MBU to face sanctions

first_imgMontego Bay United FC (MBU) will face sanctions for their absence from yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) weekly press conference at Red Stripe Hospitality Lounge, Spanish Town Road. The finalists, Portmore United FC and MBU, were invited, but only Portmore’s representatives turned up. Chairman of MBU Orville Powell is holding firm that his club will not contest Sunday’s final if the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) continues to insist that the game will kick-off at 4 p.m. “We continue to protest. We are protesting. They (the PFAJ) continue to disrespect people. We are also stakeholders as clubs. I will not take the field on Sunday at 4 p.m. If they don’t compromise, we won’t compromise,” Powell told The Gleaner when contacted yesterday morning. General manager of the Premier League Clubs’ Association (PLCA) Andrew Price said yesterday that MBU would be sanctioned for not attending the weekly press conference. “This is a part of the rules and regulations of the body … so if a club is not here, they will be sanctioned,” Price said during the press conference. The PFAJ is responsible for taking decisions on match dates and kick-off times. The RSPL final will be aired live on TVJ and SportsMax. It will also be on CNTV in America and Canada.last_img read more

With 900M people, India prepared for an election in 3 months

first_imgDear Editor,How can India prepare for an election in 30 days for 900 million people to vote and Guyana cannot prepare for an election with 0.06 per cent of that amount (500,000 people) in 90 days? It defies all logic.All this voting will be handled by the Elections Commission of India, an independent institution that guards and maintains its reputation for efficiency, toughness and rectitude.They have a system of three Commissioners who are all retired public service officers and do not draw a salary from anywhere else but their version of GECOM. By India standards, they are paid a handsome salary averaging around US$3500 per month.If we are to reflect on the current GECOM we have, every one of them is aligned to another salary pool which to some extent makes servants to dual masters. Thus, they can never be efficient and effective at delivering at the task at hand. Let us reflect on some of the Commissioners – Desmond Trotman works out of the Presidency Ministry as a senior officer of the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARA). Vincent Alexander is an adviser to the Public Service Minister in the Presidency Ministry. Bibi Shaddick serves in several positions on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition. Can any of these people be independent thinkers?Worse yet, the Chairman was unilaterally appointed by Granger, and thus he owes everything to Granger. Can he act independently of Granger? This is the tragedy of GECOM, it can never be like the Elections Commission of India and thus it will never be successful since it was conceived with a corrupt mentality and as a collective, it is an extremely compromised body.That is why it is imperative that one of the main changes to the Constitution must be the reform of GECOM to be manned by persons totally and fully retired from public life. Think of people like Dr Gladstone Mitchell, Prem Persaud, Egbert Carter, Joe Singh, Ret’d Brigadier Mark Phillips and Cecil Kennard. These are the kind of people who are no longer in public life but who should be allowed to serve at GECOM. These people hold no allegiance to any side but the Guyanese side.But why 7? India, a nation of 900 million, voters has 3 Commissioners, while Guyana with half of a million has 7 Commissioners. Do we have money to waste behind these useless people to do a useless job?Because that is all we have been hearing from Bibi Shaddick and Vincent Alexander – useless chatter. These people have no allegiance to the Guyanese people but to themselves and their respective political masters and that makes them uncreditworthy in the eyes of the people.Why does GECOM need seven people to make decisions, why not three as they have in India? Why should the PPP or the PNC or for that matter, any political party sit in the boardroom of GECOM? Do you see where I am going with this? When you have people who do not care who wins and who loses, people who focus on the idea that the Guyanese people get the best elections, then you will never find yourself in a situation where 10 of the top 10 positions in the GECOM’s operational leadership are but an extension of Congress Place.Think carefully as to why Vishnu Persaud, an extremely competent election expert had to be pushed aside to make way for someone who is still learning the job and continues to illustrate every day how grossly unfit and unsuitable she is for the role.So to the Guyanese people, GECOM today is not on your side, this is an organisation that is but an arm of Congress Place and the PPP when in power should have moved mountains to make GECOM more resilient to political interference.They failed at this task and the people today have to pay for that political oversight on the part of the PPP.History has taught us that the PNC will never play fair because they can never win elections on their own because of their narrow-minded ethnic culture that discriminates against those who are not the kith and kin of their leader.This is Guyana’s cross to bear today, a PNC dominated GECOM, both in the boardroom and in the operation rooms because the PPP, when in power, did nothing to bring greater balance to GECOM. Who feels the pain today knows the pain – the people? Wither Guyana.Sincerely,Lisa Allylast_img read more

Liberian Farmers Practice Protected Cultivation for More Income

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Vegetable farmers in Liberia face many challenges when it comes to growing vegetables. Due to torrential rain fall in almost all parts of the country, vegetables usually don’t grow well.  In fact, few farmers grow vegetables for commercial purpose during rainy season.The majority of the farmers who grow vegetables during the rains are subsistence farmers who do so alongside their rice crops, for home consumption and surplus for the local markets.A group of vegetable farmers comprising of 20 persons on  the outskirt of Monrovia, known as the Mawah Vegetable Farmers Association, has gotten the opportunity to produce vegetables all year round through the practice of protected cultivation (rain shelter) for improved yields and increased profits.Together, the vegetable farmers and the Food and Enterprise Development Program (FED) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) put an area of the farm under protected cultivation in order to grow quality crops,  particularly during the rainy season. The greenhouse-like structure helps farmers protect valuable produce from pests and heavy rain damage. At the same time, it is equipped with drip irrigation which provides sufficient moisture to the crops during the dry season.In Liberia very few farmers are engaged in such practice of producing vegetables. FED /USAID is currently assisting 20 farming groups to benefit from this improved technology.The Mawah Vegetable Farmers Association was established in 1997 to supply vegetables on the local market. After receiving assistance from Chinese agriculture experts, the group got involved in producing high-value exotic vegetables, like tomatoes. But this effort did not last for a long period of time as the Chinese experts left the country.In 2013, the vegetable farmers began partnering with USAID FED to boost production and marketing of their vegetables. The program introduced high quality seeds and fertilizers, and provided training in good agricultural practices as well as market linkages for their produce.“It is interesting to grow vegetables under the green house. Currently, we have sowed tomato and cabbage seeds that will give us more money when taken to the supermarkets,” says Alexander Moah, lead farmer of the Mawah Vegetable Farmers Association.Moah said funds generated from the sale of vegetables produced from the green house will go towards empowering members of the organization to expand their individual farms.Though the growing of vegetables under the Green House is interesting to the local vegetable farmers, marketing was another challenge faced by the farmers until the intervention of USAID FED.Prices are not standardized, and farmers feel cheated by traders in Liberia, especially during the rainy season when there is a surplus of vegetables on the market. But the Mawah farmers have learned something about cultivating vegetables for the local market. At first, the group planted mainly indigenous vegetables, realizing small profits. After planting exotic vegetables, the group saw demand as well as their profits rise.“Planting pepper and bitter ball will not give us all of the profit we need, except during the dry season when vegetables supply is low and prices are more attractive,” says Martha Flomo, a member of the Mawah group.“Through the assistance of FED /USAID in linking us with the various supermarkets in Monrovia, our earnings from the sale of vegetables have increased by 85 percent,” Moah disclosedlast_img read more

Musona Hat-trick Downs Lone Star 3-0

first_imgKnowledge Musona © Backpagepix – Advertisement – Three goals from skipper Knowledge Musona helped Zimbabwe beat Liberia 3-0 in their 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Group G qualifier at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Sunday afternoon.Zimbabwe now occupy the No 1 spot in the group with three points from one match and will now visit Congo in their second match in March 2018.Norman Mapeza’s men started on high as they dominated the ball possession, but it was Thabani Kamusoko whose wonderfully struck shot from the d-line went inches wide just after the 10th minute.Three minutes later, Musona showed his quality in the box as he received a well-drilled cross from the right, but the skipper’s header was swallowed by keeper Wynney Desouza.However, Musona broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when he caught the Lone Stars’ defense sleeping after a defense splitting pass from Danny Phiri in the midfield.James Debbah’s men received a free-kick in a promising area in the 31st minute, but defender Marcus Macauley saw his attempt going wide off keeper George Chigova’s post.With five minutes to go to the break, Kudakwashe Mahachi rattled the crossbar with a well-taken set piece and the Liberians cleared the danger.Liberia nearly silenced the crowds but Nimely failed to capitalize on Zimbabwe’s defensive error in the 43rd minute when his curler missed the left post.It was 1-0 at halftime.Six minutes into the second half Musona bagged his brace after receiving a perfect cross from Mahachi on the right flank to beat Desouza from close range.The former Kaizer Chiefs striker in South Africa completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute when he brilliantly converted Partson Jaure’s cross from the left wing.With 15 minutes to go, Musona continued to trouble the Liberians as he hit the woodwork trying to chip Desouza.The Zimbabweans did not take their foot off the pedal as they probed for their fourth goal, but the Liberian defense was solid.For the Lone Stars, the defeat means they will sit at the bottom of the standings with zero points from one loss – they will now meet DR Congo in Monrovia in March next year.Zimbabwe: (1) 3 (Musona 23′, 51′, 63′)Liberia: (0)Teams:Liberia: Desouza, Varney, Glay, Dennis, Kennedy, Nimely, Maculey, Numah, Saydee, Kranger, PayeZimbabwe: Chigova, Chipeta, Bhasera, Jaure, Hadebe, Nakamba, Phiri, Mahachi (Karuru 87′), Musona, Kamusoko, Ndoro (E. Rusike 70′). (Supersport.com).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Aubameyang winner extends Arsenal’s unbeaten run

first_imgAubameyang netted his eighth league goal of the season midway through the second half to lift the fifth-placed Gunners within a point of the top four in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.“It is an important result. We knew this is a difficult stadium, a difficult team,” Emery said.The north Londoners have been revitalised since Emery replaced Arsene Wenger in the close-season and the Spaniard passed another test with this victory.After three successive home draws against Liverpool, Sporting Lisbon and Wolves, it was essential that Arsenal got back to winning ways.-Not enough“Today is 17 matches we haven’t lost, but the last three matches we drew,” Emery said.“We know that is not enough for us, for our objectives. We were speaking during the week and above all in the two days before the match that it was very important.“The three points is a big moment for us. The result is very important but also we spoke in the dressing room after the first half, when they scored, about the process in our mentality.”Emery left German playmaker Mesut Ozil on the bench and was without French striker Alexandre Lacazette due to a groin injury.But Arsenal were still strong enough to consign Bournemouth to a third successive defeat as Emery’s decision to switch to a back three for the first time paid dividends.“We are finding our best performance with the system, with the players and with the combination,” Emery said.“The most important thing for us is to find the balance consistently in defensive moments because we are conceding more goals than we want. We need to improve.”-Brooks offsideBournemouth thought they were ahead early on, but David Brooks was flagged offside as he slotted home King’s through ball.Arsenal went up the other end and Lucas Torreira rattled the foot of the post with a fierce shot, with Alex Iwobi only able to lash the rebound high and wide.Alex Iwobi makes a burst down the wing as the visitors pile on the pressure as the second half wears onArsenal took the lead in the 30th minute when Lerma accidently volleyed Sead Kolasinac’s cross past Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic as he stretched in a failed attempt to clear.Iwobi drew a smart stop out of Begovic as the visitors looked to double their advantage before the break, but instead their run of not leading at half-time this season continued.Cardiff are the only other top-flight side yet to hold a half-time lead in the league this season and King’s smart finish with the last meaningful kick of the opening 45 minutes ensured Bournemouth went in level.-Aubameyang missWhen Aubameyang spurned a good chance after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had rolled in his team-mate, Arsenal fans began to call for the introduction of Ozil.But the supporters who made the trip to the south coast were celebrating the lead in the 67th minute.Aubameyang made amends for his earlier miss, sliding in to score from another Kolasinac cross.Ryan Fraser shot straight at Bernd Leno as Bournemouth chased a second equaliser.Lerma almost atoned for his own goal but struck a post before Leno had to be alert to push the ball behind from Sokratis’ deflection. 0Shares0000Aubameyang netted his eighth league goal of the season midway through the second half to lift the fifth-placed Gunners within a point of the top four in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.BOURNEMOUTH, United Kingdom, Nov 25 – Unai Emery claimed Arsenal’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth was a big moment in their season after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang extended the Gunners’ unbeaten run to 17 matches.Emery’s side took the lead through Jefferson Lerma’s bizarre own goal before Josh King equalised on the stroke of half-time at Dean Court on Sunday. 0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

DDTV: Donegal woman surprises sister in hilarious homecoming!

first_imgNichola Cunningham from Kilcar probably wasn’t expecting to be cursed at the moment she surprised her sister after coming home for Christmas, but it makes for a very entertaining video!Ciara Cunningham was at work when her older sister Nichola made a surprise entrance. Ciara’s reaction was a mix of hilarious shock and happiness to see her sister again.Speaking to DonegalWoman.ie, Ciara said that she hadn’t been expecting Nichola home for Christmas this year. Nichola has been working in Australia for the past five years, and hadn’t been home for a Christmas in four years. “I’m delighted to have her home,” Ciara said, adding that Nichola is planning to spend her Christmas break with family and friends.“Nichola can’t wait for a home cooked Christmas dinner at our mum and dad’s and having all the family together. Of course, she will be heading out a few nights with all our friends to catch up with everyone she hasn’t seen for a while.”DDTV: Donegal woman surprises sister in hilarious homecoming! was last modified: December 20th, 2016 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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:CHristmasDDTVHOMECOMINGlast_img read more

Bill demands molester disclosure

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Spitzer said the threat to children is broader than a costumed Santa at the local mall. It also applies to a number of jobs where adults interact with children, such as clowns who entertain at parties or staff at day camps, he said. Last year, a convicted sex offender who worked as a production assistant at Nickelodeon Animation Studios was charged with molesting a 14-year-old boy at the studio. “We’re not going to make a distinction whether your kid is alone with an adult or in the presence of adults,” Spitzer said. “They are going to work with children specifically to touch kids. The employer needs to know they are a convicted sex offender.” Critics say such restrictions would effectively prevent registrants from getting a job anywhere minors work. “Most minimum wage type jobs, such as the fast food industry, employ persons under the age of 18. Many construction jobs employ persons under the age of 18, as do retail establishments,” the Attorneys for Criminal Justice wrote in a letter. “In fact, there are few industries that do not employ minors under the age of 18.” SACRAMENTO – Registered sex offenders who want to work in close contact with children would be required to notify prospective employers of their convictions under a bill approved Thursday by the Assembly. Lawmakers passed the bill by a unanimous vote despite criticism from some criminal justice attorneys that registrants could be banished from service and retail jobs where minors work. Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, said he introduced the bill after reports last year that some shopping mall Santa Clauses were registered sex offenders. The measure would expand existing law, which mandates that sex offenders disclose their status to employers only if they work directly with children and in an unaccompanied setting. Attorney Jeffrey Stein, who sits on the board of the Attorneys for Criminal Justice, said the bill unfairly assumes all registered sex offenders are a threat to children. “The overwhelming experience of everybody in the field is that the vast majority of sex offenders are people that victimize family members or people they live with,” Stein said in a telephone interview. “This bill works from the premise of a boogeyman mentality.” Spitzer said his bill was narrowly focused to apply to jobs where adults are “touching” children. “Employers will screen that and say wait a minute, this is not an appropriate job for you,” Spitzer said. “There are plenty of jobs where touching children is not part of the job.” The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Special function to remember a Dubliner who made Donegal his home

first_imgA fantastic day (and night!) is in store this Saturday in Killybegs in memory of a Dubliner who made Donegal his home.Ken Byrne may have been born in the heart of the capital, but he found happiness in Bruckless.Ken passed away much too soon last year after a brave battle with cancer. Now a fundraising day is to be held in his memory to gather much-needed funding for the Irish Cancer Society.The day centres around the Bayview Hotel in Killybegs with a variety of events taking place.As well as a silent auction for some amazing sporting memorabilia, there will also be a pop-up boutique.That night there will be a dance with live music from Paul and Mary B from 9pm with a guest appearance from TV personality Noel Cunningham. So if you knew Ken or he ever touched your life as he did so many people, pop along for five minutes or five hours and honour his memory and help fund the fight against cancer.Rest easy Ken.Special function to remember a Dubliner who made Donegal his home was last modified: March 21st, 2019 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)last_img read more

Cosmology in Crisis Over Dark Energy

first_imgTen years ago, cosmologists invented dark energy to explain certain features of the expansion of the universe that could not be reconciled with observations of supernova magnitudes.  Now, reported National Geographic News, dark energy remains the most profound problem in physics.  It’s like theory and observations are refusing to cooperate with an arranged marriage.    Part of the problem has been the inability to unify the mathematics of quantum theory with the equations of general relativity.  But then Nature News added this bombshell: the theory of quantum mechanics, which has dominated physics since the 1930s, might be wrong – at least the Copenhagen Interpretation of QM, which leads to paradoxes that have long made physicists uncomfortable.We have here a strange situation in science.  Leading cosmologists have been willing for a decade now to posit an imponderable substance, dark energy, to preserve favored theories of physics and views of the large scale structure of the universe.  Even more astonishing, they have been telling the world that this mysterious unknown stuff constitutes 74% of reality.  In addition, they have lived with the paradoxes of the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics for decades – a position that allows for instantaneous action at a distance and for objects to occupy two incompatible states simultaneously.  Are they dabbling in the occult or really getting a grip on the universe?    Perhaps someday they will come up with an acceptable solution for the paradoxes of quantum mechanics, and figure out what dark energy is.  If so, they will be hailed as visionaries who predicted the nature of reality then found it.  If not, future scientists will look back at this period and wonder how brilliant thinkers could have clung to occult forces and unobservable substances for so long.  Today’s science could be regarded as tomorrow’s alchemy.    There is a view of science that doubts man’s ability to comprehend reality as it is.  The job of science, many have argued, is to organize experience to give us a degree of explanation, prediction and control – not to comprehend reality.  This is a pragmatic view.  If by using the equations of quantum mechanics we can make lasers and Geiger counters and cell phones, and explain why a spectrum has broad emission lines, that’s all fine and good.  It may have nothing to do with reality.  Why?  Because there is no way we can get outside of our experience to compare our theories with reality and see if there is a good fit.  A corollary is that scientific knowledge is never universal, timeless, necessary and certain.  It is only tentative.  It is the best we can do for now.  The best theory, though, is not ipso facto a good theory (see best-in-field fallacy).    We know from history that civilizations have had views of nature that we consider wrong, but those views at the time gave them useful degrees of explanation, prediction and control.  In fact, the whole industrial revolution in Western civilization proceeded on ideas about the earth, the universe, the atom and the mind that modern scientists long ago discarded or overhauled completely.  Who could know what revolutions are coming that will render today’s best scientific concepts as hopelessly inadequate?    The tension between observation and theory in today’s cosmology underscores the tentative and historical nature of scientific knowledge.  We should not view science as necessarily progressing toward the truth.  Often, it is more the work of blind men striving to understand the elephant.  Just when they think they have the trunk understood, the tusk presents itself as an anomaly difficult to reconcile with theory.    A few smart blind men might be able to put all the parts of one elephant together into an acceptable theory.  The universe is far too vast for such a program.  There is plenty of space in isolated pockets of the universe for sentient beings to do some work that might prove temporarily useful while such beings are completely out of touch with reality.  Dark matter and dark energy at the moment have all the attributes of occult phenomena.  We will have to wait and see whether dark energy becomes a truly productive hypothesis or joins the scrap heap of phlogiston, caloric, spider eyes, bat wings and rubber chickens.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Tainted Water, LEED Winners, Passive House Conference, Boost for Renewables

first_imgLEED announces Home Award winnersA combined faculty residence and learning lab for students at a private school in Connecticut has won top honors among single-family projects in the annual LEED Home Awards.The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which oversees the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, said the project at The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, was the first building in the state to be certified as LEED Platinum under the Building Design and Construction rating system using new and more stringent LEED v4 rules.This combination residence and lab for students was chosen as the best single-family project in this year’s LEED Home Awards. It’s located on the campus of a private school in Connecticut. (Photo: U.S. Green Building Council)The net-zero energy house is used as a teaching tool for science classes as well as a house. Students monitor energy use while tending a vegetable garden and raising chickens on what the USGBC called a “comprehensive sustainability site.”The house has total living space of 3,388 square feet on three levels, including the basement, with three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a small laundry, an office, a kitchen, plus living and dining rooms. It was designed by Trillium Architects and built by BPC Green Builders.Exterior walls are double-stud 2×4 construction with a space between the two rows of studs and a total depth of 10 1/2 inches. Walls are insulated with 2 inches of closed-cell spray foam, 8 1/2 inches of dense-packed cellulose, and 1 1/2-inch Zip R sheathing with taped seams (R-47.5). The attic is insulated with 24 inches of cellulose, with 8 inches of expanded polystyrene beneath the slab. Foundation walls are insulated on the inside with 3 inches of closed-cell foam plus dense-packed cellulose to R-29.6.Heating and cooling are provided by Mitsubishi minisplit heat pumps. There’s also a 13-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the roof.The house has been certified by the Passive House Institute U.S. Other sustainable features include proximity to the school for a smaller “transportation footprint,” deconstruction of a house that previously occupied the site, WaterSense certification, and on-site rainwater management.The USGBC also announced winning projects in a number of other categories. The overall project of the year, developed by SolTerra in Portland, Oregon, is an 18-unit mixed use apartment building (see Image #2, below) called The Woodlawn. Other winners included the Frankel Building Group of Houston, Texas, outstanding single-family builder; National Church Residences of Columbus, Ohio, outstanding affordable builder; the 32-unit Brookside Village Housing, Farmington, Maine, outstanding affordable project; Tilley Lofts, Watervliet, New York, outstanding multifamily project; and Forest City Realty Trust of Cleveland, Ohio, outstanding multifamily developer. A continental pledge for more renewablesHalf of the electricity produced collectively by Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will come from renewable energy and nuclear sources by 2025 under terms of a deal between the three countries announced in the Canadian capital.The 50% target is the average for all three countries, not each nation. Utility Dive reports that the three-country average is now 37% renewables and nuclear power, but getting to 50% will pose some challenges. In Mexico, for example, less than 20% of electricity comes from renewables and nuclear. About one-third of the electricity produced in the U.S. comes from nuclear and other renewables — including hydro, solar and wind — and in Canada the proportion is greater than 80%.The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is now under a judicial stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, will be needed to meet the 50% goal, so that’s one potential problem. Utility Dive says that even if the CPP survives this legal test, the U.S. will have to do more in the way of energy policy in order to uphold its end of the bargain.The fate of nuclear power in the U.S. is another question mark. Currently, about 20% of U.S. electricity comes from nuclear plants, but many plants are having a tough time competing in energy markets because of cheap natural gas and lower demand. Very few new nuclear plants are in the works, so if existing plants are closed (Exelon announced last month it would retire two plants in Illinois), other sources of non-fossil generation would have to come online to replace them.As part of the pact, Mexico agrees to join Canada and the U.S. in efforts to cut methane emissions by as much as 40% by 2025. Power trading across international borders also would become easier.The deal was announced on June 29 in Ottawa. Report faults government enforcement of water safety lawsViolations of national rules designed to keep lead out of drinking water are common, with 18 million Americans getting drinking water from providers that have violated federal laws, The Guardian reports. Citing a report from the National Resources Defense Council, The Guardian said the discovery in Flint, Michigan, that public water supplies were tainted with lead is “not anomalous.” The NRDC’s analysis of data from the Environmental Protection Agency found 5,363 water systems in the U.S. violated the federal Lead and Copper Rule in 2015. Collectively, these systems provide water to more than 18 million people.Violations occurred in most states. The most serious involved water provided by 1,100 community water utilities that exposed more than 3.9 million people to levels of lead exceeding the EPA’s actionable limit.Even so, few of the water suppliers were punished. Enforcement action was taken in just 11% of the 8,000 violations; the government sought penalties in only 3% of the cases.“This lack of accountability sends a clear message to water suppliers that knowingly violate the Lead and Copper Rule, with state and federal complicity,” the NRDC report said. “There is no cop on the beat.“In the Flint lead crisis (from 2014 to the present) and previously in Washington, D.C. (from 2001 to 2004), the EPA failed to act, downplayed the problem, and emboldened the actions of some water systems and primacy agencies,” the NRDC report continued. “These experiences and the data showing widespread lack of enforcement highlight a need for a culture change at the EPA and among state regulatory bodies to ensure that violations are taken seriously and public health threats are addressed promptly.”The EPA responded by saying many of the water systems that violated rules last year have already corrected the problems, The Guardian reported, while the agency has “intensified work” with state drinking water programs to make sure the Lead and Copper Rule is enforced. In a separate report, The Guardian said documents it requested from 80 of the biggest cities east of Mississippi showed 33 of them were using water-testing methods the EPA advised against earlier this year. Some of the water districts were using testing methods that can mask the actual amount of lead in drinking water.Even at very low levels, lead can do serious and irreversible harm to babies and young children, the NRDC report notes, decreasing cognitive abilities and causing a variety of behavioral problems that follow them into adulthood.center_img Passive House conference program now downloadableIf you missed the North American Passive House Network conference in New York City earlier this month, you can still have a look at the program with a downloadable PDF and flipbook called “Passive House Accelerates.”The free online book is divided into a number of topic areas — including policy, economics, resilience, and systems — and recaps presentations made during the two-day conference. The list includes Carri Beer and Michael Hindle, authors of an ongoing guest blog series at Green Building Advisor, and Chris Corson of Maine-based Ecocor, which has started producing a line of prefabricated Passive House buildings in collaboration with architect Richard Pedranti.There are descriptions of a variety of residential and commercial projects, both new construction and retrofits.Ken Levenson, co-president of the North American Passive House Network, said that the book doesn’t cover every aspect of the conference but should still be useful to designers and builders who weren’t able to make it to New York.last_img read more