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Once Upon Time In America: There Was Chicago and There Was May Day: And Now There's Something Called Economic Policy Institute




|| Saturday: December 14: 2019 || ά. We publish this email, sent out from the Economic Policy Institute of America:EPI, by Mr Steven Greenhouse, that speaks of the ‘attacks’ the Trump Administration has continuously made and are still making against the workers and working people of America, many of whom were led to believe voting Mr Trump was going to serve and protect their interests. The rich owned media outlets have all supported the ascendency of Mr Trump and they still do and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future: The Humanion:

::: Donald Trump likes to promote himself as a friend of “forgotten” workers. But his administration has worked all too often to undermine America’s workers, as well as the institution that has traditionally been their biggest champion: labor unions. Month after month EPI has done groundbreaking research that shines a spotlight on the Trump administration’s attacks on workers and unions.

Donate to EPI today to protect the nation's working people from policies that undermine their ability to earn a fair wage and support their families. In recent generations, as the power of unions has declined, wages have stagnated, income inequality has grown, and corporate America has gained far too much sway over our politics and policymaking. EPI has done an invaluable job detailing and explaining these unfortunate trends.

Trump’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has systematically rolled back workers’ ability to form unions and collectively bargain for a fair return on their work. Trump’s NLRB, for example, is proposing to deny workers the right to use their employer’s email system to discuss problems they face at work. Trump’s NLRB has also overturned a rule that would have made it far easier for workers at McDonald’s and other franchised operations to unionize.

EPI has played a vital role in setting the record straight about Donald Trump’s bogus claims that he is a champion of America’s workers.  Donate today to make sure the truth is heard. Trump’s imprint on the Supreme Court has seriously set back workers’ rights. Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, delivered the deciding vote in the 5-to-4 Epic Systems case, which makes it far harder for workers to protect their rights at work; it allows corporations to prohibit workers from banding together to bring class action lawsuits over wage theft, sexual harassment, and other workplace violations.

Gorsuch also cast the deciding vote in a case that delivered a major blow to labor unions. In Janus v. AFSCME, the court’s conservative majority ruled that government employees can’t be required to pay fees to the unions that bargain for them and win raises for them. By allowing many government workers to become “free riders,” that ruling has thrown obstacles in front of public-employee unions in an attempt to undermine their effectiveness.

The labor movement in the United States is already far weaker than its counterparts in other industrialized nations. Just one in 10 American workers belongs to a union, down from more than one in three in the 1950s. With employer resistance on the rise, compounded by the Trump administration’s hostility, unions are under attack as never before.  

In no other industrial nation do employers fight so hard to defeat labor unions. At a time when corporate America has grown hugely powerful, we need a strong workers’ movement to serve as a countervailing force to business’s might and billionaire donors. We know this is possible. A growing number of Americans want to join a union.

A 2017 MIT study found that 48 percent of nonunion workers would join a union if they could, up from 32 percent in 1995. A 2019 Gallup poll found that public approval for unions is near its highest level in 50 years. Union membership actually grew in 2017 before declining in 2018, a sign that unions could grow once again if we rolled back the Trump Administration’s attacks on organizing and enacted stronger labor laws.

The recent wave of teacher strikes shows that workers not only can win better pay and working conditions when they stand together, but can also win for the community at large―for instance, by demanding smaller class sizes and more librarians and nurses in the schools. In other encouraging signs for labor, union membership has been growing in the service and hospitality industries, as well as in areas that don’t yet have a strong union footprint, including the tech industry, grad students, and digital journalism.

EPI plays an essential role not just in educating and enlightening, but in galvanizing public support for America’s workers. For years, EPI has been the single best source of information and statistics on what is happening with the nation’s 150 million workers―whether about wage stagnation or the many benefits that unions provide, such as safer workplaces and higher wages for unionized and nonunionized workers alike.  

Thanks, EPI, for all that you do to fight for an economy that works for everyone. Donate today to power the research that is so vital to lift up America’s workers and build a fairer economy.

::: Steven Greenhouse is the Author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labour :::

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The Fast-Changing Energy Landscape in America: Tribal Utility-scale Solar Initiatives Emerge Across the Southwest US




|| Monday: October 28: 2019 || ά. Deals for utility-scale solar installations are accelerating on tribal lands in the Southwest US, finds a Report, published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:IEEFA. The Report, ‘Tribal Utility-Scale Solar Initiatives Advance Across Southwest US’, cites the emergence of battery-storage technology, state energy policy changes and the rapidly falling prices of utility-scale solar as driving factors.

In Nevada, the Moapa Band of Paiutes in 2017 blazed the tribal utility-scale solar trail with a 250-megawatt:MW installation, that supplies power directly to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power:LADWP. The tribe is proceeding now with the development of two new solar farms, one 200MW and the second 300MW, that will provide power to NV Energy, the biggest utility in Nevada.

In New Mexico, the first tribal utility-scale solar project on record, on Jicarilla Apache land, will send power via the Public Service Company of New Mexico to the City of Albuquerque as part of a larger plan to replace generation, that will be lost in the closure of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station, which has grown so uncompetitive as to be a drain on ratepayers.

The Jicarilla Project is a sign, like the Nevada projects, of things to come in one other respect: It pairs solar generation, 50MW, with a storage component, 20MW. In Arizona and Utah, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority has partnered with the Salt River Project in Phoenix on a 55MW solar park, that feeds into the regional grid and the tribal utility has struck a deal with 16 Utah cities to buy electricity from a planned 66MW solar farm on tribal land in San Juan County, Utah.

“All the deals are tied to long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) that run from 15 to 25 years and pricing on the most recent ones, ranging from, roughly, $21-$23 per megawatt-hour:MWh, shows why utility-scale solar has become so attractive.” the Report states. “Gas and coal-fired electricity generation, by comparison, are much more expensive.”

The Report notes, for example, industry details from Lazard’s most recent annual levelised cost of electricity data update, which put the cost of coal-fired generation nationally at $60-$143:MWh and gas-fired generation at $41-$74:MWh. The unsubsidised cost for wind ranged from $29-$56:MWh, with the subsidised cost falling as low as $14:MWh. Lazard estimated the unsubsidised price of utility-scale solar at $36-$44:MWh.

The Report notes, nonetheless, that tribal lands in the Southwest US remain vastly under-developed on the utility-scale solar front and that enormous opportunity exists for deals between utility companies, tribal governments and tax-equity developers.

“Tribal lands of the Southwest US are far and away the largest single repository of utility-scale solar potential but, development of these resources has moved at an almost-glacial pace.” the Report states. “Indications are that a paradigm shift is at work, however, as tribal interests begin to partner with developers, that bring tax-advantage incentives to the table and with utility companies driven by the low cost of utility-scale solar; state mandates, also, in some instances are helping propel the uptake of renewable energy.”

About IEEFA: The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:IEEFA conducts global research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment. The Institute’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.


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Economic Policy Institute Urges the US Labour Department Not to Weaken Overtime Standards for Working People



|| Monday: September 30: 2019 || ά. Economic Policy Institute:EPI’s, America, Policy Director Ms Heidi Shierholz has submitted comments opposing US Labour Department’s proposal to set the threshold, under which salaried workers are guaranteed overtime to $35,308 for a full-year worker. Ms Shierholz’s analysis shows that this proposal does not go far enough to protect working people, leaving behind millions of workers, who would have been covered by a 2016 Obama Administration proposal.

In her comment, Ms Shierholz makes the case that DOL uses an inappropriate methodology to set the salary threshold in its proposal, while the 2016 rule would supplant used a more appropriate, albeit conservative, methodology. “The 2016 threshold was painstakingly researched and economically justified. The department’s new proposed rule is based on a deeply flawed set of assumptions, including, the notion that someone struggling on $35,000 a year is a highly paid executive, who doesn’t need or deserve overtime protections and will leave millions of workers behind as a result.” said Ms Shierholz.

“We encourage the department to drop this rule-making and, instead, defend the 2016 threshold.” Ms Shierholz points out that the Labour Department neglected to include automatic increases in its proposal. Without automatic updates, millions of workers will be left behind as the threshold is eroded by inflation.

Instead of indexing the threshold to an appropriate benchmark, DOL has indicated that they intend to undertake a new rule-making process, which is a costly and time-consuming process, every four years to update the threshold. Even, if, the department followed through with this commitment, the threshold would not be updated regularly enough and employers and employees alike would be forced to deal with extra uncertainty.

Ms Shierholz’s analysis shows that 08.2 million workers, who would have benefitted from the 2016 final rule will be left behind by this proposal, far more than estimated by DOL. This includes 04.2 million women, 03.0 million people of colour, 04.7 million workers without a college degree and 02.7 million parents of children under the age of 18.

The 08.2 million workers left behind by this proposal are comprised of 03.1 million workers, who would have gotten new overtime protections under the 2016 rule and another 05.1 million workers, who would have gotten strengthened overtime protections under that rule.

About Economic Policy Institute:EPI: EPI is an independent, non-profit think tank, that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States. EPI’s research helps policymakers, opinion leaders, advocates, journalists and the public understand the bread-and-butter issues affecting ordinary Americans.


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The University of Calgary's Life Sciences Innovation Hub Receives $08.5 Million Funding From the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund to Act as a Catalyst to Turn Research Into Commercial Ventures



















|| February 06: 2019 || ά. The University of Calgary is receiving $08.5 million for programming to support turning advanced research into business opportunities at the new Life Sciences Innovation Hub. Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund:OCIF made the announcement today at the Hub with Dr Ed McCauley, the President and Vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary, Mayor Mr Naheed Nenshi and Mr Barry Munro, the Chair of the Board of Directors for OCIF. This is good news, surely and The Humanion publishes it here as such. But, we must point out this that all universities and learning agencies of the World must bear in mind not all research, though, equally vital, can be commercialised instantly so that they do not close their vision and fall into the trap of only funding poverty-fuelled research.

Poverty-fuelled, because, that poverty is of lacking of vision and, poverty does not and can not fuel much of anything. Because, in such cases, the institutions would have blinded themselves with the short-termist money-spinning research focus. For the ultimate function of research is two-fold: to enable questioning and learning so to innovate and so to seek to advance the human condition for only through new knowledge and learning and innovation humanity does and can develop itself so to take forward the human condition. This applies to all research work, regardless of disciplines of the studies of learning. Thus, a great deal of research will not make money, will not make a penny today but the vision of the funding university must ensure that it sees in what ways a piece of research contributes to this advancing the human condition. Take genetics, as an example: Gregory Mendel’s life’s work or research would not get a penny of funding from anyone to fund his research because his research would not make a penny in a century! Now, stop and think, what would be the consequences, were such a ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting research, that would lift and shift and take forward the human condition in far more ways than, even, today, we are able to fully grasp, to be overlooked, rejected and thrown into the academic dustbins? Without vision universities cripple themselves and with poverty of vision they chain themselves. We have the faith that the University of Calgary shall not do either and continue to craft and carve out ways and paths, that are anew and afresh, that are always going to tell the world: these are ways, that had not existed before.

“This funding is critical to the development of our new Life Sciences Innovation Hub at the University Research Park, a place, that accelerates cross-disciplinary projects in discovery and innovation.” said Dr McCauley. “The university leads the way in advancing the emerging life sciences sector and diversifying Calgary’s economy. Whether we are investigating the human micro-biome or supporting best practices in production animal health, we are driving innovation, based on discoveries for the benefit of Calgary and Alberta.”

The Life Sciences Innovation Hub is forecast to incubate 20 to 40 life sciences companies per year. A key element of the Hub is supporting research with a commercialisation focus for both early-stage incubator companies, as well as, growing and developing companies occupying their own space in the building. The Hub was first unveiled last November and is scheduled to open in July.

“Life sciences is a critical component of our economic strategy and we, already, have a great university doing ground-breaking work.” said Mayor Mr Nenshi. “This funding will help us bring that ground-breaking work to market, creating jobs and a more resilient economy.”

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund was launched by the City of Calgary in April 2018 to support investments within the city, that spur growth and create jobs in strategic sectors. Life sciences is one of the sectors, identified for growth in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy. OCIF funding will support specialised programming for entrepreneurs and companies at the Hub. It was not used to acquire or refurbish the building.

“Some of the most advanced research in the world is being done at the University of Calgary. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage that research and create the next great life sciences companies in Calgary.” said Mr Munro. “That is what we plan to achieve with the OCIF investment: fund the programmes to build the skills to transition to the business world and to help attract global capital to support these companies and entrepreneurs.”

A steering committee will be created to advise the University on programming at the Life Sciences Innovation Hub, that will include industry, Calgary Economic Development, the University of Calgary, Innovate Calgary and Creative Destruction Lab:CDL-Rockies.:::ω.

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Nicaragua: The Onslaught Against Key Human Rights Groups



|| December 23: 2018 || ά. After the Nicaraguan Government announced that it had asked two key human rights institutions to leave the country, the head of the United Nation Human Rights Ms Michelle Bachelet, said on Friday that she was extremely alarmed by a decision that means, in effect, there will be no functioning independent human rights bodies left in Nicaragua.

According to High Commissioner Bachelet, the two non-profit human rights organisations were set up by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights:IACHR, in full co-operation with the Government after the violence and unrest earlier this year. One of them is MESENI, a follow-up mechanism from IACHR, set up specifically for Nicaragua and the other is known as, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts:GIEI.

“After the earlier cancellation of the registration and confiscation of properties of national NGOs working on human rights, the de facto expulsion of the two IACHR organisations means there are now virtually no functioning independent human rights bodies left in Nicaragua.” said Ms Bachelet. She added further that the Government has said it will no longer accept visits by the IACHR itself.

Since April, when student-led protests began in response to a decree, which raised taxes and ordered changes to social security, hundreds of people have been arrested. The UN human rights office:OHCHR has received reports that fair trial rights of protesters and their leaders are being violated.

According to media reports, the violence and civil unrest has led to around 300 deaths and a report from the UN rights office in late August, detailed numerous violations carried out by Nicaraguan security forces, including, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. The report noted that 22 police officers had, also, lost their lives.

“Coupled with the parallel clamp-down on independent media, including, last weekend’s raids on media outlets, the net result is a country where civil society is in danger of being shut out altogether and international organisations are, also, struggling to keep operating.” warned the UN Human Rights High Commissioner.

“These actions by the Government make resolution of the crisis affecting the country much more difficult and risk blocking all dialogue within the country, with neighbouring states and with the international community at large, with possible wide-ranging consequences.” she said. She further added that hoping that some common ground can be found with the Government so this trend can be reversed.

Caption: Artículo 66: Students protest in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, July 2018: Image: UN Photo:::ω.

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In 2016 Over 38,000 People Were Killed and 116,000 Suffered Non-Fatal Injuries Due to Firearms in the United States: Amnesty International Report Declares Gun Violence in the United States to Be a Human Rights Crisis




|| September 14: 2018: Amnesty International News || ά. The U.S Government has allowed gun violence to become a human rights crisis, according to ‘In the Line of Fire: Human Rights and the U.S Gun Violence Crisis’. a new Report from Amnesty International. The report examines how all aspects of American life have been compromised in some way by the unfettered access to guns, with no attempts at meaningful national regulation. While most countries have licensing and regulation systems in place for firearms, the United States lacks measures like a national registration and 30 states allow handguns to be owned without a license or permit.

“The U.S. government is prioritising gun ownership over basic human rights. While many solutions have been offered, there has been a stunning lack of political will to save lives.” said Ms Margaret Huang, the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite the huge number of guns in circulation and the sheer numbers of people killed by guns each year, there is a shocking lack of federal regulations, that could save thousands.” Acknowledging the decades of work by impacted communities and activists, the Amnesty International Report aims to support those efforts by placing the problem of gun violence in the framework of universally recognised human rights and offering solutions within that framework, that the U.S should adopt to address the crisis.

In 2016, the last year stats were available, over 38,000 people were killed and 116,000 suffered non-fatal injuries due to firearms in the United States. The Report examines the ways in which gun violence affects communities of colour, where gun violence is the leading cause of death for men and boys between the ages of 15 and 34, who are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than their white counterparts. Women facing domestic violence and children are, also, disproportionately affected.

While the Report offers many different recommendations for each of the focus areas, the overarching call is for national laws, that would eliminate the current inadequate and arbitrary patchwork of state laws, that leave people in some states more vulnerable to gun violence than others. Among the recommendations are:

Comprehensive background checks; National regulations for licensing and registering firearms and required training for gun ownership; Ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and other military-grade weapons; Investment in evidence-based community violence reduction and prevention programs; Mandatory safe-storage laws

The Report notes that, while mass shootings have profound emotional and psychological effects and could be prevented by banning assault rifles and high-capacity firearms, such mass events only account for less than one percent of gun deaths. More common and less publicised are individual incidents, that pervade everyday life in communities across the country.  To that end, the report shares individual stories of people affected by gun violence.

“You have to understand, our children are suffering.” said Ms Pam Bosley, a Chicago mother, whose son Terrell was killed by gun violence in a still-unsolved crime in 2006 and, who spoke with Amnesty International for the Report. “We need social services and counselling for youth. How can we expect them to survive and excel in this climate? When a child is killed, at most, the school will bring in a counsellor for one day. If, they treated us like Sandy Hook, things would be different. When lives were taken in that community, they brought in counsellors for a year to work with the kids, our kids go through this every day. Our community is not valued by America. They don’t feel like we are worth the counselling or support.”

The Report, also, explores the consequences for the thousands of people, who survive gun violence. On average, more than 317 people are shot every day and survive, at least, long enough to get to the hospital. The mental, physical and financial consequences of their injuries shape their lives forever. This is a public health crisis of astonishing proportion, with remarkably little government response, given the life-long effects on many survivors.

Dr. Thomas Scalea, the Director of the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Centre in Baltimore, spoke to Amnesty International about a patient, who exemplifies the struggles faced by survivors: “I have one guy, who had multiple shots. I’ve operated on him, may be, 15 or 20 times in 18 months, because he had a lot of problems, he was really sick. But I got him through it and we closed his colostomy and he is fixed and he is known as a ‘great save.’ Except he was, also, shot in the arm and has severe nerve damage and he made a living moving stuff, picking things up. You need two arms to pick things up, so he is disabled and he can not work. And that’s it, there is no re-education or training. And in order to get disability you have to be able to negotiate the health care system and that’s hard enough for me to do, so how do you think it’s going to work out for him?”

In addition to working to implement the federal and local recommendations made in the report, Amnesty International will work with local partners at the state level, starting with initiatives in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan. In Illinois, Amnesty International members will urge the Governor to pass the Combatting Illegal Gun Trafficking Act, that will help stop the flow of illegally trafficked guns and stop gun dealers from opening next to schools and day cares. In Ohio, activists will work to stop a bill, that would make violent confrontations with firearms more likely to occur. A third campaign in Michigan aims to pass a law allowing family members to take steps to prevent loved ones from harming themselves or others.

Further campaign efforts will call on city and state governments to invest in communities by fully funding community-based solutions programmes, proven to be the most effective urban gun violence reduction interventions in the U.S.:::ω.

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Regardless of How the American Flag is Flown: Senator McCain’s Legacy Is This: Being American and Being the Supporter of White Supremacy Racism and Xenophobia and Being in the Pocket of Big Money are Incompatible





|| August 27: 2018 || ά. The Humanion is saddened to hear, with the world, that Senator McCain has lost his battle with brain cancer with his hall-mark staunchest of will, steely determination and fierce dignity and our sincere condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues at this saddest of times. The Humanion, has very little to say about much of his politics and world view and much to say against all that he stood for because he happened to have chosen a very conservative way of serving America. However, this piece is about, not the politician McCain but the human McCain and as such, he had and still have and will continue to have ‘enemies’ in the political front, no one can fail to acknowledge the integrity of this human being. Maverick he has been, surely, he contradicted himself many a times, he faltered and, sometimes, failed in his judgment to his own detriment, such as, choosing his running mate at the last time he ran for the Presidency, but he had a ‘method’ to his ‘madness’ or ‘being that maverick’. And in this, he voted against Obama care while it came about but, yet, he voted down the later efforts by his own party to repel this very same act. This goes to show this mind was a ‘living, developing and progressing mind’, that it learnt and took notes of the reason and evolving evidence and was capable of passing the ‘dictate’ of the dogma and make decisions based on that ‘learning’.

No republican presidential candidate is very likely to contradict an ardent and wild supporter at an election rally, that was jumping up and down with wild accusations and allegations against his opponent but he had the decency, honour and dignity to ensure his ‘disassociation’ was vocalised and heard and noted for he stood for America in this: America is neither a country nor a nation, if, it becomes racist, if, it becomes white supremacists, if, it falls to the grasp of xenophobia and it surely becomes a ‘toy-thing’ of the rich as and when it is under the ‘prowess’ of big money, which is what has happened a long time ago and more and more it is not ‘we the people’ but ‘it the money’, that determines the fate and rate and ratio of America. McCain was, probably, the last Republican, who stood for this: that America is not and can not be a people, land, country and nation unless it raises itself to the highest of abstractions: values: democracy, rule of law, liberty and equal opportunities and dignities, ideals, that its founders dreamt of but America has been faltering and falling away from it ever since and now stands at the point of ‘self-annihilation’ for the current path, that America has taken, has the potential to end it all. America, might, scream that this is the way to make America great again but this is the way America is going towards its self-diminishing.

He was a kind of his own, Senator McCain. Love him or loathe him: but must you acknowledge him, register him and come to respect him. In his failures he was humane and in his successes he was more so. But how would the world view him: he subscribed to the world view of America being a ‘power’ in the world, but he wanted it to be a ‘good power’ fostering and supporting a rule-based democratic world not dictated and bullied but working together and party-lines must always be ‘crossable’ to him and he has shown that by his life. Whether he was a ‘hero’ is a pointless ‘sentimental’ argument. It should be a different question: he was and he existed but did he aspire, aim and try to serve his country throughout his life: no one can deny that he did his absolute utmost do so and that is not a mean feat!

Deny what the Americans may, Senator McCain has shown and left a legacy for the ‘ruined America’, once his very party’s administration comes to an end, to redirect them towards ‘America’: we the people: that people is made of the Original Americans, whites and blacks and African-Americans and Hispanics and Arab-Americans and Asian Americans and Christians and Jewish and Muslims and Buddhists and Rastas and Sikhs and many, who do not follow any faith and those, who are men and those, who are women and those, who are able and those, who are disabled and this and that and the other: America there is none, if, it does not accept all that diversity and unify itself under the most abstract of all values. The Humanion pays tributes to this human being, despite not liking the vast chunk of his ‘politics’ or what his party stands for and a great deal of what he stood for, for the legacy he has left behind: they are ideals by which America must seek to rebuild itself while the destruction of it is attempted and contemplated and implemented by the current administration and, then, there is still the people, the Americans and there it all becomes so diverse a symphony is required: that symphony of America is diversity of its people and its unity is in its humanity: rise to grasp that and go forth to forge an America: mature, well developed and visionary enough to celebrate its humanity, which will not happen unless and until America forgets everything and repeats education, Universal Education for all from Seattle to Alabama, from Detroit to New Orleans, from Alaska to Ohio: and this humanity comes in all colours and sizes and shapes except there is no room for white supremacy, there is no room for racism and masochism and misogyny and there is no room for hatred and xenophobia and there is not a nano-dot of a space for ‘big money’ dictating the human condition. This legacy of Senator McCain is the biggest challenge for the Republican Party that it can not exist as a political party fostering, harbouring, festering, feeding, courting and exploiting white supremacy, racism and xenophobia and, were it to fail to follow that course it will begin to become irrelevant in the political landscape for America can not exist as a white supremacist country but will perish away in destruction. America can only stay as the statue of liberty of all humanity and to be able to leave this behind for one’s people and country is not a small accomplishment and we need not be Republicans nor Democrats nor anything else to say this.:::ω.

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As Thousands Flee Violence in Nicaragua UNHCR Urges More Support for the Countries Taking Them In




|| August 01: 2018 || ά. As thousands flee mounting political tensions, violence and serious human rights violations in Nicaragua, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has called for international solidarity and more support for the countries hosting those, who are joining the exodus. Around 300 people have been killed during three months of anti-government protests, which have been calling on long-serving President Mr Daniel Ortega to step down.

Hundreds have reportedly been detained, amid a violent crackdown by police and pro-government paramilitary groups, according to news reports. “Currently, an average of 200 asylum applications are being lodged daily in Costa Rica.” UNHCR Spokesperson Mr William Spindler told journalists on Tuesday, noting that applications have increased exponentially in recent months, since protests against the Nicaraguan government began.

According to Costa Rican authorities, nearly 8,000 asylum claims by Nicaraguan nationals have been registered since April and some 15,000 more have been given appointments for later registration, due to the application system being overwhelmed. Mr Spindler said that UNHCR is supporting the Migration authority to increase its processing capacity from 200 to at least 500 claims daily.

“UNHCR is strengthening its presence in Costa Rica’s northern border region together with the Costa Rican Government, other UN agencies and NGO partners.’’ The refugee agency was gearing up its response capacity to provide immediate protection and assistance to thousands of Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers, both in the northern region and in the metropolitan area of the capital San Jose.

An estimated 100,000 to 150,000 Nicaraguan families already living in Costa Rica are providing an initial safety net for friends, relatives and fellow citizens as they arrive. “UNHCR appreciates the efforts of the Costa Rican authorities in keeping the country’s borders open to Nicaraguans in need of international refugee protection, in line with its long tradition of solidarity.” Mr Spindler said.

“At the same time, UNHCR calls on the international community to provide support to Costa Rica and other countries hosting Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers, in the spirit of solidarity and responsibility-sharing of the Global Compact on Refugees and the application of the Regional Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, a collective regional action plan to strengthen protection and promote durable solutions among countries of origin, transit and destination in Central America and Mexico’’ said Mr Spindler.

While Costa Rica has received the lion’s share of asylum claims, Panama, Mexico and the United States have, also, recorded hundreds of applications; especially, during the first half of 2018, with a significant peak in June.

Meanwhile, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are increasingly becoming transit countries for Nicaraguan refugees. In co-ordination with government authorities, the spokesperson said that the UN System and its partners would elaborate a comprehensive regional response to address the international protection and humanitarian needs of Nicaraguan refugees.

UNHCR and its partners are providing assistance to more than 700 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly, from El Salvador and Honduras, living in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua and other parts of the country. :::ω.

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Nicaragua Must End Demonstrator Killings and Seek a Political Solution in the Wake of Absolutely Shocking Death Toll: António Guterres




|| July 18: 2018 || ά. Mr António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, has called on the Nicaraguan Government to end violence against demonstrators, which has cost an estimated 280 lives and begin a national political dialogue to end the crisis, which has gripped the country for nearly three months. Speaking in neighbouring Costa Rica on Monday night, Mr Guterres said, ‘’It was an essential responsibility of the State to protect its citizens and this basic principle can not be forgotten, especially, when, unfortunately, we have a death toll, that is absolutely shocking.”

At least 12 people were killed over the weekend, mostly, as police and paramilitary supporters of the government confronted demonstrators, who had been protesting proposed reforms to the pension system across the country, since April 18. Protesters are demanding that the long-serving President, Mr Daniel Ortega, step down. Mr Guterres told reporters on Monday that it was essential that violence stopped immediately and that the political dialogue, the national dialogue, be revitalised because only a political solution was acceptable for Nicaragua.”

Mr. Guterres said that he was not a supporter of simplistic analysis of complex problems but there was one thing that was obvious: there was a death toll that was shocking due to the use of force on the part of entities linked to the State, that was not acceptable.

His words were amplified by the UN human rights office, OHCHR, on Tuesday in Geneva, where the Agency’s Spokesperson Mr Rupert Colville noted the increasing climate of fear and mistrust in the country and called for protesters’ safety to be guaranteed, along with their right to freedom of expression.

“The appalling loss of life must stop, now.” he said. “The violence is all more horrific as armed elements loyal to the government are operating with the active or tacit support of the police and other state authorities.

Of those, who lost their lives protesting at the weekend, two died when shots were fired at the Divina Misericordia Church in the capital, Managua, where student demonstrators had sought refuge after the university they had been occupying came under attack.

Of those killed in the demonstrations to date, at least 19 were police officers…the police, along with pro-state armed groups, have forcibly removed barricades erected by demonstrators and communities in so-called ‘clean-up operations.’’

Amid reports that demonstrators have been subject to numerous rights violations, including, torture and extrajudicial killings, the OHCHR Spokesperson said that there were growing concerns that violence would intensify as Nicaragua prepared to mark Liberation Day on Thursday, 19 July, the date marking the overthrow of the Somoza regime in 1979 by the Sandinistas.

“We are expressing the concern that it could get worse.” Mr Colville said, explaining that the initial spark for the demonstrations was proposed pension reforms, which evolved into wider discontent at President Mr Daniel Ortega’s Government.

Dismissing Government claims that the demonstrators were intent on regime change, Mr Colville said that there was no united opposition and no armed opposition. “It’s certainly not an insurrection at this point, even, though, those accusations are being made by the authorities.” :::ω.

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To Build a Mathison Hall: The University of Calgary to Build an Expansion to Its Haskayne School of Business as It Receives a $20 Million Gift
|| June 18: 2018 || ά. When it opens in 2022, Mathison Hall will offer business students an advanspirational learning environment and provide much-needed classroom space at the University of Calgary and propel the Haskayne School of Business to the next level. And in this, Haskayne School of Business will aspire, we hope, to create an advanspiratonal learning environment, which just does not say it is advanced and visionary but, at the same time, seeks to bring about visions, ideas and concepts, that do not exist and, because of this, they challenge, they question and they show how and why and this way they inspire human endeavours to seek to better the human condition. Advansprirational is advanced, sophisticated, visionary and inspirational.

The University of Calgary has announced that it has received a gift of $20 million from Calgary business leader Mr Ronald P. Mathison, Chairman of MATCO Investments Ltd to help fund a second building for the business school. Construction of Mathison Hall is scheduled to begin adjacent to Scurfield Hall in 2019. “My late father, Ken Mathison, and Richard Haskayne were lifelong friends. This was the genesis of me wanting to make this gift.” says Mr Mathison. “Treating people with respect, acting ethically, holding high standards and always trying to do the right thing were shared values of my dad and Dick Haskayne.

Today, the business school, that bears Mr Haskayne’s name, has come to embody these and other important ideals. So, my own belief in what the school stands for and that very warm, lifetime friendship, offer a certain symmetry to now building a Mathison Hall at the Haskayne School of Business.”

Mr Dick Haskayne echoes these sentiments. “I’ve known Ron since he was a young kid, his family and mine literally lived next to each other in the small town of Gleichen. His father, Ken, was like a brother to me. Ron’s a terrific guy. I’ve admired him and how he does business based on the principles his father taught him about ethics and how to treat customers, some of which his father learned in my family’s butcher shop in Gleichen.”

Mathison Hall will provide a technology-rich, innovative learning environment and will facilitate meaningful networking opportunities across the university and the community. The 10,000-square-metre building will offer additional study space, a 300-seat auditorium, diverse learning environments to enable new ways of teaching and learning, a student success centre and dedicated space for activities focused on entrepreneurial thinking.

The 12,000-square-metre Scurfield Hall has been the home of the Haskayne School of Business since it opened in 1986. Since then, enrolment in business programmes has tripled and now only one sixth of the courses take place in the building.

“When our students enter Mathison Hall at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, they will launch a new era, that will set the Haskayne School of Business apart.,” says Dr Jim Dewald, PhD, Haskayne Dean.

“The long wait will be worth it as our students, staff and faculty will have wonderful new space purpose-built for unparalleled learning opportunities, exceptional student services and meaningful community engagement.”

“The Haskayne School of Business is the community’s business school.” said Dr Elizabeth Cannon, PhD, President of the University of Calgary. “So many people have lent their support to ensure that we offer unparalleled business education, hands-on learning experiences and world-class research and innovation that reflect Calgary as an important corporate hub of Canada.

This gift reflects the excitement the community has for the university and we are deeply grateful to Ron for his continued generosity and support for our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

In 2012, Mr Mathison gave a $10-million gift to establish the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. He is, also, a member of the Haskayne Founders’ Circle and started the Ronald P. Mathison MBA Fellowship in 2002.

Mr Mathison’s gift is part of the university’s ongoing fundraising campaign, Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, which is targeting $01.3 billion in support by 2020. The campaign recently crossed the billion-dollar milestone and is helping the university invest in new student experiences, innovation in teaching and learning, and fostering deeper connections with the community.

Caption: Mr Ronald P Mathison, University of Calgary donor and Calgary business leader: Image: Marnie Burkhart, Jazhart Studios:::ω.

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Deborah Yedlin Named as the 14th Chancellor of the University of Calgary




|| April 29: 2018: University of Calgary News || ά. Ms Deborah Yedlin, a community leader and Calgary journalist, has been named as the 14th Chancellor of the University of Calgary. Members of the University Senate selected Ms Yedlin to the position on April 26. Her four-year term as Chair of the Senate and Ambassador for the University will begin on July 01. Ms Yedlin has been observing, commenting and writing about the nexus of business and politics for more than two decades, as a journalist for the Financial Post, Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald newspapers. In addition to her writing, she has been a regular commentator on these matters for CBC Radio and Television and CTV since 1996.

“Universities play a critical role in bringing people together, especially, in a dynamic, business-driven city like Calgary. I grew up in a home, that valued education and am looking forward to fostering the connections between the University of Calgary and the community at large." said Ms Yedlin. As someone deeply committed to the importance of education in society, I am honoured to have been