Wheelhouse Weekly – August 14th, 2018

August 15th 2018

Volume 23… Number 33… Aug. 14, 2018


In This Issue:

Huge Win for Labor:



News for MM&P Members:


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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report released last week that the Department of Transportation (DOT) should quickly respond to a 2014 Congressional request that it devise a plan to halt the decline of the U.S.-flag fleet.

When it made the request, Congress told DOT that “a national maritime strategy” was needed to strengthen the U.S.-flag fleet and ensure the availability of qualified American mariners to meet the country’s sealift needs in time of war or other national emergency.

The Obama administration created a draft strategy in response to the Congressional request, but DOT has not produced a final plan or proposed a timeline for doing so, according to GAO.

The 55-page GAO report, posted at, found that the situation is worsening in that costs for operators of U.S.-flag ships are steadily rising.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD), which is part of DOT, told GAO analysts that the difference in operating expenses between a U.S.-flag ship and a foreign-flag ship has risen from $4.5 million per year in 2009 to as much as $6.5 million per year today.

For the 60 ships enrolled in the Maritime Security Program (MSP), the additional expense is offset by an annual per-ship subsidy of $5 million.

Besides the 60-ship fleet of militarily useful vessels, MSP participants provide the military with access to their own corporate transportation networks, including terminals and intermodal facilities.

The cost of replicating such assets with a government-owned fleet and U.S. infrastructure would exceed $60 billion, experts say.

Since MSP does not cover all the additional costs of operating a vessel under the U.S. flag, operators rely on federal cargoes to make up the gap.

GAO reported that 1.4 million tons of government cargoes were shipped on MSP vessels in FY ‘16, but said the level has been falling rapidly: military cargoes are down by half relative to 2004 levels and food aid cargoes have fallen by two-thirds.

Additionally, GAO pointed to a potential shortage of civilian mariners in the event of activation of the reserve fleet and a long-running sealift operation.

A MARAD working group and other industry experts have recently estimated a shortfall of over 1,800 mariners in the case of a drawn-out military effort.

“Without establishing a timeline to complete this required strategy, DOT continues to delay providing decision-makers the information they need to determine how best to address the challenges facing the U.S.-flag fleet,” the GAO said in its report.

From 1990 to 2017, the number of international U.S.-flag commercial vessels decreased by about 60 percent, from 199 vessels in 1990 to just 82 vessels in 2017.

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MM&P members aboard the MV MOKU PAHU have embarked on a relief mission to Yemen, where millions of people are on the verge of starvation.

The MOKU PAHU, operated by Patriot Contract Services, is one of several ships traveling to the war-ravaged country with cargoes of wheat grown by farmers in the Pacific Northwest.

It took on its first load in Portland last weekend in an operation financed under the Food for Peace Program that received extensive media coverage.

“This is an all-American crew,” reported Pat Dooris of local TV station KGW8.

“The captain says it will take 40 days to reach the war-torn area, and while it won’t be easy, they are prepared.”

“We make sure that the delivery goes through, we come back, and we get another one,” said MOKU PAHU Master Stephen Austin.

“As we approach the area, we will take on a security team. They are very professional. They do this year ‘round. We don’t expect any problems.”

The other MM&P members aboard the vessel are Christian Johnsen, Anthony Atthowe, Madeleine Wolczko and Alexander Holbrook-Diaz.

The civil war in Yemen broke out in late 2014 after a rebel group, the Houthis, seized control of the capital and ousted the government.

The conflict has intensified since the intervention on the government’s side of a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition backed by the United States.

Fighting has gripped cities as the violence, along with a blockade imposed by the U.S.-backed coalition, starved the country of imports of food, medicine and fuel.

The latest battles have focused around Hodeidah, a port city on the west coast controlled by the Houthis.

The port is the main entry point for food and aid supplies to Houthi-controlled areas.

Relief agencies have warned that prolonged fighting there would be catastrophic for the more than 8 million Yemenis–a third of the population–already on the brink of famine, as well as hundreds of thousands of people who live in the city.

According to the journalists who covered the loading operation on the Willamette River, the shipments of wheat carried by U.S.-flag ships will be enough to feed about 7.5 million people for two months.

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Conditions in the ocean and the atmosphere will probably produce a less active Atlantic hurricane season than initially predicted in May, though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is advising caution as the hurricane season enters its peak months.

“There are still more storms to come, so it’s important to be vigilant,” says Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Forecasters at NOAA have increased the likelihood of a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60 percent (up from 25 percent in May) in the updated outlook, which was issued last week.

The likelihood of a near-normal season is now 30 percent, and the chance of an above-normal season has dropped from 35 percent to 10 percent.

For the entire season, which ends Nov. 30, NOAA predicts a total of 9-13 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) of which 4-7 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 0-2 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).

So far, the season has seen four named storms, including two hurricanes.

An average six-month hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

To produce the seasonal update, forecasters take several factors into account.

El Nino is now much more likely to develop with enough strength to suppress storm development during the latter part of the season.

Additionally, sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea have remained much cooler than average.

A combination of stronger wind shear, drier air and increased stability of the atmosphere in the region where storms typically develop will further suppress hurricanes, the forecasters said.

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In a tremendous victory for organized labor, voters in Missouri last week rejected a so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) law.

The margin of victory for the union side was 2-to-1.

RTW laws prevent unions from charging nonmembers their fair share for the services unions are required by law to provide.

In the run-up to the Missouri vote, union members knocked on 800,000 doors, made over a million phone calls and talked to people on more than 1,000 different job sites, according to Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis.

“Thousands of hardworking men and women in Missouri talked to their neighbors, friends and co-workers,” he said.

“We owe them this victory.”

The Missouri RTW law was passed in 2017 by the Republican-dominated state legislature.

Unions succeeded in blocking it while they collected enough signatures to put it on the ballot for a citizens’ referendum.

The result, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, “is a historic win.”

“I think this will build momentum and send a message to all legislators that if you vote against the people, go against the will of the vast majority of working Americans, it’s going to cost you,” he added.

It was the first time since 2011 that RTW legislation had made it onto any state’s ballot, and the results then, in Ohio, were strikingly similar, with 62 percent of voters rejecting the law.

In one of the savviest moves of the “no” campaign in Missouri, actor and Missouri native John Goodman–first on a radio ad aired across the state, and then with a robo-call on Election Day–made plain the truth with blunt effectiveness.

“The name’s deceiving: the bill will not give you the right to work. Instead, it gives big business and out-of-state corporations the right to pay you less than they do now … It’s being sold as a way to help Missouri workers,” Goodman continued, “but look a little deeper, and you’ll see it’s all about corporate greed.”

After accounting for cost of living and other factors, workers in RTW states earn 3.1 percent less than their non-RTW peers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Such measures also have a negative spillover effect on local communities and there is no evidence that they lead to economic expansion in the states in which they have been implemented.

“When you have middle-class people making less money, they’re paying less taxes, and they’re spending less,” said EPI Senior Economist and Policy Director Heidi Shierholz.

“Higher unionization helps the entire fiscal situation in a state.”

“Perhaps, after a decades-long assault that culminated in the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the Missouri vote will be the turning of the tides,” she said.

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The criminalization of mariners continues to be a grave problem: men and women who work in the maritime industry are still being scapegoated following accidents at sea.

The Nautilus International Federation–of which MM&P is a member–has been at the forefront of campaigns to help make sure that seafarers are treated fairly.

To lend your support, please take a few minutes to complete a brief, confidential survey, the results of which will be presented to the International Maritime Organization.

The survey is posted at
It is open to all 90,000 members of Nautilus Federation unions and will be live until September.

The results will be compared with those of a 2010 Nautilus survey to see if the situation has changed.

The findings of the 2010 survey were stark: 20 percent of respondents said they had been involved in legal action related to an accident or incident that took place on the job, while over 90 percent said they were worried about being criminalized.

Remember: The Nautilus Joint Assistance & Support Network (JASON) ensures that advice and support are provided to union members involved in an accident.

For more on JASON, read below.

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Did you know that the legal support network for members of MM&P and the other Nautilus Federation unions is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

A major goal of the network, called JASON, is to protect union members from being unjustly criminalized after accidents at sea.

You can access the emergency helpline service in six ways: online, chat, by telephone, by e-mail, by SMS text or via Skype.

1. Go to

There you will find a link to an instant message chat or, if you prefer phone contact, a list of emergency telephone numbers that you can call free of charge in 45 countries.

2. You can also send an SMS text message to +44 (0)7860 017 119.

3. You can e-mail

4. By Skype, search nautilus-247

When a member of one of the Nautilus Federation unions contacts the 24/7 helpline, the details (the member’s contact information and a description of the facts) will be forwarded for immediate action to the member’s union.

In the event of an accident, you should access the helpline as soon as possible, and if at all possible before making any statements to the authorities.

Early contact with the Nautilus Federation is essential if you are to gain the necessary support and assistance and to ensure that you are given the best professional and technical advice available.

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So you’re bound for an outdoor adventure. Are you prepared? Got your cooler? How about sun protection and campfire snacks?
Whether your adventure takes you to a faraway National Park or to a campground 10 miles from your home, Labor 411 can provide you with a list of outdoor products made by American companies that treat their workers with respect.

— For your S’mores: Honey Maid Graham Crackers; Campfire Marshmallows; and Ghirardelli, Hershey or Cadbury Chocolate.

— Weber Grills: American-made Weber grills include Genesis and Summit, which are manufactured in Illinois by union members. (Attention: some other Weber grills are made in China, so read the label.)

— Hammocks: Algoma Net.

— Outdoor Clothing: AFL-CIO Union-Made Gear; All American Clothing Co.; Carhartt.

— Coffee: USA Coffee Company; Millstone Coffee; Eight O’Clock Coffee; Folgers; Maxwell House.

— Hot Cocoa: Swiss Miss; Ghirardelli.

— Coolers: Rubbermaid.

— Sunscreen: Coppertone; Bain de Soleil.

Whether you’re protecting your family from the elements or putting together a decadent fireside treat, Labor 411 reminds you to shop for ethical American-made brands manufactured by companies that treat their workers fairly.

Enjoy the outdoors, and together we’ll camp our way to a stronger America.

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Attention all MM&P members in the greater Los Angeles Area!

Once again this year, MM&P will be participating in the Annual Labor Day March and Rally.

The march will be held on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.

Members will meet at 0900 at the MM&P Hall at 533 N. Marine Ave., Suite A, Wilmington, and head over one block to assemble for the march at the corner of “E” and Broad.

The parade starts at 1000.

When the march ends, hot dogs and drinks will be served at the rally at Banning Park. There will be speakers, music and more!

Come one, come all, and bring your family members and friends!

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The November mid-term elections are fast approaching.

To protect American maritime jobs and the U.S.-flag fleet, we must help our friends in Congress win their elections.

To do so, we need the support of every MM&P member, pensioner and employee.

Stand with your union brothers and sisters!

Support the MM&P Political Contribution Fund by making a contribution to the PCF today.

Go to and click on the “Protect Your Job” button in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Visit the “Who We Support” page in the Members’ Only section of to find out whether your representatives in Congress stand with the American Merchant Marine and the U.S.-flag fleet.

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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3, for Labor Day.

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MITAGS-PMI is interested in receiving photo submissions from MM&P members for use on the official MITAGS-PMI social media platform.

The goal is to document members’ voyages. As suggestions, photos can be of events and sights onboard, crewmembers at work or scenic locations.

If you are interested in sharing photos, please send them with caption information to or

Be sure to tell us whether you would like to be credited for the photo.

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

**Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted**

AB – 10/15/18

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): 8/29/18

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/25/18

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 10/15/18

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 9/24/18, 10/29/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 12/19/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 10/17/18

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) –9/11/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/22/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) –8/27/18, 9/26/18, 10/31/18, 12/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 9/26/18, 12/17/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: Contact Admissions

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 9/24/18, 12/10/18

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 9/17/18, 12/3/18

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 10/1/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 10/1/18

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 10/8/18

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/12/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 8/20/18, 11/26/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/15/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 10/1/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 10/29/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/10/18, 10/1/18,11/5/18, 11/26/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/20/18, 9/17/18,10/8/18, 11/12/18, 12/3/18

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/22/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/10/18

CNAV-OIC (10-Day) – Celestial Navigation: Contact Admissions

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): Contact Admissions

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): Contact Admissions

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): Contact Admissions

DPA (2-Day) – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 8/27/18, 12/17/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 11/26/18

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/22/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 8/29/18, 9/25/18, 10/30/18, 12/20/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 9/29/18, 12/15/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 9/11/18

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): Not currently scheduled

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/20/18, 12/10/18

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 9/17/18

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (20-Day): Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): 9/12/18

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): Contact Admissions

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 12/3/18

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 8/20/18, 9/17/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day):8/30/18, 9/24/18, 10/13/18, 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Not currently scheduled

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 9/12/18, 11/14/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 9/13/18,11/12/18

*MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 11/4/18

*MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – 10/31/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day):9/17/18, 11/5/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 9/15/18, 11/2/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 9/16/18, 11/3/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 8/17/18, 9/21/18, 11/9/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) –8/28/18, 8/30/18, 11/12/18, 11/14/18, 12/17/18, 12/19/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 9/24/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 8/22/18,10/3/18, 10/17/18, 10/31/18, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 9/17/18

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 12/17/18

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 10/22/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 9/24/18, 10/29/18, 12/10/18

SMS – Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Contact Admissions

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): Contact Admissions

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: Contact Admissions

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): Contact Admissions

TTT – 9/17/18

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): Contact Admissions

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): Contact Admissions

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

Back to Stories Covered


Summer-Fall 2018

For registration, contact our admissions department: 206.441.2880 or

Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

August 2018
20-24 Engine Resource Management (ERM)
23rd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
24-25 Basic Training Revalidation
27th Medical DOT
27-31 Medical Care Provider

September 2018
4th Flashing Light
5-7 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
6th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
7-8 Basic Training Revalidation
7-10 Basic Training Refresher
10th Radar Renewal
10-14 Basic Training
10-21 License Preparation (OICNW)
17-20 Advanced Firefighting
17-21 ECDIS
20-21 Basic Training Revalidation
21st Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
24th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
24-28 Medical Care Provider
24-5 Medical Person-In-Charge

October 2018
4-5 Basic Training Revalidation
4-8 Basic Training Refresher
8th Radar Renewal
8-12 Leadership & Managerial Skills
8-12 Basic Training
9th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
8-12 Pilot Exam Preparation
15-18 Advanced Firefighting
15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Engine Resource Management (ERM)
18-19 Basic Training Revalidation
19th Medical DOT
22nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
22-26 MEECE
22-2 Celestial Navigation
31-1 Basic Training Revalidation
31-5 Basic Training Refresher

November 2018
2nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
5th Radar Renewal
5-8 Advanced Firefighting
5-9 Basic Training
12-14 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
16th Medical DOT
16th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
19-20 Basic Training Revalidation
21st Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
29-30 Basic Training Revalidation

December 2018
3rd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
3-7 Leadership & Managerial Skills
3-7 Medical Care Provider
3-14 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-13 ARPA
10-14 Basic Training
14th Radar Renewal
14th Medical DOT
14-18 Basic Training Refresher
17-18 Basic Training Revalidation
17-20 Search & Rescue
18-21 Advanced Firefighting
19th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2018. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on