Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during Bersatu special assembly, at Malaysia Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), Serdang July 20, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KLANG, July 20 — The Malaysian government encourages everyone to learn first aid as it plays a very critical role in helping to sustain the lives of those who suffer from injuries, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.The prime minister said such assistance can be a crucial improvement to the medical outcome before medical help arrived and in numerous instances, it can also mean the difference between life and death.“Therefore, I would encourage all Malaysians to support and give your services to organisations such as St John Ambulance so that together we can really make a difference in our community and help those who are in need,” he said at the St John Ambulance of Malaysia 111th anniversary grand banquet dinner here tonight.Also present were Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and the chairman of St John Ambulance Council Malaysia, Datuk Lai See Ming.Dr Mahathir, who is also the president of St John Ambulance Malaysia, said one of the significant contributions of St John Ambulance is their tireless effort in equipping Malaysians, especially the younger generation, with first aid and nursing care skills.“Through such effort, the young are trained in this life-saving skills and in this process, they too learn about leadership, teamwork, perseverance and relationship management which is very crucial in our nation-building.“In the end, these young volunteers will develop strong values of compassion, kindness and humility,” he said, adding that he is delighted to note that St John Ambulance has been serving the people of this country for a truly amazing duration of 111 years.He said it was great to see the progress made by St John Ambulance where on several occasions, he had the opportunity to meet many dedicated volunteers and learn about the good work that the organisation has carried out.“And more than a century of service is not something we will come by every day. It is indeed a remarkable milestone that not many others can emulate easily,” he said.At the ceremony, Dr Mahathir also launched the National Automated External Defibrillator (AED) programme which is intended to help reduce the number of death cases due to heart attack in public spaces.St John Ambulance of Malaysia intends to place AED machines in public places in the Klang Valley and advocate awareness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED education programmes, where it will teach local communities about the importance of learning CPR and the method of using AED machines to save lives.Earlier, Dr Mahathir presented the competition challenge trophies for the 32nd Malaysia-Singapore First Aid and Nursing Competition and Asian Pacific Regional Youth First Aid Competition to the winners. — Bernama [...]
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order aimed at streamlining the overburdened kidney care and transplantation system—a move meant to “bring new hope to millions of Americans suffering from kidney disease,” Trump said.
The policy is intended to improve kidney care in three major ways: by emphasizing more effective and convenient treatments; making more kidneys available for transplant; and improving preventive care and education with the goal of reducing the number of people who develop end-stage renal disease by 25% by 2030.
Kidney disease tends not to attract as much attention as other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. But though it flies mostly under the radar, kidney disease is the ninth most common cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 37 million American adults have the condition, the CDC says, and more than 100,000 Americans—a disproportionate number of them African American—are waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Many people at some stage of kidney disease do not know they have it, the CDC says.
Eliminating that information gap is a key part of the Trump Administration’s initiative. The new plan calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to launch a public awareness campaign about chronic kidney disease, and for the CDC to improve kidney disease tracking and detection nationwide. These initiatives—along with a change in Medicare provider payment models that would prioritize education and preventive care from doctors—are designed to help slow the rate at which Americans develop renal disease in the first place.
But the policy also includes a number of measures meant to improve care and quality of life for patients who have already been diagnosed, namely through updates to Medicare and Medicaid payment models. Payment model adjustments under Trump’s policy promote more widespread use of in-home dialysis, which is more convenient for patients. More than 500,000 patients were on dialysis in 2016, the National Kidney Foundation says, and many of them spend around 12 hours a week in dialysis centers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says. The current system is both burdensome to patients, and costly for the health care system as a whole.
“The way we currently pay for chronic kidney disease and kidney failure isn’t working well for patients,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.
The executive order also includes a proposal that would ease financial challenges for living kidney donors. While donors do not typically pay for their operations, they are often responsible for expenses like travel, lost wages and child care incurred as a result of the donation process—making it unattractive or impossible for many people, especially lower-income individuals, to donate. Trump’s order would cover many of these costs, which could increase participation by living donors and cut down on the number of people on the transplant waiting list.
In recent years, more kidney donors have been deceased than alive, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Here, too, Trump’s order seeks to improve the process, by streamlining an arcane organ procurement system that research shows allows a large percentage of usable organs to go to waste each year. Trump’s kidney program will more clearly define the standards that organ procurement organizations use to determine whether an organ is viable, with the goal of increasing organ recovery and closing geographic disparities in procurement rates.
Finally, the initiative looks toward the future by encouraging research into advancements like artificial kidneys, as well as better kidney disease treatments and prevention plans. [...]
By taking over the four highways and collecting lower congestion charges, motorists will save up to RM180 million annually or around RM2 billion throughout the duration of the toll concessions, Pua said. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — The federal government’s planned takeover of four highways will help Malaysian motorists save money, unlike during Barisan Nasional administration’s, where toll concessionaires were allegedly making huge profits, DAP MP Tony Pua said today.Pua, who is DAP national publicity secretary, also sought to refute statements by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who had criticised the proposed highway takeover.Pua referred to Najib’s Facebook post where the latter had claimed that Malaysians would be shouldering the RM6.2 billion cost to acquire the four highways, arguing that Najib’s comment was wrong.“Looks like Datuk Seri Najib has lost the ability to count.“It can’t be that Datuk Seri Najib does not know that if the government does not take over these highway concessions, highway users will still be paying higher toll fares to the concessionaires that would enable these highway firms to continue enjoying huge profits?” the Damansara MP said in a statement.Pua instead explained that the government’s acquisition of the LDP, SPRINT, SMART and KESAS highways would instead enable both the government and taxpayers to save money, as there would be no need to fork out over RM5.3 billion in compensation to the toll highway operators to freeze toll hikes before the concessions expire.While motorists would have to pay congestion charges to cover the operation and maintenance costs of the four highways, these charges would be significantly lower than what they are paying now in toll fares, he said.He said that the congestion charges would also mean that the government would not have to spend money to take over the highways, as the congestion charges would be sufficient to cover such costs.By taking over the four highways and collecting the lower congestion charge, motorists would then save up to RM180 million annually or around RM2 billion throughout the duration of the toll concessions, he said.Pua also shot down Najib’s attempt to mock the new government as planning to continue collecting tolls purportedly rebranded as congestion charges, pointing out that the BN administration under Najib’s attempt to end toll collection had instead resulted in billions of ringgit worth of compensation to highway concession companies.“This means that only the profits of concessionaires were prioritised. The ones who suffer loss are the taxpayers who were forced to bear such high compensation. That is among the reasons why the BN government had to torture the public with such high GST tax collections to cover the excessive operating costs of the government,” Pua said of the BN era.He argued that motorists would still have had to continue paying toll to the highway concessionaires even if no compensation was paid under the previous government’s approach, as the concession period would have to be extended for decades, such as the PLUS highway which had its toll collecting period extended from 2018 to 2038.Pua noted that Najib had while in power repeatedly stressed that the government is unable to takeover toll highways or would suffer huge losses or that the toll rates cannot be reduced, but said the new government under Pakatan Harapan has now “proved” that it is able to acquire these highways at RM6.2 billion without suffering any losses and with congestion charges or toll fares to be significantly reduced while also pocketing savings of RM5.3 billion.“It is clear that the Barisan Nasional government in the past only prioritised the profits of private highway concessionaires, while the Pakatan Harapan government prioritises the interests of the public and taxpayers,” he said.Pua also noted that Pakatan Harapan’s approach for the four highways meant that congestion charges would be further reduced significantly at the end of the original concession period, with this collection solely for the operating and maintenance of the highways.“This charge will not contain any element of profit. If the congestion charge is not collected, the cost will still have to be borne by the government and taxpayers in general,” he explained.Pua said the government’s highway acquisition efforts represent the first step towards realising Pakatan Harapan’s promise of gradually reducing toll rates, adding that the government will continue to explore solutions to reduce Malaysians’ financial burden pending the future recovery of the country’s financial position. [...]
by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by TMR
Highway users are expected to save as much as RM180 million annually from the acquisition of four highway concessionaires by the government, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
According to Lim, highway users will be able to save from paying the congestion charges, which is reduced from the current toll charges.
“In principle, the government will give discounts of up to 30% for hours outside of peak periods and free travel during off-peak periods,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Lim also addressed on why the concessions should be acquired for RM6.2 billion immediately when the expiry dates are between nine to 23 years from now.
“Clearly the immediate rationale will be that highway users will pay a reduced congestion charge that can save them RM180 million per year,” he said.
The government has made a RM6.2 billion bid to take over the Kesas Holdings Bhd, Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Holdings Sdn Bhd (Sprint) and Syarikat Mengurus Air Banjir Dan Terowong Sdn Bhd (Smart) concessionaires.
The acquisition will be funded by a fully-financed bond issuance, which will be refunded from the congestion charges’ collection.
Lim said due to the inherited nature of the previous administration that caused the current financial constraints, the government cannot afford to spend RM18 billion.
“By issuing the RM6.2 billion bond at no cost to the federal government, there is a win-win solution because of the savings of at least RM5.3 billion in compensation to the four highways for freezing toll hikes,” he said.
In total, the compensation savings range between RM5.25 million to RM6.50 million against the acquisition cost of RM6.20 billion.
He also added that the concessions’ periods will not be extended but will expire in accordance to the existing agreements and that upon expiry, congestion charges will be further reduced significantly to cover only highway operational and maintenance costs, without elements of profit.
“The conditional offers, when approved by the shareholders and creditors of the four highway concessionaires, are still subject to Cabinet approval,” he said.
Lim also emphasised that the conditional offer made by professional banking consultants are in line with fulfilling the Pakatan Harapan government’s commitment in its manifesto to take over highway concessions and gradually reduce toll rates.
It was reported previously that this move by the government would be expected due to the slightly lower takeover bid price and interest expense against highways with longer remaining concession years.
On June 21, Litrak has received RM2.75bil takeover offer from the government to acquire all shares in the company and its 50% stake in Sprint.
MoF Inc also made an offer to Gamuda Bhd, the major stakeholder of all four highways, to acquire its stakes in Kesas, Smart and Sprint, which currently stands at 44% stake in Litrak, a 50% stake in Sprint, a 70% stake in Kesas and a 50% stake in Smart.
The post Toll highways’ acquisition to save RM180m annually for users: MOF appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve. [...]
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Husam said investigations should be carried out if the deaths of the community members were due to the contamination of a pond they depended on as their water source. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
KOTA BARU, June 8 — Urgent action must be taken to save the Bateq tribe of the Orang Asli community in Kuala Koh who are facing health threats, says Kelantan Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Senator Datuk Husam Musa.Husam said investigations should be carried out if the deaths of the community members were due to the contamination of a pond they depended on as their water source.“Immediate measures to supply clean water should be implemented and the impact of the nearby iron ore mining plant should also be investigated and addressed.“It is an unfortunate event that the Orang Asli community who is lagging behind in all aspects, is forced to face another hardship to the extent of losing their family members, including children (to the illness).“More important is that the surviving members of the community can be saved,” he said in a statement here today.He also called on all the relevant agencies to look into the issue and take proactive measures to save the victims.Meanwhile, Gua Musang district police chief Supt Taufik Maidin today denied that two Orang Asli residents in Kampung Kuala Koh had died from mysterious illness on May 29 and yesterday.Taufik was also reported to be refuting the Orang Asli’s claims that 13 residents had died from an illness as the police only received reports of two deaths thus far.A Malay daily recently reported that members of the Orang Asli community in Kuala Koh live in fear after they claimed that 13 residents, including one-year-old baby, had died due to an illness throughout the Ramadan month. — Bernama [...]
General view of KL Sentral station in Kuala Lumpur June 3, 2019, on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. — Picture by Hari Anggara
KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — While Aidilfitri is the time when urbanites return to their hometowns to celebrate with families and loved ones, many in the city have to make do with celebrating the festival away from home.Among them are Muslim foreign workers who are unable to return home as they simply cannot afford the expensive airfares to return to their home countries during the festive period.They know their main objective of being in the country is to earn and save as much as they can so that their families back home can have a better life.To make matters worse, many of them are still at the mercy of their employers. They are forced to hand over their identification documents to their employers before the festive break for fear that their salaries may be deducted.An Indian Muslim restaurant worker who wants to be known as Shabudeen, said this is the second year that he is celebrating Aidilfitri at the eatery as he was not able to save enough to buy the air ticket to India.“I was working even on the first day of Hari Raya. I went to the mosque (Masjid India) and then to work because of the double pay. When I have enough money, I will be able to buy a return ticket back home,” said the 34-year-old who has a wife and child.Returning home is a costly affair and that stopped security guard Yasral Anddal, 28, from going back to his hometown in Indonesia for the festival.“This year, is the first time I did not return home as the airfare is too expensive. My wife and I performed prayers and then we had a meal at the mosque on the first day of Aidilfitri.“Although I did not return home, the Aidilfitri atmosphere here is lively and cheerful. There are open houses to go to especially at mosques, and we were treated to delicious food ...there was no need for us to spend on cooking,” he said.A construction worker who wanted to be known as Denpo, 30, from Myanmar, said he handed his identification papers to his employer as he feared that his salary would be deducted.“We were only given leave for two days, so, before the holidays, we have to hand over our passports to our employer. It will be returned to us when we get back to work tomorrow.“They (company management) are afraid we will run away ... if we did not (hand over our passports), our salaries will be cut,” he said.While he did not celebrate Aidilfitri, the Myanmar was happy to wander in the city with friends during the two-day break.Meanwhile, a Bernama check at tourist attractions such as Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Pasar Seni and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, were flooded with foreign workers.Many of them took advantage of the festive break to hang out at their favourite spots around the nation’s capital.While the foreigners were visible because of their large presence, they posed no harm.However, bank security guard Siti Ramlah Ibrahim, 45, said their presence especially near ATM machines was disconcerting.“They prefer to sit on the floor at the ATM area because the air-conditioning. But I have to tell them several times to leave as they litter the place and are reluctant to throw them into the garbage bins.“Some are unkempt and also have bad body odour. I ticked them off and tell them to leave but the stubborn ones will still return,” said Siti Ramlah. — Bernama [...]
Many fish, marine mammals and seabirds that inhabit the world’s oceans are critically endangered, but few are as close to the brink as the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). [...]
Electronic stores or discounters often advertise cheap notebooks and PCs. If you want to make a decent saving (and do the environment a favour), you should know how to find a good second-hand model. [...]
New billing practices at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG) could ease the financial burdens of patients seeking care at the community hospital — 94% of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medi-Cal, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
The new policies would create income-based, out-of-pocket maximum costs for patients; make more patients eligible for financial assistance; ensure that out-of-network patients who receive care at ZSFG are billed as much as they would be at an in-network facility; and end the practice of balance billing, through which patients are charged for costs their insurer declines to cover. The recommended changes were developed by San Francisco’s public health department at the request of San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin and will be presented to the city’s health commission Tuesday, according to a statement.
ZSFG is San Francisco’s largest public hospital and focuses on providing care to all who need it, regardless of their socioeconomic status and ability to pay, the hospital says.
“I am pleased that we have made changes to align our hospital billing practices with our values, reflecting our true partnership with the community,” ZSFG CEO Dr. Susan Ehrlich said in a statement. “The hospital provided $61 million in charity care in 2017 alone, and it is critical that every community member feels welcome and cared for at ZSFG.”
That wasn’t always the case, according to a January investigation from Vox. ZSFG, San Francisco’s only top-tier trauma center, is not in the networks of any private insurance companies, Vox reported, meaning some privately insured patients faced bills far higher than they would have at other medical centers. One woman profiled by Vox faced a $20,000 bill after breaking her arm biking and getting emergency treatment at ZSFG. (After the story ran, the bill was eventually reduced to $200.)
The hospital’s new practices would change that, by billing out-of-network patients at the same rate as their in-network providers.
ZSFG stopped balance-billing patients in February, according to the statement — but because so many of its patients are publicly insured or uninsured, it’s likely that less than 2% of them may have faced this issue even before that, the health department says. Health officials will begin implementing the other proposed changes “in the coming months,” the statement says.
The hospital’s new out-of-pocket maximum will range from $0 for those earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level (which is set at $12,490 for an individual, or $25,750 for a family of four) to $4,800 for those making more than 1,000% of the federal poverty level. Under the new policies, patients making up to 500% of the federal poverty level will also now be eligible for financial assistance through the state’s Charity Care program.
All together, the new policies are projected to reduce the hospital’s annual revenue by up to $2.2 million, the statement says. A hospital representative told TIME that it is “exploring several options” for making up the lost revenue, but did not specify what those strategies could be.
ZSFG, formerly San Francisco General Hospital, was renamed in 2015, after accepting a $75 million donation from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. [...]
Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo speaks during a press conference at Parliament on April 11, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
SEREMBAN, April 11 — DAP deputy chairman, Gobind Singh Deo today criticised the opposition who often harped that the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government have failed to implement its manifestos which were promised at the past general election.Gobind Singh, who is also Communications and Multimedia Minister, said despite only 11 months in power, the PH government had actually implemented the main core of its manifesto, namely, to save Malaysia from corruption and abuse of power, in fact, among others, it had been proven through the actions of the government in solving the issues related to the nation’s main agencies such as the Pilgrims Fund Board (TH) and Felda.‘’If people say PH did not fulfill its promises, look at what happened in Parliament last week, for TH, for Felda we raised the issues, we promise we will bring improvements, we will bring reform and we will uncover wrongdoings and we will repair, we implement.“We are doing exactly what we promised to do. Indeed, there are many manifestos we must implement some more but we have time, we have five years... and I ask all who are here, we are all together, after 11 months we are still strong and what we need is to move ahead,” he said.He said this in his speech at a general ceramah at Taman Sri Intan, Kampung Siliau near here tonight which was also attended by PH de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.Gobind also drew attention that, although in a short period of time, the PH government had clean leaders who did not practice corruption and always endeavoured to ensure the money and fund in the country were used for the Malaysian people and not for their own cronies.‘’That is what we want, a government with a difference from Barisan Nasional (BN).‘’We have a choice, we show we have leaders, not only clean leaders, but leaders who take steps and endeavour to clean, improve the economy and raise the standard of living of the Malaysian people, that is the PH government,’’ he said.Different from the past government, he said the government which had ruled the nation for 61 years (BN) left behind a country and states which had very acute financial problems.‘’ all these scandals, all these shortcomings and damages took place when they became the government which had consequences on agencies such as TH and Felda,’’ he said.He said the PH government was also committed to build a country which would make the people proud to be Malaysians and did not want the issue of racism and religion to be constantly raised and fanned.The Rantau state by-election on Saturday would see a four-cornered contest between the PH candidate Dr S. Streram, BN candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and two independent candidates, namely, housewife, R. Malarvizhi and former lecturer, Mohd Nor Yassin. — Bernama [...]
The cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. has long caused frustration and, worse, presented financial barriers for some consumers. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average American pays $1,200 per year for medications, more than in any other country in the world. A recent poll from Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of American adults are not taking medications as directed, either skipping or splitting doses, opting for over-the-counter medication instead or not filling their prescriptions at all, in order to cut costs.
Currently, the U.S. government doesn’t regulate drug costs, and while that continues to be a contentiously debated issue for lawmakers, insurers and the pharmaceutical industry, it’s unclear what, if anything, all that arguing will change. However, even with the current systems in place, there are still several strategies consumers can use to decrease their spending.
Here are six such ways to combat sticker shock at the pharmacy counter.
Find out why your medication is so expensive. “For us, it’s really important to get to the main root cause because you’ll ultimately find the best solution,” says Erin Bradshaw, the chief of mission delivery at Patient Advocate Foundation, a nonprofit that provides patients with case-management services and financial support.
Bradshaw explains that while your provider may not have the answers, pharmacists are often extremely knowledgable about the complexities of pricing and can provide valuable guidance. They may also be aware of short-term savings opportunities such as co-pay assistance programs, manufacturer discounts and third-party coupons.
Know your insurance
If you’re insured, whether through a state- or federally funded program, an employer or yourself, take the time to learn the details of your plan’s design. This includes the basics such as your monthly premium, deductible and specifics like the plan’s formulary—the list of covered generic and brand-name medications, including the tiered pricing structure under which different drugs that treat the same illness have different prices. You can find out your co-pay by using the medication pricing tool on your insurance company’s website. Commercial insurance companies may also restrict your choice of pharmacies or have a designated mail-order service.
According to Bradshaw, often, patients just don’t understand how their plans work. “They might think they’re getting denied, but in reality, it might be a covered prescription, but they have to meet an out-of-pocket deductible,” she says. Other plans may have co-pay accumulators, a feature that debuted in 2016 and eliminates some of the benefits of using a manufacturer assistance program or co-pay card when purchasing medication. Instead of counting the amount contributed by the manufacturer in the deductible, lessening a patient’s out-of-pocket costs before insurance begins to cover the medication, a co-pay accumulator requires the patient to pay the entire deductible themselves redistributing the discount to reduce the burden on the insurance company. “So you’ll maybe find a solution to help along the way, but then three months later you might find that you still owe that $5,000 deductible,” says Bradshaw. “For some people, it catches them off guard because they might have been using these systems before and they worked well.”
If you have Medicare Part D, fill your prescriptions at one of your insurance company’s preferred pharmacies—which should be listed on the company’s website—to pay a lower co-pay.
Switch to generic medication
A common piece of advice for reducing medication costs is to use generics rather than brand-name medications. “Generics are less expensive because the company who makes the generic did not have to spend the dollars for research and development,” explains pharmacist Theresa Tolle, owner of Bay Street Pharmacy in Sebastian, Fla. “Without that additional overhead, the generic company can ‘copy’ the formula and charge less to produce it than the company who brought it to market.”
Although FDA-approved generics and brand-name counterparts are generally thought of as identical, there can be slight differences that may affect some consumers. “The Food and Drug Administration has strict requirements and specifications for generics that must be met before they are approved to be on the market,” says Tolle. For the FDA to approve a generic, the two drugs must be bioequivalent—the active ingredient must be the same and get released into the bloodstream at approximately the same rate and quantity. Where they vary is in the inactive ingredients such as the fillers, coatings and flavorings. Although the FDA requires proof that these ingredients are safe, they may still cause side effects like allergic reactions.
If you have insurance, check the formulary list to determine the comparative coverage for the generic or brand-name medication and whether there are certain limits or restrictions for either.
And, of course, consult with your doctor before making any decisions.
Try charitable programs
There are currently eight national charitable relief programs that offer assistance to patients who meet the eligibility requirements. For example, to qualify for the Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program, patients must have insurance, live and receive treatment in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, and have an income that meets the requisite guidelines of the fund for which they’re applying—in all cases, at or below 300% or 400% of the Federal Poverty Guideline with consideration given to the Cost of Living Index and size of household. Qualifications vary from program to program.
Be a savvy shopper
The prices of prescription medicatio [...]
Mounting tensions and frustrations over Britain’s inability to leave the EU culminated in May’s decision to play her trump card
LONDON • British Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May sought yesterday to salvage her unpopular European Union (EU) divorce deal after another day of political drama that saw her offer to resign and the fractured Parliament fail to find a way out of the Brexit chaos.
Mounting tensions and frustrations over Britain’s inability to leave the EU three years after a divisive referendum culminated on Wednesday in May’s decision to play her trump card and promise to stand down as premier if her plan is passed.
EU leaders last week offered Britain a Brexit extension until May 22, but only on condition that Parliament votes through the deal by today, the day Britain was originally scheduled to leave the EU.
If the parliamentary vote does not take place, May will have to spell out to EU leaders what steps Britain will take by a deadline of April 12, or risk crashing out of the bloc without any arrangements in place.
May’s resignation pledge played on rivalries that have been driving much of the resistance to her vision for ending the 46-year EU partnership from the fiercely eurosceptic wing of her Conservative party.
“I know there is a desire for a new approach — and new leadership — in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations and I won’t stand in the way of that,” May told a packed meeting of party members on Wednesday.
Her promise immediately turned the votes of some likely contenders for the job she took on shortly after the referendum in which Britons narrowly voted to leave the EU.
Sacrifice in vain?
May’s handling of Brexit has provoked anger and frustration both at home and abroad, and even ridicule in some quarters.
But former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said he would now back the premier “on behalf of the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit”.
“I feel very, very sorry and though it fills me with pain, I’m going to have to support this thing,” he told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
But any momentum the PM may have gained was punctured by a decision by her crucial allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to continue fighting the deal.
The hardline group props up May’s minority government and plays an outsized role in the political saga that has consumed Britain and left its EU partners increasingly perplexed.
“We will not be supporting the government if they table a fresh meaningful vote,” the DUP said in a statement.
The DUP is opposed to provisions in May’s deal to keep a free-flowing border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state.
They worry that this would give Northern Ireland a different economic status from mainland Britain, one of the key sticking points in May’s deal.
The DUP’s announcement means the odds are still heavily stacked again May’s ability to overcome two thumping defeats and get her Brexit deal through Parliament on a third attempt.
“Will her sacrifice be in vain?” the Daily Mail asked on its front page. “May’s resignation gambit thwarted by DUP opposition,” the Financial Times declared.
The pound was down against both the dollar and the euro yesterday over the continued Brexit uncertainty.
‘No No No…’
The sense of Britain being back at square one was only reaffirmed by Parliament’s inability to rally round any new last-minute Brexit proposal.
Parliament took the unprecedented step of assigning itself the right to vote on a multiple choice of alternate solutions to the deal May reached with Brussels after 17 months of talks.
But none of the eight options secured a majority and another vote has been set for Monday on some of the proposals.
The one that came closest to winning parliamentary support provided for a much closer economic union with the other 27 nations post-Brexit than the one the Conservative party platform allows.
A proposal to hold a second referendum — a popular idea with EU supporters — came second while those promoting a cleaner break finished near the bottom.
“Parliament finally has its say: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No,” declared The Guardian newspaper’s front page headline.
The results help support May’s message that her deal — despite its flaws — is still the only one that can safely guide Britain out of the EU.
But it remains unclear when she hopes to test her luck in Parliament for a third time. — AFP
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United need to score twice in order to progress. At the very same time, it would not be wise to let go of the reins against a Paris Saint-Germain side that could easily pick them off [...]
Models present creations by Marine Serre during the Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show in Issy-les-Moulineaux, on the outskirts of Paris February 26, 2019. — AFP pic
PARIS, March 4 — A new generation of rising fashion stars alarmed by the plight of the planet are designing in a radically different way to their elders.Some of the most interesting shows of Paris fashion week — once notorious for its decadence and waste — have come from millennials and Generation Z creators rejecting the over-consumption they were brought up with.Marine Serre, whose last catwalk show featured evening dresses made from old bedspreads, warned this time of “the war on the climate destroying civilisation as we know it” with a collection created from upcycled and repurposed materials.The 27-year-old's brand is one of the fastest growing in France, with her sporty but fiercely feminine clothes and accessories snapped up as soon as they are made.Sales have rocketed five-fold in a year.For Serre, who won the top LVMH prize in 2017, there is no choice but to change. “It is an enormous challenge to develop sustainably.“But the apocalypse can be positive if we use it to stimulate creation, using shells” or things that are already there “and cost nothing,” she told AFP.Glamorous futuristBerlin-based Ottolinger share a similar ethos and aesthetic.They recut existing clothes or surplus stock for their glamorous futurist evening and streetwear.“There is so much overproduction and consumption, we cannot justify it any longer," said Cosima Gadient backstage after the duo's Paris show was cheered by critics.“There is so much out there already in fashion, so much has already been done,” said her partner Christa Bosch.“To do something new we would take a garment apart and recut it, or put it back together in our way," she Bosch, who met Gadient in fashion school in Switzerland.“We have been doing this since we were kids. You maybe have a favourite T-shirt or jacket and it is not working anymore, so you take it apart and you try to make something new.”Mix of tech“You might discover amazing things, the lining and stitching that can give you ideas — you can do so many things,” she told AFP.“You already have character, the ghost of the garment, and it can be built up into something rich.”Fellow Swiss designer Eliane Heutsch is following a similar line using tech and highly researched couture and revived ancestral techniques to reimagine existing clothing for her Savoar Fer label.Established brands too are rejecting the throwaway clothes culture. Stella McCartney has built her fashion empire on ethical thinking and increasing use of recycled fabrics.But fellow British designer Vivienne Westwood wants to go further, urging people to stop buying conventionally produced clothes altogether to shock both consumers and the industry into change.Her Austrian-born husband Andreas Krontaller, who now designs their Paris shows, thinks fashion needs a reality check.'Use up what we've got'“I like making enormous collections but I don't think it fits our times. We don't need all this stuff.“I think twice now about buying another navy sweater and I think twice too about making things. I only make a piece if I really like it or it is going to be very interesting or new,” he told AFP.“What is truly sustainable is to repurpose what already exists, materials that are lying dormant or by-products that would normally be thrown away,” he said.Kronthaler said he mostly works from surplus high-quality fabrics gathering dust in the vast warehouses that supply the industry.“Recycled materials will soon be our normal but I am for using up what we have got first,” he said.Putting the planet first is a given for this new generation of designers showing in Paris.For that to happen consumers and creators need to rekindle their emotional connection with clothes, said Emma Hedlund and Saif Bakir, the Swedish couple behind CMMN SWDN, which in the running for this year's International Woolmark Prize.That means learning to find "beauty and charm" in the worn and torn, the couple told AFP.“Since we don't make with our hands anymore, clothes have lost their value and are easily replaced,” Hedlund said.“But we all have a favourite jacket, or a T-shirt or pair of jeans that we wish we could wear forever.“We should take it a bit slower and consider what we are wearing and take care of your garments,” she said. “Wear it, tear it and mend it and rewear it again.” — AFP [...]
A model presents a creation by Stella McCartney during the Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show in Paris, on March 4, 2019. — AFP pic
PARIS, March 4 — Stella McCartney showed what can be done with upcycled clothes and fabrics in a classy Paris show whose front row was filled with celebrity fans led by Oprah Winfrey.The British designer — a vegan who used the show to launch a #ThereSheGrows Instagram campaign to save the Sumatran rainforest — edged her big belted opening space samurai coat with her shiny “vegetarian leather”, a trick she repeated with some style throughout the collection.
Russian model Natalia Vodianova presents a creation by Stella McCartney during the Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show in Paris, on March 4, 2019. — AFP pic
Russian supermodel and philanthrophist Natalia Vodianova — now a mother of five — had an “SOS” Earth tattoo inked on her famously high cheekbones with other models carrying similar slogans such as “Green is the new black”.McCartney has already recruited Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore and Rooney Mara as well as singer Pink into the #ThereSheGrows campaign, which involves dedicating a tree to someone special with a heartfelt message.The show, in the gilded Belle Epoque splendour of the Opera Garnier in the centre of the French capital, began with a voiceover of people dedicating trees to their loved ones.Winfrey said she felt inspired to plant an oak in honour of her mother, Vernita Lee, who died aged 83 in November.“I already have hundreds in my yard,” she added.In a week when the Paris shows have been more attuned to what women actually wear than usual, McCartney used vintage fabric in a whole swathe of highly desirable dresses, although it was impossible to say what was new and what was not.One multi-coloured statement cord dress was made from vintage T-shirts that were stripped, knotted and then knitted.A run of feature earrings were inspired by office paperclips.‘I worship her’ The co-ed show also featured big burgundy fake fur coats worn with sawn-off Hunter wellington boots, which McCartney claimed were the most sustainable rubber wellies ever made.Her husband Alasdhair Willis is the creative director of the Scottish heritage bootmaker.The designer daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney told reporters backstage the Northern Soul music and dance movement that swept northern England from the late 1960s was also an inspiration for the show.
A model presents a creation by Stella McCartney during the Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show in Paris, on March 4, 2019. — AFP pic
Winfrey told reporters she “loved the show and totally supported” the campaign to save the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia, one of the richest in the world where orangutans and the Sumatran elephant, rhinoceros and tiger are threatened by the spread of palm oil plantations.The US television mogul made the trip specially to support McCartney’s campaign, having last year admitted that “I worship her”.Supermodel Karlie Kloss was also in the front row to lend her backing.The designer also roped in the veteran American artist Sheila Hicks, draping several of her looks in her woven “twisted and wrapped adornments... so they could be worn like badges of honour for valour and bravery.
British fashion designer Stella McCartney acknowledges the audience at the end of the Stella McCartney Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show in Paris, on March 4, 2019. — AFP pic
“These adornments act as wearable works of art,” McCartney added.As well as the slinky ethnic-tinted glamour, she put 17-year-old catwalk star Kaia Gerber — the daughter of Cindy Crawford — in one of her new trenchcoat jumpsuits aimed at “empowering men and women to look and feel their best”.It was the kind of garment that might give Formula One racing champion Lewis Hamilton, who now has his own fashion line with US brand Tommy Hilfiger, some ideas.The driver was also on the front row and said he saw McCartney as a role model for sustainable fashion.“My collection is 50 per cent recyclable and eco-friendly materials,” he told the fashion industry bible Women’s Wear Daily, but his goal was to soon go 100 per cent. — AFP [...]