State Lawmakers Examine COVID-19 Impact On Jails, Prisons

first_imgRainerzufall1234 / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0 / CC BY 2.0 MGN Image / Babak Farrokhi ALBANY – State lawmakers say there have been fairly low COVID-19 infection rates in people incarcerated in jails and prisons in New York.During a hearing Tuesday, officials disclosed there are about 37,000 inmates currently incarcerated and of those, 773 tested positive, 11,201 tested negative.In addition, officials said 1,329 staff members were positive and that 98 percent of those people have recovered and returned to work, according to Anthony Annucci, the acting commissioner of the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.Several measures were taken to help safekeep incarcerated people and staff members, including “…Removing non-essential staff from the workplace, the difficult decision of suspending visitation and programs, deploying masks to staff, and the incarcerated population to making hand sanitizers available,” Annucci said. There have also been “early release opportunities” for certain people serving time. He said the Department has expanded testing, offering more than 13,000 COVID diagnostic tests to those incarcerated.There have been 17 COVID-related fatalities of incarcerated individuals: five staff deaths and four parolee deaths. It’s a much different side-by-side comparison with facilities like nursing homes, officials said.Due to low infection rates, DOCCS has also “gradually” reintroduced non-essential staff and resumed some vocational and academic programs. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Nonstop Color.

first_imgThursdays and Saturdays Soon the flush of spring color will fade in your landscape. So then what? On “Gardening in Georgia” April 20 and 22, host Walter Reeves will show how to keep nonstop color in your yard. One solution, Reeves says, is to substitute colorful plants in hanging baskets to keep continuous color in your home landscape. Reeves will take a look at your landscape shrubs, too. He’ll show how to fertilize shrubs using both synthetic and organic methods. And he’ll examine types of rhododendrons that thrive in the Southeast. Finally, he’ll show how to prune those trees that were damaged in the January ice storm. Photo: UGA CAES Horticulturecenter_img Don’t miss “Gardening in Georgia” on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. or on Saturdays at 10 a.m. on Georgia Public Television. The show is designed especially for Georgia gardeners. “Gardening in Georgia” is produced by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and GPTV.last_img read more

Biden Will Run For President, Says Top Dem LI Fundraiser Jon Cooper

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York When former Suffolk Legis. Jon Cooper follows his heart in politics, he makes news. In 2008, the Huntington resident made headlines when he became the first elected Democrat here to throw his support to a long shot, an Illinois Senator running for president named Barack Obama, while the rest of the party establishment in New York was backing a sure thing, the Empire State’s junior Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now Cooper is making news about the 2016 presidential race—and once again it involves her.Early this month Cooper sent ripples nationwide when he announced that he would become the finance chairman of the Draft Joe Biden 2016 committee. It sounds like he’s betting on another long shot. Vice President Joe Biden, 72, still has 18 months left in the Obama administration. Biden has not announced that he’s running—and a story this Monday in The New York Times quoted anonymous aides discounting the notion that Biden ever would.But to Cooper, the former majority leader of the Suffolk Legislature, that story, despite the headline “Grieving Biden Focuses on Job He Has Now, Not the Next One,” was not the last word about the vice president, who’s still reeling from the loss of his son Beau to brain cancer. On Facebook, Cooper posted the article with the comment: “Obviously that reporter is talking to different folks than I’m talking to.”In fact, Cooper claims that this week top officials in the Draft Biden organization have been contacted by half a dozen people in Biden’s “inner circle” who sent them “very encouraging signals.” He says they’ve also heard from “a growing number” of White House staffers, both current and former, who are “actively expressing support” for a presidential run by Biden.“I really think this is going to happen,” Cooper told the Press. His gut feeling is that Biden will declare his candidacy “over the next two or three weeks, if not by the end of this month, then by the first week of August; and everything I’ve heard, certainly over the past two or three days, tends to reinforce that.”Cooper and his pro-Biden cohort can’t wait. Their seemingly quixotic campaign has drawn interest from the Washington Post to the National Journal and beyond.“When he does enter the race, it’ll be a game changer,” Cooper said. “It’s going to upend the whole campaign. Overnight the vice president will be able to put a fundraising structure in place because he’ll be able to draw on all the folks who raised money for Obama. A disproportionate number of them will be willing to sign on with Joe Biden.”That day may never come, insists Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, a long-time Hillary Clinton supporter, a current member of the Democratic National Committee and the former leader of the New York Democratic State Committee.“No, I don’t believe he would run,” the politically well-connected Jacobs told the Press. “Because if he would run, he would be talking to two sets of people, and we’d know it. One, he’d be talking to major financial people around the country, and, no disrespect, but Jon Cooper’s not one of those; and number two, he would be talking to major campaign operatives that he would need to be lining up to help run his campaign, and he has not been talking to them.”Before enlisting in the Draft Biden 2016 enterprise, Cooper, the president of the Spectronics Corporation based in Westbury, was a top Obama “bundler” for his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, even serving as the regional chair of the Obama Victory Trustees, a major group of donors. Now he’s been joined by Shiva Sarram, a Connecticut woman who was a major Obama fundraiser; she reportedly hosted a luncheon in 2008 that netted Obama “nearly $400,000.” According to Cooper, the Draft Biden SuperPAC has begun focusing on South Carolina, one of the early states to hold primaries next year, and will probably spend “about $15,000” in outreach over the next couple of weeks to identify potential Biden supporters in the Palmetto State and build up his donor base.“I think that clearly there’s no one better suited than Joe Biden to carry on the legacy of the Obama administration and to continue the great work they did together as a team,” said Cooper. “He was part of the administration from Day One, and he supported Obama on every initiative.”“Joe Biden would be a wonderful person to run if we didn’t already have another wonderful person running!” countered Jacobs. “When you’re groping around for anybody else, it’s really more about personal agendas than it is about the political agenda.”The 2016 Democratic race for president is split between “Hillary Clinton and the anti-Hillary Clintons,” Jacobs explained. “That’s really what this is.”The numbers for the anti-Clinton candidates look daunting, Jacobs said, at least on the Democratic side of the accounts ledger.“Hillary Clinton just raised $45 million to become the 45th president and nobody else is near that,” Jacobs said. “Bernie Sanders raised $15 million. Anybody else who comes into the race is going to have to split up the anti-Hillary money even further.” The New York Democratic leader seriously doubted that Clinton supporters, whether grassroots volunteers or financial benefactors, will start “peeling off to go now with Joe Biden or any other candidate. We’re committed.”Cooper recounted how he came to this critical juncture. The day Hillary Clinton formally announced her 2016 candidacy for the White House, a friend of his from the Obama campaign reached out to him and asked if he’d become “a Hill-Starter,” someone who’d commit to raise $27,000 in 27 days for her. Cooper agreed, but when it came time for him to draft an email to his extensive contact list, he was unable to enunciate his rationale for supporting Clinton.“I couldn’t do it; I really tried,” recalled Cooper. He said he labored for a couple of hours trying to draft his email. “My heart just wasn’t in it.”He wrote his friend back that he was on the fence. His ambivalence ended up in a Newsday column, which “accurately” quoted his reaction to Clinton’s candidacy as “meh!” His lack of enthusiasm got widely circulated by political pundits in media circles, Cooper claims, and calls started coming in. Jacobs tried to no avail to get him back on board with Clinton. Then Cooper heard from two of her rivals: former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who spent hours on the phone with him, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who ultimately took him to a Manhattan steakhouse for dinner. About two weeks ago the executive director and the finance director of the Draft Biden group flew out to meet him, and that sealed the deal.“I was convinced that it was very likely that Joe Biden would be running,” Cooper said. So he signed on.Even now, with more “encouraging signs” that Biden’s presidential declaration is imminent, Cooper insists that his support for Obama’s vice president has nothing to do with his attitude toward the former Secretary of State.“I really don’t want to criticize Hillary,” Cooper said. “I like her. I respect her. But I think she’s a little too cautious and calculating and managed for my taste; whereas with Joe Biden, he’s not afraid to lead; he’s not afraid to speak his mind. Sometimes he’s been ahead of the curve—and ahead of Obama on some issues—and I like and respect that, and I think it really resonates. I think the American people like that.”Vice President Joe Biden has yet to say if he’s running for president. (White House Photo by David Lienemann)For five years, Cooper and his husband Rob and their kids would spend New Year’s Eve at Hilton Head, S.C., where the Clintons were also attending the Renaissance Weekend festivities at the famous resort. Once Cooper was elected Suffolk legislator, he stopped going there.“We did get to know the Clintons, not that we are friends, but certainly we got to hang out with them. I still like her and respect her,” Cooper said. “I have to do what my heart dictates.”As for those pushing the candidacy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Cooper scoffed. “I just don’t think a Democratic Socialist has a chance in the general election…I think Joe Biden would be the strongest of the Democratic candidates.”The first time Cooper met Biden, they had a long talk in Manhattan after the vice president had given a speech at an Obama fundraiser in 2012, and he was impressed by Biden’s range and commitment—as well as his personal style.“He didn’t know me from Adam!” Cooper said. “He wanted to continue the conversation…even though I was somebody he’d never met before. That’s Joe Biden!”Cooper adamantly does not believe his supporting Biden is doing the bidding of the Republican SuperPACs and their well-oiled attack machines, not to mention the plethora of GOP candidates who are out to slime Hillary Clinton any way they can.“I don’t buy into that at all,” Cooper said. “I think a primary is a good thing for the Democratic Party and will increase the chance that we’ll win the general election.”He recalled hearing what Sen. Obama said to a dwindling group of supporters huddled at a restaurant in New Hampshire after he’d just lost that state’s Democratic primary in 2008 to Sen. Clinton.“Obama gave one of the best speeches I heard him give the entire campaign,” Cooper said. “He said that ‘if we had won tonight, the primary campaign would have been over. But now this is proof that we’ll have a tough battle ahead, Hillary’s going to be a formidable opponent, and it will make me a much better candidate; it’s going to toughen me up.’”Cooper insisted that the ultimate results proved Obama right in 2008 and the same scenario now in the primary would make Clinton a stronger candidate in 2016—assuming she’s the eventual Democratic nominee.“It doesn’t have to be a negative campaign,” Cooper claimed. “If there’s a primary campaign on the issues, as I hope it will be, then…whether it’s Hillary or Joe or Bernie, I think they’re going to be a stronger candidate for it, and it’s going to toughen them up for the general election battle against whoever the Republican nominee is.”On Monday at the New School in Greenwich Village, Clinton delivered what The New York Times called the “most comprehensive policy speech of her presidential campaign,” in which she evoked her vision of a “growth and fairness economy” to close the gap between rich and poor and give the middle class a lift while taxing the wealthiest Americans and expanding social services.“She spoke in broad strokes and she tried to hit the progressive talking points,” Cooper conceded. “But if you’re looking for specifics and details, I still don’t know what minimum wage she’d support… I want specifics; I don’t want generalities. At least with Joe Biden you get that.”Jacobs thought Clinton’s speech was right on the money.“She is laying out the platform that a candidate running for president ought to be laying out with enough information to give people a general sense,” Jacobs said. “You do not write every bill for every issue and present it to the public in a campaign. Give the public the sense of what your general view is, your philosophy, and your hopes and aspirations for the future, your vision. That is what they vote on. Whether Hillary believes in the $15 minimum wage or in the $14.75 minimum wage or the $15.25 minimum wage, I’m saying those are words from someone groping for an excuse—and it’s not a good one.”Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considered the favorite to represent the Democratic party in the 2016 Presidential election. (State Department Photo)Another bone of contention between these two top Long Island Democrats is the issue over Clinton’s release of her private emails when she was Secretary of State. Jacobs referred to the House Select Committee’s focus on her tenure in office as a partisan fishing expedition led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina conservative, who’s trying to smear the prospective Democratic presidential front-runner by making the Benghazi attack and her private emails a campaign issue for the Republicans rather than an objective investigation into what happened in Libya that night in 2012 when four Americans were killed at the poorly protected compound.“This is politics,” exclaimed Jacobs. “This is all about trying to embarrass somebody running for president.”By comparison, Cooper insists that “there are some valid issues being raised. I don’t think it’s fair to blame it all on the right-wing media…” He said he’s “not buying into the Benghazi thing, but the way her emails were handled” looked bad, producing “horrible optics.”Those issues aside, Cooper says the race for the White House is really about another branch of government.“The next president is going to appoint at least three justices to the Supreme Court, and it’s scary if it goes the wrong way,” he said. “If there’s a Republican elected, it could easily unravel all the progress that we’ve made over the past 10, 20 years. I think it’s critically important that we elect a candidate with the least amount of baggage, who can speak to the American people and can gain the respect of the American people, and I honestly think it’s Joe Biden.”Jacobs has kind words for Biden but he thinks Cooper is sadly mistaken.“I like Joe Biden an awful lot. I think he’s a great guy,” said Jacobs, adding that he thought Biden wouldn’t win a New York Democratic primary. “I just don’t feel that this is his time. At the end of the day, I don’t think that he feels it is, either.”Fortunately for Clinton, all hope is not lost on Cooper.“If Hillary ends up being the nominee, I’ll support her,” Cooper said. “Whoever the Democratic nominee is I’ll support. Having Joe Biden run against Hillary Clinton…she will be a better nominee for it.”She probably doesn’t see it that way, but so it goes with Jon Cooper, an affluent and influential Long Island Democrat who follows his heart and puts his money where his mouth is.last_img read more

Human Rights Group Publishes Legal Justification For Bush, CIA Torture Probe

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]A[/dropcap] substantial amount of compelling evidence exists to justify a new investigation into former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and more than a dozen other administration officials connected to the CIA’s once secretive torture program, according to a scathing report just published by nonprofit Human Rights Watch.The non-governmental global human rights organization released a 154-page report this week dubbed “No More Excuses,” in which it criticizes the United States government for its failure to hold accountable the CIA’s post-Sept. 11th torture masterminds—those who authorized controversial interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and rectal feeding, as well as the utilization of “Black Sites” across the globe, where these tactics were implemented—an oversight that sullies the country’s reputation and weakens its authority abroad, the report argues. Failure to punish the architects of the torture program, Human Rights Watch warns, leaves the door open to future abuses by US officials.Human Rights Watch also called on governments of other nations to investigate the “egregious abuse of prisoners” condoned by Bush administration officials and the CIA.“The US government has not adequately accounted for these abuses,” the report states. “It has an obligation under international law to prosecute torture where warranted and provide redress to victims, but it has done neither. No one with real responsibility for these crimes has been held accountable, and the government has actively thwarted attempts on the part of victims to obtain redress and compensation in US courts.”The authors of the Human Rights Watch study rely on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture report,” the rights organization’s own reporting, and other published material to support their conclusion.“No More Excuses,” which also includes years of research on the once-covert CIA torture program and interviews with five former detainees, examines the Bush administration’s justification for what the White House referred to as “enhanced interrogation,” the actual techniques used on detainees, and how such practices are, in the report’s view, illegal. Officially there were 119 known CIA detainees, 26 of whom were considered “wrongly held.”The report calls on US Attorney Loretta Lynch, with President Obama’s backing, to appoint a special prosecutor to initiate a federal probe that would rely on interviews with current and former detainees.“We’re saying that there is enormous amount of information now in the public record…that one, there was enormous amount of conduct that went beyond what was authorized, and the Justice Department should take a fresh look at that evidence, which includes what is in the Senate torture report and what also has been released since then, and talk to detainees,” Laura Pitter, senior national security co-counsel for Human Rights Watch, and the author of the report, tells the Press. “There are plenty who are out of US custody…There’s no reason why those investigations shouldn’t be pursued.” Leslie Haskell, former counsel in the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, also contributed to the report.The report’s most audacious recommendation calls for an in-depth Department of Justice review of torture under the Bush administration—and it points to specific criminal violations the architects and others involved should face: torture, assault, sexual abuse, war crimes and conspiracy to commit such crimes.The organization argues that the CIA’s torture program is in direct violation of the Convention Against Torture, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1984 and signed by the United States on April 18, 1988, under President Ronald Reagan.“By giving its advice and consent to ratification of this Convention, the Senate of the United States will demonstrate unequivocally our desire to bring an end to the abhorrent practice of torture,” Reagan said in a letter to the US Senate in May 1988. The torture statute was ratified by Congress in 1994.The report names President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former CIA Director George Tenent, then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and about a dozen others involved in the torture program.Human Rights Watch’s insistence for renewed investigations comes almost a year to the day that the CIA’s detention and torture program was admonished in a long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report that relied on 6.3 million CIA records. Members of the committee spent five years investigating the program, and concluded that it was ineffective, deeply flawed and “far more brutal” than the government previously disclosed to the American public and lawmakers. To the disappointment of Human Rights Watch and other transparency advocates, the so-called torture report only contains a summary of the committee’s findings. Its most controversial assessment, that torture did not in any way produce “imminent threat intelligence,” discredited the Bush administration’s premise that the program was an effective intelligence-gathering tool.“Failure on the part of the US to abide by its obligations to prosecute torture,” says Pitter, “undermines the ability to advocate against torture around the world and it gives other countries a readied excuse to ignore their legal obligations as well.”In the spirit of transparency, Human Rights Watch also recommended that President Obama declassify the entire Senate Intelligence committee report to “ensure there is a full public accounting of government wrongdoing and that victims of torture can obtain redress.”“This is one of the most serious human rights violations that the US has engaged in as a country—the state sanctioned program of torture that was operated globally,” says HRW’s Pitter. “It’s important that the country and the people understand how it happened and what happened exactly.”When previously pressed on initiating probes into the CIA’s terror program, the Obama administration has often evoked the so-called “Durham Investigation,” which Pitter criticized as flawed.“That investigation never looked at the authorization of the program itself as part of any criminal conduct,” she says. “It only looked at conduct that went beyond what was authorized.”Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation began in 2008 but was limited to only examining the destruction of interrogation videotapes by the CIA. In 2009, then-Attorney General Eric Holder instructed Durham to investigate whether any federal laws were broken in connection with the interrogation program, but Holder noted the “Department would not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees,” according to an August 2012 DOJ press release.When the Senate torture report was released, several human rights organizations called for those authorizing the program to be prosecuted. HRW and the American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to Holder urging him to conduct a full investigation into the matter. The joint letter acknowledged that Holder’s office had previously reviewed the program, but noted that the torture report would provide investigators with relevant information previously unavailable to them.The Germany-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights went a step further and filed a criminal complaint against the torture program’s perpetrators and accused several Bush administration officials of war crimes.Joining the chorus of those condemning the practice was The New York Times, which shortly after the report was released, published an editorial titled: “Prosecute Tortures and their Bosses.”“I think time is running out” to fully investigate the program, Pitter laments. “Obama only has a year in office, he shouldn’t want this to become part of his legacy—a legacy that leaves torture open as a policy option.“We’ve seen presidential candidates today defending those prior practices and talking about using them again,” she adds. “If Obama doesn’t draw a clear line of criminality across what happened, he basically leaves that door open and that’s a very dangerous precedent to set.”last_img read more

Tenet Blu-Ray, Digital Release Date Set for December — but Not in India

first_imgTenet will be available on Blu-ray and digital storefronts in December, Warner Bros. has announced. The exact dates are December 14 in the UK, December 15 in the US, and December 16 in Australia. This doesn’t include India as it only applies to markets where the Christopher Nolan film released theatrically in August or September. Tenet still doesn’t have a theatrical release date in India, though the epic time-bending espionage movie is expected to premiere in the country before the end of the year. It might even happen in November, now that Maharashtra (the state with the highest number of screens) has given the go ahead for cinemas to reopen.Christopher Nolan Is Making a Mistake With Tenet- Advertisement – Of course, there’s no way to stop you from buying Tenet digitally on an international store. Imported Blu-rays are also regularly available on Amazon and Flipkart. Warner Bros. will open Tenet Blu-ray and digital pre-orders on November 10. In the US, the UK, and Australia, Tenet will be available digitally on Amazon Video, Apple TV (formerly iTunes Store), DirecTV, Google Play Movies / YouTube Movies, FandangoNOW, Fetch TV, Microsoft Store, Rakuten TV, Redbox, Sky Store, Talk Talk TV, Telstra TV, and Vudu, depending on whichever are available in your region. On disc, Tenet will be on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.Shot largely with IMAX cameras, Tenet will be available in 2.20:1 aspect ratio with some scenes in 1.78:1 at native 4K (2160p) resolution. There’s no Dolby Atmos track on the Tenet Blu-ray, which is in keeping with Nolan’s preference for lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. There’s no support for Dolby Vision HDR too, but you do get HDR10, for what it’s worth. Tenet 4K UHD Blu-ray will come with three discs: one for the Tenet 4K HDR version, one for the full-HD version, and the third for extras. Warner Bros. has announced just one feature as yet — “Looking at the World in a New Way: The Making of Tenet, an hour-long exploration of the development and production of the film as told by the cast and crew.”Tenet is out on Blu-ray and digital December 14 in the UK, December 15 in the US, and December 16 in Australia. Warner Bros. India operates with a two-month window between theatrical and Blu-ray, so don’t expect Tenet to be officially available on disc and digital before January 2021.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Booking.com and Airbnb agree: Host accommodation is a worldwide hit

first_imgTHINK GLOBALLY – ACT LOCALLYThis thought accompanies me throughout my life. I’ve always wanted to know “what’s going on behind the hill.” Once upon a time, the world was not very accessible, information passed through strict filters and local “prophets” spread news that corresponded to the then supreme class in a different social order. We marveled at the world beyond national borders and admired the stories of guests, friends who came from that “outside world”. Today we live in a democratic, open society, information is often “at our fingertips”. Personally, I prefer first-hand information, so on this occasion I will convey news that may not yet have “circulated” through the information network of the Croatian media space.TOURIST GIANTS, LEADERS OF THE NEW AGEAirbnbAirbnb was founded 10 years ago. It was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk. In 2011, Airbnb entered the world market for the first time with its platform. Since then, they have accommodated 300 million passengers and today they have 4,5 million accommodation facilities in 191 countries around the world. Airbnb is present in 400 cities worldwide. In 2017, their total turnover was $ 2,6 billion, operating profit $ 450 million, net profit $ 93 million. The value of the company is estimated at $ 30 billion. They have relatively few employees, about 3.000. So far, they have made 142 million arrivals in Europe and generated a turnover of 17 billion USD. But 10 years ago, according to Nathan Blecharczyk, almost no one believed that what they launched would lead to such a result. “Do you think people will stay in other people’s homes?” Was one of the most common questions.Listening to the presentation of this young engineer born in 1983, I felt a special positive energy that goes beyond all existing stereotypes, prejudices and barriers. Nathan Blecharczyk started programming at the age of 12, making money from the job at the age of 14. He completed his higher education at the prestigious Harvard University which he paid for himself from the income of his entrepreneurial activities during the entire period of his studies. In 2005 he joined OPNET Tehnologies as an engineer, continued his career as the chief development engineer of Batiqua and finally in 2008 he founded the world-famous Airbnb with his partners in charge of development.Vision, strategy, actionBig data digital technology, along with increasingly developed artificial intelligence, allows Airbnby, as well as other giants of the digital age, to collect and analyze a huge amount of data from their business environment. This data processing takes place in an incredibly short time, followed by new supply models that are tested in a real environment. All this process gave Airbnb an insight into the greatest values ​​of modern tourist supply and demand.In simple terms, Airbnb asked the hosts what their ideal guest should be like and the guests were asked what their ideal host should be. Out of that came two “personas”, Superhost and Bestgest.Superhost Quality ClubIn addition to all the current benefits enjoyed by the hosts with the title “Superhost”, in the coming days they will be offered new benefits such as a prize in the form of vouchers with a certain amount for travel or free photography of their accommodation, especially affordable prices for “smart” appliances. assistance in paying benefits, an incentive bonus for attracting new guests.By the summer, the possibility of access to Airbnb marketing partners, the possibility of “distance learning” – free webinars to improve business, followed by the offer of various contents with discounts for guests, the possibility of testing tools to better list the offer and other benefits to be enjoyed by hosts. from the “quality club” “Superhost”.Offer specializationThe huge amount of offered accommodation options that are available to the guest today, is becoming an increasing obstacle to the rapid and efficient selection of accommodation that meets the basic habits and needs of the guest. For that reason, Airbnb is launching a new offer of basic “brands” and “sub-brands”. This makes it easier to find the ideal accommodation.The offer starts with the “Shared room” category, which is basically renting a sofa in the house. This is followed by the offer “Private room” (classic double room), then “Entire home” (residential house), “Vacation home” (cottage), “Bed & breakfast” (bed and breakfast), “Boutique” (professionally organized service , such as small family hotels, hostels, etc.) and “Unique” (unusual accommodation such as a tree house, caravan on the beach, etc.).These basic “brands” are followed by “sub-brands”, “narrower specialization”. Such an offer can be offered by the hosts from the “quality club” “Superhost”. The main “subcategories” or “subbrands” are “Dinner party”, “Family”, “Honeymoon”, “Wedding”, “Group getaway”, “One-of-a-kind”, “Social stays”, “Work” and “Accessible.”Airbnb plus and Beautiful HomesBut that’s not all, because a special offer called “Airbnbplus” is being launched. This offer will be offered by hosts with an average rating of 4,8 (out of 5), with 95% acceptance of prices with 0% cancellation. These hosts take care of their guests personally, they have taken care of the special design of their accommodation, they have a specially decorated and harmonized interior. These objects are presented as “Beautiful Homes”. Guests of this accommodation can order and receive services such as transportation, groceries and the like in the household. The best hosts will also have a special logistical support from Airnbnbia called “premium support”. All of the above will be tested in Croatia as well. I managed to notice that Split is on the list of destinations.Booking.comBooking.com was founded back in 1997 in Amsterdam. In 2002, Booking.com had only 7 employees. Among them was Gillian Tans, who chairs the company today. 2005 Booking.com joins the Priceline Group as the group’s smallest company. In 2018, the entire group changes its name to Booking holdings. The planetarily popular brand has imposed itself on Pricelinecom, Kayak, Agodacom, Rentalcarscom, Opentable.Booking.com itself today has more than 1,5 million accommodations in 225 countries around the world, employing 17.000 people in 198 offices worldwide. The offer via Booking.com is translated into 43 world languages ​​and 1,5 million overnight stays are realized every day through this platform. Booking has 17.500 distribution partners and has had one billion overnight stays since its inception. In 2016, the entire group had total revenue of $ 10,743 billion. Operating profit was $ 2,906 billion and net profit was $ 2,134 billion.2016. The group realized 556,6 million overnight stays, 66,6 million rented car days and 7,3 million airline tickets sold.Change of Booking.com courseBooking.com began its business career as a platform for hotel accommodation. Airbnb’s success, which began by offering only accommodation in private homes and apartments, has led to a gradual “change of course” for Booking.com. Today, they have every third request for accommodation in private houses and apartments. This brings booking closer to Airbnb’s business model. Booking is rapidly looking for new opportunities to “pass” modern travelers. 2.000 Booking.com employees are working on developing new products. Each new proposal is developed in two variants and each variant is tested in a real environment on a selected sample of users.Employees are divided into small teams that hold a meeting each morning on the topic of observations about possible improvements to the system. Each proposal is considered and each development engineer has access to the company’s CEO. Gillian Tans has gone through all the jobs in the company from the most basic to the current position of CEO.Some of the main directions of the company’s development strategy are artificial intelligence, big data systems and personalization of the offer. Each person sees a certain offer in a different way, depending on personal preferences, attitudes, opinions, the nature of the trip, the needs of that trip. Accommodation search will be further developed in just such a way, from the perspective of personalized search.Booking.com in CroatiaPhoto: Booking.comIt has not been more than 6 years since we persuaded Expedia to offer family accommodation in Croatia through its platform. It was on one of the world’s major tourism exchanges. Then they flatly rejected us with the explanation that they only mediate towards hotel houses. Not even a year later, by making a strategic, now historic decision, Booking.com in Croatia is moving strongly towards family accommodation. Today, they have an offer in more than 86.000 facilities. In 2017 alone, more than 25.000 new apartments and more than 5.000 holiday homes and 49 hotels are on offer. Host accommodation, as Booking.com calls it, is the biggest hit.How does Croatia stand on the Booking.com platform?The trends are as follows: Weekend trips are on the rise, as many as 47% of passengers in this group claim to be traveling more this year than last. 43% of passengers will replace distant destinations with trips closer to home. 45% of travelers compile a list of destinations they want to visit and as many as 34% of travelers want to revisit a destination they visited as children. Fans of the film industry want to visit destinations – sets of famous film series, as many as 36% of them. As many as 56% of passengers prefer active rest and care for their health.How is Croatian family accommodation on the Booking.com platform?Travel in small groups will increase by 25% and as many as 64% of travelers want to try local specialties and customs, and appreciate the interaction with the host. Among the top 20 cities in the world with the highest number of awards for guest reviews, there are as many as 4 Croatian ones: Split in 2nd place, Zadar in 9th place, Dubrovnik in 10th place and Zagreb in 19th place.What are the guests looking for? They are looking for accommodation in a certain place. They choose the order according to: price, reviews, distance from the center. Included search filters are: price, number of stars, WIFI, free parking. The user of the platform watches the search results on average for 1 minute. It stays on the object page for an average of 2 minutes. As many as 9 out of 10 passengers will book faster if relevant, clear high-resolution photos are displayed on the page. The passenger pays the greatest attention to the lower third of the screen when searching. You can draw your own conclusions based on the information provided.Croatian accommodation with the hosts is the best in the world!Finally, the information that the highest average rating of the review is in the country, among the top 30 countries (according to the total number of awards) – in Croatia. The average rating of Croatian hosts is 9.0!You can “kill the messenger” but not the newsThis old saying has a new meaning in the context of an attempt to disparage the quality of Croatian family accommodation – accommodation with the host. Regardless of what the (non) representatives of the interests of real estate lobbies with large capital do, travel and the demand for accommodation will develop according to the trends followed by the tourist giants. Among them, Airbnb and Booking.com are currently the largest and most significant. They “lead the game.” However, if the players change, the game will certainly not be changed by those who participate in it, and especially not by the Croatian “players”.The time of regime “prophets” is over and the traditional economy is also a thing of the past. According to experts’ predictions in 2025 (in just 7 years), the new, “sharing economy” will reach the turnover of the old, traditional economy. Similar to changes in tourism, there are changes in the energy sector (renewable energy sources), transport (superfast trains, e-driverless cars, etc.) and in other sectors.I hope that, until the complete change of the economic model, the political elites in power in Croatia will not make the wrong moves that would take us even further away from joining world trends.Maybe they would do the most if they didn’t do anything.Author: Nedo Pinezić www.nedopinezic.com</p>
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It’s for aromatherapy, not an antivirus: Ministry backtracks on anti-COVID-19 necklace claims

first_imgFadjry, however, said that the ministry had yet to test the products’ effectiveness on samples of the SARS-nCoV-2019 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.He nevertheless claimed that the products could be used to remedy known symptoms of COVID-19, such as breathing difficulties.He added that the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java, and Hasanuddin University in Makassar, South Sulawesi, had offered to conduct clinical tests on the eucalyptus-based inventions.The ministry is also looking to sell the eucalyptus products overseas, and has filed patents for the products in Singapore, Malaysia and India.Experts have expressed skepticism about the efficacy of the eucalyptus-based treatments, saying that no drugs have been clinically proven to prevent or cure COVID-19 to date.Topics : According to Fadjry, the BPOM only required laboratory and testimonial tests to classify herbal products, whereas antivirus claims would mandate pre-clinical and clinical trials on products.Photographs published by the ministry showed the necklace with an “Anti Virus Corona” label. Fadjry said that the necklace in the photo was a prototype and the ministry would remove the antivirus label and market it as aromatherapy accessory upon release.“We used the antivirus label to lift the spirits of our researchers,” he said.Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo had previously claimed that the eucalyptus products had been tested on influenza as well as beta and gamma coronaviruses and was able to kill 80 to 100 percent of the viruses. The Agriculture Ministry is dialing back on its previous claim about developing an “antivirus necklace” that can help prevent COVID-19 transmission, saying that the product is merely a “health accessory” for aromatherapy.Agriculture Ministry Research and Development Department head Fadjry Djufry said in a recent press conference that the upcoming eucalyptus products – which include necklaces, roll-ons and mini inhalers – would not be marketed as having antivirus capabilities.“There is no antivirus claim there because [the National Agency for Drug and Food Control (BPOM)] classifies them as herbal products,” Fadjry said on Monday.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Appoints Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick Acting State Police Commissioner

first_imgGovernor Wolf Appoints Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick Acting State Police Commissioner Press Release,  Public Safety Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick as acting Pennsylvania State Police commissioner to succeed Colonel Tyree C. Blocker following his planned retirement on March 23. Evanchick will serve as acting commissioner until the next commissioner is approved by the General Assembly.“I thank Colonel Blocker for his many years of dedicated service to the State Police and am pleased to appoint Lt. Col. Evanchick as acting commissioner,” Gov. Wolf said. “Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick’s 36 years of experience with the State Police, beginning with his service in NE Pennsylvania to his most recent role as deputy commissioner of operations, have been served with integrity and commitment to the State Police and the citizens of Pennsylvania, and I have every confidence in his ability to lead the department.”Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick enlisted in the PSP in 1981, after two years as a police officer with the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department. As he rose through the ranks, he served as a station commander and troop commander, as well as the director of the department’s Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards. He was promoted to deputy commissioner of operations, overseeing the administration, coordination, and supervision of field operations for the PSP in 2017.“I have been proud to call myself a Pennsylvania State Trooper for nearly four decades,” said Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick. “It is a distinct honor to be named acting commissioner, following in the footsteps of a man the caliber of Colonel Blocker, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the 6,300 enlisted and civilian members of the department.”Colonel Blocker previously announced that he will retire from the department effective March 23, 2018. Colonel Blocker has served as the 22nd Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police since August 2015.Colonel Blocker began his career in 1975 as a trooper, rising to the rank of major before temporarily retiring in 2005.“As I look back on nearly 33 years of service with PSP, I am filled with gratitude toward the men and women of the department that make it ‘the first and finest’” Colonel Blocker said. “Without them, we would not be able to provide the professional, quality police services that the citizens of Pennsylvania expect and deserve. I am confident that Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick and the rest of the department leadership will continue to guide the organization forward.”For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit www.psp.pa.gov. March 22, 2018center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Dutch maritime scheme says merger would mean benefit cuts

first_imgThe Dutch industry scheme for the maritime construction sector has decided against merging with another pension fund.The €1.2bn Bpf Waterbouw said that continuing as an independent scheme would be the best option for all participants and pensioners.The board said it based its conclusion on a survey by consultancy Sprenkels & Verschuren into the pros and cons of joining one of the larger sector schemes, such as PGB, building industry scheme BpfBouw, or the fund for the merchant navy (Bpf Koopvaardij).The study was initiated by the board and the ‘social partners’ of employers and unions, with the latter considering joining the multi-sectoral scheme PGB for further pension accrual. However, the study found that, if Waterbouw transferred its pension rights to BpfBouw or Bpf Koopvaardij, the scheme would have had to cut pension rights straight away, because of its lower funding ratio relative to BpfBouw and Bpf Koopvaardij.Waterbouw had a coverage ratio of 104.6% at June-end, while the coverage ratios of Bouw and Koopvaardij stood at 110% and 109.7%, respectively.If Waterbouw joined PGB, the future chances of rights discounts would be bigger, the board concluded.Compared to the other pension funds, Waterbouw had a low interest rate hedge – 25% against 50%. It also had a relatively large securities allocation, with 44.7% invested in equity and 11.4% in property.Waterbouw, which carries out its administration in-house, compared favourably to the other schemes on cost, in particular regarding asset management costs.The employers and unions still need to decide whether Waterbouw is to continue as an active or as a closed pension fund.Contracting out the pension arrangements would not be easy, as the pension plan has a lower-than-average accrual rate. In addition, there is no part of employees’ salary that is exempt from pension accrual, unlike many other Dutch schemes.Waterbouw said it wanted to extend the one-year contract for companies that have voluntarily joined the pension fund to a five-year term, to reduce the risk of companies leaving the scheme suddenly.It also said that it would look into the options of contracting out its pension provision to decrease its vulnerability as a self-administering scheme.Bpf Waterbouw has 2,850 active participants, 3,205 deferred members and 5,785 pensioners.last_img read more

Ross University to spend over 100 million dollars in reconstruction works

first_img 65 Views   one comment Share EducationLocalNewsTertiary Ross University to spend over 100 million dollars in reconstruction works by: – August 25, 2011 Tweet Photo credit: imed.zotters.orgThe government of Dominica will soon sign a new agreement with the Ross University School of Medicine to increase the number of students at the Portsmouth based educational facility.Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says the school of medicine is expected to spend over one hundred million dollars in redeveloping the campus.He says this will significantly boost economic activities in the north.“We are still in negotiations with Ross University. Ross has at present about 1300 students and we will soon be signing with them, a new charter that we are now negotiating with them. This is going to be a very positive sign for the people of Dominica and Portsmouth as well,” he said.Skerrit told the Next Level Program that the new contract is seeking to increase the number of students from 1300 to 1510 by next year.“By 2015 we want to increase the number of students to 2000. Over the next four years, the Ross University will spend over 100 million dollars to re-develop the campus,” he added.Dominica Vibes Newscenter_img Sharing is caring! Share Sharelast_img read more