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Friday, October 20, 2017

2017 New Zealand General Election on Sep 23,2017- Labour's Jacinda Ardern set to become prime minister Thursday Oct 19,2017

Jacinda Ardern, leader of the Labour Party, is set to become prime minister after the minority New Zealand First party chose a coalition.
The announcement on Thursday Oct 19,2017  comes one month after the election ended in a stalemate.
The charismatic 37-year old Ardern almost single-handedly dragged Labour back into the race after taking over the party's leadership in August. She won 35.8 percent of the votes, claiming 45 seats.
By comparison, the ruling conservative National Party - led by outgoing Prime Minister Bill English - took 46 percent and 58 seats, three less than the required 61 needed to govern.
New Zealand First won nine seats.
Because there was no clear winner, it was down to Winston Peters of the minority New Zealand First party to choose which two parties would form a coalition government. 
Peters sided with the liberals, the Labour Party.
"The people of this country did want change," Peters told reporters. "And we have responded to that."
Ardern is yet to comment and the Green Party is expected to meet to decide whether it backs the Labour-New Zealand First coalition.
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and leader of the Labour Party was quick to congratulate Ardern on Twitter. 
"Congrats to Jacinda Ardern and the NZ Labour team. After many nail-biting days, a great result!" she wrote on Twitter

Nissan to to suspend vehicle production for the Japan market at all Nissan and Nissan Shatai plants in Japan Thursday Oct 19,2017

Nissan Thursday Oct 19,2017  said it was suspending all production destined for the local market, as Japan’s number-two automaker grapples with a mounting inspection scandal that has already seen it recall some 1.2 million vehicles. "Nissan decided today to suspend vehicle production for the Japan market at all Nissan and Nissan Shatai plants in Japan,” it said in a statement, referring to an affiliate.
The announcement comes weeks after the company announced the major recall as it admitted that staff without proper authorisation had conducted final inspections on some vehicles intended for the domestic market before they were shipped to dealers.
Today, it said a third-party investigator found the misconduct had continued at three of its six Japanese plants even after it took steps to end the crisis. "Nissan regards the recurrence of this issue at domestic plants — despite the corrective measures taken — as critical,” it said.
“The investigation team will continue to thoroughly investigate the issue and determine measures to prevent a recurrence.”

Nissan president Hiroto Saikawa offered a blunt assessment, saying that “old habits” were to blame. “You might say it would be easy to stop people who are not supposed to inspect from inspecting,” he told reporters. “But we are having to take (new measures) in order to stop old habits that had been part of our routine operations at the factories.”

Earthquake at 6.1 magnitude strikes off the coast of Japan Thursday Oct 19,2017

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck off southern Japan on Thursday Oct 19,2017, the United States Geological Survey said.

The quake struck 424 miles off Japan's island of Kyushu at a depth of 6.2 miles, the agency said.

There are no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

This comes two weeks after a similar earthquake, at 6.3 on the Richter scale, hit 180 miles east of Iwaki, south of Fukushima, Japan.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Quebec in Canada bars women wearing face covering veils from using public services like ambulances, buses and libraries

  • Quebec in Canada  will become North America's first province to ban its citizens from wearing face coverings

  • The Quebec National Assembly moved to adopt Bill 62 on Wednesday Oct 18,2017

  • The bill bans anyone from covering their face while giving or receiving public services such as medical care, public transport or using the library

  • The legislation passed 66 to 51 with the majority Liberal party pushing the law

  • Montreal's Mayor Denis Coderre denounced the bill, saying his city will be affected the most by the new legislation

  • Critics also say that Bill 62 targets a small minority for nothing more than political gain

  • Supporters of the bill say the law enshrines respect for public discourse and communication

  • Playboy features first ever transgender Playmate

    Beauty: Ines Rau is the Playmate of the month for November 2017, making the French model the first transgender woman to appear in the magazine's centerfold (Rau above in the magazine)

    Ines Rau is the Playmate of the month for November 2017, making the French model the first transgender woman to appear in the magazine's centerfold

  • Rau, 26, bares her breasts in the 8-page spread and for the centerfold is completely naked except for a pair of red velvet heels as she lies on the ground

  • She began transitioning when she was 16 and had gender reassignment surgery soon after

  • 'I lived a long time without saying I was transgender. I dated a lot and almost forgot. I was scared of never finding a boyfriend,' said Rau of coming out

  • Rau has previously walked the runway for the likes of Balmain and Hood by Air and recently shot a video for 'Vogue' 

  • This is not her first time in 'Playboy' however, with Rau previously appearing nude in a 2014 spread shot by Ryan McGinley 

  • 2017 New Zealand General Election on Saturday Sep 23,2017 - New Zealand Labour to form next govt with support of small nationalist party

    New Zealand’s Labour leader Jacinda Ardern will form the country’s next government after gaining the support of a small nationalist party holding the balance of power following an inconclusive September 23,2017 election. “This is an exciting day. We aspire to be a government for all New Zealanders and one that will seize the opportunity to build a fairer, better New Zealand,” said New Zealand’s Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.
    The move marks the end of nearly a decade of National governments and pushed the New Zealand dollar more than one percent lower, to a near 4-1/2 month low, as markets feared a change in government and generally more protectionist policies. Ardern will become New Zealand’s third female prime minister and its youngest leader in recent years.
    The 37-year-old Ardern almost single-handedly brought Labour to government after taking over its leadership in August. Before then, the election had been widely considered a slam-dunk for the incumbent National Party. Ardern’s rapid rise in popularity and charisma has drawn comparisons with other youthful and global leaders like Canada’s Justin Trudeau and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
    “We had a choice to make… for a modified status quo or for change,” New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told reporters in Wellington, in announcing his party’s support for Labour. “That’s why in the end we chose a coalition government of New Zealand First with the New Zealand Labour Party,” said Peters, ending nearly a month of political uncertainty.
    New Zealand First holds the balance of power with nine seats, a Labour-Green bloc controls 54 seats, and the National Party 56 seats. The New Zealand dollar has fallen around 3.8 percent against the U.S. dollar since the vote and following the announcement was last quoted at 1.31 percent lower at $0.7060.
    While Peters said new policy announcements would be up to Labour leader Ardern, he gave a sense of what was to come by saying he would look to redraft the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s central bank mandate and expected fewer immigrants to be allowed into New Zealand. Peters also said he had agreed with Labour to build tens of thousands of affordable homes.
    Labour and New Zealand First favour greater restrictions on migration and trade – both of which have been key sources of New Zealand’s robust growth of recent years.
    Around 3.57 million people were registered to vote in the election,with 2.63 million (79.8%) turning out
    Prior to the election, the centre-right National Party, led by Prime Minister Bill English, had governed since 2008 in a minority government with confidence and supply from the MāoriACT and United Future parties.
     It was the first election for English as incumbent Prime Minister, having replaced John Key on 12 December 2016.
     The main opposition parties to the National government were Labour (the official opposition), led by Jacinda Ardern, the Green Party, and New Zealand First.
    Voters on Saturday Sep 23,2017 elected 120 members to the House of Representatives, with 71 electorate members and 49 list members. 
    New Zealand uses the mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system, which gives voters two votes: one for their local electorate MP and one for a political party. 
    Seats in Parliament are filled firstly by the successful candidate in each electorate, and secondly, from party lists in a ratio based on the percentage of nationwide votes that the party received. 
    To gain a party list MP in Parliament, the party must achieve at least one electorate MP or at least 5% of the nationwide vote
    The 2017 New Zealand General Election saw only 5 parties return to Parliament — the lowest since the introduction of MMP in 1996
    On Thursday October 19, 2017, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced the party is intending to form a coalition government with the Labour Party, with confidence and supply from the Green Party.

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrates Diwali with troops at Andaman & Nicobar Thursday Oct 19,2017

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrated Diwali on Thursday Oct 19,2017 with military personnel at the strategically important tri-services command on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
    Sitharaman, who arrived at the command on Wednesday, also reviewed its security preparedness and other operational matters.
    The defence minister also paid homage to the Indian Air Force personnel and their families who were killed during the Tsunami in the Car Nicobar islands.
    At the memorial for the victims of tsunami 2004 - Carnicobar airbase washed away with air warriors & their families. Onlly a few survived.
    She also visited a naval facility and the Coast Guard base under the Andaman and Nicobar command 
    “RM @DefenceMinIndia Smt @nsitharaman celebrates Diwali with troops&their families at Tri-Services Command A&N (sic),” the defence ministry tweeted.
    With the Tri-Services in Port Blair. Formation-anchor, guns & the wings. Next to me is Lt Gov of A&N Admiral (Rtd) DKJoshi. Also seen CINCAN
    This is her first visit to the strategically important command after assuming charge as the defence minister.
    On her arrival, she was accorded a joint services guard of honour.

    Later, she was given a comprehensive brief on the security environment and thrust areas of the command at its headquarters

    World Osteoporosis Day - October 20

    World Osteoporosis Day is observed annually on October 20th, and launches a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Osteoporosis and metabolic disease 

    Organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), the World Osteoporosis Day campaign is accompanied by community events and local campaigns by national osteoporosis patient societies from around the world with activities in over 90 countries

    World Osteoporosis Day Themes

    • 1996: Awareness
    • 1997: Awareness
    • 1998: Awareness
    • 1999: Early Detection
    • 2000: Building Bone Health
    • 2001: Bone Development in Youth
    • 2002: Preventing a First Fracture
    • 2003: Quality of Life
    • 2004: Osteoporosis in Men
    • 2005: Exercise
    • 2006: Nutrition
    • 2007: Risk Factors
    • 2008: Advocate for Policy Change
    • 2009: Advocate for Policy Change
    • 2010: Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Fractures
    • 2011: 3 Steps to Prevention: Calcium, Vitamin D and Exercise
    • 2012: Stop at One: Make your First Break your Last
    • 2013: Strong Women Make Stronger Women
    • 2014: Real Men Build Their Strength from Within
    • 2015: Serve Up Bone Strength
    • 2016: Love Your Bones - Protect your Future

    Organ Donation Programmes Across The World


    Till 2014, Chinese authorities permitted the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners without prior consent from them or their families. In fact, in December 2005, the country’s deputy health minister estimated that as many as 95 per cent of the organs used in China’s transplants came from such sources.
    Since then, China has banned the practice and is now trying to galvanise organ donations from regular civilians.

    Iran is the only country in the world where it is legal to buy a kidney. This, according to the government, is what has helped in effectively ending waitlists for kidney transplants since 1999.
    A person in need of a kidney is referred to the Dialysis and Transplant Patients Association which matches them with a potential donor. These un-related donors are guaranteed monetary compensation of approximately $1,200 from the government and an additional amount from the recipient which varies anywhere from $2,300 to $4,500.
    Apart from this, the donors are extended health coverage for at least a year and discounted rates at government hospitals for years after. All hospital expenses are also paid by the government and anyone under 35 can donate.

    With the highest donor rates in the world for 24 years running, Spain is considered the gold standard for organ donations.
    In 2015 with 39.7 donors per million, 4,769 transplants were performed in Spain.
    Working on a system of “presumed consent”, the Spanish model considers all citizens as potential donors unless they specifically choose to opt-out.
    However, like India, the final authority over the matter lies with the deceased next of kin. If the family refuses, the organs of the deceased person cannot be harvested. But since the level of awareness about organ donation in the country is high, the refusal rate is low, estimated at just 15.3 per cent in 2015.
    Other countries with presume consent include France, Greece, Norway, Sweden and Turkey. In 2015, Wales also implemented a similar system becoming the only part of the United Kingdom to have this.

    To bolster donations in the country and counter the perception that Jews were not allowed to donate their organs, the Israeli government, in 2012, put into place a system which offered first priority for transplants to living donors and their family members and undertook a massive publicity drive.
    Nicknamed “don’t give, don’t get”, this system gives registered donors of three years or more second priority and the family members of registered donors third priority. Additionally, complete reimbursement is offered to living donors for the time taken off work with health and life insurance coverage for five years.
    Within the first year of its implementation, organ transplants in the country shot up by 60 %

    With a system similar to the one in place in India, organ donation in the USA is based on an opt-in approach which means that anyone who wants to can sign donor cards or families can consent to donation in the event of a loved one’s brain death.
    A majority of state laws also have the provision to provide state employees with paid leave if they volunteer to be live donors and 19 states provide tax incentives for organ donation.
    Currently, America has around 1,20,000 people waitlisted for organs. This is something private players in the US have also tried to raise awareness about. For instance, in 2013, Facebook allowed users to add their “donor status” to their profiles which lead to a spike in registrations. More recently, Apple offered its users in the US to sign up as donors through their iPhones as a part of their iOS 10 software update.

    Brazil tried to implement the presumed consent model for organ donation in 1997 only to repeal the law 8 years later. The initiative faced heavy criticism and was widely distrusted by the general public who feared that their organs would be removed before they were declared clinically dead.
    These protests forced Brazil to go back to the opt-in system and its current donation rate is 16 per one million people.

    United Kingdom Sets October 30 Deadline for Stalled Northern Ireland Talks

    Britain on Wednesday Oct 18,2017 set a new deadline of October 30 for Northern Ireland's deadlocked political parties to reach a powersharing deal, warning it would otherwise have to impose direct rule.

    Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire warned that without any signs of a deal by the end of the month, the government in Westminster would have to pass a budget for the region, adding that "the prospects do not look positive at this time."

    "We're on a glide path to more Westminster intervention," he told a parliamentary committee in London.

    "I would like the parties to recognise the spirit of compromise."

    "The best possible outcome is for locally elected politicians to make decisions and be held accountable by a locally elected assembly, that is the bedrock of the Belfast Agreement," he said, referring to a deal that ended three decades of fighting.

    Northern Ireland's semi-autonomous government collapsed in January, after Sinn Fein pulled out of governing with their DUP counterparts over the handling of a renewable energy scheme.

    Talks between the parties have since failed to break the stalemate, amid further wrangling over an Irish language law.

    Former US President Bill Clinton — who helped broker the 1998 peace accord — visited both Northern Ireland, where he met privately with its leaders, and Ireland.

    He was also set to meet British Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Thursday to discuss, among other things, the deadlock.

    Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar conceded recent progress in easing the stalemate had stalled, and sounded the alarm this week at the potential impact of a continued impasse.
    "Their public services are about to run out of money because the budget allocation is running out," he said.

    "Meanwhile, both the DUP and Sinn Fein are arguing about the intricacies of an Irish Language Act."