Reversing the legacy of junk science in the courtroom

first_img G. Grullón/Science On a September afternoon in 2000, a man named Richard Green was shot and wounded in his neighborhood south of Boston. About a year later, police found a loaded pistol in the yard of a nearby house. A detective with the Boston Police Department fired the gun multiple times in a lab and compared the minute grooves and scratches that the firing pin and the interior of the gun left on its cartridge casings with those discovered on casings found at the crime scene. They matched, he would later say at a pretrial hearing, “to the exclusion of every other firearm in the world.”The detective’s finding might have bolstered federal racketeering charges for two alleged gang members implicated in various crimes on that street. But the defendants’ lawyers challenged its admissibility. The patterns on the cartridges from the lab weren’t identical to those from the crime scene, they pointed out. So how could the detective be sure that the shots hadn’t been fired from another gun? Read more of our special package that examines the hurdles and advances in the field of forensicsSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The short answer, if you ask any statistician, is that he couldn’t. There was some unknown chance that a different gun struck a similar pattern. But for decades, forensic examiners have sometimes claimed in court that close but not identical ballistic markings could conclusively link evidence to a suspect—and judges and juries have trusted their expertise. Examiners  have made similar statements for other forms of so-called pattern evidence, such as fingerprints, shoeprints, tire tracks, and bite marks.But such claims are ill-founded, a committee at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded in 2009. “No forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source,” the panel wrote. In other words: Judges and juries were sometimes sending people to jail based on bogus science.When somebody tells you, ‘I think this is a match or not a match,’ they ought to tell you an estimate of the statistical uncertainty about it.Constantine Gatsonis, Brown University statisticianThe committee’s report sent shockwaves through the legal system, and forensic science is now grinding toward reform. A series of expert working groups, assembled by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Justice, has begun to gather and endorse standards for collecting and evaluating different kinds of evidence. What is needed, says Constantine Gatsonis, a statistician at Brown University, who chaired the NAS committee, is statistical rigor. “When somebody tells you, ‘I think this is a match or not a match,’ they ought to tell you an estimate of the statistical uncertainty about it,” he says.Last May, NIST awarded $20 million to a team of about 30 statisticians and legal professionals to help develop tools for analyzing the strength of an apparent match. Called the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE), it will collaborate with NIST statisticians to develop statistical methods that describe how strongly a shoeprint in the dirt links the owner of a certain pair of sneakers to a crime scene, for example, or how many fingerprints other than the suspect’s might have left a similar pattern on a murder weapon.  The group is staring down a problem of immense complexity. Pattern evidence has historically relied on the trained eyes and subjective judgments of human examiners, not on rigorous statistical analysis. It’s not known how much variation exists in the world’s population of shoes, guns, or fingerprints, or just how much similarity between two patterns is enough to suggest a common source. “I know some people think we are not going to be able to do this, [that] you cannot put a probability on some types of evidence,” says Alicia Carriquiry, a statistician at Iowa State University in Ames who heads CSAFE. “And they may be right, but we need to try.” Many forensic disciplines have been plagued with high-profile errors. An ongoing review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) microscopic hair comparisons, in which forensic scientists look for distinguishing features such as the thickness, texture, and pigment in a hair strand, has revealed erroneous statements in more than 90% of cases before 2000 in which  FBI examiners gave testimony. Often, analysts said that hair could be associated with a specific person—which hair analysis cannot prove. At least five of the cases reviewed so far ended in convictions later reversed with DNA evidence.The analysis of bite mark patterns has been shown to be so weak scientifically that a state commission in Texas recently recommended banning it from the courtroom. In one high-profile case, a man named Ray Krone was convicted of murder after prosecutors used bite marks on the victim’s neck and breast to link Krone to the crime; he served 10 years in prison before DNA evidence showed that he was innocent. Even more-established methods, such as fingerprint comparison, have faced criticism. Many fingerprint analysts use standard procedures to mark different levels of detail in a suspect’s fingerprint and in a “latent print” left at a crime scene. But making a so-called individualization—a conclusion that the prints are from the same source—is “where it gets a little fuzzy,” says Glenn Langenburg, a forensic scientist and fingerprint examiner at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul. After examiners look at enough prints known to be from the same source and from different sources, “their brain gets calibrated” to some internal threshold of similarity, he says. The fuzziness shows in their findings. One study of 169 fingerprint examiners found 7.5% false negatives—in which examiners concluded that two prints from the same person came from different people—and 0.1% false positives, where two prints were incorrectly said to be from the same source. When some of the examiners were retested on some of the same prints after 7 months, they repeated only about 90% of their exclusions and 89% of their individualizations. Testing examiner accuracy using known samples can give the judge or jury a sense of general error rates in a field, but it can’t describe the level of uncertainty around a specific piece of evidence. Right now, only DNA identification includes that measure of uncertainty. (DNA analyses are based on 13 genetic variants, or alleles, that are statistically independent, and known to vary widely among individuals.) Mixtures of genetic material from multiple people can complicate the analysis, but DNA profiling is “a relatively easy statistical problem to solve,” says Nicholas Petraco, an applied mathematician at City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Pattern evidence doesn’t operate under the same rules, he says. “What’s an allele on a tool mark?”; “What’s an allele on a hair or fiber?” To estimate how frequently a given feature occurs in pattern evidence, researchers will need large databases. Carriquiry and her CSAFE colleagues will begin by exploring digital collections, such as images of bullet and casing marks assembled by NIST researchers, and one of the world’s largest collections of crime scene shoeprints, kept by the Israeli police force. The team must also decide what aspects of an image are relevant for comparison. For example, sole patterns indicating the brand and model of a shoe may not be as informative for a comparison as acquired characteristics such as damage or wear patterns.A large database and a set of rules for feature selection could then feed a statistical model that describes how unusual the set of similarities between two samples really is, relative to similarities between two randomly selected samples from the population. Ideally, says Carriquiry, the model would produce a “likelihood ratio.” That would allow an examiner to say, for example, that the similarities between two fingerprints are 10,000 times more likely to occur if they came from the same finger than if they came from different ones. For fingerprints, that kind of assessment seems within reach. A model under development by forensic scientist Cedric Neumann and statistician Christopher Saunders at South Dakota State University in Brookings can estimate a likelihood ratio for prints once a trained examiner marks their similarities (see diagram, above). The approach still isn’t quite ready for use in court, says Neumann, in part because its results vary too widely depending on which features an examiner selects as relevant. Tighter standards for examiners could resolve the problem, he says.For other types of evidence, the approach may never work, some scientists say. For instance, a relevant database of shoeprints might not be practical, says Lesley Hammer, a forensic scientist in Anchorage, Alaska, who specializes in footwear and tire track analysis. The database would have to keep up with an ever-changing market of brand-name and counterfeit products, document distinctive features like wear or damage patterns, and possibly even account for regional variations in shoe frequency—the likelihood of a snow boot turning up in Hawaii versus North Dakota, for example. What statisticians manage to compute with their new models will have little value if forensic examiners, jurors, judges, and lawyers don’t know how to interpret statistical claims. That’s why CSAFE collaborator Brandon Garrett, a law professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, has begun to study how jurors perceive a forensic examiner’s testimony.In a 2013 study, for instance, online participants had to rate the likelihood of a defendant’s guilt in a hypothetical robbery based on different kinds of testimony from a fingerprint examiner. It didn’t seem to matter whether they were simply told that a print at the scene “matched” or was “individualized” to the defendant, or whether the examiner offered further justification—the chance of an error is “so remote that it is considered to be a practical impossibility,” for example. In all those cases, jurors rated the likelihood of guilt at about 4.5 on a 7-point scale. “As a lawyer, I would have thought the specific wording would have mattered more than it did,” Garrett says. But if subjects were told that the print could have come from someone else, they seemed to discount the fingerprint evidence altogether. “When Neumann and his colleagues tested out their fingerprint likelihood ratios on mock jurors, participants recognized that making an “identification” was fundamentally different from providing a probability statement. But they didn’t seem to distinguish between a strong likelihood ratio (one in 100,000) and a weaker one (one in 1000) when estimating the probability that a suspect was the source of a print. Neumann suspects that numbers can still be useful for describing testimony, but that lawyers and cognitive psychologists will have to team up to figure out the best presentation.The final decision about what kinds of statements jurors can ponder, though, is up to judges, who often confer with lawyers and forensic examiners to decide what evidence is admissible. CSAFE aims to reach all these players through a campaign to boost statistical literacy. Last week, the statisticians conducted training for practitioners across Florida crime labs at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and they intend to launch similar courses around the United States. Some judges are already pretty savvy about statistics. In the Boston racketeering case, federal district court judge Nancy Gertner found the detective’s conclusion that only one gun on the entire planet could have produced the imprints on the bullet cartridges “preposterous.” She believed the evidence should have been excluded completely. But Gertner—now a professor at Harvard University—feared that an appeals court would reverse that move, so she “reluctantly” ruled that the detective could describe ways in which the bullet casings looked similar, but not conclude that they came from the same pistol. Ultimately, a jury said there was no evidence of a racketeering operation; Gertner cleared the defendants of the more serious federal charges and their cases were moved to state court.What’s troubling, Gertner says, is that when judges accept junk science, an appeals court rarely overrules them. Attaching a numerical probability to evidence, as CSAFE hopes to do, “would certainly be interesting,” she says. But even a standard practice of critically evaluating evidence would be a step forward. “The pattern now is that the judges who care about these issues are enforcing them, and the judges who don’t care about these issues are not.” G. Grullón/Science last_img read more

Australia coach Darren Lehmann sorry for team’s poor Ashes show

first_imgAustralian coach Darren Lehmann tendered an apology on Wednesday for the team’s poor performance during the ongoing Ashes series in England.Lehman was responding to stinging criticism after the Australians lost the fourth Test at Trent Bridge cricket ground by an innings and 78 runs inside three days. The visitors had earlier lost the first and third Tests and are trailing the five-match series 1-3.”We have been poor, we have been outplayed by a superior opponent and, as coaching staff, players and selectors, we fully accept the blame for our losses at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge,” said Lehmann in a column on the Cricket Australia website.Also read: What really went wrong for Australia in Ashes”We don’t walk away from that responsibility, and we have been as up-front as we can over the past few days to explain that’s the case rather than try to find excuses. Not only do we want to be accountable for our efforts, but on behalf of our team I want to apologise for the manner in which we have lost,” he added.”We understand how disappointing the series has been, and I can reassure you we are doing our very best as a group to identify the areas in which we need to improve in order to ensure we get better as a team.”Also read: Michael Clarke retires  Lehmann has, however, dismissed suggestions that poor leadership by outgoing captain Michael Clarke and the presence of wives and girlfriends on the tour has contributed to the team’s poor show.advertisementMichael deserves respect”Michael deserves the chance to go out with the respect and dignity that he has undoubtedly earned over a fantastic career, and I want to see that career suitably celebrated,” the former batsman asserted.”As a coach and as a selection panel, we know how much pressure and scrutiny comes with the job of captaining Australia’s Test team and we want him to enjoy some time with his family who have come over to see him play his final Test.””While we’re happy to cop criticism for the way we bat, bowl, field or prepare I believe it’s unfair to suggest having families with us as a reason for our on-field efforts. Some of the guys in our squad have schedules that have meant they’ve been at home for a total of three or four days since the Boxing Day Test last December – less than a week in more than seven months,” he added.”There is no way, as coach of the Australian cricket team, that I am going to oversee a set-up that doesn’t welcome wives, girlfriends, children and other family members when our players and staff are spending that length of time travelling. Their presence also helps to provide a bit of normality during a long stint of travel.”He also said that the team could not be blamed for lack of effort in preparation and training during the tour.”Even on the occasions when we’ve lost Test matches in three days, I don’t see the value of scheduling extra training sessions,” Lehmann remarked. “There are times when you need to switch off and just relax.”The 45-year-old also stated that he continues to have great confidence in the future of Australian cricket, the coaching staff and the players.last_img read more

3 Tools to Empower Your Fundraising Messengers

first_imgP.S. For more tips on #GivingTuesday and year-end success, download Network for Good’s newest eGuide. 3) Cut-and-paste email templates. Your ambassadors are busy people. Templates like this one for teacher fundraisers from make it easier for ambassadors to reach out to more people in less time..You can also share these fill-in-the-blanks tweets and Facebook posts in Canine Partners for Life’s Social Media Toolkit for #GivingTuesday.Before you develop the templates, don’t forget to ask your ambassadors which ones they will use most frequently.Your team of fundraising messengers has so much potential! Start training your ambassadors ASAP for #GivingTuesday and year-end giving. Then, give them these three tools so they generate the greatest amount of support possible. I can’t wait to hear how it goes! 2) Graphic badges: Badges are a great way to build emotional connection through images. Plus, they are easy  for ambassadors to cut-and-paste into your their emails, tweets, and Facebook posts.  Who can resist a face like this?Or a funny photo like this one?center_img We all have an incredible fundraising resource right in front of us: our Board member, colleague, and loyal volunteer ambassadors.  These people have the potential to be eager and effective fundraisers. Our job during this busy season is to give them the tools and support they need to succeed!Use your donor management software to identify supporters and volunteers most likely to jump on board as ambassadors.The first step is developing a team of fundraising messengers that will help spur #GivingTuesday and year-end giving. Here’s how to ask for participation, train support, and thank your messengers. The next step is empowering your ambassadors to succeed. Their reach, engagement, and donation impact is directly related to saying the right thing at the right time. The trick is it can’t be a script, repeated from everyone to everyone. That’s just not genuine or relevant. Their messages must be tailored to reach and resonate among their networks.That’s why I am encouraging using these three tools to empower your messengers. They’ll ensure your team’s comfort and confidence, which means they’re more likely to talk with more donors and prospects. These tools also increase the odds prospects hear the kind of consistent, yet personal, messages that spur engagement and giving!1) Ready-to-use email signatures: This tool is both powerful and easy to implement. Imagine the reach you’ll get if your ambassadors end their emails with something like this:last_img read more


first_imgApril has been distracted driving awareness month and a state trooper says it continues to be a problem in Iowa.Sergeant Nathan Ludwig of the Iowa State Patrol says they see motorists texting driving every day on Iowa’s roadways despite a change in law that makes it illegal.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………their hand” :06The law changed last July 1st so law enforcement officers don’t have to pull over violators for something else to charge them with texting and driving.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…….and gotten stopped” :09Ludwig says texting while driving can be a tough law to enforce.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…….their phone” :13Sergeant Ludwig believes auto manufacturers contribute to the distracted driving problem with the other things in cars.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……..all the time” ;16Ludwig says a common misconception is that it’s legal to text when stopped at a stop sign or stoplight.He says you can only legally text behind the wheel when your car is off the traveled portion of the roadway and at a complete stop.Radio Iowalast_img read more

Smriti Irani takes ailing woman to hospital in her convoy ambulance

first_imgAMETHI: Union Minister Smriti Irani, who is on a two-day visit to her constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, was seen ensuring that a woman was taken to hospital in the ambulance which was part of her convoy. Irani was in Amethi along with Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to meet the family members of a BJP worker who was killed last month. This was her first planned visit to Amethi after giving one of the biggest shocks for the Congress by beating Rahul Gandhi in what was considered his family’s stronghold. In a video, Irani can be seen making sure that an unwell woman is carried into an ambulance. The woman, sitting on a chair, is lifted into the ambulance by a group of men as Smriti Irani asks, “Kahan jana, jilla hospital? (Where is she to be taken, district hospital?)” She then instructs, “Take them to Gauriganj District Hospital.” At a public rally in Amethi, Irani took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi. “A social revolution came here when everyone went to polling booths, pressed ‘lotus’ and gave a message that democracy has not been made for ‘naamdaar’ (dynast),” she said. She won from Amethi over 55,000 votes, defeating Gandhi, its three-time lawmaker.last_img read more

Comedian Louis CK says allegations of sexual misconduct are true

first_imgComedian Louis C.K. says recent allegations of sexual misconduct are true and is expresses remorse in a statement in which he admitted using his power “irresponsibly.”The comedian issued a statement Friday saying the sexual misconduct claim by five women against him “are true” and he “can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them.”He apologized to the cast and crew of several projects he’s been working on, his family, children and friends, his manager and the FX network.The 438-word statement ends with the comedian vowing to stop talking and leave the spotlight, stating “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”Earlier, Netflix scrapped plans for an upcoming Louis C.K. stand up special in light of five women’s allegations of sexual misconduct against the comedian.The streaming service says it finds the allegations in the story published in the New York Times on Thursday “disturbing.”Netflix on Friday cited “unprofessional and inappropriate behaviour with female colleagues” as the reason for not producing the special. It would have been the network’s second stand up special with C.K.Numerous projects have been shelved due to the accusations, including release of C.K.’s feature film “I Love You, Daddy,” and HBO has removed his work from its on demand video streaming service.last_img read more

US puts on hold discussions over Lankas participation in MCC

Rajapaksa has failed to muster the support of the majority in the Parliament. The US has put on hold its discussions with Sri Lanka on its potential participation in an American aid initiative on poverty reduction due to the disruption in the country’s democratic process following the ouster of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a senior official has said.Sri Lanka plunged into a political crisis after President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Wickremesinghe and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa. “Because of this disruption to Sri Lanka’s democratic process, we have put on hold discussions about Sri Lanka’s potential participation in Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) programmes,” the senior Trump administration official told PTI when asked about the relationship with Colombo and the Trump Administration. The United States believes that the steps taken by President Sirisena were unconstitutional and wants the country to get back to its democratic process at the earliest.Just before Sirisena dismissed the Wickremesinghe government, Sri Lanka and the US were in the final stage of the discussions. The MCC was to fund the compact entirely through grants which do not need to be repaid rather than loans.Discussions on the MCC would now resume only after the constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka is restored through democratic means. The latest move by the Trump Administration could be seen as a setback for Sri Lanka, which was expecting a major investment from the US in the island nations transport and land sectors.The proposed MCC Sri Lanka Compact was designed to spur economic growth and investment by the private sector to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunities for its people, according to MCC Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Nash who visited Sri Lanka in September this year for talks with Sri Lankan authorities. “We are concerned about the extra constitutional steps that President Sirisena has taken,” the senior administration official told PTI. “The longer the situation continues, the greater the risk of ethnic turmoil and violence,” warned the official. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Welcoming declared ceasefire in Middle East Annan urges joint efforts for peace

“I think we should all do whatever we can to end the tragedy in Palestine, and I think the developments in the region over the weekend were very positive,” Mr. Annan told reporters as he entered UN Headquarters in New York this morning.”The Israelis have declared a ceasefire. President [Yasser] Arafat [of the Palestinian Authority] has also declared a ceasefire, and we have to make sure they stick, and that we move aggressively into the implementation of the Mitchell Plan,” the Secretary-General said, referring to the recommendations put forward by a committee on fact-finding headed by former United States Senator George Mitchell.The Secretary-General emphasized the importance of cohesive efforts in tackling the problem. “We need the support of all leaders,” he stressed. “We all have to work together to bring peace to the region.””As long as the fighting and the conflict in Palestine continue, we cannot pretend that the region as a whole is at peace,” he said. “So it’s everyone’s business.” read more

British Columbia ends 201617 fiscal year with 27 billion surplus

VICTORIA – The B.C. government ended the last fiscal year with a surplus of $2.7 billion, largely in line with unaudited financial results released two months ago by the province’s former Liberal government.The 2016-17 public accounts released Tuesday by Finance Minister Carole James also show a $3.4-billion increase in revenue over the budget forecast while spending was $1.3 billion higher.James said while B.C.’s economic growth outperformed most other provinces, poverty remains a reality for many people struggling to afford basic needs in a province where the cost of housing is high.She said the New Democrats are planning programs to benefit seniors, as well as low- to middle-income families that can’t pay for quality child care and businesses that can’t find employees because of the cost of living in some communities.“It’s really tough for people out there to see the benefit of a surplus this size when they’re struggling day to day to manage, when you take a look at the poverty rates in our province,” James said.“A budget and a surplus belong to the people of British Columbia. The people of our province should see the benefits of any strong economy that we have.”James said the government will make key spending decisions in education, and some of them will be reflected in next month’s financial update before a full budget is released in February.Under the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act, the surplus will be applied to the provincial operating debt.The government collected $2.8 billion more than it expected in taxes, including $1.5 billion more than it forecast from personal income taxes.The province’s GDP grew by an estimated 3.7 per cent in 2016, and James said private-sector forecasts expect B.C. to be among the top provincial economic performers in 2017 and 2018.A 15 per cent tax on foreign home-buyers brought in last August in Metro Vancouver collected $102 million in revenue to the end of 2016, James said, adding she couldn’t say whether the NDP would expand it to other hot real estate markets, including Vancouver Island.The Liberals released an unaudited financial update in June that pegged the surplus at $2.8 billion shortly before they were defeated in the legislature on a confidence vote, leading to the NDP forming a minority government.Liberal finance critic Shirley Bond said the NDP hasn’t released details on the financial impact of its spending promises.“The unanswered question is whether the NDP have a plan on how to keep B.C.’s economy growing to ensure investments can continue to be made,” she said in a news release. “This should not be a one-time spending spree that government can never afford again. We need to see a plan to sustain revenues.”James said unprecedented wildfires in the province’s Interior will eat away at the surplus, with much of the fire season still to come.She said financial challenges facing the provincial auto insurer, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, are “very alarming” and in the next week or so she expects the minister responsible to provide “specific approaches” to deal with those issues.Auditor general Carol Bellringer noted three concerns in the public accounts, two involving the self-supporting Transportation Investment Corporation, which is responsible for the Port Mann Bridge and the George Massey Tunnel replacement project.Bellringer said the corporation doesn’t meet the criteria to be self-supporting and that puts taxpayers on the hook for its $3.4 billion debt. However, she said the difference doesn’t affect the government’s bottom line.One other concern surrounding federal government revenue transfers means the government’s reported surplus of $2.7 billion should have been higher by $900 million, she added.James said the government believes the most transparent process is to ensure project revenues and costs are amortized “so people see the expenses going out as the project comes online.”Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia use the same process for deferred revenue, she said. by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 22, 2017 11:53 am MDT Last Updated Aug 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email British Columbia ends 2016-17 fiscal year with $2.7 billion surplus read more

Air Force holds off Denver 7365

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Caleb Morris scored 16 points and Air Force made 9 of 10 free throws in the final 69 seconds to defeat Denver 73-65 on Wednesday night.Lavelle Scottie added 14 points with nine rebounds for the Falcons (4-5) with Chris Joyce scoring 13 and Pervis Louder 12.AJ Walker had a 3-point play with 11:18 remaining, the third and last time Air Force had a 10-point lead in the second half. Joseph Lanzi, who had a career-high 14 points for the Pioneers (2-7), hit a 3 and a layup to cut the deficit to 57-54 with 4:19 to play.Air Force answered with five quick points before another Lanzi 3 made it a five-point game but down the stretch the Falcons were too good from the line. The Falcons were 17 of 19 on free throws in the second half after going 1 of 2 in the first.Joe Rosga had 17 points, giving him 1,370 for his career, moving past Eric Benzel for 10th on the Denver career list.The Associated Press read more

12 years later large piece of 911 airplane found in New York

first_imgThe space between a mosque and another building in New York where authorities believe a piece of landing gear belonging to one of the airliners that crashed on September 11, 2001 was found. (AP Photo/New York City Police Department)Authorities said it will not be removed until the area has been thoroughly examined, including for possible human remains.“The NYPD is securing the location as it would a crime scene, documenting it photographically and restricting access until the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner completes its health and safety evaluation protocol, after which a decision will be made concerning sifting the soil for possible human remains,” Browne said in a statement.The aircraft was one of two hijacked 12 years ago by Al-Qaeda suicide attackers and flown into the Twin Towers, destroying two of the nation’s most iconic buildings.Authorities were alerted to the chunk of wreckage on Wednesday after surveyors found what they believed was damaged machinery at the rear of 51 Park Place.The attacks killed 2,753 people at Ground Zero. In coordinated attacks, another plane smashed into the Pentagon while a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania.No remains of 1,122 of the victims in New York have ever been found, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.Since 2006, authorities have selected 6,134 bone fragments and 1,845 other remains for advanced DNA testing, which has led to the identification of 34 victims.READ: Authorities resume search for human remains in New York’s 9/11 debris> MORE: Accused 9/11 mastermind to face trial over attacks> A LARGE CHUNK of fragment of one of two airplanes that slammed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 has been found wedged between two office buildings in lower Manhattan, New York.The buildings, at 51 Park Place and 50 Murray Street, are located just two blocks from the site of the attacks known as Ground Zero.Only a very narrow space exists between the buildings, which could explain how the part eluded investigators for nearly 12 years.Police said the plane fragment appeared to be “part of a landing gear, apparently from one of the commercial airliners destroyed on September 11, 2001″.And the part bears a “clearly visible” Boeing identification number, according to police spokesman Paul Browne. Although police would not confirm the size of the piece, NBC television reported it was about five feet long.last_img read more

Innovation On Display at ABM Neal Awards

first_imgNEW YORK–Innovation was on display as the b-to-b publishing industry gathered for the 59th annual Neal Awards of the Association of Business Media (ABM) Tuesday afternoon.However, despite the association’s addition of several new mobile, social and video categories—a formal recognition of the value of these emerging technologies–Clark Pettit, president and CEO of ABM, urged editors to remember what has worked for them over the long history of business media. “There are exciting new aspects in our ecosystem,” he said in his opening remarks in the ballroom at Pier 60. “[But] there is a potential crisis of quality if we are not careful.” “It is critical,” he continued, “that we, as editors, remain true to ourselves amidst shallower content blows. We have always been about deep, compelling, long-form content.”With wins in Best Single Article (“A Shocking Truth”) and Best Use of Mobile (“Robots for iPad”), along with the Grand Neal Award (“A Shocking Truth”), IEEE Media was recognized for its ability to balance the old with the new. IEEE was one of eight publishers with multiple awards, but it was The McGraw-Hill Companies who were the big winners of the afternoon. The group took home eight plaques, including three for Architectural Record (Best Single Issue, Best Theme Issue and Best Cross-Platform Package) and two for Engineering News-Record (Best Subject-Related Series and Best News Coverage).The theme of its winning Best News Coverage article (“Recovering After Superstorm Sandy”) was a popular one in the category. Four of the 12 nominees across all classes focused on the October hurricane.Crain Communications followed McGraw-Hill with six wins, followed by Farm Journal Media with five.Each publisher did well on the digital side. Crain took awards in Best Cross-Platform Package (“Remaking West 25th Street and the Market District”), Best Use of Video (“The True Cost of Crime: The Story of Austin”) and Best Webcast (“Curbisde Live”), while Farm Journal won Best Website (“”) and Best Use of Social Media (“Farm Journal Pulse”).Individually, Julie Triedman reminded many of the editorial qualities needed for success, regardless of the medium. Triedman, a senior writer with The American Lawyer, told the story of how she confronted major law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf with an exposé of its collapsing finances.”The lesson here for me,” she said, “is that there are times when even our best efforts to get to the truth will fail. But when the misinformation is ultimate discovered, as it will be, it’s even more important to quickly own up to it and then get back to work.” For a full list of winners and finalists, click here. To stay updated on the latest FOLIO: news, become a Facebook fan and follow us on Twitter!last_img read more

Troopers discuss rural opioid and heroin addiction with AFN

first_imgRepresentatives of the AFN and the National Congress of American Indians met Wednesday to discuss a range of topics, including opioid and heroin addiction in rural Alaska. Alaska State Trooper Sergeant Kevin Blanchette with the western Alaska Drug Enforcement unit was among several presenters on the issue. Sergeant Blanchette said prescription pain killers and heroin have become a top priority for the unit.Listen Now ”Right now, the opioid addiction problem is just as prevalent as the alcohol use and abuse problem,” Blanchette said. “And what we’re seeing now is a lot of these are overlapping. A lot of people are prescribed these medications. They’re not only drinking an excess amounts of alcohol every day. They also take in an excess amount of pain pills. And when you fix this high level of alcohol with these opiates, you have a very real chance of death or overdose.”Addiction to prescription pain killers often leads to heroin use. Sergeant Blanchette said an especially potent batch of heroin that caused several overdoses and a death in the village of Quinhagah this summer, resulted in a village dealer turning himself in.”The people, let’s say in Quinhagak or in Bethel who are maybe low level dealers, what needs to happen to get the ball rolling in their treatment is sometimes an arrest or to be charged with crimes,” Blanchette said.Blanchette said drug interdiction efforts generally focus on opioids coming into Alaska from outside and through hub communities, but he highlights the need for information from village residents to help piece together the drug trafficking puzzle. He also points to a new public outreach effort in villages to educate kids about the dangers of opioids.“And if we can get the message to them, so they grew up to not be users and the medical field can change their practices, maybe we can stop this new generation from becoming addicted to this drug,” Blanchette said.Dr. Joshua Sonkiss, medical director at Fairbanks Community Mental Health said opioids were increasingly prescribed in recent decades as regulations required more aggressive treatment of pain. He said over-prescribing resulted in the current addiction problem.last_img read more

MCU News Black Panther Cast Photos Deadpools Holiday Tips More

first_imgStay on target ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Director Explains Thanos’ Faceoff With Captain America‘Marvels’ Expands Marvel’s Podcast Universe Wakanda Forever #BlackPanther— Andy Serkis (@andyserkis) November 9, 2017Finally, there’s Andy Serkis, who looks absolutely diabolical as arms dealer Ulysses Klaue. You may remember he lost his arm in an encounter with Ultron. Things don’t look to have gone too well for him since then.Can’t wait to see all these amazing actors in action when Black Panther arrives in theaters on February 16, 2018.Thor: Ragnarok (Via Marvel Studios)Until then, we can keep gushing over how much fun Thor: Ragnarok was. Here’s something that’s a little frustrating to learn, though: It could have been even better. In an interview with Empire, director Taika Waititi mentioned a deleted scene that would have been an absolutely perfect addition to an already great battle scene. Much like an earlier hilarious moment, the deleted shot was a callback to The Avengers.They all land on the bridge — Thor, Loki and then Hulk,” Waititi said. “They stand for a second. Then Hulk just smashes Loki, punches him out of the frame — just like in Avengers, when Hulk did it to Thor. It was a crowd favorite, but we just had to get rid of it for time. It might be on the DVD.”Well, let’s hope it is, because that sounds fantastic. It would have also been a great callback to an earlier moment in the film when Hulk grabbed the God of Thunder by the feet and smacked him around just like he did with Loki in The Avengers. I can’t point to a single moment in the movie that made me laugh the hardest, but that one was up there. In the same interview, Waititi revealed that he had to fight with Marvel studio execs to have the climactic battle take place in Asgard. Originally, they wanted Asgard to remain in one piece and have the fight occur in Valhalla. Yeah, Waititi’s version is better. You can’t call your movie “Ragnarok” and not destroy Asgard. What a cop-out that would have been.Over in the other Marvel universe, there’s another exciting superhero sequel coming out. Deadpool 2 is on the way, and the marketing for the movie is even weirder than it was last time. Since the holidays are coming up, the Merc with a Mouth is sharing his cooking tips in a special issue of Good Housekeeping. No, really.(Photo: 20th Century Fox/Good Housekeeping)It’s a real issue of the magazine written by Deadpool. It’s being delivered by street teams in major cities, so don’t expect to see it on newsstands anytime soon. The jokes on the cover are all exactly what you’d expect from Deadpool, but hey, they’re pretty good. I especially like that they found a new way to BOFA people in 2017. Well played, Deadpool.Inside is Deadpool 2′s first poster, and it’s about as Good Housekeeping as a movie poster can get. I never thought I’d see Colossus drawn in quite this style.(Photo: 20th Century Fox/Good Housekeeping)Josh Brolin’s Cable looks oddly out of place at the Thanksgiving table too. The issue also includes some genuinely helpful holiday tips, like how to carve a turkey. Step one reads, “To start, make sure your bird is well-rested. A good 20-minute nap should be enough to evenly redistribute Mr. Waddles’ juices. Otherwise, you’ll get fluid everywhere.” Extremely useful, and just a little bit dirty. Thanks, Mr. Pool!Of course, the movie we’re really looking forward to in 2018 is Avengers: Infinity War. The film is coming out next May, so it’s a little weird that we haven’t seen a trailer yet. Some lucky fans at San Diego Comic Con got to see some footage of it, but Marvel has been oddly silent since then. ScreenRant thinks they may know why. It has to do with something that happened in Thor: Ragnarok.The footage shown at San Diego Comic Con reportedly opened with Thor crashing into the Guardians of the Galaxy’s ship. The God of Thunder would probably be featured heavily in any trailer for Infinity War, and he has a very different look coming out of Thor: Ragnarok. He didn’t just get a haircut; he lost an eye. While the trailers edited in a two-eyed version of Thor when they needed to, it would probably be too much work to do it for every shot of the character in the Infinity War trailer. To avoid spoiling that moment in Ragnarok, which was a huge shock in the theater when it happened, Marvel could be holding off on an Infinity War trailer. Another mild Ragnarok spoiler they could be avoiding involves Loki. In the SDCC footage, he’s shown holding the tesseract/space stone. A trailer including that footage would spoil the shot where Loki stops to look at/probably grab the infinity stone on his way to bring about the end of Asgard.But now that the movie is out, and everyone can see both those moments, there’s no reason to hold the trailer back anymore. Marvel can just put it out whenever now, right? Right? Please?Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Wakanda Forever. #BlackPanther— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) November 9, 2017Every close-up of Black Panther’s suit provides new details. Look at that pattern of connected triangles that make up an outfit. Also, I know he’s contemplating his father’s legacy in this photo, but I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of those claws. Check out Zuri ‘s new poster . You can feel the inspiration. Wakanda Forever. Get ready! #BlackPanther @MarvelStudios— Forest Whitaker (@ForestWhitaker) November 9, 2017Forest Whitaker plays Zuri, T’Challa’s most trusted adviser. There is so much going on in his costume, and I love that this poster let’s us see all the little details. Wakanda Forever. #BlackPanther— Danai Gurira (@DanaiGurira) November 9, 2017Danai Gurira plays Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje. They’re an elite group of female bodyguards to the king of Wakanda. Her Brother’s Keeper. Wakanda Forever. #BlackPanther— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) November 9, 2017Letitia Wright looks fantastic as T’Challa’s sister, Shuri. The movie may be called Black Panther, but don’t be surprised to see her get in on the action too.center_img His people’s rage. #BlackPanther— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) November 9, 2017Michael B. Jordan didn’t tweet out his character poster, but he looks fantastic as Kilmonger all the same. He tries to overthrow T’challa, and from the look of this image, he could actually do it. Another Marvel Movie down, infinitely more to come. Now that we’ve all had a chance to see the delightful Thor: Ragnarok, we can direct all our attention to the next entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther is one of the more exciting MCU flicks to come around in a while. It’s the first in a long time that feels like it has its own style and feel. A lot of that comes from the design of Wakanda. A secretive technologically advanced nation, entirely secluded from outside influence, it couldn’t possibly look like anything else in the MCU. The set designers have clearly taken that to heart, and so has the costume team. The cast of Marvel’s next superhero film shared their individual character posters on Twitter. Prepare yourself; they are seriously beautiful. His nation’s security. #BlackPanther— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) November 9, 2017Nor did Daneil Kaluuya, who plays T’Challa’s friend, W’Kabi. Nakia is coming!#BlackPanther 2.16.18 @MarvelStudios— Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo) November 9, 2017Another person we’re excited to see in action: Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia. She has a thing for T’Challa, and she also has those awesome circular blades. We’re going to see the women of Black Panther kick a lot of ass, aren’t we? Wakanda Forever. #BlackPanther @MarvelStudios— Angela Bassett (@ImAngelaBassett) November 9, 2017Angela Bassett plays T’Challa’s mother, Ramonda. The movie’s use of patterned gold is already an early standout from the trailers. God, this movie looks beautiful.last_img read more

Fit for a king Elvis plane goes on auction block after sitting

first_img By: Russell Contreras Source: The Associated Press ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley and featured on the National Geographic Channel is set to be auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 30 years.The red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar, one of many owned by the King of rock ‘n’ roll, has no engines and needs a restoration of its cockpit. But Elvis designed the interior that has red velvet seats and red shag carpet. The plan had been a source of mystery in Roswell, New Mexico where it has sat largely untouched and tucked away at a small airport’s, which is handling the bidding, said the jet was owned by Elvis and his father, Vernon Presley. “This jet has the potential of being fully restored, and placed on exhibit for the world to come see,” the auction website said.Photos of the plane show exterior in need of restoration and seats of the cockpit torn.Credit: GWS AuctionsCredit: GWS AuctionsCredit: GWS AuctionsCredit: GWS AuctionsCredit: GWS AuctionsCredit: GWS AuctionsCredit: GWS AuctionsCredit: GWS AuctionsRoswell International Air Center Interim Director Scott Stark said the plane is privately owned and rarely was open for tours. “It’s been five or six years since there have been any tours of it,” Stark said.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsHowever, the owner has allowed the plane to be shown at various aviation events. Stark said the owner, whose name has not been released, recently decided to sell it.GWS Auctions Inc. of California said on its website the plane will be auctioned May 27 at an event in California featuring celebrity memorabilia including handwritten notes from The Beach Boys and lost photos of the late R&B singer Aaliyah.GWS Auctions Inc. did not immediately return a phone message and email from The Associated Press.The auction house estimates the Elvis plane’s value at $2 million to $3.5 million.Elvis also owned more well-known planes. The Lisa Marie plane, for example, can be seen at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.Presley was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He became a leading figure in the fledgling rockabilly scene by covering songs originally performed by African-American artists like Big Mama Thornton (Hound Dog) and Arthur Crudup (That’s All Right).More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongHis provocative dancing and hit records turned him into one of the 20th century’s most recognizable icons. Historians say his music also helped usher in the fall of racial segregation.Elvis was 42 when he died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis. Tuesday, May 23, 2017 Fit for a king? Elvis’ plane goes on auction block after sitting 30 yearscenter_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Waiting lists still too long patients advocates say

first_imgThe association for patients has sent the health minister a lengthy memorandum outlining 26 issues that need to be addressed urgently before the introduction of the new health scheme.Top among the issues they see is the continued problems of long waiting lists, despite effort recently by health authorities to address the problem by outsourcing to the private sector.The biggest problem was large waiting lists for surgical procedures, diagnostic tests and appointments with a doctor, according to the memo published in Phileleftheros on Sunday.“Despite the programmes implemented by the ministry of health, there are still large waiting lists in some areas,” the association said. Among the main reasons for this, it added was the fact that many state diagnostic and treatment machines were out of order and had not been repaired immediately.Another was the flight of doctors from the public to the private sector of late. “There is a lack of specialists such as gastroenterologists, rheumatologists, etc,” the patients’ association said. “This situation endangers the life and health of patients or leads to the overdue diagnosis of illnesses and treatment.”On top of that other doctors in many cases take on the burden and are forced to serve patients in areas where they might not be specialised themselves, and end up referring them to specialists out of town “resulting in additional patient suffering”.“When a patient is referred for diagnostic tests these are usually scheduled for months after. In particular, there are delays in ultrasounds, CT scan, MRIs, radiological examinations, colonoscopies and histological examinations,” the association said. “There are countless problems in accessing health services”.The association called for swift implementation of hospital autonomy. “Everyone should work swiftly, methodically and in a coordinated way to promote decision-making and related legislation,” it added, expressing its concerns with the delays, in particular, the lack of cooperation between the Health Insurance Organization with various health care practitioners and the remuneration they will receive under the new health scheme Gesy.“We realize that one of the main problems is the staffing of the Health Insurance Organization so that they can proceed quickly with the implementation of the various actions and pending actions”.The association calls on the health ministry to take care of the purchase and upgrading of hospital medical equipment, as well as of the construction and upgrading of public hospital infrastructure and buildings. It notes that major delays are due mainly to government procedures and procurement involving multiple departments.Other issues that need addressing, according to the association are e-health, cross-border healthcare, the creation of a national pharmaceutical authority, an overhaul of the mental health services, and sorting out the medical cannabis issue so there won’t be any delays in getting it to the patients who need it.Problems that rarely reach the public domain included financial support for patients being referred abroad for treatment that would also cover accommodation and assistance costs, issues with Hepatitis C, which the association said requires a national strategy, and better home-care options.The association also included a proposal to update legislation on patients’ rights that could see the creation of a patients’ advocates institution.You May LikeExciting Magazine15 Pro Tips To Look YoungerExciting MagazineUndoHealthZapSize Of Engagement Ring Made Her Question Her DecisionHealthZapUndoPostFunFor Just 100 This Man Turned An Old Wooden Shack Into Something ExtraordinaryPostFunUndo Famagusta municipality says Varosha entry goes against UN regulationsUndoClear winner in first round of Kition bishop voteUndoBritish woman who claimed gang-rape taken to courtUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

A silver Chevrolet

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Some furious calculations are taking place in the O Panneerselvam camp as I write Several hours before the singer’s body was found, Not only was it all filmed, "It can be hard to see because it happens so quick. But after an agenda addition announced Wednesday,The Itens are quick to thank more than just C&M Ford, Hiring the best means knowing what to look for. The insurgents returned to the battlefield last week after refusing a government request to extend their ceasefire, all set to a catchy track by Giraffage called “Be With You. South Korea While the "world peace mission" is of great significance to several countries, Reuters The gun battle took place in the forest area located between Gattapad and Tokanpalli villages under Chintagufa police station area around 10 am.

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PTI Gandhi has been spearheading an aggressive campaign in prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, such as soft and forceful touch, Ratings-wise, then a 13 year-old boy," said Sekera, There is nothing inherently American or Western about globalization itself. read more

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of the missiles’ timing. according to the release. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash, to turn a 30-meter (98 ft. “We take serious exception to the provocative comments recently attributed to a university don of Fulani extraction to the effect that the People of Benue are a conquered people who have no rights to the land which they presently occupy. further vowed to see to the reduction of crimes within the next six months in Anambra State. saying their invasion of the Benue valley is an attempt to conquer and take over Benue territory. The key here is this: colleges need to get more specific about who they want to help.

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2005. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected the agency’s challenge to "Jimmy Nolan’s Law, What makes its Buy the Best? “Yes,贵族宝贝Briggs, when Pope Clement I, and evidence of a capital punishment system in dire need of reform. who was the greatest heroine of Nigeria’s democracy. read more