Thu, Dec 31st 2015, 07:54 PM
TWENTY SIX Bahamians from all walks of life have been recognised in Her Majesty the Queen's 2016 New Year's Honours list for exemplary service to the country, Government House announced on Thursday night.
Thu, Dec 31st 2015, 05:28 PM
Thu, Dec 31st 2015, 03:55 PM
NASA says this year's El Nino "shows no signs of waning," and its biggest impact on the U.S. is expected to hit early in the new year. The latest satellite imagery suggests the current El Nino is on track to rival or even surpass the biggest one ever recorded, in the winter of 1997-98.
The latest satellite image of Pacific sea surface heights from Jason-2 (right) differs slightly from one 18 years ago from TOPEX/Poseidon (left). In Dec. 1997, sea surface height was more intense and peaked in November. In Dec. 2015, the area of high sea levels is less intense but considerably broader. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
The satellite images show similar, unusually high sea surface heights along the equator in the Pacific Ocean, an indication of warmer waters -- "the signature of a big and powerful El Nino," NASA said in the latest update posted online. The warmer ocean waters pump heat and moisture high into the atmosphere, altering the jet stream and affecting storm tracks all over the world.
A comparison of the satellite images shows that 1997's El Nino peaked in November, while this year's is impacting a larger area of high sea levels in December. "This could mean we have not yet seen the peak of this El Nino," said Josh Willis, project scientist for the Jason satellite missions at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
This year's pattern, dubbed the "Godzilla El Nino," has already been bringing more rainfall and snow to the West Coast. On Wednesday, California officials reported that snowpack in the Sierra Nevada -- a significant source of the state's water supply -- has reached 136 percent of normal level. That's generally welcome news after years of drought -- but heavy precipitation also raises the threat of severe flooding or mudslides.
The strong El Nino of 1997-98 nearly doubled the average rainfall for Southern California and fueled fierce storms that killed at least 17 people across the U.S. In addition to its impact on the West Coast, a strong El Nino can bring more precipitation across most of the south and up the East Coast. Northern states are likely to have a drier and warmer winter than average.
Meteorologists say El Nino helps explain why this December broke high temperature records as the eastern half of the country basked in 60- or even 70-degree weather the week of Christmas.
Latest images from the OSTM/Jason-2 satellite showing sea levels affected by El Nino (in white). (NASA/JPL-CALTECH)
Paula Cohen | cbsnews.com
Thu, Dec 31st 2015, 03:29 PM
Thu, Dec 31st 2015, 02:31 PM
Madam President, I rise today to lend my support to the passage of the National Honours Bill, 2015. In doing so, I am mindful of place and time; that I sit in this Place at this time because of the actions of thousands of ordinary and extraordinary Bahamians who worked tirelessly to create the modern Bahamas.
Madam President, today marks the close of 2015 and by sheer coincidence on this very day, more than four and a half decades ago, my mother Patricia Eva Pennerman-Bell and my late Father, Anthony Alexander Bell, welcomed my arrival into this world.
As I reflect on the Bill before this Chamber, and by extension my own experiences over the course of my life, I draw a direct correlation between the value of hard work and success. The Bill before this Chamber will establish (in law) a system of indigenous national honours which will be or rather could be awarded along with our historical system of national honours issued through Her Majesty on the advice of her Bahamian Ministers.
The Bill establishes a national honour system comprised of:
(a) The Order of National Hero - which is the highest honour which could be bestowed on a living or deceased Bahamian;
(b) The Order of the Nation;
(c) The Order of The Bahamas;
(d) The Order of Excellence;
(e) The Order of Distinction;
(f) The Order of Merit;
(g) The Order of Lignum Vitae; and
(f) Any other honour constituted by the Governor- General by Order.
The Governor General will serve as the Chancellor of all of the Orders and the Bill establishes a clear system for nominating and appointing persons to the various Orders. The Advisory Committee established by this Bill will be responsible for reviewing applications for the various orders and make recommendations for honours. Honours below the rank of National Hero will be conferred by the Chancellor on the advice of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Advisory Committee.
To be appointed to the Order of National Hero, the person must be a Bahamian (living or deceased) who:-
Has made a seminal contribution to The Bahamas; and
Which contribution has altered the course of the history of The Bahamas in a positive way;
(b) has given service to The Bahamas which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attainment of the highest excellence which has rebounded to the honour of The Bahamas and which service and attainment have been acknowledged as a source of inspiration by a significant portion of the nation; or
(c) Has, through that person's heroic exploits and sacrifice, having gone beyond their personal and historic limitations, contributed to the improvement of the economic, spiritual and social conditions of the nation as a whole.
Madam President, the provisions relative to the conferment of “National Hero” have been deliberately drafted to create an Order reserved for the most exceptional of exceptional Bahamians whose life and work transformed the nation.
Turning to the Advisory Committee, it is essential to note the importance of having full community representation on the Committee. This Bill requires that the Committee be comprised of ten (10) members of which:
(a) Two shall be from the Houses of Parliament, one of whom shall be nominated by the Prime Minister and the other of whom shall be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition;
(b) One shall be a serving member of the judiciary nominated by the Chief Justice;
(c) One shall be nominated by the Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force;
(d) One shall be nominated by the Commissioner of Police;
(e) One shall be nominated by the Council of the College of The Bahamas; and
(f) Four shall be nominated by the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition of whom —
(i) One shall be a well qualified and recognized historian;
(ii) One shall be a person who resides in the Northern Bahamas which includes the islands of Abaco, Berry Islands, Bimini, Grand Bahama;
(iii) One shall be a person who resides in the Central Bahamas which includes the islands of Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma and New Providence; and
(iv) One shall be a person who resides in the Southern Bahamas which includes the islands of Acklins, Crooked Island, Inagua, Long Island or San Salvador.
Madam President, I cannot think of any other piece of legislation which has sought to be so inclusive and apolitical. It is envisioned that to the greatest extent possible, greater recognition is given to Bahamians throughout the length and breadth of this Commonwealth who will be recognised for their work and contribution to nation building.
In the beginning of this presentation, I noted the direct relationship between hard work and success. Today, I reflect on this past year and the decades I have been blessed to be in the land of the living. I am thankful for the work of the thousands of nameless and unrecognised Bahamians who have toiled to build this Country-people who have worked, without reference to reward to improve the lives and status of their people.
Today, we face tremendous challenges, a significant amount of which is grounded in the reluctance to recognise the direct relationship between work and success. When we look at the people for whose work this Bill will recognise, they (just as we are today) were grounded in the belief that by working hard, we must help the weak and remember the words of our Lord Jesus, how he himself said ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.
This basic principle of working hard and giving of oneself is the key to turning this Country around. I believe that this Bill, through honouring our most noble sons and daughters, will inspire present and future generations to work harder and become better citizens. May God’s richest blessings continue to be upon this Commonwealth and its beautiful people.
Thu, Dec 31st 2015, 12:35 PM
EXECUTIVES of the Bahamas Nurses Union yesterday signed two five-year industrial agreements with the government, ending an arduous process that initially saw both sides come to an agreement only to have minor details force negotiators back to the table. During a press conference at the Ministry of Health, BNU President Jannah Khalfani, flanked by other union officials, finally had the chance to “put pen to paper,” finalising agreements between the two entities for the 2010-2015 and 2015-2020 periods...
EXECUTIVES of the Bahamas Nurses Union yesterday signed two five-year industrial agreements with the government, ending an arduous process that initially saw both sides come to an agreement only to have minor details force negotiators back to the table.
During a press conference at the Ministry of Health, BNU President Jannah Khalfani, flanked by other union officials, finally had the chance to “put pen to paper,” finalising agreements between the two entities for the 2010-2015 and 2015-2020 periods...