and Jakarta from March 26 to 31.It has closed six additional routes connecting Jakarta and Surabaya, one route to Malang in East Java, three routes to Semarang in Central Java, one route to Tegal in Central Java, four routes to Cirebon in West Java, five routes to Bandung in West Java, six routes to Yogyakarta and two routes to Kutoarjo in Central Java.The trains affected by the policy in Gambir Station are KA Argo Wilis, KA Turangga, KA Sembrani, KA Mutiara Selatan (Surabaya), KA Malabar (Malang), KA Argo Muria (Semarang), KA Argo Cheribon (Cirebon and Tegal), KA Argo Parahyangan (Bandung) and KA Taksaka (Yogyakarta).Meanwhile, the trains affected in Pasar Senen Station are KA Gaya Baru Malam, KA Gumarang (Surabaya), KA Tawang Jaya (Semarang), KA Bogowonto, KA Gajahwong, KA Fajar Utama, KA Senja Utama (Yogyakarta) and KA Sawunggaling (Kutoarjo).  State-owned railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) has canceled 28 routes of long-distance trains departing from Gambir, Pasar Senen and Jakarta Kota stations in Jakarta in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.Seventeen trains from Gambir Station, nine trains from Pasar Senen Station and two trains from Jakarta Kota Station will not be operating from April 1 to May 1.“This is our second cancellation for operational region [Daop] 1 Jakarta. We have enacted this policy as an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” KAI Daop 1 Jakarta spokesperson Eva Chairunisa said in a written statement on Sunday, adding that the policy was in accordance with the government’s appeal for the general public to stay at home.last_img read more

COVID-19 cases reported in all 34 provinces as death toll exceeds 300

first_imgEvery one of Indonesia’s 34 provinces has reported positive COVID-19 infections, according to the Health Ministry, with Gorontalo reporting its first confirmed case on Friday.”Today [Friday] we recorded 219 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 3,512 cases in 34 provinces,” the ministry’s disease control and prevention director general, Achmad Yurianto, said at a press conference.Gorontalo is the last province to confirm the presence of COVID-19 within its borders. Yurianto added that the country’s death toll had risen by 26 fatalities, bringing the total number of deaths nationwide to 306. Another 30 patients have recuperated from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 282.Read also: Indonesia was in denial over coronavirus. Now it may be facing a looming disasterAs the disease has reached every province of Indonesia, Yurianto encouraged regional leaders to submit a large-scale social distancing (PSBB) request to his ministry.”The government is providing a chance for all local administrations to request for PSBB in accordance with the current [procedures],” he said.Jakarta, the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, has been the only province that has implemented PSBB measures following approval from the Health Ministry. The policy took effect on Friday and will be in place until April 23.Yurianto also urged Jakartans to stay at home and follow PSBB rules.”We urge all Jakartans [to stay] at home, worship at home and carry out constructive activities at home,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Iran frees American, US allows dual citizen to visit Iran in deal

first_img“I just got off the phone with former American hostage Michael White, who is now in Zurich after being released from Iran. He will be on a US plane shortly, and is COMING HOME,” Trump said on Twitter.”Thank you to Iran, it shows a deal is possible!” Trump added.The Swiss Foreign Ministry confirmed it played a role in what it called “the humanitarian gesture” on White and Taheri and said it “stands ready” to help further.The negotiations to get White released followed several months of discussions with Iran, said a person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity.Taheri’s lawyer said Taheri would visit family in Iran and seek medical treatment before returning to the United States. He has pleaded guilty to violating US sanctions, the lawyer added.Rare bright spotThe deal is a rare bright spot in an otherwise deeply frayed relationship that has grown more hostile since Trump took office in 2017.Asked whether White’s release could be an opening in terms of US-Iranian relations, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told Fox News Channel: “Hopefully so.”US-Iranian relations have been bitter since the Islamic Revolution toppled the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979 and Iranian revolutionaries stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.Tensions flared after Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed US sanctions, and worsened after a Jan. 3 US drone strike in Iraq killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.Both nations have called for the release of prisoners due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Iran is one of the worst-hit countries in the Middle East, while the United States has reported the world’s highest number of deaths and infections.White’s release came two days after the United States deported Sirous Asgari, an Iranian professor imprisoned in the United States despite being acquitted on charges of stealing trade secrets. Iranian media reported his arrival on Wednesday.The US State Department and Iranian officials have denied Asgari was part of a swap with White or anyone else, calling his case separate.Last December, Washington and Tehran worked on a prisoner exchange in which Iran freed US citizen Xiyue Wang, who had been held for three years on spying charges, and the United States freed Iranian Massoud Soleimani, who faced charges of violating US sanctions on Iran.  A US Navy veteran who said he contracted the coronavirus while detained in Iran since 2018 was freed on Thursday as part of a deal in which the United States allowed an Iranian-American physician to visit Iran, his lawyer and a US official said.Iran’s decision to release American Michael White and the US move to let dual citizen Majid Taheri visit Iran, both of which were confirmed by Iran’s foreign minister, appeared to be a rare instance of US-Iranian cooperation.A White House spokesman expressed hope that White’s release could lead to an opening in the bitter relationship. The two nations are at odds on a host of issues including the US decision to abandon a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program and impose crippling economic sanctions on Tehran, as well as their jockeying for influence across the Middle East.White had been released from an Iranian prison in mid-March after being sentenced in 2019 for an unspecified offense, but had remained in Iran in the custody of Switzerland, which represents US interests in Iran since the two cut diplomatic ties shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.”I’m improving. I did contract coronavirus in the Mashhad central prison prior to going out on furlough. But I’m recovering pretty decently,” White told Fox News Channel on the tarmac of Zurich airport, adding he had been “in poor shape.””I feel all right, and happy to be back,” White said, thanking President Donald Trump “for his efforts both diplomatically and otherwise, making America great again.” He also thanked the Swiss Embassy in Tehran.center_img Topics :last_img read more

India holds funerals for soldiers killed in China border clash as tensions stay high

first_imgBut both blamed each other for the deadliest border clash at since 1967 and said they must rein in their troops.”The need of the hour was for Chinese side to reassess its action and take corrective action,” the Indian foreign ministry quoted Jaishankar has telling Wang.The Chinese diplomat said India must punish those responsible for the conflict and control its frontline troops, the Chinese foreign ministry said.Rising tensions with China – whose economy is five times bigger than India’s and has a better funded military – has become Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most serious foreign policy challenge since he took power in 2014. The two nuclear-armed countries fought a brief border war in 1962 and have had occasional flare-ups when patrols have confronted each other at the poorly defined Line of Actual Control, or the de facto border.But on Monday night, hundreds of soldiers fought with iron rods and clubs studded with nails in freezing heights for several hours.Dozens of people lined the street in the southern town of Suryapet as the body of army colonel B.Santosh Babu wrapped in the Indian flag was brought home.Funerals of other soldiers will also be taking place in their hometowns and villages, including several in the eastern state of Bihar.”The sacrifice of our soldiers will not be allowed to go waste,” Modi said.Hardline nationalist groups tied to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party have stepped up calls for a boycott of Chinese goods and cancellation of contracts with Chinese firms.”In the current situation, the China issue should not be taken lightly…In many cases, there may be Chinese money invested, but I think the regular things we buy from the market, one should certainly make sure that we avoid Chinese products,” Food and Consumer Affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan told the Economic Times.India’s financial markets have reacted nervously.Both the NSE Nifty 50 index and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index swung between minor gains and losses as investors fretted over Indo-China tensions.The Nifty was last up 0.15% at 9,897.85 by 0528 GMT, while the Sensex was up 0.05% at 33,523.63. India prepared to hold funerals on Thursday for some of the 20 soldiers killed in brutal hand-to-hand fighting with Chinese troops in a disputed mountainous border region, as the two governments sought to de-escalate tensions.Troops remained on alert at the Galwan Valley in the western Himalayas three days after the clashes, in which India said China had also suffered casualties.Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar spoke to top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on Wednesday and the two sides agreed not to take any steps to escalate matters and instead ensure peace and stability on the contested frontier.center_img Topics :last_img read more