Risks of New Army Biodefense Lab Downplayed, Says Academy

first_imgA National Academies study released today says the U.S Army downplayed or overlooked a number of environmental risks while planning the expansion of biocontainment facilities at the United States Army Medical Research Institute (USAMRIID) of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Maryland. However, the findings of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study—requested by the Department of Defense at the urging of Congress—could be water under the bridge, given that USAMRIID has already begun construction toward the $680 million expansion. The Army drew up plans for the new facility years ago, and produced an environmental impact statement (EIS) in 2006. The Academy review of EIS was ordered after local citizens expressed concerns about biosafety hazards stemming from the new biosafety level 3 and BSL-4 labs that would be a part of the facility. However, USAMRIID officials decided that there was no need to wait for the review to be completed. At a ground-breaking ceremony on 27 August 2009, USAMRIID Commander John Skvorak said, “I’m confident the folks who did the [environmental impact] study did a thorough job.” Not so, the NAS panel found. For example, the Army wrongly concluded that an accidental release of the Ebola virus and the bacteria that causes Q fever would lead to insignificant ground concentrations of the microbes in the surrounding area and would not be hazardous to locals. The NAS panel’s own calculations showed that concentrations would be a lot higher. “The modeling performed” by the Army to reach its conclusion “was not transparent, could not be reproduced, and was incomplete,” according to the report. Sign 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(*) Also, the Army’s EIS “did not adequately document or characterize individual risk of exposure or infection, nor did it consider potential exposures to workers and others on the base itself or how the spread of a pathogen would be affected by population size and density,” according to a press release NAS issued about the study. Despite uncovering these problems, the panel gave high marks to the safety procedures currently in place at USAMRIID, and didn’t recommend that the Army redo EIS. “The committee has a high degree of confidence that the new USAMRIID facility will have the appropriate and effective physical security, biosurety program, and biosafety operating practices and procedures in place to protect its workers and the public from exposures to pathogens, and any new pathogens, studied in its laboratories,” the report says.last_img read more

Chinese Researcher Working in U.S. Pleads Guilty to Computer Violation

first_imgA former medical researcher at a Wisconsin cancer center yesterday pleaded guilty to one charge of “accessing a computer without authorization” in a U.S. district court in Milwaukee. The researcher, Huajun Zhao, allegedly stole a potential cancer drug from the lab and originally faced a charge of economic espionage, but that charge was ultimately dropped.Zhao obtained his Ph.D. in China and came to the United States for postdoctoral training, first at the University of Cincinnati and then at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. He had accepted a faculty position at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, and was preparing to leave the country before he was arrested in late March.After dropping the espionage charge, federal prosecutors charged Zhao in April with computer tampering and lying to a federal agent. Zhao pleaded not guilty to both, but on 2 July, he reached a plea agreement deal with prosecutors on the computer access charge, which replaced the earlier charges. The violation carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Zhao’s lawyer declined a request for comment. Sentencing is set for 6 August.last_img read more

Building your body? Take protein supplements

first_imgIf you are planning to pump up your body at the gym, buying protein supplements may not be a bad idea. Mixed with water or milk, they go hand in hand with body building and are the best way to repair worn out tissues after exercise, say experts.Proteins are building blocks of the body. After a workout session, a body’s requirement for protein shoots up to repair damaged tissuesl; therefore, the intake of the supplement drinks within 30 minutes, also called the crucial or golden period, is a must, say nutritionists while advising that it should be done under expert guidance.”Protein is a vital nutrient for muscle repair. When consumed through natural sources like egg or milk, it is digested and absorbed into blood, which utilizes it wherever needed. The entire process may take anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes or could go up to two hours, depending upon the protein consumed,” Prajakta Sarmalkar, nutritionist and lecturer at Gold’s gym in Mumbai, told IANS.A natural source of protein takes longer to get absorbed in the blood and this is where protein shakes come in handy. “Protein supplements are partially digested, allowing the body to absorb them more easily. Post-workout, there is a golden period or crucial period of 20 minutes where the body needs high protein,” said Sarmalkar.Elaborating on how these supplements give quick results to the body compared to the natural source of protein, fitness guru Sheru Aangrish said: “When we eat raw food, proteins are broken down into BCCA (branched chain amino acids) and food digestion takes place. With supplements we can consume a direct form of BCCA.”Also, vegetarians cannot eat natural sources of protein like meat, eggs and fish; therefore, Aangrish feels protein shakes are a good substitute for such people. “I am a vegetarian and protein supplements become very vital in a vegetarian’s case. We have to depend on milk and soya to get the adequate amount of protein,” he added.But there are many who abstain from protein shakes. For 24-year-old Chetan Manhas, a fitness freak, these supplements are a complete no, no. “I have heard stories of how these shakes pump up your body for a brief time and once you stop having them, your body loses all the pump. So, in a way, they give you illusionary shine that doesn’t last for long. So, I stay away from them,” said Manhas.But personal fitness trainer Aashu counters that if “you are into heavy weight lifting and suddenly you decide not to take supplements, the body will suffer because the muscles won’t be repaired in time and automatically the body will lose the pump”. Sarmalkar feels discipline and knowledge are required for the proper usage of these supplements and adds: “If a supplement is taken under someone’s guidance, it can be advantageous but if it is consumed in excess, it could be disadvantageous. An excess amount of protein is converted into fat.”Every product has its pros and cons and it is important for consumers to gain proper knowledge before he or she starts consuming it. “People should be educated on this topic. They should learn how to read labels and not go by what others have to say. Taking a supplement isn’t a bad choice, it can be a part of your healthy lifestyle,” said Aatikaay Narula, CEO of Evolution Sports Nutrition Pvt Ltd, a range of wellness and endurance supplements.(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)advertisementlast_img read more

Virat Kohli lauds MS Dhoni’s smart decision-making

first_imgIndia and England are all set to face off in the first ODI of the three-match series in Pune on Sunday under new skipper Virat Kohli. The series will mark Kohli’s first assignment at the helm, since Mahendra Singh Dhoni relinquished the post earlier this month. (India seek fresh start under Virat Kohli in first ODI vs England)CLICK TO WATCH VIDEOKohli though had reiterated time and again that he will be seeking advice from his former captain Dhoni and that his nine-year experience as will be invaluable for the him and the team. Kohli also said on Saturday that Dhoni would also make it easier for him to take a call as far as the Decision Review System (DRS) is concerned. (Virat Kohli’s Team India will rewrite history, says MS Dhoni)”He is one voice if he tells me it’s outside the line or if it’s missing the stumps the decision stands there it’s not left up to doubt or any further debate from there on. He is someone who has always been very smart in decision making as far as appeals are concerned as well,” said Kohli in the pre-match press conference in Pune. (Kohli already has a formidable record as ODI captain)”I think his word would be the one word that I would trust as far as DRS is concerned because he is in the best position plus he is the most intelligent cricketer around, there’s no doubting that.” (The more I serve Virat Kohli, the better it will be for Indian cricket: MS Dhoni)advertisement’LEARNT A LOT FROM DHONI’.@msdhoni has always been smart with decision-making. He is the most intelligent cricketer around: @imVkohli #TeamIndia #INDvENG pic.twitter.com/qUjJJUn76D BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2017″Already I have learnt a lot. Since the time have come to the team observing how Dhoni has operated and I have said that a lot of times in the past. (Also Read: Kohli and Tendulkar, two champion batsmen: One a fitness freak, the other a foodie)”Many people have had different styles of captaincy and I think he has been so successful because he has been able to find the right balance in being offensive with his plans as well as understanding when the game is dominated by the opposition and how to slow things down. I think that has been his biggest strength and that is something that I would like to understand.”READY TO CAPTAIN INDIAI am ready, not thinking about the burden at all. Leading India gives me more opportunities to take Indian Cricket forward: @imVkohli pic.twitter.com/2HGlm5GlHa BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2017″I’m pretty read in accepting of taking captaincy in all three formats. I feel really honoured, I don’t feel any stress and I’m not thinking about the burden at all. It just gives me more opportunities to take Indian cricket forward which I think is the best thing to happen to anyone,” Kohli concluded.last_img read more

U-17 WC: Squad list of Group B

first_img2) MALI Mali U17 winnersGOALKEEPERS: Alkalifa Coulibay, Youssouf Koita, Massire GassamaDEFENDERS: Boubacar Haidara, Fode Konate, Mamadi Fofana, Soumalia Doumbia, Abdoulaye Diaby, Ibrahiim KaneMIDFIELDERS: Djemoussa Traore, Mohamed Camara, Abdoulaye Dabo, Salam Giddou, Siaka Sidibe, Mamadou Samake, Cheick Oumar DoucoureFORWARDS: Hadji Drame, Seme Camara, Mamadou Traore, Mahamane Toure, Lassana Ndiaye U17 World Cup U-17 World Cup 2017 Group B: Squads of Paraguay, Mali, New Zealand and Turkey Manasi Pathak Last updated 2 years ago 19:38 26/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) FIFA U-17 World Cup official trophy with mascot Kheleo FIFA U17 World Cup Mali U17 Paraguay U17 Turkey U17 New Zealand U17 As the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks off on October 6th in India, we take a look at the squad list of the countries drawn in Group B. India is all set to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scheduled to kick off from 6th October. 24 countries from six confederations will be competing for one of the biggest honours in youth football, with the matches being hosted in six cities across the country. In this segment, we take a look at the 21 member squad list announced by each country drawn in Group B.1) PARAGUAY Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Paraguay U17GOALKEEPERS: Ángel Roa, Jonathan Martínez, Diego HuescaDEFENDERS: Luis Zárate, Marcelo Rolón, Alexis Duarte, Roberto Fernández, Jesús Rolón, Pedro ÁlvarezMIDFIELDERS: Julio Báez, Víctor Villasanti, Stevens Gómez, Giovanni Bogado, Braian Ojeda, Alan RodríguezFORWARDS: Fernando Cardozo, Fernando Romero, Leonardo Sánchez, Aníbal Vega, Antonio Galeano, Blas Armoa 4) TURKEY Turkey U17 05092017GOALKEEPERS: Berke Ozer, Eren Bilen, Ozan OrucDEFENDERS: Emirhan Civelek, Melih Gokcimen, Sahan Akyuz, Ozan Kabak, Ismail Cokcalis, Abdussamed Karnucu, Berk CetinMIDFIELDERS: Sefa Akgun, Kerem Kesgin, Atalay Babacan, Recep Gul, Umut Genes, Sezer Taskolu, Egehan GokFORWARDS: Ahemed Kutucu, Malik Karaahmet, Yunus Akgun, Embiya Ayyildizcenter_img 3) NEW ZEALAND New ZealandGOALKEEPERS:  Zac Jones, Jacob Clark, Nicholas MilnerDEFENDERS:  Jordan Spain, Joshua Rogerson, Liberato Cacace, Boyd Curry, Matthew Jones, Ben Deeley, Emlyn WellsmoreMIDFIELDERS: Leon Van Den Hoven, Elijah Just, Oliver Duncan, Max Mata, Williem Ebbinge, Kingsley Sinclair, Oliver Whyte, Kieran Richards,FORWARDS: Matthew Conroy, Matthew Palmer, Charles Spragglast_img read more

Who Ohio State Will Hire If Urban Meyer Leaves

first_imgA closeup of Urban Meyer during an Ohio State football game.NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 01: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on prior to the All State Sugar Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes are underway at the Big Ten Championship Game, where they’re playing Northwestern for a conference championship and, potentially, a berth into the College Football Playoff.It’s been a stressful season for Meyer and the Buckeyes, with several questions swirling about the head coach’s future in Columbus.Those questions aren’t going away.This week, Football Scoop reported that Meyer had told Ohio State’s athletic department that the 2019 season would be his final one.Who will Ohio State hire to replace him if that does happen?Someone who is already on the Buckeyes’ staff, it appears.From the report:With that said, sources tell FootballScoop Ohio State is taking Ryan Day off the job market, with a significant raise coming and with the (most likely) unwritten understanding that he is in line to become head coach once Urban steps down. What’s that you say? Urban stepping down? So about that…While Urban has stated repeatedly publicly that he plans to coach next year, sources tell FootballScoop that the Ohio State head coach continues to contemplate his future on an ongoing basis, and we hear he has told Gene Smith that he doesn’t expect to continue to coach past the 2019 season. One source told us we should expect Urban to address this in the days following Saturday’s Big Ten Championship.It’s important to note, of course, that Meyer has said “no comment” to this report, while Ohio State’s athletic director has directly denied it.Stay tuned.last_img read more

Why The Most Efficient Scorer In NBA History Is Stuck On The

Charles Barkley1985-20001.52 The most efficient players in modern NBA historyLeaders in career points per shot attempt, 1974-2018 Adrian Dantley1977-19911.53 Boban Marjanovic2016-20181.62 PlayerYearsPoints per shot attempt Marjanovic, the undrafted 29-year-old Serb, has accomplished this in relative anonymity. While he might be a favorite among basketball die-hards and members of the Reddit community devoted to him, Boban will not be at the NBA All-Star game next month, and no throngs of teenagers are lining up to buy his jersey at the NBA store. And he’s only played in 13 games so far this season, a clear sign that his scoring touch doesn’t mask his other shortcomings, which are on display each time he steps on the court. Because he lacks foot speed on defense and is largely tethered to the paint on that end, opponents — particularly those with sharpshooting stretch bigs — can exploit him with the high pick-and-roll.Both sides of the double-edged sword were on display during the Pistons’ loss in Miami Wednesday night, a game in which Marjanovic got his fifth career start while one-time All-Star Andre Drummond sat out with a rib injury. Marjanovic displayed his usual soft touch around the basket, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds in just 22 minutes. That production is in line with his career 1.62 points per shot attempt.Still, even with that sort of offensive firepower, the Heat — who drilled 17 threes, tied for the most Detroit’s allowed all season — were able to chase Boban off the floor whenever they downsized by playing Kelly Olynyk at center. In fact, Olynyk reeled off eight consecutive points to put Miami on an 8-0 run within two minutes of that shift; the run prompted Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to call time and subsequently limit Marjanovic’s minutes to whenever Olynyk wasn’t playing at the 5.Watch here as Miami finds a way to exploit Marjanovic’s presence, or lack thereof, on these three plays. On the first, Miami’s Tyler Johnson comes off a screen, but Marjanovic doesn’t hedge far enough, which forces Pistons guard Reggie Bullock to defend both Johnson and Olynyk on the same play (though he’s too late to do anything about Olynyk’s open shot). During the second play, Marjanovic contains Johnson after a switch, but Olynyk capitalizes on the miss by grabbing the board over the Detroit wings, who are left to fend for themselves in the paint. On the most glaring of the three plays, Olynyk gets a wide-open look in transition after Marjanovic fails to pick him up as a trailer.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/bobanstruggles.mp400:0000:0000:38Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.That sequence explains how Marjanovic has become one of the bigger chess pieces in basketball the past few seasons — one who can trigger an immediate substitution from one side or the other based on his sheer size and skill set. But his situation as a historically efficient scorer who still doesn’t see consistent playing time also speaks to how the abundance of perimeter shooting in today’s NBA has made life nearly impossible for rim-protecting 7-footers who lack the mobility to come out and defend past the free-throw line.“It’s tough, because you’re dealing with a lot of guys who can really stretch the floor, and you’ve got to be able to defend out to 25 feet,” Van Gundy said of Marjanovic, who just broke the 100-minute mark for the season Wednesday and has yet to play 1,000 career minutes in three seasons. “He’s worked hard at [improving his lateral footwork], so I’m confident in him being able to play against a lot of people. But when you get really far away from the basket, it’s a little tough on him.”A few numbers highlight how much Marjanovic struggles with perimeter-oriented bigs. So far this season, he is defending 14 midrange and 3-point tries per 100 shot attempts, the most in the NBA among the 365 players who’ve contested at least 30 such shots so far, according to Second Spectrum. Exacerbating the issue even more: Players are shooting about 15 effective field-goal percentage points better than expected against him from that range, according to Second Spectrum data, the worst gap of any center in the league to this point.None of this is to suggest that Marjanovic, who signed with the Spurs as a free agent back in 2015, has no skill on defense. Coming into this season, he held opposing players to far less than their usual averages when shooting within six feet of the rim, likely the result of his disruptive 7-foot-8 wingspan and 9-foot-7 standing reach that make him one of the largest players in NBA history. And if he had played enough minutes to qualify for the leaderboard, Marjanovic’s career total rebound percentage (21.9 percent) would put him right behind former Piston Dennis Rodman, who holds the best rate of all time (23.4 percent).But above all else, Marjanovic is a scorer. He’s very good at establishing position near the basket.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/boban.mp400:0000:0000:08Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.And once he catches the ball, either off an entry pass or after a teammate has lofted it to where only he can catch it, he has an array of moves that make him even more difficult to guard.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/boban2.mp400:0000:0000:41Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Van Gundy said that part of the challenge in playing Marjanovic is timing, adding that he believes Boban matches up fairly well with a number of traditional centers around the league. But if the opposing club starts a traditional big man, then replaces him with a floor-spacer off the bench, that makes it difficult for Van Gundy to find a scenario where he can sub Marjanovic into the action. Doing so would require pulling Drummond, Detroit’s best player, or likely compromising the Pistons’ perimeter defense against a stretch big, as was the case Wednesday with Olynyk.Marjanovic has long known that developing quicker feet on defense is the key to seeing more minutes. “You can’t make someone tall like me, and you can’t make someone quick like [Pistons guard] Ish Smith,3Who, according to Second Spectrum data, is currently the NBA’s fastest player on average.” said Marjanovich, a gym rat who referenced the time he spent working with future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan in an effort to improve defensively. “But you can make small improvements that help, and you can use your mind to study, so you know what play is coming sometimes.”Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/bobanslow.mp400:0000:0000:55Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who coached Boban when the center first came into the league and eventually talked him into taking the Pistons’ far richer contract offer in restricted free agency, acknowledged that someone like Marjanovic probably could have had a lot more success in an earlier era of basketball — when slow-footed big men like Rik Smits, Kevin Duckworth and Bill Cartwright were averaging big minutes each night and seldom drifting from the paint. But Popovich said he respects all the work his former pupil has put in, despite the fact that there’s only so much he can do to fix his weaknesses.“You am what you am,” Popovich told me. “It’s our job to figure out who these guys are. People talk about players changing. Some some guys add skill, but they don’t change their DNA and their physical abilities and gifts that they have. Some have more than others. And you deal with that.” For players with a mininmum of 30 points per 100 possessions in 100 regular-season games.Source: Basketball-Reference Shaquille O’Neal1993-20111.47 James Harden2010-20181.51 DETROIT — What if I told you that in today’s stats-obsessed league — where everything, including the arc of a shooter’s jump shot and the length of a player’s stride, can be spliced and measured — perhaps the most efficient scorer in modern NBA history couldn’t get off the bench most nights?That’s the reality for 7-foot-3 Pistons center Boban Marjanovic, who scores with unprecedented efficiency when he is on the court.1Since the 1973-74 season, which predates the ABA-NBA merger. Among players who’ve averaged 30 points per 100 possessions and played in at least 100 regular-season games, no player has been able to match Marjanovic in points per shot attempt, and those who have come closest are either already in the Hall of Fame or likely will be one day. He also currently leads the NBA2Among those who’ve played 10 games or more so far this season. by a wide margin in points per touch, according to data from Second Spectrum. read more

Labour MPs warn against readmitting Ken Livingstone to party

first_img 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. Labour MPs have warned against re-admitting Ken Livingstone to the party as his suspension over anti-Semitism comes to an end.The former London mayor was branded an “embarrassment” who would bring Labour into disrepute by prominent backbenchers.It is understood Mr Livingstone will face a fresh investigation by the National Executive Committee (NEC) when it meets in March and he will not be reinstated until that is resolved. His suspension from the party is due to expire in April.The ex-MP said he had “not heard a word” about what was happening with his membership.”I was suspended almost two years ago. The hearing was April last year. Ever since then I’ve not heard a word,” he said.Mr Livingstone has always insisted that he said Hitler had supported Zionism at one time, not that Hitler was a Zionist.The former London mayor avoided expulsion in April 2017 at a disciplinary hearing of the NEC but it suspended him from the party for a further year. “I’ve never heard about any other complaints.”I’m a retired househusband. I haven’t heard anything from anyone since the inquiry last April.”He added: “Until some decision is taken I’m not even thinking about it.”Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “Nothing says socialism quite like ‘I’ll sue you if I don’t get my way’, forgive me but what does he offer the party other than embarrassment and ego?”Ruth Smeeth, who has suffered anti-Semitic abuse on social media, told the Observer Mr Livingstone “continues to bring the party into disrepute” and “has no place in the party”.During the general election, Mr Corbyn suggested that Mr Livingstone could face further investigation.A Labour party spokesman said: “Ken Livingstone is suspended from the Labour Party. It would not be appropriate to comment further on an ongoing disciplinary matter.” “Everyone was expecting that they were going to expel me but I just pointed out that if they did I would go for judicial review,” he said.”They didn’t have a chance of winning because I simply stated historical fact. I never said Hitler was a Zionist but that’s the trouble with fake news these days.center_img Mr Livingstone has always insisted that he said Hitler had supported Zionism at one time, not that Hitler was a Zionist.  Credit:Eddie Mulholland Ken Livingstonelast_img read more

Managers murder Police seeking evidence as suspects have not confessed

As investigations continue into the murder of Neil Whyte, this publication was informed that police are presently working on obtaining circumstantial evidence as no one has confessed to the heinous crime.Murdered: Neil WhyteMoreover, a second person has been arrested in connection with the murder of the Guyanese, who was also a Canadian citizen, that was attached to the Guyana Goldfields Inc. as a Supply Chain Manager.The second suspect has been identified as a 28-year-old taxi driver of La Penitence, Georgetown.The incident allegedly occurred sometime between 22:22h and 23:45h on Monday at an apartment complex that Whyte was residing in on Thomas Street, North Cummingsburg.This publication was informed that at the time of his discovery, Whyte was found on his bed naked with his hands bound to the front and stab wounds were seen to his neck and other parts of his body.His laptop, cash, gold and other personal valuables were reportedly missing.Prior to the discovery, the security guard for the apartment told investigators that Whyte picked up and escorted a colleague into the apartment. The guard identified the colleague as Arif Alli.The security guard said as Alli was exiting the building, he told him that he was going to collect something with a haversack.However, the suspect reportedly walked to the junction of Thomas and Middle Street, where he joined a car that drove away.The guard knowing that it is the protocol of the company that the visitor of a guest be checked out of the building by the guest, went up to the victim’s room and saw him lying lifeless in a pool of blood on the bed.He informed his superiors, who later informed the police.Whyte’s body was taken to Georgetown Public Hospital, where it was pronounced dead on arrival.Alli was subsequently taken into police custody. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTaxi driver confesses to murdering Guyana Goldfields employeeMay 25, 2018In “Crime”Guyana Goldfields Manager stabbed to death in apartment, suspect in custodyMay 22, 2018In “Crime”Taxi driver accused of murdering Goldfields manager remandedMay 29, 2018In “Court” read more

Igniting growth in Australias mining equipment technology and services sector

first_imgA new A$20 million national industry growth centre headquartered in Brisbane has opened and will help Queensland’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector grow sustainably on the world stage, METS Ignited reports. “At a time when innovation is vital to the competitiveness of the global mining industry, the potential for transformation in this sector is enormous and exciting for METS firms.“With Queensland renowned internationally for its mining innovation, the federal government’s industry growth centre (IGC) initiative provides the state with an opportunity to capitalise on its unique strengths, build export capacity and create technology-based jobs.”The METS sector is a significant part of the Australian economy and is the fifth largest exporter. Australia-wide, the sector generated approximately A$90 billion in gross revenue in 2012.METS expertise developed in Australia is now exported to the world with services covering the whole life-of-mine activities, from exploration and feasibility to design, construction, operations and energy, and finally to closure and rehabilitation. The skills, products and services developed in the mining industry are also finding application in other fields such as oil and gas and agriculture.METS is a major employer and income producer for Queensland with the sector’s revenue estimated at A$21 billion or 4–5% of the total Queensland economy. Queensland has more than 400 operating METS companies, employing about 60,000 people. Over half of these companies already export products and services.The Australian Government announced that it had chosen Queensland as the location for the METS IGC as part of the Australian Government’s A$225 million Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. Headed by Chair Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, the not-for-profit METS IGC will link hubs established around Australia to unlock commercial opportunities and strengthen our national advantage.At the launch of the centre in October, State Development and Natural Resources Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham MP said, “This is great news for our METS sector and our mining industry, and why the Queensland has committed A$6 million over four years to support the centre based in the state.”The federal government will provide A$3.5 million per year over four years to support the operation of the METS IGC in Queensland. The state government will provide A$6 million plus staffing support to the centre located at the Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point campus. Working collaboratively with the Queensland Government, the goals of the METS IGC are to:Develop a clear and shared industry visionPromote new and improved innovation processesGrow the METS industry brand locally, nationally and globallyImprove industry competitiveness through appropriate regulation reform.The Queensland Government expects the METS IGC to fuel collaboration on new solutions to the mining industry’s challenges, including reducing production costs and innovative approaches to mine site rehabilitation.Queensland already has the advantage of well-established mining clusters including CRC Mining, CRC ORE, and CSIRO Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies—more than 200 mining companies and more than a dozen industry associations and universities collaborating to foster innovation.Through a combination of home grown innovation, significant private investment and government assistance, Queensland has developed an international reputation as an industry leader in a variety of METS fields and enjoys a growing number of international trade relationships. While achievements in the sector to date have been impressive, challenges still lie ahead, especially the impact of the current mining downturn on both mining companies and their METS suppliers.To meet these challenges, integrated and transformational innovation within the mining industry is required to reduce operational costs, increase productivity and generally set the industry up for future economic challenges for the sector. This issue is particularly relevant to Queensland and Australia where production costs are high in comparison to key international competitors.“In order to increase our share of the global marketplace, all METS sector participants must innovate, collaborate and translate these solutions to commercial, environmental and social benefits.“Both the Queensland Government’s A$180 million Advance Queensland initiative and the METS IGC provide pathways for turning brilliant ideas into commercially viable products and services. It is in this kind of business environment that the creation and commercialisation of good ideas can grow and flourish.”Picture from the official launch of the METS Growth Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. (L-R) Dr Anthony Lynham, MP, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines; Ross Vasta, MP, Member for Bonner; Professor Peter Coaldrake, Vice Chancellor, QUT; Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, Chair, METS Ignited Australia; The Hon. Christopher Pyne, MP, Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science; and Professor Rachel Parker, QUT.last_img read more

Microsoft Kinect Can Capture Data for Advertisers

first_imgBefore rushing out to buy a Kinect for Xbox 360 this holidayseason, here’s something to take into consideration: you’re effectivelybringing a camera into your living room. Of course, we’re not suggesting thatMicrosoft (or anyone else for that matter) has any particularly malicious plansfor the thing–it’s really just something to think about.What sort of thing could a company like Microsoft capturewith a device like the Kinect? Advertising data, for one.  It’s something that the company has expressedsome interest in, in fact–the ability to capture certain data for potentialadvertisers. There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly personal about thepotential data captured.Rather, it would boil users down to a set of number: howoften are they playing, how many people are playing at any given time, et al.You know, the sorts of things advertisers are generally looking for in abstractdemographics.As TG Daily puts it, “Obviously no third-party would be ableto say, ‘I want to remotely tap into that random Kinect camera.’ At least, we’dhope not.”It’s a scary prospect, certainly–and it does get one startedon all manner of slippery slope-type worries. After all, by opening a camera inone’s living room to third parties, one is, perhaps, opening up a can ofwriggling privacy concerns.AdChoices广告last_img read more

Victoria takes aim at Uber

first_imgVictoria’s Taxi Services Commission (TSC) is taking court action against a dozen drivers from ‘ride-sharing’ company Uber in an effort to regulate its controversial business in the state.The TSC’s intervention follows an undercover investigation, aimed at gathering evidence that would enable harsher penalties to be inflicted on Uber drivers beyond the current $1,700 fine.Victorian Taxi Commissioner Graeme Samuel says Uber is ignoring regulators.“I’d have to say, in their operations over the past 12 months they’ve not been gaming the regulators, they’ve just actually been thumbing their nose at them,” Mr Samuel told the ABC.Uber drivers use their own vehicles as taxis to collect passengers who have requested a car using Uber’s smart phone app.Uber’s general manager in the United States David Rohrsheim said he was “proud to say Australians have been rapid adopters of ride sharing.”Mr Rohrsheim added that with millions of rides being taken with Uber since its launch in Australia, it was “a clear sign that people are looking for another alternative”.Uber claims thousands of unlicensed drivers have been signed up, despite the fact they face fines of $1,700 in Victoria if caught.Neos Kosmos understands 80 infringement notices have been issued to Uber drivers in Victoria to date and a total of $130,000 in fines – all of which have been paid by Uber rather than the drivers.Uber’s latest company valuation is $49 billion and it is believed to be preparing to float on the US stock market.Over the past five years the company has spread to 50 countries and 250 cities.Melbourne taxi operator Harry Katsiabanis told Neos Kosmos that state regulators are seemingly powerless to stop Uber’s infiltration of the market. “The TSC is fighting a difficult beast. We need a new law which says if you’re providing a taxi service in an unlicensed vehicle, your vehicle should be impounded for a first time offence, and crushed if there are repeat offences.”Mr Katsiabanis said that Victoria and other states could adopt measures taken by the Singapore government, which mandates all taxi smartphone apps must be approved by government.“These Uber people are very smart. They don’t care about public transport. They just want to grow their company so they can list it on the stock market.” In WA this week it was revealed that more than 40 drivers in the state linked to Uber would be issued with notices, ordering them to hand over financial records and documents as part of the state government’s crackdown.Drivers for the Uber Black premium service, which launched in Perth in May, have already been hit with 11 infringements and 30 cautions. The new notices target drivers using the Uber X platform.WA’s Department of Transport has sent the ‘notice to produce’ orders to 42 individuals it suspects of operating a taxi vehicle contrary to the state’s Taxi Act.On Monday, the French government announced that the company’s UberPop service would be banned from January 1. The ban follows action by policy makers in Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin and Delhi who have vowed to make Uber’s services illegal.The TSC’s court case against 12 Uber X drivers will be heard at the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on February 5. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Applying For A Temporary Emergency Passport In The Turks And Caicos Islands

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 28 Oct 2015 – The Ministry of Border Control and Employment wishes to remind citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands that while there is a requirement to submit application for a TCI passport in the normal way, locally, the actual printing of TCI passports has been transferred to the United Kingdom. Given the implications that the new application process has for travelling at very short notice, all persons are encouraged to check the validity of their passports whether there are immediate plans to travel, or not. More importantly, the expiry dates on passports must be checked prior to purchasing airline tickets as there as strict guidelines governing the issuance of TCI passport stock.The following do not meet the criteria to have an emergency temporary passport issued locally.1. the discovery of a soon to be expired or already expired passport, after the purchase of an airline ticket,2. a pre-planned business trip, vacation or doctor’s appointment overseas, and3. accidental or intentional damage to a valid passport as a result of inattentiveness, for example spillingliquids on a passport, washing a passport in a washing machine and defacing or tearing passport pages.Emergency temporary passports may be issued locally under the following conditions.1. When there is contact from the hospital regarding the transfer of a patient to another country and the patient concerned is not in possession of a valid travel document.2. When there is urgent business travel by senior government officials and parliamentarians; and,3. Any other travel that may be considered on compassionate grounds.Non British Overseas Territory citizens are cautioned to be in possession of a valid travel document from their home country at all times as only British Overseas Territory Citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands qualify for a TCI passport. In the event of an emergency, non-TCI nationals are advised to contact the nearest Embassy of their home country. Additional information and forms may be found on the website www.gov.tc/passports Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:Ministry of Border Control and Employment, temporary emergency passportslast_img read more

Fortnite pro Ninja leaves Twitch for Mixer

first_img Comment Blevins’ announcement comes at an interesting time; Fortnite developer Epic Games began the 10th season of the game several hours before. On Twitch, owned by Amazon, Blevins’ channel had 14 million subscribers, and he was the second most-watched Fortnite player, behind Turner “Tfue” Tenney, according to analytics site TwitchMetrics. “We’ve loved watching Ninja on Twitch over the years and are proud of all that he’s accomplished for himself and his family, and the gaming community,” a Twitch spokesperson said in an email Thursday. “We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”As of Friday morning, Blevin’s channel on Mixer has more than 259,000 subscribers. Following his departure, Twitch updated Blevins’ channel with a list of other channels and a message saying, “The Ninja you’re looking for is in another castle.”Blevins participated in the Fortnite World Cup. Though he didn’t qualify for the solos tournament, he was part of the Creative event. Originally published Aug. 1, 10:32 a.m. PT.Update, 10:43 a.m.: Adds quote from Blevins; 11:04 a.m: Includes background details.  Aug. 2: Adds Twitch comment. Aug. 5: Adds Twitch reaction.  The next chapter,https://t.co/lvn9KBjEYq pic.twitter.com/tljVgyM3bG— Ninja (@Ninja) August 1, 2019 Ninja Fortnite Twitch Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is ditching Twitch to go stream on Mixer.  Robert Reiners/Getty Images Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of the most recognized esports players, best known for playing Fortnite, has left the streaming platform Twitch for the Microsoft-owned streaming service Mixer. Blevins broke the news of changing platforms via a Twitter video Thursday. He’ll stream exclusively on Mixer starting Aug. 2 during Lollapalooza 2019. “I never would have thought that I could build a career by doing what I love, and I am extremely grateful for the incredible experiences that I have had,” Blevins said in a press release Thursday. “As I look at the next step in my career, achieving bigger goals in the gaming industry with Mixer will allow me to have the perfect balance of opportunities and success. My roots as a gamer started with Halo, so working with Microsoft and coming over to Mixer felt like a natural next step.” Share your voice 1 Gaming Culture Tagslast_img read more

Dozens turnout to testify against Homer pot prohibition ordinance

first_img(Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI)It was standing room only at the start of Monday evening’s Homer City Council meeting where dozens of people showed up to testify about an ordinance that would ban all commercial cannabis activity in Homer. Most who testified were against the ordinance introduced by Homer City Council Members Heath Smith and Gus Van Dyke.Some, like longtime resident, Misty Van Hooser, argued against it for economic reasons.“Opting out would prevent future tourism in Homer. Tourism is down and always kind of up and down in Homer as I’ve witnessed and I think that by adding a safe place for people to go, that’s reasonable, well regulated – [it] would offer potential increase in tourism that we could desperately use,” said Van Hooser.Others were more philosophical, like, water taxi businessman, Mako Haggerty, who said he’s happy he can be more open about his recreational marijuana use.“I got a couple of buds at home. I’ll probably save it for a special occasion. It’s not like I’m a chronic user or anything like that. But, I can talk about it now. Two years ago, I couldn’t even talk about it. So, that’s what I call progress. And what I call this ordinance that’s before you now, I call it retrograde,” said Haggerty.David Harris said the ordinance was a slap in the face to voters and if passed would push marijuana use back into the shadows.“If you ban marijuana, all you’re going to do is increase increase black market sales,” said Harris.And yet others were against the prohibition ordinance because they said it would give those who use pot for medical reasons a legal way to get it. Brandon Head was one of them.“Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare form of multiple sclerosis. I wouldn’t be able to be in this room right now if it wasn’t for medical marijuana but there’s no accessibility, there’s no place, there’s no equal access, there’s no safety, there’s no testing,” said Head.The handful of people who supported the prohibition ordinance argued allowing commercial cannabis to proceed in Homer would increase crime. Roberta Highland said that concerns her.“It’s a cash only business now because you cannot put the money in the bank legally. So, there is going to be, I think, anyhow – this is guessing, that there’s going to be cash, lots of cash, on properties and it is going to probably increase robberies,” said Highland.Others supported the cannabis prohibition because they said they were worried that the social problems that they believe go along with smoking pot could overwhelm local social services and harm children. In the end, the Council voted 4 to 2 in favor of introducing the ordinance. Council Members Catriona Reynolds and David Lewis were the only no votes.The City Council also took another look at a marijuana zoning ordinance that was introduced at their last meeting. Council member Lewis presented a substitution ordinance that passed 4 to 2, with Council Members Heath Smith and Bryan Zak the only no votes. Council Member Lewis’ substitution allowed for rural residential cannabis cultivation.“For up to 500-foot grow area, building that you could commercially grow within all of the restriction[s] plus the 50-foot buffer and the darkness lights that don’t interfere with viewing the sky,” said Lewis.In addition, the Council revisited an ordinance addressing where people drive on the beach. Council Member Reynolds made an amendment to the original ordinance changing the boundary of the protected beach area and it passed with unanimous support.“When you drive onto the beach, Bishop’s Beach, you will be able to drive to the West, which is to the right and parking there like, directly in front of the parking lot, or to the right or driving further that way towards Anchor Point, but you will not be able to drive to the left. And actually, to the left there all the way around the Spit until the other zone there which is zone 1, which is over in front of Kachemak Drive,” said Reynolds.However, at the last minute, Council Member Lewis requested that the Beach ordinance be reconsidered at the next meeting.In addition, the Council heard final recommendations from the Sustainable Animal Control Board. They were also notified by city attorneys that the city is being sued by Clear Creek Cat Rescue.There will be opportunity for further public testimony on the ordinance banning all commercial cannabis activity in Homer and the marijuana zoning ordinance at the next regular meeting of the Homer City Council on Feb 22nd.last_img read more

APIS steering committee session begins in city 1 Nov

first_imgAs the first step for the implementation of a master plan, a two-day session of Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (APIS) of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) will begin in the city on 1 November.The steering committee session, expected to be attended by the representatives of 100 countries, will take some important decisions for implementation of the four pillars – connectivity, internet traffic management, e-resilience and broadband – for all as stipulated in the master plan, said a press release here.Bangladesh was elected president of the Working Group of APIS of UN ESCAP at the second meeting of the Working Group of APIS held in Guangzhou of China on 29-30 August in 2016.”Bangladesh has been playing a significant role as the chair of the Working Group on the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (APIS),” said state minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak.He said the working group finalises the master plan to implement APIS for ensuring seamless communication network in Asia-Pacific region in cooperation with the ESCAP members and associate members along with the international and regional partners.”So, the first session of the APIS Steering Committee will direct us towards the effective way to operationalise the APIS master plan,” Palak said, hoping that this meeting would be a landmark for achieving SDGs through regional cooperation.Dhaka is ready to welcome all of the foreign delegates, he said.”The first session of the steering committee will address the regional layer around the four pillars as stipulated in the master plan,” said Banamali Bhowmick, director general of Department of ICT (DoICT), who had attended the second meeting on the APIS Working Group.It’s very important to define tasks to implement the master plan after reviewing the already-implemented and ongoing projects, Bhowmick said.He said the session will help finding out regional and sub-regional implementation plans of the APIS initiatives and indentifying the challenges and opportunities in implementing the initiatives.last_img read more

US adds a solid 213000 jobs

first_imgIn this Thursday, 21 June 2018 photo, a job applicant looks at job listings for the Riverside Hotel at a job fair hosted by Job News South Florida, in Sunrise, Fla. The Labor Department said Friday, 6 July that the unemployment rate rose to 4.0 per cent from 3.8 per cent as more people began looking for work and not all of them found it. Photo : APUS employers kept up a brisk hiring pace in June by adding 213,000 jobs, a sign of confidence in the economy despite the start of a potentially punishing trade war with China.The job growth wasn’t enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising from 3.8 per cent to 4 per cent, the government said Friday. But the rate rose for an encouraging reason: More people felt it was a good time to begin looking for a job, though not all of them immediately found one.The growing optimism that people can find work suggested that the 9-year old US economic expansion – the second-longest on record – has the momentum to keep chugging along. Yet its path ahead is uncertain. Just hours before the monthly jobs report was released, the Trump administration imposed taxes on $34 billion in Chinese imports, and Beijing hit back with tariffs on the same amount of US goods.”The tariffs jumble things about what we should expect to see in the next few months,” said Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, the online jobs marketplace.Some companies will likely respond to the tariffs by putting their hiring plans on hold until the trade picture becomes clearer.Major US stock indexes were mostly higher Friday after the jobs report was issued, keeping the market on track for a weekly gain after two weeks of losses.The June jobs data showed an economy that may be on the cusp of producing stronger pay growth, something that could be disrupted if additional tariffs are imposed. Trump has suggested that more than $500 billion worth of Chinese imports could be taxed in his drive to force Beijing to reform its trade policies, which he insists have unfairly victimised the United States.Average hourly pay rose just 2.7 per cent in June from 12 months earlier. That relatively modest increase means that, after adjusting for inflation, overall wages remain nearly flat. But the average was skewed downward in June because the job seekers were mainly those with only a high school education or less, who are generally paid lower wages, Barrera noted.The ranks of unemployed people seeking jobs jumped by 499,000 in June, which caused the unemployment rate to rise from its previous 18 year-low. With 93 straight months of job growth – a historical record – many employers have said they’re feeling pressure to raise wages. But significant pay gains have yet to emerge in the economic data.Mara Fortin, who owns seven Nothing Bundt Cake stores in the San Diego area, said she raised pay last month to $13 an hour from $11.50. A widespread availability of jobs and the prospect of higher wages at other employers made it harder to retain workers, she said.”In the past six months, people were just leaving right and left,” she said. “We’ve seen that happen at an alarming rate.”Manufacturers added 36,000 jobs last month. The education and health sector added 54,000. But retailers shed 21,600 jobs, with the losses concentrated at general merchandise stores.In its report Friday, the government revised up its estimate of job growth in May and April by a combined 37,000. Over the past three months, the economy has produced a robust average monthly job gain of 211,000. The broader US economy appears sturdy. Economists are forecasting that economic growth accelerated to an annual pace of roughly 4 percent during the April-June quarter, about double the previous quarter’s pace.Signs of strength have helped bolster hiring despite the difficulty many employers say they’re having in finding enough qualified workers to fill jobs.Manufacturers and services firms have said in recent surveys that their business is improving despite anxiety about the tariff showdown. Housing starts have climbed 11 per cent so far this year. Retail sales jumped a strong 0.8 per cent in May in a sign that consumers feel secure enough to spend.Though economic growth appears to be solid, the gains have been spread unevenly. President Donald Trump’s tax cuts have provided a dose of stimulus this year, but the benefits have been tilted significantly toward wealthy individuals and corporations. Savings from the tax cuts enabled companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index to buy back a record number of shares in the first three months of 2018.Yet the tax cuts have done little to generate substantial pay growth. Most economists say they still think the low unemployment rate will eventually force more employers to offer higher pay in order to fill jobs.The economy also faces a substantial threat from the trade tension with China and from other trade disputes with US allies, including Canada and Europe. Any escalation in the conflict with China could disrupt hiring as companies grapple with higher import prices and diminished demand for their exports. On Thursday, Trump floated the prospect of imposing tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese imports.The Trump administration has also applied tariffs on steel and aluminum from allies like Canada and Mexico and has threatened to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has spoken about slapping tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, which General Motors has warned could hurt the US auto industry and drive up car prices. Automakers added 12,000 jobs in June.last_img read more

EPA Wont Release Benzene Levels Collected PostHarvey Private Tests Show Elevated Levels

first_img Share Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneThe Valero refinery, seen from across the ship channel in Houston on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017.As a longtime resident of Manchester, Guadalupe Hernandez is used to the chemical smells that waft through his southeast Houston neighborhood, a low-income, predominantly Hispanic community near a Valero Energy refinery.But when Hurricane Harvey blew in the weekend of Aug. 26, the stench became noticeably stronger for about five hours, a scent like “glue or boiled eggs,” he said.The Environmental Protection Agency has assured the public they looked into complaints in the area a week after the storm hit, and spent several days taking air pollution measurements with a mobile laboratory. The agency didn’t release any specifics, but said concentrations of several toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, met Texas health guidelines.Now, environmental advocacy groups have shared their own, detailed data with ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, based on air sampling from the same Manchester streets over six days. It shows a more nuanced picture than the one given by the EPA: in numerous locations, benzene levels, though under the Texas threshold of 180 ppb, far exceeded California’s guideline, which is 23 times more stringent and is well-respected by health advocates nationwide.Texas TribuneTexas TribuneTexas TribuneAbout 10 of the benzene measurements exceeded California’s limit of 8 ppb. (Neither California’s nor Texas’ guideline is legally enforceable; both are thresholds that can trigger regulatory scrutiny).The readings may not have exceeded Texas’ guideline, but they’re still higher than usual, “and they are concerning,” said Elena Craft, a senior health scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, which sponsored the monitoring with Air Alliance Houston. “Did we actually capture the highest concentrations that blew into the neighborhood or not? We don’t know.”The two highest benzene concentrations, 90 and 77 ppb, were detected within 1,600 feet of a damaged storage tank at the Valero refinery. At the time the data was collected, the wind was blowing from the direction of the tank toward the monitoring sites.Valero reported on Aug. 27 that the rain from Hurricane Harvey had submerged the tank’s floating roof, releasing benzene and crude oil. Satellite images from Aug. 31 released by DigitalGlobe show the caved-in tank at the refinery.Air pollution experts say much of the benzene would have dissipated by the time the advocates began monitoring on Sept. 4. The EPA started its sampling a day later. Days before either monitoring effort, the city of Houston detected a single benzene concentration of 324 ppb in Manchester.Hernandez said he believes the fumes he noticed during the hurricane came from the refinery. Margarita Zepeda, another Manchester resident, also remembers a strong smell during the storm.“During normal rains it would never smell bad but during [the hurricane], it did — chemicals, I guess. And I’m not the only one. All the neighbors” could smell it, too,” Zepeda said.The EPA said in a statement they inspected the refinery last week and were satisfied the company was making the necessary repairs. Valero did not respond to a request for comment.Craft said EDF and Air Alliance Houston decided to take air samples after the hurricane triggered the release of millions of pounds of air pollutants from industrial facilities. They hired Entanglement Technologies, a California-based firm with a mobile monitoring lab, for $20,000, with the bulk of the funds coming from EDF.“It’s resource-intensive to bring folks from California, but we felt the threat was real enough to warrant it,” Craft said.The researchers monitored four different air pollutants, but the focus remains on benzene, a compound so potent that the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group for the oil and gas industry, acknowledged in 1948 “the only absolutely safe concentration … is zero.”Jill Johnston, an environmental health professor at the University of Southern California who wasn’t involved in the monitoring, said because the samples were taken over a period of minutes, it’s hard to tell if the elevated levels were brief spikes or representative of longer-term air quality. If those concentrations persist over days or weeks, then the community would be at much higher risk, she said.Bakeyah Nelson, executive director of Air Alliance Houston, said the benzene is an added burden for fenceline communities that already have higher-than-average rates of asthma, cancer and other illnesses associated with continuous chemical exposures. The eastern side of Manchester, where most of the measurements were taken, is wedged between the refinery, two highways and multiple railroad tracks.“This is real stuff, this is not theoretical. If you go there and try to breathe you can literally taste the petroleum and gasoline that’s in the air,” said Mustafa Ali, a former EPA environmental justice official who is now senior vice president of climate, environmental justice and community revitalization at the Hip Hop Caucus. There are families in these communities who can reach through their backyard fence and touch the piping of the nearest facility, Ali said.The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state environmental regulator, has dozens of stationary air monitors across Texas, but the ones in Harvey-affected areas were temporarily turned off during the storm. That’s why mobile, on-the-ground monitoring is so crucial, and the EPA and TCEQ should have “every available unit out there,” Craft said.She was frustrated when TCEQ officials told her in a meeting on Tuesday that a sophisticated TCEQ air monitoring unit — capable of gathering real-time, precise data in the field — has been in Austin since the storm, and wasn’t deployed to Houston.“If not now, when?” she said. “I feel like we’ve been doing the agency’s job.”TCEQ spokeswoman Andrea Morrow did not respond directly to inquiries about the unit, but two other environmental advocates who attended that meeting confirmed TCEQ told them it was sitting in an Austin garage.Morrow, in an emailed statement, said TCEQ and EPA investigators have used handheld monitoring equipment to survey facility fence lines, and sponsored aerial surveys to spot potential pollutant leaks. She said TCEQ would release its data once it’s validated.The EPA didn’t respond to inquiries about the detailed data that came from its Manchester monitoring. The agency has posted maps showing additional monitoring it has conducted in other communities, but not the concentrations it found, only that all levels met Texas guidelines. Aside from Manchester, Entanglement found another high benzene reading of 76 ppb at an industrial zone in Port Arthur, several miles from a residential area.Hilton Kelley, a well-known community organizer in Port Arthur, said he noticed “a very pungent odor of sulfur dioxide and other toxic chemicals” during the week Entanglement was monitoring the air. “It makes your eyes water, it stings your sinuses, and it creates a scratchy feeling in your throat,” he said.The Port Arthur area is a hub of industrial activity including a Motiva refinery and an Oxbow facility that processes petcoke — a byproduct of oil refining.Since the hurricane, local health concerns have been overshadowed by the more pressing need for housing, as hundreds of residents were evicted from damaged homes, Kelley said. “When your stomach’s growling and you’re sitting on the curb with three or four kids in the hot-ass sun, pollution is the last thing on your mind.”In the long-term, Kelley said he wants the TCEQ to put continuous air monitors at facility fence lines in Port Arthur. The current TCEQ monitors in Port Arthur only sample benzene and other air toxics once every six days.last_img read more

Delhi casts its shortsweet dramatic effect

first_imgIt’s that time of the year when all theatre enthusiasts (actors, directors, viewers, other artists) come together on a common platform to display, hone and enjoy the stories put up on stage. Popularly called the Short and Sweet theatre festival, it surely manages to bring out live emotions- sad, happy, surprise etc amongst the audience present.’The Short and Sweet Theatre Festival is back again in the city to woo viewers with its short 10-minute plays. In this age of fast food, 10-minute play is perfect to hold the attention of the audience. It is crisp and goes straight to the point without beating around the bush for long,’ says Alex Broun, director of the festival. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The history of the festival dates back to- Australia in 2002. It is a series of 10-minute plays put together for people with less time and attention span. The festival came to India in 2010 with the help of Australian Government through the Australia India Council and the Australia International Cultural Council.The 10 day festival which is scheduled from 21 November to 30 November is being held across three venues- India Habitat Centre, Epicentre, Gurgaon and India Cultural Centre and  kick started with some fabulous short plays like Table For Two, Kaalikh, Speed Dating For Amateurs, The Actress’ Dilemma, Last Drinks. Currently in its third season there are around 40 plays selected to be put up on stage.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix’The response to the festival this time has been immense though it has just began. Even the quality of plays have improved and were well performed on the starting day. The main aim has been to introduce young budding talent in the theatre circuit and get them noticed,’ says Prashant Sehgal, festival director.One of the best received plays at the fest was Table For Two. The play centers on a funny situation around a table where two people are sitting.’My play was set in an urban setting with an underlying solitude in each one of us and how a man and a woman going through unfortunate incidents in life find its vent after meeting each other at a coffee shop,’ said Maheep Singh, director.’I was overwhelmed with the response for my play which came as a pleasant surprise. I hope we get maximum votes when the result comes out on Monday,’ he added. Another one making its way through hearts and head of people was Kaalikh. ‘The play inclined towards a social message talked about the much disputed topic religion. Though all religions preach peace and prosperity but the real religion is only humanity, which needs to be accepted universally. The story line was based on a school master and his trails during babri masjid demolition. I had to face a bit of challenge with respect to some actors and the element of lighting during the performance,’ said Abhinav Sabyasachi, dirtector. Some of the plays to watch out for are Sweater, We Need To Talk and Don’t You Rhyme When You Commit A Crime. Don’t miss it!last_img read more

Graphic suicide scene edited out of 13 Reasons Wh

first_imgGraphic suicide scene edited out of ’13 Reasons Why’ finale AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Jul 16, 2019 4:58 am PDTcenter_img LOS ANGELES — Netflix has decided to remove a graphic suicide scene from the Season 1 finale of its show “13 Reasons Why” as the series prepares to launch its third season.Show creator Brian Yorkey says in a statement on Twitter the intent in portraying the suicide in such graphic detail was to “make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it.” But the producers have heard concerns from mental health experts and decided, along with the streaming service, to re-edit it.Yorkey says the edit “will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers.”Suicide prevention groups support the decision.The series drew praise and criticism when it debuted in 2017. The show included warnings about its graphic nature and Netflix established a website of crisis helplines.The Associated Presslast_img read more