As flu season reaches peak WHO steps up efforts to fight disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) also strongly advised early vaccination as the best prevention against the potentially devastating disease. “Influenza vaccines have an excellent safety record. In particular, the elderly and patients with chronic illnesses should see their doctor or health worker and get their flu vaccination,” said Dr. David L. Heymann, Executive Director at WHO Communicable Diseases branch. For healthy people, influenza normally amounts to high fever, headache and a few days in bed. However, for the elderly and chronically ill, the flu can be fatal. To save lives, WHO brings together influenza experts every year to compose a vaccine for the following year. More than 230 million vaccine doses are used annually. According to WHO, during the annual epidemics influenza infects as many as 100 million people annually in the northern hemisphere. While exact figures are unavailable for most countries, in the United States influenza kills approximately 20,000 people each year, the agency said. The elderly and children under one year of age are particularly at risk. History shows the potentially devastating consequences of the disease. The “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918-19 claimed up to 40 million lives, while in Hong Kong, China, in 1997, one-third of infected patients died. read more

UN envoy visits rebelheld north in Côte dIvoire for first time since

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Albert Tévoédjrè and Gen. Abdoulaye Fall held talks with Guillaume Soro, Secretary-General of the rebel Forces Nouvelles, and visited three sites that came under bombardment last week. Mr. Tévoédjrè reiterated the UN’s commitment to help put the peace process back on track.General Fall said UN military forces, which patrol the Zone of Confidence (ZOC) separating Government and rebel forces had fully played their role in recent days, helping with evacuation as well as observing the violation of the ceasefire. He said they had prevented ground troops from crossing the ZOC, including by firing warning shots in the air.Meanwhile in Abidjan, the West African country’s largest city, the situation continued to gradually return to normal though it still remains tense. Offices, banks and businesses are reopening. Children are slowly returning to school, all of which have opened except for the four French schools.The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), set up in April to monitor the ceasefire and help implement peace accords signed in January 2003, said human rights violations by Forces Nouvelles elements were being reported in Bouaké and other parts of the north.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the number of Ivorians fleeing the fighting to neighbouring Liberia had climbed to 13,000, with more than 1,000 arriving in just one night, most of them women and children.For its part the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it had been able to resume some of its operations. read more

UBC board of governors votes against divestment from fossil fuel industry

Facebook: UBCC350 VANCOUVER – The University of British Columbia has rejected calls from students and faculty to dump its holdings in the fossil fuel industry, instead promising to create a low-carbon investment fund.The board of governors voted Monday in favour of a motion from its finance committee not to divest and instead establish a so-called sustainable future fund. The fund would include a mandate for low-carbon emissions and be seeded with an initial allocation of $10 million.Getting rid of certain investments is permissible, said finance committee chairman Greg Peet shortly before the vote, but “the universal exclusion of a legally-operating industry that provides irreplaceable goods and services is not.”Peet said aggressive screening criteria for the new fund will result in the divestment of numerous fossil fuel companies.Investments tied to oil, gas and coal companies make up about 10 per cent of the university’s $1.4-billion endowment. Divestment has been an ongoing issue for several years, with students and staff voting separately in favour of pushing fossil fuels out of UBC’s portfolio.Peet told the board Monday that the proposal from staff and students did not make a “compelling case” that divestment would have a meaningful impact on climate change through a moral or political message.He said UBC’s sustainable future fund would have a similar effect to a recommendation made by an advisory committee at the University of Toronto, which called for divestment from fossil fuel companies that “blatantly disregard” efforts to combat climate change.Of the three student representatives on the board, two opposed the motion not to divest and one abstained. The remainder of the board voted in favour.Campus-based environmental advocacy group Divest UBC had circulated a letter calling for a transparent, open and evidence-based consideration of divestment.Spokesman Alex Hemingway told the board that the committee considering the issue refused to meet with his group and only invited it to the final meeting last week.His statements prompted an apology from finance committee member Richard Johnston, who promised the consultation process would be fixed.After the vote, several members of Divest UBC, who were wearing black and carrying anti-fossil fuel signs, stood and chanted in unison, “You are failing us.”Hemingway said after the vote that he was extremely disappointed. He said there are indications the sustainable future fund will continue to invest in coal companies.“We need strong, dramatic action on climate change now, not a drop-in-the-bucket fund.”In 2014, UBC students voted 77 per cent in support of divestment. Last year, faculty voted 62 per cent in favour of selling off the school’s fossil fuel holdings within five years.Concordia University in Montreal became the first Canadian university to adopt a partial divestment policy in December 2014, though that measure only applies to a $5-million fund — a fraction of the school’s $130-million endowment.The University of Calgary, McGill University in Montreal and Dalhousie University in Halifax have all decided against divestment. The University of Toronto’s president is expected to make a final decision by April.— Follow @ellekane on Twitter. by Laura Kane, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 15, 2016 10:51 am MDT Last Updated Feb 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email UBC board of governors votes against divestment from fossil fuel industry read more

Joint UN assessment finds better harvests in DPR Korea along with undernutrition

The joint Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission, conducted by the world body’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), found that overall production for the main 2012 harvest and 2013 early season crops is expected to be 5.8 million metric tons, an improvement of 10 per cent over last year. “This, however, should not mask an ongoing struggle with under-nutrition and a lack of vital protein and fat in the diet, especially for an estimated 2.8 million vulnerable people,” the agencies stated in a joint news release. The Assessment Mission, which visited all nine agricultural provinces in late September/early October, around the main annual cereal harvest, was particularly concerned about a 30 per cent decline in soybean production. It was also concerned with the limited quantity of vegetables available, perpetuating a chronic lack of key proteins, oils, fats, vitamins and micronutrients in most diets. The country needs to import 507,000 metric tons of cereals to meet its basic food needs, according to the Assessment Mission. Even if the Government’s cereal import target of 300,000 metric tons is met, this would leave a staple food deficit of 207,000 metric tons – the lowest in many years. “The country needs to produce more protein-rich foods like soybean and fish and to put more effort into growing two crops a year so a more varied diet is available for everyone,” said an FAO economist and co-leader of the Assessment Mission, Kisan Gunjal. He recommended household vegetable gardens to help improve nutrition as well as changes to the agricultural marketing system to allow farmers to sell their rice, maize and wheat at market. While levels of acute malnutrition have declined, there is still concern as many young children remain highly vulnerable to shocks. It is important to have a more steady supply of specialised nutritious foods such as fortified biscuits and nutritious blended foods, including ‘Super Cereal,’ during the lean season. “This assessment has shown very clearly that we are having an impact in our work to address under-nutrition and it is vital that our programme continues to reach over one million children in nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools with predictable and adequate supplies,” said WFP’s Country Director for DPRK, Claudia von Roehl. “The new harvest figures are good news, but the lack of proteins and fats in the diet is alarming,” she added. “We must double our efforts to reach two million children with a steady stream of nutritious foods and so provide a more balanced, healthy diet.” read more

The Paul George And Carmelo Anthony Trades Are Looking Less OneSided

By Geoff Foster, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On this week’s show (Dec. 13, 2017), FiveThirtyEight sports editor Geoff Foster joins Chris and Kyle to break down the latest NBA news. The Golden State Warriors won six straight road games and then continued their streak with a win at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. Have the Warriors overcome their early struggles? The group discusses. Next, when the Oklahoma City Thunder padded their team with stars earlier this year, they traded away Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. But about a third of the way — and two player of the week awards for Oladipo — into the season, the Thunder’s big moves are suddenly looking less one-sided. The group investigates why the exiles are playing so much better on their new teams. Plus, a small-sample-size segment on the Minnesota Timberwolves.Here are links to what was discussed this week:Keep an eye on our 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.Despite the Warriors’ recent success, ESPN still ranks the Houston Rockets above Golden State.Victor Oladipo was named Eastern Conference player of the week for the second time this season.Doug McDermott has been proving his value to the New York Knicks. read more

US may send 100 special forces to Baghdad official

first_imgTHE UNITED STATES may deploy 100 special forces troops to advise the Iraqi army in its defence of Baghdad from Sunni extremists but not initially to call in airstrikes, US defence officials have said.President Barack Obama is “leaning” toward a limited course of action that would “embed” the commandos with Iraqi forces, one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.A second US official said the 100 troops would be capable of calling in air strikes if the administration later ordered that step.The 100 troops would be in addition to the 275 forces that Obama has aready mobilized to bolster security at the American embassy in Baghdad, the official said.It was unclear how the White House would explain sending troops to advise the Iraqi army as Obama has vowed not to approve “boots on the ground” in Iraq – three years after a large American force withdrew.Obama’s most senior security advisers met at the White House to discuss the potential deployment minutes before a scheduled announcement by the president on Iraq.The President is due to make a statement on the situation shortly.- © AFP, 2014Read: Drones are ruled in, troops are ruled out but Obama still can’t decide on Iraqlast_img read more

We Want More Stranger Things but Not Too Much More

first_imgStay on target The second season of Stranger Things hit Netflix last Friday and promptly devoured our weekends. It started out much slower than the first season did, but once the season got its hooks in us, there was no turning it off. When the second season was first announced, there was a little apprehension mixed with all the excitement. The first season just nailed everything so well, we all wondered if it was even possible to do it again. Well, the Duffer Brothers did it again. The second season had everything we loved about the first and more. Even the things this season added felt like cool and necessary expansions to the world.By now you know how fantastic the season is, but I want to appreciate those first few episodes for a second. When we still didn’t know what exactly was going on. This season took things slowly, letting us see the subtle changes in the group dynamics now that, for one, Will’s back and for two, they’re all a year older. I’m grateful that the series took longer to get into the scary stuff. We got to spend more time in the world of 1984, which is one of the major reasons we love this show so much. I can’t think of another TV show or movie that recreates its time period so authentically. The parents all still look like they’re in the ’70s, because of course, they would. That’s when they stopped seriously paying attention to style. They found their looks and their sticking with them.Winona Ryder, Sean Astin (Photo by Jackson Lee davis/Netflix)They also have a… hands off parenting style you don’t really see anymore. One of my favorite scenes in the entire series is when Mr. Wheeler tells Dustin, “Our children don’t live here anymore, didn’t you know that?” It’s hilarious and points to a phenomenon that really doesn’t exist anymore. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to take their bikes all around town with no regard for where they ended up. As they entered their early teens, parents were pretty content with letting their kids hang out with friends. It might not even be a huge deal to go a day or two without seeing your child. Even with all the terrifying stuff that happened not a year ago to this town that early-80s kids-will-be-kids attitude persists. The only parent who doesn’t act that way is, understandably, Joyce Byers. She nearly lost her son and is hesitant to let him out of her sight as a result. Between her over-protection and Will’s constant flashbacks/monster visions, you really want to give the kid a hug for the first few episodes.It’s that commitment to accuracy that elevates Stranger Things above other nostalgia pieces. It’s not a cheap reference; it’s a whole world. Outside of the special effects, the show feels like it was made in 1984. So much so that I almost wish it wasn’t in HD. Watching it on a fuzzy VHS (after adjusting fiddling with the tracking buttons for 10 minutes, of course) would just feel… right. And like a real world, it’s changing. It’s an election year, so political signs dot the yard. New kids are moving to town. The whole school doesn’t dress up for Halloween anymore. That’s possibly even scarier than any demodog can ever be. The kids are growing up. That’s why they spent so much time apart this season. During the search for Will, they all stuck together. This time, the boys’ personal journeys each took them their own ways. That’s what happens when you start to grow up. You see your friends less; you develop diverging interests. Maybe you even fight over a girl. In the end though, it’s not as depressing as it sounds. Despite spending most of the season walking their own paths, the kids, Eleven included, all find their way back to each other. True friends stick together no matter how much time they spend apart.Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink (Photo via Netflix)It’s not all bad watching them grow up. The Lucas and Max relationship might just be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s slow and happens almost in the background. It becomes so obvious they like each other, but they’re also 13. They have no idea what to do about it. They just awkwardly stand near each other and pretend not to be interested. We can all see ourselves in their awkward first stabs at flirting. As scary as it seemed at the time, it’s the one part of growing up we can look back on fondly. As an adult, we realized that we all went through that. Even the kids who appeared to have everything together turned into an awkward mess when talking to their crush. We can all remember standing in the mirror, practicing over and over again how we were going to ask someone out for the first time. Just like with Mike and Eleven last season, we rooted for Lucas and Max the whole way through this one. It also helps that Max is just an awesome kid. Not only is she the top scorer at Dig Dug, she’s a talented skater and she’s hilarious. Her self-aware line criticizing the plot of season one is one of the absolute funniest lines of the entire show.As fun as it is returning to what we romanticize as a simpler time, we don’t want to watch them grow up all the way. There’s a reason fans call the cast “the Stranger Things kids.” That’s a huge part of the show’s appeal. It’s about kids, and its portrayal of kids is honest. That’s why it’s so charming when they swear. They talk like we all did when we were that age, and that’s a rare thing to see on TV. The show also doesn’t shy away from showing us that not everything was great in 1984. Max’s stepdad casually throws around sexist and homophobic slurs because that’s what people did. Yes, it’s clear he’s abusive and scary and I really wanted to see a demodog eat his face, but his language wasn’t uncommon in the ’80s. Go back and watch Teen Wolf or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Casual homophobia was pervasive. Stranger Things is at least progressive in that the language comes out of the mouth of a bad guy.Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo (Via Netflix)The Duffer brothers have proven they can write high schoolers just as well as they write 13-year-olds. Steve Harrington’s emergence as a hero was one of the season’s unexpected joys. After he and Nancy broke up, he found himself looking after the kids and becoming the cool babysitter we all wish we had. Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan’s relationship had its own sweet moments and was generally fun to watch. That’s all ancillary to the kids’ stories, though. We love Stranger Things because most of it is told from the perspective of the kids. If the show goes on too long, and they age into high school, that magic might go away. After the end of season two, I want to know what happens next. I just don’t want to know too much more. The actors will grow up and become adults. The Stranger Things kids should stay kids.They’re going to grow up faster than we know it they keep living through supernatural traumas once a year. The nostalgia-tinted world of Stranger Things persists and changes much like the real one did. That means there’s no pretending the last season was a fun adventure that’s over now. In season two, the kids are still dealing with the repercussions of season one. Will is changed by what he went through. Eleven has to stay hidden in Hopper’s house, hearing Mike’s voice from afar but not allowed to tell him she’s O.K. The kids are forced to pretend everything is normal when they all know nothing is. Sooner or later, they’re going to catch onto the fact that there is no justice in this world. There wasn’t any for Barb, although we did get closure. There won’t be any for Bob. If Steve was the babysitter we all wish we had, Bob was the perfect stepdad. Sure he was corny, but he meant well. He was smart, dad-funny and completely committed to Joyce’s kids. Sean Astin played him so well, you couldn’t help but fall in love with him too. He didn’t deserve what happened to him, but that’s the way it goes in Stranger Things. Ultimately, it’s a horror movie, and we’re going to lose characters we care about. At least he got turned into a superhero in Will’s comics. That was a nice touch.Millie Bobby Brown(Photo by Tina Rowden/Netflix)The second season was called Stranger Things 2, and that turned out to be much more than a marketing gimmick. In every way, this season felt like a true sequel. It built on everything the last season set up, creating a bigger story with a much larger scope. Watching Stranger Things 2, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Aliens. Instead of one monster, there were hundreds, though they were much easier to handle individually this time around. More than that, it built on and expanded the universe set up by the first one. Some fans have complained that the seventh episode, the one where Eleven goes to Chicago, felt out of place with the rest of the season. Once we get to Stranger Things 3, I’m betting it’ll prove to be one of the most important episodes of the series. First of all, we needed to see Elle’s character arc if her return to the party was going to have the weight that it did. Sending her out into the unforgiving world and forcing her to make a really hard choice was an incredible moment of growth for her character. It affirmed both to us and to Eleven herself just what kind of person she is. While she has killed people in self-defense, she’s not a monster. No matter what someone may have done in the past, she refuses to kill a defenseless father lying on the ground, begging for his life.It also expanded the kinds of stories Stranger Things can tell. It let us see that there’s an entire world outside of Hawkins, Indiana. As Eleven’s name implies, there are other people with powers out there. At least 1o more. Now, we’ve met one and we’ve seen what she can do. Netflix has a huge hit on its hands with Stranger Things. It’s in the streaming service’s best interest to keep it going. Eventually, though, the Stranger Things kids will grow up. The world will keep changing, and the show will lose a lot of what makes it special. The seventh episode showed us one possible way forward for the series. When the series decides the story in Hawkins is done, there’s a whole world of supernatural powers the series can explore. Maybe one day, we’ll get to see what the Upside Down version of Chicago looks like. After season two, I’m eager to follow the kids for one more. There are things I still need to see from Hawkins. We need to know what that giant tentacle monster is. We need some kind of closure in the story of Max’s stepbrother and stepfather. Her brother got a small amount of what he deserved, but I’ve never been more eager to see a character get his than that stepdad. After that though, it’d be cool to see the show take off in some radical new direction. Whatever happens though, just lay off Will for a bit, would you Stranger Things? That kid has been through enough. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img 11 Best Monsters Made From Dead People PartsOriginal ‘Stranger Things’ Plan May Confirm Will Byers’ Sexuality last_img read more

Sandbags available at most County fire stations in San Diego ahead of

first_imgSandbags available at most County fire stations in San Diego ahead of rain Updated: 11:56 AM Posted: January 14, 2019 KUSI Newsroom, Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwittercenter_img KUSI Newsroom January 14, 2019 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Two major rainstorms are heading toward San Diego.To help make sure residents are prepared, The County Public Works Department is making sandbags available at most County fire stations.If you need sandbags, you’re advised to call ahead and check availability because some stations may have limited supply. You should also bring a shovel to fill the bags with sand. Public works officials remind you to look around your property and make sure drainage areas are clear of debris.A list of sandbag locations can be found here. last_img read more

Constantine releases Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Palmer Project

first_imgMost of the zinc concentrates produced by Constantine would be sold to DOWA, a Japanese metal producer that has a 49 percent stake in the Palmer Project. The copper is likely to end up with smelters in other parts of Asia, while the barite would be shipped to oil and gas producers in Canada and the Midwest. Constantine has been exploring minerals at the Palmer Project for over a decade. The main mineral deposits that have been discovered contain copper, zinc, gold, silver and barite. While the PEA provides a general picture of what a mine would look like, two highly detailed feasibility studies must be carried out in the future before development can begin. Cornejo says that the company is still working to better understand the mineral deposits as well as the infrastructure needs of the project.   A drill site at the Palmer Project north of Haines. (Photo courtesy of Constantine Metal Resources) Constantine Metal Resources has completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Palmer Project, a controversial mineral exploration project near Klukwan and Haines. The assessment is a tool for investors that outlines the economic potential for a mine and the logistics of mine development. Constantine will release the full technical report for the PEA within the next 45 days. Cornejo says that in addition to economic information, the PEA also helps people understand how the mine would operate. But not all of the rock taken from the ground will be exported for sale. Many residents and environmental groups worry that waste rock and mine tailings will degrade rivers downstream from the project. Cornejo says the conceptual plan outlined in the PEA would minimize the amount of waste produced. Now the company has completed its first economic assessment of the site. Constantine Vice President of External Affairs Liz Cornejo says the document will be shared with investors in hopes of securing funding to develop a mine. “With the PEA some of the important numbers people look for with these assessments is how much is it going to cost to construct the mine, how much does it cost to operate the mine,” Cornejo says. “Both waste rock and tailings can be non-acid generating or potentially acid generating,” Cornejo said. “In this case, there would be enough space underground that is created that we would be able to put all of the potentially acid-generating waste rock and remaining tailings back underground. The only tailings remaining on surface at mine closure are designed to be non-acid generating.” According to the PEA, Constantine expects a mine at the Palmer Project would operate for 11 years and provide a total of 260 full-time jobs. The PEA estimates that the project will require $418 million in funding over the entire life of the mine, from pre-production to closure. The estimated net profit over the lifetime of the project is $266 million. In terms of scale, the mine would produce 3,500 metric tonnes of ore concentrates each day. “We can answer some of those questions that people have had and use it in our discussions as far as assessing well what might a mine here look like. How big would it be? How long would it operate? How many people would be involved?” Cornejo says. “The material comes out of the mountain, goes through the mill, it gets ground up and sorted into different products. And then would be trucked into Haines. Currently, there is not an ore terminal for loading, so we would be shuttling it over to Skagway for loading and shipping out to the buyers,” Cornejo said. However, according to the PEA, some potentially acid generating rock would be stored at surface during the first few years of operation until there is enough space available underground for disposal.last_img read more

Game of Thrones season 8 ending preview leaks online furious fans say

first_imgGame of ThronesGame of Thrones Official YoutubeThe final season of Game of Thrones has not lived up to expectations, be it the story, character arcs or the technical details of the show, like the lighting in episode 3 or the coffee cup min episode 4. Fans are dissatisfied by season 8. And to make things worse, reportedly a minute-long preview for the last two episodes of Game Of Thrones’ eighth season was allegedly leaked on Monday, leaving fans livid over the show’s potential ending.According to The Sun, the footage is believed to show major spoilers for the battle of King’s Landing, as well as how the show will end in episode six. Viewers, who had seen the potential spoilers on Twitter, were furious at the prospect of what the leak could mean, with some even going as far as to say that it meant the show had ‘the worst ending in TV history.’ That seems like quite a claim but the way the final season has been progressing, we have to say that we are a little apprehensive about what the last two episodes hold for fans. Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4Game of Thrones (@gameofthrones/Instagram)Spoilers for Episode 4 ahead.The last episode was disappointing as well, with character development and story arcs abandoned at the drop of a hat. Jaime Lannister abandons Brienne of Tarth after making love to her, Brienne of Tarth, a strong, independent warrior Knight is reduced to a sniveling stereotype of a lovestruck woman. And a Dragon is shot down from in the air in an apparent impossible shot. Why? So that the final battle is an even match between Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister.The fifth episode of the final season of Game of Thrones will air on May 12.last_img read more

Militant attack in Kashmir kills 4

first_imgThree soldiers and a civilian were killed on Thursday when security forces were attacked by militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said.The forcers were returning from a search operation in Kungnoo village when they were attacked.“The victims included a lieutenant colonel and the civilian, a woman, was inside her house when a bullet hit her during the firing,” the police said.Seven soldiers were also injured in the attack.“Reinforcements were immediately rushed to surround the area and track the militants,” the police added.last_img read more

Cabinet okays hajj package

first_img.The cabinet division on Monday approved the draft hajj package, 2019, fixing the minimum cost for a pilgrim at Tk 344,000, up by Tk 24,645 from the previous year under package-2 of the government management, reports UNB.Pilgrims have to pay Tk 418,500 to avail package-1 under the government management, he said.Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam disclosed this at a press briefing at the secretariat after a cabinet meeting held at PM’s office with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.The minimum cost for a pilgrim who will perform hajj under private arrangement has been fixed at Tk 344,000.A total of 127,198 pilgrims will be able to perform hajj this year. Of them, 120,000 pilgrims will go to Saudi Arabia under private management while 7,198 under government management, said Shafiul.The plane fare has been fixed at Tk 128,000 which was Tk 138,191 last year, he said.last_img read more

May fends off opponents of draft Brexit deal

first_imgA video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament`s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain`s prime minister Theresa May giving a statement to the House of Commons in London on 22 November on the draft declaration, laying out plans for future relations with the European Union. Photo: AFPBritish prime minister Theresa May on Thursday fended off heavy opposition in parliament after Britain and the EU agreed on the outlines of post-Brexit ties as part of a draft deal due to be signed off by EU leaders.After briefing her cabinet in a hastily-arranged teleconference call, May addressed the House of Commons, saying the agreement was the “best possible deal”.EU Council President Donald Tusk said the 26-page declaration covering trade, security, the environment and other issues was agreed “in principle” and would be sent to the other 27 member states for approval.The pound leapt by about one percent against the dollar and also firmed against the euro on the news, which allayed fears Britain could leave the European Union next March with no new arrangements in place.But the deal does not address the thorny issues of fishing rights and Gibraltar, which have raised concerns in EU capitals.After the draft declaration was agreed on Thursday, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez repeated a threat to sink the deal if Madrid’s concerns on Gibraltar were not met.And the deal could still yet be rejected by the British parliament.British MPs of all parties criticised the divorce agreement announced last week, which includes a financial settlement and a controversial plan to avoid a hard Irish border.May hopes the promise of future cooperation will act as a sweetener to persuade her own Conservative MPs and any wavering opposition lawmakers to back her.Leap in the darkBut her critics were quick to point out that the political declaration was not legally binding, unlike the terms of the divorce.Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, who is seen as a potential leadership rival, said the draft deal “makes a complete nonsense of Brexit”.Other leading pro-Brexit Conservative MPs, as well as her Northern Irish allies the DUP, urged May to renegotiate the divorce agreement to remove a contentious legal guarantee to ensure an open Irish border.Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed his party would not back it, saying: “This is the blindfold Brexit we all feared, a leap in the dark.”The deal was struck after through-the-night talks between British and EU negotiators, which followed a last-minute visit to Brussels by May for a meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.She will return on Saturday, on the eve of a special summit where all 28 EU leaders are expected to sign off on the overall Brexit package.Critical momentFirst, the texts must be cleared by a meeting of top EU diplomats — the summit’s so-called “sherpas” — on Friday.”The negotiations are now at a critical moment, and all our efforts must be focused on working with our European partners to bring this process to a final conclusion,” May said.The political declaration, seen by AFP, says future ties will be wide-ranging, covering economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defence.It includes references to Britain developing “an independent trade policy” and declares an end to free movement of citizens between Britain and the EU — two key demands of the Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum.In the Commons, May also highlighted the possibility that the Irish border issue can be resolved through the use of technology, rather than through the controversial “backstop” customs arrangement included in the divorce deal.This is intended to avoid new border checks between British Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, after a transition period ends in December 2020.It says that unless alternative arrangements are made, Britain will stay in a customs union with the EU and Northern Ireland will continue to follow the bloc’s single market rules.Conservatives fear this would mean following the EU’s rules indefinitely, while Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up May’s government, also opposes it.They have already warned they could reject the deal if it leads to the province being separated from the rest of the UK.The EU has also agreed to update the divorce deal to allow a possible extension of the transition period “for up to one or two years” if needed to agree the new future relationship.We will veto BrexitHowever, the issue of Gibraltar remains, with Spain demanding a veto over applying any agreement on post-transition relations to the territory on its southern border which it has long claimed.Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, conceded the problem as he arrived for pre-scheduled talks with May in Downing Street.”There are some issues now regarding Gibraltar with Spain, but I hope that we can keep the unity among the 27,” he said.May, who spoke to Prime Minister Sanchez about the issue on Thursday, took a firm line, however.”Gibraltar’s British sovereignty will be protected, and the future relationship we agree must work for the whole UK family,” she told MPs.But late Thursday Sanchez maintained his threat to scupper the deal.”After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away. My government will always defend the interests of Spain,” Sanchez wrote on Twitter.”If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit.”last_img

Microbots can clean up polluted water

first_img PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen (Phys.org)—A new study shows that a swarm of hundreds of thousands of tiny microbots, each smaller than the width of a human hair, can be deployed into industrial wastewater to absorb and remove toxic heavy metals. The researchers found that the microbots can remove 95% of the lead in polluted water in one hour, and can be reused multiple times, potentially offering a more effective and economical way to remove heavy metals than previous methods. Microbots individually controlled using ‘mini force fields’ More information: Diana Vilela, et al. “Graphene-Based Microbots for Toxic Heavy Metal Removal and Recovery from Water.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b00768 Citation: Microbots can clean up polluted water (2016, April 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-04-microbots-polluted.html Explore further 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.center_img Illustration of a self-propelled graphene oxide-based microbot for removing lead from wastewater. Credit: Vilela, et al. ©2016 American Chemical Society Journal information: Nano Letters The researchers, Diana Vilela, et al., have published a paper on the lead-adsorbing microbots in a recent issue of Nano Letters.”This work is a step toward the development of smart remediation system where we can target and remove traces of pollutant without producing an additional contamination,” coauthor Samuel Sánchez, at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany; the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Barcelona; and the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona, told Phys.org.Heavy metal pollution in water is a common problem stemming from industrial activities, including the manufacturing of batteries and electronics, as well as mining and electroplating. These activities produce metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and chromium, all of which pose a safety hazard to living organisms and the environment.In the new study, the researchers focused specifically on removing lead from wastewater by designing tube-shaped microbots with three functional layers. The outer layer of graphene oxide adsorbs the lead from the water. The middle layer, nickel, makes the microbots ferromagnetic so that their direction of motion can be controlled by an external magnetic field. The inner layer, platinum, gives the microbots the ability to self-propel themselves through water. When hydrogen peroxide is added to the wastewater, the platinum decomposes the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen microbubbles, and ejecting the microbubbles from the back of the microbot propels it forward. Play Magnetic guidance of a microbot. Credit: Vilela, et al. ©2016 American Chemical Society When the microbots are finished adsorbing the lead, a magnetic field can be used to collect them all from the water. Then the microbots are treated in an acidic solution to remove the lead ions, which can later be recovered and reused. The microbots can also be reused for further lead clean-up. “This is a new application of smart nanodevices for environmental applications,” Sánchez said. “The use of self-powered nanomachines that can capture heavy metals from contaminated solutions, transport them to desired places and even release them for ‘closing the loop’—that is a proof-of-concept towards industrial applications.”In the future, the microbots could even be controlled by an automated system that magnetically guides the swarm to accomplish various tasks. “We plan to extend the microbots to other contaminants, and also importantly reduce the fabrication costs and mass-produce them,” Sánchez said.The combination of self-propelled robots with functional layers also opens the doors for similar designs that could have applications in areas including drug delivery and sensing. © 2016 Phys.orglast_img read more

Red Cross faces critical blood shortage still wont allow homosexuals to donate

first_imgThe @RedCross is experiencing a blood shortage, yet gay men still can’t donate unless they’ve been celibate for a year. Hmmm…— Scott (@ScottDevenny) July 14, 2018 Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Gay men are finally allowed to donate blood in DenmarkWhy I’m happy not having sex if it means I can donate bloodWales to relax rules to allow more gay and bi men to donate bloodRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/red-cross-faces-critical-blood-shortage-still-wont-allow-homosexuals-to-donate/ The American Red Cross is facing a critical blood shortage. Still, there is a year-long ban for gay and bi men who want to donate The American Red Cross is facing a critical blood shortage. To get people to donate, they’re even giving out Amazon gift cards. However, there is still a ban on gay and bi men donating blood if they’ve had sex with a man in the last year. GAYSTARNEWS- — Fabián (@okayfabian) July 27, 2018 Hey @RedCross. Gay men can’t donate blood. Help fix that and maybe you’ll have a solution to your blood shortage— Paul (@BAKERYxFRESH) June 27, 2018 Given it’s Pride month, I feel like the @RedCross spot at the start of the show should come with the reminder that despite the purported blood shortage, the Red Cross still refuses blood donations from gay and bisexual men.— j. remy green (@j_remy_green) June 17, 2018 Who would win: The red cross guilt tripping me to donate my type O- Blood during an emergency shortageOrMy gay ass knowing it’s illegal at this point for me to donate— Qazzy (@QazzySmash) July 25, 2018 Don’t complain about “missing letters” when you discriminate against healthy men who want to donate. You create a shortage by treating gay men differently than everyone else, and the public refuses to accept the FDA’s discrimination. Every year fewer people donate blood. FIX IT!— Freddy Garcia (@fgarciatio) June 12, 2018 Maybe there wouldn’t be as much of a blood shortage if gay men weren’t still prevented from donating blood on unjustifiable grounds — Masc of the Red Death Drop (@pleonasthma) June 22, 2018 Other countries’ policiesWhile countries such as the United Kingdom have relaxed their deferral process from a year down to three months, the United States has yet to do so. Even countries like Israel have realized a year-long ban on blood donations from gay and bi men is ‘irrelevant’ and ‘unrealistic.’Gay men in the US can’t donate for a yearIn the wake of the Las Vegas shooting last fall, Lance Bass blasted these regulations, which basically require gay and bi men to be celibate for a year before donating.Social media reactionsLGBTI people on social media are calling out the American Red Cross for their policy on donations from gay and bi men, especially during this critical blood shortage.Daily reminder that the Red Cross STILL doesn’t accept blood from gay men and are currently facing a blood shortage……..— owen (@xowenm) July 27, 2018 Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Donated my blood on Thursday since there is rn a big shortage of it. One thing that could fix some of that is that if @PunainenRisti would let gay/bi/pan men and their partners donate. You can do better, red cross. I hope my queer blood safes someone’s life.— Siiri Viljakka (@siiriviljakka) July 29, 2018 American Red Cross: help! There is an emergency shortage of blood!Gay people: pic.twitter.com/O52q0cJCiTlast_img read more

Tax Acts Impact on Home Value Appreciation

first_img in Daily Dose, Government, News September 4, 2018 518 Views Appreciaiton Home Values Tax Act Zillow 2018-09-04 Seth Welborn Tax Act’s Impact on Home Value Appreciationcenter_img Nine months in, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 appears to have had an impact on home value growth, according to a report from Zillow. However, according to the site, the impact is only slight and mostly limited to certain markets.Some of the changes brought by the December 2017 Act were a $10,000 cap on total state and local tax (SALT) deduction, lower threshold for full mortgage interest deductions, and higher standard deductions for most filers.Following the introduction of the Act, home growth appeared to have slowed particularly in areas with homeowners that historically used the SALT deduction, compared to areas with a lower percentage of homeowners who use the SALT deduction. Around 22 percent of tax filers used the SALT deduction in the typical U.S. ZIP code in 2015, and of those areas, the July 2018 annual home value appreciation was 0.3 percentage points lower than in fall 2017. In the zip code areas where 44 percent of tax filers typically took the SALT deduction, home value appreciation had slowed by 0.6 percentage points.Some specific markets saw the Act make its impact more noticeably, especially in metro markets on state lines. The Boston and Portland areas, which straddle the Massachusetts and New Hampshire and Oregon and Washington lines saw a large chunk of their residents take the SALT deduction.According to Zillow, In Boston, 41.2 percent of taxpayers took the deduction on the Massachusetts side, compared to 18.4 percent of filers on the New Hampshire side. After the Act was put in place, home value appreciation slowed by 1.3 percentage points in Massachusetts ZIP codes, while it increased speed by 0.5 percent on the New Hampshire side.It was a similar story in Portland. On the Oregon side, where 38.6 percent of filers took the SALT deduction, annual home value appreciation slowed by 0.5 percent, while Washington ZIP codes saw a 0.1 percent increase.Find the report from Zillow here. Sharelast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Virgin Australia tod

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >Virgin Australia today launched the Hat Valet service which provides first-class handling of a racegoer’s most important fashion accessory, the headpiece, for customers travelling from Sydney to Melbourne during this year’s Spring Racing Carnival.The airline will hand-deliver hats and fascinators while offering a host of unique and personalised services commencing this Saturday ahead of Derby Day, to ensure guests arrive in Melbourne in style and race-day ready.Services exclusively available in the airline’s flagship Sydney Lounge include complimentary blow-dries and hair styling, make up touch ups, ModelCo make up kits, and a dedicated shoe shining service by social enterprise franchise, Buffed.Australia’s race carnival darling, Rachael Finch, experienced the Hat Valet service today at the official launch joined by Australia’s premier milliner Nerida Winter.“Headwear is what makes the races so much fun and glamorous!” Ms Winter said.“When you consider Australians spent around $50 million in race wear for the Spring Racing season last year and retail stores like Myer can see up to one headpiece per minute fly out the door during the busy pre-racing season period, we know how important this accessory is to race-goers. They want to be able to wear them again.“And let’s be honest, it can be stressful transporting them. Virgin Australia has porters on standby in their Sydney and Melbourne lounges, complete with spare hat boxes, to ensure a hand-delivery service every step of the way.“I know some of my clients love Virgin Australia’s Hat Valet service and look forward to using it on their trip to Melbourne every year,” Ms Winter said.Virgin Australia Group Executive, Public Affairs, Danielle Keighery said: “The Spring Racing Carnival is one of the biggest events on Australia’s sporting calendar and Virgin Australia will once again ensure our guests arrive in Melbourne race-day ready.“Virgin Australia is continually looking to enhance the customer experience and we are delighted to bring this popular service back to racegoers this year along with a host of complimentary services for our lounge guests such as hair styling and make-up touch up kits thanks to ModelCo.“For the first time this year we welcome Buffed into our Sydney Lounge, which is a shoe shine social enterprise that supports homeless, displaced or marginalised Australians,” Ms Keighery said.Buffed supports people excluded from mainstream employment and provides them the skills, location, equipment and the environment to set up a business as shoe and leather treatment artisans. Buffed is now permanently available in Virgin Australia’s Sydney Lounge for a small fee of $8, all of which goes to the Buffed artisan.The Hat Valet services are exclusively available to all Business Class guests, Platinum, Gold and Lounge members through the premium kerbside entry of Virgin Australia’s Sydney Lounge.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more

notching up 154Ma

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” We have seasons because Earth’s axis is on a tilt, Nokia already announced a bunch of new phones at Microsoft’s Build conference earlier this month, Frank Lorenzo—Bettmann/Corbis Vice President George Bush holds a fish with his sons George W. read more