first_imgDetails of a major rebuilding plan for Letterkenny General Hospital will be unveiled tomorrow.The hospital during the flooding. Copyright Donegal Daily.Up to 70% of the hospital footprint was covered in water when the Co Donegal hospital was flooded in July following torrential rain.Details of the major rebuilding plan will be revealed by the hospital’s general manager Sean Murphy. It is believed the rebuild and recovery plan could cost in the region of €20 million.A team of civil engineers have been appointed to carry out an investigation into how the flooding happened.The engineers’ investigation is understood to centre around a culvert close to the hospital which is understood to have overflowed during the torrential downpour.At the height of the flooding disaster, a team of 500 volunteers rushed to the hospital to help with the clean-up. The recently-opened Accident and Emergency Department, which cost €22 million, was seriously damaged and forced to close.Patients were redirected to both Sligo General Hospital and Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for a number of weeks.A new temporary A&E has since opened to walk-in patients.Hospital manager Sean Murphy will unveil the rebuild plans to the public meeting tomorrow in the Mount Errigal Hotel.        DETAILS OF HOSPITAL REBUILD TO BE UNVEILED TOMORROW was last modified: September 16th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Letterkenny General Hospitalmanager Sean Murphyrebuildlast_img read more

South Africa spends billions on mining towns

first_img1 July 2015South Africa has allocated R18-billion for distressed mining communities across the country. Headed by the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) in charge of revitalising mining communities, projects being undertaken include housing and wellness.“Overall R18-billion has been dedicated to ongoing work in distressed mining communities, benefitting the following provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West,” President Jacob Zuma said on 30 June.“The bulk of this funding is from [the] government, with mining companies contributing approximately a third of the funding.”Zuma appointed the IMC shortly after the Marikana tragedy, in which over 44 people lost their lives during labour unrest at the Lonmin mine in North West in 2012. Its mandate is to oversee the implementation of integrated and sustainable human settlements, improve living and working conditions of mine workers and determine the development path of mining towns and the historic labour-sending areas.“The fundamental mandate of the IMC is to change the face of mining in South Africa working with business, labour and other sectors.”South Africa had undertaken a socio-economic diagnostic study of the 15 prioritised mining towns and 12 prioritised labour-sending areas to get a better understanding of the extent of the challenges in each town and to determine the most appropriate actions to address these.“In changing the face of mining, we are also drawing lessons from other countries,” Zuma said. He spoke about the Australia-Africa Partnership Facility, saying the country was benchmarking the policy and regulatory system governing the mining sectors in Australia, Chile, South Africa, and Zambia.HousingRegarding housing, the Department of Human Settlements was implementing about 66 public sector housing projects in the 15 prioritised mining towns. In the 2014/15, financial year more than R419-million was spent from the ring-fenced budget for upgrading informal settlements in prioritised mining towns in Limpopo, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West.“Overall over 7 000 units have been delivered in the mining towns.” For this financial year about R1-billion had been ring-fenced, which would deliver about 19 000 new houses.Two of the housing projects were in Marikana, where about 500 houses would be built on land donated by Lonmin.In addition to the ring-fenced human settlement grant funding, the department’s housing agencies have contributed over R1-billion to integrated human settlements in mining towns. This includes 17 341 loans of R239-million for incremental housing from the Rural Housing Loan Fund; R673-million delivering 3 405 mortgage and social housing units from the National Housing Finance Corporation; bridging loans of R95.6-million for 1 177 affordable houses and R36-million for 4 546 subsidy units from Nurcha’s Construction Finance and Programme Management.Zuma said the government embraced partnerships.“We understand that when working together, we can achieve much more that leads to a greater impact than when working in isolation,” he said, adding that stakeholders in business, labour and the government had actively supported and participated in formulating the government’s strategic approach for accommodating mineworkers in decent housing and living conditions in mining towns.Creating jobsTurning to socio-economic conditions, Zuma said that, led by the Department of Trade and Industry, the departments of Co-operative Governance, Traditional Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform and Small Business Development were facilitating large and small scale industrial projects in the 15 mining towns.These were critical in creating business and employment opportunities. In addition, Trade and Industry is helping selected municipalities and regions to develop and implement regional industrial development plans.These include interventions in Bojanala and the Greater Tubatse local municipalities for the establishment of a platinum group metals special economic zone (SEZ).Feasibility studies, business plans and the appointment of a project management unit have been completed and the SEZ designation and land acquisition is being finalised.Others include the establishment of an agri-hub in Bojanala, Madibeng and Marikana for agriculture production and a processing facility, as well as the Vulindlela Industrial Park Revitalisation in King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality, in Eastern Cape.These projects, which include a multi-sectoral business park, will promote sustainable manufacturing investments into the region.Health careOn the wellbeing of the miners, the Department of Health, together with the departments of Labour and Mineral Resources, is working towards the alignment of the industry’s occupational health and safety policy.The goal is to build an enhanced social protection system, as well as reorganise the compensation system and access to benefits for former and current mineworkers.“The Department of Mineral Resources is employing mine accident and occupational diseases prevention mechanisms through improved mine inspections, audits, investigations and monitoring of occupational exposure levels,” Zuma said.Enforcement and inspections have been beefed up through 40 regional medical inspectors, analysis of annual medical reports from the mines’ provision of standards on workplace exposures, implementing inspection and audit tools for occupational health services, promotion of occupational health in the mining industry, and reviewing research relevant to occupational medicine in the mining industry.Furthermore, the departments of Mineral Resources and of Health are employing strategic interventions to promote healthy and safe working conditions. These include ensuring the reduction in falls of ground accidents by 20% annually; actively promoting awareness of the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB; preventing personal over-exposure to silica dust; and promoting active linkage of dust exposure to medical surveillance.The Department of Health has established one-stop service centres to bring health and compensation services to former and current mine workers in the mining towns and in labour-sending areas.There are centres in Mthatha in Eastern Cape as well as Carletonville in Gauteng. More one-stop service centres will be established in other provinces, beginning in Kuruman in Northern Cape and Burgersfort in Limpopo.The state will also set up mobile units in neighbouring countries such as Lesotho and Swaziland during the 2015/16 fiscal year.Operation PhakisaZuma said he was making good on his promise in his State of the Nation Address to launch a mining version of Operation Phakisa, the integrated delivery system in the health and oceans economy sectors.It would be discussed when the National Consultative Forum on the Mining Sector met later this year.“To date, the Presidency has engaged in more than 15 consultative meetings with the [chief executives] of mining companies, representatives of civil society and national office bearers of labour unions and there is overwhelming support for the Phakisa process.”His government was determined, working together with other stakeholders, to steer the mining industry towards increased investment, growth and transformation while being mindful of the social, environmental and health impacts on people in mining towns and labour-sending areas.“The migrant labour system has been the backbone of the mining industry in South Africa and continues to have an enduring impact on both mining towns and rural labour-sending areas,” he said, urging all stakeholders and communities to work with the government to try to revitalise the mining sector.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

EPA proposes rule to repeal ‘WOTUS’

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will propose a rule to rescind a controversial Clean Water Act regulation that gave the government broad jurisdiction over land and water.The proposal — expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days — will repeal the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which ostensibly was implemented to clarify EPA’s authority over various waters.Based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, EPA’s jurisdiction had included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. But the WOTUS rule broadened that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.“The WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “It was the product of a flawed regulatory process that lacked transparency and likely would have been used by trial lawyers and environmental activists to attack farmers.”“We’re extremely grateful to President Trump and EPA Administrator [Scott] Pruitt for recognizing the dire consequences this ill-advised Obama-era regulation would have had on pork producers and all of American agriculture.”The agricultural community expressed broad opposition to the WOTUS rule, including producing maps showing the extent of the lands affected by the regulation. (EPA’s jurisdiction in Missouri, for example, would have increased to cover 77% of the state under the rule.) There were numerous legal efforts against the rule, filing suit in a U.S. District Court and presenting a brief to a U.S. Court of Appeals. The latter halted implementation of the WOTUS rule shortly after its Aug. 28, 2015, effective date.Once the proposed repeal rule is published, it will be subject to a public comment period.last_img read more

Chaggan Bhujbal back under scanner

first_imgAccording to Bhujbal, however, he has made it past all these claims unscathed – which is why the veteran politician is not bothered about the latest allegations about his involvement in a ‘Rs 10,000-crore,’ Maharashtra Sadan scam. Bhujbal has been accused by the BJP of allowing a small-time contractor to construct the Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi in return for the development rights of an Andheri slum. The BJP claims the scam is worth Rs 10,000 crores.The PWD minister, however, has said that he is not involved and that he would not just resign from his minister’s post but even quit politics if the charges were found to be true. Bhujbal’s optimism is not misplaced.After all, the probe in the ‘scam’ is being headed by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) which functions under the home ministry headed by RR Patil of the NCP. This is the same ACB that tried to give a clean chit to the then Mumbai Congress Chief Kripashankar Singh in the disproportionate assets case, despite evidence to the contrary.So Bhujbal is unperturbed, despite disturbing allegations that the small-time contractor who got the project for Maharashtra Sadan purchased furniture from a firm headed by one of his daughters-in-law, or that the contractor gave a sub-contract to another firm for the construction of the Sadan, which had a couple of Bhujbal’s employees as directors.The Maharashtra government, which has seldom seemed willing to probe cases of graft especially against its own, made a huge song and dance out of an ACB probe that it has allegedly ordered.Allegedly because ACB officials say they have been asked to conduct the probe by RR Patil on whether Bhujbal benefited from the deal. Home Minister RR Patil, however, says no sanction has been given for a probe. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on the other hand says according to him the ACB probe is on.It’s not just the government that is confused: Even the BJP, the party that made ming that the scam was worth Rs 100 crore, then quickly revised that to Rs 1,000 crore, and now pegs the overall cost of the scam at over Rs 10,000 crore.Ganesh gets a new home on the netThe vibrant ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival is traditionally celebrated with street processions of Ganesh idols, accompanied by dancing and singing of devotees.The the idols are eventually immersed in the sea, like this one at Mumbai’s famed Chowpatty beach.Increasingly, however, devotees are giving the queues and messy, loud street celebrations a miss and taking their religion online. Websites allow live streaming of popular idols, such as the famous Lalbaugcha Raja in Mumbai, and devotees can even get ‘digital blessings’ by tuning in at ‘aarti’ timings.Phone companies are also getting in the game, offering SMS prayers and mobile games involving the Hindu god, while smartphones have pooja apps, opening up whole new avenues for the age-old festival.Post-transfer Dhoble back to old waysOne of the first things the new Mumbai police Chief Satyapal Singh did after taking over as Commissioner was to reign in ACP Vasant Dhoble, who became infamous for his attempts at moral policing. Singh hoped that transferring Dhoble from the Social Service Branch to Vakola in the western suburbs would temper his raiding habits.Within days after taking over his new post, Dhoble returned to his old tactics with the same vengeance – restaurants and bars that stayed open after the 11pm deadline were been fined and even pan shops and juice centres were pulled up.Although hoteliers grumble about ‘moral policing,’ Dhoble has his backers because he goes after establishments that are flouting the law. In fact the ACP is almost a celebrity, with people queing to click photos or shoot videos of his raids when he ventures out. And the man clearly loves all the action – he is often seen posing for the cameras and even waiving at the people who throng to see him in action.State schools get sports diktatIndia’s medal tally in the just concluded Olympics might have marginally improved this year, but its fair to say that in a country like ours with a population of a billion-plus people, the medal tally is quite embarrassing.Unfortunately this reflects the lack of a sports culture in our country, most notably our schools. This is why the Maharashtra government’s recent directive has to be welcomed. The state has now directed all schools in the state functioning under various boards to have a mandatory five hours a week reserved for sports.The state government’s intention is not to make champion Olympians out of the school students but simply to encourage students to get more physical activity. Some schools, however, are trying to resist the move. They have complained that it would include an additional financial burden on them to hire a physical trainer, while other claim that they don’t even have grounds for their children to indulge in sporting activities.Gold’s rising price has led to a peculiar problem for the Mumbai police – an increasing number of cases of gold chain snatches. Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh has decided to crack down on the chain snatchers by booking them under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) which makes it hard to get bail. Singh also uses the unique strategy of putting up banners with photos of chain-snatchers at police stations, to educate the public and also to force the criminals to go into hiding.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more