Peace Corps volunteer not assaulted

first_imgA Port Arthur woman serving in the Peace Corps in Mongolia was not the victim of a violent crime as was first reported by her grandmother last week. Darlene Hernaez, the 22-year-old granddaughter, said she was not the victim of a crime and was not strangled or robbed. Hernaez explains in her own words what actually occurred. “An article was published erroneously about a minor incident that happened to me while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia. My grandmother, who is understandably overly concerned about my health, was quoted in saying that I was strangled and robbed; however I was neither,” she said in an e-mail to The News. “ I want to dispel these statements to ease troubled minds. The minor assault that occurred could have happened to anyone in any part of the world and though flattered at this attention given to me, I truly am not worthy of it. I am thankful for your prayers and concerns, but I am both physically and emotionally fine. I cause more physical harm to myself by simply walking in and out of my ger, a traditional Mongolian house, entry way, which even for a short Filipina as myself, I often forget to duck low enough. Even as I write to y’all today, I can feel the bump on my head from this morning’s literal run in with my doorway.” “And again despite what my grandmother may believe, I am not risking my life being here. On the contrary, I am starting to live a life that many only dream of having. And though I have only been in Mongolia for a short time, it already feels as though I have been here a lifetime; I mean that in the best way possible. So I don’t have 24-hour stores, fast food restaurants, cable TV or a car, and I have to get water from a well, wash my clothes by hand, and live in a Mongolian ger and will soon be chopping wood and making fires to keep warm. Is that really so strange? To me it has become the norm, and it amazes me how comfortable I am living in such a foreign land away from my friends and family, but I am. And although my days are not always easy, as I am still adjusting to the language, culture, and lifestyle, to imagine my life anywhere else but here is beyond me.” Hernaez says teaching English has given her a new found respect for teachers everywhere. “Let me please take a moment to apologize to my previous teachers for any bad behavior or trouble I may have caused you in the past. Only now do I understand your frustrations as my students are not always perfect angels. However despite their occasional devilish tendencies, I can’t stay mad at their cute faces too long. I am thankful for them in fact, because they challenge me to be a better teacher,” she said. “So though I deeply miss my family and friends, and think often of the States, my home, at the moment, is here in Mongolia. I cannot reiterate how much I love this country, its people, and my position as a PCV. I honestly wouldn’t be here without the support of my family who although would like me to be closer to them has never once told me to quit an organization that I am so passionate about. This has been a life long dream of mine and being able to live it leaves me utterly speechless, which for those who know me is hard thing to do. My only hope is that everyone has an opportunity to one day live out their wildest desire too.” Hernaez offered a few words to her grandmother, who was so worried about her youngest grandchild being away in a foreign country. “Lola (my grandmother), please try not to worry too much. I really am okay and love you deeply but still don’t want to come home,” she said. The Peace Corps are a welcome sight in the country. “The safety and security of our volunteers is the number one priority of the Peace Corps. Volunteers in Mongolia are not only safe, but flourishing. I visited Mongolia in April and was pleased to witness the strong partnership and friendship between the volunteers and the people of Mongolia,” Ron Tschetter, Director of the Peace Corps, said. Even Mongolia’s President Nambaryn Enkhbayar expressed his appreciation for the volunteers’ work. “What your Volunteers are doing is of high importance to me, my government, my country and the Mongolian people,” he said in a newsletter to The Peace Corps. President Enkhbayar has visited volunteers in several of the 17 district communities in which they work throughout the country. He commented, “The unique thing about Peace Corps volunteers is that they choose to live the way we live and are easy to recognize because they are the ones working together with the people in the local communities.”last_img read more


NEWS SCAN: Promising Ebola treatment, Salmonella outbreak tied to dog food, plague in New Mexico, anti-measles funding

first_img Socioeconomic factors of plague in New Mexico show recent shiftHuman cases of plague in New Mexico are now more often associated with affluent urban areas compared with the 1980s, when they were more commonly linked to poor housing conditions, according to a study yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases. CDC and New Mexico researchers analyzed data from 123 plague cases in the state from 1976 through 2007 and compared them with census data throughout the years. They found that in the 1980s, plague tended to occur in areas with old homes that had incomplete plumbing, but beginning in the 1990s plague cases began to be associated with areas of higher median income and home values. By the 2000s, this relationship was statistically confirmed, with cases associated with more affluent areas concentrated in the Santa Fe–Albuquerque area. The researchers also found a higher proportion of cases in homes that burned wood, which likely means that wood piles harboring rodents may be a factor, they said. They speculate that climatic conditions may play a role in the change but could not determine what exactly caused the shift.Jun 13 Emerg Infect Dis study Antibody combo treatment for Ebola promising in primate trialCanadian researchers yesterday in Science Translational Medicine reported using monoclonal antibodies to treat Ebola infection in macaques. Currently, there are no vaccines or therapies for Ebola infection, which has a mortality rate of up to 90%. The researchers used three neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) made in mice directed against the Ebola envelope glycoprotein. All four primates survived when given three doses 3 days apart 24 hours after a lethal challenge with the deadly Zaire strain of the virus. When the treatment was given after 48 hours, two of four monkeys recovered. Follow-up blood tests suggested that the survivors showed humoral and cell-mediated response against the virus. Researchers noted that the strategy is promising, because earlier therapy trials were only fully effective when given within 1 hour of infection, well before most people come to a clinic with symptoms. The group noted that it’s unclear if protection would be sustained against a second exposure to Ebola virus or to different strains of the virus. In a Canadian Press (CP) story on the study, researcher Heinz Feldmann, MD, PhD, chief scientist at a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) National Institutes of Health lab, said that monoclonal antibody treatment might be safer than a vaccine but perhaps more expensive.Jun 13 Sci Transl Med abstractJun 13 CP story GAVI Alliance announces $162 million to combat measlesThe GAVI Alliance will provide up to $162 million in additional funding to help control and prevent measles outbreaks in developing countries, the organization announced yesterday. Of this, $107 million will go toward anti-measles efforts in Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Another $55 million will be offered through the Measles & Rubella Initiative for rapid response vaccination campaigns as outbreaks occur. The increased funding follows a decision in November to provide more than $500 million to combat rubella through a combined measles-rubella vaccine. Dagfinn Hoybraten, chair of the GAVI Alliance board, said in a press release, “This strategic investment is critical for the countries where children are at highest risk of infection.”Jun 13 GAVI Alliance news release Jun 14, 2012 Salmonella outbreak linked to dog food grows to 22 cases in 13 statesThe Salmonella outbreak caused by dry dog food has now grown to 22 cases in 13 states and Canada, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday. The outbreak has grown by five cases and four states (California, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina) since the last CDC update on May 11. Two of the current cases are in Canada. Among the 17 case-patients with available information, 6 (35%) were hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. The outbreak is caused by a Salmonella Infantis strain. Multiple brands of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a plant in South Carolina have been linked to some of the cases, and the company has recalled 11 brands of its dog food. A CDC “Note from the Field” in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) notes that this is the second US Salmonella outbreak linked to dry pet food. The first, involving cat food and dog food, occurred in 2006 to 2008.Jun 13 CDC updateJun 15 MMWR Note from the Fieldlast_img read more


Lammy Review: CPS backs ‘race-blind’ prosecutions

first_imgThe Crown Prosecution Service has backed a proposal to adopt ‘race-blind’ prosecutions to restore black, Asian and minority ethnic defendants’ faith in the criminal justice system – a far cry from the government’s vague response.Publishing the findings of his government-commissioned probe into potential racial bias in the criminal justice system on Friday, David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, London, said the disproportionate representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic people among defendants has resulted in a ‘chronic trust deficit’.Lammy suggested that the Crown Prosecution Service should redact all identifying information, such as name and ethnicity, from case information passed to them by the police, allowing prosecutors to make race-blind decisions.Responding to this suggestion, a CPS spokesperson told the Gazette that the prosecuting authority ‘fully supports race-blind decision making’.To the CPS’s credit, Lammy says prosecutors are making broadly proportionate decisions across ethnic groups. But such a simple step could give defendants confidence that the decision to charge them has not been driven by conscious or unconscious bias.The CPS spokesperson said: ‘The data we collect on race and gender helps us to ensure our decisions are fair and we would not want to compromise this. However, we will look at the practical implications of the recommendation and then decide how best to improve our practice on this issue.’The government, on Friday, said it was ‘committed to shining a light on injustice as never before’ but failed to comment specifically on Lammy’s proposals. ‘We will look very carefully at [Lammy’s] findings and recommendations before responding fully,’ David Lidington, justice secretary, said.As the profession begins to digest Lammy’s review, practitioner groups have begun to respond.The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA) said Lammy’s review is an ‘important step but it is our view that real resources need to be devoted to statistical analysis and a review of rights’.Greg Foxsmith, former LCCSA president, said on his website that the profession has to learn to speak up about discrimination. ‘We have to challenge the police and the prosecution about their charging decisions, and we need to raise it in court. The magistrates need to hear it, and our clients need to hear us raise it, and hear it acknowledged,’ he added.Lammy recommended that the government set a national target to achieve a representative judiciary and magistracy by 2025. The Bar Council said targets can ‘play an important role’ in addressing under-representation but ‘are not the complete solution’.Millicent Grant, president of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, urged the government to scrap the glass ceiling preventing chartered legal executives from applying for senior judicial roles.last_img read more


Alex orders double-deck coaches

first_imgGERMANY: Bombardier Transportation has received a €10m order to supply seven double-deck coaches to Regentalbahn. Announcing the order on April 3, the manufacturer said the Arriva Deutschland subsidiary is first private operator in Germany to order its double-deck coaches. They will be delivered from the Görlitz plant in the second half of 2009 for use on Länderbahn-Express services between München, Regensburg and Hof.last_img


Monthly Merchandise Review — August 2018

first_imgShare This!Ahoy! I know, not the typical way to start a merchandise review. But if you’re looking for treasures from the high seas, you’re in luck. This month, I’m showing the plunder available on the Disney Fantasy on my recent cruise. Shipboard merchandise is somewhat limited compared to what you find on land, but there are plenty of awesome finds just waiting to be seen. Let’s dive on it!More often than not, if I’m coming home with a souvenir from a cruise, it has been a Tervis cup. They’re incredibly usable while on board, and with tile floor throughout the house, they’re my drinkware of choice. They had “normal” Tervis cups, but also Tervis wine glasses and water cups.Here’s a close-up of the pattern on the water cup. I couldn’t justify buying any more, but I thought about it!Clothing is also very popular on the cruise. And yes, the spirit jersey trend continues at sea. I’ve been reducing my wardrobe at home, and I wouldn’t get much use out of a long-sleeve spirit jersey in Florida, but I really liked the look of this one.When I first saw this spirit jersey, I wasn’t too thrilled about the look, as it looked more flimsy than the others. Then I realized–it’s a spirit jersey rash guard. What do you think? Goofy or great?Also on the trend boat, rose gold is everywhere here as well. Given the limited amount of room to display items on board, rose gold got an entire section with headbands, backpacks, and (of course) spirit jerseys.They also had these wallets that I can’t imagine actually using, but if you need the entire rose gold experience….I almost bought this jacket, except they were out of my size, and again, living in Florida means that one jacket will last you for years upon years. I loved the retro design and silky feel, though.I’m not much of a fan of the I’m in love with the Captain shirt (and Pete was the captain of Steamboat Willie, not Mickey, so….). Yes, it may be a little corny, but I do like the Sea the Fantasy one.In the end, I bought the blue shirt on the right in this photo. It’s a comfy shirt, and it has sparkles. What’s not to love?There’s plenty of clothing for all ages, including a two-piece set and a lovely Minnie shirt in blue.You’ll certainly see kids of all ages on board, so no surprise there’s clothing for infants and toddlers.I’m still trying to make up my mind whether I like the retro Minnie style that they had on a lot of the merchandise. For instance, I liked this shirt…These went down into the “Just Okay” category for me…But this one wasn’t a style I liked at all. Is it the Minnie design or is it the shirt itself? Do any of you like it?For boy’s clothing, the emphasis was on the new-style Mickey from the new Mickey Mouse shorts. I’d love to see them do a complete short where the gang goes on DCL (beyond that one scene with Donald in Flipperboobootosis–can you tell I like the cartoons?).Toddler-size clothing was also available for the boys on board.Confession time–I saw this shirt out of the corner of my eye and thought that it said something very, very different. An honest mistake, really!If you want to get your Pirate on while on board, there’s plenty of last-minute options. Not all of them are outright Disney-themed either, like this one that you could wear to…..your other pirate-themed parties you attend?If your girl decides she wants to dress up, but you can’t get into the Pirate’s League for the full makeover, there’s still plenty of options for Disney to help for a few pieces of eight.Couples shirts. You either love ’em or hate ’em, right? I often find these just a tad awkward, because who knows who that hook is pointing at…Thanks to Star Wars and Marvel day at sea cruises, and the popularity of Marvel and Star Wars movies on board, there’s an abundance of merchandise for both franchises. Here’s some of the Star Wars stuff….… and here’s some of what they had for Marvel.In my view, you can’t go wrong with a DCL plush or a tsum tsum, though. They make great gifts for all ages.I’m sure there’s some sort of psychological term for people who have phobias about drinking out of mugs shaped like someone’s head. But if you don’t have that, what do you think about this Pirate Stitch mug?Dish towels strike me as the kind of gift you’d bring home to your pet sitter. But what do I spy there? A red tag? Yes, even on the cruise line, you can sometimes find items on sale before they head state-side to the Outlets.Having stateroom door magnets, whether you buy them or bring your own, can be so helpful when you try to find your way back to your room late at night when you’re so exhausted you can barely walk.Picture frames can be a great family souvenir from a trip. I do like that ‘generic family people’ in this one are Mickey, Donald, and Minnie.This frame is also pretty cute, but it feels like something I’d be more likely to DIY from Pinterest at home.Forget a bag for port shopping? Reusable bags are available for sale in on the ship.And, when all else fails, artwork is a fun souvenir. Don’t you love the one of Mount Rustmore?Speaking of Castaway Cay, much of the merchandise was the same as my cruise last January, but this shirt was new to me. It’s very pretty, but I can’t imagine I’d get any use out of it.For Castaway Cay couples shirts, there’s these beauties. I think I like this better than the Pirate ones, but I doubt you’d see me in them…And now for my “best and worst”. First, the best. The free soft serve is a thing of legends on the ship. I highly recommend that we need to have accurate wait time measurements taken to help optimize when you should go for soft serve with the least line. It’s a sacrifice, but I’m willing to take some more cruises to get that data. Anyone want to send me on that research trip? Anyone? Anyone…..?And then, for the “worst”, there was this sweatshirt. The style didn’t work for me, and I don’t really know who is buying all these sweatshirts in July in the middle of the Caribbean. Am I missing something? If so, let me know!That’s it for this month’s round-up. Got merchandise you’d like me to report back on? Have a park you want me to visit? Let me know in the comments.last_img read more


Top Trends of 2011: Group Messaging

first_imgFacebook Responds… But Where’s Beluga?Just a week after Google Plus launched, Facebook announced its own video chat and group messaging features. The video chat part is powered by Skype, but it’s limited to one-to-one video chat (so it’s not a ‘group’ chat feature). Facebook’s group messaging feature is likewise underwhelming when compared to Google Plus. It’s not available on their mobile apps, for a start. Also it’s limited to chatting with official Facebook ‘groups’ (which aren’t very well used, because they’re a user experience mess) or by going through some unintuitive steps in the Facebook chat interface. In short, Facebook’s group chat is badly designed. richard macmanus Tags:#2011 in Review#Groupware#Messaging Services#NYT#web#Year in Review Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… This week we’re running a 5-part series of posts looking back on the significant trends of 2011. Today we’re reviewing group messaging, the hot trend at this year’s SXSW festival. Group messaging started out as a battle between several startups, but over the past few months it’s turned into a fascinating Google vs. Facebook vs. Microsoft faceoff.Group messaging threatened to become a breakout activity at SXSW, as tweeting and ‘checking in’ had done at previous SXSW events. It didn’t quite pan out that way, partly because a giant (Facebook) acquired one of the leading scrappy startups before things got interesting. Also, there were minor but irritating glitches with the apps. A few months on and group messaging is no longer as hyped as it was at SXSW. Yet it’s more than ever a key feature in the social and mobile products of Google, Facebook and Microsoft.What is group messaging? It’s real-time and asynchronous communication between groups of people. Which these days typically means via your mobile phone. In many of the apps we’ll discuss below, messages are received as an interruptive SMS or push notification.The SXSW Battle of Group Messaging Apps Cut to late February 2011. A couple of weeks before SXSW Interactive, the biggest Internet technology event of the year. Many people are licking their lips in anticipation of the upcoming battle of the group messaging startups. Beluga vs. GroupMe vs. Yobongo vs. Kik vs. all comers! And then Facebook goes and ruins it all by acquiring Beluga before a SXSW shot has been fired.Beluga and GroupMe ended up the most popular of the group messaging apps in Austin, however neither caught on in a big way.Enter… Google PlusWe mentioned yesterday that Google Plus, the new social network from Google, has forced Facebook to re-evaluate its privacy options. Google Plus has also upped the ante in group messaging.Google Plus has two excellent group messaging features. The first is a group video chat feature called ‘Hangouts,’ which got a lot of attention on launch because it enables up to 10 people to participate. The second feature is much more akin to Beluga and GroupMe. It’s a mobile-only group texting feature called ‘Huddle.’ Where is Beluga in all of this? So far nowhere to be seen. Ironically, there are reports of technical problems with Beluga on its Facebook Page. One assumes Facebook will integrate Beluga at some point though – surely it has to in order to keep up with Google. Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market We should also mention the group messaging functionality in Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s latest mobile offering. Its “People Hub” enables you to chat with groups of people, much like Huddle does.What is Your Favorite Group Messaging App?Overall, it’s been a fascinating year for group messaging. It started out as a battle between several tiny startups, but by mid-year it’s turned into a battleground for the big guns: Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others. Let us know your favorite group messaging app in the comments!last_img read more


Trump Unhappy with Bipartisan Spending Package to Avert Another Government Shutdown

first_imgPresident Donald Trump is unhappy with a new bipartisan, bicameral spending package drafted to avert another partial government shutdown. Funding for certain federal agencies, including the IRS and Treasury, is set to expire on February 15.“I have to study it. I’m not happy about it,” Trump told reporters at the White House on February 12. “It’s not doing the trick.”2019 Tax Filing SeasonMeanwhile, the Senate’s top Democratic tax writer has cautioned Trump against possibly vetoing the spending package. The IRS could be “paralyze[d]” during the 2019 tax filing season if another partial government shutdown occurs, according to Senate Finance Committee (SFC) ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore.“Trump may not understand how important tax refunds are to most Americans, but you can bet he’ll find out if he axes this funding agreement, causes another prolonged shutdown and keeps refunds from going out on time,” Wyden said in a February 12 statement.Tax RefundsThe IRS is processing tax returns and refunds this filing season at lower levels than previously reported in 2018. However, Treasury has said that the lower numbers reported in its 2019 tax filing statistics are misleading and from a small data sample.Notably, a second partial government shutdown this year could result in IRS staffing shortages and further delay refunds, according to Wyden’s February 12 press release. “[A]nother Trump shutdown could paralyze the IRS during tax filing season, add to the existing backlog of correspondence and potentially delay refunds.”Likewise, several Republicans are calling on Trump to both study and support the spending package with hopes of averting another government shutdown. “I told the president I thought he, as well as all of us, ought to wait until we’ve actually read the final deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters on February 12. “I have recommended that if it becomes what we think it is, I do recommend he sign it.”By Jessica Jeane, Senior News EditorLogin to read more on CCHAnswerConnect.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more


Ref confirmed for Bosnia-Italy

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: Swiss referee Sandro Scharer will officiate Italy’s penultimate Euro 2020 qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday. The match is essentially one of two dead-rubbers for Italy, given they qualified for Euro 2020 during the last international break. This will be Scharer’s second game involving the Azzurri after Roberto Mancini’s debut in the dugout against Saudi Arabia in May 2018. On that occasion, the national team won 2-1 courtesy of goals from Mario Balotelli and Andrea Belotti. Assisting the 31-year-old will be Stephane De Almeida, Bekim Zogaj and fourth official Alain Bieri.last_img read more