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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘week’

Report: Between 700 and 900 Immigrants Died at Sea Last week

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

“We will never know exact numbers” of drowned refugees fleeing the Middle East and East Africa for safe haven in Europe, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) tweeted Saturday, estimating that as many as 900 had died last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday that more than 700 had drowned.

According to Reuters, some 14,000 refugees have been rescued since last Monday, but there have been reports of at least three boats sinking. The number of dead is estimated based on survivor testimonies. These included Saturday interviews with immigrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, resulting in accounts of a large, motorless fishing boat that capsized on Thursday with a large crowd of women and children on board.

According to testimonies, when the boat capsized, 25 passengers swam to the towing boat, and as many as 90 others were saved by 3 boats with MSF rescue personnel. 15 bodies were recovered, which means that at least 550 died, according to the UNHCR.

The rescued refugees last week included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and other West Africans. The boats have mostly left from Libya, where many women said the smugglers had beaten and raped them.

On Friday, an Italian Navy ship collected 45 bodies and rescued 135 people from a semi-submerged rubber boat, which normally carries about 300.

David Israel

Sunday Off? Israel’s Unions, Employers, Clash over Shorter Work Week

Friday, May 27th, 2016

British entrepreneur Richard Koch has invented the “80/20 Principle” that argues we get 80% of our work done in 20% of our work time, and the remaining 20% of our work gets done in 80% of the time. Israel’s official work week is 43 hours long, but many Israelis work many more hours than what’s common in the OECD, and still, productivity in Israel is low. The question organized Labor and the employers have been debating over the past few weeks, ahead of upcoming legislation to modify the Israeli work week, has been: will a shorter week reduce even further or enhance productivity?

On Sunday, the Ministerial Legislative Committee headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is expected to debate four different proposals dealing with the shorter work week. The leading bill, submitted by MK Eli Cohen (Kulanu) and endorsed by a number of MKs, proposes starting the shorter work week reform with one Sunday off every two months.

“Initially, we were talking about one long weekend a month, starting Thursday night and going through Monday morning,” Cohen said in a recent interview on Radio 103FM. However, he explained, “after many debates, which included Histadrut trade union Chairman Avi Nissenkorn and representatives of the Israeli industrialists and other players, we’ve formed the proposal we’re submitting to the ministerial committee, which talks about six long weekends a year.”

The employers’ organizations object to the move, but by week’s end it appeared they’d acquiesce, after the threat of 12 long weekends was reduced by half. They estimate the damage to the economy at about $2 billion annually. It’s interesting to see that in addition to traditional capitalist employers organizations such as the Manufacturers Association, and the Chamber of Commerce, the long weekend enemies also include the Kibbutz Industries Association and the Farmers’ Union. We expect that more than a few Labor Zionists, including former Histadrut chairmen David Ben-Gurion, are rolling in their grave.

The average OECD work week is between 35 and 40 hours, and Israeli workers receive fewer religious and state holidays than their OECD counterparts. And yet, despite their shorter work week, German and American workers’ productivity is significantly higher than in Israel. Is this counterintuitive?

Stanford University Professor John Pencavel has argued that working longer hours increases fatigue and stress that leads to a greater probability of errors and accidents that will decrease productivity. Likewise, Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found that overwork can result in health problems leading to absenteeism, greater employee turnover rates, and higher health insurance costs. A 2013 paper by the New Zealand Productivity Commission showed that working longer hours does not make people more productive.

A recent study by the OECD revealed that more productive workers tend to work less: while Greek workers put in an average of 2,000 hours of work per year, Germans worked only 1,400 hours per year and were 70% more productive. More productive workers tend to be better paid, not worse, contrary to what the Israeli employers are predicting, and the correlation between higher productivity and fewer hours worked is due to the reduced fatigue and stress from working less.

CEO Maria Brath of the tech start-up Brath has implemented a six-hour, as opposed to an eight-hour, work day, claiming that her employees get more done in that time than comparable companies do in the longer work day. Treehouse, an online interactive education platform, uses a four-day work day and claims that employee morale, retention, and quality of output, have all improved. (Source: Investopedia)

Will Israel, known for its national obsession with plunging into new, radical changes, take on this moderate change? We’ll know more on Sunday.

JNi.Media

Hamas Threatens Egypt, Israel and Palestinian Authority

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

As Egypt steps up security restrictions along its border with the Gaza Strip, Hamas and some Palestinian terror groups have been holding “military parades” in a bid to show that they are prepared for war.

The parades, which saw hundreds of heavily armed militiamen march through the streets, are mainly intended to send a message of warning to Egypt’s new rulers against any attempt to launch a military offensive inside the Gaza Strip.

Some Hamas leaders are convinced that the Egyptians are preparing to launch a military strike against the Gaza Strip under the pretext of combatting terror in Sinai.

However, the show of force by Hamas and its allies is also designed to send a warning message to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas believes that Israel and the Palestinian Authority are directly involved in an Egyptian-led scheme to overthrow their regime and bring Mahmoud Abbas’s forces back to the Gaza Strip.

The parades are also intended to send a warning message to Abbas as to what awaits him and his loyalists if they dare enter the Gaza Strip with the help of Israel and Egypt.

Given Hamas’s growing isolation in the aftermath of the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo and the Egyptian authorities’ severe and unprecedented restrictions along the border, there is no underestimating the threats coming out of the Gaza Strip.

If the leaders of Hamas believe that the Egyptians are determined to undermine or topple their regime, they will not hesitate to initiate a new military confrontation with Israel.

In public, Hamas leaders and members say that the “military parades” are aimed at sending a warning message to Israel, and not Egypt.

But in private, several Hamas leaders and spokesmen admit that the biggest and most immediate threat to their regime is coming from Egypt.

The Egyptian authorities see the threats as being directed first and foremost toward Egypt.

This explains why Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy this week deemed it necessary to warn Hamas of a “harsh response” if it threatened his country’s national security. Fahmy said the response would include “military and security choices.”

Days before the warning, hundreds of gunmen belonging to Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, staged a provocative march near the border with Egypt, carrying photos of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and chanting slogans against the “military coup” in Cairo.

In yet another sign of mounting tensions between the two sides, Egyptian border guards stationed along the border with the Gaza Strip have been hurling abuse and threats at Hamas policemen and Palestinian farmers, Palestinians living in the area said this week.

Palestinian fishermen have also fallen victim to the standoff between Hamas and the Egyptian authorities.

Last week, five fishermen were each sentenced by an Egyptian military court to one year in prison for fishing in Egyptian territorial waters.

Earlier, Egyptian naval forces detained and severely beat other fishermen for approaching Egypt’s territorial waters.

Despite the show of force, Hamas would never dare to initiate a military confrontation against the Egyptian army. Hamas will find it easier to fire rockets at Israel than launch terror attacks against the Egyptians.

Hamas is fully aware that such a confrontation would spark a harsh response from the Egyptians — one that would surely lead to the collapse of its regime. Previous confrontations between Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces would then look like children’s games compared to a clash with the Egyptian or any other Arab army.

That is why Israel needs to be prepared for the possibility of another war with Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/khaled-abu-toameh/hamas-threatens-egypt-israel-and-palestinian-authority/2013/09/30/

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