Labour leader Keir Starmer reveals new shadow Secretary of State of Housing

first_imgHome » News » Housing Market » Labour leader Keir Starmer reveals new shadow Secretary of State of Housing previous nextHousing MarketLabour leader Keir Starmer reveals new shadow Secretary of State of HousingBristol MP Thangam Debbonaire says she wants to tackle the UK’s lack of affordable housing and the ongoing homelessness crisis.Nigel Lewis7th April 20202 Comments989 Views Newly elected Labour party leader Keir Starmer has revealed his front bench team including his Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Thangam Debbonaire.The 53-year old is well known for being one of a tranche of Labour MPs who resigned in June 2016 after losing faith in the party’s then leader Jeremy Corbyn.Debbonaire, who became MP for Bristol West in 2015, re-joined the Labour front bench team in October that year despite backing Corbyn leadership rival Owen Smith during the rancorous 2016 internal vote. She was made shadow Brexit minister in January 2020.During the 2017 election she increased her majority to 37,336, making it one of the safest seats in the UK.Housing policyTo date her only major foray into housing policy has been to call for student accommodation providers to pay council tax for their residents.Talking about her new job, she says: “Even before the current crisis, there were huge problems to solve. We have a chronic shortage of housing, including social housing and affordable homes.“Homelessness has spiralled upwards in the last decade of Tory governments. And we urgently need to make homes more energy efficient and incorporate renewable energy technologies as we tackle climate change as well as Covid-19.”Debonnaire replaces John Healey, who has looked after Labour’s housing brief since 2009, interrupted only by 12 months as Secretary of State for Health during 2010/2011.Visit her website.Thangam Debbonaire shadow housing secretary keir starmer Labour Party April 7, 2020Nigel Lewis2 commentsJohn Socha, Orchard BMS Ltd Orchard BMS Ltd 8th April 2020 at 12:21 pmMs Debbonaire does not appear to have the most basic grasp of economics.Charge landlords Council Tax for students, the rent will increase to be paid by “The Bank of Mum & Dad”.Another fantastic, well thought-out policy from the Labour Party.Log in to ReplyAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 7th April 2020 at 3:42 pmShadow secretary for state for housing and your have three minutes on your selected topic housing.Question one – do you have any industry experience in the housing or real estate sector. Question two – does this lack of knowledge help or impede you keeping the government to account, or will you take advice from ‘those in the know.’ Three – what exactly is Labour’s position on housing – apart from the usual rhetoric that there is not enough housing and the poor are the worst off?Lastly, you have been quoted as saying that you support ‘unfettered capitalism’ is that some sort of chutney preserve? And after three minutes you have scored … well it does make me wonder if there are somewhere on the Labour benches more suited individuals, but then maybe not.Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

Fairway of Peace 2012 Begins in Sevastopol, Ukraine

first_img View post tag: Ukraine Share this article View post tag: Naval May 24, 2012 View post tag: Navy View post tag: 2012 Industry news Back to overview,Home naval-today Fairway of Peace 2012 Begins in Sevastopol, Ukraine View post tag: beginscenter_img View post tag: Peace View post tag: Sevastopol View post tag: News by topic Russian-Ukrainian joint exercise Fairway of Peace 2012 started in Sevastopol…(rusnavy)[mappress]Source: Russian Navy, May 24, 2012; Image: Russian MoD View post tag: Fairway View post tag: in Fairway of Peace 2012 Begins in Sevastopol, Ukrainelast_img read more

Steady as she goes

first_imgAt the annual National Association of Master Bakers conference in Blackpool members heard that the decline in membership that has taken place over recent years has been halted.While 33 members had been lost due to retirements, closures and sales of businesses, 37 new members had been gained. Although it is a marginal gain, it is the first one in many years. The association’s accounts are also in the best shape for a long time, showing a healthy profit that was declared to members.There has been no increase in membership rates for the second year running and there is even the possibility that, in 2009, there may be a small decrease, according to chief executive Gill Brooks Lonican! During 2008/9 the NA will be putting on more seminars for its members, supported by Cali- fornia Raisins.Christopher Freeman, of Dunns of Crouch End, proposed that non-executive directors be invited to join the board because “as existing members we are so locked into bakery that we need someone from the outside to look in”. He suggested they might bring a fresh approach and should stand for up to three years. They should be paid expenses only like other board directors.Freeman also spoke in favour of the the forthcoming National Bakery Skills Academy, stating he was concerned that if the NA did not support it, the government would simply impose a training levy. Chairman of the board Shirley Ryder pointed out that London and south-eastern represenatative Ian Wilson was on the steering committee and would report back to the NA on any viability and progress. However, she made the point that current NA training is approved by City & Guilds.On a lighter, but still important note, Mike Holling and Gill Brooks Lonican announced that the next Wallace & Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf or Death would be released in time for Christmas and provided a great opportunity for publicity for high street bakers. Wallace & Gromit are great supporters of small shops and the NA will be promoting lots of memorabilia associated with the film, including Wallace & Gromit ties and mugs.Outgoing president of the NA, Mike Holling of Birds of Derby, had earlier welcomed Irish president Patrick Smyth and his wife, Angela, and Scottish president Joe MacDonald to the conference. Holling said he had much enjoyed meeting other bakers during his year of office and he thanked his wife and son, for their support. At the conference banquet, he showed an interesting video presentation of his year in office, including meeting Joanna Lumley at the Baking Industry Awards.The conference AGM concluded with two seminars: one from Ed Garner of TNS UK Worldpanel, who said that provenance, not price, is the key driver for consumers and that premium is still growing; in the other, Professor Jeya Henry of Oxford Brookes said the government would continue to look at food to help prevent health problems.last_img read more

Statement to Parliament: Rail timetabling

first_imgMr SpeakerI would like to update the House on the recent timetable changes, in particular on some Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern routes.Let me be absolutely clear: passengers on these franchises are facing totally unsatisfactory levels of service. And it is my and my department’s number one priority to make sure the industry restores reliability for passengers to an acceptable level. I want to assure the passengers affected that I share their frustration about what has happened, and that I am sorry that this has taken place.This timetable change was intended to deliver the benefits to passengers of major investment in the rail network. This means new trains, including all trains on the Northern and TransPennine Express networks either new or refurbished, Great North Rail Project infrastructure upgrades worth well over £1 bllion, such as in the Ordsall Chord and Liverpool Lime Street and, through the £7 billion Thameslink Programme, new trains and improved stations, including London Bridge and Blackfriars.The huge growth in passenger numbers that we have seen in recent years demanded expanded routes, services and extra seats. But this timetable change instead has resulted in unacceptable disruption for passengers that rely on these services.Mr SpeakerThe most important thing right now is to get things back to a position of stability for passengers.But it is also vital to understand what has happened and why we are in the situation we are today – and the circumstances for the failures are different on the Northern and GTR networks.The investigations being carried out right now are giving more information about what has gone wrong, but it is also worth being clear that the industry remained of the view until the last moment that it would be able to deliver these changes. That is the bit that everyone will find hard to understand and why there has to be a proper investigation into what has taken place.On Northern, which is co-managed through the Rail North Partnership by Transport for the North and my department, early analysis shows that the key issue was that Network Rail did not deliver infrastructure upgrades in time – in particular the Bolton electrification scheme – with damaging consequences. This forced plans to be changed at a very late stage – requiring a complete overhaul of logistics and crew planning.The early analysis also shows that on GTR’s Thameslink and Great Northern routes, the industry timetable developed by Network Rail was very late to be finalised. This meant that train operators didn’t have enough time to plan crew schedules or complete crew training, affecting a whole range of other complex issues that impact the service of what is an already congested service.But it is also clear to me that both Northern and GTR were not sufficiently prepared to manage a timetable change of this scale either. GTR did not have enough drivers with the route knowledge required to operate the new timetable. And neither Northern nor GTR had a clear fall-back plan.In GTR’s case, the process of introducing the new timetable was overseen for the last 2 years by an Industry Readiness Board, made up of Network Rail, ORR and the train operating companies and an Independent Assurance Panel.Both of these groups have told me that they had been given no information to suggest that the new timetable should not be implemented as planned – albeit with some likely early issues as the timetable bedded down.These bodies were set up specifically to ensure that all parts of the rail network – Network Rail, GTR, other train operators were ready to implement these major timetable changes – it should have been clear to them that some key parties were not ready. They did not raise this risk.The department received advice from the Thameslink Readiness Board that while there were challenges delivering the May 2018 timetable, namely the logistics of moving fleet and staff, a three week ‘transition’ would allow minimal disruption. My officials were assured the other mitigations in place were sufficient and reasonable.Indeed as few as 3 weeks before the timetable was to be implemented GTR themselves assured me personally they were ready to implement the changes. Clearly this was wrong, and it is totally unacceptable.The rail industry has collectively failed to deliver for the passengers it serves.It is right that the industry has apologised for the situation that we are currently in, and that we learn the lessons for the future.But right now the focus should be on restoring the reliability of their service to passengers.This morning I met again with Chief Executives of Network Rail, GTR and Northern – the latest in a series of meetings that my department and I have been holding with these organisations. And the Rail Minister has visited Network Rail’s control centre in their Milton Keynes headquarters today.We have made clear to them all that current services are still not good enough.I have demanded that Network Rail and the train operator work more collaboratively across the industry to resolve the situation – where necessary using resources from other train operators to support the recovery effort.Officials in my department are working around the clock to oversee this process.We have strengthened resources in both the department and Rail North Partnership – which oversees the Northern franchise – to hold the industry to account for improving services.Mr Speaker, I would like to be able to tell the House that there is an easy solution, or that the department could simply step in and make the problems passengers are facing go away. If there was a way to do that, I would do so without hesitation. Ultimately, the solution needs to be delivered by the rail industry.These problems can only be fixed by Network Rail and train operators methodically working through the timetable and re-planning train paths and driver resourcing to deliver a more reliable service.It is for reasons like this that I am committed to unifying the operations of track and trains where appropriate to ensure we do not encounter problems like this in the future.Northern Rail have agreed an action plan with the Rail North Partnership – this is focused on improving driver rostering to get more trains running as quickly as possible, rapidly increasing driver training on new routes, additional contingency drivers and management presence at key locations in Manchester, and putting extra peak services in the timetable along the Bolton corridor. Work on this action plan has been underway for some time.They have also published temporary timetables that will be more deliverable and will give passengers much more confidence in the reliability of their service.This will mean removing certain services from the new expanded timetable while ensuring there is still an improvement in the total number of services being run by Northern compared to before the timetable change.Alternative arrangements will be made for passengers negatively impacted by the changes. I believe that this temporary measure is necessary to stabilise the service, enabling improvements to be introduced gradually.On GTR, there are more services running on a day-to-day basis today than before the timetable change, and Southern and Gatwick Express services are performing well on some routes but not all.However, GTR are not currently able to deliver all planned services on Thameslink and Great Northern routes.In order to give passengers more confidence, GTR are removing services in advance from their timetable rather than on the day and reducing weekend services to pre-May levels. This will be in place until a full re-planning of driver resourcing has been completed.Mr Speaker, I would like to be clear, while I expect to see stable timetables restored on both networks in the coming days, I expect the full May timetable – and all the extra trains – to be introduced in stages over the coming months in order to ensure that it can actually this time be delivered properly.And once the full service is operating on GTR, 24 Thameslink trains will run through central London every hour. 80 more stations will have direct services to central London stations such as Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars by next year.There will be 115 new trains and more than 1,000 new carriages providing faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys for thousands of passengers.And on Northern, the Great North Rail Project, an investment of well over £1 billion in the region’s rail network will enable, by 2020, faster and more comfortable journeys, as well as new direct services across the north and beyond.By 2020, it will see the train operators, Northern and TransPennine Express, deliver room for 40,000 extra passengers and more than 2,000 extra services a week.What matters now is developing a stable service for passengers today.But I completely understand that passengers are angry at the levels of disruption that this timetable change has caused in recent weeks.And that is why there has to be a compensation scheme for passengers on affected routes on both GTR and Northern (subject to agreement with the board of Transport for the North) will be introduced and funded by industry, to ensure regular rail customers receive appropriate redress for the disruption they have experienced.The industry will set out more detail of the eligibility requirements and how season ticket holders can claim. However I believe the scheme should offer passengers, particularly in the North where disruption has been protracted, similar entitlements to last year’s Southern passenger compensation scheme. Commuters in the North are as important as commuters in the South and should receive comparable compensation.It is also clear to me that aside from Network Rail’s late finalisation of the timetable, GTR and Northern were not sufficiently prepared to manage a timetable change of this scale.So today (4 June 2018) I am also announcing that work has started to set up an inquiry by the independent Office of Rail and Road (ORR), chaired by Stephen Glaister, into the May timetable implementation.It is necessary to have a full enquiry.The inquiry will consider why the system as a whole failed to produce and implement an effective timetable.The findings will be shared at as early a stage as possible with myself and the rail industry so that lessons can be learned in advance of future major timetable changes. The final report will be published by ORR by the end of the year but I want initial responses much sooner than that.In parallel to the inquiry my department will assess whether GTR and Northern met their contractual obligations in the planning and delivery of this timetable change.My department will be assessing whether these issues could have been reasonably foreseen and different action taken to prevent the high levels of disruption passengers are experiencing.In GTR’s case the assessment will cover whether the operator had sufficient resources and skills to deliver the new timetable, if drivers could have been trained in a faster and more effective way, and examine the contingency and risk management arrangements in place.Mr Speaker, if it is found that GTR are materially in breach of their contractual obligations, I will take the appropriate enforcement action against them. This includes using the full force of the franchise agreement and my powers under the Railways Act, and I will include how such a failure impacts on their eligibility to hold a franchise bidding passport.In the case of Northern, my department will assess the operators planning, risk assessment and resilience in preparing for the May timetable change. Bearing in mind Network Rail’s failure to deliver infrastructure on time, we will absolutely hold the operator to the terms of their contractual obligations. I will not be afraid to take action where it is necessary to do so. It is right to go through the review.I will not hold back from taking appropriate action if the review finds that there has been negligent behaviour.Finally, given the importance placed on these issues by colleagues on both side of the House, I have arranged for both Northern and GTR to meet with colleagues across the House this week to discuss any specific issues that they wish to raise with the operators.Mr Speaker, I am incredibly frustrated that what should have been an improvement in services for passengers has turned into significant disruption. I am extremely sorry for the levels of disruption that passengers are experiencing and also sorry to those members of staff caught on the sharp end of these changes.There clearly have been major failures that have led to the situation we are in today. I am clear that the industry must and will be held to account for this.But my immediate priority is to ensure that the industry improves train services to an acceptable level as quickly as possible and that will remain my priority.last_img read more

Candy Cakes makes Landmark move for export

first_imgCandy Cakes has signed its first international franchise deal with The Landmark Group, which will see 14 new outlets open in Dubai in the next year. The privately-owned London-based retail bakery business opened its first outlet in the United Arab Emirates last week, with plans to open further sites in the region in shopping mall locations during the next 12 months.Michael Thomaides, founder of Candy Cakes, told British Baker: “We were approached by The Landmark Group, which was looking for a cake brand to partner up with. At the time we weren’t really thinking about expanding as we are a small company, but they had the infrastructure in place to do it so it seemed like a good idea.“Landmark has the manageability, resources and structure to make this process much easier, and partnering with a company of this size meant it could help us to save management costs and time.”Candy Cakes has also revealed it intends to continue its international expansion programme, with discussions taking place with potential franchisees in Canada, India and China.The firm, which currently employs 25 members of staff, is also looking to open further outlets in London to build on its current estate of five outlets, including a concession in toy store Hamleys, as well as expressing interest in opening shops outside the capital.Thomaides added: “We are focused on London at the moment but we would look to franchise outside the capital if we find the right operator to manage this. We have had a lot of interest, but we are looking for someone with the same passion as ours.”He explained the business had been steady in the last 12 months, with sales increasing for its internet and telesales division.last_img read more

Damian Marley R.O.A.R.s Back To Life, Welcomes Big Brother Stephen On New LP, “Stony Hill” [Stream]

first_imgOnce again, the production impresses on “R.O.A.R.” The mix of military-crisp snare work and the hot fire Marley spits evokes a highly contested battleground. Watch the fireworks in the official video for “R.O.A.R” below:Big brother Stephen Marley pops by for the first of his three featured appearances to help “Medication” go down smooth and funky. The song and its subsequent video decry the fact that the herbal “medication” needed by so many is somehow still illegal. As public perception of the Rastas’ flower of choice changes faster and faster, hopefully this will be a song Marley can quickly retire. Watch the music video for “Medication” below, featuring both brothers alongside copious amounts of sacred “medicine” below”Odes to the Rasta sacrament aside, the next track, “Time Travel,” looks at hypocrisy from a different angle along with the distractions and uncertainty of the world. Coming at the perfect moment on the disc, the dancehall groove of “Living It Up” is a near perfect summer song that celebrates the feeling of hard-earned success. The constant change in subject matter doesn’t show any adverse affect on the insight Marley brings, a true sign of a wide and well-studied intellect.“Looks Are Deceiving” and “The Struggle Discontinues” slow down the tempo to varying degrees while asking the same question in different ways: how do you we find a way to trust each other? In the current tension-filled world, it is a question all of us are forced to face. Damian Marley shows a deft hand at varying the song selection to keep from locking down listeners to one particular side of the emotional spectrum. For every stark confrontation he presents (such as the harrowing “Slave Mill”), there is a lighter piece (like the sensual “Grown & Sexy” with the reappearance of big bro Stephen).With so many thoughts and concepts thrown into the by Damian Marley on Stony Hill is rich in musical value. Each subsequent listening to the album reveals yet another layer of conceptual subtext and irresistible head bob-inducing grooves. Marley’s ability to vacillate between provocateur and hype man while never underselling either role shows the careful thought put into each syllable. The fact that he makes so much amazing music look effortless is the real magic on Stony Hill. The only downside to the listening experience is realizing how much his pure voice has been missed by the world since at least the release of his Nas collaboration album Distant Relatives in 2010. It is safe to say dad would be proud.Damian Marley will head out on tour in support of Stony Hill in September. For a full list of tour dates, or to purchase tickets to an upcoming show, head to Jr. Gong’s website. Stony Hill, the first new solo record from Jamaican hip hop/reggae artist Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley in 12 years, is a welcome return by the keenly observant youngest son of reggae revolutionary Bob Marley. The new project exudes a poignant mix of positive energy and brutal realism, with tracks that seem to hold a mirror up to both the beauty and the flaws of humanity while always seeking hope and truth. Marley’s new album makes a powerful statement about the world around him. After enlisting a little help from older brother Stephen Marley, Jr. Gong sets out to remind the world how much he can accomplish when we follow a vision of peace and hope in a cloudy world.From the opening album-opening prayer that serves as the album’s “Intro,” Marley calls for a Rasta mentality, a purging of that which is dark so the spirit can receive the light. With the stage set, the bouncing rhythm of “Here We Go” rises and falls with an inescapable swagger. Damian’s rapid-fire flow matches the pace of the track as he rejects the thought that his success is all due to his famous surname. The testimonial presented here is as low-key as these things go, and each well-placed word proves his point on dual levels.“Nail Pon Cross” is a catchy reminder of humanity’s tendency to turn on their heroes as easily as their enemies. The drama Damian surely faced growing up in the shadow of his polarizing parent’s iconic legacy adds a rueful certainty to his words. You can watch Marley’s official music video for “Nail Pon Cross” below:last_img read more

The Flaming Lips Share New Single, “Giant Baby”, Off Forthcoming Album [Listen]

first_imgIn April, The Flaming Lips announced their 15th studio album, King’s Mouth: Music And Songs, set for release on Friday, July 19th via Warner Bros. Records. King’s Mouth: Music And Songs is the follow-up to band’s 2017 album, Oczy Mlody. The new album will feature 12 tracks and the music will be connected by narration provided by The Clash’s Mick Jones.On Friday, the band released “Giant Baby”, the second single off of their forthcoming album, King’s Mouth: Music And Songs. The new single follows the release of the forthcoming album’s lead single, ““All For The Life Of The City.” The dreamy new song features opening narration from Mick Jones before the band takes over and coasts into a psychedelic soundscape. Watch The Flaming Lips’ new “Giant Baby” lyric video below:The Flaming Lips – “Giant Baby”[Video: flaminglips]The Flaming Lips issued a limited run of 4,000 copies of the LP on Record Store Day, which were pressed on gold vinyl and only available at participating independent record stores.The album parallels frontman Wayne Coyne’s 2015 art installation, also called King’s Mouth, where participants crawl into a large metallic head to experience a music-driven LED light spectacle. King’s Mouth: Music And Songs will also be accompanied by a book, King’s Mouth: Immerse Heap Trip Fantasy Experience, which Coyne wrote and illustrated.The Flaming Lips and The Claypool Lennon Delirium will team up for a run of 2019 summer tour dates with Particle Kid. Announced in late April, the two psych-rock bands along with the indie-Americana Particle Kid will hit the road for 12 performances beginning on July 23rd in Wichita, KS and continuing through August 7th with a show in Raleigh, NC.For a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates, ticketing, and more information, head to The Flaming Lips’ website.last_img read more

China drives global solar and coal alike

first_imgChina drives global solar and coal alike FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享South China Morning Post:Chinese equity investment in solar, wind and coal power projects in Belt and Road Initiative countries surged from 2014 to 2019, with planned capacity up more than tenfold compared with the previous five-year period, environmental group Greenpeace has said.The Belt and Road Initiative is a Beijing strategy to boost economic and trade ties in dozens of countries in Asia, Europe and beyond, mostly through investments in energy and infrastructure.According to a study published by Greenpeace on Monday, China’s wind and solar power investments in belt and road countries amounted to 12.6 gigawatts since the initiative was launched in 2014. It had invested in just 0.45GW of solar before 2014.The country has also invested in 67.9GW of new coal-fired power in belt and road countries since 2014, but Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Liu Junyan said the increase in the share of renewables should be welcomed.More: Chinese renewable energy investment abroad soars – but coal still dominantlast_img read more

What’s in Your Soda?

first_imgResearchers have found no direct links between diet sodas and specific human health problems. Initial reports that implicated aspartame, widely use to sweeten diet sodas, in a wide range of human health problems including cancer turned out to be false — though certainly much healthier beverage choices abound. Photo: Jules Rayes, courtesy FlickrDear EarthTalk: I drink diet soda but I’m told it’s bad for me and linked to health problems. Is this true and if so can you suggest any healthier alternatives?— Mitchell James, Ronkonkoma, NYWhile rumors have circulated for years that diet sodas are unhealthy, researchers have found no direct links between such drinks and specific human health problems. Aspartame (also known as NutraSweet) is the sugar-alternative of choice for most diet soda makers. It’s 180 times sweeter than sugar but contains no significant calories and does not promote tooth decay. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved aspartame in 1974, though health advocates held up its widespread use for over a decade.Over half of Americans consume aspartame regularly in soda and other foods—all told, diet varieties accounted for some 29 percent of the soft drink market for the top 10 sodas in 2010, according to Beverage Digest—so it is certainly reasonable to be concerned about any potential health effects. However, initial reports that implicated aspartame in seizures, headaches, depression, anxiety, memory loss, birth defects, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, methanol toxicity and even cancer turned out to be false (even a hoax), according to a wide range of reputable, peer-reviewed studies and clinical and epidemiological research.Another concern that has been voiced about aspartame is that it produces methanol when metabolized, which converts to formaldehyde (and then formic acid) in the body. But studies have shown that the amount of methanol in aspartame is less than that found in natural sources such as fruit juices, citrus fruits and some fermented beverages, and that the amount of formaldehyde generated is also small compared to that produced routinely by the body from other foods and drugs.While aspartame and diet sodas have not been linked directly to specific health problems, researchers who surveyed the eating, drinking, smoking and exercise habits of some 2,500 New Yorkers between 2003 and 2010 did find that those who drank at least one diet soda per day had a 61 percent higher risk of so-called vascular events (e.g. heart attack or stroke) than those who avoided Diet Coke and other products with aspartame. “If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes,” reported the study’s lead author, Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami School of Medicine.But others say that such a finding constitutes a link, not proof of cause and effect—and that those who have switched to diet sodas may be replacing the calories they used to get from regular sodas with other unhealthy foods that may be increasing their risk of heart attack or stroke.The takeaway should be that those who drink soda regularly, diet or otherwise, should be sure to exercise and eat right otherwise. Or, better yet…give up the soda entirely. According to Katherine Zeratsky, a nutritionist with the Mayo Clinic, healthier choices abound. She suggests starting off the day with a glass of 100 percent fruit juice and then drinking skim milk with meals. “Sip water throughout the day,” she recommends. “For variety, try sparkling water or add a squirt of lemon or cranberry juice to your water.”CONTACTS: “Miller School Researchers Link Diet Soda and Salt to Cardiovascular Risk,”EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: Free Trial Issue: read more

Appeals Court Affirms Ex-Nassau Police Commander’s Conviction

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A panel of appeals court judges upheld Wednesday the conviction of a former Nassau County police deputy commissioner found guilty of covering up a burglary committed by a police nonprofit donor’s son.Attorneys for William Flanagan last year appealed a jury verdict convicting him of conspiracy and two counts of official misconduct, all misdemeanors, following a month-long trial in 2013. Four judges for the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department in Brooklyn unanimously rejected the defense’s arguments that he didn’t receive a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct, prejudicial statements and insufficient evidence.“To the extent that some of the prosecutor’s remarks made during her opening statement and summation were improper, those remarks did not deprive the defendant of a fair trial,” the judges wrote in the Oct. 7 ruling. “And any other error in this regard was harmless, as there was overwhelming evidence of the defendant’s guilt, and no significant probability that any error contributed to the defendant’s conviction.”Prosecutors have said that Flanagan helped quash the case against Zachary Parker, of Merrick, who stole thousands of dollars worth of electronics from his alma mater, John F. Kennedy High School, in Bellmore shortly before he graduated in 2009 while he was an intern for the Nassau police Ambulance Bureau. The burglar’s father, Gary Parker, was volunteering for the nonprofit Nassau County Police Department Foundation when he asked for Flanagan’s help with his son’s case.“Public corruption cannot be tolerated, and we brought this case because nothing is more fundamental than equal treatment under the law,” Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in response to the ruling. “I have the highest respect for the brave and honest men and women of our police forces, but when a police officer dishonors the badge by breaking the law, fair-minded people know that the law must apply equally to everyone and my office will hold them accountable.”Flanagan’s attorney, Donna Aldea, head of the Appellate Practice Group for Garden City-based Barket Marion Epstein & Kearon, LLP, said that she plans to file a motion for the case to be heard by the state Court of Appeals.“We continue to assert that Bill Flanagan did nothing wrong and was wrongfully convicted, and we were very disappointed by the Appellate Division’s decision today,” she said. “This won’t be the first time that the Court of Appeals is relied upon to right a wrong that other courts have overlooked.”Judge Mark Cohen—a Suffolk judge brought in after two Nassau judges recused themselves from the case—had sentenced Flanagan to 60 days in jail, but execution of that term was stayed pending the appeal. A court spokesman said that once the appeals court officially notifies Cohen of the ruling, a hearing will be scheduled in the case.Two other ex-police commanders—John Hunter, the retired Deputy Chief of Patrol, and Det. Sgt. Alan Sharpe—both pleaded guilty to misconduct and were sentenced to probation in connection with the case, which stemmed from a Press expose into police favoritism for the nonprofit’s donors. Zachary Parker pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to prison after violating his probation. He has since been released.last_img read more