Jokowi signs controversial new Mining Law: Expert staff

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has signed the new Coal and Mineral Mining Law, which is meant to expand Indonesia’s mining industry but is marred with controversy over its socioenvironmental impacts and lack of procedural transparency.According to a copy obtained by The Jakarta Post, Jokowi signed Law No. 3/2020 on June 10, a month after the House of Representatives (DPR) approved the bill on May 12. Presidential expert staff member Dini Shanti Purwono has confirmed the President’s signing.“The Mining Law is hoped to balance out legal certainty, business certainty and corporate compliance,” Dini told the Post on Thursday. In particular, companies were expected to comply with laws related to the environment and obligations to the state, she added.As the country grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, lawmakers went ahead to approve the controversial revision of the 2009 Coal and Mineral Mining Law, despite outcry from civil society organizations.Notable revisions include quadrupling the maximum size of traditional mining zones to 100 hectares and allowing mining activities in rivers and the sea. Meanwhile, the revision cuts red tape for miners by centralizing permit issuance at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry instead of keeping governors and regents in charge.Activists have lambasted the DPR for not giving many stakeholders, including civil society groups, foreign investors and regents, time to scrutinize the bill.Eight civil society organizations, including Greenpeace and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), have mobilized grassroots support for challenging the new Mining Law through a judicial review.“Deliberations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic left no room for public participation and information,” Edo Rakhman of Walhi Indonesia said on May 12. “What the House did was like burglary in the middle of a fire.”Topics :last_img read more

Pressure builds on Louis van Gaal as Manchester United humbled by Stoke

first_imgThe pressure increased on Louis van Gaal after Manchester United were handed an embarrassing beating at Stoke. “You’re getting sacked in the morning,” the home fans chanted when Arnautovic drove his fierce shot into the top corner and one Stoke fan dressed as a cross between the Grim Reaper and Jose Mourinho waved an oversized P45 in Van Gaal’s direction. With Mourinho on the market, and United looking like they have forgotten how to win – and play attractive football – Van Gaal’s position is looking more precarious than ever. The Dutchman, who dropped Wayne Rooney from his team for the first time, demanded an apology from the media for stories suggesting he would be replaced by Mourinho on Wednesday, but it is the 2,557 United fans who travelled to the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day who deserve an apology for this latest sorry performance. It was clear from the first whistle that Stoke had the hunger, desire and confidence United lacked. There was a moment of panic when Jack Butland miscontrolled Arnautovic’s poor back-pass while Anthony Martial raced at the Stoke goalkeeper, but the hosts cleared. That was the first and last sniff of goal United would have in the first period. Daley Blind and Ashley Young had no answer to the trickery and pace of Xherdan Shaqiri and Arnautovic. Blind, still dizzy from taking a ball to the nose from Geoff Cameron, was turned inside out by Shaqiri, who was only stopped by an Ander Herrera foul. The Spaniard was doing little to justify his place in the starting XI and gave the ball away twice in the opening 15 minutes. When United kept possession, they did little with it. The Stoke supporters chanted “boring, boring, boring” every time United had the ball – and they were right. The visitors were woefully short of ideas. When Stoke took the lead it came as no surprise. That it came about because of an embarrassing gaffe from a United player came as no shock either. Depay, a £25million player who scored 22 league goals for PSV Eindhoven last year, tried – and failed – to head a simple ball back to David de Gea, Glen Johnson stole in and squared to Bojan, who tapped in. The manner of Stoke’s second goal was just as embarrassing for United. Ashley Young flung his right hand up in the air to block Arnautovic’s cross. Kevin Friend awarded a free-kick, which Bojan took. His shot cannoned off the wall and fell to Arnautovic, who hit the fiercest of drives into the top corner. Van Gaal looked on despondently. His mood would have darkened further had Arnautovic scored another when through on goal moments later but luckily for United, the Austrian shot wide. Van Gaal brought Rooney on at half-time and the captain added energy and fight – he caught Philipp Wollscheid in the face with his forearm while jumping for the ball – but little quality. Stoke, a club who just a few years ago were effectively branded a rugby team by Arsene Wenger, were still by far the better side. The Potters were toying with United. When the ball went out of play for a Stoke throw, Mark Hughes demanded it be returned quickly. He did not want to settle for 2-0. He wanted to inflict a real hammering on his old employers. There was a brief glimmer of hope for Van Gaal when Rooney squared for Marouane Fellaini, but the Belgian scuffed his shot and Butland saved. There was no way back for the visitors. TWEET OF THE MATCH @rioferdy5: “I’m not even surprised….that’s what hurts even more at @ManUtd ….come on boys” – former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was not impressed with the club’s latest performance. https://twitter.com/rioferdy5/status/680739456857567232 PLAYER RATINGS MANCHESTER UNITED David de Gea: 6 Ashley Young: 4 Phil Jones: 5 Chris Smalling: 5 Daley Blind: 4 Michael Carrick: 5 Marouane Fellaini: 4 Juan Mata: 4 Memphis Depay: 3 Ander Herrera: 3 Anthony Martial: 4 Substitutes: Wayne Rooney: 4 Andreas Pereira: 5 STOKE Jack Butland: 8 Glen Johnson: 7 Ryan Shawcross: 8 Philipp Wollscheid: 7 Erik Pieters: 7 Glenn Whelan: 6 Geoff Cameron: 7 Xherdan Shaqiri: 8 Ibrahim Afellay: 7 Marko Arnautovic: 9 Bojan Krkic: 9 Substitutes: Marco van Ginkel: 6 Mame Diouf: 6 Charlie Adam: 5 STAR MAN Marko Arnautovic: Stoke caused United troubles across the final third all afternoon and no one did as much damage as Arnautovic. The forward occupied all three positions behind Bojan Krkic at various times in the match. He was too strong for United’s defenders, who bounced off him when he ran with the ball. He picked United apart when he lifted his head up and took his goal superbly well. MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Arnautovic’s goal. A late contender for the best goal of 2015 – the Austrian showed superb composure to steady himself when the ball dropped to him after Bojan’s shot was blocked and he rifled the ball into the top corner from 25 yards to make it 2-0. David de Gea had no chance. VIEW FROM THE BENCH Van Gaal’s position looks more precarious than ever thanks to this defeat. United are now without a win in seven matches and Van Gaal has some questions to answer. There was a plethora of top-quality international players on the pitch at Stoke, but none of them performed. Wayne Rooney may have been poor this season, but dropping your captain for such a big game was ultimately a mistake. Stoke boss Mark Hughes, on the other hand, rightly identified the full-back positions as United’s weak spot and exploited that to perfection, with Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri both causing Daley Blind and Ashley Young no end of problems. MOAN OF THE MATCH: Diving: Anthony Martial feigned a trip looking to earn a penalty in the first half. Referee Kevin Friend did not fall for it and ordered the Frenchman to get up. The official did not book Martial, but he had his yellow card out of his pocket after the break when Bojan went to ground in the United box without being touched. The striker did not appeal for a penalty, but it was clear what he was trying to do and deserved his booking. WHO’S UP NEXT? Everton v Stoke (Barclays Premier League, Monday, December 28) Manchester United v Chelsea (Barclays Premier League, Monday, December 28) Van Gaal said his players had not performed in the first half. He told Sky Sports 1: “My thoughts are that we don’t dare to play football in first half. We gave a very bad goal away and then they score out of a free-kick indirect. “At half-time we have spoken with each other and I have to say the second half was much better but still we have created one or two chances and then you have to score and then maybe the belief is coming back. In the second half we played better but the problem is we don’t dare to play and that’s my analysis. “I’m always very faithful and I see also how (the players) have trained so they want to perform well but the circumstances are difficult, not only the wind but also with the pressure and that’s why, in my opinion, we don’t dare to play football. Second half we were in a losing position and we can give everything more easily and that we have done but then you have to score the first chance.” When asked if he was the man to help United rediscover their form, he said: “It’s more difficult because I’m also a part of the four matches that we have lost. People are looking at me and I have to deal with that, but much more important is that the players have to deal with that because they have to perform.” And on his future he added: “It’s another situation. We have lost the fourth game so you have to wait and see.” Bojan Krkic took advantage of a terrible error by Memphis Depay to put Stoke ahead and Marko Arnautovic scored a 25-yard screamer as Van Gaal ‘s position came under even more scrutiny after going seven games without a win. Do not be fooled by the 2-0 scoreline. This was a comprehensive win for Stoke, one that caused glee among the home supporters who branded United “boring” throughout. Press Associationlast_img read more

When is a Knife Sold by Publix a Weapon?

first_imgThe estate of a boy stabbed to death during a sleepover in Palm Beach Gardens is suing Publix Supermarkets for allegedly selling the murder weapon, a knife to a child.Corey Johnson faces one count of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and two counts of attempted first-degree murder with a deadly weapon.Johnson is accused of killing one teen, wounding another and a woman during an attack at a sleepover in a home in Ballenisles in Palm Beach Gardens. Police said Johnson confessed to the stabbings and attributed motive to his Muslim faith and a fascination with ISIS. Johnson studied the Quran and had been on the FBI watch list for more than a year.As a 17-year-old, Johnson was accused of killing 13-year-old Jovanni Sierra on the boy’s birthday at a home in Ballenisles on Mar. 12, 2018.The LaBovick Law Group claims Publix illegally sold the knife to Johnson who was not old enough to buy a weapon. He later allegedly used the knife to kill Jovanni and stab Elaine Simon and her son, Dane Bancroft.The firm claims Johnson bought the knife at Publix hours before the attack. It’s against the law in Florida to sell any weapons to people under the age of 18.Johnson, 17 at the time of the stabbings, is now 19 years old and charged as an adult in the crime.“Publix has refused to change their reckless policy of selling knives to underage buyers and has spurned Florida law by intentionally failing to check identification before selling dangerous weapons to underage knife purchasers,” stated Brian LaBovick, the attorney representing the Estate of Jovanni Sierra. “Publix is fully responsible for the damages caused by their illegal knife sale and could be responsible for punitive damages if their conduct rises to the level of intentional disregard of Florida law.”Johnson is due back in court on Mar. 20.last_img read more

Football News Chelsea FC reportedly suspend three fans for ‘racism’ in Europa League clash against Slavia Prague

first_imgFour Chelsea supporters suspended after racist chants against Raheem Sterling.Chelsea won the match 1-0 against Slavia Prague.Chelsea fans were chanting against Mohamed Salah, who now plays for Liverpool. London: Chelsea condemned “abhorrent discriminatory behaviour” after reportedly preventing three supporters from attending their Europa League quarter-final first leg clash at Slavia Prague on Thursday. The Premier League club’s security team identified the fans from a video on Twitter showing them singing a derogatory song about former Chelsea forward Mohamed Salah, now of Liverpool, according to British media reports. “Chelsea FC finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and where there is clear evidence of Chelsea season ticket holders or members involved in such behaviour, we will take the strongest possible action against them,” Chelsea said in a statement.”Such individuals are an embarrassment to the vast majority of Chelsea supporters who won’t tolerate them in their club.”RELATEDFour Chelsea supporters were previously suspended by the club after Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling was racially abused at Stamford Bridge in December.Manager Maurizio Sarri backed the club’s strong stance after his team’s 1-0 quarter-final, first-leg win in Prague.”I don’t want to talk about this because I didn’t see the video,” he said. “Yes, I think it is right (that the club takes action), but you have to ask the club. It was a very strong decision and I think it’s right.” Liverpool also thanked Chelsea for their quick response to the video, and said in a statement that they are working with Merseyside Police to try and identify the fans. For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.center_img highlightslast_img read more

Cricket News England’s Moeen Ali takes break from cricket after Ashes axe

first_imgLondon: England all-rounder Moeen Ali will take a “short break” from cricket after being dropped from the squad to face Australia in the second Ashes Test this week.The 32-year-old was axed after scoring nought and four in England’s first Test defeat at Edgbaston.He also struggled with his off-spin, taking three wickets for 172 runs across Australia’s two innings, failing to take advantage of a pitch that ought to have suited him.Moeen, who was a member of England’s World Cup-winning squad, has been replaced by Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach for the Lord’s Test, with his county Worcestershire revealing he will now take a “short break from action”.“Mo is spending a little time away from the middle recharging his batteries and putting in some quality practice time which he feels he needs, and we completely respect,” Worcestershire first-team coach Alex Gidman told the club’s website on Tuesday.“He has had an intense schedule of international cricket involving the ICC World Cup and the start of the Ashes.“Mo loves playing for Worcestershire and he gives a lift to everyone in the dressing room when he comes back and plays for us. We look forward to when he returns soon.”                Moeen is the world’s leading Test wicket-taker over the past 12 months, with 48 scalps in 10 matches at an average of 25.27.However, he has struggled for form in recent outings and was dropped during the World Cup over concerns about his batting.In Tests, he has registered seven single-figure scores in his past nine innings, with his career average dipping below 30.England captain Joe Root said Moeen, a veteran of 60 Tests, could regain his place.“As he proved last summer, coming into that India series having a massive influence on it, there’s no reason why he can’t go back and do the same again, and try and force his way back into the squad,” Root told reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday before Moeen’s break was announced.“You know, he’s been a big part of English cricket, he’s done some fantastic things in a Test shirt. And it’s certainly not the last we’ll see of him, he’s a fine character, a great man and gives so much to this team.“I’m sure that it won’t be long until you see him back involved.” For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Smith giving sneak peek

first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald PhotoCollege football games are very much like movies. They have all-star casts, amazing reviews, stunning plotlines and, most importantly, cult followings. However, what is a movie without a trailer? During Wisconsin’s contest against Indiana, a true freshman by the name of Lance Smith gave Badger fans a sneak peek that will keep them counting the days until the feature film.Smith is a freshman recruited from Warren, Ohio. He has loved and played football from a very young age when he would play pickup games and watch pros like his childhood hero, Barry Sanders. “When I was about three or four years old in the backyard, all the kids in the area would play football everyday,” said Smith. “My family was surrounded by football.” Smith attended Howland High School, where he accumulated 4255 yards and ran in 38 touchdowns during his career there. Smith’s résumé was impressive enough to catch the attention of the Badger coaching staff. Smith had not had many opportunities to prove himself in the college arena until last weekend at Wisconsin’s match-up against Indiana. Smith found his opportunity to strut his stuff, helping the Badgers build a commanding lead of 52-0, getting snaps early and often. The highlight for Smith came after UW recovered a fumble in the third quarter, giving the team possession near the goal. Smith ran 4 yards for a touchdown to give Wisconsin its final points of the day and scored his first career touchdown, to boot. The experience definitely left a strong impression on the young running back. “It felt real good,” Smith said, smiling. “It makes me want to get into the end zone even more.” Even after having scored a touchdown as a true freshman, and taking over the No. 2 tailback spot behind star P.J. Hill, Smith does not want to put too much pressure on himself. “I don’t want to put too many goals on myself, but my career goal is to hopefully play at the next level someday,” Smith stated, “I want to win a couple awards, hopefully get a Big Ten championship at this university or win a National Championship, but other than that I want to be successful and hope that the University of Wisconsin has success with me in producing one.” John Settle, Wisconsin’s running back coach, is starting with even simpler goals for the freshman tailback. “To get a degree,” Settle chuckled. “You like to say rush for 1,000 yards and that type of thing, but that stuff will come if he stays with his academics.” Settle, however, enjoys coaching the young prospect. “He keeps you on your toes as a coach, he’s a freshman, a guy that we expect a lot out of so he’s going to get a lot of opportunities to do things, so as a coach you’ve got to be prepared,” Settle said. “You’ve got to watch him closely to be able to make corrections so that he knows what to do and how to do it.” Smith’s coachability also contributes to a healthy coach-player relationship, as he is always quick to listen and take instruction from Settle. “The thing that I find with him is he wants to please. He wants to do it right. He works on it until he gets it right, and as long as he keeps that attitude, we can work with him and he can become the player that he wants to be,” Settle said.Faith in Smith is not limited to Settle, by any means. Starting sophomore right tackle Eric Vanden Heuvel had positive comments about Smith. “He is a great athlete,” Vanden Heuvel said. “He’s quick and he can make cuts really fast; he’s a real young guy so he still has to see the cuts, but when he makes them he makes them fast.”Off the field, Smith is still motivated. He is thinking about majoring in criminal justice, but is still undecided and like all other freshman on campus, Smith is starting to feel the weight of his classes compounded by his college football career. “At camp, you think this football stuff is hard,” Smith said. “But then when you come here and you have to go to class with it, it’s even harder, but it’s all about your determination to get it done and knowing what you’ve got to do to be successful.”Smith’s attitude says it all. He is about getting the job done and getting it done right at all costs. His technique may be a little rough around the edges, but his positive outlook and determination should overcome any obstacles, both physical and mental, put in his way. As the backup tailback to the Big Ten’s top Freshman of the Year candidate, Smith might not see as many carries as he might like. However, when the score is up or Hill is down, keep an eye out for a special sneak preview of the future of the Badger running game: Lance Smith.last_img read more

Tyus Battle reuses an old skill to spark recent success

first_imgTwice within a one-minute span on Monday night, Tyus Battle flashed the offensive weapon that’s new to this season but old to him.First, he curled around a ball screen on the left wing, dribbled to the middle and unfurled a 2-foot floater as he reached the interior of North Carolina’s defense.Two possessions later, Battle ran down the right alley with two defenders in his way. He ripped the ball right to left to avoid the first defender, brought it back as the second defender whiffed and then laid in a righty layup. Syracuse narrowed UNC’s lead to three points, the closest it would be the rest of the game.“I think (driving to the basket) can be really good for me,” Battle said. “I’ve been knocking down 3s so guys are going to have to start closing out and that just makes drives easier for me. I think I just have to be aggressive.”The two-play sequence symbolized Battle’s offensive progression this season, playing the lead role in the Orange’s best sequence against its best opponent. After beginning the season hot from behind the arc, Battle has expanded his game to attack more off the dribble. It’s something he thrived at in high school and is starting to succeed at in his freshman season with Syracuse (11-8, 3-3 Atlantic Coast). The 6-foot-6 guard has evolved this season from X-factor off the bench to key offensive contributor and is amid his best stretch of the year having scored 13 or more points in each of the past four games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBattle is shooting 43.4 percent from 3, ranking 155th in the country. As defenses have begun to close out tighter on him to prevent a shot from the perimeter, more driving lanes have opened up for him to charge and he’s not hesitating to take advantage.“I think he’s playing at a high level of confidence,” Orange head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He’s got a huge upside with what he can do but he’s been very steady, very solid.”In high school, Battle drove so much he said he “lived at the basket.” Both his father, Gary Battle, and former coach, Rich Leary, said it was the strongest — and most frequently used — weapon in his arsenal.Gary coached his son from third grade until 10th, starting and ending every practice with stationary ball-handling drills and dribbling challenges through cones. Players also faced each other in one-on-one, full-court games. There, Tyus honed his dribbling skills to penetrate. Sometimes, Tyus and his teammates even played one-on-two. The offensive player had no choice but to weave through defenders.“He was always good off the dribble, off the pull-up,” Gary said. “What really surprised me (this season) was how he was making catch-and-shoot 3s at a better than 42-percent clip.”Battle spent much of the offseason working on that outside shot at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center because he wanted to round out his skillset. He eventually grew confident enough to let it fly often throughout the beginning of his college career and made seven of his first 14 attempts from beyond the arc. Now, opponents show respect by closing out aggressively on the perimeter. As a result, Battle’s found more space to deploy his drive-by abilities.Before a practice in the Carrier Dome two weeks ago, Battle worked with assistant coach Gerry McNamara. The former SU guard placed a folding stool at the right wing near the 3-point line. Battle caught passes from McNamara, shimmied around the chair and finished with a familiar 2-foot floater. In the next drill, Battle misdirected imaginary defenders by faking a pass to the short corner and driving the opposite way. McNamara urged Battle to duck lower for leverage.“It’s just been a more aggressive mindset,” senior Andrew White said. “That’s how he’s playing with a lower base. He’s using his athleticism, and that’s something that’s big for him because he’s versatile. … That makes him hard to guard because he’s doing a little bit of everything.”On Nov. 26, Battle “looked a little lost,” Boeheim said, in 13 minutes against South Carolina. He said then that the freshman was not injured. Three weeks later, Battle missed several days of practice due to a lingering left foot injury before a Dec. 17 matchup with Georgetown. Battle played 12 minutes against the Hoyas, but Boeheim said he would have preferred to avoid using him at all.Now healed, Battle has been able to plant harder and generate more power going to the rim. That’s led to more shot attempts closer to the basket. In conference play, 49 percent of his shots have been 2-pointers, compared to his 30 percent against nonconference opponents.Battle’s progression over the past four games hasn’t been perfect. But he’s taking charge in an offense that’s proven it can’t survive with big performances from just one or two players a night.The footwork showcasing his capabilities also displays his flaws. Battle scored on two swift drives against Pittsburgh on Jan. 7, but followed it up three days later by traveling twice against Virginia Tech. Four days later, he scored a career-high 21 points against Boston College with a handful of drives.“Just get to the basket, try to start doing that again,” Battle said of his approach after that game. “And if I get to the basket and the defense converges, it leaves easy kickouts for my teammates.”Improving his vision and feeding open teammates is the next step for Battle. In the meantime, he’s found new success in what is old. Comments Published on January 17, 2017 at 11:03 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Butters leaves UW hockey for personal reasons

first_imgAfter six games into his third season with the Wisconsin men’s hockey team, assistant coach Bill Butters has stepped down to pursue his life passion: faith ministry.Both Butters and head coach Mike Eaves made it clear that Butters blindsided Eaves with his decision on Monday. The head coach urged his assistant to think it over for a few days, but ultimately Butters feels his passions truly lie elsewhere and therefore he would be doing the team a disservice by sticking around any longer.“It was a surprise, no question,” Eaves said. “Once talking to Bill and never being one to roll over, challenged him a couple times, but throughout our discussions it became clear where his heart was and what he needed to do.”Butters, who was in charge of the defense and the penalty kill, said the decision became prevalent a few weeks ago after he spoke with some players in Eau Claire, Wis., about faith. After speaking with those players, he knew that’s where his passion was, rather than helping players with slapshots.“The decision to leave has been about four weeks, what’s in my heart has been there since about 1980,” Butters said. “This is about my calling on my life and in 1980 I felt called by God to get into ministry, to tell players about faith.“They need a guy in here that has the passion to get in a guys face and share that. I don’t know if I was the guy. I thought I was when I came here – I really did my best, sometimes your best isn’t good enough. … In my heart I felt, ‘I don’t know if I’m the guy.’”Butters also emphasized that there is no animosity between him and the program, that this was simply a choice he needed to make not only for himself but for the team as a whole.“If you watch the practices and watch the games, Mike Eaves is a capable coach and so is Gary Shuchuk,” Butters said. “There are so many applicants for the job, there’ll be people. I don’t think I’m leaving them in a lurch, I think this is a necessary ending for the betterment of the team and sometimes necessary endings are tough. I have to answer this call in my life.”The assistant coach noted that he is at peace with the decision and has already spoken with the team to say goodbye, hugging about 90 percent of them. According to Butters, some of them just aren’t huggers.“In the end, I feel in my heart that he’s doing the right thing,” Eaves said.Butters departure only adds to the long list of odd circumstances that have plagued the Badgers this season. In addition to inconsistent play, the Badgers have lost two players for large portions of the season – freshman forward Nic Kerdiles was suspended for 10 games due to ineligibility claims and junior forward Mark Zengerle will miss the next four to six weeks with a broken index finger.“This is not ideal, neither were those other two things, but that’s life,” Eaves said. “We will look at what our options are and control what we can control and move forward.”last_img read more

Four T&T schools remain closed after earthquake

first_imgTrinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Education has deemed four primary schools unfit due to post-earthquake damage and as a result, they remain closed today – the start of the new school year.During a press conference on Saturday, Minister of Education Anthony Garcia said that following the 6.9 earthquake last month, 66 schools were flagged for attention as they sustained various degrees of damage.He said the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Works and Transport were able to begin structural assessments of these school within two days of the earthquake to ascertain the damage and to get a comprehensive report on areas of repairs. “These are schools that will be closed, and I can assure you and the general public that we in the Ministry of Education would be doing everything possible to ensure that in the shortest time possible our children will have the opportunity to attend school.“I give this information so that the parents would know that certainly on Monday, those children would not be able to attend school, but we are hoping that things would be put in place as soon as possible so that our children and our teachers could return to normal school life.”Concerning the cost of repairs, the Education Minister could not give a figure, stating that assessments were still being carried out.He also disclosed that there was a likelihood that classes at schools with sewer defects in central Trinidad with could be affected in the next few weeks.“There is a possibility of other schools, particularly in central Trinidad that might suffer some damages where sewer is concerned because of movement of the earth. We have been advised that we must be on the lookout for similar actions with respect to the sewer.”last_img read more

Public hearing set for development agreement between Mason City, Golden Grain Energy on facility expansion

first_imgMASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night approved the scheduling of a public hearing regarding a development agreement between the city and Golden Grain Energy on a proposed $23 million expansion project to their facility on the city’s south side. North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation CEO Chad Schreck says the expansion will add a number of different components and jobs for the ethanol-producing plant.  “A lot of equipment, a lot of new capacity for their system. That will allow them to obviously increase their output significantly. I believe it’s five to 10 new jobs, brings them up to 55 jobs in the plant, average wages from $20 to $50 an hour for these newly-created positions. Plant-wide I think they’re around $35 an hour average jobs plus benefits, so very high value, high quality jobs.” Golden Grain and the city successfully executed a development agreement in 2004 in which they provided a minimum of 42 full-time equivalent jobs in exchange for just over $5 million in tax rebates. That helped to leverage Golden Grain into having the highest assessed property value in the city, assessed at just under $19 million this past January. Schreck says they worked with Golden Grain and the city in figuring out a potential agreement for the expansion.  “We met with them, going to the process, helping facilitate this. In order for them to move this forward, this was a factor, the city’s assistance in helping move this forward was a factor in them being able to make it work, the feasibility of everything, with that large sum coming back on the tax rolls that they’ll be paying now and not getting rebated, among other things.”Councilman John Lee says a tax abatement program such as this helps the city in the future.  “The city is about 10 years, 20 years in thinking for the future, it’s not necessarily collecting the taxes today but making sure they’re coming in for down the road. I really don’t have much issues in tax abatements, and knowing this company has done so great for this community, what a great partner for us. So thank you Chad and your team, and thank you to Golden Grain for their belief in this community and expansion, and what a great partner to have in Mason City.” If approved, the agreement would provide for an annual rebate of 100% of the incremental taxes paid for ten years, up to a maximum of $2 million. That rebate would be only for the estimated $6.2 million of increased value. In return, Golden Grain must add ten more full-time jobs by the end of 2021. The council set their December 3rd meeting for the public hearing on the agreement.last_img read more