Defense Committees Appear Open to Eliminating Support for Commissaries

first_imgDefense officials may be disappointed that the conference report for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill rejects the administration’s proposal to slash federal funding for commissaries in the near-term, but a provision added in the House-Senate conference requiring the department to draw up a plan for eliminating taxpayer support for military grocery stores and exchanges indicates that lawmakers may be closer to embracing the cost-cutting reform than previously believed.The report, which calls for the Pentagon to craft a comprehensive plan for achieving “budget neutrality” for commissary and exchange benefits by the end of fiscal 2018, is primarily directed at military grocery stores since only 3 percent of the budget for exchanges is supplied by Congress.The ultimate goal of the House and Senate Armed Services committees is to operate the stores without any taxpayer funding, a House staff member told Military Times.DOD had proposed slashing the Defense Commissary Agency’s budget by $322 million in FY 2016 — out of a total allocation of $1.4 billion — and $1 billion in FY 2017, but lawmakers restored much of that funding for FY 2016. The Pentagon’s proposed cuts would have been accommodated by reducing days of operation and operating hours, laying off staff and closing some stores.Far-reaching changes likely wouldn’t be carried out immediately, as the committees described a plan for conducting a pilot program for five years, with the potential to extend the test to 10 years, according to the story. The report would be required to address possible consequences, including:merging business processes for commissaries and exchanges;privatizing commissary and exchange systems, in whole or in part;the willingness of major commercial grocery retailers to provide discounts to eligible military customers; andclosures of commissaries that are in close proximity or in places where commercial alternatives through major grocery retailers are available. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

DU teacher accused under Section 57 of ICT law

first_imgFahmidul Haq and Abul Mansur Ahmed A Dhaka University teacher, Fahmidul Haq, was accused in a case under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act on Thursday.Fahmidul Haq is a professor of the department of the mass communication and journalism.One of his fellow teachers from the same department, Abul Mansur Ahmed, filed the case with Shahbagh police station, accusing Fahmidul of defaming Mansur in a Facebook post recently.University sources said the teachers of the department recently were sharply divided over the delay in publishing the results of the master’s examination and Fahmidul wrote a post on the Facebook that enraged an “influential quarters of the university”.Officials at the police station accepted the case following a go-ahead from the “high-ups”.In the case statement, Mansur alleged that Fahmidul disparaged Mansur in a write-up posted in a university-centred Facebook group where some 69 university teachers are members.According to the case statement, Fahmidul Haq alleged in his Facebook post that the publication of master’s results is being delayed due to Abul Mansur, which created problems for another professor of the department, Gitiara Nasreen and disrupted the department’s academic atmosphere.Professor Abul Mansur in the case statement denied the allegations and termed it false and unfounded.He enclosed the Facebook post and subsequent comments on that with the case statement.When contacted, Shahbagh police station officer-in-charge Abul Hossain said the police have launched investigation into the allegation.Fahmidul said it was unfortunate that such a case was filed against him and said he would tackle it legally.Teachers and the students of the department on Sunday formed a human chain on the university campus, protesting against a case against a former student of the department and a newsman of private television channel, Nazmul Hossain, under section 57 of the ICT law.At the programme, teachers and students of the department demanded annulment of the Section 57.last_img read more

40 killed as Brazil fights yellow fever outbreak

first_imgThe WHO advises that people get a vaccine at least 10 days before travelling to a yellow-fever area. Photo: AFPBrazil is fighting an outbreak of yellow fever that has killed at least 40 people in two months, officials say.The health ministry said in a report Tuesday that it was the highest rate of deaths recorded from the disease in 14 years.Yellow fever is carried by monkeys and can be transmitted to humans by mosquito bites.It can be prevented by a common vaccine.But the ministry’s infectious diseases chief Eduardo Hage told AFP that 22 infections had recently been detected in Espirito Santo state, where vaccines are not carried out because it is considered a low-risk area.Hage said it was not likely to reach urban non-vaccine areas since there were not enough mosquitos to spread it.“We are in a state of alert, but there is no cause for panic,” Hage said.The fever cause shivers, aches and vomiting. In severe cases it can be deadly, causing kidney and liver failure and hemorrhages.Brazil is recovering from an outbreak of the Zika virus, which authorities say has caused brain damage in thousands of newborn babies over the past year.last_img read more