NZ Herald 14 November 2017Labour is likely to oppose a National Party amendment to allow fathers and mothers to take paid parental leave at the same time under a proposed amendment to the Paid Parental Leave Bill.National’s justice spokeswoman Amy Adams will put in an amendment to the Bill currently going through Parliament to allow parents to take some of the leave entitlement at the same time, rather than one parent only.She said the fulltime support of both parents was important in some cases, such as multiple births or premature births where a baby had higher needs.“What they need most at that time is for both partners to be together for a short period of time to bond and work with each other.”The Paid Parental Leave Bill which will increase paid leave from 18 to 22 weeks next year and 26 weeks in 2020.Labour’s Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said Labour was yet to see the wording but was likely to oppose the amendment.He said Labour could consider such a move in the future but was concerned it would reduce the time a child would have with primary caregivers.“The whole purpose of providing Paid Parental Leave is to provide time for babies to bond with a primary caregiver.”READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11943848
Published on May 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments VILLANOVA, Pa. – After Brian Megill lost the first two faceoffs of the game, head coach John Desko turned back to his faceoff specialists.Chris Daddio and Ricky Buhr have struggled all season at the faceoff X, a facet of the game that has haunted Syracuse in its seven losses this season.But on Thursday, Buhr rose to the occasion to key an explosive performance on offense for Syracuse. The sophomore won 11-of-20 draws largely matching up with Villanova’s Thomas Croonquist, who entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in faceoff win percentage at 60.5 percent.Croonquist finished 10-of-17 at the X, and Buhr’s standout play set the table for the Orange’s 15-6 victory over the Wildcats in the Big East tournament semifinals.‘I just felt really comfortable at the X all day,’ Buhr said. ‘Everything was going my way and I felt real comfortable and I felt like I could get the ball out and once I got in that groove, I just kept rolling.’Buhr hasn’t found his comfort zone for the Orange all season, winning just 51-of-115 (44.3 percent) faceoffs in his first 14 games. On the season SU has won just 42.7 percent of its faceoffs, a number well below the 50-percent mark head coach John Desko has said his team needs to reach in games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDesko feels if the Orange can win at least half of the faceoffs, it will have a chance to win. If it can’t, SU is already at a huge disadvantage.Trying to find a spark, Desko turned to Megill, the team’s top close defender and a physical presence, to shake things up at the X. The junior captain was impressive against Rutgers, going 8-of-12, but he’s had trouble in the team’s last four games.After the team went 13-of-25 overall and controlled possession in the second half, the head coach reiterated how crucial the faceoff X has been to the team’s ability to win games.‘All year long, I think we get the ball after a goal and we’ve been able to produce,’ Desko said.Walters shines on extra-man opportunities for SUMatt Walters was never on anyone’s radar screen.Walters entered Thursday’s game with two goals and two assists to his name. But he made his presence felt.The freshman midfielder from Villanova, Pa. had a memorable homecoming in Syracuse’s 15-6 victory over Villanova on Thursday. He scored two goals on three shots to provide a valuable lift off the bench for SU. But more importantly, each of those goals came in man-up situations, bolstering the attack that entered the game connecting on just 20-of-60 (33.3 percent) of those opportunities.With Walters surprisingly leading the charge, the Orange connected on 50 percent of its chances, going 2-of-4 on the man-up. It was a stark contrast from the way SU performed all season and provided the Orange with an added efficiency on offense.‘He has one of the hardest shots on the team as a freshman and I think the first part of the year was part of the learning experience for him being here for his first year,’ Desko said. ‘We had some problems with our man-up as far as the looks we were getting and really the output, the percentages that we were shooting.’Desko shuffled the deck with a new look on extra-man opportunities. That included adding Walters’ potent shot, and he proved his worth.After Villanova midfielder Mark Jackson cut down SU attack Tommy Palasek as he attempted to surge to the net, Syracuse earned its second man-up chance of the game.Palasek dished a crisp pass to Walters on the right wing, where he beat Wildcats goaltender Dan Gutierrez on a low shot with 10 seconds left in the halfto give SU a 6-4 lead going into halftime.Walters added his second goal on another feed from Palasek midway through the third quarter to give SU a four-goal lead and the Orange never looked back. And the new man-up lineup provided additional damage.‘We just changed some things up,’ Desko said. ‘We put Bob (Eilers) and Matt (Pratt) and Tim (Desko) on the perimeter and we’ve got Derek (Maltz) obviously, a very good inside player and Tommy, a good feeder and can finish, and Collin Donahue understands it, so keeping it very simple and Matt’s reaping the rewards of that.’[email protected]@syr.edu
BEIRUT (AP) — Fireworks and ammonium nitrate appear to have been the fuel that ignited a massive explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut, experts and videos of the blast suggest.The scale of the damage — from the epicenter of the explosion at the port of Beirut to the windows blown out kilometers (miles) away — resembles other blasts involving the chemical compound commonly used as an agricultural fertilizer.But the compound itself typically doesn’t detonate on its own and requires another ignition source. That likely came from a fire that engulfed what initially appeared to be fireworks that were stored at the port.Online videos of the disaster’s initial moments show sparks and lights inside the smoke rising from the blaze, just prior to the massive blast. That likely indicates that fireworks were involved, said Boaz Hayoun, owner of the Tamar Group, an Israeli firm that works closely with the Israeli government on safety and certification issues involving explosives.“Before the big explosion, you can see in the center of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles,” Hayoun told The Associated Press. “This is very specific behavior of fireworks, the visuals, the sounds and the transformation from a slow burn to a massive explosion.”Jeffrey Lewis, a missile expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, offered a similar assessment.“It looks like an accident,” Lewis told the AP. “First, there was a fire preceding the explosion, which is not an attack. And some of the videos show munitions what I could call popcorning, exploding like ’pop, pop, pop, pop.’”He added that “it’s very common to see fires detonate explosives.”“If you have a fire raging next to something explosive, and you don’t put it out, it blows up,” he said.The white cloud that accompanied the massive blast appeared to be a condensation cloud, often common in massive explosions in humid conditions that can follow the shock waves of an explosion, Lewis said.Orange clouds also followed the blast, likely from toxic nitrogen dioxide gas that’s released after an explosion involving nitrates.Experts typically determine the power of the blast by measuring the crater left behind, which appeared massive in aerial footage shot on Wednesday morning by the AP.The Beirut blast, based on the crater and glass windows being blown out a distance away, exploded with the force equivalent to detonating at least 2.2 kilotons of TNT, said Sim Tack, an analyst and weapons expert at the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor.What initially started the fire at the port remains unclear. Beirut was sunny before Tuesday’s explosion, with a daily high of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi, in comments to a local TV station, made no mention of ignited fireworks but said it appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the dock ever since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014. That amount could cause the explosive force seen in the blast Tuesday, Tack said.Based on the timeline and the size of the cargo, that ship could be the MV Rhosus. The ship was initially seized in Beirut in 2013 when it entered the port due to technical problems, according to lawyers involved in the case. It came from the nation of Georgia, and had been bound for Mozambique.“Owing to the risks associated with retaining the ammonium nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port’s warehouses,” the lawyers wrote in a 2015 article published by shiparrested.com. “The vessel and cargo remain to date in port awaiting auctioning and/or proper disposal.”It remains unclear what conditions the ammonium nitrate had been stored in — or why tons of an explosive chemical compound had been left there for years. Lebanon already was on the brink of collapse amid a severe economic crisis that has ignited mass protests in recent months.The devastation surrounding the port resembled other ammonium nitrate explosions, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and a 1947 ship explosion that struck Texas City, Texas.It also is unclear what conditions a possible shipment of fireworks at the port had been stored in. Fireworks are very common in Lebanon, used to celebrate religious occasions and weddings.While military explosives are generally safe to transport, common “cheap pyrotechnics” made in China are often of very low quality and can ignite very easily, especially in hot weather, said Hayoun, the Israeli explosives expert.The “end result,” he added is that “hundreds of tons of energetic materials” were detonated to create a explosion of this magnitude.“It started definitely with fireworks,” he said.
Former President Bharrat Jagdeo has stated that Republic Bank Limited’s impending acquisition of Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana could be unhealthy for the local financial sector.Speaking at his weekly press conference on Thursday, the Opposition Leader told reporters that he is willing to support Government to avoid a situation that will put the country’s financial sector at risk. “From what I’ve seen – the figures that I’ve read about – is that the merged entity could control more than 50 per cent of our total assets in the banking sector and more than 50 per cent of total deposits. This is unhealthy and therefore I will support our regulators to uphold the law to avoid undue concentration in a single entity, which puts our entire financial system at risk,” the former Head of State posited.According to Jagdeo, who is also a former Finance Minister, the takeover could very well be illegal since safety measures were put in place years ago in the Financial Institutions Act and other regulatory legislations to guard against such excessive concentration.On Tuesday, the Canadian-based Scotiabank announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its banking operations in Guyana and eight other Caribbean nations to Republic Financial Holdings Ltd.Guyana Times understands that the deal is worth US$123 million.“Due to increasing regulatory complexity and the need for continued investment in technology to support our regulatory requirements, we made the decision to focus the bank’s efforts on those markets with significant scale in which we can make the greatest difference for our customers,” Ignacio Deschamps, Scotiabank’s group head of international banking, said in a statement.Meanwhile, Chairman of Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) Ronald Harford, said the move will benefit everyone in the long run, including Scotiabank’s clients and employees and the group’s own stakeholders.“This acquisition represents another major milestone for the Republic Group. As we grow and acquire significant positions in our existing markets, it is important that we continue to broaden our footprint, regionally and internationally.”“This agreement, which is subject to all regulatory approvals, affords us the opportunity to reach more clients in the Eastern Caribbean and Guyana, two markets we are familiar with, and build new relationships in St Maarten,” Harford said.Broken down, the US$123 million purchase price represents US$25 million of total shareholding of Scotiabank Anguilla Limited; and a premium of US$98 million over net asset value for operations in the other eight countries – St Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.In its initial reaction to the biggest takeover in the financial sector, Government, through the Finance Ministry, questioned why Scotiabank would want to pull out of Guyana and more so expressed its concern and regret about the bank wanting go that route when, according to them, “Guyana’s economy is on the cusp of financial transformation with the onset of a massive new oil and gas sector raises.”Moreover, the Finance Ministry said the agreement raises a number of issues for the banking sector in Guyana and for the public which the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Guyana and the Government of Guyana will “need to carefully consider”.One such issue is what the Ministry said was Republic Bank wielding too much influence on banking products and rates as their acquisition of Scotiabank would invariably see assets and deposits within the local banking system increase exponentially.According to the Ministry, “Republic Bank currently holds 35.4 per cent of the banking systems assets and 36.8 per cent of deposits and the acquisition will up this to 51 per cent of both assets and deposits. This raises concerns about an over-concentration of banking services, market domination and the ‘too big to fail’ risks.”Also outlined was the potential for job cuts with Republic Bank likely to consolidate branches.Nevertheless, Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Friday told reporters at this week’s post-Cabinet press briefing that the Council of Ministers is still in discussion as to how Government will approach the matter.“We are assessing the situation. We will determine what is in our best interest… as it affects us here in Guyana,” Harmon stated.