How To Eliminate Extreme Poverty In 169 Not-So-Easy Steps

first_imgShare this story: Economy | HousingHow To Eliminate Extreme Poverty In 169 Not-So-Easy StepsJuly 7, 2015 by Nurith Aizenman, NPR News Share:Street children sleep on a discarded mattress on a center island near a road crossing in Manila, Philippines, in April. After 15 years of the Millennium Development Goals, Asia as a region has had the fastest progress, reports the U.N., yet hundreds of millions of people there remain in extreme poverty.Jay Directo/AFP/Getty ImagesIn 2000 the world’s leaders agreed on an ambitious plan to drastically reduce global poverty by 2015. Called the Millennium Development Goals, the targets spurred an unprecedented aid effort that brought lifesaving medicines and vaccines to millions of people and helped slash the share of people in the developing world who live in extreme poverty from 47 percent in 1990 to 14 percent today.Now nations are hammering out an even broader set of goals for 2030. But many of the people who work to end poverty fear the list has gotten out of control. By prioritizing so many issues, do you risk prioritizing none?“You do risk a real dilution of focus and energy and resources,” says Mark Suzman, who oversees global policy advocacy for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “The worst case scenario is we might actually see some regression in some key areas where we have had so much momentum.”To understand why the new set of targets — they’ll be called the Sustainable Development Goals — have become so voluminous, you need to go back to the astonishing, sleeper success story of those original Millennium Development Goals.For an agreement that’s widely considered revolutionary, the MDGs, as they’re known, had a pretty humdrum beginning.Mark Malloch-Brown was part of a small group of top United Nations officials who largely wrote the Millennium Development Goals. He sums up the process as “brilliantly simple.”“It was myself and some chums in a room kind of thing.”The process was so casual, they almost forgot something:“Happily having sent these things to press, I ran into a smiling German colleague in the corridor … who was the head of the environment program. I remember my blood falling to my ankles as I said, ‘Oh goodness me, we’ve forgotten the environment goal!’ ”They stopped the presses and added the goal “Ensure Environmental Sustainability,” bringing to the total to eight.A big reason this could all be so low-key was that at the time, people didn’t expect much to come of the goals. “It’s not as if 2000 was the first time that the U.N. has come out and set lofty global goals,” says the Gates foundation’s Suzman. (The foundation is a supporter of NPR.)But Suzman, who once worked with Malloch-Brown at the U.N., says the very simplicity of the Millennium Development Goals ended up making them uniquely powerful. International aid to poor countries had gotten kind of scattershot during the 1990s. Reducing the global agenda to eight narrowly defined priorities helped channel everyone’s energies — and money.“What the goals did by prioritizing and focusing was actually put together major international donors, civil society partners on the ground, national governments focusing on the same sets of issues,” says Suzman. “And that allowed for a focusing of both policy change and resources and attention.”Countries and donors could track how they were measuring up against the targets, and this often spurred them to try harder. The upshot: More than 6 million lives have been saved thanks to malaria prevention and treatments; 12 million people in poor countries now have access to HIV/AIDS drugs; and thanks to expanded measles vaccination of children, more than 15 million deaths were averted.The world hasn’t met every single Millennium Development Goal. And a lot of the rise in poor people’s incomes was the result of economic growth in China and India.Still, says Suzman, “the last decade has seen arguably the greatest improvements for the largest number people on the planet in the most countries than has ever happened in human history.”So as people started talking about what should replace these goals when they expire this year, there was one thing everyone agreed on: Something this important should no longer be drafted by a bunch of technocrats in a room at the U.N.“Oh, it’s hugely different,” says Thomas Gass, an assistant secretary-general at the U.N. in charge of coordinating the process this time around. “This time it was a two-year process that involved all the member states, that invited interest groups and civil society to come and provide their inputs, their comments.” They also polled about 7 million people.Malloch-Brown, the former U.N. official who helped draft the Millennium Development Goals, says the inclusive approach this go-round is admirable and important. But there’s a downside.“We are victims of the success of the original goals,” he says. “They’ve so much driven decisions about funding by both governments and donors that everybody, whatever their issue, wants to make sure they’re included.”The result: The current draft — which is expected to be adopted pretty much as is at the U.N. this fall — lists more than double the number of original goals, and quadruple the number of subtargets. In total the Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 goals and 169 subtargets.A lot of the goals expand on unfinished business in areas like reducing child and maternal mortality, fighting disease or boosting incomes. For instance, the original goals called for cutting in half the share of people living in extreme poverty — meaning people who get by on less than $1.25 a day. Now the aim is to get the share down to zero.But a wealth of new topics is addressed, with targets such as “promote sustainable tourism” and “provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.”“All of them are incredibly important,” says Suzman. “There’s not a single one of the 169 targets that you would look at and say, ‘That’s a bad thing.’ ”But, he says, “the challenge is, how do you use those to prioritize?” The power of the Millennium Development Goals was that they were “realistic, measurable, and relatively few in number.” By expanding the list into such a holistic, broad vision, “you risk not having that energy and direction that came from the Millennium Development Goals and that turned into action on the ground.”The U.N.’s Gass counters that this criticism misses the point of the Sustainable Development Goals. The objective isn’t just to update the original goals. It’s to usher in a whole new chapter — even a whole new paradigm — for eliminating global poverty.“The strength of this new agenda is not its focus or its help to set priorities,” he says. “The strength of this new agenda is that it can and must become a new social contract between governments and their people.”He says to really eliminate poverty you need more than just aid from rich countries or donor organizations. It’s about poor countries taking the lead, bringing in private investment to expand their economies. And above all, it’s about citizens expressing what they want and holding their governments to account.Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit Original Article – JULY 07, 2015 5:57 PM ETHow To Eliminate Extreme Poverty In 169 Not-So-Easy Stepslast_img read more

Legislative committee won’t take up Medicaid expansion Wednesday

first_imgFederal Government | Health | State Government | SyndicatedLegislative committee won’t take up Medicaid expansion WednesdayJuly 20, 2015 by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO Share:The Alaska Legislature’s committee with gatekeeping authority over expediting the governor’s Medicaid plans meets Wednesday, but does not intend to take up the welfare program’s expansion.Rep. Mike Hawker, chair of the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee, on Feb. 12. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)That’s according to the office of Rep. Mike Hawker, who chairs the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.If the committee does not act on the governor’s plans, the expansion of Medicaid is expected to go forward automatically on Sept. 1. Gov. Bill Walker announced Thursday his intent to expand Medicaid without the legislature’s blessing.Hawker has previously said he supports Medicaid expansion.Separately, the committee is taking up contract proposals on Wednesday to hire a Medicaid expert to consult for the legislature through the 2016 legislative season.Share this story:last_img read more

Head regulator says legal marijuana will be for sale by February

first_imgMarijuana | State GovernmentHead regulator says legal marijuana will be for sale by FebruarySeptember 15, 2016 by Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media Share:Marijuana sales are expected by February, according to Cynthia Franklin, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office. (Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)Alaska’s top marijuana regulator said Wednesday that pot will be on sale by February. But industry advocates expressed frustration it’s taken nearly two years since voters approved the sales.And legislators said they’d like to see the state allow marijuana consumption in private clubs. Some lawmakers would also like state officials work to improve marijuana businesses’ access to banks.Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office Director Cynthia Franklin told state legislators that marijuana testing should begin within weeks.“I believe that by the time we arrive at February of 2017, we will have stores that are operating; we will have product manufacturers that are making products, which have been individually approved by this board – which is a tremendous amount of work; we will have testing facilities that are testing; and we will have a lot of cultivation facilities growing a lot of legal marijuana in Alaska,” Franklin said.She spoke at a joint meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary committees at the Legislative Information Office in Anchorage.Lawyer Jana Weltzin says her marijuana business clients are paying to rent property, but they’re not receiving revenue.“It has been two years, and I’m getting to the point where some of my clients have been paying rent for a really long time,” she said.Franklin said her office has been affected by having too few staff members for the amount of work it’s required to do.Another obstacle for marijuana businesses is banking. Division of Banking and Securities Chief Examiner Patrice Walsh said Congress must change the law before banks will accept marijuana business customers.“Right now, the Division of Banking and Securities is not aware of any bank or credit union in our state that is willing to bank marijuana businesses at this time, because the businesses are illegal, under federal law,” Walsh said.But Anchorage Republican Sen. Lesil McGuire said she’d like to see the state work with federal regulators to make it easier for banking for marijuana businesses to advance. She noted a memo from former Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole said the federal government would take a hands-off approach to marijuana in states that legalized it.“States who have legalized this have an obligation to set up regulations that provide security and authority and a clear path for banks – lending institutions – in that state to secure a legal pathway for lending,” McGuire said.Lawmakers also questioned Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth on her recent opinion that marijuana consumption is illegal in private clubs. They disagreed with her opinion that these clubs are public spaces. The ballot question that legalized marijuana said it would be illegal to consume in public. Legislators raised the possibility that state law could be changed to allow marijuana in clubs.Share this story:last_img read more

Why Alaska judges don’t make promises, raise campaign funds to retain their seat on the bench

first_imgCrime & Courts | Government | Politics | Southeast | State GovernmentWhy Alaska judges don’t make promises, raise campaign funds to retain their seat on the benchNovember 6, 2016 by Matt Miller, KTOO Share:Campaign sign for a judge in Lexington Park, Maryland (Creative Commons photo by Elvert Barnes)Did you ever wonder why you never see campaign signs for Alaska judges, like in other states?There are 33 judges on this year’s election ballot. Yet probably none of them are producing radio and television ads, putting fliers in the mail, or taking out ads in the newspaper promoting their credentials as a judge and asking to remain on the bench. And, for sure, Alaska judges never accept large campaign contributions from lawyers, lobbyists, and special interest groups.“It’s pretty obvious in other states where judges campaign, the main contributors to the campaigns are lawyers,” said Susanne DiPietro, the executive director of the Alaska Judicial Council.“At that point, when you would go to court, you wouldn’t know if the other person in court actually contributed to the campaign of that judge. That would be something to worry about. (The state of Alaska’s founders) wanted to avoid it,” DiPietro said. “They also wanted to avoid judges campaigning and being sort of pressed into making certain promises about how they might rule in a certain case. It’s totally inappropriate and not fair.”DiPietro said the code of conduct for Alaska judges prohibits them from campaigning unless they are attacked. Listen to the story about Alaska’s judicial retention process:Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Former Alaska Supreme Court Justice Bud Carpeneti said members of the Constitutional Convention sixty years ago wanted to isolate judges from election politics.“Judges have to be primarily responsive to the law. They have to apply the law fairly,” Carpeneti said. “I think the founders wanted to get away from the notion that it would just be another political branch. Because, when you go into court, sometimes the unpopular side might be (the) side that has more legal merit and ought to win.”This collage of 2012 campaign yard signs for judges and other elected officials in upstate New York and western Vermont was featured in a blog hosted by North Country Public Radio. (Photo by Mark Kurtz/NCPR.)Carpeneti said Tom Stewart, a territorial legislator and secretary to the Constitutional Convention, traveled around the country to research how other states did things. He came back with something called the merit selection plan or the Missouri Plan.DiPietro said 38 states use merit selection to fill some or all of their judicial vacancies.A non-partisan panel would interview and thoroughly vet judicial applicants, and then hold public hearings. The Governor would essentially be the political component representing the people while making the final selection from a short-list of best-qualified nominees. During retention elections held later, voters have a direct say on whether they think each judge is still doing a good job.“So, the Council’s process really starts a whole year in advance,” DiPietro said.The Alaska Judicial Council is the non-partisan panel responsible for putting all judicial applicants and sitting judges through a fine-tooth comb.“The Council tries to determine how a judge performed in office, over their last term in office by surveying people who have appeared in front of that judge,” DiPietro said. “So, the idea is that the people who have been in the judge’s courtroom, read the judge’s decisions, those are the people who are going to give the Council the most up-to-date information about the judge’s performance.”The election pamphlet contains a brief biography of each judge up for retention. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)DiPietro said the Alaska Judicial Council is recommending that all 33 judges on the ballot this year be retained.“It’s a lot more than usual and that’s just really a coincidence,” DiPietro said. “It’s almost half of the judges sitting in Alaska right now.”But voters won’t have to decide on each and every judge. They only have to consider the two Supreme Court justices, a Court of Appeals judge, and the Superior and District Court judges in their particular area or judicial district.The judges up for retention in the First Judicial District are:Superior Court Judge David George, who was a private attorney in Juneau and Sitka before he was appointed to the bench in Sitka in 2007.Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg, who was a public defender in Kodiak and Juneau and a private attorney before he was appointed to the bench in Juneau in 2007.Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens, who worked as a public defender and a prosecutor before he was appointed to the bench in Ketchikan in 2000. Stephens, also the presiding judge for Southeast Alaska, frequently travels to hear cases in many smaller communities.District Court Judge Thomas Nave, who worked in the Public Defender Agency as an attorney and deputy director, and as a private attorney before being appointed to the bench in Juneau in 2010. He presides over the Therapeutic Court which helps defendants overcome their addictions.Survey results are printed in the election pamphlet. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)Voters can check out those surveys, or what attorneys, peace officers, social service professionals, jurors and courthouse employees think of each judge in the election pamphlet that arrived in mailboxes recently. Judges are rated on legal ability, impartiality, integrity, temperament and diligence. You can also check out those surveys at knowyouralaskajudges.comCarpeneti, who served as a judge and justice for a total of 31 years, came up for a retention vote several times.“It’s a little bit of a scary process because during the course of a judge’s term – let’s say a trial judge on the Superior Court, that’s a 6 year term – you’re going to make thousands of decisions. In every one of those cases, pretty much someone will have won and someone will have lost,” Carpeneti said. “So, there’s the potential for thousands of individuals or corporations or whoever the litigants are to be upset with your ruling.”Campaign sign for a judge in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania (Creative Commons photo by MTSOfan)Once a special interest group begins campaigning against retention of a particular judge – such as what’s happening with two Alaska Supreme Court justices on the ballot this year – then that judge can mount a defensive campaign.“Even there, it’s a little bit difficult because a judge has to keep a little bit removed from the operation of the campaign with the understanding that if the judge is retained, he or she is going to going to have to make decisions in the future,” Carpeneti said. “So, there is definitely some distance between the judge and the people that do the organizing on his or her behalf.”DiPietro recommends that voters consider each judge’s performance and body of work and not whether they agree and disagree with the outcome of a single case.And, here are a few fun facts: remember Tom Stewart, who did all that research for the framers of the constitution? He later became a Superior Court judge in Juneau himself. He served until he retired in 1981, and was succeeded on the bench by Bud Carpeneti.Share this story:last_img read more

Juneau police arrest two different people wanted on warrants

first_imgCrime & Courts | JuneauJuneau police arrest two different people wanted on warrantsApril 21, 2017 by Tripp J Crouse, KTOO Share:Juneau police arrested two people on outstanding warrants Friday.The police department sent out a news release about 10:30 a.m. requesting information on the whereabouts of Juneau resident Christopher Wesley Davison, 33.Davison was wanted on a $2,500 warrant for failure to appear on a charge of rioting and criminal mischief.At about 11:30 a.m., JPD sent an amended release saying Davison had been arrested and taken into custody.Later, while conducting a welfare check in the 6500 block of Glacier Highway, officers contacted Christopher Lee Quick, 41. Quick was arrested for two warrants issued in November 2016, a news release said.Both warrants were for failure to comply with his probation stemming from different and previous charges. One for burglary and the second for robbery and assault. Both warrants were for $10,000 each.Share this story:last_img read more

Feds seek comments on Alaska’s in-state natural gas pipeline

first_imgAlaska’s Energy Desk | Energy & Mining | North Slope | SouthcentralFeds seek comments on Alaska’s in-state natural gas pipelineAugust 8, 2017 by Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau Share:The current route planned for the Alaska Standalone Pipeline — an in-state natural gas pipeline designed to bring gas from the North Slope to Alaska communities. (Map courtesy of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation)A federal agency is asking for input on an in-state natural gas pipeline.The Alaska Standalone Pipeline would bring gas from the North Slope to Wasilla.  It’s designed to deliver  gas to communities like Fairbanks and throughout Southcentral Alaska.The Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency working on an Environmental Impact Statement for the gasline project — a requirement for the National Environmental Policy Act.The current version of the statement — released in June — is updated from a 2012 version. It covers things like environmental consequences of the project footprint, transporting the gas, new access roads and the 13 construction camps needed to build it.The Corps is focused on the parts of the project that could impact people.“In case of social economics, you have job growth opportunities. You have employment. On the flip side, you have more stress for government support facilities or at local clinics, at hospitals, etc,” said Sandy Gibson, the gas pipeline project manager for the Army Corps in Alaska.The project is managed by the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation which is also tasked with developing a similar, but larger gas pipeline that would bring gas from the North Slope into Cook Inlet and then sell it overseas. The corporation calls the in-state pipeline, a backup project if it doesn’t get the larger pipeline built.Gibson said people sometimes confuse the two projects.“It seems that, in the last couple of decades there’s been some type of a pipeline project that has evolved into another revised project,” Gibson said. “So I think that a lot of people here in Alaska have a history with pipeline projects in general.”This summer, a team from the Corps has traveled around the state holding meetings in places like Utqiaġvik, Nuiqsut, Wiseman and Anchorage, updating people on the environmental review process.So far, Gibson said they’ve heard a lot of concern about its potential effects on subsistence.“One of the comments made that there was concern about caribou migration and that it wasn’t necessarily due to the pipeline being elevated, but it had more so to do with helicopters flying the length of the pipeline,” she said.This could be problematic during peak season, when hunters have a short window to bag a caribou and the noise could spook the herd.The comment deadline is August 14.Gibson said the goal is to publish a final impact statement at the end of 2018.But there’s still a long road ahead for Alaska’s in-state gas pipeline.After it gets an impact statement, the project still needs to get permit decisions from federal agencies like the Corps, to be built.Gibson said the environmental review and permitting process ideally go hand-in-hand.  But finishing the review doesn’t necessarily mean an agency will grant a permit.Share this story:last_img read more

Rare metals mining company plans to build processing plant in Ketchikan

first_imgEnergy & Mining | SoutheastRare metals mining company plans to build processing plant in KetchikanFebruary 1, 2018 by Leila Kheiry, KRBD Share:The peak of Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island. Ucore Rare Metals Inc. has been exploring the Bokan-Dotson Ridge site as a possible new mine. (Photo courtesy Ucore Rare Metals)A sign marks a trail up Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island. Ucore Rare Metals Inc. has been exploring the Bokan-Dotson Ridge site as a possible new mine. (Photo courtesy Ucore Rare Metals)12

The peak of Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island.A sign marks a trail up Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island.

A Canadian mining company that specializes in rare earth mineral extraction announced Tuesday it plans to build a processing facility in Ketchikan.Ucore Rare Metals, Inc., based in Nova Scotia, has been exploring the Bokan-Dotson Ridge site on Prince of Wales Island as a possible new mine.That potential mine is not anywhere near production yet , but Mike Schrider, vice president of operations and engineering, said the plant will be built whether or not the mine is developed.“We would actually initially process feedstocks from other sites throughout the world, get the processing plant up and running and established, and eventually, when the timing is right with the market, we would ultimately try to get Bokan on line and then also process the Bokan ore concentrate at this particular facility,” he said.Schrider said a specific site for the processing plant has not been chosen. The first step was deciding on Ketchikan as the right location.“We looked at a variety of factors, including the proximity to Bokan mine, the existing relationship we have with AIDEA, the access to international shipping corridors, the available workforce in Ketchikan,” he said. “So it’s a good fit for us and we felt it would also be a good fit for Ketchikan.”AIDEA is the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. That state agency provides financial assistance for economic development projects. The Legislature in 2014 approved an AIDEA financing package of $145 million to develop Bokan mine and related processing facilities.The prices for rare earth elements dropped a few years ago.  Schrider said work at the mine is on hold.“We’re waiting for signs of recovery in that particular sector,” he said. “Once we see those signs, that will lead us to the next step in that project.”Schrider said there is not yet a timeline for development of the processing plant.“Now that we made the determination to locate the plant in Ketchikan, we need to go through our next phase of due diligence, which will yield a detailed plan for us, and then we’ll come out with what our anticipated schedule is,” he said.Schrider said the plant, once built, will initially employ about a dozen people. Eventually, he said, it will employ about 30.Rare earth elements are used in high-tech products such as cellular telephones and electric vehicles. Most of the rare earth elements in the market come from China.Share this story:last_img read more

Freezing drizzle, rain may impact midday travel

first_imgJuneau | Public Safety | Southeast | WeatherFreezing drizzle, rain may impact midday travelFebruary 12, 2018 by Tripp J Crouse, KTOO Share:Snow accumulates on the Nimbus sculpture Monday morning, Feb. 12, 2018, outside of the Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building, which houses the State Library and Archives Museum, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Tripp J Crouse/KTOO)Updated | noon MondayThe National Weather Service has extended its winter weather advisory for Juneau to remain in effect until 3 p.m.Original story | 6:47 a.m. MondayThe National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory in effect until noon Monday. The advisory is for the Icy Strait corridor, which includes Juneau, Gustavus and Hoonah.Juneau-based meteorologist Wes Adkins says the freezing drizzle earlier this morning has turned into snow.“But then we are looking for a transition to all rain some time by late this afternoon and definitely all rain tonight,” Adkins said. ”It’s going to be a mess.”The weather service doesn’t expect any freezing to happen. Temperatures are forecasted to be in the mid- to upper 30s tonight, and not changing a whole lot Tuesday.Though Adkins said that the rain falling on the snow, even freshly shoveled snow, can create a glaze or even a wet slush. That can make conditions a little hazardous.“We’re just asking people to be careful on driveways and sidewalks where maybe they have shoveled the snow and there’s a little bit of ice on it,” Adkins said. “The rain on the ice can make things really slick.”The advisory suggests that the conditions could make travel hazardous.The weather service says the advisory could be over sooner than noon. A cool down may be in the future for later this week.Share this story:last_img read more

Across the country, students walk out to protest gun violence

first_imgIn Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, about 100 schools had walkouts, member station WBEZ reports. The station has collected accounts from students on their website. WBEZ’s Miles Bryan reports that one school, in “conservative Plainfield,” is giving students who walk out a choice: “either have a meeting with lawmakers to learn about political process— or get one hour detention.”In San Diego, at Patrick Henry High, students held up signs — including one reading, “we go to school to learn, not to die,” reports Megan Burks of KPBS News. One student speaker, expanding beyond gun control, urged students to “look up from your cell phones. Look up from your AP tests. Look up from the soccer field. Look up at each other.”At Y-V Tech in Yakima, Wash., 17 students covered themselves in fake blood and lay down at the school’s entrance, Esmy Jimenez of Northwest Public Broadcasting reports.At Jefferson Elementary in Pullman, Wash., young students tried to organize a walkout — but administrators changed the event to a “safety assembly” with the police and fire department, including “a ‘kindness activity’ to talk with each other about bullying,” Northwest Public Broadcasting’s Scott Leadingham reports.“Student speaker/organizer, 10, wanted to talk about gun control, but says school asked him not to. ‘Come talk to me at recess since I’ve been silenced,’ he tells assembly,” Leadingham wrote from the elementary school.And at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — the Parkland, Florida, school where last month’s shooting took place — students gathered on the football field for a group hug, the AP writes.Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gather on the football field on Wednesday to honor the memories of 17 people who were killed during a mass shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit this story: In Silver Spring, Maryland, a long line of sign-holding students walked down a major street, with a police escort blocking traffic.And outside the White House, young protesters chanted: “Hey hey, ho ho! The NRA has got to go!”According to EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, more than 3,130 school walkouts were scheduled across the country, as NPR’s Adrienne St. Clair reports.The national organizers called for a 17-minute walkout at 10 a.m. local time in every time zone.But the actual details of the protest varied from school to school.Some walked out earlier in the day. Adrienne spoke to students at Centennial High School in Idaho who scheduled their walkout for 9:28 a.m., when the bell rings, rather than 10 a.m. “This will allow students to walk out in between classes, rather than getting up in the middle of a class,” Adrienne writes. “[Student body president Tommy] Munroe said some students may be too scared to leave if they are in a class with a teacher who doesn’t support the march, and so may not have an opportunity to participate.”On the other hand, in Providence, R.I., student activists pushed the protest later, to 12:45 p.m., because “students aren’t allowed back into school once we walked out,” Dorbor Tarley explains on Facebook.And some schools are going far beyond just a 17-minute walkout.Students in some areas organized marches, letter-writing campaigns and rallies with speakers, taking up part or all of the school day.Various school districts also face different responses from administrators. Some have told students they won’t punish walkout participants. Others emphasize that normal school rules are still in place, and leaving class or campus without permission will result in disciplinary action.Some administrators promoted alternative forms of protest, like a moment of silence, or found ways to incorporate the protest into a lesson plan.Meanwhile, the ACLU is working to educate students about their rights. Schools can discipline students for walking out of class, even for a political protest, the group notes.“But what they can’t do is discipline you more harshly because of the political nature of or the message behind your action,” the ACLU writes. “The exact punishment you could face will vary by your state, school district, and school. Find out more by reading the policies of your school and school district.”Meanwhile, students in the Northeast faced another challenge: the weather.A nor’easter dropped inches of snow on Tuesday, prompting some schools to close and disrupting walkout plans — although not always completely halting protests. Nation & World | NPR News | Politics | Public SafetyAcross the country, students walk out to protest gun violenceMarch 14, 2018 by Camila Domonoske, NPR News Share:Students from surrounding schools gather at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan to mark one month since the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Scout Smissen, a 17-year-old junior at Roosevelt High School becomes emotional while speaking to a crowd of hundreds at Red Square on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. (Photo by Megan Farmer/KUOW)Hundreds of students walk out of Midwood High School on Wednesday, as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence in Brooklyn. (Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP)123 read more

Alaska needs search and rescue preparedness in Arctic, world affairs council says

first_imgNation & WorldAlaska needs search and rescue preparedness in Arctic, world affairs council saysAugust 17, 2018 by Derek Minemyer, KTUU-Anchorage Share:ANCHORAGE — Making rescues in an Arctic with less ice and more ship traffic was one of the big topics of the Alaska World Affairs Council panel discussion Thursday.Hreinn Palsson of the Embassy of Iceland in Washington D.C. says it’s time for cross-border cooperation to prepare for the opening of the Arctic.He says search and rescue preparedness should be a top priority.“Alaska is in the same place as the rest of us. We are all dealing with this,” Palsson said. “We are doing it through cooperation across borders.”Palsson says the Arctic is no longer just a subject of academic study. It’s becoming a destination for expeditionary tourism.And with more people comes more problems.“Issues of security, issues of transportation, issues of communications,” Palsson said. “So there is security and search and rescue teams that you have to have under control.”Lars Saunes is a retired Chief of the Norwegian Royal Navy with 29 years of Arctic naval experience.He says being ready in the Arctic means anticipating events before they happen.“If you look in Alaska, in this area, it’s a beautiful area and tourism is going to grow,” Saunes said. “So you need to establish enough of a presence by Coast Guard and other ships to ensure that if an accident happens, you are there,” he continued. “If you were not there, it’s already too late.”At that point, Saunes says, you’re out of the game in the Arctic.“Because in my opinion, if you don’t have the equipment and the trained people, you are part of the problem,” Saunes said. “You can’t just come from the outside and operate in the Arctic. It’s too harsh. It’s too difficult.”Channel 2 asked Jon Harrison, senior administration official for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, at tonight’s panel how the U.S. plans to handle the increasing demand for search and rescue resources in the Arctic.He said the Trump administration is surging resources to the Coast Guard, and doing everything it can to make sure they are properly resourced.Share this story:last_img read more