Jamaicas PM hails Land Information Council for advancing GIS in Jamaica

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, October 12, 2017 – Kingston – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has lauded the Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ) for pioneering the development and maintenance of a national Geographic Information System (GIS) network over the past 25 years.   He said that more than 50 State entities have implemented GIS in their operations, resulting in greater efficiency in the execution of their mandates.These include the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), National Works Agency (NWA), National Water Commission (NWC), and Social Development Commission (SDC).“Through the innovative use of GIS applications, we are becoming more effective and efficient in harnessing the power of our limited resources. We, however, acknowledge that there is still much more that can be done.  We must think spatially to improve overall planning, monitoring, evaluation, information-sharing and communication,” Mr. Holness said.He was delivering the keynote address at Tuesday’s (October 10) opening of the inaugural two-day Jamaica GIS User Conference held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.   The Prime Minister said geospatial technology is applicable in assisting the Government’s strategic objectives, noting that its use in providing data to inform policy and action is invaluable.“If we know how things are happening and why they are happening, then we can predict where they will happen, who will cause things to happen or who (they) will happen to…what will happen and when (they) will happen.    In other words, geospatial information creates a predictive cycle,” he pointed out.The Prime Minster praised former LICJ Chairperson, Jacqueline daCosta, for her indelible contribution to advancing GIS in Jamaica and modernising and reforming the planning, land policy and land management sectors.  He further commended the National Spatial Data Management Division (NSDMD) for staging the conference in tandem with the LICJ, and urged the participants to explore how best GIS technology can be utilised to expand economic growth and job creation.For his part, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who has responsibility for the NSDMD, said he is encouraged by the number of public-sector agencies that have been utilising GIS technology.   He noted that these entities have used GIS to create data sets and applications in health, land administration, national security, and natural resources management, which have assisted in strengthening their core business processes and functions.Mr. Vaz noted that the conference, under the theme ‘Geospatial Technologies: Mapping Our Way to Secure Communities’, is relevant and “synergises this Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of our people”.“I affirm that GIS in Jamaica is poised for great things. As we move forward, I wish to encourage us to continue the work that has begun. I am confident that at the end of these two days, we will have a greater understanding and deeper appreciation of GIS and its contribution to nation building and community development,” he added.The conference, which concludes on Wednesday (October 11) forms part of activities marking the LICJ’s 25th anniversary.Release: JIS Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

USPS Exigent Rate Hike Nullified…Sort Of

first_img The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Friday that the justification for the Postal Service’s 4.3-percent exigent rate hike has expired. Lower mailing volumes brought on by the recession should be recognized as a “new normal,” removing the defense for higher pricing intended to make up for lost earnings. The ruling affirmed the stance the Postal Regulatory Commission took when it approved the exigent rate increase in late 2013. Subsequently, the USPS attempted to override the imposed limits, arguing that the hike should become permanent. Critically however, the court said that the method used by the PRC to arrive at an expiration date for the rate increase—the “count once” standard—was insufficient. Timing restrictions on mail volume tabulation were ruled “arbitrary”; a better estimation of mail volume lost from the recession needs to be calculated. That leaves the original August finish line for the price hike in doubt. A federal appeals court ruled that the USPS will have to roll back its exigent rate hike in a big win for magazine publishers struggling to keep distribution costs down (or, at least, consistent), but exactly when that will happen is still in doubt. “We are pleased that the court recognized that exigent circumstances are not permanent and that the Postal Service must adjust to lowered mail volumes as its ’new normal,’ says Mary Berner, president and CEO of the MPA, in a statement. “We are very pleased that the court upheld the Commission’s conclusion that the exigent surcharge should not be applied permanently,” says David LeDuc, senior director of public policy for the SIIA. “That said, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty around rates going forward. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that August will bring the end of the exigent rate increase, as expected.” “Just because some of the effects of exigent circumstances may continue for the foreseeable future, that does not mean that those circumstances remain ‘extraordinary’ or ‘exceptional’ for just as long,” Judge Patricia Millett wrote in her opinion.last_img read more

Letter shows a fearful Einstein long before Nazis rise

first_imgThis undated photo released by the Kedem Auction House, shows a copy of a 1922 letter Albert Einstein wrote to his beloved younger sister, Maja. Photo: APMore than a decade before the Nazis seized power in Germany, Albert Einstein was on the run and already fearful for his country’s future, according to a newly revealed handwritten letter.His long-time friend and fellow Jew, German foreign minister Walther Rathenau, had just been assassinated by right-wing extremists and police had warned the noted physicist that his life could be in danger too.So Einstein fled Berlin and went into hiding in northern Germany. It was during this hiatus that he penned a handwritten letter to his beloved younger sister, Maja, warning of the dangers of growing nationalism and anti-Semitism years before the Nazis ultimately rose to power, forcing Einstein to flee his native Germany for good.“Out here, nobody knows where I am, and I’m believed to be missing,” he wrote in August 1922. “Here are brewing economically and politically dark times, so I’m happy to be able to get away from everything.”The previously unknown letter, brought forward by an anonymous collector, is set to go on auction next week in Jerusalem with an opening asking price of $12,000.As the most influential scientist of the 20th century, Einstein’s life and writings have been thoroughly researched. The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, of which Einstein was a founder, houses the world’s largest collection of Einstein material. Together with the California Institute of Technology it runs the Einstein Papers Project. Individual auctions of his personal letters have brought in substantial sums in recent years.The 1922 letter shows he was concerned about Germany’s future a full year before the Nazis even attempted their first coup — the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch to seize power in Bavaria.“This letter reveals to us the thoughts that were running through Einstein’s mind and heart at a very preliminary stage of Nazi terror,” said Meron Eren, co-owner of the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem, which obtained the letter and offered The Associated Press a glimpse before the public sale. “The relationship between Albert and Maja was very special and close, which adds another dimension to Einstein the man and greater authenticity to his writings.”The letter, which bears no return address, is presumed to have been written while he was staying in the port city of Kiel before embarking on a lengthy speaking tour across Asia.“I’m doing pretty well, despite all the anti-Semites among the German colleagues. I’m very reclusive here, without noise and without unpleasant feelings, and am earning my money mainly independent of the state, so that I’m really a free man,” he wrote. “You see, I am about to become some kind of itinerant preacher. That is, firstly, pleasant and, secondly, necessary.”Addressing his sister’s concerns, Einstein writes: “Don’t worry about me, I myself don’t worry either, even if it’s not quite kosher, people are very upset. In Italy, it seems to be at least as bad.”Later in 1922, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.Ze’ev Rosenkrantz, the assistant director of the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech, said the letter wasn’t the first time Einstein warned about German anti-Semitism, but it captured his state of mind at this important junction after Rathenau’s killing and the “internal exile” he imposed on himself shortly after it.“Einstein’s initial reaction was one of panic and a desire to leave Germany for good. Within a week, he had changed his mind,” he said. “The letter reveals a mindset rather typical of Einstein in which he claims to be impervious to external pressures. One reason may be to assuage his sister’s concerns. Another is that he didn’t like to admit that he was stressed about external factors.”When the Nazis came to power and began enacting legislation against Jews, they also aimed to purge Jewish scientists. The Nazis dismissed Einstein’s groundbreaking work, including his Law of Relativity, as “Jewish Physics.”Einstein renounced his German citizenship in 1933 after Hitler became chancellor. The physicist settled in the United States, where he would remain until his death in 1955.Einstein declined an invitation to serve as the first president of the newly established state of Israel but left behind his literary estate and personal papers to the Hebrew University.last_img read more

Recovery Process Underway In Brazoria And Fort Bend Counties After Flooding

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Listen Al OrtizSome parts of Brazoria County are still surrounded by high water. This file photo shows a home located in the Angleton area that was flooded due to the severe weather Southeast Texas has experienced since the end of May.President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Texas because of the severe storms and flooding the state has suffered since the end of May.The President’s declaration makes federal funding available for individuals who live in 12 counties, including Brazoria and Fort Bend.Fort Bend County workers are already removing debris and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are establishing recovery centers.The assistance provided by FEMA can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses.Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert says 4,000 residents have seen their homes flooded and the losses in public infrastructure are estimated at $14 million so far.“These are damages to county and city and state-owned properties,” explains Hebert, who specifies the damage has impacted bridges and creeks, among other things.The damage to public property is also in the millions in Brazoria County, according to County Judge Matt Sebesta.Sebesta notes that, although they are entering the recovery phase, some parts of the area, like the town of Holiday Lakes, are still surrounded by high water.As part of the recovery efforts, hundreds of Red Cross workers are deployed in Brazoria, Fort Bend and other counties distributing cleaning products and other supplies.“We’ve been providing things like rakes and shovels. I spoke with a client who had actually been using the shovels to not only clean up the debris in her house, but she also had a lot of snakes that had been left there as the water receded,” said Mallory Scheve, a Red Cross spokesperson. X 00:00 /01:23last_img read more

Full Show Harris Co Dept Of Education Controversy And The Weekly Political

first_imgListen On Wednesday’s Houston Matters: Advocates are calling on trustees with the Harris County Department of Education to reverse some recent decisions. That includes the board’s vote to fire the organization’s lobbying firm. We hear one activist’s concerns.Also this hour: Our local experts break down the latest news in our weekly political roundup. Plus, News 88.7’s Laura Isensee examines how Texas has dealt — or failed to deal — with the issue of school finance reform over the years.And a Houston filmmaker’s documentary tells the story of a beloved priest who was murdered — and the unlikely response to his killer.We offer a daily podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Share X center_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /00:00last_img read more

Vivien Burnett Educator and Activist Dies at 92

first_imgVivien Louise Francis Burnett died on July 21 at Northwest Hospital Seasons Hospice after fighting a 2.5 year long battle with breast cancer.Vivien BurnettBurnett, third child of Beulah Naylor and Louis N. Francis, was born on July 30, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pa. She was preceded in death by her mother, Beulah Vivian Naylor Francis Plummer; her sister, Bernice Calverta Francis Watson; her brother, Louis Naylor Francis; and stepfather, Clinton James Plummer.  Burnett was raised and lived in East Orange, N.J. until she completed junior high school. The family then moved to Baltimore, Md. for high school, college and post graduate education.Rev. Dr. M. J. Naylor, Vivien’s grandfather, was the first African American to own property on Hillen Road, adjacent to Morgan State College in Baltimore. Growing up, Vivien spent her summers with her grandparents at their home.  Years later Burnett was elected to the Morgan Christian Center Trustee Board in 1988 and served until 2008. Vivien received her early education New Jersey. After moving to Baltimore, she attended Frederick Douglass Senior High School and graduated with honors in 1942. She studied at Coppin State College before going on to graduate Morgan State College in 1946. She also earned her master’s degree from the School of Social Work at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Burnett married Sidney O. Burnett Jr. in 1949 two weeks after he completed and passed the Medical Boards for Dentistry. The couple had five children and divorced in 1962. He died in 2008.Burnett is survived by her four children: Stephanie Vivienne Burnett Gantt, Sydney Arlene Lee (William), Aaron Gregory Burnett (Maria), Sharon Kathy Burnett Thomas. Her daughter Sidney Obed Burnett III died as an infant.  There are nine grandchildren: Nicolette Giovanni Gantt, Hassan Eugene Obed Harris, Jamil Naylor Harris, Maya Annice Lee Newman (Jason), William F. Lee III (Tre, deceased), Erin Andrea Burnett, Alexandre Julian Burnett, Brandon Whitney Burnett (Dana), and Morgann Brittany Thomas. There are eleven great-grandchildren:  Leonard Pierre Funderburk, Julian Trent Funderburk, Armani H. Harris, Jamil Naylor Harris II, Josyanna Harris, Josini Harris, Comanee Harris, Brianna Marie Harris, Hassan Obed Harris II, Jalen N. Newman, and Dylan N. Newman. Burnett began her professional career at the District of Columbia Department of Social Services in 1946 while pursuing her post graduate work. She eventually joined the organization full-time and worked there until 1952.Next Burnett worked for the Spring Grove State Hospital as a psychiatric social worker and eventually became managing social worker. From there she moved to the Baltimore City Public School System and taught at Dickeyville Elementary School, James Mosher Elementary School and Eutaw Marshburn Elementary School. She retired from the classroom in 1992. At the same time she joined Baltimore’s Urban Services Agency as center director for many centers throughout Baltimore from 1973 to 1988.Burnett served as president of the William H. Lemmel Jr. High School, was president and vice president over a five year span at James Mosher Elementary School, vice president with the Pimlico Middle School and president and vice president at Western High School. As a community activist Vivien created, organized and volunteered in many City and State outreach programs.Throughout her life, she also held membership with Kappa Alpha Psi Silhouettes, Life Memberships with the NAACP and Morgan State College Alumni M.J. Naylor Chapter which she founded; Morgan University Women, American Heart Association Board of Directors, Morgan Christian Center Board of Trustees, the Weinberg Village I Association Board, and the Chipperettes.Burnett was a lifetime member at Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church and continued the traditions of Sharp Street’s Naylor Hughes Circle.Public viewing will be held on July 29 at Wylie Funeral Home, 9200 Liberty Road, Randallstown, Md. from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Celebration of life service will be held 11 a.m. at Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 30, 2016; located at 1206 Etting St., Baltimore, Md. 21217, with a repast at Sharp Street Memorial after entombment in Arbutus Memorial Park, 1101 Sulphur Spring Rd, Arbutus, Md.last_img read more