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Are cesspool trucks being retrofitted to carry water?

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Are cesspool trucks being retrofitted to carry water?

KSAMC awaiting list of companies certified to deliver commodity

BY CLAUDIENNE EDWARDS
Observer writer
edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 03, 2019

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ARISING from allegations that cesspool trucks are being retrofitted to take advantage of the boom in the delivery of drinking water in the Corporate Area, the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is to be provided with a list of certified water trucking companies.

Dr Yohance Rodriguez of the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department promised to provide the list at last Tuesday’s Parish Disaster Preparedness and Public Health Committee meeting, where the matter was raised.

Councillor Patrick Roberts (PNP, Molynes Gardens Division) said that some councillors had received reports that cesspool trucks were being retrofitted to carry water. He said that an urgent investigation was needed into the matter, and that the health department needed to urgently educate communities about the possible dangers of such a situation.

Roberts had raised the concern after Councillor Neville Wright (PNP, Trench Town Division) asked the health department whether the trucks being used to carry water were certified.

Public health inspector Derron Williams told the committee that although there was a boom in the trucking of drinking water, there was no specific regulation for the trucking of water.

Williams informed the committee that guided by food Handling regulations, on June 27 the health department would be holding a training session for people and companies trucking water.

Wright, who commended the health department on the planned training initiative, expressed surprise that there was no regulation for the trucking of the water. He suggested that the council write to the ministry about the need for regulation.

Councillor Duane Smith (JLP, Chancery Hall Division), who said that he had noticed an abundance of new water trucks around the municipality, stated: “I can’t say when last I have seen a cesspool truck.”

Smith urged the health department to provide a list of all the trucks certified to carry water.

Deputy Mayor Winston Ennis, who chaired the committee meeting, said he was shocked to hear that water could be delivered from cesspool trucks.

“I would like for some investigation to be done,” he said.

Williams told the committee that water from the trucks is periodically tested, and if microorganisms are in the trucks they would be reflected in the water tested.

Nicola Rose, acting senior chlorination supervisor at the National Water Commission (NWC), told the committee that every truck being used to haul water from the NWC is sterilised by the agency, tested at its laboratory, and given certification to indicate that it had passed the standard for the delivery of potable water.

Councillor Kari Douglas (PNP, Trafalgar Division) said that the issue was very serious and urged the KSAMC to embark on a public education campaign to inform communities of any possible dangers.

Councillor Dennis Gordon (PNP, Maxfield Division) said that as a result of the allegations, the frequency of water testing should be increased.

Meanwhile, Ennis informed the committee that at a meeting to be held on June 18 at the KSAMC, all matters to do with the drought would be discussed.

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Saudi Arabia eases travel restrictions on women

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Saudi Arabia eases travel restrictions on women

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia yesterday began implementing a landmark reform allowing women over the age of 21 to receive passports and travel abroad without permission from a male “guardian”, authorities said.

The reform, announced earlier this month, weakens the restrictive guardianship system that has long been a symbol of repression against women.

“The passport department has started receiving applications for women aged 21 and above to issue or renew passports and to travel outside the kingdom without permission,” the department said on Twitter.

Women in the kingdom have long required permission from their male “guardians” — husband, father and other male relatives — for these tasks, a restriction that drew international censure.

The reform comes after high-profile attempts by women to escape alleged guardianship abuse despite a string of reforms by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including a landmark decree last year that overturned the world’s only ban on women drivers.

In other changes unveiled earlier this month, Saudi women were also granted the right to officially register childbirth, marriage or divorce and to be recognised as a guardian to children who are minors —same as men.

The reforms were widely celebrated in the kingdom, but they also drew backlash from arch-conservatives, many of whom shared old video sermons on social media by Saudi clerics advocating guardianship laws.

Some also denounced the change as “unIslamic” in a society that traditionally sees men as protectors of women.

The reform comes as the OPEC petroleum producer reels from low oil prices and seeks to boost employment opportunities for women — currently facing chronic joblessness.

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26-year-old determined to preserve Jamaica’s cultural heritage

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26-year-old determined to preserve Jamaica’s cultural heritage

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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More than 220 Jamaicans have been awarded Chevening Scholarships since it was first introduced in 1983. Chevening is the United Kingdom Government’s global scholarship programme that offers future leaders the opportunity to study in the UK. This year, 19 outstanding young Jamaicans were selected for the scholarships. Over this week the Jamaica Observer will share the stories of some of the 2019-2020 awardees.

 

IT was Jamaica’s first National Hero Marcus Garvey who said: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots,” and this holds true for 2019/2020 Chevening Scholarship awardee Chantelle Richardson.

A special collections librarian at National Library of Jamaica (NLJ), Richardson will be undertaking a research-based fellowship on digitised archival material from Latin America and the Caribbean at The British Library.

When she completes her course of study, the 26-year-old, who is from Manchester, is determined to use her expertise to aid in the digital preservation of several Jamaican maps, manuscripts, newspapers, and photographs that are an integral part of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

“I am extremely passionate about preserving the nation’s irreplaceable cultural heritage, and I plan on using the knowledge and skills gained from the fellowship to tangibly digitise material unique to Jamaica and the world,” said Richardson, who describes herself as an avid reader and lover of all things Jamaican.

One of the major deliverables of this fellowship opportunity is to identify and liaise with a local partner institution to manage an Eccles Centre for American Studies-funded conference.

The theme of the conference will be based on Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) content, and will also include an element of training on applying to EAP for funding.

“I believe this will prove an essential step in helping to provide the necessary training for local bodies who manage cultural emblems,” Richardson stressed.

She also highlighted the fact that the NLJ houses the most extensive newspaper collection in the region, dating back to the 1700s, and the information on those pages is vital to the understanding of how life was in the past and how it can be made better for the future.

According to Richardson, the fellowship will also help to improve access to many resources housed at the NLJ and other regional institutions, through digitisation.

Richardson sees Chevening as an excellent medium through which young leaders, like herself, can come together to make meaningful changes in the society.

“My long-term objective is to aid the generation coming up to have a better appreciation for the contribution made by our forefathers and to actively engage in activities that will improve their lives.

“Upon returning to my country I also plan to execute a three-year developmental plan, which will engage persons in the library and information field, my community, and the wider society to improve the preservation of archival materials. In addition to the funded conference with training components, I will also strive to have information sessions, webinars, and social media campaigns aimed at preserving our cultural legacy,” said Richardson.

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Forest fires in Brazil surge as deforestation accelerates

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Forest fires in Brazil surge as deforestation accelerates

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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Sao Paulo, Brazil (AFP) — The number of forest fires in Brazil surged in the first eight months of 2019, official data show, as President Jair Bolsonaro faces growing criticism over rampant destruction of the Amazon.

Nearly 73,000 fires were recorded between January and August, compared with 39,759 in all of 2018, the embattled National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said late Monday.

That is the highest number of forest fires for any year since 2013 and follows two years of declines.

“What we are seeing is a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures,” said Ricardo Mello of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s Amazon Program.

Forest fires tend to intensify during the dry season, which usually ends in late October or early November, as land is cleared to make way for crops or grazing.

The INPE figures show fires have been concentrated in States occupying the Amazon.

Thick smoke has blanketed several cities in recent days and even caused a commercial flight to be diverted.

The data comes as Bolsonaro faces growing criticism over his anti-environment rhetoric, which activists blame for emboldening loggers, miners and farmers in the Amazon.

Norway on Thursday joined Germany in halting Amazon protection subsidies, accusing Brazil of turning its back on the fight against deforestation.

The governors of nine States spanning the Amazon also published a statement on Sunday saying they would negotiate directly with the Amazon Fund contributors.

The latest INPE figures coincide with a United Nations (UN) regional meeting on climate change in Brazil ahead of December’s summit in Chile.

INPE is already in Bolsonaro’s crosshairs over data showing a surge in deforestation in recent months.

Bolsonaro dismissed the figures as lies and sacked the head of the agency tasked with tracking forest clearing.

Brazil leads the region in forest fires this year, according to the INPE data that is collected via satellite and updated in realtime.

Venezuela ranked second with 26,453 fires and Bolivia with 16,101.

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