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Israel Approves First New Settler Homes Since Suspending Annexation, NGO Says | World News

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel approved more than 1,300 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Peace Now settlement-monitoring group said, in the first such go-ahead since it suspended annexation plans in the territory.

The decision drew an angry response from Palestinians, who seek to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

“We urge the international community to intervene immediately to stop this settlement madness, which destroys any chance for a genuine peace process,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The construction could help mute criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from settler leaders, who are traditional allies.

They had bristled at the annexation suspension that helped pave the way for last month’s deals to forge diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Peace Now said a planning committee in Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank gave final approval for building 1,357 housing units in several settlements.

A spokesman for the administration could not immediately confirm the numbers.

A statement from Beit El settlement said 350 new housing units would be built there. It hailed the committee’s decision as “a tremendous achievement for Beit El”.

The forum, which last held such a hearing eight months ago, was due to reconvene on Thursday to advance additional construction projects in settlements and give final approval for others.

Peace Now said the committee was set to move forward with projects comprising at least 4,430 new settler homes.

Most countries view settlements Israel has built in territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war as illegal and as an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. The United States and Israel dispute this.

Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank and around 450,000 of its

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DVIDS – News – Under Secretary of Army McPherson tours schools, housing renovation site


FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 13, 2020) — The Army’s second-highest-ranking civilian spent a good part of his day here Oct. 7 touring training facilities, conversing with troops and spotlighting efforts to improve privatized military family housing.

Under Secretary of the Army James McPherson received a glimpse of quartermaster and ordnance training, lunched with students at the Samuel Sharpe Dining Facility and addressed members of the media outside a newly renovated residence in the Jackson Circle neighborhood.

Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general, hosted the undersecretary and accompanied him throughout the tour.

McPherson’s first stop was the QM School’s Petroleum and Water Department. There, he met with administrators, instructors and students. He also received a familiarization on the latest virtual training systems said to save time and resources while improving technical skills.

Advanced individual training Soldiers Spc. Zoya Goodwin, Pvt. Xavier Sullivan-Dixon and Pvt. Paden Bear were among those who briefed the undersecretary, walking him through a virtual training session.

“We have a new breed coming into the force, and they gravitate toward technology,” pointed out PWD Director Jose Hernandez, who was present for the briefing and spoke highly of the professionalism and confidence demonstrated by his junior Soldiers. “This is what they like, and when you mesh what they like with the learning experience, the confidence level just goes up.”

McPherson spent roughly an hour at PWD and later presented Soldiers and leaders with coins. Hernandez said he was thrilled senior leaders are taking an interest in virtual learning programs at the school and is always glad to demonstrate how students are benefiting from it.

“I thought it was a great visit,” Hernandez said. “It was good to have someone from the Pentagon visit us and see how

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On one-year anniversary of Hard Rock Hotel collapse, developer sues host of contractors | News

The company that owns the ill-fated Hard Rock Hotel filed suit this week against a host of construction contractors, subcontractors and insurance companies for damages related to the collapse of the highrise last October that killed three workers and injured dozens more.

The legal action was filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court late Monday, on the one-year anniversary of the collapse of the upper floors of the 18-story building.

The ownership group, 1031 Canal Development, is led by Mohan Kailas. But company officials have said principals of two of the project’s main contractors — Denzell Clark, owner of general contractor Citadel Builders and Todd Trosclair, owner of electrical contractor All-Star Electric — also owned a share.

1031 Canal places the blame for the building’s failure on Citadel, All-Star, Heaslip Engineering, architect Harry Baker Smith and 15 other subcontractors. Because of the group’s contract with Citadel to build the hotel at Canal and N. Rampart streets, it also sued the insurance providers of each contractor and subcontractor.

New Orleans sues owners of collapsed Hard Rock Hotel for $12M over cleanup, other costs

The lawsuit takes particularly pointed aim at Heaslip, which was cited for several key violations by investigators with the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. It claims that Heaslip failed to design the proper support beams and columns or calculate the proper loads that each floor could support. It branches out from there to the lead contractor, Citadel, and the various trades subcontractors.

“Just as Heaslip did not run appropriate load calculations and analyses, neither did the general contractor, or any subcontractor or supplier,” the lawsuit alleges.



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Demi Searls, 7, and Harlo Cartozzo, 8, write notes to their uncle Anthony Floyd Magrette who died in the Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapse in New Orleans, Monday, Oct. 12,

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Historic Pine Orchard Chapel undergoes necessary renovation | News

BRANFORD — History has a way of repeating itself. At least in the case of the Pine Orchard Union Chapel.

Back in 1897, money was raised for the construction of the chapel. The Wallace brothers donated the land, neighbors held parties to raise $1,600 and children dug and sold clams and raised nearly $7 for the project.

Now, with extensive renovations needed to preserve the building, neighbors are again working together to raise money. And, they will see their donations at work when the groundbreaking for the restoration project takes place 11 a.m., Oct. 19, at the chapel.

This past summer, Sienna Torella raised some $4,000 selling homemade, fresh pink lemonade, along with tie-dyed masks, bandanas and shirts.

Her slogan, “Raise a Glass of Lemonade to Save Our Beloved Chapel.”

The Mary R. Tisko School third grader talked about the importance of this neighborhood.

“People have a lot of weddings there and we have arts and crafts there and it’s just really fun,” the 8-year-old said.

“It would be sad and no one would really get married,” she said about the possibility of the chapel not existing in her neighborhood.

Carole Brown shares this love of this historic building and with her matching gift up to $100,000, Sienna’s donation will double.

“Especially at that age to think they were able to make that much money and then have it matched makes them so much happier,” she said of the lemonade stand. “They should be proud.”

Brown remembers attending church services when she was a young girl, while summering in Hotchkiss Grove with her family.

“It’s just so much a part of the area here,” the 85-year-old said.

“Architecturally, it’s a gem of Queen Anne Victoria architecture and there’s so many memories for so many people,” she added.

While originally built

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NHAI directs contractors to check dust pollution at sites | Gurgaon News

Gurgaon: As the air quality index has started deteriorating in the city, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has asked all its project contractors to adopt safety measures to check dust pollution.
In the recently issued directions by the NHAI, all concessionaires and contractors have been apprised of the MCG’s decision to implement Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) from October 15. As per the plan, all construction sites will have to give an undertaking to ensure their compliance to the dust management norms. Further, as there would be a blanket ban on the use of diesel gensets, barring emergency services, the concessionaires and project contractors have been asked to stop the use of gensets too.
“We have apprised the concessionaire and contractors about the guidelines. There will be three-level monitoring. The concessionaire would be tasked to regularly evaluate the measures taken, auditing will be carried out by independent engineers and thirdly, the NHAI will review the status of compliance,” said project director Shashi Bhushan.
“We already follow the dust management norms and sprinkle water on the site multiple times in a day. We’ll increase the frequency and install more tankers and sprinklers as we also understand that there’s a sudden spike in air pollution and we need to take additional measures,” said an Oriental Structures Engineering official.
“But, the ban on diesel gensets is ill-founded. Gurgaon can’t provide a single day of 24-hour power supply. We are forced to shell out extra money on diesel generators to cover up for the 8 to 10 hours power outages. This essentially means that we lose productivity and the project that is still limping after lockdown in March will further be delayed,” the official added.

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