T O P

Group shares renovation plans

first_imgStudent Senate met Wednesday evening to discuss the upcoming renovations of Hesburgh Library. Hesburgh librarians Jessica Kayongo and Diane Walker presented the multi-phase renovation plan to the group and took questions from the Senate members.The first phase of the renovation will begin over Christmas break, and will involve the gallery that goes through the middle of the library on the first and second floors. According to Kayongo, the biggest change in the gallery will be openings in the ceiling between the first and second floors.“We want to establish a visual connection between the floors to help people find their way around as well as pull more natural light into these spaces,” Kayongo said.One of the overall goals of the renovations is to transform the physical space of the library to reflect its prominence as a major research library.The renovations also include adding a bathroom to the first floor and moving the second floor bathrooms to a more central location. These changes are meant to make the library more convenient to students studying. The tenth floor will also undergo renovation over Christmas break, Walker said.“The goal of the tenth floor renovation is to see what opportunities there are in the stack tower to provide high quality study and work environments,” Walker said.As the renovations continue, students will be able to look on the renovation website and receive alerts so they will be able to plan accordingly. The renovation alerts will let students know whether there is disruptive construction going on.Senate also briefly discussed the continuing issue of safety on campus. According to student body vice president Matt Devine, the Senate recently began filming a safety video. Senate is also working to create a “seal of approval” for trustworthy cab companies.Tags: hesburgh library plans, hesburgh renovation plans, hesburgh renovations, Senate, student senatelast_img read more

Tickets Now Available for Broadway’s Hello, Dolly!

first_img‘Hello, Dolly!’ View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 25, 2018 Bette Midler Hello, Dolly! Star Files Related Shows Hello, dearies! Tickets are now on sale for the eagerly anticipated revival of Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce. Helmed by four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony winner Warren Carlyle, performances will begin at the Shubert Theatre on March 15, 2017 with an opening night scheduled for April 20.The cast will also include Gavin Creel, Kate Baldwin, Taylor Trensch, Will Burton, Melanie Moore and Jennifer Simard.Featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, Hello, Dolly! tells the story of an outspoken matchmaker and her attempts to marry “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. The tuner took home the 1964 Tony Award for Best Musical following its Great White Way premiere at the St. James Theatre.This production will mark the first mounting of Hello, Dolly! on Broadway since 1995, which was headlined by original star and Tony winner Carol Channing. A 1969 film adaptation starred Barbra Streisand in the titular role.Matilda, the current occupant of the Shubert, is scheduled to close on January 1, 2017. David Hyde Piercelast_img read more

Army Corps Blocks Plan for Coal Terminal in Washington State

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Lynda V. Mapes for the Seattle Times:The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency reviewing permits for the deep water port project, agreed with the tribe Monday that it could not grant a permit for a project that would infringe on the Lummi Nation’s treaty-protected fishing rights.The developer, SSA Marine of Seattle, declared the decision “inconceivable” and political, rather than fact-based. But legal experts said far from outlandish, the decision followed federal obligation to protect tribal treaty rights and the habitat that makes those reserved rights meaningful.While SSA voiced shock at the decision, some industry analysts said it merely put a project that was never going to be economically viable out of its misery.“This is like cutting the head off a zombie; it stopped making economic sense years ago, and now it’s officially dead,” said Clark Williams-Derry, director of energy finance at the Sightline Institute in Seattle. With coal prices in a long slide and no recovery in sight, the project had no financial future, Williams-Derry said.“They have no market for the coal,” agreed Tom Sanzillo, based in New York as the director of finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a nonprofit think tank. Coal-export projects are “wasting a lot of investor capital and people’s time,” he said.Full article: Tribes prevail, kill proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point Kirk Johnson for the New York Times:The coal industry, shaken by dropping global demand and tighter air quality regulations, took another major hit on Monday when the United States Army Corps of Engineers said it would deny the permit for what could have been nation’s largest coal export terminal.The $665 million project, called the Gateway Pacific Terminal, was already hitting headwinds. The developer asked last month that the state environmental review on the project be delayed, citing “uncertainty and related costs.” And one of the largest potential suppliers of coal, Peabody Energy, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.But in the end, the decision came down to fish.The Lummi Nation of American Indians had said the terminal, about 90 miles north of Seattle, would threaten the tribe’s ancestral fishing rights, which are legally protected by treaties dating to the mid-1800s. Spills or maritime accidents, the tribe said, could permanently destroy fishing beds.In its decision, the corps agreed, saying the developer’s plan to extend docks across 144 acres over the water could have restricted access to the water by the tribe. That concern was enough to stop the terminal, corps officials said, without even considering potential environmental harm.A spokesman for the project called the corps’ decision “inconceivable.”Environmental concerns about energy transport through the Northwest — both coal and oil — have grown in recent years as projects like the Gateway Pacific Terminal were put forward. Municipal leaders in cities from Spokane to Seattle said trains carrying coal from mines in Montana and Wyoming, or oil from North Dakota, posed risks: air pollution caused by dust, traffic congestion caused by mile-long trains and the potential catastrophe of derailments in urban areas.But the economics of the market have spoken just as loudly.Arch Coal, which was part of a team backing a big coal-export terminal on the Columbia River, filed for bankruptcy in January. A liquefied natural gas project proposed in Oregon was shelved last month, as was a methanol refinery plant in Tacoma, near Seattle. Mr. Watters said in his statement that the Gateway Pacific developers were considering “all action alternatives.”Full article: U.S. Denies Permit for Coal Terminal in Washington State Army Corps Blocks Plan for Coal Terminal in Washington Statelast_img read more

Southern Partnership Station 2011 Medical Team Visits Island in El Salvador

first_imgBy Dialogo February 28, 2011 A U.S. Navy medical team and U.S. Marine Corps engineers visited the Unidad de Salud medical clinic on the island of Zacatillo, El Salvador, to assess public health needs in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011, on 17 February. The three Sailors and two Marines took a 30-minute boat ride from Puerto Corsain, El Salvador, to meet with medical officials at their sole medical clinic to discuss capabilities and limitations for providing quality medical care to 2,000 island residents. “Basically, we wanted to see firsthand how they provide care, and evaluate our ability to work together and partner to provide the best public health for the men, women and children who live here,” said Cmdr. David Blazes, SPS 2011 senior medical officer. “We view this as a positive step toward improving the services we offer our patients,” said Karen Ivania Ponce, Unidad de Salud primary care provider. “Our resources and funding are very limited, so we often face challenges which make it difficult to do our jobs.” After a briefing and tour of the facility by Ponce and her staff, the service members’ attention shifted toward key concerns by island residents and medical clinic staff. “The biggest problem we face here is potable water,” said Rafael Antonio Martinez, Unidad de Salud head nurse practitioner. “We have three wells used to provide water throughout the island, but we don’t have a quality filtering system, which allows bacteria and disease to travel through our water.” Because of the uncertainty and lack of ability to produce purified water, all residents are required to boil their water prior to consumption. There is also a limit on production capabilities, and residents are only provided with 18 gallons of water per week. The water provided is used for bathing, cooking, cleaning and drinking. “This is a very important issue here, because water is critical to life,” said Corp. Robert Wrobleski, 2nd Marine Logistics Group water support technician. “We’re evaluating their equipment and procedures, and offering recommendations to improve their filtering process.” “Hopefully being able to walk through the streets of our town, and see our wells and purification process, will help in developing a joint plan to end this problem and provide limitless clean water to our people,” said Ponce. The team of service members spent five hours on the island walking and talking with residents prior to heading back to High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) to draft plans and document recommendations. “There is so much value in these site assessments, because it allows us to gain an in-depth knowledge of how and what we can do, to provide assistance and continue to build and sustain enduring relationships with the El Salvadorian government,” said Blazes. SPS 11 is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America. The mission’s primary goal is information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region. Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO), is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. maritime strategy, including theater security cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.last_img read more

Don’t call 911 for toilet paper, asks Oregon police

first_imgPolice in the northwestern US state of Oregon have urged citizens worried about the coronavirus pandemic not to call 911 if they run out of toilet paper.The novel coronavirus has prompted panic buying across much of the US, and overseas, with items including hand sanitizer, mineral water and toilet paper frequently disappearing from supermarket shelves.”It’s hard to believe that we even have to post this. Do not call 9-1-1 just because you ran out of toilet paper,” wrote the Newport, Oregon police department on Facebook. “You will survive without our assistance.” The light-hearted post did not specify how many calls police had received via the emergency number over toilet paper, but did suggest a number of alternatives — including using department store catalog pages, sponges and even corn cobs.”Be resourceful. Be patient. There is a TP shortage. This too shall pass,” the post concluded.”Just don’t call 9-1-1. We cannot bring you toilet paper.”Topics :last_img read more

Wolf, Bipartisan Group of Governors Release Plan to Strengthen Health Insurance Markets

first_imgWolf, Bipartisan Group of Governors Release Plan to Strengthen Health Insurance Markets Healthcare,  National Issues,  Press Release,  Public Health Harrisburg, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf joined a bipartisan group of governors to release concrete recommendations that will strengthen and improve the country’s health insurance system.In a letter to Congressional leadership, Wolf and Govs. John Kasich (OH), John Hickenlooper (CO), Brian Sandoval (NV), Bill Walker (AK), Terry McAuliffe (VA), John Bel Edwards (LA), and Steve Bullock (MT) outlined recommendations to improve the health insurance market. The recommendations include immediate federal action to stabilize the markets, responsible reforms that preserve recent coverage gains and control costs, and an active federal/state partnership based on innovation and a shared commitment to improve overall health system performance.“I am proud to again join bipartisan governors from across the country to help improve the health insurance system,” said Wolf. “We must protect the gains we have made in Pennsylvania and many other states, but we all recognize that there are commonsense changes that can make the cost of care less expensive and more accessible. Instead of working to destabilize the health insurance system, Congress should work with governors to improve the system for all Americans.”Next week, on behalf of Governor Wolf, Acting Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller will testify at the Senate HELP committee hearing to amplify the need for these changes to stabilize markets in Pennsylvania and across the country.For the past several months, a group of bipartisan governors has worked together to protect access to health care as Washington has debated changes to the Affordable Care Act. On July 18, 10 bipartisan governors released a statement calling on Washington to fix the insurance markets. On July 26, the same group of governors sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer imploring them to set aside the flawed Republican American Health Care Act and work with governors – Republicans and Democrats – to find a health care solution that will make care more available and affordable for every American.In their letter today, the governors outlined detailed recommendations for Congress to consider to improve the health insurance markets, asking them to take immediate steps to make coverage more stable and affordable.1. Immediate federal action to stabilize markets.Congress should continue its work to identify reforms that strengthen insurance markets in the long term, but we need immediate action to ensure consumers have affordable options in the short term. Insurers have until the end of September to make final decisions about participating in the marketplaces. Congress and the Administration need to send a strong signal now that the individual market will remain viable this year, next year, and into the future.Fund cost sharing reduction payments. The Trump Administration should commit to making cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), National Governors Association, and United States Chamber of Commerce have identified this as an urgent necessity. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates not making these payments would drive up premiums 20-25 percent and increase the federal deficit $194 billion over ten years.Also, Congress should put to rest any uncertainty about the future of CSR payments by explicitly appropriating federal funding for these payments at least through 2019. This guarantee would protect the assistance working Americans need to afford their insurance, give carriers the confidence they need to stay in the market, increase competition, and create more options for consumers. Because the cost of this initiative is already included in the budget baseline, the appropriation would not have budget consequences.Create a temporary stability fund. Congress should create a fund that states can use to create reinsurance programs or similar efforts that reduce premiums and limit losses for providing coverage. The House and Senate each recently proposed $15 billion annually for states to address coverage and access disruption in the marketplace with a goal of lowering premiums and saving money on premium subsidies. We recommend funding the program for at least two years and fully offsetting the cost so it does not add to the deficit.Offer choices in underserved counties. Congress should foster competition and choice in counties where consumers lack options because there is only one carrier on the exchange. We ask Congress to encourage insurance companies to enter underserved counties by exempting these insurers from the federal health insurance tax on their exchange plans in those counties. We also ask Congress to allow residents in underserved counties to buy into the Federal Employee Benefit Program, giving residents in rural counties access to the same health care as federal workers. While these proposals may be temporary solutions, they will help provide Americans with additional choices until other policies have improved the market dynamics.Keep the individual mandate for now. Finally, to prevent a rapid exit of additional carriers from the marketplace, Congress should leave the individual mandate in place until it can devise a credible replacement. The current mandate is unpopular, but for the time being it is perhaps the most important incentive for healthy people to enroll in coverage. Until Congress comes up with a better solution – or states request waivers to implement a workable alternative – the individual mandate is necessary to keep markets stable in the short term.2. Responsible reforms that preserve coverage gains and control costs.Federal action to stabilize markets is only the first step. Governors have been eager to pursue reforms that strengthen health insurance markets in our states, but uncertainty about the ACA and the status of federal subsidies to support the individual market have made it difficult to proceed. Working alongside states, the federal government must make reforms that will preserve and expand gains in coverage, while controlling costs for consumers.In efforts to augment the potential federal actions we recommend in this letter, we attach a menu of options that individual states may consider or pursue. The options can be considered alone or assembled into a comprehensive strategy to achieve the interrelated goals of maximizing market participation, promoting appropriate enrollment, stabilizing risk pools, and reducing cost through coverage redesign. Different states will take different approaches. We all agree on and support the proposals contained in this letter, but each state will choose the state-based approaches that best fits their individual situation.Maximize market participation. Approximately 22 million people now purchase coverage through the individual market, but another 27 million remain uninsured. Increasing coverage uptake among the uninsured would improve the risk pool and set in place a virtuous cycle of lower premiums leading to higher enrollment.First and foremost, encouraging younger, healthier people to enroll in insurance and educating Americans about the importance of coverage can help improve the risk pool. The federal government should continue to fund outreach and enrollment efforts that encourage Americans to sign up for insurance. Many states invest in similar efforts, and all states need the federal government’s support to maximize participation from younger, healthier people.Also, making insurance more affordable is a key part of increasing participation in the marketplace. For example, current law includes a glitch that makes some families who can’t afford insurance through their employer ineligible for tax credits on the exchange. Congress should fix the “family glitch” and give more working families access to affordable coverage.Promote appropriate enrollment. Some consumers choose to enroll in a plan only when they need health care, stop paying premiums at the end of the year, or purchase exchange plans even though they are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid – all of which drives up costs in the individual market. Congress and individual states can reverse this effect, for example by shortening grace periods for non-payment of premiums, verifying special enrollment period qualifications, and limiting exchange enrollment for those who are eligible for other programs.Stabilize risk pools. The ACA created several risk sharing programs to help effectively manage the risk of the individual insurance market. However, the federal government has gone back on its commitment to these programs, in some cases refusing to fully fund risk sharing programs. Congress should modify and strengthen federal risk sharing mechanisms, including risk adjustments and reinsurance. This commitment to federal risk sharing will augment the state efforts that are supported by the stability fund.Reduce cost through coverage redesign. States have an important but limited role in selecting essential health benefits (EHB). The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should allow states more flexibility in choosing reference plans for the ten EHB categories than are currently allowed by regulation. HHS should give states that develop alternatives to EHBs that meet the requirements of Section 1332 of the ACA the opportunity to pursue and implement innovative approaches.3. An active federal/state partnership.States can pursue many reforms without federal assistance. However, in some cases states are constrained by federal law and regulation from being truly innovative. We urge Congress and federal agencies to work with states to overcome these constraints, focusing first on improving the regulatory environment, supporting state innovation waivers, and controlling costs through payment innovation.Improve the regulatory environment. The ACA created a greater role for the federal government in state health insurance markets, but retained states as the principle regulators of those markets. Recognizing the need for some common federal standards, the federal government should not duplicate efforts or preempt state authority to regulate consumer services, insurance products, market conduct, financial requirements for carriers, and carrier and broker licensing in states that already effectively perform these functions. Also, federal agencies should review the list of regulatory reforms identified by NAIC to stabilize markets.Support state innovation waivers. Section 1332 of the ACA permits a state to request permission to waive specific provisions of the ACA, including the individual and employer mandates, as well as requirements for qualified health plans, essential health benefits, tax credits and subsidies, and exchanges. A state may not waive community rating requirements, prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime maximum coverage limits, preventive care mandates, or coverage for adults as dependents through age 26. To obtain a waiver, a state must demonstrate its plan would not increase the federal deficit, would not reduce the number of people with health coverage, and would not reduce the affordability or comprehensiveness of coverage.Many states view Section 1332 as an opportunity to strengthen health insurance markets while retaining the basic protections of the ACA. We recommend HHS streamline and coordinate the waiver submission and approval process, including an option for states to easily build on approved waivers in other states, and an option to fast-track waiver extensions. We also recommend HHS rescind its 2015 guidance on Section 1332 and clarify that states may combine waivers into a comprehensive plan and measure deficit neutrality across the life of the waiver and across federal programs.Control cost through payment innovation. Coverage is important, and coverage reforms can help contain costs, but eventually our nation needs to confront the underlying market dynamics that are driving unsustainable increases in the cost of care. With the support of the federal government, states are resetting the basic rules of health care competition to pay providers based on the quality, not the quantity of care they give patients. This is true in our states, where we are increasing access to comprehensive primary care and reducing the incentive to overuse unnecessary services within high cost episodes of care.Congress and the Administration should make a clear commitment to value-based health care purchasing. For example, Medicare and other federal programs should be allowed to participate in multi-payer State Innovation Models. The Administration should align priorities for value-based purchasing across all federal agencies, including HHS, CMS, SAMHSA, CDC, VA, AHRQ, HUD, DOL, OMB and others. Payment innovation projects should be funded through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and expanded to more states.Empowering consumers with information about the cost and quality of care can help to drive competition that will lower costs. New tools should be developed to provide consumers with better information about how much health services cost or which providers offer the best quality of care. For example, the federal government should work with states to promote consumer-facing websites and apps that let consumers shop for health care based on quality and cost. Many states have developed all payer claims databases to provide greater transparency for consumers, and should be allowed to include claims information from federally regulated ERISA plans in these databases.Read full text of the letter below. You can also view the letter on Scribd and as a PDF.Bipartisan Governors Plan to Strengthen Health Insurance Markets by Governor Tom Wolf on Scribd SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img August 31, 2017last_img read more

Accounting roundup: EFRAG discussion paper gets mixed response

first_imgEFRAG, which advised the European Union on accounting matters, issued a discussion paper in May last year setting out possible alternative accounting approaches to the current model in International Accounting Standard 19, Employee Benefits.A number of jurisdictions in Europe say they are struggling to accurately value hybrid pension promises using the IAS 19 projected unit credit approach.This is because IAS 19 forces them to project their benefit promise forward using an asset-based rate of return and discount back using a high-quality corporate bond rate.In response, EFRAG has suggested three accounting models: the capped asset return approach, the fair-value approach and the fulfilment value approach.The capped-asset approach involves measuring the pension liability at the higher of the IAS 19 obligation:with the expected return capped at the level of the discount rate, orassuming the level of the minimum guaranteed return.Among those supporting EFRAG’s proposal for a so-called capped-asset return approach was the London-based Association of Consulting Actuaries.In a response dated 15 November, the body’s accounting committee chair Warren Singer wrote: “We believe this approach has the advantage of addressing in a pragmatic and easy to implement way the internal measurement mismatch currently caused by inconsistency between the estimated cashflows for these benefits and the discount rate under IAS 19.”Meanwhile, Belgian insurer Assuralia also gave its backing to the model.Assuralia said that “several insurance undertakings in Belgium already follow this approach or a similar one”, and went on to add that its comparability with existing IAS 19 requirements mean it will be cheap to implement.However, other European voices were more muted in their response.The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise warned in its response that the real problem with IAS 19 is the discount rate and said that “none of the proposals should be further developed.”Furthermore, as previously reported by IPE, no German respondents supported the proposals in the discussion paper.Thomas Hagemann, Mercer Germany’s chief actuary, said: “The feedback was very interesting for me from what I’ve read, because it seems that no one supported either of the two more complex approaches.“When it came to the capped asset approach, there were really two points of view in the comment letters. First, there were those such as the ABA, IVS and DRSC [in Germany] who said they supported it – but with changes – and others who rejected it outright.”IASB poublishes planned 2020 consultationsThe International Accounting Standards Board has released an update setting out its planned consultations this year.The briefing shows that the board plans to launch its five-yearly agenda consultation in the second half of 2020, as well as an exposure draft detailing potentially wide-ranging changes to IAS 19’s footnote disclosure requirements.EU adopts IASB’s amendmentsThe European Union has formally adopted the IASB’s recent amendments to its three financial instruments standards.The changes affect IAS 39, Financial Instruments: recognition and measurement, International Financial Reporting Standard 9, Financial Instruments, and IFRS 7, Financial Instruments: Disclosures.The amendments give companies limited exemptions from the hedge-accounting requirements in both IAS 39 and IFRS 9 so they do not have to discontinue and resume hedge accounting just because an interest rate benchmark in a hedging instrument changes as a result of interbank offered rate reform. The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group has received a largely mixed response to its discussion paper setting out three possible approaches for dealing with so-called hybrid or asset-return dependent pension promises.In summary, of the 13 responses received by the end of the consultation period, only the capped-asset approach secured support among constituents, with no respondent backing the competing fulfillment value approach and the fair-value approach.An EFRAG spokesperson told IPE: “The next step for the EFRAG Secretariat is to prepare a summary of the feedback received and present it at the EFRAG [Technical Experts Group] meeting.“In early March, EFRAG TEG will discuss the possible ways forward.”last_img read more

WoodMac: majors weighing investment in renewables

first_imgOil and gas industry majors are pushed to reconsider their strategies in the future as wind and solar energy are set to play a major role in the energy market. This presents a threat to legacy oil and gas operations, but also an opportunity to diversify and future-proof portfolios, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said.A niche energy market now, renewables will be much bigger by the middle of the next decade, as oil and gas demand growth slows.The value proposition is also competitive versus some upstream investments, with long-life cash flow a key attraction, according to WoodMac.The consultancy notes that the majors have already taken the first steps to move beyond the core oil and gas business into wind and solar power, as well as energy storage.However, a large number of players are still considering their options and are yet to make significant moves into renewables.“A potential tipping point for the shift into wind and solar could be an anticipated decline in the Majors’ hydrocarbon production. With new resources needed to sustain volumes beyond 2025, wind and solar could step in to the breach if discovered resource commercialisation, M&A and exploration fail to deliver, or economics weigh against continued development,” WoodMac said.Although portfolios of industry majors will not change for decades there is a substantial opportunity in investing in renewables.“At current costs, achieving the same market share the Majors have in upstream oil and gas would require US$350 billion in wind and solar investment out to 2035. While this seems an unlikely scenario, renewables could account for over one-fifth of total capital allocation for the most active players post-2030,” according to Wood Mackenzie.With the shift only at the beginning, and the scale is yet uncertain, wind and solar energy will be increasingly important strategic growth themes that cannot afford to be ignored as the majors plan to 2035 and beyond.last_img read more

EUTHANASIA – Are you ready for the debate? Here’s the resources you need…

first_imgWith the private member’s bill of ACT MP David Seymour being drawn, the topic of assisted suicide / euthanasia has well and truly been thrust into the national spotlight.So here’s three resources to help you get your head around the issue.1. OUR NEW WEBSITEWe’ve launched a new website in response to this latest push for assisted suicide – www.rejectassistedsuicide.org.nzThe site is updated daily with our media releases and articles & research sourced from both NZ and overseas. It’s also packed with information and resources and links to other great websites that will help you in this debate. There’s some great little video clips as well from various sources. Check it out!2. SIGN THE “PLEDGE TO PROTECT”By signing this pledge, you’ll be making a statement of declaration to promote ‘care, not killing’ – and to treat assisted suicide as a problem, not a solution.Signatories to this pledge will be included as part of Family First’s submission against the proposed law IF it gets past the 1st Reading and goes to a Select Committee. It also enables us to keep you informed as to the progress of the issue.The Pledge To Protect says:“We, the undersigned, oppose any attempt to legalise Assisted Suicide / Euthanasia in New Zealand. We call for the provision of the highest quality palliative care to be made available to all New Zealanders.”3. Q&A BRIEFING PAPERNot sure how to even start the discussion on this issue? What about those tricky questions? Our Briefing Paper has a quick summary of some of the key questions, including:understanding the terms – what is euthanasia, and more importantly, what is not euthanasia?how a ‘right to die’ can become a ‘duty to die’why safeguards are an illusionthe clear evidence of a ‘slippery slope’the concerns around elder abusethe conflicting messages about suicide prevention when promoting assisted suicidewhat do the medical professionals think?how polls have confused and misrepresented the issuewhat has the overseas experience shown us? (view some of the many disturbing recent examples)what the real solution isThanks for speaking up. Euthanasia is not a solution, it’s a problem. As we said in our media release when David Seymour’s bill was first drawn, this bill raises massive concerns around issues of subjective definitions, risks to the elderly and vulnerable, and statements made around potential euthanasia for disabled persons.One of the main reasons that politicians in NZ have rejected previous attempts to decriminalise euthanasia is that they realised that the safeguards, while sounding good, would not guarantee the protection required for vulnerable people including the disabled, elderly, depressed or anxious, and those who feel themselves to be a burden or are under financial pressure. The international evidence backs up these concerns, and explains why so few countries have made any changes to the law around this issue. We simply need to ensure a palliative care regime in NZ that is fully funded and world class. That’s where the politicians’ focus should be.Let’s encourage the politicians to immediately and quickly ‘pull the plug’ on this flawed and dangerous bill.Bob McCoskrieNational Directorlast_img read more

Humility and Witness

first_img Tweet Share Share Share 27 Views   no discussionscenter_img Sharing is caring! FaithLifestyleLocalNews Humility and Witness by: – December 12, 2011 Photo credit: katenasser.comThis weekend I would like to explore two qualities in John the Baptist that are worth noting, namely, his humility and his witness. I am not the one, he made it clear; that someone is coming after me. He is greater than I. I am not worthy to untie his sandal straps, He will do things I cannot do.John was not tempted to detract in any way from the significance of Jesus. He wasn’t the real thing, he insisted; he was just a forerunner — and he was fully content with that. And there you have the first and perhaps the most important element in humility. Humility is standing in the truth. It is being just what you are, and only that, without falsification or distortion. Another way of putting this is to say that humility means a just estimate of oneself. If you were Picasso, for example, it would not a mark of humility to say: “I can just about hold a paint brush.” On the other hand, it would be a mark of humility to say: “I know a few things about painting.” Not ‘everything,’ you note. Who knows everything?The people who enshrine humility and disclose it for the rest of us are people who are really good at what they do (about goodness itself, too) and say ‘all I know is a little about this or a little about that,’ where a little is a great deal. Humility is seeing oneself or evaluating oneself “in the broad scheme of things.” You can see how far removed it is from putting yourself down or making yourself a doormat and letting people walk all over you.John was a humble man. He was also a witness, that is, he publicly attested to what he believed. Witness is a public activity or a public stance. Jesus was therefore a witness. Indeed, from the point of view of faith, he was the primary witness. He who sees me, he said openly, sees the Father. The thief on the cross and the centurion on the ground also gave witness — public testimony — to Jesus crucified.Public witness may or may not involve speech. It does not mean that all you talk about all the time is what you believe. If you did that, people would soon avoid being where you were. They would walk away from the water-cooler when they saw you coming.On the other hand, witness is not silence. It is a public attestation. Thus, I cannot prefer silence to being public. That is close to being ashamed of bearing witness. I must have the courage to speak when speech is required or when speech is necessary.I have always admired street preachers. What they do takes a great deal of courage, considering how easily they are dismissed and how indifferently the public usually treats them.The best witness, of course, is public example. If your public self is genuinely your real self, your witness has integrity. The real self need not be perfect, of course. What matters is approximation. The closer you approximate to your ideals, the more influential your witness becomes.The martyr has always been considered the ideal witness – understandably, of course. When I give my life for what I believe, I give my all. I have nothing left to give.Many people do that too without dying, which is perhaps more routinely difficult witness — the daily witness, one day after another, in public and in private, That is both rare and special, and I am sure we know many people like that. They resemble John the Baptist in that their lives point beyond themselves. They go before the One they serve, and they do so without fuss, in fidelity and humility.By: Father Henry Charles PhDlast_img read more