April 20

Italian president: I’m in no mood to wait for a government

first_imgROME — Italian President Sergio Mattarella warned Friday he will wait just “a few days” for the country’s political forces to break the post-election deadlock before he forces them to take action.Speaking at the end of a second round of inconclusive consultations with party leaders, Mattarella said that next week he would take on a greater role in the creation of a new government.“The expectations of Italian citizens … important and imminent deadlines in Europe, and rising international tensions in areas not far from Italy create urgency that the confrontation among the parties reach a positive outcome,” Mattarella said, in a clear reference to the Syrian crisis. If a new government is not formed soon, key decisions will remain in the hands of the outgoing administration led by Paolo Gentiloni, which is now operating in a caretaker capacity.“I stressed with the parties the need for our country to have a government with full powers in place … I will wait a few days to decide how to exit the current impasse,” Mattarella said.The president has two main options at his disposal: He can give a senior figure from one of Italy’s political institutions an “exploratory mandate” to mediate between the main blocs — the anti-establishment 5Star Movement and the far-right League — or he can give the leader of a party a “preliminary mandate” to form a government.While a preliminary mandate could be given to either the League or the 5Stars, an exploratory mandate would traditionally be handed to a neutral figure, perhaps the speaker of one of the chambers of parliament or someone else of high political standing, who would not become premier.The 5Stars, led by Luigi Di Maio, emerged as the largest single party in last month’s election with more than 32 percent of the vote, while the center-right coalition led by Matteo Salvini’s League won a combined 37 percent. None of the parties, however, has enough seats in parliament to govern alone.The contrasts between the two new big forces in Italian politics became greater during the second round of talks, with rival leaders Di Maio and Salvini facing a stumbling block on the road to a possible alliance: the role of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Di Maio on Thursday reiterated his position that any alliance with the 81-year-old media mogul was a nonstarter, asking Berlusconi to “step to the side” to allow the creation of government with the League. The center-right alliance, however, staged a show of unity, with Salvini resisting calls to drop his long-time ally Berlusconi. Also On POLITICO OPTICS In pictures: The Italian village that makes the world’s guns By Simone Tramonte Opinion Coming soon: Italy’s Macron By Matteo Garavoglialast_img read more

February 27

Affluent Parents Use Their Know-How to Get Needy Kids Into College

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreApplying to colleges can be complicated and confusing– especially when no one in your family has ever attended college. Where can you get help with writing admission essays or figuring out financial aid forms?Well, one high-school is matching parents who have gone through the process with their own college students to kids hoping to be the first in their families to continue with higher education.NEED MORE GOOD NEWS IN YOUR LIFE? GET OUR NEW APP—>  Download FREE for Android and iOSNewton North High School in Massachusetts created a program called Transitioning Together that taps the city’s affluent parents to help their neighbors’ children.Since 2012, these experienced parents are paired with students who are first generation college applicants — many whose parents speak English as a second language.Then-principal Jen Price noticed a huge gap between college enrollments based on race and income and helped create Transitioning Together. She’s moved on to another school, but the mentoring program she helped start has continued to grow.RELATED: Grandma Drives Away Trouble On Her City’s Toughest StreetsThe program featured 29 students last year. All 29 went to college. This year, 40 students are taking advantage of the program — and, best of all, there’s no shortage of mentors.“As people had amazing experiences, they started talking at cocktail parties and to their friends and to their neighbors and so the mentor pool has really grown,” Price told WGBH News.— Photo by sentraldigital, CC SHARE This Great Idea…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

November 19

People do an ‘alarmingly’ bad job of recalling information from airline preflight safety briefings

first_imgThe researchers found that participants recalled more information about supplemental oxygen when a crew member demonstrated its usage. But the medium of delivery did not appear to have a significant impact the participants’ ability to recall safety information about seat belts, brace position, exits, emergency lighting, escape slides and life rafts, smoking, and safety cards.And, overall, the participant did an “alarmingly” bad job of recalling safety information regardless of how it was presented. Native English speakers only recalled 49% of information from the safety briefing on average, while non-Native English speakers only recalled 27%.Participants in a control group who watched an unrelated video were able to recall — based on previous airline flights — almost as much as those who got the preflight safety briefing.The researchers also found that those who watched a video tended to report a worse mood afterward compared to those who only listened to audio — but it is unclear why.“Pre-flight safety briefings provide important information that you (a passenger) may need in an emergency. Hence as a passenger, it is important that you pay attention during the briefing. Often this is difficult due to various factors, including the method of delivery and the quality of the briefing,” Molesworth said.Molesworth said the challenge for airlines is to create a safety briefing that both captures people’s attention and is easy to recall. “Caution needs to be exercised by airlines when creating pre-flight safety briefings,” he told PsyPost. “Many airlines engage their marketing department to what would appear to be the exclusion of the safety department when designing briefings. The end result is often a briefing that is creative, possibly funny, but dilutes or disregards the safety message.” The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and similar agencies around the world require that passengers be provided with a safety briefing. But the regulations only stipulate what topics need to be included in a briefing.“The regulators need to be more proactive in their review and assessment of pre-flight safety briefings,” Molesworth said. “Their focus should be on whether the intent of the briefing is achieved (passenger educated), as opposed to whether a briefing is provided or not.”But it’s not all up to the airlines and regulators. Molesworth also has some advice for passengers. “Passengers should, as much as possible get actively involved in the briefing,” he said. “For example, count the number of seats between them and the nearest exit. Examine how the seat belt operates, in particular opens. Note, a number of latch style seat belts release at different angles. Observe and look for where the life vest is located/stored.” The study, “Preflight Safety Briefings: Understanding the Relationship Between Mode of Delivery, Recall of Key Safety Messages, and Mood”, was authored by Brett R. C. Molesworth, Joanna Pagan, and Chloe Wilcock. People have trouble remembering information from preflight safety briefings, according to new research published in The International Journal of Aerospace Psychology.“Passenger safety is important. There are, however, few opportunities to convey the importance of this and how passengers can play an active role in ensuring they are as safe as possible when flying. The pre-flight safety briefing is one of these opportunities, which has received little attention in the past,” explained Brett Molesworth, an associate professor of human factors and aviation safety at the University of New South Wales.In the study, 162 university students watched an actual preflight safety video used by an Australian airline that varied in its delivery. For example, some participants only listened to the audio from the video, while others received a live demonstration as they watched the video. Share LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

September 20

Kulusevski could have more of an impact than Ibrahimovic

first_imgThe lesser-known Swede might just make the bigger impact in Serie A.Dejan Kulusevski was having a medical at Juventus at the same time Zlatan Ibrahimovic was undergoing tests at AC Milan. Kulusevski was expected to sign a five-year contract, becoming the second-most expensive player born this millennium.Juventus will reportedly pay Atalanta €35 million plus up to €9 million in bonuses for the 19-year-old midfielder, not much less than the €45 million Real Madrid paid Flamengo for Vinícius Júnior.The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic – nearly 20 years older than Kulusevski – has agreed to rejoin the Rossoneri until the end of the season, with the option to extend his contract for another year.At the time of the last transfer window, Kulusevski had played only 103 minutes of club football in three appearances for Atalanta, and was playing at the under-19 level for his country. He moved to Parma on loan and has improved quickly, playing a key role in the club’s impressive first half of the season with four goals and seven assists.His performances earned him a first call-up to the Swedish national team, and he made his international debut in a 3-0 win over the Faeroe Islands in November.All that saw Juventus move swiftly to sign Kulusevski, despite competition from the likes of Manchester United and Inter Milan.“It’s normal that big clubs are interested in a player who has been expressing himself at a level like Dejan’s,” said Andreas Engelmark, Kulusevski’s first coach with the Brommapojkarna youth team. “He’s a very versatile player … but I think he expresses himself best between the lines, where thanks to his great dribbling skills he can create very dangerous situations.” ‘i won’t change teams’ Kulusevski is likely to remain on loan at Parma until the end of the season before moving to the Bianconeri. And that would suit Kulusevski just fine.“I won’t change teams in January because I need to grow here at Parma, then we’ll see,” Kulusevski said last month. “I don’t think much about the future, otherwise I would lose my concentration, train badly and play badly. But I know that one day I’ll get right to the top.”Joining the eight-time defending champions is certainly a step forward, and Kulusevski could even fix Juve’s midfield problems by linking up with the attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain.Kulusevski’s move to Juventus will also see him earn a reported €2.5 million per season.“I never thought about becoming the best of them all, but I want to play for a big team,” he said. “My head is what has made me get here, not just training and talent.”last_img read more

January 14

Combating drug trafficking

first_imgThe authorities in Guyana are facing some real challenges in relation to tackling the issue of drug trafficking and the related problems that come with such activity. While there have been some successes at preventing traffickers from being successful in carrying out these illegal acts, it is clear that there is still much work to be done to put a real dent on drug trafficking.In some cases, persons carrying illegal drugs slip through our ports here undetected. It is only when they arrive at their destination that they are discovered with the illegal drugs. The same goes for cargo containers, boxes, parcels and so on; in quite a few cases, they pass through the relevant security systems here undetected, due to what some perceive to be collusion of a numbers of officers from the relevant agencies involved.International and regional institutions have, for quite some time now, been trying to come up with a strategy that would seek to reverse this growing threat, but traffickers are becoming smarter and are using other methods to “beat the system,” thereby creating more difficulties for law enforcement agencies.Counter-drug efforts have pushed traffickers to use new routes through the Caribbean as they seek to ship illegal drugs from South America into the United States, Europe and other destinations. They are also using containers with the aim of concealing the illegal items. It is no secret that, in the past, large amounts of drugs have transited in and out of Guyana on cargo and other ships. Cocaine is often concealed in legitimate commodities, and smuggled via commercial maritime vessels, air transport, human couriers, “go-fast” boats, or various postal methods.The Caribbean is the midway point between illicit drug producers in the South and consumers in the North. Despite the interception of cocaine and other illegal items by local law enforcement officials, the United States and other international agencies believe that large volumes still pass through Guyana’s borders undetected.A key report on the global fight against drug trafficking and money laundering, which was released by the United States Department of State last year, had noted that Guyana has a long road ahead in combating the drug scourge. The report, titled “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR),” had said that Guyana is a transit country for cocaine destined for the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and West Africa.Cocaine originating in Colombia is smuggled to Venezuela, and onward to Guyana by sea or air. The report had said that smugglers also transit land borders with Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname.Traffickers are attracted by the country’s poorly monitored ports, remote airstrips, intricate river networks, porous land borders, and weak security sector capacity.On the positive side, a few years ago, with US funding through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Container Control Programme (CCP) established “a multi-agency CCP Port Control Unit at the John Fernandes Wharf. The aim of setting up the unit was to strengthen the country’s capacity to assist in combating the threats posed by drug and gun traffickers using shipping containers to ply their trade.This was an excellent initiative which has seen some successes so far in preventing illegal items from passing through our borders.Also, Guyana has enacted crucial legislation that could enable a more-effective response to the threat of drug trafficking. For example, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009, Interception of Communications Act of 2008, Criminal Law Procedure Act (revised in 1998), and Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act of 1988 were designed to enhance the investigative capabilities of law enforcement authorities and prosecutors in obtaining convictions of drug traffickers.Certainly, drug trafficking and related criminal activities represent one of the most potent threats to democracy and stability in Guyana and the region. It undermines the rule of law and democratic governance, hence strenuous efforts must be made by all stakeholders involved to win the battle against traffickers. It should be noted, too, that drug trafficking is not only associated with violence and organized crime, evidence shows that it is linked to terrorist activities, and it is also connected to money laundering, arms and human trafficking, and corruption.last_img read more