Category: vzuarpxjt

Quebec leaders divided on future of Indigenous affairs

first_img(Geoffrey Kelley, Quebec minister responsible for native affairs)Danielle Rochette APTN NewsGeoffrey Kelley, Quebec minister responsible for native affairs, thinks it’s time that the provincial government creates a new, bolstered ministry of Indigenous affairs.Currently, the Secretariat aux affaires autochtones (SAA) is the body responsible for overseeing the relationship between Indigenous people and the Quebec government.For 35 years, this entity has worked with Quebec First Nations and Inuit to facilitate access to programs and services.But, with the spotlight on the relationship between the Quebec government and Indigenous peoples, Kelley says the province needs to overhaul the SAA and pump more funding into a new Indigenous ministry.“The Quebec government is going to have to make sure that it has resources and the structures necessary to respond,” says Kelley, who’s not running for reelection Oct. 1.But Ghislain Picard, regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Quebec and Labrador, was surprised by the minister’s comments.“That suggestion that Quebec would be better served by a ministry of Indigenous affairs just does not hold water as long as I am concerned because it is very much paternalistic and it is like turning back the clock,” Picard says.He suggests a government-to-government model similar to Ontario’s ministry of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, which oversees the relationship between Ontario and Indigenous governments.“Our peoples have the capacity and are in the position to be speaking for themselves,” he says.last_img read more

Province to help fund homeless count in Fort St John

first_imgThe homeless count will occur over a span of 24 hours, beginning the night before April 18th and will include counts in shelters, RCMP holding cells, hospitals, and other known places where at-risk individuals stay overnight. During the day, the same procedure will occur; with mechanisms in place to avoid duplicating persons who have been counted already.Each person that is counted will be asked to complete a survey about their living situation to highlight needs for at-risk individuals, which can give feedback on potential future funding to help combat homelessness. The survey’s full results should be publicly available several months after the count is completed.The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society is currently searching for volunteers to help with this year’s homeless count. Each volunteer must be available the day of the count, and for a training session that is taking place the evening of Tuesday, April 10th. A survey has been created to identify the commitments of each volunteer best and can be found at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FSJ2018.The Province is investing $550,000 to fund the counts in the 12 communities and plans to report on the preliminary results by early summer. The Homelessness Action Plan is expected to be released later this year. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Province will coordinate homeless counts in up to 12 communities around B.C. including here in Fort St. John.The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society announced earlier this month; they would take on coordinate Fort St. John’s first-ever homeless count.Homeless counts provide vital information, including the demographics and service needs of people experiencing homelessness. They also help establish a benchmark to measure the progress made to reduce homelessness over time.  Staff from the Women’s Resource Society also appeared before Fort St. John City Council Monday to talk more about the plan and how the community can help.last_img read more

UK to extradite Algerian exmagnate Khalifa to Algeria

first_imgLONDON- Rafik Khalifa, a former magnate from Algeria who once owned an airline and a string of companies, will be extradited to his homeland from Britain by the end of the year, British officials said Monday.“Mr Khalifa was refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on December 3. He will be extradited within 28 days of that date,” said a spokeswoman for the Home Office.Once considered the “golden boy” of  Algeria, Khalifa came from obscurity to build an empire including a bank, an airline and television stations, and employed 20,000 people in Algeria and Europe. He took refuge in Britain in 2003 when his business collapsed, costing the Algerian state and individual savers between $1.5 billion and $5 billion (1.1 billion and 3.6 billion euros).Algeria tried him in absentia in 2007, finding him guilty for criminal involvement and fraud and sentenced to life in prison, and demanding his extradition.He is to go into an appeal hearing on his return to Algeria.French authorities are also seeking to extradite Khalifa on fraud and embezzlement charges, but the Algerian request takes precedence.last_img read more

UN rural development arm supplies nearly 250 million to curb poverty

In West and Central Africa, the agency will make nearly $30 million in loans and $9 million in grants available.In Cameroon, smallholder farms without access to financial services will receive a boost, while in the Republic of Congo, IFAD will support a project targeting 250 villages and 20,000 households to help planters there increase their harvests.Some 200,000 farmers in northern Mozambique will benefit from a 7-year scheme seeking to increase the profitability of their crops through basic business training and direct counselling.Meanwhile in Albania, the IFAD-backed “Mountain to Markets Programme” seeks to augment the incomes of those living in mountainous areas, the poorest in the European nation.Rwanda, Senegal, Madagascar, Moldova, Sudan, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua will also receive grants or loans from the agency.Since its creation three decades ago, IFAD has invested over $10 billion in low-interest loans and grants to help nearly half a billion poor rural people enhance their incomes. 15 September 2008The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced today that it has approved almost $250 million in loans and grants to support one dozen initiatives aimed at fighting poverty in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. read more

Myanmar Ban welcomes release of political prisoners looks forward to further action

24 September 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has once again called for the release of all political prisoners in Myanmar, following yesterday’s “welcome” move by the Government in freeing several detainees as part of an amnesty procedure. Those released included the country’s longest-serving political prisoner, U Win Tin, and six other senior members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), whose leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. The other six are Dr. May Win Myint, U Aung Soe Myint, U Khin Maung Swe, Win Htain, Dr. Than Nyein and U Thein Naing. “The Secretary-General reiterates that all political prisoners should be released and that all citizens of Myanmar should be able to enjoy political freedoms, as necessary steps towards the process of national reconciliation and dialogue,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “He looks forward to any further action by the Myanmar Government in this regard.”The release of political prisoners was one focus of discussion between the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, and the Myanmar Government during his latest visit to the country in August.The head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has expressed his “immense joy” at the release of the 79-year-old U Win Tin, a writer and former newspaper editor who was detained for nearly 20 years, and the laureate of a press freedom prize instituted by the agency.“In freeing U Win Tin and other prisoners, the authorities have taken a wise and positive step towards respecting the fundamental human right of freedom of expression, an indispensable component of democracy and rule of law,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said. U Win Tin was arrested in July 1989 and was accused of belonging to the banned Communist Party of Myanmar. Sentenced to 14 years jail, he received an additional term of five years in 1996 for breaking prison regulations prohibiting the possession of writing materials.In 2001, he was honoured with the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize, named after the Colombian newspaper publisher assassinated in 1987 for denouncing the activities of powerful drug barons in his country. News of the release of the seven prisoners was also welcomed yesterday by the independent UN expert on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, who said he hoped the move “would be the first in a series of releases of other prisoners of conscience, some 2,000 of whom are currently estimated to be still detained in Myanmar.” read more

UN chief in Sudan spotlights achievements and UN role since end of

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Sudan, highlighted the achievements of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running conflict between the Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), during an open forum at the University of Khartoum.At the meeting, Mr. Qazi reiterated the UN Mission in Sudan’s (UNMIS) readiness to assist in implementing upcoming CPA benchmarks on such issues as elections, border demarcation, the downsizing of the two armed forces and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. Some 80 participants, from academia, civil society, political and media organizations, engaged in discussions on a range of issues related to the CPA and the UN’s role in Sudan, including the UNMIS mandate, the relationship with the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur – known as UNAMID – and the democratic transformation of the country. 15 October 2008The establishment of government institutions, the redeployment of former combatants and the successful implementation of the national census have been the major accomplishments in Sudan since the 2005 accord ending the north-south civil war, the top United Nations envoy to the country said today. read more

International Monetary Fund moves to boost Ukraine Hungary and Iceland

“An IMF staff mission and the Ukraine authorities have today reached agreement, subject to approval by IMF Management and the Executive Board,” said IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn yesterday.“Ukraine has developed a comprehensive policy package designed to help the country meet the balance of payments needs created by the collapse of steel prices, and the global financial turmoil and related difficulties in Ukraine’s financial system.”Issued under a 24-month standby arrangement, the loan will address financial sector liquidity and solvency problems. In the case of Hungary, IMF has been working with both the country’s authorities and the European Union (EU) to outline a framework of policies that will shore up the Hungarian financial sector and ensure economic growth potential. “A substantial financing package in support of these strong policies will be announced when the program is finalized in the next few days…the policies Hungary envisages justify an exceptional level of access to Fund resources,” said Mr. Strauss-Kahn.The announcement follows an agreement last Friday to loan Iceland more than $2 billion over two years in support of an economic programme to help restore confidence in the Nordic country’s banking system and stabilize its currency. Last Friday Mr. Strauss-Kahn also joined Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the meeting of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) – which brings together the heads of various UN agencies and entities, the World Bank and the IMF – where leaders discussed issues of global financial crisis, particularly their impact on the world’s poorest. “The crisis we are seeing today will impact all countries, developed and developing, but its most serious repercussions will be felt most by those who are least responsible – the poor in developing countries,” the officials said in a joint statement after the meeting. During the meeting, the Secretary-General told participants that “drastic measures” will be needed to resolve the financial crisis, possibly including the IMF and the world’s major central banks setting up substantial standby lines of credit so that banks in poor countries have adequate funds to draw on in an emergency.Following the conference, Mr. Ban reiterated the UN’s position on the global financial crisis and the needs of the undeveloped world. “All agreed that the UN has a special responsibility, the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable…We express our full commitment to the cause of economic development and will do our utmost to deal with the repercussions of this worldwide crisis,” he said.On 15 November world leaders – including Mr. Ban – will gather in Washington for a summit to devise ways to respond to the crisis. 27 October 2008The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced forthcoming loans for Hungary and Ukraine – the latter potentially receiving up to $16.5 billion – to strengthen both countries’ financial systems and ensure fiscal sustainability. read more

UN supports polio vaccination campaigns in conflicttorn Sudan and Iraq

In Sudan, over 50,000 health care workers, volunteers and community health workers have been mobilized for the campaign launched by the Federal and southern Sudan regional health ministries together with the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partner organizations to reach some 8.1 million children under five.The four-day campaign beginning today, part of the global initiative to eradicate polio, particularly targets those living in the poorest communities or those intermittently cut off by conflict. These children are the key to stopping the spread of the disease and access to them is vital to build population immunity.During the first round of the 2006 campaign, some 8 million children were immunized but over 120,000 children in Darfur, the western region that is torn by fighting between the Government, pro-government militias and rebels, were not reached due to the insecurity.In Iraq, 4.8 million children under the age of five will have been vaccinated by 23 April, reinforcing the country’s polio free status. The last reported case was in January, 2000. The current countrywide programme was launched last week during the first of the annual National Immunization Days (NIDs) by the Government with UNICEF and WHO support. NIDs are held as often as six times a year. Thousands of vaccinators are deployed to deliver the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to children sometimes living in dangerous and remote locations.“There is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented through immunization – therefore all children everywhere in Iraq need to be immunized,” UNICEF Special Representative for Iraq Roger Wright said, noting for every 200 children who become infected, one is disabled for life.“Through NIDs, our goal is to assist the Government of Iraq in its efforts to immunize every child against polio, so that the country can continue to be polio-free,” WHO country representative Naeema Al Gasser added. read more

At UN debate Madagascar seeks support on eve of final phase of

“In accord with UN experts, Madagascar’s electoral timetable has been officially promulgated with presidential elections set for 8 May, 2013,” President Rajoelina told the 67th General Assembly on the second day of its annual General Debate.“Therefore I launch a solemn appeal to all our international partners, all Member States and friends of Madagascar to support us and sustain us in this process which is the most democratic path in the world,” he added.Last year, Madagascar’s political parties signed a road-map in an agreement brokered by mediators from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which allowed for the unconditional return from exile of a former president, Marc Ravalomanana, deposed in a 2009 coup led by President Rajoelina after weeks of unrest.“Here, today, I launch an appeal for international solidarity to lead this transition to the construction of a more promising future without smothering us,” President Rajoelina said. “So let me give you the solution: the best way to help us would consist in trusting us, in respecting your promises and letting us assume our responsibilities.”In his statement to the Assembly, the Madagascan leader also referred to a host of problems confronting the international community from unrest in the Arab and Islamic world to food insecurity to maritime piracy.President Rajoelina is one of scores of national leaders and other high-level officials who are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October. read more

Arrested crystal meth dealers hid drugs in phone cards

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Two Filipino nationals alleged to have been selling methamphetamine by packaging it in phone cards have been detained on drug-dealing charges, police in Athens said.The 45-year-old woman and 35-year-old man are alleged to have sold hundreds of cards containing small quantities of the drug from the woman’s home in Ambelokipi.According to police, the pair would open up the cards and insert the drugs before putting them back into their plastic packaging.Source: Kathimerinilast_img

Trois tonnes de déchets collectés sur la Mer de Glace à Chamonix

first_imgTrois tonnes de déchets collectés sur la Mer de Glace à ChamonixVendredi, des bénévoles ont ramassé près de trois tonnes de déchets sur la Mer de Glace à Chamonix en Haute-Savoie, le plus grand glacier de France visité chaque année par plus de 500.000 touristes.  Ce n’est plus un secret, si le tourisme permet de découvrir des sites au paysage mémorable, il peut également cruellement menacé l’environnement. C’est du moins ce que l’on retient de l’opération organisée vendredi sur la Mer de Glace à Chamonix en Haute-Savoie. Ce site, situé sur la face nord du Mont Blanc constitue le plus grand glacier de France et est visitée chaque année par plus de 500.000 touristes. Des visites qui laissent des traces. À lire aussiPour lutter contre la pollution plastique, ces Français vont se lancer dans une incroyable expéditionEn effet, en fin de semaine dernière, quelques 110 bénévoles du Club alpin français et du groupe Lafuma ont été mobilisé pour arpenter, crampons aux pieds, le glacier à la recherche des déchets abandonnés au cours des nombreuses excursions. Au total, ce ne sont ainsi pas moins de trois tonnes de déchets en tout genre qui ont été collectées. Un chiffre qui dépasse celui de la collecte de l’an dernier qui avait totalisé 2,3 tonnes de déchets ramassés par près de soixante bénévoles.A plus de 2.000 mètres d’altitude, ce sont même des câbles en fer généralement utilisés pour la construction des remontées mécaniques que les bénévoles ont découverts, a constaté un photographe de l’AFP qui indiquent que ces objets devaient être héliportés samedi dans la vallée de Chamonix.Le 26 septembre 2011 à 12:02 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Bobb Jallow secure promotion in Italy

first_imgBy Sulayman BahGambian pair Lamin Jallow, Yusupha Bobb and club side Cittadella have secured promotion to the Italian second division after topping their group in the third tier.The duo midfielders have been influential in the club’s vigorous campaign to move levels with Jallow playing twenty-four times –nineteen of those from the starting line up – which adds up to one thousand, six hundred and three minutes.Dubbed Beck, the winger whose transfer to Chievo Verona gingered up rancour between Bakau United and Real de Banjul, scored four times receiving five bookings and a single sending off.Bobb on the other hand, was thirteen games short of Jallow’s mark on a single goal – limited appearances triggered by an injury sustained in January ruling him out for rest of the season.Cittadella grabbed a promotion ticket following a breath-taking run in which they topped the 18-team division on sixty-nine points with seven matches to spare.The duo Gambians, both 21, left an impression on Cittadella’s coach in their first stint and it’s unclear whether Serie A Chievo Verona will be willing to sell Jallow and Bobb after elapse of their loan deals.Meanwhile, striker Ali Sowe who’s also playing in Italy is also eyeing promotion to the Serie B with Lecce who’re third in their group and within the promotion-playoffs places with seven games to go.last_img read more

Thief swipes pricey bike from Oakland Park garage

first_imgOAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) – Police are on the hunt for a bike bandit who was caught on camera swiping a pricey set of wheels in Oakland Park, last month.Surveillance video captured the crafty crook inside a homeowner’s garage off North Dixie Highway and Northeast 42nd Street, Feb. 4.Investigators said the subject dropped a gray and yellow Magna Rip Claw bicycle on the front lawn. The footage then shows him walking inside the garage and grabbing a gray Trek Hybrid with black handles hanging on a bike rack.Officials said the stolen bicycle is valued at $1,000.The bearded thief is seen wearing a black skull cap, white ear buds, a black T-shirt, green camouflage shorts and black Adidas sneakers with white stripes.If you have any information on this theft, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Humancomputer music performances use system that links music and musical gestures w

first_imgIn this image from the video below, computers, robots, and humans perform together in the Machine Orchestra, which uses the captured musical gestures. Image credit: Ajay Kapur. A demonstration of the gesture recognition system: in the second half of the video, the recognition system is parsing the events. When it detects a rim hit, it changes its pre-set processing on the physical modeling. Video credit: Adam Tindale. “The main advantage of the method is that it allows large amounts of training data for machine learning algorithms to be acquired without human annotation simply by playing an instrument enhanced with sensors,” Tzanetakis told PhysOrg.com. “Once the surrogate sensor has been trained and its performance evaluated, then it can be used in place of the actual physical sensor on unmodified instruments of the same type.” Citation: Human-computer music performances use system that links music and musical gestures (w/ Video) (2010, November 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-11-human-computer-music-links-musical-gestures.html The system overcomes the previous difficulties in that it doesn’t hinder the performers or their instruments when performing, and doesn’t require large amounts of processing and analysis, greatly reducing time requirements. For instance, data from snare drum samples that took nearly a week of manual labor can be processed in less than an hour with the new method.The researchers demonstrated the system with professional musicians playing electronic sitars and electronic snare drums. The results showed that the trained surrogate sensors can accurately determine musical gestures when different musicians were performing, and not only the performer who was used to train the surrogate sensor. Further, any kind of performing (such as improvisation or playing a song) could be used to train the surrogate sensor. Musical illusion fools audiences and performers, says researcher This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: — Adam Tindale, et al. “Training surrogate sensors in musical gesture acquisition systems.” IEEE Transactions on Multimedia. To be published. DOI:10.1109/TMM.2010.2089786 .—www.adamtindale.comcenter_img In a new study, researchers have developed a method for capturing musical gestures and mapping them to sounds that overcomes some of the disadvantages of previous methods. Adam Tindale, Ajay Kapur, and George Tzanetakis – all trained musicians and computer scientists working at the University of Victoria in Victoria, Canada – have described the new method in a study to be published in IEEE Transactions on Multimedia. The method grew out of the authors’ experiences in developing instruments for interactive human-computer music performances. At the time, Tindale and Kapur were both completing their PhDs at the University of Victoria. Tindale now works at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Kapur works at the California Institute of the Arts and the New Zealand School of Music.As the researchers explain in their study, there are two main approaches for capturing musical gestures. One approach is direct acquisition, which involves attaching permanent sensors to instruments to create “hyper-instruments.” However, this approach is often invasive to performers and requires modification of expensive instruments. The second approach is indirect acquisition, which involves using a microphone to capture the sound, as well as sophisticated signal processing and machine learning algorithms to extract gestures from the sounds, which requires large amounts of training.The researchers’ new method is somewhat of a hybrid of these two approaches. They temporarily attach sensors to an instrument to capture musical gestures and a microphone to capture sound. This data is analyzed, and the gesture-sound mappings are used to train machine learning models to extract gestures from sounds only. These machine models then create what the researchers call a “surrogate sensor,” which behaves like the original invasive sensor but is not attached to the instrument. The surrogate sensor can determine the musical gestures based only on the analyzed sound captured from the microphone. (PhysOrg.com)—Every musical sound comes from a specific way that an instrument is played. With modern technology such as sensors, signal processing, and sometimes machine learning algorithms, researchers can determine the precise musical gesture used to produce a particular sound on an instrument. The ability to recreate musical gestures from sounds can be used for interactive human-computer music performances, music transcription, and other innovative applications. Copyright 2010 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Explore further Computers, robots, and humans, including coauthor Ajay Kapur, perform together in the Machine Orchestra. Credit: Ajay Kapur In the future, the researchers plan to make the system more sensitive to additional features, such as training it to recognize the type of mouthpiece used by a woodwind instrument and the string on which a note is played on a violin. Both Tindale and Kapur currently use the system during musical performances, as shown in the accompanying videos. “Basically, the gesture information extracted is typically used in the following ways,” Tzanetakis explained. “(1) To map performance information to sound and a music generation algorithm that react in real-time expressively to the music; (2) to drive animations and visuals; (3) to synthesize sounds parametrically (for example, a synthesized drum sound might change based on where the snare drum is hit); and (4) to do analysis of the music played (for example, automatically tracking the tempo) in the context of computer-controlled robotic instruments interacting with humans.”last_img read more

Puerto Viejo Deep Dive Speeding on Route 256 killing animals reshaping mobility

first_imgRelated posts:Rough edges and rich culture: Our Puerto Viejo Deep Dive Puerto Viejo Deep Dive: Cancún crossroads, preserving culture forged by hardship Santa Teresa Deep Dive: A murder shatters the illusion of safety Puerto Viejo Deep Dive: Surfing the Caribbean’s gnarly waves PUERTO VIEJO, Limón — Upgrades to Route 256 in Limón, the main road stretching 20 kilometers through several South-Caribbean tourist towns, has raised far-reaching questions about the benefits of changing the old dirt roads to new paved ones.So-called improvements to Route 256 have resulted in an increase in speeding vehicles, putting people and wildlife on edge for their safety.Having seen the deaths of domestic and wild animals, and even a recent death of a young woman on the new road built by Costa Rica’s National Roadway Council (CONAVI), local residents are doing everything they can to feel safer. Cars share Route 256 with pedestrians, bikers and animals. (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)Andrea Mora, a resident of Punta Uva, met with The Tico Times at Restaurante Selvin, a restaurant on Route 256 at which she works that has been impacted by the recent road developments.“Two years ago, when the government decided to take ownership of the road and start maintenance, we didn’t realize how much this would change and affect our lives,” Mora said. “We don’t feel safe.”According to a letter written by Mora and other community members to the Regional Traffic Engineering in Siquirres, a canton 120 kilometers north of Puerto Viejo, “In September 2018, there was an incident in which a British tourist was hit by a motorcycle. The tourist, Mr. Pete Miller, has permanent scars on the entire left side of his body. Days later, [the woman] who was the motorcycle passenger died of a concussion.”Mora said they didn’t know the name of the woman because she was from a different town, Hone Creek. In an attempt to reduce the speeding on the road, as well as the number of wildlife being killed, community members also requested in the letter for the placement of speed bumps and signs on the road.Rich Coast Project volunteer Felix Charnley said that due to the government’s lack of response to petitions asking for speed bumps and signage, neighbors created their own speed bumps. Less than 24 hours after they were installed last December, the speed bumps were demolished by CONAVI authorities. Speed bump removal. (Courtesy Andrea Mora)“The community in the area was outraged by the desire from CONAVI to act quickly to get these out but not to act with the same speed to reduce the recklessness of drivers and disrespect to people,” Charnley said.In June 2015, CONAVI took ownership of Route 256 from the municipality of Talamanca and began maintenance, making the road wider to allow for easier and faster access through the area. Although cycling and walking are both popular choices of transport near Puerto Viejo, the upgrades to Route 256 left out sidewalks and bicycle lanes.Before the maintenance, Julie Carson, a neighbor of Mora’s, said “there wasn’t the worry and stress about having such a dangerous road. People didn’t drive so fast. There seemed to be more respect, and now it’s a freeway through a little town. It’s crazy.”Karol Méndez, an urban mobility activist who leads CicloVida Caribbean Neighbours Association, a community group that works to preserve safety among pedestrians, cyclists, cars and domestic and wild animals, says Route 256 is vital as it unites all the surrounding communities and is the backbone of an ecosystem that strives to stay healthy and harmonious.“Nowadays, it’s like the cars, trucks, busses and motorcycles are the most important thing, leaving people and bicycles at the bottom of the pyramid,” Méndez said. “We need to turn this around and put people first. We need to focus on life itself.” The mobility pyramid. Courtesy CicloVida.Méndez is working with municipalities across the country to spread this message and to workshop solutions to fix similar issues in other provinces. When she moved to the Caribbean coast from San José, she said people in the community were asking authorities to implement cycle paths. Her response, in line with the paradigm shift of focusing on life, not vehicles, was to rethink the philosophy of the cycle path.“It doesn’t give the cyclists the real priority they need,” Méndez said. “The bicycle itself is an identity, a symbol in the Caribbean. Everyone has one. It’s not like in San José where people think that bicycles are for poor people, police or kids. […] We want to make people understand that it’s the best means of transport you can have.”The chances of seeing wildlife when biking from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, for example, are incredible. This is a route for animals too, and they’re used to using it — and not just to cross the road. Sheep and horses use the route just as if they were people. When you’re being passed by a car speeding at 100 kph, it makes you feel more than a bit uneasy. The speeding is the leading cause of death for wild animals and bicycle accidents. Capuchin monkeys on a tree overlooking Route 256. (Duncan Anderson / The Tico Times)Since CicloVida is supported entirely by volunteers, the data they’ve collected on animal deaths doesn’t accurately depict the situation. However, a 2017 report cited more than 50 incidents.Since CONAVI took over the road in 2015, it has been difficult for the public to find solutions to their concerns.When requests toCONAVI are sent, “nothing happens,” Mora said. “There are so many economical and political interests in the road and it is all coming down on the tourists and locals in the community. For example, we rent bikes, and I noticed people are renting less bikes because people are worried about the speed limit.”The official speed limit is 40-60 kph, “which isn’t happening,” Mora said. “The speed limit isn’t being regulated. We lose wild and domestic animals every day. Our dogs, cats… It’s crazy.”According to Article 137 in the Mobility and Security Cycles Law from The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, when a town such as Puerto Viejo has a prominent bicycle culture, the law mandates a speed limit of 40 kph. Méndez says she has met with the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) many times to remind them, and “last year, MOPT made it a project of priority.”Outside of Talamanca, Méndez has been presenting their case to municipalities in La Fortuna and Puntarenas, which have declared her mission as a priority for investment pilot projects to see if they can work in their communities as well.“We are going to schools, because I think that kids are the ambassadors of information,” Méndez said. “We need to create a language with signs. Not just speed signs, because they are not enough. Some kids in a school I presented at in Puerto Viejo thought of one that would say, ‘We love people, animals and bicycles, and they are a priority.’”According to Méndez, employees of MEPE, a bus company that operates a route between Puerto Viejo and San José, are open to working with CicloVida to create strategies to encourage people from San José to come by bus instead of car.“There is an interest in people working in mobility to talk about what is happening in Costa Rica,” Méndez said. “There is also an opportunity to create job opportunities.”For example, rental bikes in the area can be rusty with weak chains that snap while going up hills. Méndez says she is proposing to put bicycle maintenance at the entrance of main streets.CicloVida has made an official request to MOPT for the technical studies needed for the workshopping of their pacification project in Talamanca. In short, the request outlines the need for a diagnosis and initiatives for the reduction of traffic accidents and violence on public roads. The goal is to establish a comprehensive plan of action in the short, medium and long term to deal with the situation.Until then, Mora and many of her neighbors will remain on high alert whenever they’re on Route 256.*Corrections: This story was updated on Jan. 25, 2019. The original story quoted Carol Meza from the CicloVida Caribbean Neighbours Association, her name is Karol Méndez.The original article also stated Ciclovida made an official request to MOPT for their pacification project across the country. It was for a project in Talamanca, not the whole country.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Youth rally to mark Armenian genocide

first_imgThe Committee of Memory for the Armenian genocide is organising a youth rally next week to commemorate the 104th anniversary of the 1915 events.The group announced that it will commemorate the 104th anniversary of the Armenian genocide with a youth march on April 24 in Nicosia.The march will start at 5.30pm from the parking lot on Makarios Avenue, across from the Zena Kanther building. Participants will walk up to Armenia Avenue where they will join the rest of the community members at 7pm and all will march to the monument of the Armenian genocide in the grounds of the Armenian church. A memorial service will take place there at 7.30pm. You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoModernizeIf Your Home Has Old Roofing, Read ThisModernizeUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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