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Bodies of children and others found in Libyan town after LNA retreat, Red Crescent says

first_imgTopics : The town served as an important stronghold for the LNA during its attack on Tripoli and the Kaniyat fought alongside the LNA in the southern suburbs of the capital.A GNA justice ministry official, Nasser Ghaita, said it had issued 23 arrest warrants over the case and asked for UN technical help. The GNA said on Saturday that “entire families” had been killed.The LNA has denied its forces were responsible for any of the bodies found in the mass graves and has called for the United Nations to investigate reports of violations committed by pro-GNA forces in Tarhouna. GNA forces found 106 bodies in the hospital and local people discovered eight mass graves around Tarhouna, prompting the United Nations to call for an urgent and open investigation.Libyan Red Crescent representative Faisal Jalwal told a news conference that 29 of the bodies found in the hospital had been identified and that they included women and children.Kamal Al-Siwi, head of the GNA’s missing persons bureau, said about 10 bodies had been disinterred from one of the eight mass graves that had been found.Tarhouna had for years been controlled by the local Kani family and its armed group, popularly known as the Kaniyat, which had been loyal to different sides during Libya’s chaotic civil war.center_img Bodies of children were among those found in the Libyan town of Tarhouna after eastern-based forces and their local allies withdrew this month, Red Crescent and Tripoli government officials said on Tuesday.The evidence of what rights groups have called possible war crimes came as Libya’s frontlines suddenly shifted, displacing thousands of civilians and leaving a trail of landmines hidden in residential areas.The internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) retook Tarhouna, southeast of Tripoli, on June 5 as an offensive by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) to capture the capital collapsed.last_img read more

Pennsylvania Unveils Five-year Affordable Housing Strategy

first_imgPennsylvania Unveils Five-year Affordable Housing Strategy May 23, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Government That Works,  Human Services,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Today, the leaders of the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), and the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) released a five-year housing strategy to connect Pennsylvanians to affordable, integrated, and supportive housing.DHS Secretary Ted Dallas was joined by Brian Hudson, executive director & CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin, and DHS’ executive housing director, Ben Laudermilch, at the unveiling event at Shepherd’s Crossing in Mechanicsburg. Shepherd’s Crossing is an inclusive workforce housing community.“Too many Pennsylvanians live in institutions when they could live at home with the right supports. Too many are rent-burdened and too many Pennsylvanians experience or are at risk of homelessness,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Today is about working together to find ways to make better use of our resources so that we can make affordable housing a reality for more Pennsylvanians.”“Ninety-five percent of Pennsylvanians who need these services want to live in their community, not in an institution or a nursing home. But right now, we can only serve 51 percent of them in the community,” said Secretary Dallas. “Governor Wolf and all of us here today are committed to promoting independence and giving all people, regardless of their age or disability, a voice in choosing where they live. If we are successful, the services we provide will match what our clients want and, because community-based care costs about half of institutional care, we can also save millions of taxpayer dollars.”The strategy outlines the problems with the current state of housing opportunities for individuals with targeted goals and solutions spanning through 2020. The proposal addresses the following populations:• Currently 53,574 Pennsylvanians living in institutions but could live in the community with housing services and supports;• There were 15,421 individuals and families experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of homelessness during 2015; and• In 2015, 46.6% of Pennsylvanians have extremely low incomes and are rent-burdened.“We are thrilled to partner with DHS and DCED to bring light to this critical issue hindering Pennsylvanians throughout the state. We are committed to establishing supportive housing opportunities to the states vulnerable citizens, and maximizing each individuals chance to succeed,” said Brian Hudson.The plan’s goal is to leverage internal and external resources to collaborate with all levels of government and private agencies to make housing resources and services more accessible and available to a wide range of individuals served by state and local government.“This plan marks another great illustration of the implementation of Governor Wolf’s Government that Works initiative and DCED is extremely proud to be at the table for this collaboration,” said Secretary Davin. “It’s a part of our role at DCED to address the needs of Pennsylvania’s communities and through implementation of this plan we can begin to address the need for housing opportunities.”Some of the initial steps announced today include the following:• Using a portion of the “Money Follows the Person” federal grant funds to expand the number of regional housing coordinators across the state from 11 to at least 14. These coordinators work with local housing authorities and stakeholders to help transition individuals to the community;• Enhancing and expanding use of the housing network database operated by PHFA that can be used to match those who need housing with affordable housing throughout Pennsylvania.• Continuing the “Rapid Rehousing” pilot program that is ongoing in Philadelphia to help those who have had recently become homeless and those with have experienced housing instability find permanent housing; and• Expanding the use of Medicaid dollars to help move people to stable housing and maintain housing through housing-related supports.“There is no quick fix to addressing these issues,” said Secretary Dallas. “This is a marathon and not a sprint. Comprehensively addressing housing issues will take more than the steps we are announcing today and will take some time to complete. The strategy we announced today lays out our vision for the next five years and the steps we will have to take to bring this vision closer to reality.”Click here for more information on the housing strategy and to view a video regarding the housing strategylast_img read more

Are workers the gig economy truly selfemployed or regular employees It depends

first_imgUber’s IPO Filing: 6 Numbers You Need to KnowThe company filed on April 11, 2019.ShareVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:00Loaded: 16.47%0:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:00 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedEnglishAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenLast month, the EU Parliament approved new rules to protect workers in the gig economy. It says companies engaging “on-demand, voucher-based and platform workers” must allow them to refuse work and be paid for canceled work; they must honor workers’ right to take jobs with other companies, pay workers to train, and give workers limited probationary periods. In short: “gig” workers deserve some of the protections regular employees enjoy.An EU Parliament press release went as far as to name-check specific companies, including one IPO-bound ride-hailing behemoth in particular: Uber.Members of the European Parliament “approved minimum rights for workers with on-demand, voucher-based or platform jobs, like Uber or Deliveroo,” the statement says.With such an explicit call-out, it’s clear the rules were written with Uber in mind. There’s just one problem: Uber says that when it comes to its drivers, operating in 90 EU cities, the new rules do not apply.The difference of opinion is the latest round in a long-running question at Uber, one that still dogs the company as it zooms toward its IPO on Thursday: Who actually works for Uber, and what does the company owe them?Self-employed or just employed?For its entire 10-year history, Uber has insisted that its drivers are, in fact, self-employed.That distinction is key to Uber and other companies that rely on a flexible workforce. The individuals who perform the services work whenever they like, for how long they’d like, and get paid for the work they complete. Classifying workers as independent contractors has a tremendous upside for business since it means workers are responsible for their own taxes, health insurance and pension contributions, and the companies they do work for aren’t responsible for payroll taxes, overtime or other costs associated with regular employees. The system keeps labor costs low, and—the companies argue—consumer prices are low as a result.“Companies like [Uber] build their entire business model on keeping their workers classified—and many would argue misclassified—as self-employed,” says Mark Graham of the University of Oxford and the Fairwork Foundation.But for nearly as long as Uber has argued its drivers are independent contractors, drivers and critics have offered a counter argument: that drivers are employees deserving of minimum wage, paid leave, and unemployment benefits. Their rationale is that Uber dictates where drivers go and how much they charge, and that drivers provide the company’s core service. Some Uber drivers are going on strike across the U.S. and Europe on Wednesday, the eve of Uber’s IPO, to demand a living wage, greater transparency over fares, more job security, and, in some instances, benefits.These opposing viewpoints have triggered an avalanche of lawsuits. Take, for instance, the 13,600 drivers in Massachusetts and California who went to court in a class-action push to be considered employees. Uber settled the six-year-old case in March for $20 million but will continue to classify the drivers as independent contractors. In 2015, a driver in London said he faced “repercussions” from the company if he cancelled a pickup, and, in some months, made less than £5 per hour, below the U.K.’s £7.20 threshold. The London employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that Uber was in fact an employer that must give drivers minimum wages and paid leave, and denied the company’s appeal in December. Uber is appealing that ruling to a higher court. Uber is likewise appealing a 2017 ruling from a judge in Sao Paulo, one of Uber’s most important markets, that a driver is an employee deserving of benefits. Driven to change?Along the way, Uber has made a few concessions. In settling the California and Massachusetts case, it agree to make changes to how it removes drivers from its platform. Last year, Uber extended health insurance and accident coverage to more than 150,000 drivers and couriers in 21 European countries. And at a Fortune conference in October, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he was considering rolling out similar benefits to its independent contractors worldwide. (Uber told Fortune it has since expanded accident insurance to drivers in 40 U.S. states as well as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and South Africa but not health insurance.)“If you’re going to call your drivers partners, then treat them like partners. So that you don’t get this world where independent contractors are the ‘have-nots’ and full time employees are the ‘haves,’” Khosrowshahi said at the Fortune event. “Where we would like to take independent contractors is into a state where it’s not a ‘have-not’ state—you can create a framework of benefits, etc., around the world as well. We have a long way to go, but at least in Europe we’ve gotten one step closer.”Nevertheless, the new EU decision rules and Uber’s pushback against them indicate two things as Uber prepares to go public: there remain legal and regulatory challenges to the employment arrangement at the heart of Uber’s business, and Uber remains firmly dug in on its stance. In fact, a spokesman for Uber told Fortune he would not even comment on the new EU directive because the rules say genuine self-employed workers are excluded and Uber drivers are self-employed.Owning the risksUber’s own IPO prospectus provides a rather blunt explanation of the obstinance: “Our business would be adversely affected if Drivers were classified as employees instead of independent contractors,” it says. If changes to foreign, state, and local laws required the company to reclassify its 3.9 million drivers as employees, it would “fundamentally change” its business model, according to the document.A question now is how investors will view the risks associated with the ongoing debate that’s so core to Uber’s business.“We will see more lawsuits regarding employees, and it will be fought on a state-by-state basis [in the U.S.],” says John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University. “The odds are against Uber continuing to characterize their drivers as independent contractors.” And if Uber has to start paying the benefits it has avoided for so long, that will certainly reduce profitability, he says.In Europe, “countries have been moving towards greater protections for gig workers, at least as compared to the U.S.,” University of Alabama law professor Deepa Das Acevedo says. So initiatives like the EU rules should not come “out of the blue.”New York University business professor Arun Sundararajan, meanwhile, argues that Uber actually has a competitive advantage on this front, at least compared to its rivals. Its economy of scale puts it in a better position to absorb the increased cost of drivers’ employee benefits should it be forced to do so.While the worker classification issue is likely to continue to nag Uber, the soon-to-be-public company might just be trying to run out the clock at this point. If Uber’s investment of billions into autonomous car technology pays off, it eventually won’t need any human drivers at all.You May Like HealthFormer GE CEO Jeff Immelt: To Combat Costs, CEOs Should Run Health Care Like a BusinessHealthFor Edie Falco, an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ After Surviving Breast CancerLeadershipGhosn Back, Tesla Drop, Boeing Report: CEO Daily for April 4, 2019AutosElon Musk’s Plan to Boost Tesla Sales Is Dealt a SetbackMPWJoe Biden, Netflix Pregnancy Lawsuit, Lesley McSpadden: Broadsheet April 4 Sponsored Content by Disney Institute How Disney Uses Spontaneity to Make Customers Feel Like…last_img read more