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Prevention key to tackling occupational diseases says new UN report

In a statement marking the report’s release issued in time for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder, warned that occupational diseases have a profound impact on the productivity of companies and the lives of workers and their families. “The ultimate cost of occupational disease is human life. It impoverishes workers and their families and may undermine whole communities when they lose their most productive workers,” he said, adding that the productivity of enterprises ends up reduced while the financial burden on the State increases as the cost of health care rises. According to the report, entitled The Prevention of Occupational Diseases, work-related illnesses kill six times as many people as on-the-job accidents but tend to attract less attention. Out of an estimated 2.34 million annual occupational deaths, the vast majority – approximately 2 million people – are disease related.The report notes that due to technological and social changes, as well as difficult global economic conditions, existing health hazards remain a persistent threat to workers the world over while new health risks have also emerged. In particular, well-documented occupational diseases such as pneumoconioses and asbestos-related illnesses remain widespread. Meanwhile, new diseases such as mental and musculoskeletal disorders are on the rise. “Where social protection is weak or absent, many workers as well as their families, lack the care and support they need,” Mr. Ryder continued. “A fundamental step is to recognize the framework provided by the ILO’s international labour standards for effective preventative action and promoting their ratification and implementation.” Along with the serious impact on personal health, occupational diseases also carry an enormous cost, resulting in an annual four per cent loss in global gross domestic product or an estimated $2.8 trillion, the UN agency reported. “Significantly reducing the incidence of occupational disease is not simple, it may not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but progress is certainly feasible,” Mr. Ryder concluded, as he stressed the need in developing an effective prevention strategy. “Let us, in our respective areas of responsibility, establish a road map and most critically, act and persevere so that, together, we succeed in turning the tide on the epidemic and make good progress on this dimension of decent work.” read more

Shelf warfare frustrated partners load cupboards with food their other half wont

first_imgA partner who feels undervalued may make an unconscious ‘oppositional’ choice to gain control  The volunteers were not necessarily being spiteful, because they were choosing brands for themselves  Those lacking relationship power and induced to feel sad, however, were more likely to pick a brand that suited their partners’ taste.”When people are sad, they tend to be more passive because they are ruminating, so they are not feeling actively oppositional toward their partners,” said Dr Brick.Co-author Dr Gavan Fitzsimons of Duke University said that future research could look into whether couples actually made ‘spiteful’ choices against their partners wishes. In the current study, the participants were only asked to select brands for themselves.“Further research could examine whether there are differences between oppositional and spiteful brain choices.“If someone were to make a truly spiteful choice then one would choose the brain that is opposition to the brad that the partner likes when the partner actually has to consume it.“We found some evidence to suggest that making oppositional brand choices can reduce relationship frustration.”The findings, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, have implications for marketing, say the researchers.”Marketers assume consumers are making conscious, deliberate choices, but actually there are other factors, sometimes even outside of their conscious awareness that are influencing their decisions,” Dr Brick added. The volunteers were not necessarily being spiteful, because they were choosing brands for themselves  A partner who feels undervalued may make an unconscious 'oppositional' choice to gain controlcenter_img Later, she might go out and buy a Diet Pepsi instead of her usual choice, Diet Coke – because she knows her partner prefers the Coca-Cola drink, say the researchers from the University of New Hampshire.”By unconsciously choosing the opposite brand their partner prefers, people might feel better without realising it,” said lead researcher Dr Danielle Brick, assistant professor of marketing at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at New Hampshire.”We found that consumers are using brand choice as a form of behaviour to deal with conflict in relationships.”The pattern was identified in a series of psychological experiments with volunteers.In one study, nearly 300 participants were assessed for ‘relationship power’ – defined as how much control they had in the relationship –  before answering questions about their partners’ preferred brand choices in six categories, including coffee, toothpaste and shoes.They were then tricked by being told they were taking part in a visual acuity task related to letters. In fact, they were subconsciously linking their partners’ names to words that evoked frustration, sadness or neutral emotions.Finally, the volunteers were asked to choose what brands they preferred in the same six categories.Partners who were low in relationship power and had been primed to feel frustrated were more likely to select brands that were the opposite of what their partners preferred – known in marketing as “oppositional brand choices”. A secret power struggle between couples is being played out on the pantry shelves of Britain, according to psychologists.Retail therapy, it seems, is not just being used as a pick-me-up, but also to vent hidden frustrations.So if your partner starts buying an alternative to your favourite brand, then something may be up.Researchers have found that people who feel undervalued or ignored in a relationship are likely to buy a brand that is the opposite to what their partner would choose, in a small unconscious bid for control.As an example, a woman with a poor level of “relationship power” might be annoyed at being left to do the washing up again, but feel unable to speak out in case it sparks a row. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Death of the cigarette on the horizon as tobacco giant invests in

first_imgThe revelation in question is a small plastic capsule into which specially-designed tobacco sticks are inserted and heated to 350C allowing… Inside a cavernous marquee filled with politicians and captains of industry, André Calantzopoulos, chief executive of tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) is preparing to unveil the future. “This revelation will change all that we know about smoking,” he announces to the expectant crowd. At the gates of the Papastratos tobacco factory, a bevy of glamorous hostesses dressed in identical black and wielding clipboards usher guests through. A helicopter whirs overhead while G4S security guards line the hill which winds down towards Athens in the distance.last_img

Young girl dies after being thrown from exploding bouncy castle

The play area was cordoned off after the incident The play area was cordoned off after the incidentCredit:ANTONY KELLY/ARCHANT He said: “I’d estimate 20,000 inflatables have been hired out this weekend. This is vanishingly rare. And they’re shipped off to Spain, to Argentina – this wasn’t the heat.”He speculated one of the bed ties – which secure the internal ribbing of the bed of the unit and separate one air chamber from another – might have broken leading to internal chambers opening into one another and causing the structure to rip open or explode.A joint investigation between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and Norfolk Police has been launched to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.It comes two weeks after fairground workers William Thurston, 29, and his wife Shelby, 26, were jailed for three years after being found guilty of the manslaughter by gross negligence of a seven-year-old girl in a bouncy castle in March 2016. Ann Weaver said: “I was sat next to it behind the barrier and I just heard a big bang and I turn around and a little girl in pink flew up and back down. They did CPR on her straight away. She looked a lot younger than four-years-old.”Brandon Lewis, Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, tweeted: “Absolutely tragic, thoughts are with family and friends, just so sad.”Bounce About advertises five minutes on the trampoline for £2, with 15 minute sessions on other inflatables available for £3 each.Online the family business advertises rentals of rodeo bulls, bouncy castles, and bumper cars from £250.Their ‘funcity’ inflatables are marketed as being “nothing like your normal bouncy castles”, the smallest measuring 12m by 5.5m.Curt Johnson, owner of Bounce About, said it was the firm’s first major accident. He was not at the scene but said: “My condolences go out to the family after this horrific accident. I don’t know the full story. I believe it was an inflatable trampoline.”He told The Mirror the inflatable exploded “because of the heat”.The Met Office’s observatory in nearby Weybridge recorded 19.2 degrees today at 11am.The owner of an East Anglia inflatables business, who asked not to be named, said Mr Johnson and his wife either supervised children on the inflatables themselves or employed a supervisor. Norfolk Police arrived at the scene within minutesCredit:ANTONY KELLY/ARCHANT He said Bounce About has been operating on Gorleston beach for more than ten seasons, with the castles and slides inflated during the summer, and switched off and stored securely over the winter.”I know the family who look after the park and I know they look after their equipment,” he said, but rubbished the suggestion the incident could be heat-related. Summer Grant died after a gust of wind lifted an improperly secured inflatable from its moorings and sent it cartwheeling 300 metres down a hill in Harlow, Essex, the trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard. A young girl has died after being thrown from an inflatable trampoline which exploded on a beach.Eye-witnesses have described their horror at watching the little girl in a pink dress, believed to be just four years old, thrown 20 feet into the air when the inflatable exploded with a loud bang.The Bounce About play area on Gorleston beach, just south of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, was cordoned off yesterday and a police investigation is now underway.The play area’s owner Curt Johnson, who was not at the scene, said the trampoline had exploded “because of the heat”.Norfolk police were called to the scene at 11.15am, following reports a child had been “thrown from a bouncy castle.” Ambulance crews arrived within four minutes and the child, who was in cardiac arrest, received CPR at the scene.She was taken to James Paget Hospital two miles away but died shortly afterwards. Her family has been informed.Kara Longshaw, an eyewitness, said: “Just seen the most horrific thing in my life. A bouncy castle exploded at the beach and the child on it was catapulted about 20ft into the air. Please say a prayer for the four year old being rushed to hospital after 15 minutes of CPR.” Karen Sell said: “I heard the most enormous bang and straight away turned round. I spoke to someone who described how the girl was just thrown about 20ft into the air and landed on the floor. The bouncy castle was like a trampoline so you could jump a lot higher on it than a normal one. Norfolk Police arrived at the scene within minutes Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Bill Cosby to host town hall meetings after sexual assault mistrial

first_img BILL COSBY IS planning to hold a series of “town hall” meetings to talk to young people about his experiences with the US courts, his spokesman said, less than a week after his sex assault trial ended with a hung jury.“We are still in the planning stages… we are looking at the cities where we could make this happen. We don’t have a date yet,” the spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, told AFP after outlining the plans on a local television show in Alabama.Wyatt said Cosby’s camp had received hundreds of calls from people who wanted to hear the comedian talk to young men about the US court system.“They need to be aware that these things can happen to them, if they can happen to Bill Cosby,” he said.“This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they are facing when they are hanging out and partying,” Wyatt told WBRC’s Good Day Alabama program.Last Saturday, a judge in Pennsylvania declared a mistrial in the case that saw Cosby, who turns 80 in July, accused of drugging and molesting a woman in 2004, after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict after days of deliberations.One juror, who was not identified, told ABC that there were two holdouts on the 12-member panel who “were not moving, no matter what.”Around 60 women have publicly accused the Emmy-winning actor in recent years of being a serial sexual predator, alleging that he drugged and assaulted them over a span of 40 years across the United States.But the allegations made by Andrea Constand were the only criminal case brought against him as most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.Her case was initially settled by a civil suit but re-opened in 2015, when Pennsylvania prosecutors claimed that new evidence had come to light.Prosecutors have pledged to retry the case. The judge has said he hopes that would begin within four months.© – AFP 2017Read: America says North Korea has tested an engine that could be fitted to a ballistic missile http://jrnl.ie/3459424 Friday 23 Jun 2017, 8:18 AM 29 Comments By AFP Jun 23rd 2017, 8:18 AM Share7 Tweet Email1 Bill Cosby to host ‘town hall’ meetings after sexual assault mistrial “They need to be aware that these things can happen to them, if they can happen to Bill Cosby.” 14,563 Views Image: Matt Rourke Image: Matt Rourke Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URLlast_img read more

Dont Call it a Comeback Mad Catz Returns With a New Line

first_img In March of 2017, gaming peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz went belly up after operating for nearly 30 years. It seems this cat has several lives as it has risen from the grave. How fortuitous that the annual Consumer Electronics Show is happening for the newly Christened Mad Catz Global Limited to show off its wares to the public.Mad Catz was saved from oblivion by a Chinese holding company. What’s interesting about this situation is that the company in question is comprised of former Mad Catz employees. This is good for the company because those in charge know what will (and won’t) work in order to become successful. We’re even treated to a trailer heralding the return. Very nice!Alex Verrey, PR representative for Mad Catz, said: “It’s not like people are just using the Mad Catz name to push out a new and unrelated range of products. The new guys understand the products because they were the ones who made them.”Mad Catz is well-known among gamers for its line of fight sticks and Rock Band peripherals (the latter of which ultimately doomed them). It also produced a number of PC gaming peripherals, and this is what the new company is starting off with. The company’s website now lists a number of products. These include eight mice, two keyboards, two headsets and some mousepads. Mad Catz is also bringing back the Rat Pro mouse (now called the Rat Pro X3) and is making a set of earbuds with a boom mic. Despite so many new products, Verrey emphasizes the new Mad Catz is putting quality over quantity. I suppose this means we won’t see any $300 transforming gamepads anytime soon.Mad Catz has a long history in gaming so it’s nice to see them back in some form. Personally, I want to see the company release new fight sticks and fight pads. I’m sure this is just the start so we’ll report more Mad Catz news as it drops.For more CES coverage visit our sister site PC Mag. Stay on target Tiny Countertop Dishwasher Cleans Your Dishes in Just MinutesThe Best Robots of CES 2018 center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Watch These Movies Before The Lion King

first_imgStay on target This year we’ve already had to suffer through pointless live-action remakes of animated Disney classics like Dumbo and The Lion King. But with The Lion King, the mouse has saved the best for last. At least, the original Lion King is the best as far as these movies go. This remake however seems even more dicey because in this case “live-action” means an entire film of CGI animals so photorealistic they can’t even get across the emotions of their super celebrity voice actors. Oh well, at least that live-action Mulan looks pretty sick.Watch these movies before The Lion King. ‘Star Wars’ Grenade-Shaped Coke Bottles Banned From FlightsDisney Remasters Classic ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Lion King̵… center_img The Jungle BookEven though The Jungle Book made nearly a billion dollars in its own right, Jon Favreau’s first “live-action” Disney remake always felt like a test-run for The Lion King. Having a single real human, the jungle child Mowgli, makes the cavalcade of photorealistic animals slightly easier to accept. Plus they got Bill Murray to play Baloo and that’s fun.HomecomingLet’s be real, a major reason why lots of folks are excited for The Lion King is because they cast the one and only Beyoncé as the voice of adult Nala. And if you want to see the magic that can happen when Beyonce’s in front of a camera, watch Homecoming, her stunning work of art of a concert film. On Netflix you’ll not only get a tour of her music career as filtered through her legendary Coachella performance but also the music soundscapes of historically Black colleges and universities, plus behind the scenes footage of how it was all pulled off.Solo: A Star Wars StoryRegardless of how the movie turns out, Donald Glover as adult Simba is pretty stellar casting. And if you want to see Donald Glover well-cast in a Disney that also probably doesn’t need to exist, go back and check out his campy cool performance as young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Or did you already forget about that movie?DreamgirlsWe already know Beyoncé can sing. But can she act? At least in a musical where she basically plays herself and also gets to do a lot of singing? See for yourself in Dreamgirls, the movie adaptation of the Broadway hit. Like with Homecoming, you’ll also get an education in Black musical art as the story is a barely fictional retelling of the story of record label Motown.Kimba the White LionNot to sound like a weeb, but you should really read the manga before you watch the anime. Kimba the White Lion’s tale of the cute little jungle cat comes from Osamu Tezuka, the legendary creator of Astro Boy and “the god of manga.” Coming up in the 1950s, Tezuka’s art style was greatly influenced by Walt Disney. That’s why many find it disappointing that Disney allegedly ripped off Kimba (Jungle Emperor Leo) with The Lion King instead of working directly with Tezuka when they had the chance.Cadillac RecordsWe basically put every Beyoncé movie on this list, okay. While she’s sort of playing Diana Ross in Dreamgirls, in Cadillac Records Beyoncé is just straight up playing Etta James. A bunch of other celebrities play musical icons too like Mos Def as Chuck Berry, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, and Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon. And then they all get ripped off by Elvis.The Adventures of Milo and OtisI’ve complained a lot about the weird choice to render all the animals with uncanny photorealistic CGI in the new Lion King. But if they wanted the movie to look real what choice did they have? Use actual lions? If you want to see how that might have turned out, go watch The Adventures of Milo and Otis where people narrate over footage of real animals “acting” out the story. But considering the animal cruelty allegedly required to make this happen, maybe CGI isn’t so bad.last_img read more

Obesity talks will feature at upcoming CARPHA Conference

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppObesity is the big health problem in the Turks and Caicos according to the Premier at a recent interview with Magnetic Media on World Health Day and now this position is supported by remarks from the Executive Director of CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales.  During the media conference to announce the first time the Turks and Caicos will host the CARPHA Health and Research Conference  this coming June, Dr.  Hospedales said a study on obesity, especially among children here, will fuel policies for these islands and other Caribbean countries.  Recommended for you TCI Premier & Governor gives “all-clear” after Hurricane Irma Related Items:eating, food, health, healthy, obesity, Tci Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Happy Hours All Weekend at Outback Steakhouse PAHO: 2.6 million undernourished in the region, still obesity up “The focus of the food environment, the policy package for discussion, how feasible is it, how can we actually do this. Monitoring nutritional labeling, reducing the level of salt, and fat, and sugar; reducing the advertising of junk food to children.  How do we cross subsidize fruits and vegetables are among the things to be discussed.  What are the trade adjustments we can make to have healthier food imported in the country.  So this is highly relevant not just in the TCI but in the broader Caribbean.”last_img read more

EXCLUSIVE Withers goes green with benefits portal

first_imgEXCLUSIVE: Withers has enhanced its benefits portal to communicate annual salary increases and bonus payment updates to its UK employees, moving away from paper communications in line with its commitment to conducting business in a sustainable manner.The portal, provided by Staffcare, offers bespoke employee views that show compensation, including individual annual bonus information and how the bonus is calculated.The new compensation information communication process started in October and is being used as an opportunity to reinforce employee options for the Withers’ flexible benefits window, which opens in January 2016.Through the portal, employees can view their annual compensation information and their total reward statement, access a range of lifestyle discounts, manage their pension scheme, select flexible benefits from the choices available to them and read information about the benefits available, including associated links and forms.The international law firm also highlights its corporate social responsibility programme through the portal, by making it a prominent part of the carousel on the flexible benefits home page.Flu jabs, childcare vouchers, eyecare vouchers, an employee assistance programme (EAP), gym membership, dental cover, and season ticket loans are among the comprehensive range of benefits within Withers’ benefits portal. New benefits are introduced on a regular basis following employee consultation.The benefits portal, ‘With… your benefit in mind’, was first launched in 2012, and has since been refreshed to give it a new look and feel.Since launching ‘With… your benefit in mind’, Withers has boosted pensions take-up by 85%.Withers uses a range of communication techniques to ensure that employees understand and engage with the benefits programme and portal. This includes benefit road-shows, presentations, benefit brochures, internal TV screens, emails, promoting ‘benefit of the month’ in its onsite café and refreshment areas, and holding one-to-one discussions when requested.Sharon Tebb, compensation and benefits manager at Withers, said: “As well as supporting our green credentials this new way of delivering compensation information should act as an effective engagement tool with personalised communication and give employees another reason to look at their benefits portal and see the benefits on offer to them.“Our benefits portal allows us to bring our extensive range of benefits into one place and tailor communications.”last_img read more

MiamiDade commissioners condemn Venezuela elections

first_imgMIAMI (WSVN) – Political turmoil in Venezuela was the topic of a special Miami-Dade County Commission meeting held Monday night.The panel condemned the recent elections in the South American country, saying the results President Nicolas Maduro announced were fraudulent. They’re also calling on President Donald Trump to take action to help Venezuelans living in the United States.“We have to call out to the United States government and the president to please grant temporary protected status to the more than 70,000 Venezuelans that call Miami-Dade County home,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Venezuelans deserve our compassion & support. Today we passed a reso asking for TPS for those who can’t go home. #SOSVenezuela pic.twitter.com/F4O4aJbEug Today during the press conference after special meeting w/ lainmadura @CommBovo @mayorgimenez… https://t.co/8Uq75FJ69U— Jose Pepe Diaz (@CommishDiaz) August 7, 2017“Miami has always been the epicenter or the refuge for those that are always seeking to get away from governments that work against the better interests of society,” said Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Esteban Bovo.center_img — Chair Esteban Bovo (@CommBovo) August 8, 2017Tensions continue to rise in Venezuela following the controversial July 30 election. The country’s opposition is calling for a nationwide protest on Tuesday with the intent of bringing the nation to a standstill.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Are Your Media Reps Asking About Paid Search

first_imgLeveraging the resources of DoubleClick, Google was able to improve the metrics for advertisers and offer “more precise metrics in order to judge the effectiveness of their campaigns.” With improved metrics came better documentation of the effectiveness of search and and improved sales.      The year 2008 was also the year b-to-b print advertising, a medium challenged with documenting results, started to falter. Coincidence? Hard to say.But let’s look at the present. A recent study of b-to-b marketers from Marketing Sherpa showed budget allocation for paid search is now ahead of print advertising, no small feat for a medium where ads often cost between 30 cents and five dollars each. Think traditional media does not compete against search for ad dollars? Think again.  Do your media reps know how to position their products against paid search? It would be best if they could. If your sales staff sells traditional media, understanding how paid search works is a big plus. Today, about half of all online ad dollars go to search, so it is important to understand where most of online money now goes.The first step is for media reps is to ask clients how much of their ad budget goes to search. Many are surprised at how much of the marketing plan goes to a format that started in its current form only 12 years ago—2000 was the year Google first started selling advertising based on keywords.The year search really broke out was 2008. In that year Google indexed a trillion web pages, but more importantly, acquired web analytics giant DoubleClick enabling them to, “dramatically improve the effectiveness, measurably and performance of digital media for publishers, advertisers and agencies.”last_img read more

Transport workers leader killed in road crash

first_imgRoad Accident LogoA local leader of transport workers union was killed in a road accident at Naudapara Amchattar in Rajshahi on Tuesday night, reports UNB.The victim was Shamim, publicity secretary of District Truck Workers’ Union.Quoting witnesses, sub-inspector of Shah Makhdum Police Station Shamim Hossain said, the accident took place around 9:00 am when a speedy truck hit and left him dead on the spot.Later, police recovered the body and sent it to local hospital morgue for autopsy.last_img

Georgia elects first woman president opposition rejects result

first_imgEx-diplomat Salome Zurabishvili hailed her election as Georgia’s first woman president on Thursday but opposition leaders denounced the result as fraud and called for protests.With all votes counted, the country’s election commission said the French-born Zurabishvili, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had taken 59.52 per cent of the second-round vote.Her rival Grigol Vashadze, from an alliance of 11 opposition parties led by exiled ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM), took 40.48 per cent.Zurabishvili said her election was a step forward for women and a move closer to Europe for the ex-Soviet republic.”It is now important to show that this country has chosen Europe,” she told journalists after her win. “For that purpose, Georgians have elected a European woman president.””It feels great,” she said, pointing out that she was one of a small number of women presidents in the world.But opposition leaders — who have accused authorities of vote-buying and ballot stuffing — refused to accept the result.”We do not recognise the election results, we demand the holding of snap parliamentary polls,” Vashadze said in televised remarks, calling for “a mass peaceful demonstration” in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday.The election was seen as a test of Georgia’s democratic credentials as it seeks European Union and NATO membership.It was also a trial run for more important parliamentary elections in 2020, when Georgian Dream is set to face off against a range of opposition parties.The party is the creation of billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, who many see as the small country’s de facto ruler.Flamboyant ex-president Saakashvili, who lives in exile in the Netherlands, claimed “mass electoral fraud” even before official results were released.”The oligarch has stamped out Georgian democracy and the institutions of elections,” he said on the pro-opposition Rustavi-2 television channel, referring to Ivanishvili.”I urge Georgians to defend our freedom, democracy and the law. I call on you to start mass peaceful rallies and demand snap parliamentary polls.”International observers said there were problems with the election but that overall it had been “competitive”.- Increasing tensions -“(The) election was competitive and candidates were able to campaign freely, however one side enjoyed an undue advantage,” monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a report after the vote.The elections were “well administered”, they said, but raised concerns about misuse of administrative resources that “blurred the line between party and state”.Tensions increased ahead of the second round, as the opposition accused the government of voter intimidation and claimed that ruling party activists had attacked Vashadze campaign staff.Zurabishvili in turn said she and her children had received death threats through text and voice messages from people affiliated with the UNM.Vashadze, a 60-year-old career diplomat, had criticised Ivanishvili’s “informal oligarch rule” amid growing discontent over the government’s failure to tackle poverty.The vote was Georgia’s last direct leadership poll as it transitions to a parliamentary form of governance. The first round of the presidential election on 28 October saw Zurabishvili take 39 per cent of the vote, against 38 per cent for Vashadze.Street protests against the results could spark concern for the country, which has seen civil wars, mass demonstrations and unrest since gaining its independence in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union.A smooth presidential transition, however, would be welcomed by many as a sign of stability in Georgia, which is emerging as a tourism hotspot and hopes for more foreign investment.- Daughter of refugees -Zurabishvili, a 66-year-old independent lawmaker, is the daughter of refugees who fled Georgia in 1921 for Paris after the country’s annexation by the Red Army.Her career in France’s foreign service culminated in a posting to Tbilisi, where then-president Saakashvili appointed her foreign minister.But Zurabishvili quickly made enemies among the parliamentary majority, with MPs and some senior diplomats accusing her of arrogance and impulsiveness.When she was sacked after a year in the job, thousands took to the streets of the capital to protest her dismissal.On Thursday morning she received blessings from the influential head of Georgia’s Orthodox Church, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, and was later seen by passersby sipping coffee with her children on a sunny terrace in central Tbilisi.The French foreign ministry said in a statement that Paris was looking forward to working with Zurabishvili “to further strengthen” relations.last_img read more

Strong winds cause havoc in Ladysmith area

first_imgStrong winds are wreaking havoc in Ladysmith and surrounding area, with veld fires being reported along the N11, as well as in the Danskraal and Bloukrans areas.Public Safety officers and the Ladysmith Fire Department are out in full force, attempting to control the various outbreaks.Motorists are warned to be vigilant.A tree came crashing down in Buckingham Road, also due to the wind. Municipal employees were seen removing the massive trunk that was blocking the roadway.No injuries have been reported thus far. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Click to receive news links via WhatsApp. Or  for the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there!last_img

Microsoft Ignite 2018 New Azure announcements you need to know

first_imgIf you missed the Azure announcements made at Microsoft Ignite 2018, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the biggest changes and improvements the Microsoft Azure team have made to their cloud offering. Infrastructure Improvements Azure’s new capabilities to deliver the best infrastructure for every workload include: 1. GPU enable and High-Performance VM To deliver the best infrastructure for every workload, Azure has announced the Preview of GPU-enabled and High-Performance Computing Virtual Machines. The two new N-series Virtual Machines have NVIDIA GPU capabilities. The first one is the NVv2 VMs and the second virtual machine is the NDv2 VMs. The two new H-series VMs are optimized for performance and cost and are aimed at HPC workloads like fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, energy exploration, weather forecasting, risk analysis, and more. The first VM is the HB VMs and the second VM is the HC VMs. 2. Networking Azure has announced the general availability of Azure Firewall and Virtual WAN. They have also announced the preview of Azure Front Door Service, ExpressRoute Global Reach, and ExpressRoute Direct. Azure Firewall has a built-in high availability and cloud scalability. The Virtual WAN will provide a simple, unified, global connectivity, and security platform to deploy large-scale branch connectivity. 3. Improved Disk storage Microsoft has expanded the portfolio of Azure Disk offerings to deploy any app in Azure, including those that are the most IO intensive. The new previews include the Ultra SSDs, Standard SSDs, Larger managed disk sizes – to help deal with data-intensive workloads. This will also ensure better availability, reliability, and latency as compared to standard SSDs 4. Hybrid Microsoft has announced new hybrid capabilities to manage data, create even more consistency, and secure hybrid environment. They have introduced the Azure Data Box edge, Windows Server 2019 and Azure stack. With AI enable edge computing capabilities, and OS that supports hybrid management and flexibility for deploying applications, Azure is causing waves in the developer community Built-in security & management For improved Security, Azure has announced new services for preview, like Confidential Computing DC VM series, Secure score, improved threat protection, and network map (preview). These will expand Azure security controls and services to protect network, applications, data, and identities. These services are enhanced by the unique intelligence that comes from the trillions of signals we collect in running first party services like Office 365 and Xbox. For better Management, Azure has announced the preview of Azure Blueprints. These blueprints make it easy to deploy and update Azure environments in a repeatable manner using composable artifacts such as policies, role-based access controls, and resource templates. Azure cost management in the Azure portal (preview) will help to access cost management from PowerBI or directly from your own custom applications. Migration To make the migration to the cloud less challenging, Azure has announced the support for Hyper-V assessments in Azure Migrate, Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, which enables users to migrate SQL Servers to a fully managed Azure service. To help improve your migration experience, we are announcing that if you migrate Windows Server or SQL Server 2008/R2 to Azure, you will get three years of free extended security updates on those systems. This could save you some money when Windows Server and SQL Server 2008/ R2 end of support (EOS). Automated ML capability in Azure Machine Learning The problem of finding the best machine learning pipeline for a given dataset scales faster than the time available for data science projects. Azure’s Automated machine learning enables developers to access an automated service that identifies the best machine learning pipelines for their labelled data. Data scientists are empowered with a powerful productivity tool that also takes uncertainty into account, incorporating a probabilistic model to determine the best pipeline to try next. To follow more of the Azure buzz, head to Microsoft’s official Blog Read Next Microsoft’s Immutable storage for Azure Storage Blobs, now generally available Azure Functions 2.0 launches with better workload support for serverless Microsoft announces Azure DevOps, makes Azure pipelines available on GitHub Marketplacelast_img read more

Creating coral that can survive climate change

first_imgKeyhole Reef is one of dozens of small reefs rising abruptly from the depths of Kaneohe Bay, one of Hawaii’s most scenic places. The water around it is sapphire blue, and bright schools of tang and triggerfish flit over its surface. But the reef is showing troubling signs of stress these days because of climate change.Here and there along the steep face of the reef, clumps of coral have turned stark white. This bleaching means the coral has begun to eject the micro-algae that normally live within its tissues and provide up to 90 percent of the nutrients that coral needs to live. And that has scientists worried, because similar things are happening in tropical waters around the world. Coral reefs are one of the planet’s keystone habitats, as rich in species as the rain forest. But they’re even more vulnerable to climate change and the warm, acidic ocean conditions it is creating.Yet scientists may be coming up with a way to protect the fragile reefs for the warmer world of the future.Ruth Gates, director of the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology, calls the process human-assisted evolution. Last spring, she and Madeleine van Oppen of the Australian Institute for Marine Sciences received a $4 million grant from the family foundation of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen for a plan to develop strains of coral that will be able to withstand changing ocean conditions.Gates emphasizes that now is the time for scientists to act, while there is still enough diversity on the reef. “As a biologist who’s been looking at reefs for 30 years,” she says, “I’m spectacularly realistic about what I see, and it’s not pretty – and if we don’t do anything about it, it’s going to intensify.”Like their close relatives, sea anemones and jellyfish, corals begin their life as free-swimming larvae. Eventually, though, they settle permanently on a rock or a patch of dead coral and transform into polyps, the basic units of coral. Almost immediately, the polyps begin to secrete the hard exoskeleton that we think of as coral reef. Collectively, corals are nature’s most prodigious architects. The Great Barrier Reef, where van Oppen does her research, is large enough to be seen from space.In a sense, each coral polyp is an individual, with a mouth and tentacles and its own community of symbionts. But the concept of individuality in coral is a complex one. Although larvae are the result of sexual reproduction, corals also reproduce clonally. Polyps will divide over and over again so that all the polyps in a colony, or a head of coral, may be genetically identical. Each may feed and spawn independently, but they’re also all connected by tissue and by a kind of nervous system called a nerve net. If you touch one end of a colony, the tentacles on the other end will retract.Then there’s the relationship between coral and its symbiotic microorganisms. Because their lives are so intertwined, scientists generally think of all these organisms as a single entity they call a holobiont. If human-assisted evolution is going save coral, it will have to work on the entire holobiont.Despite the provocative label, human-assisted evolution relies largely upon old-fashioned selective breeding. Gates points out that, even during a dramatic warming event, like last summer’s in Hawaii, when mean sea temperatures in Kaneohe Bay were several degrees above normal, not all the coral on a reef bleaches. Some individuals are clearly more tolerant of these kinds of stresses. Gates is collecting small samples of those individuals and bringing them into her lab to crossbreed them. By selecting the most robust offspring, she hopes to produce more-resilient strains of coral.Helping coral become ‘super coral’That’s just the first step. Ultimately, the plan is to return these corals back onto the damaged reefs they came from so they can interbreed with the wild coral. But before that happens, Gates and van Oppen believe they can exploit the complex biology of these organisms to create “super corals.”There are two main thrusts to their plan. The first involves a concept called epigenetics, the science of how genes are turned on and off.“There are two ways you can actually change genetic information,” Gates says. “You can, over time, insert new genes, or mix genes among generations. This changes the actual structure of the DNA. Or you can change the way in which the existing genes are used. In other words, you can regulate the genetic material you already have in a different way. We’re focusing on the latter approach. We’re trying to turn on, if you will, genetic pathways that allow corals to sustain exposure to stress better.”To try to turn on these genetic pathways, the Gates lab selects the most resilient individuals from the crossbreeding program and exposes them to conditions that mimic the higher ocean temperatures and acidity expected in the future.Gates likens this acclimatization process to the conditioning of athletes.“That’s exactly what we’re doing with corals,” she says. “We’re bringing them in and exposing them to the conditions of the future, to experiences that we hope they will ‘remember,’ and that that memory will be held in the way they regulate their genetic material.” The idea is that, by exposing the coral to stress, they will turn on formerly idle genes that are beneficial in the new conditions.There are some early signs of success. Some of the acclimatized corals that were returned to their reefs appeared to exhibit higher resiliency. Even during last year’s dramatic bleaching event, when between 40 and 70 percent of the coral in Kaneohe Bay were affected, none of these corals showed signs of bleaching.But it’s not enough to induce these changes in an individual. For assisted evolution to work, Gates says, the changes have to be heritable. This is, whatever characteristics the corals develop that make them more resilient have to be inherited by their offspring. That’s the essence of epigenetics.So, can acclimatizing individual corals to the conditions of the future create traits that can be passed on to the next generation?“Our preliminary work suggests that the answer to that is ‘Yes,’ ” Gates says.Improving a coral’s community of micro-algaeIn fact, in a paper this year in the Journal of Experimental Biology, she and her former student Hollie Putnam demonstrated just this kind of intergenerational exchange of “memory.” They found that, when they submitted a reef-building coral called Pocillopora to higher temperatures and more acidic conditions, the coral’s larvae “exhibited size differences and metabolic acclimatization” that improved their resiliency. In other words, even though the adults suffered from being exposed to future climate conditions, the offspring of those that survived were better able to tolerate higher temperatures and acidity than the offspring of adults that weren’t exposed to those conditions.The second focus of research in the Gates lab looks at the relationship between corals and the microorganisms that live on and in them.Until recently, scientists thought the symbiotic community within all corals was composed of a single micro-alga of the genus Symbiodinium. But modern genetic tools have revealed that there are hundreds of species of these micro-algae, as well as thousands of species of symbiotic bacteria and other microorganisms. Importantly, some of these microorganisms are more tolerant of the warm, acidic conditions of the future than others are. Gates plans to exploit these differences.For example, it may be possible to improve a coral’s community of micro-algae. As larvae, most corals have none of their own symbionts. Instead, they recruit the Symbiodinium and other microorganisms they need to survive early in their life cycle. This biology may allow researchers to choose which micro-algae the coral will host.“You can insert a symbiont [micro-alga] that’s really tolerant of stress and continues to provide the coral with nutrition through that stress,” Gates says. In other words, scientists may be able to improve the resilience of coral by improving the resilience of its assemblage of microorganisms.Gates and van Oppen also plan to take advantage of the fact that simple microorganisms, such as Symbiodinium, reproduce and evolve very quickly. Using common lab techniques, they may be able to guide that evolution by inducing random mutations into their DNA, then breeding and selecting the new strains for characteristics that will increase the resilience of their host corals.The key to all this — and maybe the reason there has been so little criticism in the scientific community — is that none of what Gates and van Oppen are doing is genetic engineering in the technical sense. They’re not gene-splicing or creating Franken-corals. On the epigenetics side, they’re simply turning on genes that are already present in the coral’s own DNA. Similarly, the symbiotic micro-algae that they’re working with already exist in the corals on the reef. No new genetic material is being introduced. And in the future, when the coral is returned to the wild, it will go back to its home reef.“We’ve been very strong in saying we’re not genetically modifying anything,” Gates says. “All we’re doing is accelerating or assisting evolution.”‘Biological tool box’But Gates isn’t cavalier about the risks. For example, she acknowledges that, however unlikely, it’s possible that these new “super corals” could become invasive or have other unintended consequences. These are issues that environmental managers, policymakers, scientists and the general public will have to discuss, Gates says. But for now, the more urgent goal is for scientists to develop what she calls a “biological tool box” to address the threat that climate change poses for coral reefs. The question of whether to use those tools comes later.“We can often pick holes in potential solutions and have a very nuanced argument about why we shouldn’t do anything,” Gates says. “Or, we can turn the argument on its head and ask, ‘What is the risk of doing nothing?’ The risk of doing nothing is the obliteration of coral reefs worldwide.”– – –Hollier is a Hawaii-based science writer.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Half of marine life wiped out in 40 years: WWF With current rate of climate change, 23 percent of species in South America could face extinction, study finds Google opens online window on toll of climate change Whales under threat as climate change impacts migrationlast_img read more

Bangladesh passes law for closer Grameen oversight

first_img Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The law was passed late Tuesday with a voice vote in parliament after getting approval last month by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who has frosty relations with Yunus.A government-led investigation found that Grameen Bank violated its charter as a microlender by creating affiliates that did not benefit the bank’s shareholders.Yunus was ousted as managing director in 2011 after the High Court ruled the 73-year-old violated retirement laws by serving beyond the age of 60. He has repeatedly accused the government of trying to “destroy” the bank, but authorities deny the allegations.In a statement Wednesday, Yunus said a “great global iconic institution” was being brutalized by the government.“Grameen Bank was created as a bank owned by poor women, and managed by poor women. Its legal structure did not allow any government interference of any kind, except for regulatory oversight,” he said.Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith has pledged that Grameen would be better run in the absence of Yunus.The new law gives Bangladesh Bank broad powers over Grameen that are similar to the central bank’s authority over regular banks.From now on Grameen must consult with the government over any major policy decision. Its 12-member board previously enjoyed broad authority to run Grameen. The legislation also specifies 60 as the retirement age for Grameen’s managing director and requires the bank to be audited regularly and the audit reports submitted to parliament. DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) – Bangladesh passed a law bringing the pioneering Grameen Bank under closer central bank supervision, a move bitterly opposed by its founder Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus who warns of a government takeover of an institution lauded for alleviating poverty.Grameen was a trail blazer in extending small loans to the poor denied access to regular bank credit, earning it and Yunus the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. It has about 9 million borrowers, mostly women, who use the loans to start or expand small businesses. But Yunus and the government have been at odds for several years over the running of the bank and Yunus’ failed effort to launch a political party when Bangladesh was under a state of emergency in 2006-2008. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 The law permits Grameen to increase its capital while the government’s share of 25 percent remains unchanged. Borrowers will own 75 percent of the bank as before.It has not increased the number of directors _ three appointed by the government and the rest by shareholders. The tenure of directors will be three years while previously there was no limit.In September, the government accused Yunus of evading tax on overseas income, including from book royalties, speeches at conferences and numerous awards. Yunus says he has always acted lawfully. His supporters say the allegations are politically motivated.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

New York New York – Reported by Elite Traveler t

first_imgNew York, New York – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle MagazineLladró, the world renowned creator of fine porcelain art, combines sophisticated design with functionality in a spectacular new collection of porcelain mirrors inspired by the opulence of the 18th century Rococo.In the Rococo Mirrors Collection, the decorative elements of this past era have been replaced by vegetal motifs in porcelain over lacquered wooden frames. The exquisite delicacy of porcelain in beautiful colors and curved decorative ornamentation is Lladró’s contribution to an object that has been present in home décor throughout the history of decorative arts. The notable volumes coupled with intense colors, in glazed and matte finishes, or a combination of golden and silver luster, bring these Rococo mirrors up to date.There are six different versions, available in six different colors (white, black, red, green, white & gold and white & silver). Thus, the collection comprises a total of 36 exclusive mirrors, each one being a limited edition of 300 units.In this innovative interpretation of the 18th century mirrors by the Lladró artists, luxury craftsmanship meets contemporary design, bringing together splendor, modernity and functionality.www.lladro.comlast_img read more

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