Voting Centers Have Closed

first_img Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Community News 10 recommendedShareShareTweetSharePin it Herbeauty6 Signs You’re Not Ready To Be In A RelationshipHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyHe Is Totally In Love With You If He Does These 7 ThingsHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty6 Lies You Should Stop Telling Yourself Right NowHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyIs It Normal To Date Your BFF’s Ex?HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyIs It Bad To Give Your Boyfriend An Ultimatum?HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyCostume That Makes Actresses Beneath Practically UnrecognizableHerbeautyHerbeauty Make a comment faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Community News top box 1 Voting Centers Have Closed Published on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 8:00 pm Subscribe EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDScenter_img Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Business News Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * First Heatwave Expected Next Week Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy More Cool Stuff Top of the News Pasadena Now is awaiting the first results in the local elections.These are the races we are following:Mayor – Incumbent Terry Tornek is facing challenges from District 5 Councilman Victor Gordo, Major Williams and Jason Hardin.District 1 – Tyron Hampton is running unopposed, Hampton wins! Hampton wins!District 2 – Tricia Keane, Kevin Litwin, Bo Patatian and Felicia Williams are running to replace Margaret McAustinDistrict 4 – Incumbent Gene Masuda is squaring off against Char Bland, Joe Baghdadlian and Kevin Wheeler.District 6 – Incumbent Steve Madison is facing Ryan Bell and Tamerlin Godley.Pasadena City College Board of TrusteesArea No. 2Jim Osterling is facing Kenneth RotterArea No. 4Hoyt Hillsman is facing Tammy Silver28th Congressional DistrictDemocratsIncumbent Adam SchiffAra Khachig ManoogianChad D. AndersonG. “Maebe A. Girl” PudloSal GenoveseRepublicansEric EarlyWilliam BodellNo Declared PartyJennifer Barbosa27th Congressional DistrictDemocratsIncumbent Judy ChuRepublicansBeatrice CardenasJohnny J. NalbandianUndeclaredChristian DalyCounty Supervisor, Fifth District Kathryn Barger, incumbentDarrell ParkJohn C. Harabedianlast_img read more

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Mayor accuses city staff of underminingEarly swearing-in ceremony was on Tuesday afternoon

first_img Facebook TAGS  By Digital AIM Web Support – December 23, 2020 Odessa’s new mayor was sworn in Tuesday and by Wednesday was accusing city staff of intentionally undermining him while also saying he and two new council members were ‘suspicious’ that they were not consulted about a scheduled Jan. 12 swearing-in. City officials had already scheduled a public swearing-in ceremony during council’s next regular business meeting on Jan. 12, but new Mayor Javier Joven said he, Denise Swanner and Mark Matta became suspicious and concerned that their swearing-in would not occur until a month after the Dec. 15 runoff election, Joven said. Election results were officially certified Tuesday. Joven also accused the city’s public information department of intentionally trying to undermine him by not notifying the public in a timely manner that he and two new council members were being sworn into office on Tuesday. The press notice, which Joven said he wrote himself, was distributed more than two hours after the private swearing-in ceremony took place for Joven and new council members Matta and Swanner. The ceremony was held at 3 p.m. at the Ector County Courthouse. “The truth is that Devin Sanchez (the city’s public relations director) has had a problem with me for a while and I think wanted to make me look bad,” Joven said. However, Sanchez was not at work on Tuesday as her father died that morning. She is off work and could not be reached for comment for this story. An assistant in the public information office issued the press release at 5:17 p.m. and that assistant confirmed Sanchez was not in the office on Tuesday and had no involvement in the press release. Joven offered no proof that Sanchez or anyone else in the office was undermining him. Typically, elected officials directly contact the media and don’t involve public information officers who work for the city manager directly and not the city council or mayor. Joven’s comments sparked outrage from some councilmembers. “That’s just not fair,” Councilman Steve Thompson said. “Her father died. She wasn’t involved with what happened. I don’t know about any problems between the two, but what he said was wrong. I don’t like it.” Councilmember Mari Willis said she has always found the department to be courteous and professional. Joven wasn’t aware of the death of Sanchez’s father, but said it was still the department’s responsibility to announce the swearing-in ceremony in a timely manner. “Maybe there was nothing nefarious about that,” Joven responded. “I’ll accept responsibility for what happened. I should have walked the news release through myself.” City staff members say the information wasn’t given to them prior to 4:30 p.m. City Manager Michael Marrero has previously said that the city doesn’t normally write or issue press releases on behalf of individual council members, unless they make a personal request. Marrero did not respond to requests for comment on this story. Joven said he asked Marrero if the city could release the notice for him but didn’t address why he didn’t do it himself. The issue is especially contentious because Joven, Swanner and Matta, who campaigned together, repeatedly criticized city administrators and the previous council saying they were not being transparent. Swanner and Matta did not respond to numerous phone and text messages seeking comment. On Tuesday Joven said he contacted sitting councilmembers individually by phone to inform them that Swanner, Matta and he had agreed to have a private swearing-in ceremony. Only a small group of family members and friends were invited. He said the decision was based on several reasons, including concerns that a public ceremony would become complicated due to the need for social distancing and face coverings due to COVID-19 concerns, Joven said. Joven, who has previously stated publicly that he personally does not support wearing face coverings, acknowledged that he and his family did not wear face coverings during the ceremony. All other guests did wear coverings, he said. Councilmember Mari Willis on Tuesday confirmed Joven called her to inform her that ceremony plans had changed from the next council meeting in January to Tuesday. “I wasn’t invited, so I didn’t go,” Willis said. “I don’t know why they felt there was a need to do this; it’s not like there’s much going on during the holidays. You’ll have to ask them that. The city manager is there to run day-to-day operations.” Thompson said he didn’t receive a call from Joven until after 4 p.m. – an hour after the ceremony had already concluded. “I didn’t have a problem with it,” Thompson said. “If they wanted a private ceremony, that’s their choice. Like I told Mayor Joven yesterday, I want council to work together. I don’t know what their (Joven, Swanner and Matta’s) agenda is. My only agenda is to try and work with council to move the city forward and do what’s best for the community.” Councilmembers Tom Sprawls and Detra White could not be reached for comment. Joven defended the Tuesday ceremony saying there was no reason to wait despite the fact that the council doesn’t meet again until January. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us and we thought it would be best to assume office as soon as possible. “What if something major happened during the holidays? There would be a vacuum in leadership; there would be confusion – who would be called, former Mayor Turner, or myself?” Day to day operations are handled by city staff and policy is set by the elected mayor and council members. The mayor and individual council members cannot set policy without a vote by the council. There are six council members and the mayor who must vote to set policy for the city. Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Twittercenter_img Local NewsGovernment Pinterest Previous articleOAT122420_OdessaCollegeVisionFor2030Next articleMovie villain to real-life hero: AI poised to become humankind’s most powerful tool Digital AIM Web Support Mayor accuses city staff of underminingEarly swearing-in ceremony was on Tuesday afternoon WhatsApp Pinterestlast_img read more

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Agricultural shows in Donegal receive financial boost

first_img Twitter Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows Facebook DL Debate – 24/05/21 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR By News Highland – October 24, 2019 The Education Minister has announced special grants for five agricultural shows in Donegal.Shows in Ardara, Inishowen, Clonmany, Finn-Valley and Glencolmcille are being supported next year with each receiving a payment of around €5,000 to go towards the events and ease financial pressures.The funding has been sanctioned by Minister for Community and Rural Development Michael Ring and it will be administered by the ISA.Minister Joe McHugh says the grants are a real boost for rural Ireland. Twitter Agricultural shows in Donegal receive financial boost Homepage BannerNews Google+ Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA center_img Pinterest WhatsApp Previous articleTermon Chasing Ulster Glory – Nathan McElwaine & Emer GallagherNext articleSenator raises need for financial supports for Donegal tourism and retail sector News Highland Pinterest Facebook Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme Google+ WhatsApplast_img read more

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Man arrested in connection with illegal use of lottery in Derry

first_img Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR By News Highland – November 7, 2019 WhatsApp Twitter Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows Man arrested in connection with illegal use of lottery in Derry Detectives from PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit, investigating the illegal use of a lottery in the Derry area have arrested a 31 year old man today following searches of business and residential premises in the city.Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Griffin says five properties were searched in the city and a sum of money, along with other items in connection with lottery activity were seized.The man has since been released on bail pending further questioning.Police say the investigation is continuing. WhatsApp Pinterest News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Facebookcenter_img Google+ Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic Twitter Previous articleMan jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing his cousinNext articleFour Donegal women named on Gaelic Life Ulster Club All-Star Team of the Year News Highland Community Enhancement Programme open for applications Homepage BannerNews Pinterest Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Google+ Facebooklast_img read more

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Occupational health research round-up: May 2018

first_imgHealthcare staff need more information to treat ‘long Covid’Research from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has argued that people suffering from ‘long Covid’ – or often… Related posts: No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Previous Article Next Article Hand hygiene and asthma controlA study of US nurses has discovered a link between the frequency of hand and arm washing and the poor control of asthma, suggesting the products used for surgical hand/arm antisepsis have an adverse effect. Nurses with partly controlled asthma and poorly controlled asthma were compared with nurses with controlled asthma. The researchers observed a consistent dose-response relationship between the frequency of hygiene tasks and poor asthma control.Dumas O et al. “Association of hand and arm disinfection with asthma control in US nurses”, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, published online 23 February 2018.Small pay increase brings big health benefits for low paidLow-paid workers in the US who received a $1 increase in hourly wage called in sick less and considered themselves healthier than those who did not get the increase, according to this study. A $1 an hour increase in the minimum wage resulted in a 19% fall in reported absences from work due to worker illness. A similar wage increase also resulted in a 2.1% increase in the probability that low paid workers considered themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” health. There were no significant associations, however, between minimum wage increases and absences due to the illnesses of others, including children. “It is uncommon to see minimum-wage-effects research that focuses on difficult-to-measure factors such as worker health, even though a less healthy workforce can be a significant drain on productivity and finances”, one of the authors of the study, Paul Leigh, commented.Leigh, J Du and P. “Effects of Minimum Wages on Absence from Work Due to Illness”, The B E Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, volume 18 issue 1, https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap.2018.18.issue-1/bejeap-2017-0097/bejeap-2017-0097.xmlEmployees want rewards for leading healthy lifestylesA third of UK workers believe their employer should pay them for keeping healthy, according to a study by consultant, Willis Towers Watson. A third (34%) said they would only participate in an employer-sponsored health initiative if there was a financial incentive to do so, up on the 26% who said this when the survey was last carried out in 2013. A total of 70% of employees in the research did not think their employer’s current wellbeing initiatives met their needs, prompting a third of employers to state that workplace health strategies over the next three years would focus primarily on developing direct financial incentives for participation. Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson, said: “It is understandable that companies – particularly those who are frustrated at a lack of engagement – are tempted to offer financial incentives to their employees. But this can be a knee jerk response to problems that may require deeper answers. Often a more sustainable solution is to ask more searching questions about the programmes and initiatives that are already in place, for example: are they joined up; do they connect to employees’ wants and needs; is there a broad enough range; and are they well communicated?”“A third of UK workers think they should be financially rewarded for living a healthy lifestyle”, 07 February 2018, Willis Towers Watson research, https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en-GB/press/2018/02/a-third-of-UK-workers-think-they-should-be-financially-rewarded-for-living-a-healthy-lifestyleRespiratory risks of working with 3D printersAlmost 60% of a group of 46 workers using 3D printers reported respiratory symptoms at least once a week, according to a survey undertaken as part of a wider study of whether this type of printing is associated with occupational health effects. Working more than 40 hours a week with 3D printers was significantly associated with a respiratory-related health diagnosis of asthma or allergic rhinitis, the survey found.“Health survey of employees regularly using 3D printers”, F L Chan et al, Occupational Medicine, published online 10 March 2018.IT innovation in return-to-work communicationsEmployers and off-work employees have no principled objections to the greater use of digital technology as part of rehabilitation communications, but the technology is yet to demonstrate value. This was the finding of a qualitative study of Canadian healthcare providers, employers and workers with experience of return-to-work. A transition to digital and IT-mediated tools for return to work communication was supported, but major caveats existed in relation to its perceived value and fit with current rehabilitation practice. In particular, IT system support and stakeholder cooperation will be necessary to adopt the change, the authors suggest.Singh R and O’Hagan F. “’Apping up’: prospects for information technology innovation in return to work communication”, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, published online 21 March 2018.Mental health of child abuse investigatorsWorking with victims and offenders in child abuse cases can affect the health and wellbeing of police officers and civilian staff, including their ability to sustain work. This questionnaire-based survey of child protection staff in seven police forces found a statistically significant relationship between four clinical symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and workability. Women working in this area had higher levels of symptoms, but not to a statistically significant degree, with the exception of primary trauma. The authors concluded that psychological surveillance can provide an important source of evidence for occupational practitioners working with child abuse investigators, informing them of the factors that might be considered when selecting, training, supporting and retaining officers and staff.Tehrani N. “Psychological wellbeing and workability in child abuse investigators”, Occupational Medicine, published online 13 March 2018.Work-focused CBT more effective than regular CBTA type of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that integrates work into treatment at an early stage is more effective in achieving return-to-work than regular CBT, according to this study of 168 employees. Work-focused CBT resulted in a faster partial return to work for employees absent because of common mental disorders, irrespective of their self-efficacy scores at baseline. The authors concluded that “considering the benefits of work-focused CBT for partial return to work we recommend this intervention as a preferred method for employees with common mental disorders, irrespective of baseline self-efficacy, depression and anxiety.” However, they added that, for those with low self-efficacy, extra exercises or components may be needed to promote full rehabilitation.Brenninkmeijer V et al. “Predicting the effectiveness of work-focused CBT for common mental disorders: the influence of baseline self-efficacy, depression and anxiety”, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, published online 15 February 2018.center_img Organisations invited to take part in presenteeism studyNotttingham Trent University has launched a study that seeks to understand ‘presenteeism’ and why people continue to work while unwell…. Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: June 2020Covid-19 to have lasting impact on workplace healthThe potential adverse impact of the current pandemic on workers’ health extends… Occupational health research round-up: May 2018By Sarah Silcox on 4 May 2018 in Benefits, Respiratory, Research, Sickness absence management, Occupational Health, Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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Full disclosure: New law requires shell companies reveal true ownership

first_imgMessage* TagsMoney LaunderingPoliticsResidential Real Estate Full Name* The Corporate Transparency Act, which New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney pushed, requires shell companies to reveal true ownership of real estate. (Photo illustration, Getty; iStock)A new law that targets wealthy buyers who scoop up high-priced homes and commercial properties through anonymous shell companies could help stop the flow of illicit cash into real estate. But some money laundering experts say the measure has loopholes that could be easily exploited.The Corporate Transparency Act requires true owners of shell companies to identify themselves to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Those who do not comply face criminal penalties. The measure, tucked into the massive annual defense spending bill that President Trump vetoed, became law Jan. 1, when Congress overrode his veto.“By requiring shell companies to disclose their true, beneficial owners, bad actors who want to park their illicit money in New York real estate will no longer be able to hide their identity from law enforcement,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the New York congresswoman who sponsored the bill.Luxury real estate purchases made through shell companies don’t just happen in Manhattan. Federal authorities in recent years have charged foreign buyers with using limited liability companies to launder money through South Florida real estate deals.Last year, the nonprofit Tax Justice Network called the United States the second-worst offender when it comes to “helping individuals to hide their finances from the rule of law,” behind only the Cayman Islands. The group considers both countries “hotbeds” of financial secrecy.States such as Delaware, New Mexico and Wyoming are among those that allow buyers to anonymously register LLCs, and do not require individuals to disclose their identity when creating a legal entity. Many wealthy buyers and celebrities use these LLCs to purchase real estate, essentially hiding their identity.The new legislation technically still provides that barrier. Under the law, the database of beneficial owners will not be made available to the public.In a statement to The Real Deal, Maloney said she first looked into the issue 20 years ago, following the Sept. 11 attacks. That’s when she “became very focused on terrorist financing, and anonymous shell companies — often formed right here in the U.S.” Maloney added that LLCs “are the vehicle of choice for terrorist groups around the world that want to move their money.”Over time, the legislation evolved to also address money laundering through ordinary real estate purchases. In an op-ed in The Hill last month, Maloney said the bill would also help to lower housing costs in New York City. She said the measure would make it tougher for anonymous buyers who purchase but don’t occupy pricey units in luxury high-rises, or so-called ghost towers.ID requiredUnder the new legislation, a beneficial owner is defined as a person who has “substantial control over an entity,” or owns and controls at least 25 percent of the interests in the company. The applicant registering the LLC or shell company must provide identifying information about the beneficial owner, including name, date of birth and a current business or residential address. That information is then compiled into a database by FinCEN.The legislation also requires LLCs report changes in control of ownership. Providing false information or failing to update the ownership information will result in a fine or a possible prison term of up to two years.The legislation is another tool the Treasury Department, through FinCEN, can use to crack down on money laundering. FinCEN’s Geographic Targeting Orders, first issued in 2016 and since sharpened, requires title insurance companies to collect and report information about beneficial owners. The orders apply to purchases made by shell companies in 12 major U.S. metros including New York, Los Angeles and Miami. They target non-financed purchases of residential real estate over $300,000, including cash, check, fund transfer or virtual currency.Unlike the Corporate Transparency Act, those orders do not require shell companies to report their beneficial ownership directly to FinCEN.But some industry pros say the new legislation doesn’t have the teeth needed to attack the real problem.Ross Delston, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer and expert on money laundering, said there are few safeguards to prevent companies from providing inaccurate information to the government.“The database has no mechanism to allow FinCEN to check or conduct due diligence on the stated beneficial owner,” Delston said.Under the law, only FinCEN, law enforcement and some financial institutions — like banks or mutual funds — will have access to the database.Banks can use that database when a customer is first doing business with them, but the applicant must consent to giving the financial institution access to their information. There’s a chance a customer could refuse and head to an alternative lender, Delston said.It is also unclear how the law will affect entities outside the U.S. that own real estate or want to purchase property here.Maloney said the act requires disclosures from foreign companies that are registered to do business in the U.S., but some legal experts are unsure whether buying and holding real estate meets this requirement.Some law firms have already set up task forces to help their clients navigate the law. Even with the added level of regulation, lawyers say the measure won’t reduce investment in U.S. real estate.“Ultimately, the U.S. real estate market is very attractive for both onshore and offshore investors,” said Terri Adler, managing partner and real estate chair of the law firm Duval & Stachenfeld. “As long as the regulations and privacy to the information make sense and work, it will not stop investors from coming here.”Contact the author Email Address* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

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OUSU protest against A* grade

first_imgOUSU Council has passed a motion to mandate its officers to lobby the University against the introduction of the A* grade at A Level. The proposal, brought by the JCR President of Magdalen College, raised the possibility of an unfair advantage to private school students.The proposal argued that smaller class sizes, motivated teachers and improved facilities benefitted those students in the independent sector, and meant they were more likely to achieve the 90% score in their final year required for the elusive grade.Of the candidates who met their offers for Oxford this year, just 16.5% did not achieve at least one A* grade. Within that minority, there are twice as many state school pupils as ones who attended independent schools.The motion passed with the amendment that OUSU should review its current position by no later than the end of Michealmas Term 2011.last_img read more

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GIVE TRUMP CREDIT

first_imgBy Peter FuntThe nation’s newspapers are struggling mightily to find columnists who are willing to write nice things about Donald Trump.That’s according to a report in the Washington Post, indicating that the regular stable of conservative pundits-from George Will to David Brooks-isn’t delivering enough pro-Trump op-eds. As it happens, I was just finishing a column praising the president-elect when the Post’s story came out.Even before taking office, Donald Trump is sending a powerful signal to the nearly 63 million Americans who voted for him that he is, indeed, a bold thinker and an agent of change.For instance, after pledging during the campaign to stop the exodus of companies to Mexico and other countries, Trump quickly saved roughly 800 jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana. True, the number is lower than Trump first claimed, and granted, as the Indianapolis Star reports, as many as 2,100 Hoosiers are still about to lose their jobs, and yes, keeping Carrier happy will cost Indiana $7 million in tax incentives. But to dwell on such relatively minor concerns misses the larger point.The president-elect has demonstrated that he can pick up the phone-something Mike Pence says he’ll do often-and get action from business chieftains looking for a bribe. The Carrier tax breaks will cost only $8,750 per job saved. Using that formula, every single one of of the nation’s full-time jobs could be saved, at least temporarily, for a mere $1.09 trillion.Donald Trump heroically vowed to “drain the swamp” in Washington of enlightened leaders with meaningful government experience. What better way to make good on that promise than by selecting Ben Carson, a retired brain surgeon with no experience in government or in housing to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development?Trump deserves enormous credit for surrounding himself with individuals who will shun business-as-usual in Washington. Clearly that’s why he chose as chief strategist Steve Bannon, a true maverick who favors hate speech of all types including white nationalism, anti-semitism, immigrant-hatred and misogyny.The president-elect has made clear that he will not become another political hack; rather, he will continue to hone the skills that made him so admired in business. He will actively manage his vast holdings, regardless of whether they conflict with his White House job. He even rebuffed the critics and media elite who urged him to give up his gig as executive producer of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”Americans don’t like a candidate who says one thing to woo voters and then flip-flops once elected. Yes, Trump has conceded that the wall on the border with Mexico might be a more modest fence, and true, he’s apparently decided against mass deportations, and granted, he admires many of the best features in Obamacare, and, yes, he has recently deduced that climate change might be man’s doing, and, of course, he no longer intends to prosecute Hillary Clinton.But when it comes to things average citizens really care about, Trump is proving to be a man of his word. He said he wouldn’t stop tweeting as president, and he hasn’t. He vowed to retain his children as top advisers, and he is following through.Donald Trump is a leader with a vision of how America works. For example, a few days before Thanksgiving his website offered for sale a Christmas ornament in the form of a miniature Make America Great Again hat, brushed with real gold and selling for $149.By holding rallies across the nation-even though there is nothing left to campaign for or about-Trump is already cementing his place in history.As for the nation’s opinion writers, their unwillingness to recognize Donald Trump’s impressive accomplishments after such a short period of time reflects poorly on them and not on the true American hero they would seek to defame.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Recruitment firm urges flexibility ahead of Living Wage

first_imgThe founder of a Glasgow-based recruitment agency for the food and drink and hospitality industries has warned that businesses need to adopt a “flexible labour mode” ahead of the National Living Wage (NLW).EasyRecruitUK’s Derek Ferrol declared that food and drink firms faced “losing control of labour costs” under the new legislation, which comes into force on 1 April 2016 and will initially pay workers aged 25 £7.20 an hour.“The impact of the National Living Wage could take us back to the dark days of the 1970 and ’80s,” Ferrol insisted. “As the unions pushed for improved working conditions and better pay, the UK struggled to perform in the global manufacturing market. The foundation of any sustainable business, quite simply, requires a flexible cost base – one that is not fixed, rigid or beyond the control of the business.”Last week the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) urged employers to prepare for the NLW after a survey it commissioned of 1,000 UK businesses revealed that only 45% of employers had updated their payrolls. The findings also showed that only 39% had communicated the upcoming changes to staff.BIS called on employers to adopt a four-point plan to prepare for the changes: find out the correct rate of pay; determine who will be eligible for the pay rise; update the payroll in time for 1 April; and inform staff as soon as possible.“I have no doubt that many businesses will consider the option to reposition their operations outside the UK, not because they cannot afford to pay the National Living Wage, but because losing control of labour costs makes their business unsustainable,” Ferrol added.“In order to limit the impact of the National Living Wage, they need to consider moving to a ‘flexible labour’ model. Not only will greater flexibility make an organisation more resilient and progressive in challenging times, but it will also make you a better employer.”last_img read more

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A ‘virtual dinner’ where the chefs are invisible

first_imgWhat makes bread rise, or sour cream, sour? What turns grapes into wine, or milk into cheese? What makes coffee drinkable and chocolate wonderful?“All of these processes happen because of microbes — key players in not only what we love and enjoy, but what we also need to survive,” Roberto Kolter, Harvard Medical School professor of microbiology and immunobiology and director of its Microbial Sciences Initiative,  told 70 guests at the “Invisible Chefs” lecture at the Harvard Ed Portal in Allston last week.“When you are eating your food, you are appreciating it and digesting it thanks to microbes,” Kolter said. “Tonight, we are going to talk about how microbes craft delicious foods, and then we are going to taste them.”Everything we eat contains microbes. They are the invisible farmers, invisible chefs, and the invisible digesters that, through different processes, have supplied Homo sapiens with essential nutrients since the beginning of our existence, Kolter said.“We are completely covered with microbes, inside and out; they are everywhere and we can’t live without them,” said co-lecturer Pia Sörensen, senior preceptor in chemical engineering and applied materials at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Everything on this planet is based on the activities of microbes, so it’s no surprise that the food we make and eat is microbial.”Kolter said the process begins in the soil, which is full of microbes that enable things to grow.Fermenting foods can harness good microbes’ potential to do appetizing things to food, and keep harmful microbes from destroying it, explained Pia Sörensen. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer“When you see food emerging from earth, we can only see the plant that emerges. But every grain in fertile soil has been produced through the action of microbes, the tiny little cells that are impossible to see,” Kolter said.When animals eat grass, specialized microbes in their stomachs allow them to digest it in a way that humans cannot. However, because of our own specialized microbes, we can in turn digest the animals.Interestingly, animals that consume grass for survival cannot healthily digest grains because those completely change the microbial environment in their stomachs, and make them sick. Different microbes specialize in different end results, and their activity determines how food is digested, Kolter explained.“You may have heard that grass-fed animals are really very important, but you may not know why,” he said. “It’s not just a myth that we should eat pasture-fed meat. We get a very different product because of the microbes changing so dramatically.”Anthropologists argue that one of the things that makes us human is that we cook our food, altering the composition of microbes and thus our ability to digest them.“One consequence of cooking food with heat is that it kills both the good and harmful microbes, and in my speculation, we became less resistant to what our dogs and cats can eat,” Kolter said. “They have the right microbes in their guts that can tolerate all this, and pets are able to protect themselves.”It turns out that microbes, like humans and all other living things, must eat to survive, and, again like humans, in the process they cook and they generate waste products. But unlike humans, microbes grow and reproduce in a matter of minutes, and they do it without utilizing oxygen. What makes that directly relevant to cooking, said Kolter, is that their waste products create fermentation.Fermentation is a chemical breakdown that occurs without the presence of oxygen. Fermentation gives many of our favorite foods their flavor, texture, and aroma. There are two types of fermentation — alcoholic fermentation that produces wine, beer, and bread, and lactic acid fermentation, seen in yogurt, sauerkraut, and pickles.“Probably everyone today eats or drinks fermented food, everything from bread, cheese, coffee, pickles, and olives to yogurt and salami,” said Sörensen. “It’s very prevalent and the diversity of flavors you can get with microbes is huge.“Think of milk, it’s a little sweet, or yogurt, which is a little sour, and cheese, which is a little pungent and complex. Different microbes provide entirely different flavors.”Hyuna Lee of Medford (left) hides her laughter as Betsy Burkhardt of Cambridge does a blind taste test with wine at the Ed Portal. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerSörensen said fermenting foods also harnesses good microbes’ potential to do appetizing things to food, and keeps harmful microbes from coming in and destroying it. In fact, in the late 19th century, the fermentation process involved in wine was believed to increase our life span, and vintners touted slogans such as “Wine is the healthiest and most hygienic of all drinks.”Audience members were asked to taste microbial foods, including bread, cheese, olives, wine, coffee, and chocolate. Kolter asked his “dinner guests” to close their eyes before sipping the wine and try to determine if they were drinking red or white, because it is actually the visual characteristics that help us distinguish between them.It is not just wine that can fool even the most careful connoisseurs, Kolter said. Sometimes the fermentation process itself is mysterious. He cited chocolate and coffee, two foods that start as inedible seeds but, with microbes’ help, turn yummy.“We understand the primary fermentation processes in cheese and alcoholic beverages. It is well-characterized and fairly easy to control,” he said. “But with coffee and chocolate production, after you pick the beans they are simply left alone, and fermentation occurs over time before you can eat them.“We don’t truly understand it, nor can we fully replicate it yet.”Betsy Burkhardt of Cambridge, a biologist who had just returned from a cheese tour of France, said she came to the lecture to learn more about the symbiotic relationship of microbes and food.“In France, I learned all about blue cheese and how the microbes — the mold — grows,” she said. “It’s the mold that has the flavor, so when you slice the cheese you have to cut it so that everyone is able to taste it.”Robert Schaeffer of Allston had a different agenda.“When I saw there was a food-tasting related to microbes, it occurred to me that this is something to learn more about,” he said. “Knowing microbes are in our food, it now makes me know what I’m eating.”“Invisible Chefs” was a precursor to the HarvardX course “Cooking with Microbes,” available in late 2018. The currently available HarvardX course “Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science” teaches the underlying scientific principles of food.Kolter’s work with microbiology photographer Scott Chimileski, “World in a Drop: Photographic Explorations of Microbial Life,” is currently on display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St.last_img read more

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