Performance Coaching A Case Study

Submitted by: Tris.Brown

Background

An industry leader in the real estate investment market was looking for an innovative approach to improve performance, engage employees, and reinforce the unique culture it had built over the last decade. The company felt that the discipline of coaching exemplified the approaches, perspectives, and behaviors they wanted, their managers and executives to demonstrate in their employee interactions. The company asked LSA Global to help them to improve manager

and executive coaching capabilities and create an intrinsically motivating work environment to drive engagement and performance.

Goals

The overall goal was to create a company-wide coaching environment and to implement effective performance management systems that would be embraced and consistently used by employees, managers and executives. There were 6 key project principles:

1. Develop a solution that supports and fosters the company s culture

2. Empower managers to be true facilitators of employee development

3. Provide employees with information and tools to take ownership of their performance

4. Eradicate the dreaded, annual (bi-annual) performance review

5. Shift ownership for employee development from HR to executive and manager teams

6. Instill continuous learning and improvement to allow the system to evolve as needed

Challenges

There were several key challenges to overcome:

1. Recognizing that investment institutions rarely have employee development as a top priority

2. Starting on the heels of a prior coaching development initiative that received mixed reviews

3. Overcoming the flavor of the month reaction by all employees

4. Getting buy-in from all managers and executives

5. Letting go of long-standing, traditional metrics

Approach

The overall approach of this initiative was to build a coaching, performance measurement, and evaluation system designed by and designed for the people that would be using it executives, managers, and individual contributors.

People at all levels were engaged in a collaborative and iterative design process that produced a performance coaching system that would work for their specific needs and environment. The approach also focused on providing a high level of transparency in the change process and in each aspect of development for the new processes and systems. Developing and implementing the new approach included the following 6 components:

1. Assessment: An Assessment of the current situation

2. Coaching: Coaching executives on how to coach their direct reports

3. AMPS System: Developing supporting technology to facilitate the coaching process

4. 360 Evaluation: Developing a 360 assessment for cultural and qualitative behaviors

5. Training: Providing training on coaching and all aspects of the new system

6. Compensation: Aligning compensation with the new coaching and performance management system

The detail behind each component is outlined below.

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1. Assessment

To ensure the initiative would be successful, we reviewed the existing performance systems, processes, and tools to determine what supported a coaching environment and the company culture and what did not. A cultural survey was used to assess employee satisfaction, values alignment, and potential barriers to success. The assessment surfaced a number of key issues that could pose potential barriers to success, including:

1. Dissatisfaction with the current performance appraisal system, the existing 360 , and the overall strategic initiative management processes

2. The perception that the current Performance Measurement and evaluation systems were subjective and unfair

Based on the assessment findings, the company expanded the initiative to encompass the following additional components:

Greater focus and feedback on employee satisfaction

Goal development and goal management

Performance measurement and metrics

Performance analysis

Developing automated platform to facilitate the above areas

Training in all of the above areas

Aligning compensation with coaching and performance objectives

This broadened and integrated perspective became known as AMPS – which stands for Assessment, Motivation, and Performance System. It is a process for facilitating manager and employee interactions, setting successful goals, coaching, and motivating. AMPS focuses on ensuring that employees have clear, achievable, and understood goals while helping to facilitate conversations between managers and employees.

2. Coaching

Executive coaching started at the beginning of the project and focused on a simple and engaging process for executives to coach their direct reports and model the desired behaviors. Coaching then expanded down through the organization to both Directors and Managers to create alignment and pull-through.

3. AMPS System

AMPS also spawned a server-based technology platform that manages a 360 assessment, goal development, and a simple performance management process. The system uses a dashboard that both managers and employees access to track goal progress and completion. The dashboard design was based on input from management regarding use and functionality. The final version only contains features used and valued by management. The AMPS system provides the ability to:

Create, track, edit, and evaluate goals on a weekly basis

Build performance evaluation consistency for employees through detailed expectations

Drive regularly scheduled conversations between managers and employees

Track AMPS Conversations (what we call coaching conversations) between manager and employee

Use a dashboard to access all aspects of the performance system

Have users maintain the system

4. AMPS 360 Evaluation

The AMPS 360 provides a clear articulation of cultural expectations in terms of values, principles and behaviors. Four key steps were taken to create the 360 :

First, the company collaboratively worked together to create a new set of values and cultural standards that best represented the organization both in reality and aspiration

Second, a Values 360 Assessment was created using the values definitions created with the management team and employees

Third, a widely validated motivation model was incorporated into the 360

Fourth, a company-specific coaching model was developed to use with the 360 assessment

5. Training

From a development perspective, we focused on two key areas to ensure adoption.

First, we worked one-on-one with the executive team and management to help them to better coach and support their employees

Then we created AMPS Tools and techniques to help employees and managers effectively use the AMPS System and fully integrate it into their company culture

6. Compensation

To ensure accountability and reinforcement, we tightly tied AMPS performance measurement to individual performance bonuses. The weighting was follows.

40% for performance goals (day-to-day responsibilities)

30% from personal development goals (reflecting career paths, gaps in skills, or growth opportunities)

30% from the Values 360 Assessment delivered twice a year

From an implementation perspective, Year One was designated a trial period for AMPS to allow people to get used to the new system while continuously improving it. This trial period included new ways of writing and managing goals, taking a 360 , discussing what was working and what was not working, and learning along the way. A few highlights included:

Everyone received 100% of their Values 360 Assessment so that we could work out any kinks surrounding validity

After 6 months, employees understood how to write simple and effective goals

Employees felt comfortable with personal development goals

Personal development goals became ingrained from the top down in the organization

The AMPS goal management system also provides a list of goals by division. These goals are reviewed by the Chief Strategy Officer for alignment with the company strategy and between departments.

Results

Unlike most performance management systems that are often too tactical, too complicated, and nderutilized, AMPS goals inherently represent what must be accomplished to execute the company s strategy. This alignment allowed us to measure four key metrics to monitor success:

1. Usage: frequent and consistent use

Executives and senior managers dedicate several hours at the beginning of each quarter to review all goals to ensure alignment. The Chief Investment Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Risk Officer use the dashboard daily. Company-wide AMPS measures at the end of Year One showed:

100% compliance

80% high quality goals

85% of employees hit their goals

95% of employees are now performing very well on the Values 360 Assessment

2. Efficiency: a more efficient performance management process

Executives and Managers report that it is easier to manage and measure employee performance

HR does not have the administrative burden of performance reviews

3. Ownership: company-wide ownership of AMPS

Employees are the first to acknowledge when they fail to achieve 100% of their goals

Employees and managers believe they own AMPS

HR operates as an internal consulting group to support managers and employees

4. Satisfaction: stakeholder satisfaction

Employees claim less stress and less uncertainty about what is expected of them. Pay-for-Performance is transparent, clear, and understood up front. Some of the most profound and meaningful results from AMPS were how key stakeholders felt. Below are some representative quotes:

Employee Comments:

I always know where I stand. There is no ambivalence about how I am performing or what is expected from me.

I love the fact that I meet with my manager weekly. He helps me solve problems. The meetings aren t about what I am doing wrong.

I don t have that dread in my stomach come review time no reviews! Actually, that isn t true each quarter is scored, but there is no need for a review, because we know how we ve done. It s objective.

Fast! After the first couple of AMPS quarters, I got the hang of the goal thing, and my manager and I knock them out in 30 minutes. Writing goals is easy.

At first, I was ambivalent about the Personal Development Goals. I mean, who cares in business about me doing something quarterly that improves my skills. I am all in favor of it, but I didn t want to be held accountable for it. Now, I love it. We talk about my career path, how I can grow in my job, etc.

It is integrated in how I work. It doesn t feel like an HR process. It s just how we do things.

Manager Comments:

Difficult conversations are a thing of the past. We focus on what we want to get done, and it is pretty black and white. Behavior and attitude issues are not the point. Just performance.

Well, I was a part of saying what I wanted AMPS to do, so now, it actually feels like we have a performance tool that is for me, not our compliance department.

You wouldn t think it, but after regularly spending about 10 hours a week coaching my team, I have an extra 10 hours to get project-based work done. I actually have more time!

I like how easy AMPS is. The dashboard is easy to use.

My team performs better. Simple as that.

HR Comments

We don t have to police people. We remind folks at quarter end, and we are available to coach managers, but we don t have to harass people to use the tools.

We have no complaints about AMPS.

It has been a cultural shift, and it has taken about a year, but people like it.”

Conclusion

Increasing performance, management bench strength, and employee engagement continue to be top priorities to succeed in today s economy. Most companies understand that developing managers coaching capabilities is an essential ingredient in achieving those results. What many companies don t seem to realize is that few coaching initiatives will reach their potential because of a distinct lack of a supporting infrastructure that will make coaches and the coaching process much more successful.

About the Author: If you would like to learn more about LSA s

performance coaching

approach and

Performance Management Training and Consulting

, please contact us at http://www.lsaglobal.com.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=385540&ca=Business+Management



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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students/LA-ND
See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list and for an alphabetically arranged listing of schools.

Due to the damage by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding, a number of colleges and universities in the New Orleans metropolitan area will not be able to hold classes for the fall 2005 semester. It is estimated that 75,000 to 100,000 students have been displaced. [1]. In response, institutions across the United States and Canada are offering late registration for displaced students so that their academic progress is not unduly delayed. Some are offering free or reduced admission to displaced students. At some universities, especially state universities, this offer is limited to residents of the area.

Contents

  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Louisiana
  • 3 Maine
  • 4 Maryland
  • 5 Massachusetts
  • 6 Michigan
  • 7 Minnesota
  • 8 Mississippi
  • 9 Missouri
  • 10 Montana
  • 11 Nebraska
  • 12 Nevada
  • 13 New Hampshire
  • 14 New Jersey
  • 15 New Mexico
  • 16 New York
  • 17 North Carolina
  • 18 North Dakota


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Renault F1’s team boss, top engineer quit as team accepts cheating claim

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Renault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds have both split ways with the team. The move comes as Renault announce they will not fight a charge of race-fixing.

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) accused Renault of ordering Nelson Piquet, Jr. to crash during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. The wreck brought out the safety car and most other competitors made refueling stops while it was out. However, Renault’s Fernando Alonso had pitted unusually early and was able to move up to take one of just two victories that year.

The FIA interviewed Piquet after an investigation was triggered by claims published by Globo TV. Piquet’s interview was leaked, and he placed the blame squarely on Briatore and Symonds.

“The proposal to deliberately cause an accident was made to me shortly before the race took place, when I was summoned by Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds in Mr. Briatore’s office… When I was asked to crash my car I accepted because I hoped it could improve my position within the team at this critical time in the race season,” Piquet said in the interview.

Piquet further stated that he received no assurances he would still be racing for Renault in 2009. Although he continued to race for Renault in 2009, he was sacked midway through the current season.

Renault will discover their punishment at a hearing before the World Motor Sport Council in Paris, France. They face the possibility of being banned from Formula One. Piquet has received immunity from the FIA for his testimony. Data showed Piquet accelerating into the wall instead of braking as he approached it.

Briatore has a long history with Renault. He started off with Benetton Formula in 1988 and was team principal for Michael Schumacher‘s 1994 and 1995 world title wins. He left in 1997 but Renault made him head again after he helped the French firm buy the team in 2000. He was there for Alonso’s world championship wins in 2005 and 2006.



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Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It has emerged that the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground after the mine they were working in collapsed could be brought to the surface in a shorter time than was initially feared. While officials publicly announced that the men would not be brought to the surface until Christmas, sources inside technical meetings have revealed that they could in fact be on the surface by early November. The news comes as families were allowed to speak by radio-telephone to their trapped loved ones on Sunday. Over the weekend, video images filmed by the miners emerged showing the miners playing dominoes at a table and singing the Chilean national anthem. The miners also used the camera to send video messages to their families on the surface, saying that they regularly broke into tears, but were feeling better having received food and water.

The grainy nightvision images, filmed on a high definition camcorder that was sent down a small shaft to the mine, show the men in good spirits, chanting “long live Chile, and long live the miners.” They are unshaven and stripped to the waist because of the heat underground, and are seen wearing white clinical trousers that have been designed to keep them dry. Giving a guided tour of the area they are occupying, Mario Sepúlveda, one of the miners, explains they have a “little cup to brush our teeth”, and a place where they pray each day. “We have everything organized,” he tells the camera. Gesturing to the table in the center of the room, he says that “we meet here every day. We plan, we have assemblies here every day so that all the decisions we make are based on the thoughts of all 33.” Another unidentified miner asks to rescuers, “get us out of here soon, please.” A thermometer is shown in the video, reading 29.5C (85F).

As the film continues, it becomes evident that the miners have stuck a poster of a topless woman on the wall. The miners appear shy, and one man puts his hand to his face, presumably dazzled by the light mounted on the cameraman’s helmet. One miner sent a message to his family. “Be calm”, he says. “We’re going to get out of here. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your efforts.” Another said that the miners are “sure that there are people here in Chile that are big people, that are powerful people, that are intelligent people, and they have the technology and they will all work together to get us out of here.” Speaking to the camera, one says: “we have had the great fortune that trapped in this mine there are good, professional people. We have electricians, we have mechanics, we have machine operators and we will let you know that while you are working to rescue us on the surface, we are down here ready to help you too.” It has been reported that Mario Gómez, 63, has become the group’s “spiritual leader”, having worked in the mines for over fifty years. He has requested that materials to build a shrine be sent down to the cavern.

Upon seeing the video in a private screening, family members, who are living in a small village of tents at the entrance to the San José copper-gold mine—which they have named Camp Hope—were elated. “He’s skinny, bearded and it was painful to see him with his head hanging down, but I am so happy to see him alive”, said Ruth Contreras, the mother of Carlos Bravo, who is trapped in the mine. The video, of which only a small portion has been released to the public, shows the miners, many of them wearing helmets, cracking jokes and thanking the rescuers for their continued efforts. The supplies are being sent to the men through a small shaft only twelve centimeters wide, and a laboratory has been set up with the purpose of designing collapsible cots and miniature sandwiches, which can be sent down such a narrow space.

CNN reported on Friday that “officials are splitting the men into two shifts so one group sleeps while the other works or has leisure time .. On average, each man has lost 22 pounds (10 kilograms) since they became trapped three weeks ago, and dehydration remains a threat. But a survey of the men indicates that at least nine miners are still too overweight to fit through the proposed rescue shaft. Initially, the miners survived by draining water from a water-cooled piece of equipment. To stay hydrated in the 90-degree mine, each miner must drink eight or nine pints of water per day.”

But while there are jubilant celebrations on the surface that the miners are alive, officials are now nervous that the miners could become depressed, trapped in a dark room the size of a small apartment. Chilean health minister Jaime Mañalich said that, on the video, he saw the telltale signs of depression. “They are more isolated, they don’t want to be on the screen, they are not eating well”, he said. “I would say depression is the correct word.” He said that doctors who had watched the video had observed the men suffering from “severe dermatological problems.” Dr. Rodrigo Figueroa, head of the trauma, stress and disaster unit at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, explained that “following the euphoria of being discovered, the normal psychological reaction would be for the men to collapse in a combination of fatigue and stress … People who are trained for emergencies – like these miners – tend to minimize their own needs or to ignore them. When it is time to ask for help, they don’t.” NASA has advised emergency workers that entertaining the miners would be a good idea. They are to be sent a television system complete with taped football matches. Another dilemma facing Mañalich is whether the miners should be permitted to smoke underground. While nicotine gum has been delivered to the miners, sending down cigarettes is a plan that has not been ruled out.

With the news that drilling of the main rescue tunnel was expected to begin on Monday, officials have informed the media that they hope to have the miners out of the mine by Christmas—but sources with access to technical meetings have suggested that the miners could actually be rescued by the first week of November. A news report described the rescue plan—”the main focus is a machine that bores straight down to 688m and creates a chimney-type duct that could be used to haul the miners out one by one in a rescue basket. A second drilling operation will attempt to intercept a mining tunnel at a depth of roughly 350m. The miners would then have to make their way through several miles of dark, muddy tunnels and meet the rescue drill at roughly the halfway point of their current depth of 688m.” Iván Viveros Aranas, a Chilean policeman working at Camp Hope, told reporters that Chile “has shown a unity regardless of religion or social class. You see people arriving here just to volunteer, they have no relation at all to these families.”

But over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the “miners who have astonished the world with their discipline a half-mile underground will have to aid their own escape — clearing 3,000 to 4,000 tons of rock that will fall as the rescue hole is drilled, the engineer in charge of drilling said Sunday … The work will require about a half-dozen men working in shifts 24 hours a day.” Andrés Sougarret, a senior engineer involved in operating the drill said that “the miners are going to have to take out all that material as it falls.”

The families of those trapped were allowed to speak to them by radio-telephone on Sunday—a possibility that brought reassurance both the miners and those on the surface. The Intendant of the Atacama Region, Ximena Matas, said that there had been “moments of great emotion.” She continued to say that the families “listened with great interest and they both felt and realized that the men are well. This has been a very important moment, which no doubt strengthens their [the miners’] morale.” The phone line is thought to be quite temperamental, but it is hoped that soon, those in the mine and those in Camp Hope will be able to talk every day. “To hear his voice was a balm to my heart … He is aware that the rescue is not going to happen today, that it will take some time. He asked us to stay calm as everything is going to be OK … He sounded relaxed and since it was so short I didn’t manage to ask anything. Twenty seconds was nothing”, said said Jessica Cortés, who spoke to her husband Víctor Zamora, who was not even a miner, but a vehicle mechanic. “He went in that day because a vehicle had broken down inside the mine … At first they told us he had been crushed [to death].”

Esteban Rojas sent up a letter from inside the mine, proposing to his long-time partner Jessica Yáñez, 43. While they have officially been married for 25 years, their wedding was a civil service—but Rojas has now promised to have a church ceremony which is customary in Chile. “Please keep praying that we get out of this alive. And when I do get out, we will buy a dress and get married,” the letter read. Yáñez told a newspaper that she thought he was never going to ask her. “We have talked about it before, but he never asked me … He knows that however long it takes, I’ll wait for him, because with him I’ve been through good and bad.”



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Missing nun found dead

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

According to Buffalo, New York Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson, Sister Karen Klimczak, 62, a Catholic nun who went missing on Friday, has been found dead in a shallow grave. Her body was found inside a shed in the backyard of an abandoned house just five miles from her home. Police believe that she was either suffocated or strangled and her body did not show any immediate signs of a gunshot wound or a stab wound. They are waiting awaiting the results of an autopsy.

“We’ve lost a tireless champion of the people,” Buffalo Mayor, Byron W. Brown said on Monday.

Klimczak founded and lived in the Bissonette House in 1989, a halfway house for ex-convicts who are considered to be non-violent. It was named after Rev. A Joseph Bissonette, a priest that was killed in the house in 1987 by an ex-convict that was residing there.

“It is a tremendous tragedy that this repeats itself 19 years later,” added Brown.

Craig Lynch, 37, an ex-convict who has been living in the house since April 5, according to Gipson, was arrested and confessed to the murder while also admitting to being on drugs at the time. According to Gipson, however, Lynch said the murder was “an accident.” Lynch was paroled in January from Wyoming Correctional Facility after time served from a conviction related to auto theft.

Police say he was attempting to steal Klimczak’s cellular phone from her room when she returned home on Friday. Detective Sgt. James P. Lonergan, the lead investigator on this case, says Lynch then attacked Klimczak from behind when she got to the door and then proceeded to dispose of the body.

“He initially hid the body behind a house on George Street and he covered it with some debris. He [then] went to a shed behind a vacant house and dug a shallow grave, then he brought the body there and put it in the grave,” said Lonergan.

The phone, along with some of the victims clothing and various personal belongings, were found in two different trash cans near her home.

Lynch is expected to be charged with larceny and second-degree murder.



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Canupa Gluha Mani speaks about Lakota Oyate, Lakota freedom

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It’s now been three weeks since the four-person Lakota Freedom Delegation declared that the Lakota people were withdrawing from their treaties with the United States and, though small, the movement still proves controversial: two U.S.-recognized Lakota tribal governments have rejected the Delegation’s authority outright with at least one tribe stating it will consider the Delegation’s, now Lakota Oyate’s, proposal. The rest of the tribes have remained silent.

The central figure the movement has been Canupa Gluha Mani, a longtime activist whose tactics have led repeatedly to his arrest and imprisonment — most recently in June 2007, when Canupa Gluha Mani was one of six arrested who participated in blockading a road in Nebraska to keep outside alcohol from entering his dry reservation where it is banned. Wikinews talked to Canupa Gluha Mani about the movement and Lakota Oyate in an exclusive interview.File:Canupa Gluha Mani sings.jpg

Also called Duane Martin Sr, Canupa Gluha Mani prefers to be referred to as just that, “Canupa Gluha Mani”; it means “He walks as he protects the pipe”, though much of the meaning is lost in translation between English and the delicately-nuanced Lakota language. Canupa Gluha Mani prefers to speak in this, his native tongue — he “hates” that the English language has become the everyday language of the Lakota, and decries the extinction of many indigenous American languages — but uses English fluently and earthily.

Canupa Gluha Mani talked about the Cante Tenza, the Strong Heart Warrior Society, which he heads and which forms the paramilitary force of Lakotah. The society, an okolakiciye or warrior society, originated in the Black Hills. He told the following story: Four warriors in the hills ran across a coyote and gave it chase. And as the coyote ran he turned into a Lakota man, and in his changing the man left four objects: a rattle, a drum, a lance, and a tomahawk with which the Lakota people could be defended. Canupa Gluha Mani is a warrior leader, and his position with relation to the treaty council which traditionally governs the Lakota is “whip-man”, loosely “sergeant at arms” — that is, he enforces order and decorum when passions grow heated during tribal discussions.

The authority of the Lakota Freedom Delegation, he says, comes not from the BIA-recognized governments but rather from the “people who understand treaties”, i.e. the treaty council, from among the Seven Sister Bands of the Lakota. This traditional government is based on the idea of “staying quiet and listening to the people who have answers”, the “itacans” or expert headmen.

Canupa Gluha Mani also endorsed Naomi Archer, who has acted as Lakota Oyate’s liaison; indeed, as the Lakota Freedom Delegation prepared its trip to Washington DC he called in Naomi Archer, who though of non-native extraction is his adopted sister and a fellow Cante Tenza member, to handle media support. “I support the understandings of what she’s saying”, he said, referring to a previous interview with Archer which revealed an apparent split between Russell Means and other members of the Lakota Freedom Delegation. “She as an individual has integrity.” However, the previous interview missed nuances and the perceived gap between Lakota Oyate and Russell Means’ Republic of Lakota is not so great. “There’s no division here….it’s communication, that’s all. We can always get past this.”

With regard to Russell Means, who has declared himself Chief Facilitator of the Republic of Lakotah, he said, “I’ve worked with my uncle Russell Means in positive venues. And I’m still behind him, I have love for him;” He emphasized the familial bond between himelf and Means, noting that Means had adopted him as a nephew. However, “the Lakota have to be recognized.” It was “genocide”, he said, that of all the races of humanity, American Indians are not represented at the United Nations.

On the subject of Lakota activist Alfred Bone Shirt, who organized the Lakota Oyate’s first freedom celebration and information meeting on Saturday, 5 January but has since made comments attacking the legitimacy of Canupa Gluha Mani, Naomi Archer and Lakota Oyate, Canupa Gluha Mani had this to say. “I have nothing to do with Mr Bone Shirt, nothing against him”. He also noted that Lakota Oyate had respected Bone Shirt’s call to take down invitations for donations, but expressed a wish that Mr Bone Shirt would make the same call to any other website inviting donations to Lakotah.

The traditional decision making process within the Lakota, he said, was informal discussions among the women of the Lakota rather than pronouncements and declarations. Ideas like western forms of government — referencing the “Republic” — and the use of the English language were part of the reason for both the misunderstanding of the dispute between Russell Means and Canupa Gluha Mani and the Lakota’s problems: “It’s hard for Indian people to adapt to this modern lifestyle….It’s white teaching that cause Indian problem….leave us alone….This country has not learned a thing about its own First Nations people.”

US governing of Lakota has led directly to the economic and social decline of the Lakotah people, he argues. Canupa Gluha Mani noted that the life expectancy for Lakota men is only 44, and that alcohol and drug use are epidemic, as are infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. But revival of the Lakota has to be not just economic to improve the circumstances of the people, but cultural too: “Our language is at stake right now” but the US government-backed institutions like the Tribal Police are just “the second coming of the white man’s cavalry”.

Canupa Gluha Mani is on record as saying in a previous interview that “we’ll probably get killed for” withdrawing from the United States. Now, he is tight-lipped on the future, and when asked about the possibility of a confrontation with the US will only say that “anything’s plausible.”

And if the United States government leaves the Lakota alone? “Then we can take our practices forward in good will.” Canupa Gluha Mani, who is married to a woman of European descent, says that the traditional American Indian lifestyle can coexist with the western lifestyle, but “every wound has to heal”. “We can be self-sufficient. We can govern ourselves.” Having withdrawn from the outstanding treaties with the United States, will Lakota Oyate make a new arrangement with Washington? “That has yet to be exonerated.” Lakotah continues to seek international recognition; although no country has declared recognition for Lakotah, he is “confident with the Bolivians” and also noted a positive response from the “Bulgarian freedom fighters” pressuring the US to recognize Lakota independence.

Canupa Gluha Mani then addressed the Lakota people directly. “What needs to get out there is, I love my people….This is your dream come true. That’s what the symbolic meaning of Lakotah is. It’s called freedom. Hoka hay.



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Historic building in Moscow collapses, three people killed

Friday, June 19, 2009

Three people were killed and a further six were wounded on Wednesday after a building collapsed in the Zamoskvorechiye district of Moscow, Russia.

The building, which was a four-story house located at 71/80 Sadovnicheskaya Naberezhnaya, collapsed at around 16.45 local time after workers had damaged a supporting wall in the basement.

Three people managed to escape from the rubble, and another three were rescued. Three more still remain underneath debris.

A criminal investigation has been prompted after the collapse of the building, with city officials claiming that the building’s owner hadn’t received permission to redevelop it.

The house was protected under law as an historical landmark. It must now be completely demolished, as well as a neighbouring building, to protect other buildings in the vicinity, announced Vladimir Resin, the City Hall construction chief. Municipal housing will be constructed in the newly vacated lots.



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Wikinews 2014: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review

Wednesday, December 24, 2014With the English-language Wikinews continuing to increase the amount of original content published, we take a look back at some of the eighty-plus original reports from our contributors during 2014.



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Natural methods of family planning under investigation

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

German researchers have found that natural methods of family planning like the symptothermal method (STM) are as effective as modern contraceptives. This finding challenges the common conception that natural methods of birth control are the least effective among all the family planning methods that are available today.

In 1985, scientists at University of Heidelberg started a prospective, longitudinal study of 900 women using the symptothermal method for family planning (not compared to another population). The symptothermal method requires a woman to define her fertile interval during the monthly cycle through measuring body temperature and observing cervical secretions.

It was found that the lowest pregnancy levels (an average 0.43 pregnancies per 100 women per year, i.e. 13 cycles, with 95% confidence intervals of 0.05-1.55) were among women who abstained from sex contact or practiced non-penetrative sex during their most fertile period (as defined by the symptothermal method). The rate was slightly higher (0.59 pregnancies per 100 women per year) among women who used barrier methods of contraception (for example, a condom) during the same period.

These figures indicate that the symptothermal method might be reliable, but more research is needed to increase the statistical power of the data. Scientists consider a method of contraception to be highly effective if the pregnancy rate is less than one pregnancy per 100 women per year when used properly (the upper limit of confidence was 1.55 in this case, but the average 0.43).

The study reported a dropout rate of 9.2 per 100 woman. Study participants indicated that this was either due to the fact that they no longer wished to participate, or that they wanted to achieve pregnancy, for medical reasons, because they separated from their partner, etc.

Surprisingly enough, the rate of pregnancy among women who had sex during their fertile period turned out to be only 7.46 pregnancies per 100 women per year, although the rate was four times higher than what could be expected. The researchers say these women had sex on the boundaries of their fertile periods.

Taken together, these findings suggest that the symptothermal method of contraception is worthy of further research, as a possible future option for those who for some physical or religious reasons cannot use other family planning methods.



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Idaho companies claim of new record for transmitting data across a wireless link

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Microserv Computer Technologies (Internet Service Provider) and Trango Broadband Wireless (fixed-wireless equipment maker) announced on Tuesday August 11 2005 that they wirelessly transmitted data 137.2 miles over an unlicensed spectrum.

They used external PacWireless 2-foot dishes from Trango to connect two mountaintops in Idaho. They were operating on the 2.4GHz and 5.8 GHz wireless spectrum, not the standard 802.11 wireless frequency. They claim they transmitted a file at the rate of 2.3 megabits per second.

This claim of transmission record has been contested by current record holders (Defcon WiFi Shootout Contest). They question the validation of testing methods and subjectivity. “I suppose it’s certainly possible for Microserv to have done what they claim to have done,” Dave Moore, founder of the Defcon contest, said in an e-mail. “What sets apart the 125-mile record set at the Defcon WiFi Shootout Contest is that it was subject to a strict verification and certification process administered by four independent judges.”

A technical presentation was presented at the WiNOG conference in Park City, Utah August 15-17, 2005. Technical information and pictures can be found at http://www.wifiworldrecord.net