Thousands of postal workers are taking part in a one-day strike on Tuesday in protest at TNT’s plans to reduce its workforce by 11,0000 and sack 3,100 delivery staff.
The strike began in sorting centres on Monday night. On Tuesday, post boxes will not be emptied and ordinary post will not be delivered. Emergency post, such as medicine and death notices will still be distributed.
Today’s strike is the first by postal workers since 1983.
Not true for local strikes, only for national strikes.
The unions want the company to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies and spread the reorganisation over a longer period.
TNT has been hit by competition from email and budget mail companies which employ delivery staff as freelancers and pay per item they deliver.
Under an agreement signed when the sector was liberalised, the budget firms, such as Sandd and Selekt Mail, are supposed to employ most of their workers directly within a few years. But they are now going to court to fight the plan.
The government has now appointed a mediator to look in to that conflict.
November 2010. The failure of the rains in 2009 was a disaster for many parts of the Sahel, with countries like Chad and Niger suffering major crises, widespread famine and loss of livestock.
Although highly adapted to cope with extremes of heat and aridity, desert wildlife, too, suffers when drought is severe and pastures poor in quality and quantity. For the first time in several years our project team in Niger witnessed firsthand the impact of drought on Termit’s addax, with several dead animals found. Surviving addax were dreadfully thin and as such at greater risk from other impacts on their survival, such as the exploration and drilling for oil in their Tin Toumma stronghold. The construction of drilling sites and the constant heavy vehicle traffic is keeping the addax out of many key areas of pasture.
Already the indelible and totally inadmissible smudge of oil spills is polluting an environment that has remained pristine since its creation eons ago. On raising the issue with one person, I was told glibly that it didn’t matter because it was only a desert!
Another significant impact of prolonged drought or poor grazing on desert ungulates is a reduction in breeding. Not only do pregnancies fall off but foetuses are aborted and young calves abandoned. Luckily, these same gazelles and antelopes seem capable of switching the reproductive process back on rapidly when conditions improve. We sincerely hope to see a bumper crop of young animals following this year’s excellent rainfall.
As we recently saw in Chad, not only has the rain brought on a major crop of annual plants but has also kick-started a new age class of perennials that will hope-fully grow rapidly, establish themselves and prosper. Once well established, the tussock grasses and thorny shrubs will often last many years, providing addax and gazelles with food, moisture and even protection when big enough to provide shelter against the wind and sandstorms.
November 2010. In August this year an SCF Pan Sahara Wildlife Survey team carried out a highly productive and exciting three week fieldtrip to western Chad. The mission, lead by Dr. Tim Wacher, was a return to one of the first areas surveyed by the fledgling SCF in 2001, and thus an important opportunity to see how rare Saharan wildlife had fared over the intervening years. As before, the mission was conducted in close partnership with Chad’s Environment Ministry.
GUATEMALA: Legal Battle Over Wetland Oil Drilling: here.
USA: Revised Drilling Plan Protects Some Areas, Leaves Polar Bears Vulnerable: here.
Help protect Africa’s critically endangered hirola antelope from extinction: here.
The find contradicts recent claims that such small fragments are not worth preserving. Among many other species found by the biodiversity survey were sunbear, tapir, agile gibbon and banded langur, all of which are also of conservation concern.
Protecting large areas will always be the priority. Sophie Persey, ZSL Biodiversity and oil palm project manager says: ‘Protecting large areas of connected forest will always be a priority for wildlife conservation, but if ambitious future plans for oil palm expansion are realised, conserving forest fragments within oil palm landscapes will also be important for maintaining Indonesia’s biodiversity.’
The area surveyed in Sumatra is currently managed as a conservation area by the palm oil company, limiting the impact of logging and encroachment on the forest fragment.
For years, Harapan Rainforest, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, suffered from illegal logging. This destroyed vast areas of lush greenery and vital habitat for all its wildlife: here.
Greenpeace published a report in July showing how the last wild Sumatran tigers are threatened with extinction by the practices of Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper producer, Asia Pulp and Paper, (APP). We thought that was reason enough to give APP a ‘Golden Chainsaw Award’ to mark the International Pulp and Paper Awards in Brussels: here.
Dozen endangered Sumatran tigers, incl. frolicking cubs, captured on video in Indonesian forests slated to be logged: here.
This morning, in the Nova passage, a jay eating peanuts from a feeder close to the tree trunk. At the feeder next to it, further away from the trunk, hanging from a smaller branch, a blue tit eating seeds.
Only outside the United States could an American robin generate tremendous excitement in the birding world, and that’s just what has happened this month in Exeter. For the first time in more than 25 years, a vagrant American robin has been sighted there, and birders are gathering in huge flocks of their own to see the rare bird: here.
Mr Cameron told MPs the inquiry would be free to look at allegations of ‘extraordinary rendition’, where agencies could have known about CIA operations to fly mistreated suspects secretly from country to country, sometimes using UK airports.
There was also speculation that the British military base in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia, was being used to hold terror suspects.
Earlier this month George W Bush, the former US president, had claimed that controversial interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, had protected the UK from further terrorist attacks. David Cameron rejected such sentiments. …
Allegations made by the former detainees include that some of them were subjected to the controversial practice of waterboarding. One claims to have lost the sight in one eye after it was rubbed with a rag soaked in pepper spray. …
When claims of MI5 collusion into the torture of one of the men, Binyam Mohamed, first became public, the then Shadow Justice Secretary, Dominic Grieve, now the Attorney General, called for a judicial inquiry into the allegations and for the matter to be referred to the police.
This video from the USA is called Headzup: Bush‘s X-Mas Message For The Richest One Percent.
Bonuses for CEOs at the largest US firms rose by 11 percent last year as millions of workers remain mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression: here.
Lame duck US Congress moves to cut taxes for rich, end of benefits for unemployed: here.
USA: The ongoing “turmoil” roiling megabanks and their faulty home foreclosure practices may represent deeper, more systemic problems regarding the origination, transfer and ownership of millions of mortgages, potentially putting Wall Street on the hook for billions of dollars in unexpected losses and threatening to undermine “the very financial stability that the Troubled Asset Relief Program was designed to protect,” a government watchdog warns in a new report: here.
Members of US Congress increased their combined personal wealth by more than 16 percent from 2008 and 2009. Nearly half are now millionaires: here.
The US Department of Justice has quietly dropped its investigation of Angelo Mozilo, the former head of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial and one of the most culpable figures in the financial meltdown of 2008: here.
The Holocaust survivor whose life is in danger again
In the Israeli city of Safed, an 89-year-old man has been accused of treachery for welcoming Arab students. Catrina Stewart reports
Monday, 15 November 2010
First they threatened to burn his house down. Then they pinned leaflets to his front door, denouncing him as a Jewish traitor. But Eli Tzavieli, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, is defiant. His only “crime” is to rent out his rooms to three Arab students attending the college in Safed, a religious city in northern Israel that was until recently more famous for Jewish mysticism and Madonna.
A campaign waged by Shmuel Eliyahu, the town’s radical head rabbi, culminating in a ruling barring residents from renting rooms to Israeli Arabs, means that Safed is fast emerging as a byword for racism.
“I’m not looking for trouble, but if there is a problem, I’ll confront it,” says Mr Tzavieli, a Jew who survived Nazi forced labour camps and whose parents perished in Auschwitz. “These [tenants] are great kids. And I’m doing my best to make them comfortable.”
At an emergency meeting last month, Mr Eliyahu, the son of a former chief rabbi of Israel, was joined by 17 other religious leaders in warning that the city’s 40,000 Jewish residents were threatened with an “Arab takeover.”
The declaration appeared to trigger a campaign of harassment against Mr Tsavieli to pressure him into throwing the students out. When the pensioner paid little heed to his aggressors, he received an anonymous threat to set fire to his house and a vicious poster campaign accused him of “returning the Arabs to Safed.”
Mr Eliyahu, who once advocated the mass slaughter of Palestinians civilians in Gaza to stop the firing of Qassam rockets, declined to be interviewed for this story.
Most instruments in gamelan to Europeans look like metallophones. One of the gangsa (one type of metallophone) players told me that they would like to have more players, as at present not all instruments can be played at the same time. For instance, the big kettle gongs, which need to be played by two, prefersably four, people, were not played today, she said.
The director Henry Nagelberg played the kendang drum. The woman who played ugal (the highest metallophone) also had a central role.
During three pieces, there was also Balinese dancing by a group of five girls, aged about 8-12.
MONTREAL – Canadian Helicopters Income Fund expects the ramp up of U.S. military contracts in Afghanistan will strengthen its revenues in the coming quarters and offset normal seasonal domestic weakness.
“The likelihood we are projecting of greater revenues than previous years over the next two quarters in spite of normal domestic seasonal fluctuations is grounded in very solid expectations,” CEO Don Wall said Monday during a conference call.
The Montreal-based transportation fund’s optimism flows from its third contract with the United States Transportation Command and the renewal of two earlier deals.
The Oct. 1 contract would generate more than US$360 million if all options are exercised and hours flown by June 2016 and be the largest since the company’s initial public offering in 2005.
It will use two heavy-lift Sikorsky S61 and four Bell 212 medium helicopters for the contract. Five of the aircraft will be acquired.
The contracts to carry goods and passengers to forward military operating locations in war-torn Afghanistan should ramp up in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 and more than offset two large unrenewed contracts.
Ontario air ambulance service Ornge recently decided against exercising its option to extend a services agreement beyond the end date in 2012.
The United States Transportation Command also didn’t renew a North Warning System operation and maintenance contract.
“Notwithstanding the setbacks we experienced in 2010…we believe our overall results and prospects firmly demonstrate the flexibility of our assets and the resiliency of our business model,” Wall told analysts.
Canadian Helicopters (TSX:CHL.UN) said its quarterly revenues were stable but its profit fell 13 per cent due to higher maintenance costs and the need to hire additional crew for work in Afghanistan.
The fund’s net income before non-controlling interest dropped to $14.4 million or $1.10 per unit, down from $16.5 million, or $1.26 per unit, in the third quarter of 2009.
Revenue was almost unchanged at $54.8 million, down from $54.9 million a year earlier, as the loss of U.S. contracts was partially offset from by additional aircraft contracted in Afghanistan.
Canadian Helicopters says its domestic revenue benefited from greater activity in the mining sector, mainly in Eastern Canada.
It ended the quarter with $31.2 million of cash and cash equivalents, up from $19.2 million at the end of the previous quarter and unused debt facilities totalling $55 million.
Canadian Helicopters is the largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada and one of the largest in the world, serving primarily the resource industries.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, its units fell eight cents to $14.60 in midday trading.