Two Croatian projects in the finals of the European Natura 2000 Awards

first_imgAmong the 27 finalists, there are two projects in which they are also Croatian partners, which compete in five categories. LENA – Local Economy and Nature Conservation in the Danube region ECO KARST – For Nature and For People The European Commission has announced the finalists of the European Natura 2000 Award for 2020. Voting is open until September 15, 2020. Find out more about all the finalists HERElast_img

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In first, US brands white supremacists as foreign terrorists

first_imgSales said that two extremists from Sweden, known for its generosity toward refugees, traveled in August 2016 to Saint Petersburg to undergo 11 days of paramilitary training with the group.They returned to Sweden and carried out a series of attacks including a bombing outside a migrant center in Gothenburg that gravely injured one person, the State Department said.”This group has innocent blood on its hands,” Sales said. ‘Nonsense,’ leader saysThe monarchist movement has deployed volunteers to fight in nationalist causes, including on behalf of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. “It’s incredible. It’s nonsense, of course,” Denis Gariyev, one of three leaders put on the blacklist, told AFP of the designation.”In the same way you could recognize tens of thousands of volunteers as terrorists. Yes, we took part as volunteers,” he said of the group’s participation in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.He denied that the group promoted racial supremacism, saying: “We couldn’t do so because we are an Orthodox organization.””This is politics. Probably they want to use us as a bogeyman. They need an ‘image of the enemy,’ after all,” he added.The group’s website says its militants train in martial arts and knife-fighting in the belief that “not being a warrior for a modern man in Russia is criminal weakness.”A Russian court in 2012 banned a group website as extremist, according to the justice ministry, but Moscow has not designated the group as a whole as terrorist. The United States on Monday branded a Russian far-right organization a terrorist group, the first time it has targeted purported white supremacists with action frequently used against jihadist groups.The move comes after ambivalent messages about white supremacists by President Donald Trump, who notoriously defended participants in a neo-Nazi rally.The State Department said the Russian Imperial Movement runs two paramilitary training camps in Saint Petersburg and has pulled in neo-Nazis from across the Western world, including Swedish militants who carried out violent attacks. Globalized nationalists Sales said that white supremacists around the world have increasingly been interconnected.Last year a gunman targeting Hispanics killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and said he was inspired by the white supremacist who massacred Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.Sales said the State Department had seen reports that the Russian Imperial Movement “reached out to Americans or even travelled to the United States,” although he did not draw a link to any incidents.Trump himself has faced widespread criticism for his uncritical treatment of white supremacists as well as his rhetoric that demonizes non-white immigrants as criminals.In 2017, Trump said that neo-Nazis whose march in Charlottesville, Virginia devolved into violence included “very fine people.”Violent hate crimes in the United States soared to a 16-year high in 2018, including a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, according to the FBI. Sales said that Monday’s designation was made possible after an order by Trump that allows designation of terrorists based on their training activities, not necessarily participation in violence.Despite the calls on Russia to act, the United States itself does not designate domestic groups as terrorists, owing largely to the US Constitution’s broad guarantees of freedom of speech.center_img Topics : “This is the first time the United States has ever designated white supremacist terrorists, illustrating how seriously this administration takes the threat,” said Nathan Sales, the State Department counterterrorism coordinator.”We are prepared to target any foreign terrorist group, regardless of ideology, that threatens our citizens, our interests abroad or our allies,” he said.The Russian Imperial Movement and three of its leaders were blacklisted as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, meaning that they will not be admitted to the United States and that any US assets they hold will be blocked.The designation also aims to have a chilling effect on banks and other institutions overseas unlikely to want to deal with a US-described terrorist group.last_img read more

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USC to test earthquake preparation

first_imgMore than 8.5 million California residents, including USC students, faculty and staff, are expected to drop, cover and hold at 10:20 a.m. today as part of the largest earthquake drill in state history.The number of anticipated participants in the event indicates an increased awareness of earthquakes and their potential damage, said Mark Benthien, director of communication, education and outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center.“This drill will be unique in that so many people will be doing it as a result of informed decision making considering the chances of an earthquake,” Benthien said.The Great California Shakeout aims to educate participants on what to do when an earthquake occurs and help test and prepare emergency response teams. USC students are encouraged to take part in the drill.The Great California Shakeout started in 2008 when scientists said Southern California was long overdue for a 9.5-magnitude earthquake, similar to the 9.5-magnitude Great Chilean Earthquake of 1960.“Research over many decades has confirmed we are long overdue for a big [earthquake] so this drill is more relevant than ever,” Benthien said.  “The nature of the landscape that [has] earthquake faults means we wont have a 10.0 — that is impossible, but we can have one that is close.”USC is located directly above an earthquake fault. The fault, however, only reacts every 500 years according to Benthien.Navid Nastar, an adjunct assistant professor of civil and structural engineering, said most USC buildings have been designed or retrofitted to satisfy the requirements of applicable building codes.“The majority of the buildings [at USC] are expected to stay relatively life-safe in the event of a large and unlikely earthquake,” Nastar said.He said one of the most important things to remember during an earthquake is to remain calm and to stay indoors because the exteriors of buildings normally sustain the most damage.“The worst thing to do is to panic and rush for exits [because] the falling objects from the façade of a building can be extremely dangerous.” Nastar said.In the event of an earthquake, USC Fire, Safety and Emergency Planning will station a Building Emergency Response team in each building to ensure the safety of people inside, according to Bill Regensburger, director of USC Fire, Safety and Emergency Planning.Mike Mahbobian, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said he has mixed feelings about the drill.“It’s a good way to improve earthquake preparedness, even though most people are likely to respond to their instincts rather than drill instructions,” Mahbobian said.last_img read more

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Number of Laid-Off Workers Seeking Jobless Aid Stuck at 1.3M

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The number of laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits remained stuck at 1.3 million last week, an historically high level that indicates many companies are still cutting jobs as the viral outbreak intensifies.The elevated level of applications for jobless aid is occurring as new confirmed cases of coronavirus are spiking across much of the Sunbelt, threatening to weaken the economic recovery. Case counts are rising in 40 states and 22 states have either paused or reversed their efforts to reopen their economies, according to Bank of America.Rising infections paralleled rising applications for aid in some states getting hit right now, and fell in states with declining infections. In Florida claims doubled to 129,000, and in Georgia they rose nearly one-third to 136,000, according to the Labor Department’s Thursday report. In California they increased 23,000 to nearly 288,000. Applications also rose in Arizona and South Carolina.Applications fell in Texas, which has seen infections spike, and in New Jersey and New York, where the virus is mostly under control.“Conditions in the labor market remain weak and the risk of mounting permanent job losses is high, especially If activity continues to be disrupted by repeated virus-related shutdowns,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.A separate government report showed that retail sales jumped 7.5% in June, a healthy gain that suggested the economy was healing just before the viral resurgence has weighed on hopes for a steady recovery.The Census Bureau reported Thursday that retail sales are 1.1% higher than their levels from a year ago, after a brutal plunge in March and April was offset by a decent rebound in May and June.While applications for jobless aid fell by about 10,000 from the previous week, the figure has now topped 1 million for 17 straight weeks. The record high for weekly unemployment applications before the pandemic, was nearly 700,000.Those figures are adjusted for seasonal variations, a practice intended to filter out trends that don’t reflect on the economy, such as the firing of seasonal workers after the winter holidays. Yet the impact of the coronavirus has made such adjustments less relevant, economists say, because claims are so far above normal levels.Before seasonal adjustment, applications actually rose 100,000 to 1.5 million, a sign that layoffs are worsening.The total number of people who are receiving jobless benefits dropped 400,000 to 17.3 million, the government said. That suggests that some companies are continuing to rehire workers, which could offset some of the job losses reflected in the still-high level of claims.An additional 928,000 people sought benefits last week under a separate program for self-employed and gig workers that has made them eligible for aid for the first time. These figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, so the government doesn’t include them in the official count.The economic recovery is also threatened by the pending expiration of many government support programs that have shored up household and business finances.The government’s small business loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, will finish taking applications Aug. 8. More than $500 billion has already been lent and more than half of small companies that got loans say they have spent all the money, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Nearly one-quarter say they have or expect they will lay off workers once the funds run out.And an extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits provided by the federal government on top of regular aid from the states is set to expire this month. Those funds, along with the $1,200 relief checks sent out in April, enabled millions of Americans to stay current on housing costs and bills.Meghan McGowan, 30, lost two jobs when the pandemic intensified in mid-March, one as a full-time librarian in Detroit and a second as a substitute at a different library system to help bring in some extra cash.She is currently making more from unemployment than she earned at her previous jobs, but is prepared to return to work even though she worries about the health risks. Detroit is a viral hot spot.The looming expiration of the $600 is nerve-wracking for her because the hiatus on her student loans will end this fall and she has an auto insurance bill due.“Before when I was working through grad school I worked in restaurants so that had always been my backup plan, but that’s not an option now,” she said.Companies continue to lay off people. American Airlines warned its workers Wednesday that it may have to cut up to 25,000 jobs in October because of sharply reduced air travel. Airlines are barred from layoffs until then as a condition of federal aid they have received. United Airlines has already told 36,000 workers they may lose their jobs.Air traffic began to slowly rebound in mid-April, but like other parts of the economy, the improvement plateaued in July as the viral outbreak worsens.last_img read more

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Joseph Bramlett earns historic PGA Tour card

first_imgThe top 25 earned PGA Tour cards for 2011. The next 50 received cards on the Nationwide Tour.News of the Stanford standout qualifying spread quickly.Woods, who also went to Stanford, wrote on Twitter: “Congrats to Joe Bramlett for making it through Q School” and “Can’t wait to play with him next season.” WINTER GARDEN, Fla. (AP)—Joseph Bramlett has earned a historic PGA Tour card by passing through the final stage of qualifying school, becoming only the second golfer of Black heritage on tour. The other is Tiger Woods. Bramlett shot a 4-under 68 on the Crooked Cat Course at Orange County National on Monday to sneak inside the cutoff for a tour card next year. He finished at 11 under at the grueling, six-round final stage of qualifying school to tie for 16th. He also passed through two previous stages. ALL SMILES—Joseph Bramlett smiles after the final round of the PGA Tour qualifying golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 6. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay) last_img read more

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Two Luxury Cars Stolen In One Night

first_imgThe last time a car was stolen in Rumson was on Sept. 22, from a home on Holly Tree Lane. The 2014 BMW X5 was recovered in damaged condition in New York City on Oct. 27, following an investigation by state police called Operation 17 Corridor.In 2011, three luxury cars were stolen from Rumson homes in July and August.When Rumson Police receive a car theft report, they enter it into a national crime database and notify the NJ State Police Auto Theft Task Force. Sometimes they take the extra step of contacting the Newark Police Dept. directly, Isherwood said.“There are auto theft rings based out of Newark Essex County area,” said Isher wood. “The cars can be stolen and resold on the black market,” he said. In some cases, the cars are loaded onto container ships and sent abroad, he said. RUMSON – Police are investigating reports of two vehicles stolen on the night of Wednesday, July 20.The unlocked cars were stolen out of the driveways of homes on Avenue of Two Rivers and Robin Road sometime between 9 p.m. and 5:45 a.m., according to Det. Sgt. Christopher Isherwood. The cars were identified as a 2016 Range Rover and a 2015 BMW X3. There were also reports by residents that their cars were rummaged through that night.“The common thread with these crimes is that the vehicles were not locked. It is imperative that residents keep vehicles locked and keep valuables somewhere secure,” said Isherwood.Oftentimes electronic key fobs are present in or near the vehicles, making it easy for thieves.“With this push button start in cars, it not like the old days like when you had to carry a key around. Sometimes people leave them in the car, or even on the kitchen counter,” said Isherwood. He explained that if the car is parked near the vicinity of the kitchen, for example, it could be possible to enter and easily start the car.last_img read more

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Scanning Middletown’s Open Space

first_imgBy Jay Cook |MIDDLETOWN –Middletown is the largest municipality in Monmouth County, but when it comes to the amount of land set aside for open space, how does it compare to others?Better than you would think, Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger told residents earlier this week.Spread across 41 square miles, Middletown has about 5,500 acres of preserved open space inside its township borders – and up to 6,000 if land with conservation easements are counted, Scharfenberger said.To put it in perspective, that’s equal in total acreage to the size of two Atlantic Highlands, four Fair Havens and seven Sea Brights. “That’s very impressive, and I don’t think people realize the extent of what we have here,” Scharfenberger said.The Dec. 5 land use forum at the Middletown Arts Center was the fourth held by Scharfenberger and township administrator Tony Mercantante in the past 18 months. Other land use forums focused on development and redevelopment, revitalizing Route 36 and land-use planning. Tuesday night’s theme was how to prevent overdevelopment while encouraging sensible growth. The officials gave an overview on Middletown’s current open space situation, which they believe will improve as 2018 approaches.Looking at the NumbersMercantante said Middletown has been active in acquiring open space through the state Green Acres program since around 1999. The program provides funding so municipalities can add land to their inventories.According to Mercantante, there have been 17 Green Acres acquisitions totaling 223 acres. The total purchase cost is about $26 million, of which the township was obliged to pay $10.3 million, with the remainder covered by different public and private entities.“The biggest challenge is negotiating with property owners, trying to come to terms with acquiring a piece of property and then decide why we’re acquiring it,” Mercantante said.The most expensive of those 17 properties is the 40-acre Fisher-Stern plot, which became part of the Monmouth County Park System in 2005 as the Claypit Creek extension to Hartshorne Woods. The property was acquired with help from the county, Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF), the state’s Green Acres Program and the township. That single purchase cost those entities a total of $10.4 million at the time, with Middletown paying $1.9 million.Middletown open space purchases are funded through a two-cent tax per $100 of assessed property valuation, Scharfenberger said. That open space tax first commenced in 1999, when Middletown became active in purchasing property.That tax complements the new county Open Space Trust Fund tax increase approved by voters in November. When it goes into effect in 2018, the county projects over $14 million more annually available in the fund.Scharfenberger said the final piece to the open space puzzle should come in the next calendar year. About $1.5 million is owed to Middletown by the state through purchase reimbursements. Not having that money has limited the township, both officials said, and they anticipate more purchases coming in the near future.“Now we’re building a little bit of a war chest and looking around to purchase more open space as those reimbursements come in from the state,” Scharfenberger said.Success StoriesPreserving the right pieces of land has been the focus of Middletown’s open space mission over the past two decades, Mercantante said. With it comes the balance of preservation and development, considering “every property owner has the right to utilize their property in some reasonable fashion,” he said.Outside of the Fisher-Stern property, he highlighted two other instances where residential or commercial development was halted and that land was purchased.The first piece of open space is Bicentennial Park, a 10-acre swath of wooded land, a brook and pond, with a walking pier out to the water. It’s bordered by Route 35 South (and a Burger King) but stretches back along Twin Brooks Avenue and Spruce Drive on either side. Mercantante said the “great piece of open space” was proposed as a condo-office complex but the township stepped in to purchase the area. The $850,000 total price tag cost Middletown $425,000.The other noted property is Swimming River Park, a county-owned park planned for redevelopment in the next few years. For decades the site was Chris’ Landing, a popular boat launch for small watercraft and recreational kayakers, anchored by Chris’ Deli on site. Scharfenberger said a developer had plans to build a housing complex on the 16-acre site, but MCF and the county stepped in to purchase the land for $3.8 million in 2015.Refurbishing Forgotten ParksWith 49 active parks in town ranging from Lincroft to Leonardo, some have fallen by the wayside and could be earmarked for upgrades or new uses.The best example, Mercantante said, is the forlorn Camp Hope buried back in Lincroft Acres off Newman Springs Road. The old campground is accessible by a dirt road behind the two soccer fields and is surrounded by the Swimming River watershed.The day camp for children with disabilities was shut down about a decade ago and remains closed. In the years since, the pool, pergola, picnic tables and facilities have fallen into disrepair. This year, Mercantante said a nonprofit organization contacted the town looking to reestablish a summer camp in Middletown, and Camp Hope was the first location on his mind.Middletown is working with them now, he said, to install another pool and improve the facilities.Finding new purposes for other recreational parks in town will be a focus as well. Mercantante said repurposing Middletown’s three outdoor roller hockey rinks will be on the agenda. Two of those are currently shut down, he said, and the third is scarcely used anymore. What could they turn into? Maybe pickleball, he said, considering the sport’s growing popularity and requests from residents.“Those are the kinds of things we always have to be mindful of in the future, either using existing fields or construction of new ones,” Mercantante said.On the other hand, there are no plans to replace the Cavadas Skate Park on Pulsch Street in Belford, Scharfenberger said.Opened in 2003 after being purchased for $165,000, the 0.7-acre skate park was shut down by the township in 2010 amid concerns from township police. Scharfenberger said the “major league headache” had over 500 complaints to the police in one year. “It just didn’t pay for the upkeep and constant repairs,” he said.“We see no need nor desire on our part to reopen it,” he added. “That’s closed for the foreseeable future.”This article was first published in the Dec. 7-14, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more

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Nelson Minor Hockey grad Adam Wheeldon off to Concordia University

first_imgWheeldon, 20, came up through the ranks of Nelson Minor Hockey before latching on with the Kootenay Ice of the BC Hockey Major Midget League in 2009.The next season he earned a spot with hometown Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League where he had 11 points in 44 games.Wheeldon’s high-octane play earned him a spot in the BC Hockey League with Trail Smoke Eaters from 2011-14.In 140 games with the Smokies, Wheeldon accumulated 39 points.However, Wheeldon left Trail during the offseason, playing his final season in the AJHL with Camrose.Wheeldon, 20, completed a successful season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with Camrose where the 5’11”, 200-pound forward scored 10 goals while adding 14 assists in 59 games with the AJHL South regular season champions.”The Kodiaks organization would like to congradulate Adam and his family on this achievement in his hockey career and we look forward to many more years of hockey and education,” Rybalka said in closing.Wheeldon joins a host of graduating players from the AJHL choosing to remain in Alberta to find offers on the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference team. Nelson Minor Hockey grad Adam Wheeldon has accepted an offer to attend Concordia University in Edmonton.Concordia plays in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference against college and university teams from throughout Alberta.“Adam will have an impact from day one with the team,” said Kodiaks coach and GM Boris Rybalka on the team website.“His style of play will make him a fan favourite and opposition players will need to keep their heads up when he is on the ice.”“Coach Glegloff is excited about having Adam attend Concordia as he sees his leadership and compete level paying dividends to the program,” Rybalka adds.last_img read more

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