October 20, 2019
  • 11:04 am Veteran director J Om Prakash dies
  • 11:02 am Jaitley responding to treatment VPs office after Naidu visits AIIMS
  • 10:57 am Govt seeks report from schools about initiative for cleaning Yamuna
  • 10:16 am Hong Kong leader insists she will stay on
  • 10:15 am Japan briefs diplomats to wipe Fukushima nuke water concern

first_imgOTTAWA – Parliament Hill seemed downright cosy this week as the surrounding areas shivered through days of wet basements and home-destroying floods.The Conservatives devoted much of their week to chipping away at their case that Justin Trudeau is too entitled, pointing out the $2,000 cost of cardboard replicas of the prime minister and attacking his Christmas helicopter ride to the Aga Khan’s private island.Their righteousness was kept somewhat in check by the reluctant resignation of a senator named by former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. Don Meredith was facing expulsion because of his sexual history involving a teenaged girl.Beyond the scoffing about the rain, the life-size cutouts and the sex scandal, there were solid developments on drunk driving, trade with the United States and the fallout of flooding. Here are three ways politics touched us this week:DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCEThe legislative path towards legalizing marijuana has begun — with a move to crack down on drunk driving and a government on the defensive to explain why police should have more power in this area.When the Liberals put forward their legislative package to legalize pot last month, they proposed allowing police to ask drivers at random to submit to a breathalyzer test as part of their efforts to prevent impaired driving. Some experts say the government is headed for a constitutional confrontation in court if it goes ahead.Asking for breath samples, Jody Wilson-Raybould argued this week, is no different than asking drivers for their licence and registration. She says other countries that do it have shown a substantial reduction in alcohol-related accidents and deaths.NIXING NAFTA?The U.S. Senate has finally approved Robert Lighthizer as the U.S. trade representative, putting in place a major piece of the puzzle to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. He is seen as calm, rational and experienced — so the process should be more predictable, right?Not so fast: U.S. President Donald Trump now wants to start the clock ticking on the NAFTA talks, and the changes need to be “massive” — or else he’ll ditch the agreement altogether.The Trump administration has signalled it wants better terms for dairy, lumber, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and the dispute resolution system. The supply chains and competitive advantages of many a Canadian company, worker and farmer are at stake.But can Trump do “massive” and quick at the same time? That’s hard to do in trade negotiations — especially with a Mexican election now in the offing.FLOODINGWith thousands of homes in Gatineau, Ottawa and Montreal under water this week, and the view from Parliament Hill marred by angry brown water in the Ottawa River, there was no escaping the serious and mounting problem of costly natural disasters. And now, British Columbia is facing a similar calamity.Since 2011, the federal government has spent an average of $360 million a year dealing with the fallout of such disasters — three times the annual cost from previous decades.And it’s never enough. Fires and floods bring chaos and wreak havoc on personal finances, forcing provinces and individuals alike to turn to Ottawa for help.That pattern played itself out again this week, prompting pleas from Trudeau and his ministers to build more disaster-resistant structures in the future.But while this specific Ottawa River flood was impossible to predict in advance, the growing number of climate-related floods, fires and extreme weather events has been a subject of frequent discussion for years.That hasn’t stopped cities from shying away from, or even sitting on, the mapping of flood zones so that construction can be designed appropriately. Documents this week revealed that some municipal officials have avoided mapping the risk of flooding because they don’t want to face angry constituents who would see their property values decline.Chances are, that trade-off means little to those whose homes are in the swamp right now along the Ottawa River.last_img read more

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first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook is giving its privacy tools a makeover as it reels from criticisms over its data practices and faces tighter European regulations in the coming months.The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers on users. But the company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings. Facebook says it also wants to give users a simpler way to access and download the data it collects on them.Wednesday’s announcement follows revelations that a Trump-affiliated consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, got data on millions of Facebook users. That included information on friends of people who had downloaded a psychological quiz app, even though those friends hadn’t given explicit consent to sharing. In addition, Facebook is also facing widespread criticism for collecting years of contact names, telephone numbers and call and text histories from Android users. The company has not said exactly what it used such data for or why it needed it. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission said it is investigating Facebook over its privacy practices.Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, said in a blog post that most of the privacy updates have been in the works for “some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance.”Facebook also said it plans to update its privacy policy and terms of service in the coming weeks, but gave no further details.The company has tried over the years to simplify its privacy settings, yet the controls remain hard to find and use for many people. For example, Facebook announced in 2009 that it was consolidating six privacy pages and more than 30 settings on to a single privacy page.Yet mobile users still had to go to nearly 20 different places to access all of their privacy controls. Now, Facebook says they will be accessible from a single place. Facebook says it is also adding “clearer explanations” about how its privacy controls work.Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, called the new settings “the first of many steps” the company is taking to address privacy concerns.Facebook has been working on the changes in preparation for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which were approved two years ago and take effect May 25. The rules are designed to make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data. They apply to any company that collects data on EU residents, no matter where it is based.To comply with this, Facebook is adding a section called “access your information,” a secure way for users to manage data they’ve shared with the company, including status updates, comments and things they have searched for. That’s where people can go to delete information or download a copy. While this download was already possible, it took some time to figure out how to do it. Cox said the changes let people browse through their information in detail, without having to download it. For example, users will now be able to look up a post from a specific date in the past.Cox said that while the changes are “in line with the principle of GDPR,” there’s also a “bunch of stuff that goes above and beyond that.”Facebook also said it will propose updates to its terms of service in the coming weeks and update its privacy policy, but gave no further details.last_img read more

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first_imgDETROIT — Honda is recalling 122,000 minivans worldwide because the sliding doors can open while the vans are moving.The recall covers Odyssey vans from 2018 and 2019.Honda says some parts in the power door rear latches can stick and stop the doors from fastening securely. The company says it has no reports of injuries.Dealers will replace the latches, but currently they have only a limited parts supply. Honda expects to have more parts by late December. If dealers can’t get repair kits, owners will have the option of temporarily disabling the power sliding door until parts are available. Manual door operation would still be possible.Honda says owners should take their vans to a dealer as soon as they get recall letters that will be mailed in late December.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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first_imgIndianapolis: In a largely symbolic gesture to a group that helped him win the White House, President Donald Trump said Friday he is pulling the US back from an international agreement on the arms trade, telling the National Rifle Association the treaty is “badly misguided.” Trump made the announcement at the NRA’s annual convention, where he vowed to fight for gun rights and implored members of the nation’s largest pro-gun group struggling to maintain its influence to rally behind his re-election bid. Also Read – Enemies seek to sow discord’ between Iran & Iraq, says Khamenei “It’s under assault,” he said of the constitutional right to bear arms. “But not while we’re here.” With pro-gun legislation largely stalled in Congress and few deliverables during Trump’s term so far, the president told the group that he would be revoking the United States’ status as a signatory of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the multibillion-dollar global arms trade in conventional weapons, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report President Barack Obama signed the pact, which has long been opposed by the NRA, in 2013. But it has never been ratified by US lawmakers. “Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” Trump said, before signing a document on stage directing the Senate to halt the ratification process. “We will never allow foreign diplomats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom.” “I hope you’re happy,” he told the group, then appeared surprised by the cheers. “I’m impressed,” he said. “I didn’t think too many of you would really know what it is.” His move against the treaty came as Trump sought to excite an organization that was pivotal to his victory in 2016 but, three years later, is limping toward the next election divided and diminished. And it represents just the latest in a series of withdrawals from international pacts and organizations joined by previous administrations, like the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. Gun activists had denounced the treaty when it was under negotiation as an infringement of civilian firearm ownership, despite the well-enshrined legal principle that says no treaty can override the Constitution or U.S. laws. The treaty is aimed at cracking down on illicit trading in small arms, thereby curbing violence in some of the most troubled corners of the world. It was the first legally binding treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms and was overwhelmingly approved by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in April 2013. It has been ratified by 101 countries but key arms exporters including Russia and China and major importers such as India and Egypt have given no indication that they will sign it. Advocates of tighter gun restrictions and those who had helped negotiate the treaty denounced Trump’s decision Friday. Kris Brown, president of the Brady organization, said will “only embolden terrorists and other dangerous actors around the world.” And Rachel Stohl, managing director of the Stimson Center and a consultant to the treaty negotiations, said: “By turning its back on multilateral diplomacy yet again, the United States is disregarding global norms and allowing nefarious actors to trade weapons with impunity.” Yet Trump’s showy rejection of the agreement from the stage has limited effect because it has been unlikely all along that he would send the treaty to the Senate for ratification. At the United Nations, spokesman Stephane Dujarric called the treaty “a landmark achievement in the efforts to ensure responsibility in international arms transfers” and particularly important at a time of renewed interest in expanding weapons arsenals. Trump’s speech came at a troubled time for the gun rights organization, a one-time Republican kingmaker, which has been grappling with infighting, bleeding money and facing a series of investigations into its operating practices, including allegations that covert Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election courted its officials and funneled money through the group. As Trump landed in Indianapolis, a judge imposed an 18-month prison term on gun rights activist Maria Butina, an admitted Russian agent who, according to her plea agreement, worked with a former Russian lawmaker to use their contacts in the NRA to pursue back channels to American conservatives during the 2016 presidential campaign. While the group had high hopes for easing gun regulations after pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into 2016 campaigns, much of the legislation the group championed has stalled, due, in part, to a series of mass shootings, including the massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead. Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and expert on gun policy, allowed that the group had scored some victories under Trump, including the appointment of two Supreme Court justices who may be open to striking down gun laws. But overall, he said, “On the legislative front, the NRA has been frustrated,” with priorities like national reciprocity for conceal carry laws and a repeal of the ban on silencers stalled.last_img read more

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“I am extremely happy,” Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in Geneva, noting that people with disabilities and their supporters struggled for a very long time to achieve this result. “I cannot stress enough the importance of this ground-breaking Convention, which fills an important gap in international human rights legislation affecting millions of people around the world.”The 50-article Convention asserts the rights to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and equal recognition before the law for persons with disabilities. It also addresses the need for persons with disabilities to have access to public transport, buildings and other facilities and recognizes their capacity to make decisions for themselves. The convention’s Optional Protocol, which will also be binding starting 3 May, allows individuals to petition an international expert body with grievances.“Persons with disabilities all across the world have faced discriminatory treatment and egregious human rights violations on a daily basis,” Ms. Arbour said. “Now, finally, we have a solid international legal framework in place that should allow them to cast off restrictions that have been placed on them by the rest of society.”At UN Headquarters in New York today, Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary for Economic and Social Affairs, also greeted the Convention’s entry into force with enthusiasm.“This Convention is not just the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the twenty-first Century with a strong development dimension,” said Mr. Zukang, who was joined at a press conference with the Permanent Representatives of Jordan, Tunisia and Ecuador – the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth ratifiers, respectively.“It is also a treaty negotiated as quickly as ever at the United Nations and it will be one of the fastest to enter into force,” he added.The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on 13 December 2006, and was opened for signature and ratification on 30 March 2007. Acquiring the 20 required ratifications can sometimes take several years.In addition to the States that have now signalled their ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a further 106 states have taken the preliminary step of signing the Convention, thereby signalling their intention to ratify it somewhere down the line. “To have 126 signatories in the first year is impressive,” said Ms Arbour. “But we will continue to urge all governments to follow the first 20 States’ example by signing and ratifying as soon as possible,” she added. 4 April 2008The top United Nations human rights and development officials today warmly welcomed the news that yesterday the first international convention on the rights of persons with disabilities got its twentieth ratification, meaning that the landmark treaty will now come into force on 3 May. read more

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Junior forward Tanner Fritz (16) outskates an opponent during a game against Michigan March 2 at Nationwide Arena. OSU lost, 4-3.Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternWhen you face off against the best team in the country, there’s no room for error.The Ohio State men’s hockey team (15-12-4, 5-8-4) found that out first-hand on Friday night as they fell 5-1 to No. 1 Minnesota (24-4-5, 13-2-2) at Value City Arena.The Gophers took the lead just 2:03 into the first period, and they were two goals up by the first intermission.OSU coach Steve Rohlik said he thought the team played a solid first period, but that falling behind made it hard for the team to continue to play its game, rather than press for an immediate response.“You never want to get behind, especially this time of year against good teams,” Rohlik said. “Good teams know how to play with the lead, and it forces you to try to do things you maybe shouldn’t be doing.”From there, the Buckeyes found their comeback attempts beaten back by the impressive play of Minnesota’s goalie Adam Wilcox. The sophomore stopper made 30 saves, many of them at crucial moments in the game.Rohlik said Wilcox’s impact on the Gophers’ play shouldn’t be understated.“I think people talk about their forwards, they talk about their (defensemen), and sometimes you forget about if not the best, one of the best goaltenders in the country,” Rohlik said. “We had some point-blank chances throughout the game, and he made some great saves.”A third Minnesota goal midway through the second period was followed almost immediately by OSU’s first tally, scored by junior forward Tanner Fritz. After sophomore forward Anthony Greco sent junior forward Max McCormick through on goal, Wilcox stopped the initial shot but not Fritz’s follow-up.But any momentum that accompanied the OSU goal quickly dissipated when Minnesota scored twice in 21 seconds to effectively end the contest. The first came on a tip in front by Gophers redshirt-freshman forward Connor Reilly and then, after OSU freshman goalie Christian Frey was replaced by freshman goalie Matt Tomkins, Minnesota’s freshman forward Vinni Lettieri gathered the puck behind the net and shot the puck past the Buckeye goaltender.Fritz said that the nature of Minnesota’s final two goals definitely had an impact on OSU’s psyche.“We got (our first) goal there and it kind of changed the momentum of the game. We thought it might get us back into it,” Fritz said. “But then they scored a quick one after that and that kind of just (took) the wind out of (our) sails.”While the loss means OSU remains in fourth place in the conference, the victory clinches a first-round bye for Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament, and coach Don Lucia said that was a task his team was focused on heading into the game.“(Clinching a first-round bye) was on our mind,” Lucia said. “It’s the only thing we can control, making sure that nobody from behind us can creep back in and steal a top two position.”The Buckeyes and Gophers conclude their series Saturday at 6:30 p.m. read more

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first_img“ACRE would be opposed to any dilution of the accessibility criteria for rural post office provision. Rural post offices play a crucial role in providing access to services whilst also offering a vital social function.”Postal unions plan to deliver up to 100,000 signed postcards to Mr Clark’s office protesting against any dilution of the criteria on December 19, two days before the consultation closes.Dave Ward, the Communication and Workers’ Union’s general secretary, said the possible closure programme “represents the biggest ever threat to the future of both High Street and rural Post Offices.“Almost 50,000 people across the UK have already backed this position through our postcard campaign and these numbers are rising by the day.”Labour also attacked the plans. Gill Furniss, the shadow postal affairs minister, said: “The Government’s consultation could precipitate the loss of over half of all rural post offices.“This would be nothing short of a disaster for rural communities which are already treated as second class when it comes to service provision.“Post offices are often the only local contact point for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people in rural areas.”George Thomson, the head of the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters which represents small post offices, said he had told Margot James, the Post Office minister, that a “degree of subsidy was essential”.But he said: “None of the country wants a significant reduction in the rural post office network and that would happen if the subsidy was not continued.”He said that the current criteria “is roughly right” in terms of difference and believed that the size of the network was sustainable.A Business, Energy and Industrial department spokesman said: “Our consultation has nothing to do with closing branches.“We recognise the importance of the Post Office in the community, which is why 93 per cent of the population live within a mile of a branch.“Between 2010 and 2018 we will have invested nearly £2billion in modernising and maintaining the network.”Sources said that the investment “had led to an extra 200,000 opening hours a week across the network with nearly 4,000 branches open on Sundays”.Annual losses had been cut from £119million in 2012 to £25million last year while the network’s subsidy fell from £210million in 2012 to £80million last year.A Post Office spokesman said that consultation was part of the Government’s application to the European Union to continue the state aid to the network.He said: “The Post Office has a long term strategy to secure the post office network for the next generation and for generations to come.“Not only are we transforming that network with 7,000 branches transformed in the past four years we are reducing the burden on the taxpayer and will become a profitable business.“The company has a central commitment that businesses in every part of the country are served by post offices where they are needed.“We have an absolute commitment to serve customers in the places where they are and where they want post office services.” This would be nothing short of a disaster for rural communities which are already treated as second class when it comes to service provisionGeorge Thomson The Post Office and village stores in the Cotswold village of Coln St Aldwyns, GloucestershireCredit:Alamy Stock Photo A typical village Post Office in Grassington, North Yorkshire Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Post offices are pillars of rural life. They are popular with many, and vital for even more. They keep villages busy and maintain their sense of community.“The Government has pledged to protect less than half of existing rural post offices, so any change in criteria leaves more than 3,000 rural post offices with an uncertain future.“Ministers must endeavour to protect the bricks and mortar of our rural services alongside any innovation, and support a service that is indispensable to a thriving, living countryside.”Richard Quallington, the interim chief executive of Action with Communities in Rural England, added: “Rural post offices provide a lifeline for the elderly and those isolated by lack of transport.“Any government proposals must be ‘rural proofed’ to ensure that people, and especially those in greatest need, are not disadvantaged by any changes in provision. The Post Office and village stores in the Cotswold village of Coln St Aldwyns, Gloucestershirecenter_img A typical village Post Office in Grassington, North YorkshireCredit: Ian Dagnall / Alamy The 2015 Conservative manifesto committed the party to “secure the future of 3,000 rural Post Offices”, leaving a question-mark over the remaining branches, including 3,300 in the countryside.The Post Office is required by the Government to guarantee that 95 per cent of the rural population must be within three miles of a branch.However ministers have now ordered a review to help them “to understand consumers’ and businesses’ expectations for what the network should look like and how it should be operated”.They said that while they do not “propose changing the criteria that define what a nationwide network of post offices should look like” they want to understand whether the criteria “remain relevant” and whether “a different approach should be considered”.The review, which closes next week on December 21, has sparked alarm among rural campaigners and unions who are concerned that the criteria could be amended to close more branches.Greg Clark, the Business secretary, could be quizzed about the plans when he appears in front of an influential committee of MPs this week. Thousands of rural post offices are under threat after ministers said they wanted to review strict rules that require the majority of those living in the countryside to have a branch within three miles.Ministers said they are examining whether the vital criteria which determine which villages have post offices are “relevant” just 18 months before an £80million a year subsidy could be cut.The Government’s existing subsidy for the 11,500-strong network ends in March 2018 which means there is uncertainty about unprofitable areas of the network. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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first_imgLa plus vieille eau du monde trouvée en Afrique du SudUne équipe internationale de scientifiques a découvert une eau isolée depuis des millions d’années dans les crevasses du Witwatersrand, une chaine de collines d’Afrique du Sud. C’est à près de trois kilomètres de profondeur dans une crevasse d’Afrique du Sud que la plus vieille eau du monde ruisselle. C’est ce qu’a révélé hier à Washington une équipe internationale de scientifiques à la conférence de l’American association for the advancement of science. En effet, ceux-ci ont trouvé des nouvelles preuves pour attester que l’eau souterraine des collines du Witwatersrand y est piégée depuis plusieurs millions d’années. À lire aussiRétention d’eau : symptômes, remèdes, causes, que faire en cas d’oedème ?D’après leur étude publiée dans la revue Chemical Biology, c’est la composition chimique très particulière de l’eau qui a permis de conclure sur son histoire. Et plus particulièrement : la présence de néon un gaz rare dilué. Au vu du profil peu commun de l’élément, les scientifiques ont déterminé que celui-ci ne pouvait provenir que de la roche. “Notre étude a montré qu’un peu de néon s’est échappé de la roche, pour se dissoudre graduellement puis s’accumuler dans les eaux des crevasses. Un phénomène qui ne peut se produire que dans les eaux isolées de la surface pendant extrêmement longtemps”, a expliqué lors de la conférence le Pr Barbara Sherwood Lollar qui a conduit les analyses. De même, la “signature” chimique des autres composés et la haute salinité de l’eau indiquent que celle-ci n’a eu aucun contact avec les eaux de surface.Selon les chercheurs, l’eau isolée serait ainsi un “environnement unique” et abriterait le plus profond écosystème microbien connu sur Terre. Des organismes qui évolueraient totalement indépendamment de la lumière du soleil grâce à l’énergie chimique libérée par la roche. “Il est évident que la longue période d’isolation a affecté leur évolution”, a précisé le Pr Lollar avant d’ajouter qu’ils espéraient désormais poursuivre les recherches avec l’aide de collègues microbiologistes.Le 22 février 2011 à 09:50 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

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first_imgFelida – The Salmon Creek Greenway Trail reopened Monday, after a power outage Sunday prompted by countywide power outages caused a sewage spill near the trail.The spill was found east of the pump station on Northwest 36th Avenue, and the county closed the trail for cleanup.The trail is open, but the county public works department cordoned off two areas along the trail where sewage mixed with storm runoff. One affected area is on the south side of the trail, about three-fourths of a mile east of Northwest 36th Avenue. The second is on the north side of the trail about a quarter-mile east of Northwest 36th Avenue.The county added that dog owners should keep dogs from playing in or drinking the water, and that dogs must be leashed at all times on the trail.Workers will post notices around the trail to alert users, and will take water samples from the two areas daily. The warning tape and signs will be removed once Clark County Public Health determines the areas are safe.A power failure on Sunday, one of the many triggered by Saturday night’s windstorm, caused the outage. The pump facility has a backup generator, which kicked in during the outage, but the pumps did not engage, leading to overflows.The spill was relatively minor, according to county officials, and the cleanup was finished in about four hours Sunday. The county was investigating what happened.last_img read more

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first_imgWASHINGTON — Japan has suspended some imports of U.S. wheat after genetically engineered wheat was found on an Oregon farm.The Agriculture Department announced the discovery of the modified wheat on Wednesday. No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming.Japan is one of the largest export markets for U.S. wheat growers. Katsuhiro Saka, a counselor at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, said Thursday that Japan had canceled orders of western white wheat from the Pacific Northwest and also of some feed-grade wheat. He said the country was waiting for more information from the Agriculture Department as it investigates the discovery.“In most countries the unapproved genetically modified wheat would be a target of concern,” Saka said. “The Japanese people have similar kinds of concerns.”USDA officials said the wheat was the same strain as a genetically modified wheat that was designed to be herbicide-resistant and was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved. Monsanto stopped testing that product in Oregon and several other states in 2005.The Agriculture Department said the genetically engineered wheat is safe to eat and there is no evidence that modified wheat entered the marketplace. But the department is investigating how it ended up in the field, whether there was any criminal wrongdoing and whether its growth is widespread.The mystery could have implications on the wheat trade in the U.S. and abroad, as evidenced by Japan’s suspension of imports on Thursday.last_img read more

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first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享ENSTAR Natural Gas employees donated more than 2,000 books for local students and handed out more than 1,500 slices of pizza to students at Willow Crest Elementary in Anchorage and Mountain View Elementary in Kenai. Moira Smith with ENSTAR: “ENSTAR has three divisions: Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, and Kenai. We do a book drive at one school in each division, and have done so each year for the last four years or so.  In Anchorage, we do it with our partner school, Willow Crest Elementary.  In Kenai, it’s Mountain View. And in the Mat-Su, it’s Finger Lake Elementary.” The annual giving event typically takes place in December, closer to the holidays, but was postponed this school year due to the November 30 earthquake. Smith: “ENSTAR pays for the pizza for each school. We go to the school in the morning and set up the books on a table. The kids come in and pick out a book. They then return to their classes and a short while later, when lunchtime happens, ENSTAR employees serve the pizza to the kids. The kids just love getting a new book and having pizza. They are happy to have the injection of fun and the gift from their community gas company.” ENSTAR employees contribute the books for each division. According to Smith, there is a healthy competition among divisions and among employees for who donates the most — this year, the Mat-Su won.last_img read more

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first_imgThe McGraw-Hill Companies today released its 2007 earnings report, showing overall revenue at $6.8 billion, up 8.3 percent over 2006. Net income was up nearly 15 percent, reaching $1 billion in 2007.Fourth quarter figures showed revenues at $1.5 billion down 1.5 percent from 2006. Net income in the fourth quarter was down 31 percent, dipping to $140.6 million from $240.8 million in 2006.“We promised and delivered a double-digit gain in earnings per share and margin improvement in Financial Services and McGraw-Hill Education in 2007 despite challenging conditions,” McGraw-Hill Companies chairman, president and CEO Harold McGraw III during a conference call. Per segment, the company’s Financial Services division had the greatest gains, taking in $3.05 billion in revenue in 2007, up nearly 11 percent from 2006. Next was the McGraw-Hill Education division at $2.7 billion (up 7.2 percent), followed by Information and Media at $1.02 billion (up 3.6 percent).Information and Media division flagship BusinessWeek saw an 18.2 drop in ad pages in 2007 compared to 2006, according to the latest Publishers Information Bureau figures. During the conference call, Harold noted that online advertising at BusinessWeek.com was up 14.8 percent in 2007.Report Comes on Heels of More Than 600 Job CutsEarlier this month, McGraw-Hill announced a major company restructuring, slashing 611 jobs, or three percent of its workforce. Nearly 20 percent of those—114 jobs—came from the company’s information and media division, which publishes titles such as BusinessWeek and Aviation Week. At the time, the company’s stock price has tumbled roughly $30 per share from a high of $72.50 in June, resulting in a loss of over $9 billion in market capitalization. The company did not rule out another wave of cuts. In January 2006, the company cut 500 jobs, followed by another 600 in the third quarter of the same year.“We are facing a challenging economic environment in 2008,” Harold said. “Nevertheless, we expect revenue growth in 2008 of six to eight percent at McGraw-Hill Education and Information and Media, and a two to four percent increase at Financial services.”last_img read more

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first_imgROI is the number one concern on advertisers’ minds. Ad dollars reveal precisely that priority. According to the IAB, performance-based media accounted for 57 percent of Internet advertising revenues in 2008 and is expected to increase significantly this year.Not surprisingly, demand for greater ROI has resulted in a fall of eCPMs. Pubmatic’s AdPrice Index Quarterly Report shows that eCPMs experienced a 27 percent drop in third quarter of 2008 (from Q1). Performance pricing models offer publishers an easy way to alleviate the strain of price erosion and maximize their online advertising revenue by tapping into the enormous advertiser demand for increased efficiency and transparency. With the following four steps, online publishers can leverage current market opportunities and seamlessly incorporate performance marketing alongside existing CPM/CPC advertising.1.    Monetize inventory within the existing site framework. Redesigning a site to incorporate a new advertising pricing model is unnecessary, not to mention costly and time consuming. Publishers can easily integrate performance advertising into an existing site in two ways:a)    Monetize the registration path.Through co-registration advertising, user data is collected during a site’s registration process and, with the user’s consent, passed on to an advertiser. The user signs up for the advertiser’s offer simply by ticking a checkbox. Due to its immediacy and contextual relevance, co-registration campaigns deliver high response rates and are in high demand. It’s a win-win-win situation for advertisers, publishers and consumers. Advertisers benefit from high conversion rates; publishers benefit from advertiser demand for quality leads, increased eCPMs and additional ad revenue; consumers benefit from a more relevant online experience.b)    Implement performance display banners in standard IAB sizes.By rotating performance banners alongside CPM inventory, publishers have new ways to monetize existing inventory. According to IDC, lead generation is one of the fastest growing segments in online advertising with 71 percent year-to-year growth. Because CPL banners are available in standard IAB sizes, you can take advantage of this additional revenue and incorporate CPL banners into your existing inventory seamlessly. (No matter which way you choose to integrate performance advertising into your site, make sure you command a fair price by leveraging the strength and specificity of your site’s demographics, and strategically offering premium and custom fields for capturing lead information.)2.    Avoid the exclusivity trap.Sometimes, networks and vendors offer to implement performance-based advertising on a publisher’s Web site in exchange for exclusive representation of that site. These exclusive relationships should be avoided. By relying on only one partner, publishers limit the number of advertisers they can work with (a critical mistake in this economy) and lose control over the quality and relevancy of their content. Content attracts audiences; audiences attract advertisers. Allowing exclusive access has the potential to undermine the quality of a site’s content which, in turn, can cause a decrease in perceived value by advertisers. Instead, look for openness and transparency when evaluating partnerships.3.    Automate campaign management.To boost revenue and lower costs, operational efficiency is critical. Save technical resources for billable and highly specialized work. Media operations teams should be able to handle implementation, delivery, and optimization on all types of campaigns, regardless of pricing model.4.    Connect with new advertisers.The final step is to connect with new advertisers. Demand for performance media is well established. However, finding advertisers should be a concerted push/pull effort:•    Push: Have your sales team sell performance advertising to new and existing clients along with CPM and CPC advertisements.•    Pull: Get listed on open and transparent directories so that advertisers who are looking for performance media opportunities can find you easily.As pressure to provide stronger ROI increases, publishers are challenged to go beyond traditional CPM/CPC pricing structures. By following these four steps, publishers can easily incorporate performance advertising into their existing sites and start to see increased revenue and better user experiences.last_img read more

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first_img Tags iPad Pro 2018 and its accessories Share your voice Apple Post a comment Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors • Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier Apple’s new AV adapter may look the same as the older version, but it can now output in 4K at a 60Hz refresh rate.  Apple Have a new Mac or iPad Pro and ready to start living the “dongle life?” Apple’s new $69 (£75, AU$99) AV adapter is getting updated to help you. (See it at Apple here.)The new USB-C dongle has a traditional HDMI port, a USB-C port and an older full-size USB-A port. It now supports HDMI 2.0, allowing it to output video in 4K at a 60Hz refresh rate with the new adapter when plugged into a 2017 or later iMac, iMac Pro, 15-inch MacBook Pro, last year’s iPad Pro or last year’s iMac Pro.Other devices can still output in 4K, but limited to a 30Hz refresh rate. The update is a modest improvement over Apple’s prior dongle, which cost and looked the same but, as Cult of Mac notes, could only output 4K at 30Hz. Most TVs and monitors have a refresh rate of 60Hz. While not a major upgrade, the new dongle should help those hoping to make the most of their USB-C machines. reading • Apple updates USB-C AV adapter to better support 4K, HDMI 2.0 See All 85 Photos 0 Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Peripherals HDMI Applelast_img read more

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first_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 5 min read Entrepreneurs have an enormous stake in how well America’s patent system functions. Those who are users of patents want to be able to obtain a license on fair terms, without facing a never-ending threat of litigation and unreasonable demands. Owners of patents (who are perhaps inventors) want to be able to protect the value of their intellectual property by licensing them or profit from them by commercializing them through their businesses. Unfortunately, the reality of today’s system serves neither the interests of users of patents nor their owners. And it certainly does not serve the interests of entrepreneurs hoping to build businesses on the foundation of American innovation.Related: A Primer on Patents: Who’s Getting Them, Where and How Long It’s Taking (Infographic)Over the past two decades, inventors have collectively spent $100 billion on patent filing and application fees and even more than that to maintain them over time. Yet, 95 percent of active patents (there are 2.3 million today) fail to earn even one dollar of licensing revenue, meaning they are not finding their way into the economy. The vast majority of patents lie dormant — unused, effectively locked inside a warehouse of creative ideas.Why aren’t patent owners being paid for their ideas and why aren’t these ideas finding their way into the economy so that improved products and services can add to growth, U.S. competitiveness and more and better paying jobs? And why do entrepreneurs often fear rather than embrace the world of patents? The fault lies with the broken patent-licensing system that renders the courtroom as the only viable forum for conducting a patent-licensing “discussion.”The complexity of patents and the evolution of related law have resulted in a system where only a judge can definitively state what a particular patent covers and whether it is being infringed upon by another party. And as recently evidenced by the Supreme Court reversing multiple circuit court decisions, even the judges don’t always agree.Determining infringement requires certainty — a high bar to surmount and an expensive and time-consuming one at that. The typical patent-infringement lawsuit lasts two to four years and costs $2 million to $4 million, an expense most parties cannot afford. So not only is our patent-licensing system inefficient and wasteful, it’s also exclusionary, leaving all but the most deep-pocketed of players on the sidelines in the best of scenarios or the target of an imbalanced fight at the worst.  Related: How to Take Advantage of the “First-to-File” Patent SystemWhy can’t interested parties enter into licensing conversations directly, outside of the courtroom? Unfortunately, even commencing a discussion about licensing creates legal exposure for both parties, and most prospective licensees — whether they’re individuals, small, medium or large businesses — are quick to avoid that exposure.There is a strong incentive for companies to avoid even looking at patents, despite the fact that they represent a ready storehouse of trillions of dollars of available research and development. If a party reviews existing patents and is later found to have infringed on one of the patents it reviewed, it is deemed a “willful infringer” and subject to treble damages in a lawsuit. Not only are inventors and entrepreneurs deprived of opportunities to commercialize their great ideas, companies of all sizes are missing out on a treasure trove of innovation capital. The U.S. patent database represents more than an estimated $5 trillion America has spent on research and development over the past 20 years. Yet the lack of licensing activity suggests that Americans have failed to extract anything close to full value from that investment. Clearly the courtroom is not the best resource for entrepreneurs and startups seeking to link their businesses to emerging American innovation. And it’s foolhardy to wait for the political system, whether it’s Congress or the alphabet soup of agencies in the executive branch, to make licensing more attractive. What we need is an alternative path that allows patent-licensing conversations to take place in the marketplace, away from the lawyers and politicians.   It is incumbent upon America’s entrepreneurs and inventors to take the fight out of patent licensing, to develop a system where patent owners see a fair return on their investment and users can license relevant patents in good faith at reasonable prices. Finding a solution — a voluntary, alternative patent-licensing system that functions outside the courtroom and scales to meet the needs of emerging businesses — would amount to a lightbulb moment that could take the U.S. economy where it needs to go in the coming decades.  Related: Yes, Patent Trolls Are Hurting Your Business Enroll Now for Free August 18, 2014last_img read more

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first_imgMercure Auckland rebrands to ‘Grand’AccorHotels New Zealand announce that Mercure Auckland will rebrand to the Grand Mercure Auckland from June 1, following an extensive NZ$22 million refurbishment, the second Grand Mercure announced this month for the region.The hotel’s stunning transformation makes it an even more attractive base for exploring the adjacent Britomart precinct and nearby thriving Viaduct Harbour. Boasting 207 guest rooms and suites in total, all room types have been fully refurbished in harmonious textures and botanic shades. A new library, richly decorated with warm gold tones and leather, provides the ideal venue to relax and read from a collection of some of New Zealand’s finest literature. With a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, the Grand Mercure Auckland offers the largest event space of any hotel in the Britomart area with capacity for 350 cocktail style.On street level, a new alfresco social eatery has been added, Custom Lane, which transforms from café to bar as day shifts to night, capturing a sense of the lively Britomart through eclectic street art and creative design elements. Take the lift to the hotel’s rooftop Vue Restaurant & Attica Bar, which boasts unobstructed views of Auckland’s skyline and harbour, matched by fine cuisine showcasing New Zealand’s outstanding produce and wines.AccorHotels’ Senior Vice President Operations, New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, Gillian Millar said: “Following an extensive transformation and the exciting addition of Custom Lane to tap into Britomart’s social scene, Grand Mercure Auckland redefines the upscale brand in Australasia.”“Grand Mercure is an internationally recognisable brand name in the upscale hotel space, and we saw an opportunity to further leverage the brand’s presence in New Zealand while elevating our guests’ experience.”Grand Mercure Auckland is located at 8 Customs Street, Auckland CBD, New Zealand and joins a network of over 40 Grand Mercure hotels in the Asia-Pacific Region.Experience the newly rebranded Grand Mercure Auckland from just $204 including breakfast. Source = AccorHotelslast_img read more

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first_imgJanuary 22, 20192019 is off to a great start at the Cosanti Foundation. We’re very excited to be announcing that we have officially brought on long-time Arizona resident and outdoor enthusiast Patti Baynham as our Interim Director of Finance!Patti will be a boon to the Cosanti foundation and the work that we do at Arcosanti. She brings to the table decades worth of experience as a businessperson and financial manager. You can read about that experience, her love of nonprofit work, and what keeps her here in Arizona in her bio below.We hope you’ll join us in offering Patti a warm to the Cosanti Foundation Team!When a new resident of Arizona, I was quickly introduced to a number of iconic elements of the state, including Cosanti and Arcosanti. Work took me away, but a Grand Canyon river rafting trip lured me back to stay. Arcosanti had never ceased to intrigue me. Little did I know how much stronger my ties to The Cosanti Foundation would become years after that first introduction!With a Masters in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management, I left Arizona to work for Sherwin-Williams. There I gained invaluable experience as an auditor, factory controller, and director of accounting and financial planning. While with Sherwin-Williams I became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).Six years later that rafting trip changed the course of my life. Computer technology was beginning to infiltrate everyday activities, and I went to work for Intel in Chandler. Taking on responsibilities in production planning, materials management, information technology, and project management broadened my travel and business acumen extensively.Ending more than 17 years with Intel, I returned to school to learn about creating wildlife habitat with desert-adapted plants. Soon after graduating I stumbled across an opportunity to become CFO of Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona. This would allow me to leverage prior professional experiences while learning more about desert plants and wildlife habitat! That role solidified my appreciation and understanding of the need for robust financial management in not-for-profit organizations. I am delighted now to be working with The Cosanti Foundation to help strengthen financial management tools and processes that will underpin the Foundation’s future growth.As a footnote, the life-changing decision I made after our Grand Canyon rafting trip seemed a bit crazy at the time, but I knew it was the right thing to do. In addition to being deeply rooted in Arizona in other ways, I am married to our river guide from that trip!last_img read more

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first_imgBy Marina Christofides Book review of The Icon Hunter by Tasoula Hadjitofi On 8 October 1997, 70 Bavarian police officers raided an apartment in Munich belonging to a Turkish antiquities smuggler, Aydin Dikmen. Hidden behind false walls and double ceilings, they found a massive horde of religious artefacts most of which had been looted from the occupied part of Cyprus after 1974.The discovery was the result of a sting, the largest European art trafficking sting since World War II, initiated and orchestrated by a remarkable Cypriot woman, Tasoula Hadjitofi, a refugee from Famagusta, successful entrepreneur and longtime honorary consul for Cyprus in The Hague.The Icon Hunter is her powerful memoir in which she describes her mission to repatriate Cyprus’ lost treasures on behalf of the Church of Cyprus. It became her raison d’etre, a lifetime quest and her way of regaining justice for Cyprus and for what she herself had lost as a result of the Turkish invasion.Tasoula was also behind the successful repatriation of the Kanakaria mosaics. She was the one who encouraged the late Archbishop Chrysostomos I to sue the American art dealer Peg Goldberg for their return which ended in a landmark court ruling for the global art trade. The mosaics were finally returned in 1991.Some of the artefacts seized in Aydin Dikmen’s apartmentTogether with the archbishop, who trusted her completely, she fought almost obsessively for the return of various religious items from Cyprus, often unsuccessfully as in the case of the ‘royal doors’ from the church of Peristerona, which was bought by the Kanazawa College of Art in Japan.Her memoir tells how Michel Van Rijn, a notorious art dealer and middle man between Dikmen and art buyers, first made her aware in 1988 of the cultural cleansing that was occurring in Cyprus, when he tried to sell her information on Cyprus’ lost treasures. Having fallen out with Dikmen and fearing for his life, Van Rijn’s game was to turn informer and get Dikmen before Dikmen got him.Art trafficking is big business. Estimated to be worth several billion dollars a year, it is third in profitability after illegal arms and drug trades. Not surprising that in her passion to protect Cyprus’ cultural heritage, not only did her business and family suffer, but Tasoula may also have been endangering her own life.Pitting her wits against the dealers, she managed to find ways round loopholes in the law that had allowed them to legitimise the sale of illicit property. For example, when Cyprus wouldn’t invoke the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflict (the Hague Protocol), she tried to get Greece to invoke it instead in order to get the return of an icon stolen from the monastery of Antiphonitis which a Greek, who lived in Switzerland, had purchased from Sotheby’s. The church began a civil case against the Greek. No one thought to invoke the Hague Protocol. Tasoula persuaded the archbishop to contact the president of Greece and ask him to do so arguing how could Greece ask the British for the return of the Parthenon Marbles and yet deny invoking the protocol for Cyprus? Likewise, how can Cyprus ask for the protocol to be invoked to get back the artefacts in Holland, yet not demand the same of Greece?Apostle Thadeos,one of the 6th century mosaics stolen from Kanakaria and returned in 1991In March 2013 Cyprus got back 173 artifacts from the Munich sting and two icons from another ongoing case. Another 34 artefacts were returned two years later. Sadly, 49 others had to be auctioned off because of insufficient proof of provenance, the result of disorganisation on the part of the church in documenting what they had and lack of communication between government departments.Aydin DikmenAs if fighting the dealers wasn’t enough, Tasoula also found herself up against petty Cypriot office politics. “Success has many fathers,” the archbishop told her, as government departments tried to take the credit for the sting. The delay they caused trying to sideline her and following wrong tactics meant the repatriation almost didn’t happen as the statute of limitations was running out.After Cyprus joined the EU and opened an embassy in The Hague, she was summarily dismissed from honorary consul. She believes that this was because the new ambassador felt she overshadowed him. She continued to search for Cyprus’ treasures as the representative of the church, but gradually realised that she was not on the same page as the Cypriot authorities.Tasoula’s purpose was to recover the artefacts and bring them home. The attorney-general’s purpose was to prosecute Dikmen. He wasted precious time trying to extradite Dikmen to Cyprus where he would have faced a maximum two-year sentence for theft, something that would have been difficult to prove. Instead Dikmen could have been prosecuted immediately in Germany where he faced a maximum 15-year sentence. They could have negotiated with him to release the artefacts to Cyprus in exchange for a lesser sentence, as Tasoula wanted.The Icon Hunter describes how the attorney-general and his people foolishly made Van Rijn aware that they needed his testimony and cooperation in order to prosecute. Without documentation and proof of what Munich artefacts belonged to Cyprus, the stolen items could not be repatriated. Van Rijn was able to play them and ask for more and more money, getting them to turn against Tasoula, despite her repeated warnings that he was not to be trusted. Their actions almost caused the artefacts to be lost forever and is a sorry chapter on the state of affairs on our island.When the artefacts were finally returned to Cyprus, 16 years after the sting, neither church (Archbishop Chrysostomos I had by then died) nor state invited her to welcome home what she had worked to achieve for almost 30 years.Tasoula Hadjitofi’s lifetime mission has been to repatriate Cyprus’ lost treasuresNot willing to let her life’s work go to waste, she has since turned her attention globally, taking the lessons she learned from Cyprus and sharing them with the rest of the world.She launched Cultural Crime Watchers Worldwide (CCWW) and set up Walk of Truth, a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to engage the public over the importance of protecting and preserving cultural heritage in areas of conflict and rallies legislators and politicians to strengthen laws around art trafficking.Many of Cyprus’ treasures are still missing and may never surface. Unfortunately the exquisite mosaic of Saint Andreas from the Kanakaria church is amongst them. Chances of it ever being found are slim, especially as the statute of limitations is running out. True to form, Tasoula writes that she will not rest till she finds it and has made it a symbol of missing or looted works of art worldwide. Marina Christofides is the author of the award-winning illustrated history of Cyprus, The Island Everyone Wanted and The Traitors’ Club, a memoir on the Cyprus problem. Both books are available online from her website www.marinachristofides.com and main bookshops islandwide. You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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