Category: klznzysf

BC researchers identification of scorpionfly shows CanadaRussia connection

first_imgVANCOUVER – It seems Canada and Russia have a prehistoric connection of the “beautiful” but “cockroachy” kind involving a 53-million-year-old insect fossil called a scorpionfly.Paleoentomologist Bruce Archibald of Simon Fraser University and the Royal BC Museum said the discovery in British Columbia’s McAbee fossil beds is strikingly similar to fossils of the same age from Pacific-coastal Russia.A previous connection between the countries’ Pacific regions has been found in the same area near Cache Creek, B.C., through fossilized plants and animals.Archibald said his identification of the colourfully winged species of scorpionfly found at the protected heritage site is another example of Canada and Russia’s ancient geographical link, before the continents split apart.“They kind of look cockroachy, although I don’t want people to be disgusted. Today, they have one living relative in Chile, of this group that we discovered fossils of, in the southern beach forest called the Valdivian forest.”The Canadian species of scorpionfly is dubbed Eomerope eonearctica, and its Russian cousin is named Eomerope asiatica.The latter was identified in 1974 by a researcher who now works at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and is Archibald’s co-author on an article published online in The Canadian Entomologist.The article also features the discovery of another scorpionfly species found about two years ago by amateur Kathy Simpkins in a fossil she collected during an outing with a rock and fossil club near Princeton, B.C. It’s been coined Eomerope simpkinsae.The scorpionfly Archibald identified was from a collection at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. He said it tells a story of how a group of insects travelled to different parts of the world through shifting continents and the rise and fall of sea level.“I recognized off the bat that this was something special and something different,” he said.“In the Russian one the wings were almost all clear and in ours the wings are sort of tinted, with a little bit of colour on them. Aside from that you can’t really tell them apart and that’s pretty interesting.”He said the similarities feed into the big picture of the migration of animals and plants across what is now the Bering Strait.“In paleoentomology, we use insects almost like a detective uses fingerprints to put together a much bigger story of how life has changed and how the earth has changed.”Scientists believe the northern continents were connected millions of years ago but moved over time through plate tectonics.“At that time you could walk from Vladivostok, in Russia, to Vancouver, and you could walk from Vancouver right onto Greenland and then over into Europe all the way without getting your feet wet. And it was mild climate so there were forests right up the Arctic Ocean,” Archibald said.He said his work is part of a “golden age of discovery” in B.C., where fossilized insects are almost an unknown resource.“Fossil sites in the continental United States and in Europe and a lot of places have been explored for a long time, 100 years or so. But we in British Columbia remained relatively remote until quite recently,” he said of a time before much of the province was connected through highways in the 1950s.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.last_img read more

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Woody Guthrie Prize To Honor Kris Kristofferson

first_imgAn award that honors those who embody the spirit of legendary folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie will be presented to American musician and actor Kris Kristofferson during an event on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District.With previous award ceremonies taking place in New York and Los Angeles, this year’s ceremony will be the first held in Tulsa.The Woody Guthrie Prize is given annually to the artist who best exemplifies the spirit and life work of Woody Guthrie by speaking for the less fortunate through music, film, literature, dance or other art forms and serving as a positive force for social change in America.“With over 50 years of social activism, Kris was an easy choice to receive the 2016 Woody Guthrie Prize,” said Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud. “It is an honor to recognize his incredible career and tireless work to make positive improvements in our society.”The event will include the Woody Guthrie Prize presentation and a special musical performance as friends, including Rodney Crowell and others, will join Kristofferson on stage to perform some of his most popular songs.Proceeds from the event will support the Woody Guthrie Center, a 12,000-square-foot center that features state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits on Guthrie’s life, art and creative legacy. The center is home to Guthrie’s comprehensive archives, including the original, handwritten version of Guthrie’s landmark anthem, “This Land is Your Land,” which is available for viewing at the center.The Woody Guthrie Archives were brought to Tulsa by the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), which purchased them in 2011 from the Guthrie family. In 2013, the Woody Guthrie Center opened to preserve and showcase this famous Oklahoma son’s legacy and life story. The foundation continues its commitment to the Woody Guthrie Center through grant funding that makes the Woody Guthrie Prize possible. Currently in its third year, past recipients of the award include Mavis Staples (2015) and Pete Seeger (2014).Kristofferson’s distinguished musical career has encompassed the writing of many American songs. Among some of his biggest hits are, “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Help Me Make it Through the Night.” In addition to singing and songwriting, Kristofferson has a notable acting career in feature films including “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” “A Star is Born” (for which he won a Golden Globe) and the “Blade” trilogy. Additional honors include three GRAMMY Awards and inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the National Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.Woody Guthrie’s songs celebrate the beauty and bounty of America and seek the truth about our country and its people. He turned complex ideas about democracy, human rights, and economic equality into simple songs that all Americans could embrace. Woody spoke for those who carried a heavy burden or had come upon hard times. His words gave a voice to their struggle, and his songs gave them hope and strength.Tickets will be available beginning June 13th and can be purchased for $50 or $60. To purchase tickets, visit www.cainsballroom.com. For additional information on the Woody Guthrie Center, click here.last_img read more

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Sask FNs politicians snared in drug probe

first_imgAPTN National NewsTwo elected First Nations leaders in Saskatchewan are facing drug trafficking charges after a six month investigation in the Yorkton-Kamsack area.The police targeted drug dealing around narcotic pain killers.APTN National News reporter Larissa Burnouf has more on this story.last_img

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NAFTA negotiators hope to finish work on less contentious chapters

first_imgMONTREAL – NAFTA negotiators are close to completing at least six non-controversial chapters this weekend in their Montreal talks, including ones on digital commerce and anti-corruption, Canadian and Mexican business officials say.The chapters won’t be considered formally closed until the three leading political ministers from Canada, the United States and Mexico arrive Sunday to assess the progress.But the possibility of “parking” the chapters — a trade term that essentially means putting an issue on the shelf and concentrating on other, more contentious ones — is raising hopes among Mexican and Canadian business leaders that enough incremental progress will be made in Montreal to keep the negotiations alive.The apparent progress sheds light on less controversial aspects of the sprawling 30-chapter NAFTA renegotiation, where Canadian counter-proposals to so-called U.S. poison pills on autos, dispute resolution and a sunset clause are front and centre.Many analysts also view progress on the “low-hanging fruit” of NAFTA as essential.“We think there is a lot of advancement between six and 10 chapters. I didn’t say they’re going to close them — a lot of advancement. But the ministers have the last word on that,” Moises Kalach, a leading member of the private-sector group that advises the Mexican government on the negotiations, said in an interview Friday.“They call it parking,” he said.Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, did not dispute Kalach’s assessment that six to 10 chapters could be nearing completion.“How many chapters I don’t know, but there’s scope to close some of the chapters,” Beatty said in an interview. “It’s when you come down to the more politicized issues it becomes more difficult.”E-commerce, anti-corruption, customs and trade facilitation, and the chapter on “Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures” covering human, animal and plant life are among those chapters, Juan Pablo Castanon Castanon, Beatty’s Mexican counterpart, said in an interview.A senior official familiar with the talks disputed the characterization that any chapters are close to being closed or parked. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.The official did say that Canada hoped to make progress in this round on anti-corruption, digital and cross border trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and telecom.Beatty and others said Friday the NAFTA talks could extend into 2019, but added that wasn’t a bad thing if slow, steady progress keeps all parties at the bargaining table.“It could well take many months yet, and certainly go into next year,” said Beatty.Juan Carlos Baker, Mexico’s deputy commerce minister, said: “It’s more important to concentrate on the quality of the process and not establish artificial deadlines.”Throughout the weekend, NAFTA negotiators will be focused on breaking new ground on some of the most contentious U.S. proposals, hoping to show enough progress to keep Trump from triggering the agreement’s six-month exit clause.Canadian negotiators have countered with proposals for higher continental content requirements for automobiles, and on NAFTA’s dispute-resolution mechanisms and five-year sunset clause.Quebec’s chief NAFTA negotiator said Friday that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will have the final say as to whether Canada’s proposals have any traction after he arrives in Montreal on Sunday.Lighthizer is to close the talks at a joint news conference Monday with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and their Mexican counterpart, Ildefonso Guajardo.Raymond Bachand, Quebec’s chief negotiator and former provincial finance minister, said the Canadian team isn’t expecting any formal response from the Americans until they get their marching orders from Lighthizer.Freeland discussed Canada’s counter-proposals with Lighthizer in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday. Canadian officials said he “didn’t shoot anything down” but remained otherwise non-committal.U.S. President Donald Trump further muddied the waters on the key question of whether he will withdraw from NAFTA during an interview with CNBC.“NAFTA’s a horrible deal. We’re renegotiating it. I may terminate NAFTA, I may not. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said Thursday.last_img read more

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Canfor cites lower pulp prices as fourthquarter profits fall to 47M

Canfor cites lower pulp prices as fourth-quarter profits fall to $4.7M VANCOUVER – Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (TSX:CFX) is reporting a lower year-over-profit in the fourth quarter as lower pulp prices and a higher Canadian dollar trumped increased shipments and lower manufacturing costs.However, the Vancouver-based forest products company said it was reinstating it quarterly dividend of five cents per share and the issue was up 43 cents or 4.43 per cent at $10.13 in morning trading Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.The dividend is payable March 5 to shareholders of record Feb. 26.Canfor said net income was $4.7 million or seven cents per diluted share in the three months ended Dec. 31.That was down sharply from $15.8 million or 22 cents per share in the same 2011 period, but a reversal of the $4.6 million or six cents per share net loss it suffered in the third quarter.Revenue fell to $201.9 million from $212.7 million year over year.“After the challenges experienced in the last quarter, it was encouraging to see solid improvements in productivity, as well as some improvement in market conditions this quarter,” CEO Don Kayne said.For the full year, net income was $13.7 million or 14 cents per share on revenue of $810.4 million, compared with net profit of $138.6 million, or $1.94 per share on revenue of $941 million in 2011. by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 14, 2013 10:12 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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New UK van market holds steady after mixed 2018

Light commercial vehicle (LCV) market shows moderate -1.3% decline in 2018.357,325 registrations enough to post the fourth best year on record, beating expectations.December demand falls -8.8%, representing half of the annual decline, with only 4x4s recording growth in the month.SEE LCV REGISTRATIONS BY BRANDDOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE AND DATA TABLEThe new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market dropped -8.8% in December, capping off a mixed year for the sector, which saw a moderate decline of -1.3% in 2018, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).Performance in 2018 was boosted by the strong showing from pickup (up 4.3%) and 4×4 (up 303.4%) models, meaning 3,548 more of them on the road compared with the previous year. Overall registrations of 357,325 were still enough to make 2018 the fourth best year on record, beating industry forecasts.Fleet buying cycles, model renewal and business uncertainty have all had an impact on the market, but the December decline represents more than half of the full-year decline of -4,824 units. Small (less than 2.0t) and medium-sized vans (2.0-2.5t) bore the brunt of the overall annual downturn, with full-year registrations of 25,070 and 50,956 accounting for -14.7% and -7.4% drops respectively. Larger vans (2.5-3.5t) matched their 2017 performance with 225,891 registered, a 0% change on last year.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,This sector is a key indicator of business confidence in the UK, and operators need stability to renew their fleets. December’s performance was worrying, as was the overall drop in fleet purchases. Business confidence depends on government providing the right conditions, which first and foremost means taking a ‘No Deal’ Brexit off the table. We have a strong and competitive commercial vehicle market in the UK, one that can flourish in the right economic climate.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

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Fears 30 more rape cases could collapse as Scotland Yard launches review

first_imgQC suggests ‘unconscious bias’ to blameAngela Rafferty QC, the chair of the Criminal Bar Association, suggested “unconscious bias” stops the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) “impartially and thoroughly investigating and scrutinising complaints in sexual offence cases ”.She added: “It should be remembered that it is not the job of the police or CPS to judge the truthfulness or otherwise of any allegation made.” On Tuesday, a second case collapsed involving 25-year-old defendant Isaac Itiary. He was charged with raping a child under 16 and was due to stand trial.However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence after similar disclosure problems emerged.The same Met officer, Detective Contable Mark Azariah, worked on both cases. The 37-year-old, who works on the specialist rape and sex abuse unit, is still on full active duty.But the collapse of two cases in similar circumstances in a matter of days has prompted senior officers to launch a review of every live rape case currently being investigated by the force.MP cleared of rape blames ‘systemic failure’Nigel Evans, the Tory MP who was himself cleared of rape after a controversial investigation and prosecution, accused the police of making basic ­errors.He said: “There has been an ­absolute systemic failure in the disclosure of evidence that might result in people not being charged … it is putting people through a mental torture, it is a colossal admission of failure.“They [police and prosecutors] need to change practice and ensure full disclosure is given at the earliest possible moment.”I have a suspicion there is a desire to ensure that the number of convictions increases.” “This resulted in the identification of relevant material which was passed to the CPS to disclose.“Given the time elapsed between the charging decision and receipt of the ­defence case statement, the Metropolitan Police Service will carry out a ­review of this investigation to ensure that all reasonable lines of inquiry were pursued at the earliest practical opportunity.” Scotland Yard is urgently reviewing 30 rape cases that are about to go to trial amid fears police blunders could cause them to collapse.The Metropolitan Police ordered a review of all current sex abuse investigations after two prosecutions collapsed within days because the police withheld vital evidence.In both cases, a detective in the force’s Child Abuse and Sexual Offences (Caso) unit failed to disclose material that could have assisted the defence team.It is now feared scores of other rape and sex abuse cases could be thrown out due to problems around the way detectives have handled the disclosure of material.Commander Richard Smith, who oversees rape cases for the Met, said the review would prioritise around 30 live cases that are about to go to trial.Dozens of others, in which the suspect has been charged and is waiting for the court process to begin, are also to be re-examined.Mr Smith said: “The review is into all current investigations where someone has been charged. Thirty cases that are about to go to trial and they are our priority.”It comes amid warnings that police are making basic errors in their desperation to improve conviction rates in sex abuse cases. Currently, 11.2 per cent of rape allegations result in a conviction. 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. Criminology ‘student alleges convictions are chased ‘like sales targets’Liam Allan, a criminology student, had been three days into his trial when it emerged police had failed to disclose a vast amount of crucial information.He had been accused of six rapes and six sexual assaults, spending almost two years on bail.Among the text messages that were not passed to the defence, was one from the alleged victim that stated: “It was not against my will.” Liam Allan, who spent almost two years on bail, has alleged that rape convictions are chased 'like sales targets' David Lidington, the Justice Secretary, said police and prosecutors should not be chasing targets in sex abuse investigations but should ask themselves if the evidence is sufficient.He expressed sympathy with the view that rape suspects should be granted anonymity until conviction, but said naming suspects upon charge, as is currently the case, often prompted more victims to come forward.Met Police review to examine all live rape casesThe Metropolitan Police review, announced late on Tuesday evening, will involve all rape cases currently being investigated by its specialist sex abuse unit.It is thought scores of investigations could now be in jeopardy amid concern that police have failed to follow proper procedures.A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “As a precaution, every live case being investigated by the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences [Caso] command, where the Met is in discussion with the CPS, is being reviewed to ensure all digital evidence has been properly examined, documented and shared with the CPS to meet obligations under disclosure.” Mr Allan, who endured a two-year ordeal, has now threatened to sue the police and CPS, accusing them of chasing rape convictions “like sales targets”.Mr Lidington said: “The police and CPS need to look rigorously and ask themselves honestly … whether the evidence is sufficient.”Suspect spent four months in prison awaiting trialIsaac Itiary was charged with the rape of a child under 16 in July and was due to stand trial next year.He had reportedly spent four months in prison awaiting trial as he was considered to be a risk to the public.But at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, the CPS offered no evidence after issues arose regarding the full disclosure of material.A Met spokesman said: “In response to the defence case statement received by the officer in the case on Dec 15, all material was reviewed to identify any further relevant information likely to assist their case. Liam Allan, who spent almost two years on bail, has alleged that rape convictions are chased ‘like sales targets’Credit:Nicholas Razzell  Last week, student Liam Allan, 22, was cleared of six counts of rape and six counts of sexual assault after it emerged that the police had failed to disclose thousands of text messages that proved his innocence.last_img read more

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Collectible History of Sonic the Hedgehog book lands October

first_imgThe quality of Sonic the Hedgehog games has dipped quite drastically in recent years. You have to go back to when Sega consoles were still a common sight on store shelves to find a Sonic game people could get excited about.The days of Sonic titles counting as triple-A releases may be long over, but there’s a hell of a lot of good history behind Sega’s iconic character. And that history is being celebrated in a new book set to hit the shelves on October 9.Entitled “The History of Sonic the Hedgehog,” the 300-page hardcover book has been compiled by non other than Udon Entertainment. Udon is well known for producing fantastic game-related art books, with its selection of Capcom titles being standout pieces of work.For the Sonic book, a collaboration between Sega of Japan and Pix’n Love Publishing saw a French-language version become available earlier this year. It brought together 20 years of history and covers both his 2D and 3D games. Sonic has more than 15 games to his names, and counts over 100 appearances in other titles. Total sales for games including Sonic total more than 70 million.Udon took up the challenge of translating the book into English while retaining all of the content from the original work. And for Sonic fans it’s a must have, detailing every appearance Sonic has ever made, even the cameo roles.You can pre-order the book from Amazon for $32.12 (RRP $49.99), and pre-ordering is advised as this is sure to be a very popular text that’s going to sell out quickly.More at Udon Entertainment, via Sega Bloglast_img read more

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The weird repeating signals from deep space just tripled

first_img Mysterious deep-space signals can now be picked up in real time More mysterious signals from deep space detected Space’s mysterious fast radio bursts: What the heck are they? Share your voice We’re picking up more signals from deep space. Danielle Futselaar Scientists suddenly have a whole lot more data on one of the strangest and most recent mysteries in the cosmos, so-called fast radio bursts. First discovered in 2007, these fleeting blasts of radio waves originate thousands, millions or even billions of light-years from Earth. FRBs have influenced the design of new radio telescopes like the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME). And now a team of Canadian and American researchers using CHIME has reported a major new set of FRB detections that could fine-tune our understanding of where these enigmatic signals come from and what produces them. The group says it’s discovered eight new bursts that repeat. Tags 1:30 Space The team laid out its findings in a draft paper that’s been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal and was posted this month on the Arxiv pre-print site. “Discovering different types of FRBs at an unexpected rate, we will soon open new windows into understanding the cosmological origin of these high-energy astrophysical phenomena,” said co-author Masoud Rafiei-Ravandi of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. In addition to the sheer number of repeating FRBs discovered in one haul, one of the newfound repeaters appears to be much closer to Earth than the handful of fast radio bursts that have been traced back to a source galaxy. So far, traceable FRBs seem to come from sources on the other side of the universe — we’re talking billions of light-years away.However, in the new paper, the authors suggest that one of the repeating FRBs could actually originate near the edge of our own Milky Way galaxy but caution that more study is needed to better localize the signal. “Knowing that we are observing every patch of sky visible to CHIME once every day, it was only a matter of time before we detected a very nearby source,” co-author Pragya Chawla of McGill University said.Studying relatively nearby FRBs will hopefully allow scientists to get a better idea of just what the heck is throwing off these signals, which could be anything from far-fetched notions like alien starships to the less fantastic but more powerful sources, like neutron stars. Sci-Tech Commentscenter_img 26 Photos Best places in space to search for alien life 23 “Repeating FRBs are highly valuable from an observational perspective since their repeating nature make them better candidates for localizing their host galaxies and multi-wavelength follow-up observations that can help determine if FRBs emit at wavelengths other than radio,” said Ryan McKinven, one of the researchers who is based at the University of Toronto and co-author of a paper about the FRBs.Those follow-up observations could provide details about the origins of the strange bursts, he added. A larger sample size of repeating FRBs to study could also help scientists answer one of the obvious questions about non-repeating FRBs: Could they actually be repeating FRBs that just haven’t been recorded as repeating yet?While dozens of FRBs have been detected and cataloged over the past 12 years, few of those deep space signals had been known to repeat themselves. Two have been documented so far in published, peer-reviewed journals. Two others — one via a Russian radio telescope, the other via Australia — have been reported but not yet reviewed. So with this batch of bursts, the number of reported repeaters has tripled — from four to 12.  Now playing: Watch this: Repeating radio signals coming from space FRBs be craylast_img read more

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In First Batch Of Early Bills No Big Ticket Items

first_imgIn a little over a week, the 29th Legislature will gavel in. In preparation, lawmakers have released the first batch of bills they plan to consider. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez joined us to talk about what’s been offered.Download AudioHow is the Legislature’s workload shaping up?The number of pre-filed bills is actually pretty standard. 59 bills and 4 proposed constitutional amendments were released today, which is comparable to the number of early bills filed in the past few sessions. A lot of are bills from the last Legislature that, for whatever reason, just didn’t make it across the finish line — like a bill that would regulate smoking in restaurants, bars, taxis, really any public or semi-public indoor space.The thing that stands out to me, though, is that unlike the last Legislature, we’re not seeing any ambitious infrastructure bills in this early release. Last cycle, we had early bills to let the state build a small-diameter gasline on its own, or let the state move forward on the development of a bridge over the Knik Arm. Many of the bills offered this go round don’t even look like they’ll need a fiscal note to determine how much they could cost the state.That’s almost certainly by design. With the state looking at a multi-billion dollar shortfall, any bill that isn’t going to be zero cost will face an extra level of scrutiny.So, are most of these bills small-bore then?That depends on your definition. A lot of them do seem to be pretty narrow in scope, like a bill to create a Great Alaska Earthquake Remembrance Day and legislation to exempt Alaska from daylight savings time. There’s one bill that caught my eye that would prohibit the manufacture or sale of cosmetics containing plastic beads — like those exfoliating body washes. (Apparently they’re mearly impossible to deal with when they end up in the water supply.)But there are some pre-filed bills that tackle important issues even if they don’t cost money . Legislation known as Erin’s Law deals with the problem of child sexual abuse, and has a good shot of passing this Legislature. It nearly made it through last year, but was held up in what looked like a legislative game of chicken between the House and Senate, where the respective bodies wouldn’t advance legislation until the other side did what it wanted. It also didn’t help that it was originally introduced by a member of House’s Democratic minority, as minority bills often have a hard time of moving through the Legislature.Now, two separate versions of the Erin’s Law bill have been introduced, one by the Democrat, Rep. Geran Tarr, who pushed for it last time, and one by House Majority Leader Charisse Millett. Because who introduces it matters, having a Republican in leadership push for it increases its odds of getting through.Can you tell us about the constitutional amendments that are being introduced?Well, an amendment to change the structure of the judicial council has been introduced again, by Fairbanks Republican Pete Kelly. That amendment would have added more public members to the board and weakened the influence of the attorney representatives. It made it all the way through the committee process and was even scheduled for the floor, but it was ultimately pulled after it didn’t have enough votes from senators who were concerned it could politicize the way justices are selected.There’s also an amendment that would strike the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman from the Alaska Constitution. Gay couples are already allowed to be married because of a circuit court decision last year, but this would clean the language up from the Constitution.What we’re not seeing is any amendments to create dedicated funds for, say, transportation. There’s also no revival of an amendment to let public funds go to private schools. Of course, just because these things haven’t been filed yet, doesn’t mean they can’t come later.Another batch of early bills will be released next week. Is there anything in particular you’re watching out for?Well we know that the Legislature plans to deal with marijuana. Rep. Bob Lynn has said he wants to introduce legislation to keep marijuana retail sales far from school, and Sen. Lesil McGuire has said she’s thinking of legislation to create a marijuana control board. But the only bill released today that has anything to do with marijuana is one dealing with industrial hemp.Because there’s a strict implementation timeline for the marijuana regulation initiative that passed this year, the nascent marijuana industry in this state will be keeping an eye on how quickly the Legislature decides to take up the issue.last_img read more

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Chinese lawmakers laud lifetime power for Xi

first_imgChina`s President Xi Jinping (C) sings the national anthem with Premier Li Keqiang (R) during the opening session of the National People`s Congress, China`s legislature, in Beijing`s Great Hall of the People on Monday. Photo: AFPThousands of Chinese legislators erupted into enthusiastic applause on Monday over plans to give President Xi Jinping a lifetime mandate to mould the Asian giant into a global superpower.China’s rubber-stamp parliament met in the imposing Great Hall of the People for an annual session that will make Xi the most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, concentrating the growing might of the military, economy and state in the hands of one man.As Xi looked on from a stage dominated by mostly male party leaders in dark suits, a constitutional amendment to scrap the two-term limit for the presidency was read out to the chamber, prompting fervent applause.The legislators are all but certain to approve the amendment Sunday, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership sets the agenda for the National People’s Congress (NPC).The text says the change “will be conducive to safeguarding the authority and the unified leadership of the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core and to strengthening and perfecting the national leadership system”.The amendment was presented after Premier Li Keqiang delivered a report warning that the country is fighting “three critical battles” against financial risk, poverty and pollution.The government set an economic growth target of around 6.5 per cent for 2018, in line with expectations but lower than the 6.9 per cent GDP increase in 2017.It announced an 8.1 per cent increase for the defence budget to 1.11 trillion yuan ($175 billion) this year, giving the world’s largest armed forces a boost after spending growth slowed in the previous two years.The report also warned Taiwan that China “will never tolerate any separatist schemes” amid tensions between the mainland and the self-ruled island.But the spotlight was squarely on the party’s most powerful leader in more than four decades.‘Unify leadership’Lifting term limits would allow the 64-year-old leader to stay on as party chief, head of the military and president beyond 2023, when his second term is due to end.“I support Xi Jinping. I support the constitution change,” Zhou Feng, a delegate from Shanghai, told AFP.Another delegate from central Henan province said “Xi Jinping is great”, but several other legislators refused to answer questions about the amendment.Analysts have warned that the move carries risks as it ends a “collective” model of leadership that maintained stability after Mao’s chaotic reign from 1949 to his death in 1976.NPC spokesman Zhang Yesui downplayed its significance, saying Sunday it would merely align the presidency with the titles of Communist Party general secretary and Military Commission chairman, which do not have term limits.Censors have worked furiously to stamp out dissenting voices on social media, blocking dozens of words from “disagree” to “emperor”.The amendment says that opinions had been sought at the “grassroots level” and that “the masses, party members and cadres in many regions” had “unanimously called” for the revision of term limits.The parliament will also vote on constitutional amendments that will inscribe Xi’s name in the state constitution and create a new national anti-corruption agency.‘Right successor’Xi will get a second five-year term during the session. Remaining in power beyond 2023 gives him a chance to push through his vision of a rejuvenated China with global clout, a prosperous society and a powerful military.He has also pursued a relentless but popular campaign against corruption that has punished more than a million party officials.Hua Po, a Beijing-based political commentator, said Xi was handed “a mess” when he took office five years ago and needs more time to finish the job.“One of the greatest tasks after he took office was to remove all threats to the party and state. To do this, it is not enough for him to serve only two terms,” Hua told AFP.“The Chinese system is a system that requires strong leaders, but it’s not easy to train a strongman. Xi needs more time to find and train the right successors,” he said.“If Xi transfers power on time, it is likely that the power will be returned to the hands of the corrupt groups and the elite class and all his efforts in the recent years will be wasted.”While the NPC is expected to approve the amendment, analysts say legislators could voice their displeasure by abstaining or voting against the appointments of certain Xi allies to top posts.“We don’t hear about opposition to his life tenure because of censorship,” said Willy Lam, politics professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.“But there is opposition within the regime from people who think that this is outrageous, that he is going too far, that he has launched a coup against the party.”last_img

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DRI busts multicrore imported garment smuggling racket arrests four

first_imgKolkata: A syndicate that smuggled undervalued and mis-declared readymade garments from China and Hong Kong SAR into India has been busted with the arrest of four people, the DRI said today. The accused were part of a Kolkata-based syndicate operating through different ports in the country and involved in importing goods valued at over Rs 130 crore by under-valuing the price and evading customs duty of at least Rs 25 crore, a statement issued by the agency said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Giving details, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) said a consignment imported by a local firm was examined. “On examination, mis-declared items such as ladies fancy top, girls fancy night wear, fancy swim wear, ladies waist accessories etc, in commercial quantities were found against declared items like girls slips, ladies stocking, girls night dress, washing bag etc, valued at Rs 4.62 crore against the declared value of Rs 35 lakh, and subsequently seized,” it said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed The firm is part of the syndicate engaged in mis-declared imports through the Kolkata and Haldia ports. Four other firms are also part of this illegal activity. The DRI also intercepted another mis-declared consignment of ready made garments imported by the syndicate in the name of one of these firms. The goods were found to be mis-declared in terms of description, value and quantity. Upon examination, the value was found to be Rs 6.62 crore against the declared value of Rs 36 lakh, the DRI said. Three other consignments of three different firms of the syndicate were also intercepted and examined, and found to be mis-declared in terms of description, value and quantity. “Thus, a total of five live consignments pertaining to the syndicate, having total market value of about Rs 20 crore against the total declared value of Rs 1.5 crore, have been seized,” it said. The DRI said a follow-up inquiry was conducted in Mumbai at certain premises, owned by one of the accused. The officials found Rs 77 lakh from these premises, which admittedly was the sale proceeds of such mis-declared goods, which were seized, the agency said. Besides cash, original invoices revealing the correct and much higher values of 86 consignments imported in the past by the syndicate with respect to the five companies were also recovered. The accused have admitted that they were involved in the fraudulent import of mis-declared goods in respect of 130 consignments, the differential value of which is more than Rs 100 crore and which involves evasion of customs duty of about Rs 25 crore, the probe agency said. The DRI said another 132 consignments have been imported in the past by the syndicate using the same modus operandi and it has evaded huge customs duty. “Thus, the total evasion of customs duty by the syndicate could be much higher than Rs 25 crore,” it said. Detection of this modus operandi will not only discourage cheap and fraudulent imports by unscrupulous traders, but will protect domestic readymade garment manufacturers, especially small and medium sector enterprises which form the backbone of the textile industry, the DRI said.last_img read more

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100 complaints from New town on tollfree number

first_imgKolkata: In the past 48 hours , the residents of New Town have lodged 101 complaints on the toll-free number.Firhad Hakim , state Urban Development minister had inaugurated the toll free number 1800-193- 7652 for the New Town residents on July 2. The residents can give any information or register complaints. Senior officials of New Town Kolkata Development Authority ( NKDA) said the response of the people has been very high. The NKDA has taken cognizance of the complaints and action will be taken promptly. Hakim appreciated the attempt of Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation ( HIDCO) to address the problems faced by the residents. He is receiving the complaints of the people living in the KMC area on the toll free number every Wednesday between 4pm to 5pm. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataHIDCO and NKDA have always welcomed the participation of people in schemes taken up by them. A few months back HIDCO had organised a day -long workshop where the residents of various housing complexes have been given training on segregation of garbage. After the workshop, the residents took part in a rally and took a pledge to do it in their home. The step has been taken for better solid waste management. It has been decided that senior HIDCO officials will visit the housing complexes on the days when the annual general meetings are held to interact with the residents on the schemes that have been taken up to conserve nature.last_img read more

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Creating art out of waste

first_imgWith a view to create awareness and to take timely action to protect the environment, the employees of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) came together to celebrate World Environment Day with a difference.An exhibition organised by the Centre was recently inaugurated at IGNCA premises by Dr Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary of IGNCA. Special highlights of the show that will continue till June 14, 2019 are artworks made out of waste material in stock on the campus of IGNCA. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe project was conceptualised by Kaladarsana Division with an effort to work at an institutional level to bring a change amongst the employees working here. Visual imagery in the form of photographs, paintings, installations with the theme on the environment were invited from staff members. IGNCA also invited an installation artist Niraj Patel to create artworks out of waste. In four days, the artist has created huge installations using metal frames and woods that would have otherwise been auctioned as waste. Imagery signifies a vertical lifeless city and symbols that signify existence such as trees, birds, and fishes. The artist has tried to draw the attention of the people to how concrete development is continuing without understanding the importance of eco-system and our dependence on nature. Unconventional in its medium, the works are strong in their message given the raw material that has been used in their structure. The other sections of the exhibition are a commentary on the hazards of pollution, the damage to monuments, water bodies, habitat and the co-existence of nature with man-made structures. Old bamboo structures, pedestals from previous shows, etc. have been used in their display to draw attention to reuse and recycle.last_img read more

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Apple bans Facebooks VPN app from the App Store for violating its

first_imgApple has asked Facebook to take down its app, Onavo Protect from App Store as it violates Apple’s new rules on data collection. Onavo is an Israeli analytics company, which was founded in 2010 and then acquired by Facebook in 2013. Apple revised their data collection policies in May this year to prevent app developers from engaging in certain app data collection activities in the future. One of their spokesperson told CNBC: “We work hard to protect user privacy and data security throughout the Apple ecosystem. With the latest update to our guidelines, we made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used.” What Onavo Protect does? Onavo Protect is a VPN and data manager, which provides security and data encryption.  It comes with functionalities like: Limiting apps from using data in the background Setting data alerts when apps use too much data A report on how much data is consumed by each app on your phone A VPN network that helps in keeping your personal info protected, Onavo in their app description have mentioned that they may collect your mobile data traffic to analyze your use of websites, apps, and data. They have further mentioned that, being a part of Facebook, they also use this info to gain insights in order to improve Facebook products and services. A Facebook spokesperson said,  “We’ve always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used. As a developer on Apple’s platform we follow the rules they’ve put in place.” Though, it is mentioned in the app’s description that the information will be used by Facebook, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to see that disclosure; something not every new user may do. This story was first reported on the Wall Street Journal. Earlier, they had also reported that the app has helped Facebook by monitoring usage of competing apps like Snapchat. After this Facebook added the Stories feature in their Instagram app, which is similar to that of Snapchat. The VPN app is now removed from App Store but is currently available on Google Play Store for the Android device users. Read Next 16 year old hacked into Apple’s servers, accessed ‘extremely secure’ customer accounts for over a year undetected Apple joins the Thread Group, signaling its Smart Home ambitions with HomeKit, Siri and other IoT products ‘Think different’ makes Apple the world’s most valuable company, crossing $1 Trillion market caplast_img read more

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China defends South China Sea island development

first_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BEIJING (AP) — Responding to sharply-worded comments from the U.S. defense secretary, China on Thursday defended its building of artificial islands in the South China Sea and accused Washington of stirring up trouble in the economically vital region.Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said no outside actors have the right to dictate to China in an area it claims as its sovereign territory.She said the U.S. was committing “provocations and instigations” that threaten stability — a reference to Washington’s refusal to recognize Chinese sovereignty over the newly built dry land. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “China has its own judgment, and no others are entitled the rights to demand China how to act,” Hua told reporters. She added that China was acting appropriately as a “big power.”She said the status quo of the South China Sea is generally stable, “but some countries keep on make provocations out of their selfish purposes, willfully challenging China’s territorial integrity and maritime rights.”Hua’s remarks came a day after Defense Secretary Ash Carter called for an “immediate and lasting halt” to all land reclamation projects by any Pacific nations.Carter also rejected China’s formal complaint over a U.S. surveillance plane’s flight last week over a Chinese-controlled island in the disputed Spratly group, saying the U.S. would “fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”Frictions over China’s island building project are expected to overshadow this weekend’s annual Shangri-la Dialogue defense forum in Singapore, which Carter is attending alongside Sun Jianguo, China’s vice chief of general staff, and other military leaders. Unlike last year, when Chinese representatives appeared to be blindsided by criticism, they seem more likely to respond this year. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

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Fullbody scanner safe

first_imgSydney Airport first in Australia to trial new full-body scanner Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Sydney Airport has introduced a full-body scanner as part of a two week trail of the new technologically advanced equipment.Launching the trial of the full body scanner federal transport minister Anthony Albanese described the scanning process as “safe and secure.” The Telegraph reported.The scanner uses low-energy radio waves to detect metal and non metal items hidden under clothing materials, highlighting suspicious articles.“We regard aviation safety and security as our most important priority,” Mr Albanese said.“It is safe it is secure, privacy concerns have been addressed.”Passengers not wanting to try the body scanner will proceed through standard screening procedures.Mr Albanese said although the trial and associated research which costs around AUD$6million will be funded by taxpayers, the cost of future machines would be absorbed by private airport operators.A recent study complied by Unisys Security showed that Australians are willing to sacrifice some privacy to attain greater security, with 77 percent stating they would provide personal data in advance of travel and 70 percent said they would participate in a full-body scan.“Our research shows that Australians take aviation security seriously and are willing to comply with higher security standards for greater peace of mind,” Unisys National Security Program director John Kendall said.The trial at Sydney airport will run over two weeks and a similar trial will be followed at Melbourne Airport in September 2011.last_img read more

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Industry Reacts to Employment Increase

first_img Friday’s employment report for April from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed strong growth overall, with a total increase in non-farm payroll jobs of 211,000, compared to March’s increase of 79,000. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta tweeted that the report was “great news,” and noted the unemployment drop to 4.4 percent.Despite the overall optimism, the housing and construction employment numbers didn’t see quite this level of growth, and the 5,000 new jobs created in this sector were called a “disappointment” by First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming. Fleming noted that this growth is a 2.6 percent increase from a year ago.“Home builders are reporting that the lack of construction workers is hampering their ability to increase production, which is a desperately needed source of supply, as most markets already have very tight inventories of homes for sale,” said Fleming. “In fact, we have been underbuilding residential housing relative to demand since 2009.”Realtor.com Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner voiced a similar concern, stating his disappointment in April’s numbers. The 5,000 construction jobs that were added are just “a fraction of what we need,” said Kirchner, “and it won’t solve the inventory problems that stop consumers from finding homes to buy.”Not all is lost, though. The overall employment rate is still high and unemployment is dropping. Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan noted that the U6 rate, the broadest measure of labor underutilization, fell to its lowest rate since November 2007. To Duncan, these are positives that send a clear message.“The labor market is tight, with continued declines in discouraged workers and part-timers who prefer full-time jobs,” said Duncan. “The report is consistent with a faster pace of monetary policy normalization this year and supports our expectation of two rate hikes in June and September and a change in the Fed’s reinvestment policy in December.” Industry Reacts to Employment Increase Employment Jobs mortgage 2017-05-05 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Newscenter_img May 5, 2017 597 Views Sharelast_img read more

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