Six NGOs react to meeting between French president and King of Bahrain

first_imgNews Read in Arabic (بالعربية)Six human Rights organisations make public a letter sent to the French President raising their concerns following an unannounced meeting with the King of Bahrain, on 23 July. No official statement was issued after the meeting. (Photo : Nadège Puljak, AFP)This letter has been released as the Higher Appeal Court will consider the appeal of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab against his three-month prison sentence on 5 August. Human rights organisations consider that the sentence pronounced against Rajab on 9 July seems to solely aim at sanctioning his right to freedom of expression. Here is the joint letter :M. François HOLLANDEPresidentElysée Palace55 rue du Fg Saint Honoré75008 ParisParis, July the 26th 2012Purpose: Concerns following the unannounced visit of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain on the 23rd JulyDear Mr Hollande,We are writing to you following your meeting on Monday, July 23 with King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. This visit was not announced on the Elysée’s website and no official statement was issued by your office after the meeting. Apparently, journalists were also not aware of this meeting.We are concerned about the quasi-secret character of this meeting and we wonder if it reflects an intent to avoid commenting on the deterioration and the gravity of the human rights situation in Bahrain today. We knew King Hamad was preparing to come to France and that your office was assessing whether to respond positively to his request for a meeting. This visit could have been a timely opportunity to express publicly as well as to King Hamad directly France’s concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain. The government of Bahrain, as you are aware, asserts that you had only praise for the government’s claimed political reforms. We wonder if the secrecy around this visit signals political embarrassment on your part — embarrassment that may be warranted given the continuing repression by Bahrain’s ruling family, whose security forces in the past received training and assistance from France. In this regard, the announcement, relayed by the Bahrain News Agency, according to which bilateral military cooperation will be consolidated, is of great concerns. The signatory organisations call on your office to issue a statement clarifying France’s stance in the meeting with King Hamad, and to state clearly that France deplores Bahrain’s failure to date to implement the most important recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, namely to free those jailed solely for exercising their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly, and to hold accountable senior officials implicated in torture and other serious human rights violations.We respectfully hope our message will be taken into consideration.Yours sincerely,Jean-Marie Fardeau, Director France, Human Rights WatchSouhayr Belhassen, President, FIDH – International Federation of Human RightsGeneviève Garrigos, President, Amnesty international FranceOlivier Basille, Executive Director, Reporters Without BordersPierre Tartakowsky, President, Human Rights LeagueFrançois Walter, President, ACAT – Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture(Photo slide show : AFP) Related documents Letter to President Hollande – In arabicPDF – 72.14 KB Organisation October 14, 2020 Find out more German spyware company FinFisher searched by public prosecutors BahrainMiddle East – North Africa August 2, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Six NGOs react to meeting between French president and King of Bahrain Help by sharing this information News to go further RSF_en Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives March 17, 2021 Find out more BahrainMiddle East – North Africa Tenth anniversary of Bahraini blogger’s arrest News News Follow the news on Bahrain Receive email alerts June 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Texas House, Senate pass school finance bill mandating teacher raises and cutting taxes

first_img Twitter Local NewsState Pinterest Facebook WhatsApp Pinterest Previous article051619_Reagan_recycling_JF_08Next articleMATTER OF RECORD: May 10 through May 17 Digital AIM Web Support Days after top Republican leaders announced they had a deal on a school finance bill long in the making, the Texas House and Senate on Saturday approved the final legislation, bringing mandated teacher pay raises and property tax cuts one step closer to becoming law. The Texas House voted 139-0 and the Senate voted 30-0 to approve the final negotiated version of House Bill 3, which includes $6.5 billion to improve public education and pay teachers, plus $5.1 billion to lower school district taxes. Authored by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, and sponsored by state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, the bill is now poised to head to Gov. Greg Abbott for a signature. “In my inaugural address I said that this will be the session we enact historical school finance reform by putting more money into the classroom, paying our teachers more, reducing recapture and cutting property taxes,” Abbott said in a statement after the bill passed both chambers. “Tonight, without a court order, the legislature did just that by passing one of the most transformative educational bills in recent Texas history.” HB 3 passed the House first. “We are truly transforming public school finance in Texas and all of you have been a large part of that,” Huberty said, before calling for a vote. Afterward, he and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, along with a few other lawmakers, walked across the hall to watch the upper chamber do the same. But a few lawmakers from both parties in both chambers raised concerns that the state would not be able to afford the cost of the changes long term. Before voting for the bill, state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, called for a “sustainable path that will support increasing the cost of this bill for schools,” especially as more students continue to enroll in public schools. “I think we’re spending far more on it than what we should,” said state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood. Despite facing repeated lawsuits alleging the state hasn’t adequately funded public schools, lawmakers, including Huberty and Taylor, failed to make changes during the last legislative session in 2017 — a reform bill became mired in political controversy between the Senate and the House. Instead, they created a school finance panel of lawmakers, educators, and businesspeople that ultimately developed dozens of recommendations to overhaul the system. Many of those recommendations appear in the version of HB 3 that lawmakers voted out Saturday, including funding full-day pre-K for eligible 4-year-olds, increasing the money used to educate low-income students, incentivizing school districts to offer dual language programs and improve dyslexia programs, and providing money for school districts that want to develop their own merit pay programs for teachers. The panel did not recommend giving classroom teachers across-the-board raises. But after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick began the session announcing a plan to give $5,000 permanent raises to all full-time teachers, the proposal became one of the most talked-about in the Capitol and across the state. With the state’s average teacher salary below the national average, many teachers desperately wanted the $5,000 to deal with soaring health insurance premiums and other costs — though they asked for other school employees to receive more money as well. School administrators, on the other hand, asked for flexibility on how to use additional funding in their schools so they could address local priorities. Bonnen said he preferred to allow them that discretion. The final proposal would require school districts to use a portion of their increase in per-student funding on salary increases and benefits for teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors, with a smaller amount designated for raises for all employees, as administrators see fit. They are expected to prioritize raises and benefits for teachers with more than five years of experience, but otherwise would have flexibility on how to offer salary increases. HB 3 also includes several Senate proposals to help lower school district tax rates over the next two years and beyond. It would limit the growth in tax revenue: school districts with property values growing 2.5% or more would see tax rates automatically lowered to keep revenue growth in line. The bill also mandates a study on potential sources of money for future school district tax cuts and their anticipated impacts on taxpayers, schools and the state. Lawmakers estimate the bill would lower tax rates by an average of 8 cents per $100 valuation in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021. That would mean a tax cut of $200 for the owner of a $250,000 home in 2020 and $325 in 2021. The cost of the reforms is anticipated to jump in future years. The official cost analysis shows the changes will cost the state $13.5 billion in 2022 and 2023, a $2 billion increase from the upcoming biennium. “Many of you have asked how we’re going to pay for it as we go forward with tax compression,” Huberty said. He referenced a new fund the bill creates to pay for those tax cuts. The state comptroller is required to deposit some money from the Available School Fund — which provides money for schools derived from state-owned land and fuel taxes — and some money from an online sales tax into the new fund. But it is not clear whether the state’s plan to lower tax rates further in future years is sustainable, a point of concern for some lawmakers. Because the state is required to help school districts pay to educate students, limiting local tax revenue could force the state to reimburse them billions of dollars going forward. “It does not provide the reliable state revenue source that will be necessary to realize a truly transformational, long term school finance solution,” the Democrat-run Texas Legislative Study Group Caucus wrote in a recent analysis of HB 3. “For that reason, future legislatures may still have to address challenges if state revenue is not readily available.” Read related Tribune coverageTeacher raises and all-day pre-K: Here’s what’s in the Texas Legislature’s landmark school finance billTexas’ legislative leaders say they have a deal on school finance and property tax reformCan pay raises help rural Texas districts like Buffalo retain teachers? The Texas Tribune.center_img TAGS  By Digital AIM Web Support – February 24, 2021 Facebook Twitter Texas House, Senate pass school finance bill mandating teacher raises and cutting taxes WhatsApplast_img read more

Advancing Fair Housing, Racial Equity Through Federal Policy

first_img Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Previous: Layton: GSE Scorecard Brings Little Value to the Public Next: HUD Secretary: Annual Homelessness Assessment Results Are ‘Startling’ Advancing Fair Housing, Racial Equity Through Federal Policy Sign up for DS News Daily March 18, 2021 1,115 Views Related Articles Eileen Kornmeyer is the Director of the American Mortgage Diversity Council and the Property Preservation Executive Forum, both of which are part of the Five Star Institute. Her most recent tenure with the Dallas Business Journal allowed her to grow the paper’s readership while connecting and partnering with some of the top companies and organizations in DFW. She has notable tenure as sales manager for “The World of Concrete,” one of the Top 20 largest events annually. A native New Yorker, she cites the Adirondack Park as her place to recharge her batteries hiking, kayaking, and spending time with her family. Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago 2021-03-18 Christina Hughes Babb  Print This Post Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell this month hosted the latest installment in Urban’s conversation series, “Evidence to Action.” During the virtual event, Julián Castro, former Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) during the Obama administration, discussed how the new administration can fulfill its obligations under the Fair Housing Act and close equity gaps in housing.  Following the discussion with Secretary Castro, Solomon Greene, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, Gustavo Velasquez, Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and Lisa Rice, President, and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, joined Wartell to address what states will need from the federal government to advance fair, equitable housing and discuss the most impactful actions the Biden administration could take. Wartell kicked off the broadcast by noting the “most extraordinary response to registrations for this event” for a late Friday afternoon discussion, a testament to the strength of the panel and topic.  She noted that President Biden’s day-one executive order indicates the administration will take an all-of-government approach when considering equity implications in all aspects of policy choice and that the federal government will work closely with states to fulfill its obligations under the fair housing act. When asked his thoughts on President Biden’s day-one commitment, the Secretary said he was glad to see it, and that it sends a strong message to the agencies who will carry out this work. He stated it will be necessary to “connect the dots of these policies. People don’t live their lives in silos, it’s about fair housing.” He added this also is about connecting to other opportunities that will break down the barriers of discrimination. Castro further remarked that the idea of a public credit reporting agency outlined during the Biden campaign would potentially help all homeowners, especially those of color, gain better access to capital. The conversation then shifted to the Presidential memorandum that acknowledged past federal housing policies’ contribution to segregation and the denial of opportunities in disadvantaged communities, particularly in Black and Brown neighborhoods. “You can’t fix a problem until you acknowledge it,” said the Secretary. Noting the previous administration sought to change the mission statement of HUD, Castro says this is the true history of how policies have created disadvantage: acknowledgment and working to overcome it.  The Presidential mandate directs HUD to revisit policies integral to fair housing, including Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) seen as unfinished business from the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Biden Administration will also extend housing protections for the LGTBQ community, including transgender individuals. Greene pointed out that while it’s disturbing to accept the government had a role in contributing to segregation, they will have a role in correcting it. Greene also noted “there is a growing body of research that shows how segregation hurts everyone. It hurts the families that are locked out of neighborhoods rich in opportunity, it drags down our economy, and poses grave health risks.” He also added more segregated areas experience higher rates of homicide, lower earnings, and lower property values.  Rice says the only way President Biden can deliver on his campaign promise to address housing and racial inequities is to immediately fix the problems with the disparate impact rule and reinstate AFFH to the 2015 rule change under the previous administration.  “We can use AI and machine learning to really bring the force of technology to bear to help identify where there are barriers to lending and housing opportunities, and then fix them.” Rice says public housing authorities and stakeholders for decades have been asking for technological training and support as it relates to implementing AFFH.  Velasquez echoed that reinstatement of the AFFH to the 2015 rule is critical. He further explained how the state of California at state and local levels anchor AFFH work in law AB686. Passed in 2018, it was in response to the federal policy of no longer enforcing the 2015 rule. Velasquez says more affordable housing can be achieved with higher density zoning in the right areas without exacerbating segregation. “The city of Sacramento, for example, is a good example. The capital of our state saw the need to take significant action and they recently eliminated in essence single-family zoning and we are starting to see a trend here that other cities may follow soon.”  To round out the discussion, each panelist was asked about their hopes for the next four years. All agreed that working across the silos mentioned by Secretary Castro and resetting the AFFH to the 2015 rule are priorities they would like to see come to fruition. Hear the entire conversation below or at About Author: Eileen Kornmeyer Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Home / D&I / Advancing Fair Housing, Racial Equity Through Federal Policy Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Share Save Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago in D&I, Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Subscribelast_img read more

Bundesliga: Hazard inspires Dortmund to win over former side Gladbach

first_imgThe match was tense throughout and featured a Bundesliga season-high 10 yellow cards, with players from both teams needing to be pulled away from each other by Dortmund coach Lucien Favre at full-time.“It was a difficult game. Gladbach are efficient and our first half wasn’t great,” said Favre. “But after it was 1-1, we played well – and that was good, very good.”Dortmund took the lead inside 10 minutes when ex-Gladbach midfielder Hazard took a pass from Erling Braut Haaland and shrugged off three defenders to curl a floating shot into the top left-hand corner of the net.Gladbach equalised in the 50th minute when Lars Stindl tapped in a shot from Alassane Plea to score his fifth goal from his past four games.The turning point for Dortmund came in the 66th minute when Jadon Sancho -– who started on the bench ahead of Dortmund’s crucial trip to Paris Saint-German in midweek -– was introduced.Sancho’s assist, his 15th of the season, put Achraf Hakimi in acres of space on the right wing, with the Real Madrid loanee beating Yann Sommer through his legs.The win saw Dortmund leapfrog Leipzig into second place, trailing leaders Bayern Munich by a point.After the match, Hazard praised Haaland’s efforts in letting other Dortmund players get on the scoresheet.“I think he needs to give more assists, because he scores too much. I gave him one last time and now he’s given me one – we’re 1-1 – but next time it’s my turn to give him an assist again,” said Hazard.Dortmund captain Mats Hummels said the recent additions of Haaland and Emre Can had helped them find the right balance.“Right now we’ve got the perfect mix between artists and workers – or folks that can do both,” said Hummels.– Leipzig draw blank –RB Leipzig dropped points for the second weekend running after labouring to a 0-0 draw at Wolfsburg.Timo Werner was limited to 30 minutes off the bench for RB Leipzig due to injury An inspired performance by Thorgan Hazard against his former club helped Borussia Dortmund claim a crucial three points in the title race with a 2-1 win away at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.Advertisement Leipzig missed the goal threat of Timo Werner, who started the game on the bench after overcoming a muscular problem during the week.Despite being subbed on in the 60th minute, Werner –- who has 21 goals in the Bundesliga this season -– failed to make an impact in a dour encounter with few chances for either side, marking just the third time this season that Leipzig have failed to get on the scoresheet.Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann said the performance did not bode well ahead of Tottenham’s visit to Germany on Tuesday.“A draw was the right result as we weren’t good enough to win. We were laboured and slow in our build-up,” he said.“We didn’t create any space. We need to become dangerous again in front of goal before the Tottenham game.”At the BayArena, Bayer Leverkusen dominated Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 to jump up to fourth in the table.German football’s golden boy Kai Havertz opened the scoring in the fourth minute with his sixth of the season, tapping in a cross from Moussa Diaby. Karim Bellarabi scored the home side’s second just 10 minutes later when chipping in from close range.Leverkusen’s teenage Brazilian forward Paulinho added two more in a five-minute period midway through the second half.Schalke and Hoffenheim fought out a 1-1 draw at the Veltins Arena. American midfielder Weston McKennie scored just his second goal from 67 Bundesliga appearances when his left-footed drive put his side 1-0 up in the 20th minute. Read Also: Messi named La Liga Player of the Month for FebruaryHoffenheim levelled in the 69th minute through Christoph Baumgartner.Elsewhere, relegation-threatened Werder Bremen held on for a 2-2 draw away at Hertha Berlin after blowing a two-goal lead.Freiburg kept their hopes for European football alive with a dominant 3-1 home win over Union Berlin.On Sunday, Bayern have a chance to restore their four-point lead at the top of the table when they welcome Bavarian neighbours Augsburg to the Allianz Arena.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Promoted Content7 Non-Obvious Things That Damage Your Phone12 Actors Who Can Only Play Bad Guys5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks8 Shows You Didn’t Want To Watch At The EndCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Top 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All TimeWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A Tattoo7 Mind-Boggling Facts About Black HolesThe 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The World7 Facts About Black Holes That Will Blow Your Mind Loading… last_img read more