Amend outdated tourism Act, demand Goa hotel owners

first_imgThe Goa Small and Medium Hoteliers Association of Goa has said that unchecked online room aggregator services, mushrooming illegal guest houses and wholesale liquor shops doing unchecked retail business were the bane of Goa’s tourism. At a press conference here on Monday, president of the association, Serafino Cotta, demanded that the Goa Tourism Trade Act be amended to check and regulate most of these ills. He also blamed lopsided regulation and a unresponsive State Tourism Ministry being busy selling “refrigerators to Eskimos”.The medium and small hoteliers held poor management of the tourism industry responsible for declining footfalls. “There is a sharp drop in arrivals. Instead of looking to arrest this fall, the Tourism Ministry is going to travel marts in countries which hardly have any interest in Goa. They are visiting international markets where the officials have a good holiday,” alleged Mr. Cotta. Mr. Cotta said the biggest problem encountered by them was unregulated accommodation, which he said accounted for nearly 85% of all accommodation in the State. “Illegal conversion of second homes into boutique hotels and bed and breakfast ventures is bleeding the genuine hotel industry. These outfits get liberal licences under an antiquated Tourism Trade Act , do not pay adequate taxes, tariffs as per hospitality structure and thus deny a level playing field for medium and small hotels, and eventually cause a loss of revenue to the State,” said Santanio D’Souza, secretary of the association. “Online room aggregators with their aggressive pricing have also driven the room prices down making it difficult for small and medium hotels to survive. At the same time the low prices has promoted ‘cheap tourism’,” said joint- secretary Pifran Fernandes. Mr. Cotta also demanded a ban on wholesalers of alcohol being given retail liquor licences, which he said, had triggered an unhealthy trend of tourists drinking in public places leading to nuisance. “People buy drinks from wholesale liquor stores, which are cheap and start drinking on the streets and just litter the surroundings and beaches. Goa is projected as a destination where alcohol can be purchased even in a supermarket,” Mr. Cotta said.last_img read more

Don’t Look Back Now!

first_imgWith two sensational political conventions over, the campaign has begun in earnest. Despite the call for a new politics and the rhetoric of change from both sides, this is going to be the usual campaign. There will be insinuations and allegations and negative ads and attacks. What is different this time, though, is that this will be a historic campaign, because the racists and the sexists will be put to test. And they know it.We will either have a Black/mixed race man in the White House or a White woman in the Number One Observatory Circle, the Vice President’s Residence. Americans ought to be proud of this. And the voters even more!We just finished a primary in which a woman ran for the highest office and she did it for the most part, by downplaying her gender identity. She wanted to rise above it, bringing it up when absolutely necessary. Now we have a woman candidate for the Vice Presidency who is feminine in the classical sense of popular culture, calls herself a lipstick wearing pit bull and is not ashamed to cook one meal a day or have kids after the age of 40.It seems like we defeated Hillary Clinton and now we have a chance to embrace Sarah Palin. Either way, someone is trying to test us.We now have Republicans praising every quality of their woman as a virtue and attacking Barack Obama for not choosing a woman as his running mate. Suddenly, they have become champions of women!  Would they know if irony hit them in the face!And Democrats find themselves in an equally strange position. They have to now attack what could be virtues in a woman; balancing family life and career, independence of mind and faith, reconciling the lipstick attractiveness with strong ambition and power. Instead, they are attacking beehive hairdos and the gun totting attractiveness of a woman.September 7, 2008 Related Itemslast_img read more

APL to Enhance Its Asia-Europe Trade with FEX

first_imgzoom Singapore-based container shipping company APL is planning to launch Felixstowe Express Service (FEX), a new weekly service that would connect ports in China and Europe with the UK’s Felixstowe container port.With this move, APL is expanding its Asia-Europe service network as it begins calling at Felixstowe, which is located in close proximity to the main European shipping lanes and has broad inland transportation options to the rest of UK.The new service will call the ports of Qingdao, Yangshan, Ningbo, Xiamen, Yantian, Port Klang, Felixstowe, Rotterdam and Hamburg.According to APL, the first sailing would be undertaken by the 18,800 TEU MV Al Zubara, which is expected to depart from Qingdao on August 20, 2016.The new FEX service, which will complement APL’s existing port calls to Southampton, would offer shorter transit times from China into the European markets.last_img read more

Nova Scotias Books Accurate and Fair

first_imgNova Scotia’s budget and other financial documents present anaccurate and fair picture of the province’s financial position,deputy finance minister Howard Windsor said today, Dec. 3. Mr. Windsor and senior officials of the provincial finance department appeared before the legislature’s public accountscommittee to review various accounting changes undertaken overthe past few years. Those changes, according to the provincial auditor general, have “allowed Nova Scotia to move from the bottom of the pack (among) provincial governments, to that of a leader,” in terms offinancial reporting. Despite that high praise, the auditor general issued a reportrecently that took issue with some of the province’s recentaccounting decisions. At the public accounts committee meeting, the finance departmentofficials answered each of those concerns. They relate to theimpact of census changes on provincial revenues and thedisclosure of the impact of retirement health benefits andpension asset values. The province did not alter its revenue projections in the 2003-04 budget to account for an anticipated census adjustment, assuggested by the auditor general, for a number of reasons. In preparing the budget, the department had raw data from the2001 census but experience suggested raw data was unreliable.There were significant changes from the raw data to the finalcensus numbers following the 1996 census. Census numbers impactprimarily on equalization, and there are more than 200 variablesin the equalization calculation used by Ottawa. To isolate onevariable — census — and change revenue projections based onthat one variable, would lead to “purely speculative” revenuechanges, the deputy minister said. Such speculation would not meet the standard of certaintyestablished by the auditor general himself for the province’srevenue assumptions. “As it turns out, had we pulled that raw data into our revenue projections at budget time, as the auditor general is nowsuggesting, it would have pretty much ruined the province’sfinances for this year,” said Mr. Windsor. The department ran its revenue projection models using the rawdata, as suggested by the auditor general. The result was a $73million over-estimate of revenues. Had the province acted uponthat faulty information in last spring’s budget, the governmentwould now be looking at either a budget deficit of $73 million,or additional spending cuts of the same magnitude. The auditor general’s report was also critical of the provincefor not fully disclosing changes in the way it accounts forpension assets — so-called smoothing — despite the fact that atthe time of the budget a bulletin was issued drawing attention tothe change. Noting that the change is in keeping with Generally AcceptedAccounting Principles (GAAP), the deputy minister conceded thatmore could have been done to highlight it. “There is a flood of information released with the budget, and wedo try to walk the line between full disclosure and the absoluteboredom threshold of Nova Scotians.” The third issue, also a question of disclosure, or moreaccurately the timing of disclosure, concerns the cost of healthbenefits for retired public servants. Provincial Controller Kevin Malloy noted that the liability forthose benefits has existed for about 30 years, and thedisagreement with the auditor general was over when to “book” theliability as now required by GAAP. He said that in October 2002, the former deputy minister of finance wrote to the auditor general explaining the province’sintention to make that accounting change in the 2004-05 budget.The department did not become aware that the timing of theaccounting change was a serious issue for the auditor generaluntil June of this year. Mr. Malloy said when the auditor general made the case thatretirement health benefits be included in the 2002-03 financialstatements, the government agreed. The 2002-03 statements werereleased last month and included the change, which increased thenet direct debt by $493 million. Finance Minister Peter Christie said his focus is dealing withtoday’s budgetary challenges and preparing a budget for nextspring, rather than reviewing previous budgets.last_img read more

In the news today Aug 27

first_imgFour stories in the news for Tuesday, Aug. 27———MIDDLE-CLASS B.C. GANGS BREAK FROM HISTORYA former member of the Hells Angels says the young men joining gangs today are facing much higher stakes than he did. Joe Calendino began turning his life around after being busted selling $10 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover cop. But he says the gang landscape has shifted so dramatically in the decade since that today’s youth won’t have the same second chance. He says he and his friends got in fights when he was growing up and started getting involved with drugs, but guns were never involved. When Canada’s homicide rate reached 660 in 2017 — the highest in almost a decade — Statistics Canada attributed part of the spike to gang-related violence and shootings, singling out British Columbia as a hot spot.———B.C. PLEASED WITH OKLAHOMA RULING IN OPIOIDS CASEBritish Columbia’s attorney general says he is pleased with the findings of a court in Oklahoma that found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis as it ordered the company to pay US $572 million, more than twice the amount another drug manufacturer agreed to pay in a settlement. The province filed a proposed class-action lawsuit a year ago against dozens of pharmaceutical companies in a bid to recoup the health-care costs associated with opioid addiction. The untested suit alleges the companies falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs and helped trigger an overdose crisis that has killed thousands since OxyContin was introduced to the Canadian market in 1996.———WASTEWATER TESTS REVEAL CANADIANS’ DRUG USEA pilot project that analyzed wastewater in five major urban centres suggests Canadians’ may use drugs differently depending on which city they call home. For example, the analysis by Statistics Canada showed cannabis levels are much higher in Montreal and Halifax than in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton. But the findings reported Monday showed methamphetamine levels were significantly higher in the latter two cities. Cocaine use, on the other hand, appeared more evenly distributed across the cities, averaging 340 grams per million people per week. To get results, the agency collected wastewater samples from treatment plants in each of the five major cities between March 2018 and February 2019 and tested them for traces of cannabis and a dozen other drugs. ———SOME FISH PASSING RIVER BLOCKAGE: FISHERIES DEPARTMENTAuthorities dealing with a massive landslide in British Columbia’s Fraser River say they’ve successfully helped thousands of salmon migrate north of the site, but millions of fish remain threatened by the obstruction. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the provincial government and local First Nations set up a team to lead the response to the slide near Big Bar, north of Lillooet, after it was discovered in late June. The team says fish counting data shows some chinook salmon have been able to swim past the slide using the channels the team has created with large rock manipulation and blasting. It says as of last Tuesday, a rough estimate of 6,700 salmon have passed through the slide on their own.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will make an announcement today on the federal government’s plan to support climate action in Ontario.— Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett will make an announcement on a new collaborative fiscal policy and self-governing Indigenous governments.— The trial continues today for Alberta couple David and Collet Stephan, who are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life in the death of their son, Ezekiel, from meningitis.— The trial continues today in Vancouver for Andrew Berry, who faces second-degree murder charges in the death of his two young daughters.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

FedEx to deliver 7 days a week to satisfy online shoppers

FedEx plans to deliver packages seven days a week starting next January as it tries to keep up with the continuing boom in online shopping.The company is also taking back nearly 2 million daily deliveries to homes that are currently handled by the post office.FedEx says shifting SmartPost packages back to its own network will give drivers more deliveries bunched closer together and increase their efficiency.The Memphis, Tennessee-based company announced the moves Thursday.FedEx already runs seven days a week around Christmas. The company says it’s taking that schedule year-round for most of the U.S. population.President and Chief Operating Officer Raj Subramaniam says the change will increase the company’s ability to meet the demands of e-commerce retailers and online shoppers.The Associated Press read more

Queen honors former CEO to Lanka

During Nicolaou’s five years as CEO, HSBC Sri Lanka expanded its network across the country, including opening a branch in Jaffna less than a year after Sri Lanka’s 30 year conflict ended. HSBC were the first foreign bank to open there and this helped to strengthen the financial ties between an area recovering from the long conflict with other areas of Sri Lanka, as well as with the diaspora community around the world. It was also Nick’s decision to open a branch in Galle which caters for the growing business community as well as the large number of UK tourists who visit the south coast. This makes HSBC the only international bank with a significant presence outside Colombo and its suburbs. Former HSBC CEO to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Nick Nicolaou, has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty The Queen in her Birthday Honors List 2013 for his services to promoting British business interests, arts, education and the English language in Sri Lanka.Nick Nicolaou worked for HSBC for 35 years in Asia, the Middle East and North America. He was appointed as CEO, Sri Lanka in 2008. During his tenure – which ended in April 2013 – he made an exceptional contribution in three areas: developing business across communities in post-conflict Sri Lanka, supporting the arts, education and creative industries in Sri Lanka and helping other UK companies win business in Sri Lanka. British Empire Medal John Alfred Allsop. The Royal British Legion, Branch Official Bordeaux France. For services to the community in south-west France.Humphrey John Barclay. Development adviser, Kwahu-Tafo, Ghana. For services to development in education, health, employment and community infrastructure in Kwahu-Tafo, Ghana.Mrs Mary (Carmen) Margaret Mary Rose Bellamy. Charity fundraiser, General hospital, Gozo. For services to healthcare, charitable work and to the community in Gozo, Malta.Michael John Chappell. William Military illustrator and author. For services to British military history.Ceri Dando. Charity fundraiser and community volunteer. For services to voluntary work in Mexico.Sgt Granville Duncan. Orderly to the Governor of Anguilla. For services to Anguilla.Mrs Rosalin Emerson. Poppy Appeal organiser and welfare officer, the Royal British Legion, the Netherlands. For services to the community in the Netherlands.Shirlen Albert Forbes. Chief statistician, Turks and Caicos Islands. For services to the development of statistics in the Turks and Caicos Islands.Mrs Sonia Patricia Golt. Founder, Bosom Buddies Cancer Trust Charity, Gibraltar. For services to breast cancer awareness in Gibraltar.Mrs Marylin Gladys Anna Lavarello. Midwife, Camogli hospital, Tristan da Cunha. For services to the community in Tristan da Cunha.Leslie Secretary Linares. Gibraltar Photographic Society and co-ordinator, botanical section, the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society. For services to photography and botany in Gibraltar.Mrs Amanda Jane Moss. Events manager, British embassy, Brussels, Belgium. For services to promoting British interests and charity fundraising in Belgium.Mrs Angela Jasenta Musgrove. Director, youth, ministry of health and education, Turks and Caicos Islands. For services to youth development in the Turks and Caicos Islands.George Edward Payas. Deputy commissioner, St John Ambulance, Gibraltar. For services to the community in Gibraltar.Michael Joseph Pizzarello. Emmanuel director, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Gibraltar. For services to the development of young people in Gibraltar.Christopher Bernard Pool. Formerly president, British Hospital and membership secretary, The Royal British Legion, Montevideo, Uruguay. For services to the community in Uruguay.Hector John Benedict Romero. Community volunteer, Gibraltar. For services to promoting sport, particularly athletics, in Gibraltar.Mrs Maria Isabel Vinales. Founder, Families Anonymous Group, Gibraltar. For services to families of alcohol and drug abuse victims in Gibraltar.Norman Andrew Watts. Chartered civil engineering adviser, public works development, Turks and Caicos Islands. For services to infrastructure development in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Dr Dudley Charles Ankerson. Adviser. For services to furthering UK interests in South America.William John Clovis Meath Baker, OBE. Director, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to UK interests in the Middle East.Richard Martin Donne Barrett, OBE. Formerly head, monitoring team, United Nations security council committee. For services to enhancing the implementation of sanctions regimes and international security.Ms Joanna Margaret Burke. Director China, British Council. For services to the development of UK/China cultural relations.Professor William Rodolph Cornish, QC. Emeritus professor of law, University of Cambridge. For services to promoting understanding of British law in central Europe.Alexander Wykeham Ellis. Director strategy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to British diplomacy and foreign policy development.Kevin Jeffrey Fitzgerald. Chief executive, Copyright Licensing Agency and chairman, Prisoners Abroad. For services to British economic interests, particularly the promotion of intellectual property internationally and the welfare of British nationals in prison abroad.Paul Damian Madden. High commissioner, Australia. For services to British foreign policy and furthering UK interests in Australia.Peter Millett. HM ambassador, Jordan. For services to British foreign policy and furthering UK interests in Jordan.Peter Michael Alexander Wilson. Director Asia Pacific, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to strengthening British foreign policy in Asia. FULL LIST:Order of St Michael and St GeorgeKCMGThe Honourable Peter Richard Caruana, QC. Politician, barrister and former chief minister, Gibraltar. For services to Gibraltar. Professor (Arthur) Alan Dashwood, CBE, QC. Emeritus professor, European law, University of Cambridge and professor, City University, London. For services to the development of European law. Nicolaou also served as chairman of the Council for Business with Britain (CBB) from 2010 and was at the forefront a major CSR initiative to upgrade standards of English among thousands of Sri Lankan school pupils. English language skills are important for Sri Lanka’s continued development, and play a key link role in communication between the Sinhala and Tamil speaking communities. The CBB English Project, delivered by the British Council, has trained more than a thousand teachers who have in turn delivered modern English language teaching to over 100,000 pupils from some of the most disadvantaged rural schools in Sri Lanka. HSBC have been the principal funder of this significant CSR initiative.Throughout his tenure in Colombo, Nicolaou contributed strongly to the overall relationship between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, further strengthening the commercial, cultural and people-to-people ties between the two countries. (Colombo Gazette) Simon James Fraser, CMG. Permanent under secretary and head of the Diplomatic Service, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the pursuit of British foreign policy interests.David Norman Reddaway, CMG, MBE. HM ambassador, Turkey. For services to British diplomacy and furthering UK interests in Turkey.CMG He personally led and championed a number of important Corporate Service Responsibility (CSR) initiatives during his time as CEO at HSBC. These included the refurbishment of several galleries at the Colombo National Museum, HSBC’s title sponsorship of the Galle Literary Festival and the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week, the premier fashion event in Sri Lanka. Order of the British EmpireKBEMichael Jonathan Moritz. Chairman, Sequoia Capital LLP, San Francisco, USA. For services to promoting British economic interests and philanthropic work.CBETimothy Heyman. President, Heyman y Asociados SC. For services to UK/Mexican Finance and investment and philanthropy.Haim Judah Michael Levy, QC. Lawyer and Founder, Gibraltar Community Care Ltd, Gibraltar. For services to the economy and to the community in Gibraltar.The Honourable William Alexander Scott, JP. Formerly member of parliament and former premier, Bermuda. For services to Bermuda.OBEFelix Alvarez. Equality and human rights worker. For services to the advancement of equality and human rights in Gibraltar.Dr The Reverend Cyril Bernhard Axelrod. Consultant, Hong Kong Society for the Blind. For services to the development of deaf blind services in Hong Kong.John William Matthew Baugh. HM ambassador, Somalia. For services to promoting peace and security in Somalia.Mark Gregory Beer. Former chairman, British Business Group, Dubai, and the northern Emirates, and registrar, Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, UAE. For services to advancing British business interests, promoting British exports and enhancing legal co-operation.Christopher John Chantrey. Formerly chairman, British Community Committee, Paris, France. For services to the British community in France.Ms Jacqueline Jill Collins. Writer. For services to fiction and to charity.Geoffrey Lynton Cooper. Formerly deputy head, EU policing mission, Afghanistan. For services to the development of policing in Iraq and Afghanistan.Michael Keith Dunstan. First secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to the security of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.Dr Sarah Katherine Fane. Founder, Afghan Connection. For services to charitable work, particularly for young people in Afghanistan.Ms Gillian Elizabeth Flaxman. Head, British Council school, Madrid, Spain. For services to international cultural relations and to education in Spain.William John Gelling. Formerly private secretary to the Right Honourable William Hague, MP, foreign secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to British diplomatic interests.Timothy Gerrish. Head, training and international capacity building, Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) Centre. For services to developing and supporting international child protection, particularly in south-east Asia.Ms Sian Jones. Formerly first secretary, British high commission, Islamabad, Pakistan. For services to UK national security.Mrs Rhondalee Moreen Braithwaite-Knowles. Deputy attorney general, Turks and Caicos Islands. For services to the development and reform of the public service of the Turks and Caicos Islands.Simon John MacKinnon. Chairman, Sinophi Healthcare, Shanghai, China. For services to advancing British business in China, developing UK/China trade and investment links, and charity work.Professor Nicholas Miles. Provost and pro-vice chancellor, The University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China. For services to furthering UK/China educational interests.Peter James Mumford. Formerly first secretary economic and financial, British embassy, Beijing, China. For services to transforming UK financial interests in China.Ms Nouria Nagi. Director, Yemen Education and Relief Organisation, Sana’a, Yemen. For services to charitable work transforming the lives of women and children in Yemen.Professor David Newman. Dean, humanities and social sciences, and professor, politics and government, Ben Gurion University, Israel. For services to higher education and the humanities and promoting academic links between the UK and Israel.Nicholas Andrew Nicolaou. Formerly chief executive Officer, HSBC Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Colombo, Sri Lanka. For services to promoting British business interests, arts, education and the English language in Sri Lanka.Cedric Rawnsley Osborne, MBE. Manager, MS Osborne Ltd, Montserrat. For services to promoting business interests in Montserrat.Mrs Eileen Lucia Stevens Parsons. Retired teacher, parliamentarian and minister, British Virgin Islands. For services to education and to the community in the British Virgin Islands.Andrew John Pearce. Head of Security, Estates and security Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to the safety of FCO staff, families and embassies.Stanley Everton Reid. Deputy governor, Anguilla. For services to Anguilla.The Very Reverend Canon David John Leyburn Richardson. Formerly representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre, Rome, Italy. For services to strengthening relations between the UK, the Anglican Communion and the Holy See.Martyn Roper. HM ambassador, Algeria. For services to UK interests in Algeria, particularly the UK response to the In Amenas hostage crisis.Stephen James Smith. Director general, the Anglo Mexican Foundation. For services to promoting British commercial, cultural and educational interests in Mexico.Brian Stainton. Engineer, lately Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to engineering and to local charitable and community support.Peter Gerald Maber Whawell. First secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to UK national security.Mrs Patricia Jill Williamson. Trustee and chair, Legal Assistance Trust. For services to promoting human rights and the rule of law in South Africa.MBEPeter James Aagaard. Executive director, Zambian Conservation Farming Unit. For services to the development of conservation farming in Africa.David Abbott. First secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to the security of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.Mrs Barbara Moser Andon. Formerly vice consul, British embassy, Beirut, Lebanon. For services to the UK consular crises response in the Middle East.Ms Denise Ashmore. Manager, British Law Centres, Warsaw, Poland. For services to British law in central Europe.Andrew James Barclay. Projects director, International Centre for Prison Studies, London. For services to the development of human rights and prison reform in Libya.Rodney William Beattie. Manager, Commonwealth war graves cemeteries, and director, Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, Thailand. For services to the Commonwealth war graves and the history of the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre in Thailand.Andrew Ben Bolgar. First secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to international diplomacy.Paul Jonathan Davies. Founder and Carnival director, Embaixadores da Alegria’, Brazil. For services to raising awareness of disability rights and to the community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Giles Elliot Enticknap. Head, UK Office, Nouakchott, Mauritania. For services to furthering British interests in Mauritania.Brian Edward Flanagan. Police adviser, European Union police mission, Afghanistan. For services to international police development in Iraq and Afghanistan.Miss Catherine Louise Fraser. First secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to furthering UK/Nigerian relations.Craig William Hitchcock. President, Abidjan Business Friends Club, Ivory Coast. For services to promoting British trade and investment in Ivory Coast.Miss Louise Margaret Hopper. Second secretary political, British embassy, Tripoli, Libya. For services to furthering British interests in Libya.Matthew John McMinnies Horn. Journalist and journalism lecturer, University of Central Lancashire and Guandong University of Foreign Studies, China. For services to the development of journalism and to charitable work in China.Simon Erskine Hughes. Honorary secretary, Chagos Conservation Trust. For services to environmental conservation.John Jeffers. Fisheries Officer, Montserrat. For services to the environment, particularly turtle conservation, in Montserrat.Ms Helen Andrea Jones. Deputy chief executive, Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council. For services to youth development in the Commonwealth.Robert Mark Last. Senior human rights adviser, UK Mission to the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. For services to promoting British human rights interests.Mrs Hilary Mackenzie. Co-Founder and chair, New Growth Ministries, Zimbabwe. For services to charitable work for disadvantaged people and to the community in Zimbabwe.Robert Malcolm Mackenzie. Co-Founder and chair, New Growth Ministries, Zimbabwe. For services to charitable work for disadvantaged people and to the community in Zimbabwe.Mrs Joy Mary Murray Menezes. British honorary consul, Madeira, Portugal. For services to the British community in Madeira.Mrs Della Marie Nevill. Second secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For services to promoting UK information security.Ms Claire Louise Newman. Vice Consul, British Consulate General, Atlanta, US. For services to furthering British consular interests and to the British community in south-eastern US.Mrs Jane Rose Nicholson. Founder, and chair FARA Foundation, UK and Romania. For services to charitable work, particularly to disadvantaged children in Romania.Dr Mary Edith Penny. Director general, Nutrition Research Institute, Lima, Peru. For services to nutrition and health sciences in Peru and in developing countries.Stephen David Rhoades. Telecommunications adviser. For services to international communications.Ms Jasmin Rowe. Secretary, African Diasporo Rastafarians and British consular warden, Shashemane, Ethiopia. For services to the British and Commonwealth Rastafarian community in Ethiopia.Michael John Spurling. Founder and lately chairman, Raleigh Bermuda. For services to the community, particularly youth development, in Bermuda.(Christopher) Paul Stebbings. Director and producer, TNT Theatre Company, Exeter, Devon. For services to promoting British theatre and furthering British cultural interests in Asia, particularly in China.Ms Karen Frances Stock. Formerly president, British Chamber of Commerce, Spain. For services to promoting British commercial interests in Spain.Joseph Assaad Tabet. Chairman and managing director, Frayland, Dubai, UAE. For services to furthering UK/UAE relations.Clement Ellington Franshaw Talbot. Founder, Ross (Blackie) Talbot Foundation, Bermuda. For services to charitable community work in Bermuda. read more

Buckeyes sticking together ahead of Big Ten Championship Game clash with Wisconsin

Members of the OSU football team gather around coach Urban Meyer (center) before a game against Michigan on Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorAfter falling short of its goal last season, the Ohio State football team earned a second chance in 2014.The Buckeyes — ranked No. 5 in the College Football Playoff standings — are set to match up with No. 13 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday, one day short of a year since they lost to Michigan State in the title game last season.In order to reverse that 34-24 result, senior cornerback Doran Grant said OSU has to work harder than ever before heading into Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.“Just more effort. More effort, more focus, more everything,” Grant said Wednesday. “It’s championship week, everything has to be more, and we’ve gotta execute and compete.”If OSU pulls out a win against the Badgers, it will mean the 35th Big Ten championship in program history, but first since 2009. That four-year gap means the current Buckeye seniors don’t have a conference title on their resume.Grant said his class’ legacy “wouldn’t be too complete” if the Buckeyes lose on Saturday.“That’s something — especially the guys I came in with, the class of 2011 — we never won one since we’ve been here,” he said. “And we gotta get it.”In order to make their resumes application-ready, the Buckeyes will have to slow down an offense averaging 482.1 yards per game and take on a defense giving up just 16.8 points per contest. OSU will also have to do all that without its starting quarterback as redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett is set to miss the remainder of the season after fracturing his ankle in a win over Michigan last weekend.Before his injury, Barrett had set the Big Ten record for total touchdowns in a season to go along with numerous program records. With the Wichita Falls, Texas, native coming off a Sunday surgery, the Buckeyes are set to turn to redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones, who has thrown all of 17 passes this season.With Jones at the helm, that means OSU is set to play arguably its biggest game of the season with a player who’s thrown just two career touchdowns passes, while Barrett threw 34 in just 12 games as the starter.But even with his starter out, coach Urban Meyer said he’s comfortable with the Buckeyes’ quarterback situation.“(I feel) great,” Meyer said Wednesday. “After today, (Jones) had a good day today.”Meyer stressed that — while the quarterback matters — an offense’s success is based more off the group than any individual player.“A good quarterback has a common denominator and that’s good players around him,” he said. “And we have a veteran offensive line and some good players around him.”Jones taking the lead won’t be the only change for the Buckeyes, as the team learned of the death of a teammate barely 24 hours after beating the Wolverines.Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge — a former wrestler turned football walk-on who had been with the team since August — was reported missing last Wednesday before his body was discovered on Sunday. Karageorge’s funeral was held Wednesday before the Buckeyes practiced.Grant said he attended the funeral, and added it’s not necessarily possible to move on from the tragedy, but the team has to play through it.“You don’t really get past it, we just gotta keep fighting,” he said. “Just keep fighting and staying together.”Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said the adversity of the past week has made the team closer, and forced the leaders to step up.“I think it’s kinda all brought us together, and kinda all just put our shields up and ‘let’s go,’” Heuerman said Wednesday. “We’ll go wherever.”With Barrett’s injury in mind, Heuerman added that the offensive leadership has to be even stronger with Jones making his first collegiate start.“Especially on offense with a quarterback who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience back there playing,” he said. “I think the older guys on offense — myself, (senior wide receiver Evan Spencer), (senior wide receiver Devin Smith), (junior offensive lineman) Taylor Decker on the line — a lot of that, it’s really been on our shoulders. Step up our game, bring (Jones) up.”With the spotlight in Columbus focused largely on how Jones will perform, the Buckeyes might need to put even more emphasis on trying to stop the Wisconsin offensive attack. And when it comes to the Badgers’ attack, everything goes through the success of redshirt-junior running back Melvin Gordon.Gordon — who was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday — leads the nation with 2,260 rushing yards on just 283 carries, and has scored 26 touchdowns along the way. Those rushing yards mean Gordon alone would be the 45th best running team in the country.As a team, the Badgers are second in the nation with 4,011 yards on the ground this season.Especially in recent weeks, OSU has struggled against the run, giving up more than 100 rushing yards to a single player in three of its past four games.In order to slow down Gordon and the Wisconsin offense, Grant said he has a simple plan.“Pursue him and get him on the ground,” he said.While that might be easier said than done, Grant said the Buckeyes simply don’t have another option.“That’s what we have to do,” he added.Even though Gordon is the focal point, the Badgers have proven successful throwing the ball as well, especially in recent weeks. Redshirt-junior quarterback Joel Stave completed 11 of 14 passes Nov. 22 against Iowa before throwing for 215 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota on Saturday.Grant said Stave’s play in recent weeks shows the Buckeyes have to be ready for all aspects of the Wisconsin attack.“That means we have to be ready for the pass, they’re not just one-dimensional running the ball,” Grant said. “So we have to cover, and we have to be ready to stop the run.”Grant added that the Badgers like to change it up on offense, meaning the Buckeyes have to work as a team even more than normal.“They shift a lot, they motion a lot,” he said. “We have to communicate and be in the right spots so we can fill our gaps in the run game.”And with that focus on the running game, the Buckeyes will also have to be aware of the play action pass.“You have to stay focused every play though, because you never know when they’re gonna throw that,” Grant said.While the Badgers throw multiple looks at the opposition while on offense, Heuerman said the defense is much more vanilla. But he added that doesn’t mean Wisconsin will be easy to move the ball against, even if the Buckeyes know what’s coming.“They don’t really do a whole lot of different things, they’re just really good at what they do,” Heuerman said. “They play just a few different types of defense, which, you know, isn’t tough to figure out what they’re playing. But they’re gap sound and they got a lot of good players on that team (who) have a knack for the football.”As the Buckeyes prepare for Wisconsin, Heuerman said they’ve completed one of their main goals: competing for championships in November.But he added OSU has made it to this point on a path that it might not have expected.“I don’t think anyone thought this was how we would get here, in all the things we’ve encountered along the way, it’s been a wild ride,” Heuerman said. “But we’re there and we’re doing everything we can to prepare.”With the loss to Michigan State still on his mind, Heuerman said the Buckeyes will come in with a different attitude against the Badgers.“We’ve still got that bad taste in our mouth from last year, in that stadium,” he said. “We haven’t been back since, so we’re coming in with a chip on our shoulder.”The Buckeyes and the Badgers are scheduled to kick off at 8:17 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. read more

Qatar beat Poland for the final

← Previous Story Joan Canellas before France: We want to defend title Next Story → France beat Spain with amazing Omeyer between the posts In the first semi-final Poland lost against Qatar 29:31.The first half began quite tightly; Poles maintained 1-goal-edge but it got endangered when Grabarczyk had to left the court for 2 minutes. But instead, Poland made their lead bigger to two goals. After more or less 12 minutes Goran Stojanović was replaced by Danijel Šarić in Qatari goal and it started gradually making a difference. In 15. minute Poles had to manage being double short-handed when Rojewski got sent off while M. Jurecki was still witing for his suspension to end, but attacking foul of Qatar let them keep the distance. However, missed throws of Poles gave Qatar a chance to draw and so they did in 20. minute when Rafael Capote scored for 10:10. Polish defence wasn’t as good as it was in previous games, fast Qataris made use of every slip; Szmal also was off his game so Wyszomirski got his chance. On the other side of the court it took Qatar one save of Šarić to get the 1-goal-lead (12:11, 23. minute) and make it 2 a moment later. Coach Biegler decided to enter Bielecki, but he soon got back on the bench as during the attack he got kicked by one of the defenders. In the meantime Biegler received a yellow card for his behaviour as he got too angry when Bielecki was lying on the ground looking bad and Qatar scored a goal. Bad last 10 minutes in attack made Poland lose 13:16 at the break.The beginning of the second half belonged to goalkeepers – Szmal saved Hadi Hamdoon’s penalty throw but it was Šarić again who was more efficient. Polish defence was terrible, attack didn’t look good either and Biegler called for a time-out. Poles quickly cut the gap by 2 goals but the joy was immediately ceased by 2-minute-suspension for B. Jurecki. In the 42. minute Poland had a chance to play in a powerplay for the first time when Hassan Mabrouk got sent off but Šarić denied them the opportunity to get closer. Last 10 minutes for Poland was a chase but they managed to reduce the gap only to two goals. They could have had a chance to score a goal for 22:23 but referees allowed Žarko Marković’s incorrectly scored goal and instead the result was 21:24. Despite improving the attack, Poles made disastrous errors in defence allowing Qataris score unattended even while being shorthanded. Penalty throw for 30:27 in 59. minute sealed the deal and Qatar could be sure of winning the game. In the end they won 31:29.Right after the game the whole Polish team approached the referees to congratulate and applaud sarcastically. read more

Late Late Toy Show 2013 best bits in pictures and video

first_imgWatch again: 117 girls perform the Cup Song on the Toy Show> IF YOU MISSED the Toy Show on telly or our Liveblog last night, or if you got too into the drinking game, you might need a quick recap.Here are some of the best bits from the Late Late Toy Show 2013…The opening number Source: Andres Poveda Source: Andres Poveda Source: Andres Poveda Source: Andres Poveda Source: Andres Poveda Source: Andres PovedaRyan and Little Ryan (Fergal) Source: Andres Poveda Source: RTÉ – Ireland’s National Television and Radio BroadcasterThe retro toys When Domhnall met Robbie Source: RTÉ – Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster Source: RTÉ Player screengrabRyan joins One Direction Source: RTÉ Player screengrab  The Cup Song Source: RTÉ – Ireland’s National Television and Radio BroadcasterBosco visits for the first time in 30 yearsMary’s fantastic auditioncenter_img Read: Robbie, Mary, Bosco and cups…The Late Late Toy Show 2013 as it happened>last_img read more

Reilly It would be unsafe to close Navans Emergency Department right now

first_imgIf there is proven capacity in the system, there will be changes to Navan Accident and Emergency Department in the best medical interests of patients from the area.“It is not feasible for this to take place in the short term,” he added.If the emergency department was downgraded, seriously ill or injured patients would instead have to travel to Drogheda.Overcrowding at this hospital has been branded a “national scandal” by local TDs.Read: INMO say proposals ‘seriously compromise patient safety’. ‘Scaremongering’ says James Reilly >More: ‘Nobody hurt or afraid’ as man throws bottle of cola at Health Minister > THE HEALTH MINISTER has said the emergency department at Navan General Hospital will be downgraded only if another hospital can handle the the number of patients who would be affected.As many as 8,000 people turned out to protest against the closure of the emergency department at the weekend.Locals are calling for full services to be kept in the newly-built Accident and Emergency Department at Navan’s Our Lady’s Hospital.While Minister James Reilly did not call for a reversal of plans to downgrade the department to a local injuries unit, he said he would “not stand over any change to Navan Hospital Accident and Emergency Department while there is not enough capacity elsewhere in the system to safely accommodate the patients that are treated there”.last_img read more

Panasonics newest Lumix selling out in Japan thanks to incamera makeup software

first_imgAt first blush, there’s not really a lot to recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX77. It’s a fairly standard point-and-shoot. Specs-wise, we’re looking at 12.1 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, ISO up to 1600 (with only 800 useable, at best), etc. It doesn’t even look special. So why is Japan going absolutely bonkers over this camera?Two words: teenage narcissism. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX77 may look just like any other generic point and shoot, but it has some very special onboard software by way of special modes that allow you to virtually airbrush your skin. Targeting the DMC-FX77 at girls, the latest Lumix has smart software that can airbrush pictures in-camera to remove wrinkles, whiten teeth and even apply make-up like blush and lipstick. Take a picture of your girlfriend and there’s no need to load up Photoshop later: you can turn her into a super model just with a couple of toggles.“According to data we’ve acquired, around 50 percent of our digital camera clients are not satisfied with the way their faces look in a photograph,” said Panasonic project manager Akiko Enoki. “So we came up with the idea so our clients can fix parts they don’t like about their faces after they’ve taken the picture.”This is just genius. While we geeks tend to make a big deal about the hardware, the secret fact of the matter is that it’s software that sells digicams, and Panasonic seems to have just stumbled upon the holy grail of software features: buy our camera, and we’ll actually make you look as beautiful as the girls you see in the magazines.Panasonic’s going to sell a million of these. I doubt they’ll have an exclusive on this software technology for long, though: it’s only a matter of months before a feature that sells this amount of cameras becomes ubiquitous everywhere.Read more at Yahoolast_img read more

LAOS leader to resign amid kickbacks probe

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The leader of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Giorgos Karatzaferis is expected to resign in the coming days amid the launch of a probe into press claims that 1.65 million euros was paid into two offshore firms linked to him and his relatives.The former New Democracy MP, who participated in a coalition government in 2011-12, denied any knowledge of the people mentioned in the report in Real News though he did not deny a link to the offshore firms.The report alleges that payments were made by two businessmen acting as middlemen in the sale of Super Puma helicopters to Greek authorities. A probe is expected to focus on Karatzaferis’ source of wealth (“pothen esches”) forms.Source: Kathimerinilast_img read more

Meow Wolf How Game of Thrones Saved a DayGlo New Mexico Art

first_imgStay on target ‘Game of Thrones’ Targaryen Prequel Series Is Reportedly Coming to HBO‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… This shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but art is important. Even as the world descends into a global climate apocalypse and the limits of human cruelty are tested in new and different ways, the spirit must still be fed. And art is where the true triumphs of humanity will be judged — not in the resources we pulled from the Earth or the money we made, but the cultural creations that expressed our inner souls.But art is also hard to make a living from. If you’re not a superstar getting repped at Sotheby’s, you can toil in obscurity for a lifetime without a big break coming along. And that’s no reflection on your talents, but rather your ability to be in the right place at the right time and know the right people.The founders of art collective Meow Wolf felt like outsiders in the Santa Fe art scene. The New Mexico town is the third largest art market in the country, behind New York and Los Angeles. It boasts hundreds of galleries, a dozen museums and three huge summer art fairs. But the reigning power players are traditionally looking for stuff that’s pretty time-tested: Native American-inspired folk art, pastel desert landscapes, and unchallenging modernism. If you’re not mining those veins, making a living can be rough.That’s where Meow Wolf was born. A dozen artists founded the group in 2008, at first taking residence in an abandoned hair salon. They wanted to make art that was wildly outside the borders of the Santa Fe establishment. The name was one of many drawn at random from a hat, and their early projects captured that same anarchic spirit. Anybody who wanted to join could, and their ranks swelled to include painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, writers and more. Members pooled money for places to live and collaborated on multi-disciplinary installation pieces.Meow Wolf’s early projects were scrappy, improvisational works using materials shoplifted and scavenged from dumpsters — painters would cover every wall, sculptors would install pieces, choreographers and performers would use the space in conjunction with bands. The ethos was always big, bright and bold.That freedom threatened to collapse Meow Wolf under its own weight until Vince Kadlubek eventually stepped in as the organization’s CEO. Knowing that the group was capable of bigger and better things, he worked to organize in a way that would let creativity flower but also support the organization moving forward. Over the next few years, they’d stage increasingly more ambitious and complex pieces all over the city. Soon the establishment took notice. In 2011, the Center for Contemporary Art approached the collective to create Due Return, a 5,000 square foot explorable ship from an alien dimension.And then they hooked up with Santa Fe’s most famous literary resident, the bushy-bearded author responsible for the Song of Ice and Fire series that would become one of HBO’s biggest hits of all time as Game of Thrones. With more money than he could spend, George R. R. Martin began taking steps to make Santa Fe the kind of town he wanted to hang out in.In 2013, he bought a destitute movie theater, the 128-seat Jean Cocteau, and hired Meow Wolf member Vince Kadlubek to handle marketing. The project went well — the Cocteau now hosts regular screenings of current and classic films, visiting author readings and a weekly game night — and Kadlubek and Martin developed a relationship strong enough that when he asked the author to spend $800,000 on an abandoned bowling alley, he agreed.A subsequent investment of nearly three million dollars would transform the building into the Meow Wolf Art Complex, a multi-use facility that offers studio space, educational facilities and exhibition areas.It also featured House Of Eternal Return, the group’s first permanent installation. A unique narrative and exploratory experience, the House replicates the infamous Selig mansion, where a strange experiment has torn the fabric of space and time apart, twisting the halls and rooms into fantastic new configurations. At 20,000 square feet, it’s an enormous construction that’s full of fascinating detail, and it’s all interactive and explorable. Climb through the fireplace to find yourself in an ice cave, or enter an alternate dimension where everything looks like a cel-shaded cartoon. Guides in white lab coats are present to offer suggestions, but it’s very much a self-guided tour that can captivate you for hours. This project took a staggering 135 artists to complete, and it shows. It’s ambitious, unique and quickly became an art world phenomenon half high art and half Choose Your Own Adventure.Over 400,000 people visited the House in the first year it was open, immediately vaulting Meow Wolf into the city’s upper echelon of arts organizations and inspiring the group to think even bigger. Not only are they expanding, but they’ve used their financial success to fund other art collectives all over the country.Now the whole strange tale is being told in Meow Wolf: Origin Story, a documentary by Jilann Spitzmiller and Morgan Capps that is in theaters now. Weaving together footage and interviews from the group’s history, it paints an unflinching portrait of the struggle to get a foothold and the impact that just one person can have. Even though some members get more screen time than others, it never loses sight of the fact that Meow Wolf was founded as and remains a collective, a group effort that wouldn’t be the same without the many different voices involved.The film also touches on the group’s future, which involves serious expansion. They’ve already broken ground on a huge complex in Denver at a projected cost of $50 million, a four-story structure that will feature all new creations and working space. Meow Wolf won’t be the first scrappy artistic group to employ the franchising model – think about the Blue Man Group, who started as a trio of friends marching in parades in New York’s Lower East Side and grew to an intercontinental performance troupe that was eventually acquired by Cirque du Soleil. It’s uncertain whether Meow Wolf will get to that level of ubiquity, but they sure seem willing to try.So the next time you get mad that The Winds Of Winter has been delayed again, consider this: as an antidote to the grim tidings of his fictional universe, George R. R. Martin has been working to make our real one that much more colorful and full of life. Not every art group in the country is going to be lucky enough to hook up with a millionaire patron to fund their dreams, but we’re lucky that at least one did. Long may Meow Wolf continue to howl. Or meow. Whatever.More on Can Now Recreate Famous Paintings With a 3D PrinterGerman Museum Exhibits the Art of BlockchainMove Over, Picasso: Robot Paintings Are Surprisingly Goodlast_img read more

Winter fuel costs could spike nationwide Heres why Alaska is different

first_imgPhil Isaak, of Ike’s Fuel finishes topping off a heating oil tank on Nov. 15, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska. Isaak said costs in Alaska don’t really match up well with heating fuel costs in the rest of the country. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)Back in October, the U.S. Energy Information Administration put out a report on winter heating fuels. The federal administration forecasts that U.S. households will spend more to heat their homes this winter. Especially in the places that use heating oil as their main source of warmth.But trends in the Lower 48 doesn’t necessarily hold true in Alaska.It’s warm in Juneau right now. Not a lot of snow or ice on the ground. That means things are kind of slow-going over at Ike’s Fuel. So Phil Isaak had time to talk about his family’s heating fuel business and what he thought of the predictions.Isaak’s family has been delivering heating oil around Juneau since 1966 when his father started the business — he joked that they could have delivered milk instead.The Energy Information Administration forecasted higher costs to heat homes this winter. And people who heat their homes primarily with oil could be hit the hardest, with up to a 20 percent jump. Only about 30 percent of homes in Alaska use oil as their main source of heat. Those homes are concentrated in rural areas, Fairbanks and here in Southeast.What to do when costs go up? Isaak has some advice for Alaskans.The first thing he said is to budget for the cold years.“Other ways, you know, tell people, ‘Wear an extra sweater and keep your heat at 65,’” Isaak said. Then he grinned. “If I was really ruthless, I’d say, ‘Well they need to open their windows and turn their heat up to 90 and run their hot water all day,’ but that would not benefit anybody but us.”That prediction of higher costs for winter heating fuels is based on higher prices and higher consumption of the fuel. All of that could drive winter heating costs up to their highest in four years.But Isaak isn’t really buying that. For one, he said Alaska is different than the rest of country. In Juneau, for instance, Ike’s Fuel gets a fuel barge every three weeks. That means prices are varied, but they are largely insulated from daily changes.Other rural parts of the state are similar. A lot of off-the-road-system communities rely on bulk fuel purchases, so the prices are locked in for months at a time.Isaak isn’t the only one who says Alaska is different from the rest of the country.Anchorage economist Steve Colt co-authored a 2009 study on the impact of fuel costs in rural Alaska.Colt said there are two factors that drive how much homes are going to pay to heat with fuel — the first is the price of the fuel. The second is how much the house is going to use.“So if it’s 20 percent warmer, you’re going to pay 20 percent less and if the price is 20 percent higher, you’re going to pay 20 percent more. They contribute equally to your bill,” Colt said.Colt said when it comes to heating costs, Alaska is so different from the rest of the country that it almost has its own energy market.“In many parts of Alaska, the prices are already so high that something that would push up the price of heating oil by 20 percent in New Jersey is probably not going to push it up by 20 percent in Alaska, in rural Alaska,” Colt said.Putting price aside, that other factor that determines heating cost — how much fuel a house is going to use — is largely determined by temperature. And that’s largely determined by Mother Nature. Right now, it’s not super cold here.It’s not just Juneau that doesn’t have any snow on the ground: The whole state is getting warmer.The latest National Climate Assessment came out last week, and its chapter on Alaska calls the state one of the fastest-warming places on Earth.And winter is warming faster than any other season. According to the report, the coldest days of the year here are supposed to increase by more than 12 degrees by mid-century.That could mean lower heating bills all around.last_img read more

Fossils from ancient extinct giant flightless goose suggests it was a fighter

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Reconstruction of Garganornis ballmanni Meijer, 2014 based on the newly described fossil remains. This reconstruction is based on a generic Western Palaearctic Goose with short and robust tarsometatarsus, short toes and very short wings according to the known elements of Garganornis ballmanni. Illustration made by Stefano Maugeri. Credit: Royal Society Open Science (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160722 (—A small team of researchers from Italy, Norway and Austria has found evidence of an ancient extinct goose relative that once lived in what is now central Italy. In their paper published in Royal Society Open Science, the team describes the fossils they found, what they suggest the bird once looked like and possibly how it behaved. Giant prehistoric bird fossils found in Antarctica Explore further Citation: Fossils from ancient extinct giant flightless goose suggests it was a fighter (2017, January 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Royal Society Open Science The fossils were found in the Gargano region near the town of Scontrone in central Italy, a place that prior research has shown was an island in the Mediterranean during the time that the bird was alive—approximately 6 to 9 million years ago. Its bones suggest it weighed approximately 22 kilograms and stood approximately one and a half meters tall. But its wings were perhaps too small to allow the bird to fly. The researchers suggest this is common in evolution, especially on islands where birds no longer rely on flight to escape predators. The large size, the researchers note, also suggests it was not an aquatic bird and perhaps lived in a forested area where it clearly had no problems finding enough food for itself and its offspring. Its wings also had carpal knobs (hard and rounded skin) on the carpometacarpus bone (the one on the end akin to the hand in humans)—they are used by modern birds to fight with one another. For that reason, the researchers suggest the ancient bird was likely a fighter, as well. They have dubbed it Garganornis ballmanni.Modern birds with carpal knobs also include some ducks and geese that commonly fight one another over territorial rights. There was also another bird, the Rodrigues solitaire, now extinct, which was known to fight so ferociously that pairs of them would break each other’s bones. The researchers suggest that G. ballmanni likely fended off any attackers by virtue of its large size, but it would likely also have had to fight with others for another precious resource: fresh water. That would mean that it was likely aggressive as well, a trait not uncommon in modern geese.The fossils also represent the first bird remains to be found at the dig site at Scontrone. More information: Marco Pavia et al. The extreme insular adaptation ofMeijer, 2014: a giant Anseriformes of the Neogene of the Mediterranean Basin, Royal Society Open Science (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160722AbstractNew skeletal elements of the recently described endemic giant anseriform Garganornis ballmanni Meijer, 2014 are presented, coming from the type-area of the Gargano and from Scontrone, southern and central Italy, respectively. The new remains represent the first bird remains found at Scontrone so far, and another shared element between these two localities, both part of the Apulia-Abruzzi Palaeobioprovince. The presence of a very reduced carpometacarpus confirms its flightlessness, only previously supposed on the basis of the very large size, while the morphologies of tarsometatarsus and posterior phalanges clearly indicate the adaptation of G. ballmanni to a terrestrial, non-aquatic, lifestyle. Its very large body size is similar to that observed in different, heavily modified, insular waterfowl and has been normally interpreted as the response to the absence of terrestrial predators and a protection from the aerial ones. The presence of a carpal knob in the proximal carpometacarpus also indicates a fighting behaviour for this large terrestrial bird species. © 2017 Phys.orglast_img read more

Get exclusive handcrafted creations from Northeast

first_imgIn an endeavour to promote Northeastern region’s handicraft and handloom products and the spirit of craftsmanship, CCIC presents “Purvayan”, an exhibition cum sale of exclusive Northeast products – handcrafted by master craftsperson from Northeastern states of India in its showroom at Janpath, New Delhi. The exhibition will be open to the visitors up to February 18. Timings: 10 am to 7 pm (Open all seven days including Sunday) The exhibition showcases a wide variety of handcrafted products from Northeastern regions of India ranging from bamboo handicrafts, grass handicrafts, cane handicrafts, handloom textiles and made-ups etc available in myriad shades and design from eight Northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.One of the core objectives of this event is to promote products from Northeastern region of India and provide a marketing platform to the craftsperson from Northeast to present their best creations to a wider audience to increase the awareness. Another attraction of the exhibition is the live-demonstration by craftsperson.last_img read more

How Cats Came to be Associated with Witchcraft

first_imgToday, cats are arguably the most-loved animals on the internet, with countless memes, videos, and images devoted to these furry feline creatures. It’s hard to imagine a time when cats were not universally loved and adored.However, in Western Europe, during the Middle Ages, the humble cat was one of the first victims of the early Medieval Inquisition.In the 12th and 13th centuries, a wave of concern over the presence of witchcraft and heresy spread through the Latin West.A witch riding a broomstick with a black cat.Cats came to be seen as a symbol of witchcraft, and even as the embodiment of Satan himself.Where once these creatures had been common household animals, they were now regarded as dangerous, unpredictable and demonic.They were shunned, persecuted and often killed by people who feared that they would open the door to the devil.The Black Death of London, 1665.But how did the cat come to be so strongly associated with devil worship? According to History Collection, in the early 13th century, successive Popes began to be extremely concerned about the presence of heresy in Christian society.In 1209 Pope Innocent III preached a crusade against the Cathars of Southern France, resulting a period of intense violence and religious persecution. But the Cathars were not the only group whose practices were branded as devil worship by the Catholic Church.Pope Innocent IIIIn the early 1230s, the new Pope, Gregory IX, turned his attention north to Germany. He appointed a High Inquisitor, Conrad of Marburg, to investigate claims that groups of witches were organizing satanic rituals and threatening the sanctity of the faith.Conrad took his duties very seriously and employed brutal methods to extract confessions from would-be heretics.He reported his findings to Gregory, who was appalled at the anti-Christian beliefs and practices that had spread throughout Germany.Pope Gregory IXGregory responded by issuing a papal bull, known as Vox in Rama. This document condemned the devil-worship taking place in Germany, describing the satanic rituals and heretical practices in salacious detail.According confessions extracted from these Luciferians, new initiates to the cult were expected to kiss the behind of a toad before paying homage to a black cat, which they were also expected to kiss.At the end of the ritual, a strange half-man, half cat appeared, taken to be the embodiment of the devil himself.Satan Exulting Over Eve by William Blake. The subject of the bull deals with the devil and his corruption of innocents through fornication.According to History Collection, Vox in Rama firmly established the association between cats and the devil in Christian culture.However, the description of the devil as a black cat tapped into already deep-seated cultural beliefs about the nature and symbolic significance of cats in pagan religions.Could this cute black kitten really be in cahoots with the devil?The Egyptian goddess Bast was represented by a cat, as was the Greek goddess of the underworld, Hecate.The strong presence of cats in pre-Christian religions positioned them as antithetical to Christian belief. In addition, cats were often described as cruel, vindictive creatures that could not be tamed like other domestic animals.The Gayer-Anderson cat, believed to be a representation of Bastet. Photo by Einsamer Schütze CC BY-SA 3.0They were observed playing with their prey, torturing mice before finally finishing them off, and this fed the popular belief that they were unpredictable and wicked.According to historian Irina Metzler, cats were already regarded as inherently linked to heresy, wildness and anti-Christian beliefs.A 19th century drawing of a tabby cat.This may have also been due to the acceptance of cats in Islamic societies. Medieval Muslims admired cats for their cleanliness and they had been well treated by the Prophet Muhammad.This may have contributed to the notion that cats existed outside the Christian social order. In the late 12th century, many people began to believe that killing or torturing a black cat was a good method to break spells and curses.Casting call for black cats, Los Angeles, 1961. The studio was seeking cats for the Roger Corman movie Tales of Terror.The widespread cat massacres that followed Vox in Rama have also been suggested as an indirect cause of the Black Death, the plague that spread through Europe in the 14th century.The lack of cats led to an increase in rats and mice, which were alleged to have spread the plague.However, this argument is insufficient to account for the Black Death, which was spread by fleas that could have been carried on any humans or animals. Although the cat population diminished radically, they were not completely wiped out.Read another story from us: Amazingly Well-Preserved Ice Age Horse Discovered in Siberian PermafrostThe heresy trials that accompanied the promulgation of the Vox in Rama was a frightening precursor to the Inquisition, in which tens of thousands of people were put to death. The massacre of cats in the early 13th century was simply the beginning of a very dark and terrifying period in Christian history.last_img read more

Wave goodbye to CloudFlare Captchas Cloudflare Privacy Pass lands

first_imgWave goodbye to CloudFlare Captchas: Cloudflare Privacy Pass lands by Martin Brinkmann on September 18, 2017 in Internet – Last Update: November 10, 2017 – 16 commentsIf you connect to the Tor network or VPN services regularly, you may have noticed an increase in CloudFlare captcha challenges whenever you are connected to these networks.Depending on which sites you visit, to which network you are connected, and how the site is configured, you may need to solve captchas quite often, and sometimes on any page you open on that particular site.This is obviously not desirable as you spend more time solving captchas than browsing the site in question.I reviewed the Firefox add-on CloudHole back in 2016 which promised to reduce the number of CloudFlare captchas by storing user agent and clearance cookie information so that they may be reused in future challenges. The extension is still available, and it appears to work just fine.Cloudflare Privacy PassCloudflare Privacy Pass is an official extension for Firefox and Chrome that has been designed for the same purpose. The browser extension uses a different system though, as it takes advantage of CloudFlare’s Challenge Bypass Specification.The specification “has been developed to allow bypassing challenge pages using signed tokens that guarantee anonymity to the user”. Basically, what it is designed to do is reduce the number of challenges that are thrown on devices connect to the Tor network or VPN services without leaking identity information.Cloudflare Privacy Pass works silently in the background for the most part. It lets you bypass CloudFlare challenges pages if a valid solution has already been submitted during the session.The extension generates cryptographically “blinded” tokens that are signed by Cloudflare’s edge when a CAPTCHA is solved. These tokens are “unblinded” and stored by the extension for future use; they are redeemed automatically when a future challenge page is seen. The “blinding” procedure means that signed and redeemed tokens are cryptographically unlinkable from Cloudflare’s perspective and, as such, are suitable for usage in conjunction with external anonymity measures (such as Tor/VPNs).The extension is available for Firefox and Google Chrome. It installs fine in the Tor Browser, but I’m not 100% sure it works in that browser right now as it is provided as a WebExtension.While it installed fine, I had trouble getting any site to throw a captcha while using the Tor browser (go figure).Anyway, if you use Tor or a VPN regularly and are exposed to an ungodly number of challenge captchas, you may want to give this extension a try as it may help reduce the number of captchas per browsing session significantly.Update: The extension has been pulled. Privacy Pass is a new extension that offers similar functionality.SummaryArticle NameWave goodbye to CloudFlare Captchas: Cloudflare Privacy Pass landsDescriptionCloudflare Privacy Pass is an official extension for Firefox and Chrome that reduces the number of captchas that sites throw when using Tor or a VPN.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

UNWTO records five percent rise in international tourism in JanuaryApril

first_imgThe UNWTO World Tourism Barometer has revealed a five percent rise in international tourist arrivals between January and April 2016. The prospect for May-August is also positive with around 500 million tourists projected to have travelled abroad in the Northern Hemisphere in the summer holiday peak season.Destinations worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2016, that is, around 18 million more than the same period last year (+5.3%). This follows an increase of 4.6% in 2015, and could make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year following the crisis in 2009.“Results show a strong desire to travel and this continues to drive tourism growth. Destinations keep benefitting from solid demand across all world regions despite ongoing challenges, showing that tourism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector,” said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, UNWTO.By region, Asia and the Pacific (+9%) recorded the highest increase in international arrivals, with all Asian subregions enjoying a growth of seven percent or above. By subregion, Subsaharan Africa (+13%) led growth, strongly rebounding from previous years’ modest results.UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to increase by 3.5% to 4.5% over the full year 2016, in line with UNWTO’s long-term projection of 3.8% growth a year for the period 2010 to 2020.last_img read more