Renzi calls for new homes initiative following quake

Italy’s Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency and authorised an initial 50 million euros in crisis funding following the earthquake which left at least 267 dead. In addition, Matteo Renzi said taxes would be cancelled for those residents affected. It came as he launched a new initiative to build homes safe from future earthquakes in a bid to tackle shoddy construction. Naming the project ‘Italian Homes’, Renzi said: “The final plan must be a serious plan, not just hot air. It must be something everyone can relate to. A building project which will be serious and systematic. The fact that we have not succeeded before does not mean that we should not try to do it now with the help of everyone.” Italy has a poor record of rebuilding after quakes. More than 8,000 people who were forced to leave their homes after the deadly earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009 are still living in temporary accommodation. There has also been widespread criticism of building standards in high-risk areas. While most properties in the area were built hundreds of years ago, some of those that collapsed had recently been renovated. Continue Reading

Italy quake: hopes fade for survivors

The number of people killed in Wednesday’s earthquake in central Italy now stands at a least 267. The latest provisional death toll came as a powerful aftershock struck the hill-side town of Amatrice early on Friday morning, one of the worst-hit areas. For now at least rescue and emergency teams continue to search for survivors, but in reality their work is now a recovery operation. Italy’s Civil Protection department says nearly 400 other people remain in hospital – around 40 are said to be in a critical condition. Continue Reading

Jesse Ventura: ‘I’m Glad to See’ Donald Trump Destroy the GOP ‘If there ever was a year to vote third party, people, the time is now’ I know everyone gets after Donald Trump for saying outlandish things, but make no mistake about it: Donald Trump is not a fool. He’s been a friend of mine for 25 years. I call him a friend. I don’t agree with him on many of his issues. We’re 180 degrees apart on just about everything-which is why I could never endorse him-but Donald Trump is not a dumb man . You don’t acquire the wealth and power in the private sector as Donald Trump has by being stupid . You see, he saw what happened to the Reform Party , the third party I ran in when I became the Governor of Minnesota . Back in the 1990s, Donald was interested in running for office as an Independent, and he was there when Pat Buchanan came in with these legions of people (who were backed by the Republican Party) and took over the Reform party, got the nomination and then didn’t even run. Buchanan took the money we raised (at that point, we had quite a large national base thanks to Ross Perot and myself) and he used that money to retire his previous campaign debts. He had no intention of using our campaign money to run for president and that’s what destroyed the Reform party. This was all done by design so that the Reform party would no longer be a threat to the Republicans. Well, Trump was there then. He saw it. And I believe he’s doing the same thing to the Republicans that they did to us. I mean, come on, his own wife pretty much recited Michelle Obama’s entire speech at the GOP convention and his daughter went on and on about the need for paid childcare, equal pay laws, and a bunch of liberal principles that we’ve never heard a Republican add to a presidential platform. And then Trump gets up and reiterates all the reasons why we need to build a wall. How is that not destroying the Republican Party? I have to say, as an Independent, I’m glad to see it. Back in the ’80s the icon of the modern day Republican Party was President Ronald Reagan-and many Republicans today still consider him the greatest president of all time. It seems to me that one of Ronald Reagan’s most famous quotes was, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” I think Ronald Reagan today is turning over in his grave because the Republicans want to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. To me, the whole wall is ridiculous. Do we want to live in East Berlin? No. And Ronald Reagan would not support this; he probably wouldn’t even be considered for president in today’s Republican Party. Which brings me to my next point: why is the media constantly comparing me to Trump? Before I ran for Governor of Minnesota, I was the mayor of Brooklyn Park, which is the fourth largest city in Minnesota. So yes I had experience in an executive role of government. Yes, I was also an actor, a retired pro-wrestler, and considered a celebrity, but I was also a mayor. I still find it interesting that the media never mentions this fact. They think that one day I simply woke up, decided to run for governor of Minnesota, and people voted for me on a whim just to see what would happen. Well, there are vast differences between Trump and me that no one seems to want to bring up. Trump is running as a Republican. I ran as a third party candidate. I ran against the Democrats and the Republicans and I won. They outspent me, but I was able to debate them and that’s when Minnesota saw what a third option-one with socially liberal and fiscally conservative values-could do for the state. As governor, I didn’t want to build a wall to keep people out. I tried to get the state legislature to look into legalizing hemp to bring more jobs to our agriculture industry. I also went to Cuba to try to normalize relations with our countries. At a time when Hillary Clinton was saying gay couples shouldn’t get married , I was giving state employees in domestic partnerships the ability to get equal medical coverage and benefits. Minnesota also had a budget surplus and I gave that money back to the people in the form of a tax rebate instead of hoarding it away so Democrats and Republicans could overspend. I also appointed judges and officials based on their qualifications-I really didn’t care which party they belonged to, I cared more about their competence. That’s the beauty of being a third-party candidate. If you watched the DNC, you would have heard Al Franken speak; he’s a Democratic Senator for Minnesota. He ran for Senate in 2008 and he won the election by a mere 215 votes. Prior to that, he was a comedian on Saturday Night Live and in movies like The Coneheads and Trading Places. Today, he serves on the Judiciary, Energy, Indian Affairs and HELP Committees, and he was considered for Hillary Clinton’s VP pick. What were his qualifications when he ran for Senate back in 2008 and barely won? Well, when he ran for Senate, he was over 35 years of age and a resident of the state, which were the same qualifications I had when I ran for governor-except I was a mayor first, so again, I actually had experience in politics prior to running. I just decided not to make a career out of it because I believe there should be term limits. But that experience shouldn’t really matter in the first place because Minnesota’s state constitution states that no prior experience is necessary to run for office. When it comes to qualifications for president, the US Constitution is also simplistically clear: you must be 35 years of age or older, you must be a “natural-born” U.S. citizen (or for those born abroad, at least one parent must be a U.S. citizen at the time), and you must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years. That’s it. When people talk about Hillary Clinton’s qualifications, Bernie Sanders’s qualifications, Donald Trump’s qualifications, they are omitting the third party’s qualifications. There’s a reason the Republicans destroyed the Reform Party: we were socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That’s what the Libertarians are today. That’s what the majority of Americans are too. No one is 100 percent conservative and no one is 100 percent liberal. That’s insane. Yet, that’s the system we have. But we don’t have to. I won the governor of Minnesota because enough people showed up and voted for me because I was a third option-a combination of conservative and liberal principles. I was polling less than 10 percent before I debated the two parties, and I proved that if a third party is allowed to debate the Dems and the Repubs, then a third party can beat them, against all odds. This is why I don’t care if you think I’m throwing away my vote on Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson-the former Governor of New Mexico who also has a former Governor as his VP-because quite frankly he’s socially liberal and fiscally conservative and that’s what I believe in. That’s why I ran third party. And I’m not about to go against my principles now. Do I want Trump to be president? No. Do I want Hillary to be president? No. But I want Gary Johnson to be president, and that’s why I’m voting for him. I showed the world that you don’t have to join them to beat them, you just have to be visible enough so people know you’re an option. Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states. That alone should be enough of a reason for him to be included in the debates. And here’s another one: if Trump really thinks he’s qualified for president and if Hillary really thinks she’s qualified for president, then why don’t they prove it to the American people? As far as I’m concerned, neither candidate is qualified until we see how they measure up against the competition on a debate stage. Let’s see if they have the courage to do so. My Reform Party might be dead and gone, but the principles of that party will never die as long as people are socially liberal and fiscally conservative-and guess what? In poll after poll, the majority of the country is exactly that! If you’re disgusted with how Bernie Sanders was treated, if you’re tired of money buying elections, then vote your principles. Vote your heart and conscience. I can’t thank the people of Minnesota enough for doing so back in 1998. If there ever was a year to vote third party, people, the time is now. Continue Reading

Turkey: car bomb targeting Cizre police HQ kills at least 11 people

A car bomb attack on a police headquaters in the Turkish town of Cizre has killed at least 11 people. Cizre is in the southeastern city of Sirnak which borders both Iraq and Syria. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Turkey’s state run Anadolu Agency blamed the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), according to the Reuters news agency. The majority Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence since a ceasefire between the Turkish government and the PKK collapsed last year. The PKK has been waging a insurgency against the Turkish state to push for autonomy in the southeast of the country. Friday’s (August 26) blast comes two days after US-backed Turkish special forces launched an incursion into Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation is aimed at driving fighters from so-called Islamic State away from the border area and preventing territorial gains by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Continue Reading

Brooklyn neighborhoods set to add 78 new Citi Bike stations

Residents of bike-friendly Brownstone Brooklyn will finally get to cruise around their neighborhoods in bright blue Citi Bikes.

Citi Bike officials on Thursday said that six Brooklyn neighborhoods, from Park Slope to Red Hook, got 25 new docking stations, with a total of 78 new stations slated to be added for Brooklyn over the next two months. There are now 547 Citi Bike stations in operation, citywide.

“The bikes are fun but they also over time really become essential for all kinds of trips,” Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) said at a new station on 5th Ave. and 3rd St.

Park Slope was one of the neighborhoods left out of the original Citi Bike system, which launched in2013.

DOT wants to add pedestrian space on Brooklyn Bridge promenade

“Our neighborhoods have been clamoring for it,” said Craig Hammerman, the district manager to Brooklyn Community Board 6.

Jorgen Wahlsten, 49, an early Citi Bike member, said he would like to commute to work in Chelsea from his home in Park Slope with a Citi Bike, so he doesn’t have to take his own bicycle, which forces him to ride back into Brooklyn at night or lock it up in the city, risking theft.

City Council member Brad Lander called the Citi Bike “essential for all kinds of trips.”

City Council member Brad Lander called the Citi Bike “essential for all kinds of trips.”

(Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)

It would also make his trips between the north and south side of Park Slope much faster than walking or taking the bus, Wahlsten said.

“I’ve been waiting for two years for this to happen,” the software developer said.

Citi Bike eyes 140 new docking stations in Brooklyn, Manhattan

The bike docks were not completely welcome everywhere in Brooklyn.

Larry Finkelstein, a delivery driver and baker for Court Street Grocers, complained that a dock due to be installed in front of the Carroll Gardens store will make a mess of deliveries and make parking harder to find.

“I hope we don’t lose customers who drive to us,” he said.

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