PSP preparada para eventuais fenómenos de terrorismo na final da Taça de Portugal

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A Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) revelou hoje que tem preparada uma componente para intercetar eventuais fenómenos de terrorismo na final da Taça de Portugal de futebol, entre Benfica e Vitória de Guimarães.

“Temos uma componente prevista direcionada para dissuasão e deteção de alguns desses fenómenos [terroristas]. A PSP tem, desde 2015, desenvolvido diversas medidas de segurança, umas mais vicieis outras menos visíveis. Tem sido uma constante a implementação dessas medidas”, começou por divulgar o subintendente da PSP Pedro Marques.

Uma das novidades da 77.ª edição da prova rainha do futebol nacional está relacionada com a “criação de uma porta adicional para os adeptos afetos ao Benfica”, na zona norte do Estádio do Jamor, bem como o “aumento do número de torniquetes” nessa mesma entrada.

De resto, o subintendente da PSP não revelou o número de agentes destacados para o encontro de domingo, frisando que só na véspera terá a certeza exata.

“O número de efetivos ainda não está fechado. Andamos a trabalhar há bastante tempo e pretendemos ter um dispositivo flexível que nos permita responder aos desafios de várias ordens. Só conseguiremos fechar esse dispositivo praticamente em cima do acontecimento”, declarou.

No domingo, Benfica e Vitória de Guimarães disputam a final da Taça de Portugal, pelas 17:15, no Estádio do Jamor, em Oeiras.

Lusa / Fim

Diário de Notícias

Kali warns against using State facilities for unofficial poll tasks

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DEPARTMENT of Personnel Management Secretary John Kali, pictured, has warned public servants to stop using State facilities for unofficial election-related activities.
Kali this week confirmed the revocation of the acting appointment of Ezekiel Vene, the acting official secretary to the governor-general, for alleged activities contrary to the directives issued to public servants two weeks ago.
“I issued a circular instructions two weeks ago outlying the conduct of public servants during the elections,” Kali said.
“They are not to use the resources at their disposal such as cars, computers and printers for the benefit of any particular candidate.”
He said Vene allegedly did something which was contrary to the directives given by Governor-General Bob Dadae who wanted to maintain the independence and integrity of that office. Kali said the allegations related to the unofficial use of the official Government House vehicle, and the printing of posters for the benefit of a candidate.
He said staff had found a poster jammed in the machine.
Kali said the position would be advertised.
Dadae is looking for someone with strong human resources management skills, leadership qualities and who is strict on discipline and ethics.
“We’ve been talking about ethics and value-based leadership and we have to apply that principle,” Kali said.
“We will do a merit-based appointment process.”

Source : thenational.com.pg

O’Neill slams Pruaitch

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PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is concerned about the “political backflips” by sacked Cabinet Ministers in the lead-up to polling, saying they are only putting their credibility at stake.
He singled out in particular former Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch, who he said did not raise any concerns about the operation of the Central Bank while in Cabinet.
“In just a few weeks, we have seen National Alliance Party members abandoning long-held and publicly-stated policy positions and claiming that they had not been honest in their public statements while in Government,” he said.
He said Pruaitch claimed that his financial powers as Treasurer were removed last year.
He made it public after being removed from office.
“He has also suddenly changed his views on the Central Bank, changed his views on economic development in the country and claims that he defied legislation concerning government finance activities,” O’Neill said.
“These are not the words and actions of a leader, but of a person seeking political opportunity and selling out his reputation and credibility.”
Pruaitch said early this month when the NA party left the Government coalition that they would have left earlier if it was not for their concern over political stability in the country.
He admitted that he and O’Neill “had differing views in terms of managing the economy”.
He also criticised the operations of the Central Bank and called on governor Loi Bakani not to “politicise issues”. But O’Neill said yesterday anything Pruaitch “says now, that he could have said before but failed to do so, demonstrates that he either had no backbone when in Government, or that is just playing politics now”.
“During his three years as Treasurer, if he had problems with the advice of the Central Bank, why did he not say so back then?” O’Neill said. He said Pruaitch’s credibility was being brought into question “with his backflips on policies and advice that he backed over five years in Government and three years as Treasurer”.

 

Source : thenational.com.pg

Rocket Lab: We have lift-off! History made as Electron launches successfully from Mahia

4:32 PM Thursday May 25, 2017

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Rocket Lab engineers have started poring over data from a historic space launch from the Mahia Peninsula that took the company a leap towards competing in the multi-billion satellite industry.

Lift-off at 4.20pm today was the first orbital-class rocket launched from a private launch site in the world

New Zealand has become the 11th country with potential to launch cargo into space, joining superpowers and tech heavyweights. The Government has hailed the lift-off as major milestone for the country’s space industry.

Rocket Lab rocket launching from Mahia Penninsula. Photo / Warren Buckland
Rocket Lab rocket launching from Mahia Penninsula. Photo / Warren Buckland

The rocket took three minutes to reach space – outer space starts at 100km above the earth’s surface – with a “great” first stage burn, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing separation, but it didn’t complete its planned mission.

“We didn’t quite reach orbit and we’ll be investigating why, however reaching space in our first test puts us in an incredibly strong position to accelerate the commercial phase of our programme,” said founder and chief executive Peter Beck.

“We’re one of a few companies to ever develop a rocket from scratch and we did it in under four years. To get as far as we did on the first test flight doesn’t often happen,” he said.

“It was a beautiful mission to watch.”

He gave the flight a “10 our of 10” and a big party was planned tonight at the company’s operations base near Auckland Airport. It is registered in the United States where it also has operations.

During the next few weeks, Rocket Lab’s engineers in Los Angeles and Auckland will work through the 25,000 data channels that were collected during the flight and results will be used to improve the vehicle’s performance for two further tests.

Beck said the company had done more ground testing than was usually done and it had paid off with yesterday’s flight.

“New Zealand has genuinely joined the space industry for here on.”

The 17m tall rocket – with a silver fern on its nose and a US flag near its tail – lifted slowly from the launch pad before accelerating and was packing an estimated one million horsepower.

Forty-year-old Beck is a hands-on engineer, he was raised in Invercargill and founded Rocket Lab in 2006.

The Electron rocket on the Mahia launch pad.  Photo / Supplied
The Electron rocket on the Mahia launch pad. Photo / Supplied

The Electron is made entirely of carbon-composite material and is designed to carry payloads of 225kg to an elliptical orbit and up to 150kg to a nominal 500km Sun-synchronous, low Earth orbit.

Three planned launches earlier this week were scrubbed.

Last year, the United States-based Space Foundation estimated the space economy was worth close to $400b a year but Rocket Lab – which has been hit by delays – approaches the small satellite market just as it is becoming increasingly crowded by other private players.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has hailed the launch as the first visible sign of a space industry in New Zealand.

Rocket Lab and all New Zealanders could be proud of it, he said.

“New Zealand is now one of 11 countries able to launch satellites into space from their own territory and the first to launch from a fully private orbital launch range.”

While it can draw on up to $25m of government funding over five years, Rocket Lab’s main backers include US companies Kholsa Ventures, Beesemer Venture Partners, Data Collective, Promus Ventures, Lockheed Martin and Stephen Tindall’s K1W1.

The Budget has set aside $15m over the next four years to fund the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s part in New Zealand’s burgeoning space programme.

Frame grab of the first successful launch of Rocket Lab from Mahia today. Photo / Twitter / @TheRocketGal
Frame grab of the first successful launch of Rocket Lab from Mahia today. Photo / Twitter / @TheRocketGal

Dr George Sowers, an independent consultant, former chief scientist and vice-president of United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, said before the launch that it was a sign of the vibrancy of the commercial space sector at the present time.

“It is another entrant into the small payload launch market which has been tough for commercial companies to succeed in. It certainly represents a first for New Zealand.”

He said while Rocket Lab had some interesting technology, such as the electric pump-driven engine and embraced the state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, the small payload launch market made it extremely difficult for commercial companies to make a profit.

Source : New Zealand Herald

Alleged cocaine sting: Celebrity hairdresser Mobeen Bhikoo loses name suppression

6:32 PM Thursday May 25, 2017

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Celebrity stylist Mobeen Bhikoo, 40, pleaded not guilty in October to 17 class-A drug charges including possession of cocaine and methamphetamine for supply. Photo / Greg Bowker
Celebrity stylist Mobeen Bhikoo, 40, pleaded not guilty in October to 17 class-A drug charges including possession of cocaine and methamphetamine for supply. Photo / Greg Bowker

A hairdresser facing charges in connection with a high-profile alleged cocaine sting in Auckland has lost name suppression.

In October celebrity stylist Mobeen Bhikoo, 40, pleaded not guilty to 17 class-A drug charges including possession of cocaine and methamphetamine for supply.

Suppression lapsed at 5pm and Bhikoo’s lawyer Ron Mansfield sent the Herald a statement from his client, who said he was currently dealing with “serious allegations before the court”.

“I have had suppression to date and had the ability to apply for further suppression. However, with the support of my family and friends I do not intend to do so.”

He said suppression was only initially sought to “protect other people’s interests. It now leaves me free to respond to these allegations.

“That is a relief to me. That means I can now be open with what is going on and I will do so.

“I never wanted to hide from these allegations or be seen to be doing that. It simply … encourages silly and ill-informed speculation.

“Thanks to all those that continue to know me and support me.”

The hairdresser along with a fashion designer and senior Hells Angel gang member Anthony “Ants” Nansen, 34, were the three original targets in Operation Ceviche , which led to the seizure of 760g of cocaine worth $300,000,and $81,000 cash last August.

Police allege each of the trio were running their “own mini drug supply networks”.

Thirteen other people were arrested, including a male model, a plumber, a clothing distributor and a film production assistant.

Among the alleged cocaine clientele is a stockbroker, an executive, a recruitment agency owner, the ex-husband of a TV actress and a personal trainer. They are named in court documents but haven’t been charged.

The alleged operation was uncovered after police monitored the phone calls and movements of a Nomad gang sergeant-at-arms, which led investigators to Bhikoo and the fashion designer.

The covert investigation by the National Organised Crime Group initially focused on Nansen, a patched Hells Angels members and champion kickboxer.

The three phases of the investigation, which lasted several months, ended with police raids in late August and a single seizure of the drugs and cash.

In a press release at the time, Detective Senor Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said the cocaine was a significant find.

“It’s unusual to achieve such a big domestic seizure,” Schmid said.

“Cocaine is usually picked up in smaller amounts, so [the] find is indicative of people who have been heavily involved in persistent, premeditated, career drug dealing.”

Source : New Zealand Herald

Greg Gianforte, accused of body slamming reporter, is now charged with misdemeanor assault

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– The Washington Times – Wednesday, May 24, 2017

As Republicans wrestled with the latest analysis of their health care proposal, a reporter claimed Wednesday that Greg Gianforte, the Republican in Thursday’s special election for Montana’s empty House seat, took more immediate action — by body-slamming him. Mr. Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin made the announcement shortly before midnight Wednesday in a written statement, about six hours after the attack on reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Gianforte would face a maximum $500 fine or 6 months in jail if convicted. The statement added that Jacobs‘ injuries did not meet the legal definition of felony assault.

Mr. Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian newspaper, griped loudly that Mr. Gianforte, who is running against Democrat Rob Quist, attacked him hours before voters went to the polls in Montana.

“Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Mr. Jacobs charged on Twitter from Bozeman, Montana.

Mr. Jacobs‘ account was largely confirmed by multiple eyewitnesses, including a Fox News crew setting up an interview with Mr. Gianforte when the incident occurred.

The reporter filed a report with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Brian Gootkin confirmed at a Wednesday night news conference that authorities were interviewing witnesses in the incident. He said his officers plan to talk with Mr. Gianforte, but he has a right to decline.

The besieged Gianforte campaign had a vastly different take on the night’s political bout, saying Mr. Jacobs interrupted an interview in a private room and “aggressively shoved a recorder” in the face of their candidate and “began asking badgering questions.”

“Jacobs was asked to leave,” said Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon. “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face.”

“Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground,” Mr. Scanlon added. “It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

Mr. Gianforte is locked in a tight race with Mr. Quist to replace Ryan Zinke, who vacated his spot in Congress to become President Trump’s secretary of the interior.

The special election in Montana is the first since House Republicans last month passed a bill to replace and repeal Obamacare, which President Trump and House GOP leaders vowed would strengthen the nation’s health care system.

According to an audio file posted by The Guardian, the confrontation began when Mr. Jacobs was following up a question by another Guardian reporter about the CBO scoring of the House-passed health care bill, a key issue in the special election.

This irritated Mr. Gianforte, who said he would talk about it later. When Mr. Jacobs persisted, a loud crash can be heard and the candidate yelled that he was “sick and tired of you guys. The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with The Guardian?”

On the tape, Mr. Jacobs complains about his glasses and Mr. Gianforte repeats his demands that the reporter leave.

Fox News published a first-person piece by Alicia Acuna, who was working with field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey.

The piece specifically denied some of the claims made by the Gianforte campaign.

“At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’” Ms. Acuna wrote.

“To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies,” she continued.

After Mr. Jacobs said he would call the police, according to Ms. Acuna, “Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized.”

That part of the account is not on the audiotape that the Guardian posted.

Alexis Levinson, a reporter for BuzzFeed, also appeared to vouch for Mr. Jacobs‘ account, saying she hesitated to tweet the news because “I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like this before.”

“Ben Walked into a room where a local tv crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte,” she said. “All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor.”

Polls show most Republicans don’t trust the mainstream media.

Source : The Washington Times

 

Republican health care plan would slash premiums but leave 23 million Americans uninsured

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President Trump and congressional Republicans are on a "rescue mission" to save the country from the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which is quickly losing insurers. (Associated Press/File)

– The Washington Times – Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The latest version of House Republicans’ health care bill will lower the cost of insurance for many Americans compared with what they would pay under Obamacare, but would leave 23 million fewer people with health insurance a decade from now, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Healthy people could see “significantly lower premiums” in some states that waive Obamacare requirements, letting insurers sell plans that cover fewer services, some of which people don’t want or need. But the sick or elderly could struggle to find affordable plans in those states, the CBO said.

Republican leaders touted the savings, saying it bolsters their “rescue mission” to save the country from the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which is quickly losing insurers.

The latest blow came Wednesday when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City said it would pull out of the marketplace in 32 counties spanning 67,000 customers in Missouri and Kansas next year.

“This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit. It is another positive step toward keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican.

The analysis should also clear the path for the Senate to take up the bill, after analysts said it showed enough savings to meet budget rules that allow the legislation to be fast-tracked, avoiding a Democratic filibuster.

But Democrats and some rank-and-file Republicans said the numbers were a grim indictment of the GOP plan, leaving far too many people without the coverage that was the chief goal of Obamacare.

“I have never seen a health care bill which throws 23 million Americans off of health insurance. That’s not a health care bill,” said Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent.

The 23 million figure includes people who, without Obamacare’s “individual mandate,” would choose not to get health insurance, though the largest chunk consists of people affected by cuts in federal subsidies to state Medicaid programs.

Scorekeepers said that thanks to changes in Medicaid and other programs, the Republican bill will reduce federal deficits by $119 billion over the next decade. That’s less than the $150 billion in savings from a previous version of the bill.

Yet the number of people who would lack insurance by 2026 is just a slight improvement over the 24 million the CBO projected in March, based on the earlier version of the bill, meaning the figure will remain a public relations headache for the GOP.

The White House hit back at the report’s figures, saying the CBO is unreliable in evaluating health care legislation.

“History has proven the CBO to be totally incapable of accurately predicting how health care legislation will impact health insurance coverage,” a White House official said.

House Republicans pushed the bill through their chamber on a 217-213 vote earlier this month, after making changes to win over holdouts who had sunk the first effort in March.

Among the more significant changes, leaders agreed to allow states to waive the Affordable Care Act’s main strictures requiring insurers to cover an expansive list of services. The new bill also pours billions of federal dollars into risk programs that subsidize sicker customers who would end up paying more.

Budget analysts said starting in 2020, the bill’s effect on premiums will depend on where someone lives.

About half of Americans — those living in states that won’t request waivers — will see a small drop in premiums, averaging 4 percent by 2026, the CBO said.

Another third of the country resides in states that will waive Obamacare’s “essential benefits” like maternity and mental health, resulting in rates that average 20 percent lower than current law — though actual savings will vary by region and age of customers.

One-sixth of the country lives in places that would also waive essential benefits and rules requiring insurers to charge healthy and sicker people the same amount.

The CBO said it is too difficult for it to estimate how much lower premiums will be for healthier people, but said, over time, it will “become more difficult” for sicker ones in those states to purchase insurance “because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly.”

The CBO said the markets should remain stable under Obamacare in most areas, but that pockets of the country will have limited choice due to the exodus of insurers such as Blue Cross of Kansas City.

Those insurers say they can’t turn a profit or worry the Trump administration won’t implement key parts of the 2010 law, namely the “individual mandate” requiring people to hold insurance or pay a tax, and cost-sharing subsidies that help insurers who lose money by picking up low-income customers’ costs.

Democrats are unanimously opposed to the GOP bill, and said Republicans won’t be able to spin the latest cost estimate as good news.

“Republicans will crow about the premiums going down in the outer years, but the decrease in premiums only occurs because the quality of insurance will plummet. Cheaper insurance isn’t going to help anyone if it doesn’t actually lead to the health care people need,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.

As written, the House bill repeals most of Obamacare’s taxes and its individual mandate, replaces its generous subsidies with refundable, age-based tax credits and reins in and caps spending on the Medicaid program for the poor.

It also strips Planned Parenthood of federal funding as punishment for its abortion practices.

Senate Republicans have said they’ll write their own bill, hoping to soften the transition for states that expanded Medicaid or provide more generous tax credits to poorer and older Americans who could struggle to afford coverage under the House plan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, signaled Wednesday he sees a tough road ahead.

“I don’t know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment,” he told Reuters. “But that’s the goal.”

The CBO’s findings should guide senators who are trying to address regulations and consumer protections baked into Obamacare, with conservatives preferring a more direct strike at the law.

In the House, the waiver plan negotiated by Rep. Thomas MacArthur, New Jersey Republican, and the House Freedom Caucus would let states opt out of a series of “essential” health benefits, such as maternity and mental health care, and allow insurers to charge healthier people less than sicker ones, so long as the states set up high-risk pools to pick up their higher costs.

States can tap $115 billion in federal “stability” funding over 10 years for the high-risk pools and an additional $15 billion for a risk-sharing mechanism to pay for sicker consumers who could be priced out of the market.

A late amendment by Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, added $8 billion to risk-pool funding to get more centrists on board with the plan.

“The report places a great deal of emphasis on the effects the MacArthur amendment would have on destabilizing state insurance markets in waiver states and see the additional $8 billion in funding provided by the Upton amendment as having very little effect,” said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia who closely tracks the debate.

The CBO said scrapping essential health benefits would also come with tradeoffs. Premiums would decline, on average, though people who need the optional services would have to pay more.

“In particular,” it said, “out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services.”

Dave Boyer contributed to this report. 

 

Source : The Washington Times

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