VANCOUVER – When a massive ice breaker arrives in Victoria’s harbour this week, it will mark the end of a 150-day-long journey exploring Canada’s coastline, communities and future.The trip from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage coincides with Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, but celebrations are just the beginning, said Geoff Green, expedition leader for Canada C3.By the end of the journey, the ice breaker — called the Polar Prince — will have travelled 23,000 kilometres and visited 75 different communities.More than 400 people have climbed aboard the ship over the course of Canada C3 — or Coast to Coast to Coast — including community leaders, musicians, chefs, scientists and other curious Canadians.“It’s been a journey to help us look at our past, present and future, learn a lot about this country, it’s successes and it’s flaws and to look ahead to how we can be better,” said Green, founder of the Students on Ice Foundation, which leads educational trips to the Arctic and Antarctic.The experienced adventurer said C3 has led him to meet incredible people and visit amazing places over the past five months and his biggest takeaway is hope for the future.“I leave this 150-day journey with a great sense of great optimism, hope and potential for Canada in the next 150 years,” Green said.Racelle Kooy of the St’at’imc and Secwepemc First Nations in British Columbia’s Interior said she was originally hesitant to take part in a project celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary because of the country’s troubled history with Indigenous Peoples.After speaking to other Indigenous participants, she decided to join and Kooy said she has been able to sincerely engage with everyone on board.“We’re a group of people from a variety of backgrounds, there’s so much to learn from each other,” she said.For her, the trip has been about breaking down existing myths and building connections between communities.“I think that’s very powerful,” Kooy said.For other participants, the epic voyage has been an opportunity to do unique research. The ice breaker, originally built for the Canadian Coast Guard in 1958, is outfitted with a science lab where 23 projects have taken place since June 1.Kristi Miller is a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who joined C3 to map organisms in different bodies of water by looking at cells left behind by everything from bacteria to marine mammals.The data has surprising findings. Miller said she never would have expected to see evidence of predators that rely on aquatic ecosystems for food so far out in an ocean-adjacent inlet, but samples taken off the coast of B.C. show both predator and prey.“Just opposite of Haida Gwaii … we had a huge abundance of salmon,” Miller said. “And we saw brown bear, black bear and eagle in that same (location).”Results from the study could help determine the health of various ecosystems, said Miller, who is based in Nanaimo, B.C.“Having some kind of indication of ecosystem health in the ocean is paramount and this technology is fast, cheap, easy to do, and doesn’t require any destructive sampling or big ships,” she said.While many of the C3 participants have come and gone over the course of 150 days, Captain Stephan Guy has been at the helm of the Polar Prince throughout the voyage.The project has allowed Guy, who is based in Lac Beauport, Que., an opportunity to join an elite group of seamen who have traversed the Northwest Passage.He said the journey has reminded him of his “colleagues” who attempted the same voyage 200 or 300 years ago with varying degrees of success.The highlight of the trip has been watching people come together and share, Guy added.“Just put the people together and they will exchange and listen to the stories and they will find solutions to make (the future) better. I don’t know the solutions, but bring the people together, allow the communities to connect, and this will happen.”
CVS Health wants to do much more than fill your prescription or jab your arm with an annual flu shot.The second-largest U.S. drugstore chain is buying Aetna, the third-largest health insurer, in order to push much deeper into customer care. The evolution won’t happen overnight, but in time, shoppers may find more clinics in CVS stores and more services they can receive through the network of nearly 10,000 locations that the company has built.“They’ll be pretty much a soup-to-nuts health company … except for the hospital part of it,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting and research firm.Patients also may find the CVS-Aetna combination much more involved in managing their care, especially for those with expensive chronic conditions like diabetes. The bulked-up company also may gain more negotiating leverage over prescription drug prices, but it’s far too early to say how much or whether that benefit will trickle down to customers.The $69 billion deal announced Sunday evening will push the drugstore chain more forcefully in a direction it has been heading for years, according to Wall Street analysts. The company, which stopped selling tobacco products in 2014 to further burnish its image as a care provider, already runs about 1,100 clinics and has been steadily expanding the health care it offers.The clinics started off as a place to treat basic health care needs like sinus infections or strep throat. Gradually, CVS added services like blood draws or monitoring of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Expect that trend to continue as the drugstore switches more from selling products in its stores to services that can’t be bought online, where retailers face formidable competition from the likes of Amazon.“I think over time you’re going to see less of that front-store retail and more health care services in their stores,” said Jeff Jonas, a portfolio manager for Gabelli Funds who follows drugstores.The mammoth acquisition pairs a company that runs more than 9,700 drugstores with an insurer covering around 22 million people. CVS Health Corp. is also one of the nation’s biggest pharmacy benefit managers, processing more than a billion prescriptions a year for clients like large employers and insurers including Aetna Inc.Analysts say the combined company could add more clinics and expand in-store services to include eye care or maybe centres for hearing aids. That could gradually turn CVS into a one-stop-shop for health care, a place where patients can get a hearing aid checked, then see a nurse practitioner and pick up prescriptions.“If you think about it, we actually don’t have anything like that,” said Jefferies analyst Brian Tanquilut said.Clinics aren’t especially profitable, but they are important because they draw people into the stores and help build deeper customer relationships, analysts say.The clinics have become an attractive option for customers in need of basic health care because they are usually open longer than the family doctor’s office. A clinic visit also can be cheaper than a $100 doctor visit for someone who doesn’t have insurance, but they have drawbacks. Family doctors say they know their patients better and can check on their overall health during a visit rather than dealing with just the one issue that brought that person in.Some CVS shoppers also are skeptical about getting their health checked in a retail store.Jessy Tatenco, 23, buys household items and over-the-counter medications for his three children at CVS. But he said would be reluctant to get medical services there. He feels more comfortable in a doctor’s office or traditional clinic setting.“I wouldn’t trust them with my health care. They sell toys,” he said after leaving a CVS store Sunday in downtown San Diego.CVS isn’t the only health care giant delving into clinical care. The deal will help it compete with others like UnitedHealth Group Inc. The nation’s largest health insurer also runs clinics and doctor’s offices. Like CVS, it also has one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management businesses.CVS and Aetna also want to go beyond just clinic visits to help patients and customers.Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini has talked frequently about how most of a person’s life expectancy is determined by genetics and location and not by clinical care, which is where health care spending is focused.“Our conventional operating model is not effective,” Bertolini said earlier this year. “People are angry at this model. It doesn’t work effectively in controlling costs.”He has talked about the need to get into patients’ homes to gauge what they need, like whether they have enough food or may need transportation.CVS can help through its home infusion business, which sends nurses to patients’ homes to deliver complex drugs for people with hemophilia among other conditions. The clinic and drugstore locations could also give patients with chronic conditions like diabetes more convenient options to get their blood monitored or counselling on their condition.Over time, health care experts say that can help keep these conditions from growing worse and stave off expensive hospital stays.CVS will pay about $207 in cash and stock for each share of Aetna. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, and the companies expect the deal to close in the second half of next year.But ant-trust regulators still need to evaluate it.The Justice Department said last month that it is suing AT&T to stop its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner. Regulators also sued to stop the Aetna’s approximately $34 billion purchase of rival Humana Inc. — a deal that fell apart earlier this year.Hartford, Connecticut-based Aetna and Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS both manage Medicare prescription drug coverage. Some of that business may have to be sold to address antitrust concerns. But otherwise, Leerink analyst David Larsen thinks a CVS-Aetna combination has decent odds of getting past regulators, in part because the businesses have little overlap.___AP Writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report. read more
Rabat – Abderrazak Makri, the leader of Algeria’s Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) political party, warned of an unprecedented crisis that Algeria may experience beginning in late 2019.Starting from late 2019 until 2022, “we will experience unprecedented lean years. They will be difficult for Algeria and the ordinary citizen will feel the burden more than others,” Makri wrote on his Facebook page on January 11.The politician, who is pleading for the postponement of the Algerian presidential election of April 2019, lamented that “the struggle for power and money dominates the political scene” in Algeria. Few Algerians, according to Makri, “are worried about the economic and social risks that will make Algeria very vulnerable to regional and international threats in the short term.”Makri warned at the end of his post, “I fear that when all Algerians recognize those who warn and advise from those who deceit and betray, it will be too late.”Read Also: Western Sahara: US House Adopts pro-Algeria-Polisario Draft Spending BillA few days before Makri’s warning, a former Algerian prime minister, Ahmed Benbitour, said that Algeria is going through a deep political crisis due to the “autocratic and paternalistic” regime.Benbitour, who is also an economist, stressed that there should be mobilization to make the current regime relinquish its hold on power and the country’s resources, to help save from political failure and economic crisis.For Benbitour, Algeria’s “responsible elites” have to assess the situation, inform the population of the dire state of the country, and force a “peaceful” regime change.“Our country is governed by an authoritarian, paternalistic, and patrimonialist regime that thrives on rent-seeking and economic predation,” Benbitour said Monday in Algiers at a conference on “the Mission of Elites in Saving the Country.”“A regime change is the key to solving all of our other governance-linked issues,” he added. read more
WASHINGTON — A government watchdog says it will review costly outside contracts to provide publicity for Medicare chief Seema Verma, whose agency oversees health insurance programs covering more than 100 million Americans.The Health and Human Services inspector general’s office said Friday it will examine several publicity contracts, following a request by congressional Democrats. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped work on the contracts this week while HHS, its parent agency, conducts its own review.The outside contracts, including arrangements with Republican consultants and a longtime spokesman for Verma, were first reported by Politico.Democrats complained that Verma has steered taxpayer money to political allies at the same time her agency slashed the ad budget for the Affordable Care Act, hindering enrolment.There was no immediate response from Verma.Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press read more
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that a lull in the fighting in Monrovia has allowed the national staff of humanitarian agencies to resume some basic relief activities. Humanitarian endeavours are further hindered by the looting of stocks of fuel, medicines and medical supplies, as well as the theft of some 20 vehicles belonging to aid organizations.OCHA says that humanitarian needs in Monrovia remain “critical”, as most aid distributions had stopped during intense fighting last week, and shortages of water and sanitation facilities make the further outbreaks of communicable diseases highly probable. Monrovia’s hospitals, meanwhile, continue to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees are especially vulnerable, as they are unable to receive sufficient amounts of aid and are often targeted for harassment by armed groups. If security conditions allow, the distribution of food to some of Monrovia’s most vulnerable groups may resume by the end of the week. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) plans to supply food distribution to an estimated 70,000 IDPs at the national stadium, and to others staying in irregular shelters around Monrovia. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that if the current ceasefire continues to hold, they will soon begin to evacuate Sierra Leonean and other refugees trapped in Monrovia. With thousands of Sierra Leonean refugees saying they want to go home, UNHCR says that if a boat can dock safely in Monrovia, a vessel with the capacity of carrying up to 250 passengers will begin to transport refugees to Freetown by end of the week.Inside neighbouring Sierra Leone, meanwhile, UNHCR staff were rushing to finish work on equipping the 300-passenger MV Overbeck for its rescue voyage amid heavy rains that are lashing much of the west coast of Africa. Assuming the work is completed, the Overbeck was scheduled to set sail on Wednesday evening for the 30-hour voyage from the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown to Monrovia. A spokesman for the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) said today that following Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call that a multi-national force be deployed in Liberia, a contingency plan had been developed to assist with helicopters and personnel in the event of an evacuation exercise. “I can inform you authoritatively that we have our helicopters and crews ready to go into Liberia on a very short notice,” said Patrick Coker. read more
The International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) was established when its four member institutions – the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the World Bank – announced on October 24 that they had approved the terms of reference of the Board, also known by its acronym IAMB. The purpose of the Board is to promote the objectives laid out by the Council in its resolution 1483 adopted in May 2003. That resolution, in part, underlined that the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) “shall be used in a transparent manner to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, for the economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq’s infrastructure, for the continued disarmament of Iraq, and for the costs of Iraqi civilian administration,” as well as for other purposes benefiting the Iraqi people. The Council also decided that all export sales of petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas from Iraq following the date of the adoption of resolution 1483 should bemade consistent with prevailing international market best practices, to be audited by independent public accountants reporting to IAMD. read more
by Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press Posted May 23, 2013 6:48 am MDT TORONTO – TD Bank Group (TSX:TD) is looking to cut costs as low interest rates appear likely to put pressure on profit margins for at least another year.“Finding current-year cost savings is not enough,” president and chief executive Ed Clark said during a conference call Thursday.“We continue to focus on more permanent cost reductions. We are carefully reviewing all opportunities on this front.”The bank said it is heartened by improving economic conditions in the United States and expects that the economy south of the border to outperform Canada’s over the next few years.But Clark noted that the environment in the U.S. remains challenging.“The good news is that our strong volume growth has been able to offset most of this compression, leaving us in a very strong position should rates rise,” he said.Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier, said recovery south of the border means U.S. banks are also on the mend and looking to regain some of their lost market share.That means TD Bank is facing more competition from large U.S. banks.“Remember, when TD got in there it was during the financial crisis, so they were able to buy things relatively inexpensively,” said Nakamoto.“I think now the U.S. banks are much stronger, and they’re probably looking at some of the competitors out there to see if they can take away some of their market share.”TD reported a second-quarter profit of more than $1.7 billion and growth in most of its major sectors, including its main Canadian and U.S. banking operations.The bank’s overall net income was up two per cent from a year ago at $1.723 billion or $1.78 per share while its adjusted earnings were $1.8 billion, or $1.90 per diluted common share.A year ago, TD earned a profit of $1.69 billion or $1.78 per diluted share and an adjusted profit of $1.74 billion or $1.82 per share.Total revenue was $6 billion, up from $5.75 billion a year ago.While the overall adjusted earnings were up from a year ago, they were just short of a consensus estimate of $1.91 per share compiled by Thomson Reuters.However, Desjardins Securities analyst Michael Goldberg wrote that some of the details in the report will probably be good for investors in the longer term, pointing to the U.S. banking division’s acquisition of Target’s credit card assets.“While TD’s results appear neutral to negative at first glance, upon closer examination, the acquisition of the Target credit card portfolio had an immediate positive reaction and should have a favourable continuing impact on results,” Goldberg wrote.TD shares were down slightly Thursday. They traded as low as $82.83 but recovered some lost ground to close at $83.65, off 39 cents or 0.46 per cent from the previous close.Clark had told shareholders at their annual meeting last month that it would be tougher for TD to meet its growth targets due to the slow economy.Among other things, the Canadian banking sector faces a slowing housing market and stricter lending rules that could affect their mortgage businesses.In addition, the uncertain economic conditions in Canada and the United States could affect lending and other services to the business sector.The bank increased its provision for credit losses to $417 million, up from $388 million a year earlier and up from $385 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013.But Nakamoto noted it was not a large increase.“When they start doubling and tripling their loan losses, then you start to get worried,” he said.TD continued to show flat or higher profits in its major operations.In the three months ended April 30, TD’s Canadian personal and commercial banking sector reported $847 million of net income, or $877 million of adjusted earnings — up five per cent from the second quarter of 2012.Its wealth management and insurance operations delivered $364 million of net income, which was about the same as last year.TD’s American personal and commercial banking operations, mostly located in the eastern states, generated US$392 million of net income — up nine per cent, year-over-year.Wholesale banking — the bank’s capital markets operations — had $220 million of net income, up 12 per cent from the second quarter of 2012.TD bank also announced Thursday that it plans to buy back up to 12 million of its common shares over the coming year, or about 1.3 per cent of the total. TD Bank looking for cost savings amid continued low interest rates AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more
Google accepte de se conformer aux lois chinoises sur la censureChine – Dix jours après le renouvellement de la licence d’exploitation de Google en Chine, les autorités du pays assurent que le géant de la recherche sur Internet a accepté de se plier aux lois chinoises sur la censure.”Google a accepté de respecter les lois et les règlements de la Chine”, a affirmé Zhang Feng, un haut responsable du ministère de l’Industrie et des Technologies de l’Information. Et d’expliquer : “Cela signifie que Google ne fournira pas d’informations susceptibles de menacer la sécurité nationale ou les intérêts de la Chine, n’incitera pas à la haine raciale, ne propagera pas d’informations de nature superstitieuse, ne menacera pas la stabilité sociale et ne diffusera pas de données à caractère pornographique, violent ou diffamatoire”.À lire aussiFossile, Mars et Google Chrome, les actus sciences que vous devez connaître ce 4 juinA Tokyo, Jessica Powell, une porte-parole de Google, donne une autre version de l’accord avec la Chine, expliquant à l’AFP que les services que Google garde sur Google.cn, comme la musique, la traduction ou la recherche de produits, n’obligent pas le moteur de recherche à censurer. Quant aux autres recherches, elles sont accessibles sans censure sur Google Hong-Kong. “Pour résumer, il n’y aucune censure exercée par Google dans quelque domaine que ce soit” assure Jessica Powell.Google ne dirige plus automatiquement les internautes chinois vers son site hongkongais. Toutefois, un lien placé en évidence sur la page d’accueil du moteur de recherche chinois les invite à se rendre sur Google.com.hk. La page est accessible de manière intermittente depuis le continent, et les recherches sur des sujets considérés comme sensibles par les autorités chinoises sont souvent impossibles.Le 20 juillet 2010 à 15:22 • Emmanuel Perrin read more
The World’s Rarest Birds : les oiseaux rares immortalisés pour un concoursLe concours photo The World’s Rarest Birds met à l’honneur les oiseaux rares immortalisés par des photographes originaires des quatre coins du monde, qui arpentent le globe en long, en large et en travers. Jugées par un jury constitué d’ornithologues, de photographes et d’artistes renommés, les images ont été sélectionnées selon plusieurs critères, dont la qualité de la photo, la rareté de l’oiseau photographié et l’esthétique de l’image. Chaque année, ce sont deux gagnants qui sont sélectionnés : l’un dans la catégorie oiseaux désignés menacés, et l’autre dans la catégorie oiseaux désignés disparus à l’état sauvage. Et cette année, les deux photographes qui ont réussi à allier la rareté de l’espèce photographiée à la qualité de l’image sont Shane McInnes (pour les oiseaux désignés disparus à l’état sauvage), et Quan Min Li (pour les oiseaux désignés menacés). Alors que Shane McInnes a séduit le jury avec son Kakapo accroché à une branche, Quan Min Li a subjugué le jury avec cet oiseau en plein vol, aux couleurs à la fois orangées et grises. Et si tout le monde ne peut terminer premier, certains participants de ce prestigieux concours photographique international auront le privilège de figurer dans le livre Rare Birds Yearbook, l’unique guide photographique des oiseaux les plus rares et les plus menacés de la planète. Une jolie récompense.Découvrez le top 10 du concours dans les deux catégories sur Maxisciences.Le 26 janvier 2011 à 17:35 • Emmanuel Perrin read more
Hubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring SystemHubble Snaps Dreary Dying Star in Space The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope recently snapped a dreamy photo of NGC 5307, a dying, sun-like star that has collapsed in on itself and shed its outer layers of gas into space.NGC 5307 is a planetary nebula located roughly 10,000 light-years from our planet and can be spotted in the constellation Centaurus (the Centaur), NASA said in a press release.A planetary nebula is the last stage of a sun-like star and it could give us a peek into the solar system’s future. Just like our sun, these types of stars will transform into red giants at the end of their lives. NASA says stars are sustained by nuclear fusion that takes place in their cores, which generates energy. Nuclear fusion processes try to break the stars apart and only the stars’ gravity prevents this action from occurring.#HubbleFriday Planetary nebula NGC 5307 gives us a glimpse into the future of our own solar system. A dying Sun-like star has run out of nuclear fuel, collapsed in on itself, and shed its outer layers of gas into space: https://t.co/xBUWCCkAFT pic.twitter.com/BXZPcUbeeu— Hubble (@NASAHubble) August 30, 2019At the end of a star’s red giant phase, these forces become unbalanced and the core of the star crumbles in on itself and its surface layers are violently thrown outward. Once this turbulent activity ceases, all that remains of the star is shown in the above image: illuminated outer layers that circle a white dwarf star, which are the leftovers of the red giant star’s core.On this day (Dec 17) in 1997, these #Hubble photos were released:Spiral-Structured Planetary Nebula NGC 5307Two-Lobed Planetary Nebula Hubble 5Eye-Shaped Planetary Nebula NGC 6826Planetary Nebula NGC 3918 pic.twitter.com/JQAc5ph4Cb— HubbleFeed (@HubbleArchives) December 17, 2018The star’s makeover isn’t done yet: These glowing outer layers are still cooling and shuffling around in space. Once a few thousand years go by, they will diminish and only leave a dimly illuminated white dwarf behind.More on Geek.com:Hubble Snaps Dreary Dying Star in SpaceHubble Space Telescope Captures Star’s Eerie Gaseous GlowHubble Space Telescope Observes ‘Galactic Duo’ in Space Stay on target read more
Reality television has shown us that anyone can be a star. So it makes sense that Details announced plans to team with an indie film producer Larry Meistrich for its next promotional venture: a movie based on its best reader submission.There seems to be few things that Details knows: New York-based indie producer Meistrich (“You Can Count on Me” and “Sling Blade”) will help choose the winner. And submissions can take virtually any form, from a few sentences to a finished screenplay.And that’s about it. Oh yes, and you have until May 1, 2009 to enter. Of course, promotional contests have been done before on a much simpler scale, like ReaderDigest.com’s joke submission contest, which pays $100 to if your joke is selected and published in the magazine. But with print advertising tanking, magazine’s are desperately looking to TV and film for bigger and better branding opportunities. But the idea for an essentially user-generated feature film wasn’t taken from any current media offerings. “A mutual friend of both [Details editor] Dan and Larry said that the two of them should meet. They seemed to have the same goals; it just made sense,” said a Details spokesperson.Details editor-in-chief Dan Peres said that TV coverage of the movie-winning idea, from script stage through production and release, was a possibility, but uncertain. A spokesperson said that although the magazine “doesn’t know what to expect,” once they decide upon a winner, they’ll go through the scripting process and see what coverage they can give in the magazine.While Details is “still figuring out timing,” it also has no particular movie genre, submission count, or circulation number in mind. And as far as a budget, “So much depends on the idea,” said a Details spokesperson. “Is it filmed all in one city? If so, this makes it more affordable. But there really isn’t a set limit.”They just want their readers—”intelligent, modern, metropolitan men,”—to be able to relate to the film. Or maybe they just don’t want it going the way of Men’s Vogue? read more
The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending a comprehensive audit of safety programs and regulatory compliance of the company providing much of the commuter air service within Alaska.Download AudioThe NTSB announced Thursday it’s recommending the “urgent” action by the Federal Aviation Administration for a review of HoTH Inc.That company includes Hageland Aviation, Frontier Flying Service and Era Aviation doing business as Ravn Alaska, Ravn Connect and Corvus Airlines.The NTSB says it has investigated six accidents and one incident related to the company since 2012.That includes fatal crashes November 29th near the Saint Marys airport and on April 8th about 22 miles southeast of Kwethluk. read more
Share One year after closing their annual holiday light display, Ernie Manouse takes Sherry & Roy Bufkin out to see the holiday lights of Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood. “Bufkin’s Christmas Wonderland” welcomed almost 400,000 visitors to enjoy Roy and Sherry’s lighting, trains, and animatronics display over their 25 year history – but this year, it was time for the Bufkins to enjoy other people’s hard work and dedication. Come along with us on Mister McKinney’s Houston History Bus, as we share the sights and sounds of the holidays with you all. Revisit our 2017 story about the Bufkin’s Christmas Wonderland here: https://youtu.be/BI574KFmeV4– / 12 read more
By LAURIE KELLMAN Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — Back in January, the Democrats welcomed their brash young newcomers to Congress with smiles and hugs. That was before the new colleagues dragged the party’s simmering divisions over Israel out in the open.Provocative comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota have thrust the Democrats into an uncomfortable debate over Israel policy a few weeks before a high-profile conference at which senior Democrats typically make a show of support for the Jewish state. Increasingly, the rift appears as much generational as ideological, with newly elected Democrats showing less deference to the party line.In this Feb. 5, 2019 photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., arrives for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. Omar’s latest remarks about Israel are prompting House Democrats to draft a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Omar became the flash point after she suggested last week that Israel’s supporters are pushing U.S. lawmakers to take a pledge of “allegiance to a foreign country.” It’s at least the third time she has forced older, pro-Israel Democrats who run the House into awkward territory over U.S.-Israeli policy.Republicans have been happy to stoke the furor, with President Donald Trump calling Omar’s remarks “a dark day for Israel” and posting a photo of himself in Jerusalem. Inside the Democratic family, meanwhile, leaders are in a bind, torn between a need to admonish Omar and their desire to defend one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.This time Omar is not apologizing. And this time pro-Israel Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi are not just warning her about the dangers of Jewish tropes. They are expected to offer a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on the House floor. Although no vote on the resolution is yet scheduled, Democrats said it could come as soon as Thursday.“Accusations of dual loyalty generally have an insidious, bigoted history,” an early draft of the resolution reads in part. “The House of Representatives acknowledges the dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes and rejects anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced in a meeting of leading Democrats late Tuesday that the text will be updated to include anti-Muslim bias, according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. Other Democrats said an outpouring of support for Omar prompted leaders to consider broadening the measure to avoid dissension. Omar did not speak to reporters outside her office on Tuesday evening.“There is a lot emotional disquiet about the situation, and it’s a good time to restate our values,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who is Jewish and a member of leadership, as he exited a meeting in Pelosi’s office. “That’s what I hope our resolution can do.”The text, which includes a history of bigotry against Muslims and blacks as well as Jews, sounds unobjectionable by itself. But the fact that senior Democrats felt obliged to put the House on-record on the topic points to a transformation in the country — mostly among Democrats — about supporting the Jewish state.In a poll by the Pew Research Center in January of last year, 46 percent of Americans said they sympathized more with Israel and 16 percent with the Palestinians in their Middle East discord.But Democrats are about evenly divided, with about a quarter sympathizing with each side and the rest saying they side with neither or don’t know — and in recent years they have become less likely to sympathize with Israel. Liberal Democrats were nearly twice as likely to say they sympathize more with the Palestinians (35 percent) than with Israel (19 percent). Older Americans were much more likely to say they sympathize with Israel than with the Palestinians, with more division among younger Americans.Omar, a Somali-American, says that what she’s questioning is the influence game in Washington and she worries that anything she says about Israel and its treatment of Palestinians will be construed as anti-Semitic.“Being opposed to (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic,” she tweeted on Sunday. “I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.”Democrats in Congress remain largely supportive of Israel. Pelosi, for example, often attends the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, which is coming up this month.Omar on Tuesday got a boost from allies who point out that she, too, has been the target of threats and bigotry.Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested in a tweet that her fellow freshman was being treated unfairly.“No one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities,” the New York Democrat wrote.Jewish groups generally said they support the resolution, but expressed concern.“We are concerned that the timing of this resolution will be seen as singling out and focusing special condemnation on a Muslim woman of color as if her views and insensitive comments pose a greater threat than the torrent of hatred that the white nationalist right continues to level against Jews, Muslims, people of color and other vulnerable minority groups,” said J Street, a nonprofit that says it’s a home for “pro-Israel, pro-Peace Americans.”Back home in Minnesota, a collection of elected officials started a #StandWithIlhan hashtag with a statement that reads in part: “We call on Democrats to stand with Ilhan against Republican efforts to pit Jews and Muslims against each other.”But there also was talk of finding a candidate to challenge her in 2020.“She is rapidly making herself a pariah in Congress, rather than an effective representative for her constituents,” said state Sen. Ron Latz, who is Jewish, lives in her district and has been critical of her recent statements on Israel.Earlier this year, Omar apologized for a 2012 tweet in which she said Israel had “hypnotized” America. And last month, she apologized for suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are paid to do so.That earned her stern rebukes from Pelosi and House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, among others. This time, Engel declared that Omar’s suggestion about divided loyalties was a “vile” stereotype that had no place on his committee.Republicans, meanwhile, demanded that Democrats throw Omar off Engel’s panel. There was no sign of that happening Tuesday.“I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee,” Omar tweeted.___Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Emily Swanson, and Hannah Fingerhut in Washington, and Doug Glass in Minneapolis contributed to this report.___Follow Kellman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com//APLaurieKellman read more
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. A team of researchers with members from several institutions in the U.S. has found that pregnancy rates for humpback whales living near Antarctica are increasing. In their paper published in Royal Society Open Science, the group describes studying the whales and what the increased rates may mean for them. Researchers link Australian whale strandings to malnutrition © 2018 Phys.org More information: Logan J. Pallin et al. High pregnancy rates in humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) around the Western Antarctic Peninsula, evidence of a rapidly growing population, Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.180017AbstractAntarctic humpback whales are recovering from near extirpation from commercial whaling. To understand the dynamics of this recovery and establish a baseline to monitor impacts of a rapidly changing environment, we investigated sex ratios and pregnancy rates of females within the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) feeding population. DNA profiling of 577 tissue samples (2010–2016) identified 239 males and 268 females. Blubber progesterone levels indicated 63.5% of the females biopsied were pregnant. This proportion varied significantly across years, from 36% in 2010 to 86% in 2014. A comparison of samples collected in summer versus fall showed significant increases in the proportion of females present (50% to 59%) and pregnant (59% to 72%), consistent with demographic variation in migratory timing. We also found evidence of annual reproduction among females; 54.5% of females accompanied by a calf were pregnant. These high pregnancy rates are consistent with a population recovering from past exploitation, but appear inconsistent with recent estimates of WAP humpback population growth. Thus, our results will help to better understand population growth potential and set a current baseline from which to determine the impact of climate change and variability on fecundity and reproductive rates. The humpback whale was very nearly extinguished from the planet during the 18th and 19th centuries due to humans hunting—prior research has suggested that population levels dropped to 10 percent of pre-hunting days. But over the past half-century, laws protecting them have boosted survival. Those that live below the equator have fared so well since whaling regulations were enacted that they are no longer considered to be endangered. And now, it appears that global warming is actually helping them rebound even more, the new study suggests.To assess how well the humpbacks are doing, the researchers traveled to the Western Antarctic Peninsula and used boats to take blubber samples using dart guns through the years 2010 to 2016. Blubber samples can be tested for progesterone levels and also gender. The team reports that they were able to test 268 females and 239 males. They report that 60 percent of the females tested appeared to be pregnant. The percentage rose as the years passed, suggesting a relatively constant upswing in whale pregnancy rates. Increasing rates of pregnancies is a good sign for a population on the rebound, the team notes. The researchers suggest part of the reason for the increase in pregnancy rates is global warming, which has provided an average of 80 more ice-free days per year, allowing the whales to feed on krill more easily.But the long-term outlook is not so rosy, the researchers note. A reduction in sea ice due to global warming will also mean a reduction in krill populations—they feed on the zooplankton that resides on the underside of the ice. Less krill to go around will make it more difficult for all of the creatures that feed on the tiny crustaceans. Citation: Higher humpback whale pregnancy rates suggest they are rebounding (2018, May 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-higher-humpback-whale-pregnancy-rebounding.html Explore further Journal information: Royal Society Open Science Credit: CC0 Public Domain read more
Hosts India will clash against traditional rivals Pakistan in World Twenty20 2016 on March 19 at Dharamsala while the semi-finals of the tournament will be played in New Delhi and here, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Friday in fixtures released here.The tournament will be staged across eight venues in India from March 8 to April 3. A total of 58 tournament matches, including 35 men’s matches and 23 women’s matches, will be played during the 27-day tournament. Also Read – Punjab on alert after release of excess water from Bhakra damThe final will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 3. The women’s semi-finals and final will be followed by the men’s knock-out matches.India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia are clubbed in Group 2 while South Africa, England, the West Indies and Sri Lanka are in Group 1.Two qualifying teams will join the Super 10s (two groups of five teams) after the first stage of the tournament, which will be held in Dharamsala and Nagpur between March 8 and 13. Also Read – Union Min doubts ‘vote count’ in Bareilly, seeks probeThe eight teams competing in the qualifying stage have also been split into two groups. Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Ireland and Oman have been slotted into Group A, while Group B comprises Zimbabwe, Scotland, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.The top team from Group A will join Group 2 of the Super 10s stage, while the qualifier from Group B will be clubbed in Group 1.The top two sides from each group of the Super 10s will progress to the semi-finals.India will take on New Zealand on March 15 in Nagpur in the opening match of the Super 10s stage. They will then face Pakistan on March 19, the qualifying team in the group on March 23 in Bengaluru and Australia in Mohali on March 27.“India is a country where cricket is a religion and not many places can match the passion for the game like India. I am fully confident that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will deliver an outstanding world cricket event, just like the ICC Cricket World Cups in 1987, 1996 and 2011,” ICC chairman and BCCI president Shashank Manohar said here.”I am sure stadiums like always will be full here for all the matches. With support of the government and others the tournament will be a success,” Manohar said.The men’s event will carry a total prize money of $5.6 million an 86 percent increase from the 2014 tournament while the total prize money for the women’s event is $400,000 a 122 percent hike. read more
Related posts:US Sen. Bill Nelson: Costa Rica has a place in the future of space flight Franklin Chang’s VASIMR plasma engine readies for key test De San Antonio de Desamparados a las estrellas: hermanos costarricenses brillan en la NASA From San Antonio de Desamparados to the stars: Costa Rican brothers shine at NASA While coauthor Ana Luisa Monge and I were doing a workshop at the University of Costa Rica planetarium about our book, “To the Stars: Costa Rica in NASA” (Editorial Tecnologico de Costa Rica), it occurred to me how fun it would be to have some Costa Rican students speak directly with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). But how are such things organized? Video conferences with astronauts on the ISS are usually arranged directly by space agencies and their corresponding astronauts. However, I discovered that opportunities are available for audio conferences with ISS astronauts through an amazing volunteer run organization called ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station). ARISS is a consortium of ham radio volunteers from nine countries that operates the Amateur Radio Station on the International Space Station.In September 2018, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques kindly introduced me to ARISS Project Coordinator Steve McFarlane. I had been in contact with David since he spoke at a UN space conference in Costa Rica in April 2016. In addition to being an astronaut, David is an astrophysicist, engineer and physician with a long-standing commitment to protecting the health of people in Canada’s isolated northern communities. He launched into space on Dec. 3, 2018 and is scheduled to return to Earth on June 24, 2019.Connecting with Steve McFarlane formally started the ball rolling toward planning the conference between David and Costa Rican students. The first steps to arranging an ARISS astronaut conference are to select an appropriate partner organization (in our case, the Space Systems Laboratory at TEC Costa Rica), and to sign a license with ARISS which gets your event on their “to do” list.During the following weeks and months, details are fleshed out between ARISS and the local partner. The students’ questions must be submitted and confirmed well in advance of the event, which enables the astronauts to prepare their answers. Having the dialogue carefully scripted is especially important if you run into audio problems during the contact. The exact day and hour of the event are not confirmed by ARISS until a week or two before, so local organizers need to take that into account in their planning. Our conference took place on May 27, 2019 at 10:31 a.m. Central Time with students from TEC Costa Rica’s Cartago and San Carlos campuses. (Read about it in The Tico Times here.) A week before the event, I learned that the ARISS moderator assigned to us (Brian Jackson) was based in the city of Airdrie, a short distance from Calgary, Canada. Coincidentally I was on a visit back home in Calgary at the time and was thrilled I would be able to watch Brian in action.In the minutes leading up to the conference, I assisted Brian by translating some of his technical requests into Spanish for our Costa Rican TEC colleagues. They were able to get their sound levels corrected just before before David Saint-Jacques connected with the students.It was impressive how professionally the Costa Rican students handled themselves in English. The final and vital link in the communications chain was with ARISS radio operator Claudio Ariotti, based in Italy, who formally opened the dialogue with David Saint-Jacques. We breathed a collective sigh of relief when we heard David’s voice coming through.“I hear you loud and clear,” he said. “I am ready. Welcome everyone aboard the space station.”The TEC students and David had a dynamic dialogue which can be seen here. ARISS lets students from all over the world experience the excitement of talking directly with crew members of the International Space Station through the magic of Amateur Radio. I hope we can do more such activities between the ISS and Costa Rican students. Many thanks to ARISS, the Canadian Space Agency, David Saint-Jacques, and students and staff at TEC Costa Rica’s Space Systems Laboratory. For more information about ARISS please see: https://www.ariss.org/.Bruce Callow is a Canadian communications consultant and teacher who does space education outreach work on behalf of NASA. Facebook Comments read more
A 37-year-old man has been banned from attending football matches for three years by the Larnaca district court on Tuesday.The football fan broke his leg when he tried to enter the football field during the Ael – Austria Wien match in Larnaca on August 2.About 37 minutes into the Europa league match at Larnaca’s Antonis Papadopoulos stadium the resident of Limassol tried to get past the divider separating the pitch from the stands but fell and broke his leg before he could reach the field.The man, who was arrested after he was treated in hospital, has to pay a fine of €800 in addition to the ban. You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoYahoo SearchResearch Compact SUVs. New SUVs May Make You Want To Trade Yours In Today – See For Yourself!Yahoo SearchUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola read more
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