Story Highlights The Ministry of Health is in the process of finalising a report from a review of the four regional health authorities, which will be the subject of stakeholder consultations during the 2018/19 fiscal year. The review, which was led by a team from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), looked at the authorities’ structure and performance, and proposes specific reforms which will be pivotal to the Government’s strategic plan for the public health sector. Dr. Tufton said the strategic plan is aimed at advancing the sector over the next 10 to 30 years through the completion of a number of critical supporting studies and reports that address several key areas. The Ministry of Health is in the process of finalising a report from a review of the four regional health authorities, which will be the subject of stakeholder consultations during the 2018/19 fiscal year.The review, which was led by a team from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), looked at the authorities’ structure and performance, and proposes specific reforms which will be pivotal to the Government’s strategic plan for the public health sector.This was announced by Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, during his 2018/19 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 5).Dr. Tufton said the strategic plan is aimed at advancing the sector over the next 10 to 30 years through the completion of a number of critical supporting studies and reports that address several key areas.Another component of the plan, the Minister informed, is the commissioning of a needs assessment study for five hospitals, which is being conducted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).The beneficiary institutions are the Spanish Town, May Pen, Mandeville, St. Ann’s Bay and Kingston Public hospitals.The study will provide recommendations for the facilities’ upgrading and/or expansion to determine how best the healthcare infrastructure can be networked and overhauled to address future challenges.“These studies will… make a determination as to how we operate (in terms of, for example) where we add beds and operating theatres in order to optimise the infrastructure that is available. We are deficient now, and this will add some value to that process. These (studies) are going to be critical to the (strategic) plan, and we are hoping that by mid-year, we will have the framework of that plan,” he stated.Dr. Tufton advised further that a report on the status of the sector’s information systems has also been completed. The document, which was facilitated under a technical cooperation agreement with the PAHO/World Health Organization (WHO), will form part of the strategic plan.Meanwhile, a road map for healthcare financing has been established and a report on the status of the national health insurance scheme, in this regard, is being completed. The report is expected to be ready within two months.
This combination of 28 November 2018 file photos shows former Chicago Police officer Joseph Walsh, left, former detective David March and former officer Thomas Gaffney, accused of trying to cover up the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, during a bench trial before Judge Domenica A. Stephenson at Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. Photo: APA judge rejected allegations that the shocking video of Laquan McDonald’s death proved that Chicago police officers tried to stage a cover-up in the fatal shooting of the black teen. Now another judge must decide how long the officer who pulled the trigger spends behind bars.Jason Van Dyke was convicted in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. He will likely go to prison for at least several years, if not decades, when he’s sentenced Friday.But critics of the police department and protesters who cheered Van Dyke’s conviction are clearly worried after a judge on Thursday acquitted three officers accused of trying to conceal what happened to protect Van Dyke, who was the first Chicago officer found guilty in an on-duty shooting in a half century and probably the first ever in the shooting of an African-American.”We will be down here tomorrow by the hundreds, and we will cry out for justice for Laquan,” activist Eric Russell said after the hearing in which Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson acquitted former officer Joseph Walsh, former detective David March and officer Thomas Gaffney on charges of obstruction of justice, official misconduct and conspiracy.Friday’s hearing will be emotional. Van Dyke’s wife and young daughters, who pleaded for leniency in letters submitted to the judge, will make statements. Court officials do not know if McDonald’s mother, who has remained silent ever since her son’s Oct. 20, 2014, death, will speak.The courtroom will be packed with activists worried that Judge Vincent Gaughan will impose a light sentence.Thursday’s verdict “means that if you are a police officer you can lie, cheat and steal,” said a shaken Rev. Marvin Hunter, McDonald’s great uncle.Stephenson accepted the argument that jurors in the Van Dyke case rejected: that the video that sparked protests and a federal investigation of the police force was just one perspective of the events that unfolded on the South Side.The judge said the video showed only one viewpoint of the confrontation between Van Dyke and the teen armed with a small knife. She found no indication the officers tried to hide evidence or made little effort to talk to witnesses.”The evidence shows just the opposite,” she said. She singled out how they preserved the graphic video at the heart of the case.Prosecutor Ron Safer tried to put a positive spin on the verdict.”This case was a case where the code of silence was on trial,” he said, referring to the long tradition that officers do not report wrongdoing by their colleagues. “The next officer is going to think twice about filing a false police report. Do they want to go through this?”Special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes said she hoped the verdict would not make officers reluctant to come forward when they see misconduct. Her key witness, Officer Dora Fontaine, described how she had become a pariah in the department and was called a “rat” by fellow officers.In her ruling , the judge rejected prosecution arguments that the video demonstrated officers were lying when they described McDonald as moving even after he was shot.”An officer could have reasonably believed an attack was imminent,” she said. “It was borne out in the video that McDonald continued to move after he fell to the ground” and refused to relinquish a knife.The video appeared to show the teen collapsing in a heap after the first few shots and moving in large part because bullets kept striking his body for 10 more seconds.The judge said it’s not unusual for two witnesses to describe events in starkly different ways. “It does not necessarily mean that one is lying,” she said.The judge also noted several times that the “vantage point” of various officers who witnessed the shooting were “completely different.” That could explain why their accounts did not sync with what millions of people saw in the video.Both Van Dyke’s trial and that of the three other officers hinged on the video, which showed Van Dyke opening fire within seconds of getting out of his police SUV and continuing to shoot the 17-year-old while he was lying on the street. Police were responding to a report of a male who was breaking into trucks and stealing radios on the city’s South Side.Prosecutors alleged that Gaffney, March and Walsh, who was Van Dyke’s partner, submitted false reports to try to prevent or shape any criminal investigation of the shooting. Among other things, they said the officers falsely claimed that Van Dyke shot McDonald after McDonald aggressively swung the knife at police and that he kept shooting the teen because McDonald was trying to get up still armed with the knife.McDonald had used the knife to puncture a tire on Gaffney’s police vehicle, but the video shows that he did not swing it at the officers before Van Dyke shot him and that he appeared to be incapacitated after falling to the ground.Attorneys for the three men used the same strategy that the defense used at Van Dyke’s trial by placing all the blame on McDonald.It was McDonald’s refusal to drop the knife and other threatening actions that “caused these officers to see what they saw,” March’s attorney, James McKay, told the court. “This is a case about law and order (and) about Laquan McDonald not following any laws that night.”The lawyers ridiculed the decision to charge the three officers, saying they merely wrote what they observed or, in March’s case, what the other officers told him they saw. And they said there was no evidence that the officers conspired to get their stories straight.”The state wants you to criminalize police reports,” McKay bellowed at one point.City Hall released the video to the public in November 2015 — 13 months after the shooting — and acted only because a judge ordered it to do so. The charges against Van Dyke were not announced until the day of the video’s release.The case cost the police superintendent his job and was widely seen as the reason the county’s top prosecutor was voted out of office a few months later. It was also thought to be a major factor in Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s decision not to seek a third term.The accusations triggered a federal investigation, resulting in a blistering report that found Chicago officers routinely used excessive force and violated the rights of residents, particularly minorities. The city implemented a new policy that requires video of fatal police shootings to be released within 60 days, accelerated a program to equip all officers with body cameras and adopted other reforms to change the way police shootings are investigated.
One can welcome the new year by visiting an exciting crafts mela as the Dastkari Haat Samiti is going to hold the 30th edition of its annual Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar, where more than 170 craftsmen from villages, towns and cities across India will be bringing together different crafts to the national Capital. The mela which will begin from Jan 1, 2016 at Dilli Haat, will highlight crafts like shell craft, basketry, mat weaving, handloom textile weaving, hyacinth grass weaving and jewellery, which are crafted by the craftsmen of Myanmar. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The group of women will exhibit the world famous Pathein umbrellas, puppets, velvet slippers, lacquer work and jade items. The mela will be held in collaboration with Dastkari Haat Samiti and supported by Ministry of External Affairs, Embassy of India in Myanmar, Corriandar Leaf, Yangon and Air India. Myanmar craftsmen will also be at Dilli Haat for a crafts and skill development workshop. The crafts mela promises to be one of its kind, where new design developments will take place in collaboration with craftsmen from Myanmar and India. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThere will also be live demonstration of the weaving looms, from more than 12 states along with National and state-awardees from Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and others. A unique feature of the crafts mela will be that the visitors will be able to interact, learn, appreciate and explore Indian and Burmese handicrafts and textiles. The entire fortnight’s collaboration will result in new product designs, long term friendships and shall provide unique inputs to the crafts sector while enhancing economic wellbeing and diplomatic ties at the ground level. Jaya Jaitly said, “The Samiti has constantly worked towards expanding opportunities for craftsmen as conservationists of Indian heritage. The Samiti’s artisan-members have travelled all over and collaborated with local artisans in other developing nations to create utility-based and market-friendly products. We aim similar participation for the Myanmar crafts as well.” The opportunity provided by the Samiti has enabled many members to travel across the globe and collaborate with artisans in other developing nations, creating products that are utility-based and market-friendly.The folk and cultural performances, which will take place between 11 am and 8 pm, will showcase a myriad of folk music from Rajasthan, the exotic Kalbelia gypsy dance, Langa group, Bhavai performers with a number of earthen pots balanced on their head and the tribal martial Chhau dancers from West Bengal. With elements like these, the crafts bazaar by Dastkari Haat Samili promises to be a cultural treat. Jaya Jaitly, Founder Dastkari Haat Samiti, has been working relentlessly with diverse craftsmen across the country to produce beautiful, economical and purposeful crafts, for more than four decades. A strong propagator of bringing Indian goods to the forefront, she has been innovating newer ways to sustain crafts and its practitioners. To give credence to her philosophy, Jaitly also Founded the immensely popular Dilli Haat, where she organises the eagerly awaited yearly cafts mela.When: January 1 to 15Where: Dilli Haat, opp INA Market, New Delhi Timings: 11am – 9pm
Kolkata: Additional Director of CBI M Nageshwar Rao on Thursday held a series of meetings with senior officials of the central probe agency in the city, sources said. Rao visited the CBI office at CGO complex at Salt Lake and discussed various ongoing cases, after which he went to the anti-corruption branch office of CBI at Nizam Palace, the sources said. According to sources, Rao is scheduled to meet the officials of Economic Offences (IV) wing of CBI on Friday at the Salt Lake office which is dealing with the multi-crore ponzi scam cases like Saradha and Rose Valley. The central probe agency was gearing up to expedite the cases relating to the ponzi scams and bring them to their logical conclusions, sources said. The CBI had also interrogated former Kolkata Police Commissioner and now ADG-CID Rajeev Kumar under the directions of Calcutta High Court in connection with the Saradha scam case.
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) announced Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun, the three pioneers in Artificial Intelligence, as winners of the 2018 Turing Award. The Turing Award was presented to the researchers for their ‘conceptual and engineering breakthroughs’ that resulted in deep neural networks become a critical component of computing. The ACM Turing Award, named after the great Alan M. Turing, a British Mathematician, is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing”. The award brings along with it a $1 million prize which will be split between the winners. Financial support is being offered by Google. ACM states that Hinton, LeCun, and Bengio, worked independently and together to develop conceptual foundations for the field. These researchers worked diligently to identify surprising phenomena via various experiments and also contributed engineering advances that effectively shows the practical advantages of deep neural networks. These deep learning methods have led to many astonishing breakthroughs in the fields of computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, and robotics among others. LeCun, Hinton, and Bengio stayed committed to the approach of using artificial neural networks as a tool to help computers recognize patterns and simulate human intelligence. Researchers also faced much criticism initially and their ideas were often met with skepticism. But, the researchers were determined and their ideas have resulted in major technological advances. “At the heart of this progress are fundamental techniques developed starting more than 30 years ago by this year’s Turing Award winners, Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun”, said Jeff Dean, Google Senior Fellow, and SVP, Google AI. Dr. Hinton now works as VP and engineering fellow at Google; Dr. LeCun works as the Chief AI Scientist for Facebook, and Dr. Bengio has inked deals with IBM and Microsoft. Read Next NGI0 Consortium to award grants worth 5.6 million euro to open internet projects UC Davis students bag $500k award and the 2018 Amazon Alexa prize for creating a social conversational system Mozilla funds winners of the 2018 Creative Media Awards for highlighting unintended consequences of AI in Soceity