A HuffPo for HipHop

first_imgElliott Wilson, the former editor of XXL, the Source and others, is prepping the launch of Rap Radar, a Web site he says he’d like to see become the Huffington Post of hip-hop, a platform artists and producers can use to sound off on music, politics and culture. Wilson has a reputation for being outspoken. And given his reported tendency toward rants, when I spoke to Wilson yesterday, I found him to be surprisingly level-headed about everything, from the state of print (“If you’re a magazine, in this climate, you have to prove your value”) to the Web (“in the climate we’re in, launching this way makes the most sense”) to business (“creative people have to put their business hats on now … [the recession] is forcing all of us to grow up”) to marketing (“I’ve been doing the legwork on Facebook and Twitter”), branding (“we’ll do Rap Radar magazine, Rap Radar socks, lunch boxes, whatever”) and need for community (“Right now, the goal is to build a brand”).Once the ad-supported site is up and running, Wilson plans to invite artists and producers to post entries, Huffington Post-style. “If Jay-Z wants to express his feelings about Obama, there’s not really a forum where he can do that right now.” Whether or not he’s successful remains to be seen. (After all, if a guy like Jay-Z wanted to sound off on Obama, he could blog for the Huffington Post; if he wanted to renew his beef with Nas, he could post it on his own blog—as Kanye West has proven, if you blog enough, people will find you, wherever you are.)But he seems to have the right approach: Build your brand online first, and if there’s enough interest and a business rationale, launch a print product later.Read the full story here …last_img read more

People on the Move 12011

first_imgElizabeth Tighe was named to the new position of vice president of marketing and business development, lifestyle communities, for Reader’s Digest Association. She will lead a centralized marketing team for Every Day With Rachel Ray, the Taste of Home Media Group, The Family Handyman, freshHOME, the Market Intelligence Group and the Integrated Marketing Team. She previously served as vice president of marketing at Fairchild.Energy Central, an online hub for the energy industry, tapped three former Summit Business Media executives for new roles. Joseph Haddock, formerly director of e-media business development at Summit, joins Energy Central as chief digital officer. Betsy Kominksy, who headed up the Life/Health/Benefits division as vp/group publisher at Summit, will become senior vice president of media at Energy Central. Jennifer La Flam, former publisher of Senior Market Advisor, becomes vice president of sales, marketing and services.Jay Fielden, former editor of Men’s Vogue, takes over as editor-in-chief of Town & Country. He replaces Stephen Drucker.ALM named Kevin Iredell as vice president, marketing. He will manage the corporate marketing, brand team and creative department. Iredell joined ALM in 2006 as director of marketing for national publications and in 2009 was promoted to head of the Legal Intelligence business unit. Kevin Riley was appointed to associate publisher for Climbing and Urban Climber. He served as advertising sales manager for the two magazines since 2007.Dr. Dobb’s named Andrew Binstock executive editor. He most recently was a columnist for SD Times.last_img read more

HBOs chief the force behind Game of Thrones to step down

first_imgHBO chief executive Richard Plepler, here with Big Little Lies stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, oversaw HBO’s rise as an awards juggernaut.  Getty Images Richard Plepler, the longtime head of HBO who ushered the network to newfound critical and popular dominance with hits like Game of Thrones, is stepping down.  Plepler, whose departure was announced Thursday, oversaw HBO’s rise to dominate television awards ceremonies and audience ratings, most recently with blockbuster, critically praised hits like Game of Thrones. He also spearheaded HBO as one of the pioneers in TVs transition to direct-to-consumer streaming subscriptions. HBO was one of the first traditional networks to make its programming available online to people who subscribed directly with its app, rather than requiring a regular pay-TV subscription. The announcement comes the same week a court decision lifted the final question marks holding back AT&T from exerting its full control over HBO. AT&T agreed to take over HBO’s parent, Time Warner, more than two years ago in an $85 billion deal. But the Department of Justice took the companies to court, hoping to block the merger and, later, appealing to potentially unwind it. The US government lost its appeal Tuesday.”Hard as it is to think about leaving the company I love, and the people I love in it, it is the right time for me to do so,” Plepler said in a memo to employees. John Stankey, a veteran AT&T executive who was appointed to lead WarnerMedia last year (becoming Plepler’s boss), called him “one of the most successful executives in our industry.””I have been fortunate to have his support over the last months,” Stankey said in statement.  Share your voice 0 Tags Post a comment TV and Movies Digital Media Time Warner Game of Thrones HBO AT&T Netflixlast_img read more

Now we have to watch out for zombie snakes Oh great

first_img Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Apple iPhone XS Paddle through 16 breathtaking and prize-winning underwater photos $999 Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays 16 Photos Tags Best Buy Read DJI Osmo Action preview $299 at Amazon Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Read Google Home Hub review Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Sarah Tew/CNET $520 at HP Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. The Cheapskate The parks department offers a link to a page from the group Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina, which explains  the snake’s zombie behavior in more detail. “When threatened, hognose snakes hiss loudly and spread their necks like cobras do, resulting in the nicknames ‘puff adder’ or ‘spreading adder,'” the page explains.  “They rarely bite during these displays, but they may strike repeatedly. If the antagonist continues, the hognose snake will feign death by opening its mouth, rolling over on its back, and writhing around. If turned over onto its belly, it will immediately roll again onto its back.”It gets even more horror-movie-like when you learn that “enlarged teeth in the rear of the (snake’s) mouth are used to ‘pop’ toads for easier swallowing.” That’s toad-ally disturbing. But to humans, the snake isn’t much of a threat. Katie Hall of the parks department told Fast Company that while the snake does have venom, it very rarely bites people, and the bites are treatable.”It’s not like your flesh is going to rot or you’re going to lose a limb or something,” Hall said.North Carolina State Parks has declared 2019 to be the “year of the snake,” and is urging residents to “scale back your fear” by learning about the creatures. Forget The Walking Dead. Try The Crawling Dead. Last week, the North Carolina State Parks and Recreation Department warned citizens about a “zombie snake” in the state that knows how to play dead.In the post, the department shared images of the eastern hognose snake lying on its back, mouth open, pretending to be dead. “Let’s play a game!” the post declared. “Who is this ‘famous’ NC snake? A cobra? A zombie snake? It’s a harmless one.” $60 at Best Buy Sarah Tew/CNET $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $59 at eBay Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. $999 I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Sprint Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. See at Amazon Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. See It Rylo Boost Mobile Angela Lang/CNETcenter_img Share your voice Read the Rylo camera preview The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Sarah Tew/CNET $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express 7 Sci-Tech,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. 1 Share your voice Comments Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. $155 at Google Express See at Turo What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Turo $999 See it Comment JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. $999 Read the AirPods review See It $210 at Best Buy Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Tags Chris Monroe/CNET HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Sarah Tew/CNET Read Lenovo Smart Clock review DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. $6 at Tidal See It Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Amazonlast_img read more

Rape victims struggle to seek justice

first_imgProthom Alo illustration Covered in blood, a garments factory worker was brought by her friend and an auto-rickshaw driver to Mohammadpur police station in the capital on a night in March 2004. A gang-rape case was filed around 1:00am.Police seized the victim’s pyjamas, chemise, kameez and scarf, all blood-stained, as evidence of the incident.The case statement said the garments factory worker was returning home from work around 9:00pm. Two acquaintances came up, covered her mouth with their hands and dragged her to a slope on one side of the road. She was raped there by one of these men, along with two other strangers and the supervisor of a nearby building. They later left her in front of a shop.Police had detained the supervisor and accused him in the case. The two acquaintances were let off the hook as the police could not find their addresses. The other two unknown persons remained traceless.The trial has been underway at the women and children repression prevention tribunal-4 in Dhaka for 14 years. The accused supervisor has fled after being released on bail.There were 14 witnesses of the prosecution. The judge recorded the victim’s deposition in 2005. The deposition of four others, including a physician, was also recorded. But since April 2016, neither the police nor the public prosecutor (PP) could produce any witness before the court.The girl was treated at the one-stop crisis centre (OCC) of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Later, a non-governmental organisation gave her shelter.She has been traumatised by the incident.A counsellor at the shelter centre said, for six months she didn’t talk to anyone and used to curl up in a dark corner for hours.Her family did not stand by her at that time.Senior researcher of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) Ruchira Tabassum Naved, who has been working for around 20 years on violence against women, said, “Rape victim, women or children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is something experienced by those who go to war or go through similar traumas.”It is very difficult for a victim to emerge from this situation on her own.“Filing a case or seeking justice is a huge task. The girl needs strong support to do something like that,” Ruchira said.In such cases family support is essential. But, the fear of disgracing the family, fear that no one would believe her, holds her back from seeking justice.Lawyer Maksuda Akhter, director, advocacy and lobby of central legal aid sub-committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, said, “The fear is real.”She said, negotiations in salish (out-of court settlements) are sought first. Many on the prosecution side-police officers, physicians, and prosecutors-share a common tendency to put the blame on the woman if she files a case.In another incident, another garments worker filed a gang-rape case with Uttara police station in Dhaka in 2003. The statement said two previously acquainted men told her they had found a good job for her. They took her to a house and raped her there.Medical reports said she was recently subjected to forceful sexual intercourse while chemical tests said there was presence of “human semen” on her pyjamas.The investigation officer of the case submitted a charge sheet against the accused. He, however, also said he has come to learn from “open and confidential investigations” that both the accused had a love affair with the woman, who was abandoned by her husband. Both of them had maintained “objectionable” relations with her.The judge of the women and children repression prevention tribunal-2 in Dhaka released the accused person after 12 years of starting the trial as police and PP failed to produce any witness including the victim.According to Prothom Alo findings, out of 5502 cases filed over the incidents of rape, murder after rape and gang rape in the past 15 years, the accused were punished in only 3 per cent of the cases.The police stations which witnessed the highest numbers of rape cases were located in the areas where the number of poorer people and garments workers is high.Prothom Alo scrutinised 52 of the cases. Most of the cases were filed by low income persons, either day labourers or housemaids or garments workers.Proving rape is a very complex process. Negligence in investigations makes the case proceedings lengthy and these lengthy cases hardly see any results.The findings also revealed that support from the family members of the victims decline due to increasing litigation costs, complexities, and social pressure. This forces the victims to seek out-of-court settlements (shalish). Also, the suffering of the victims escalates in course of time as they do not have enough knowledge of the litigation process.They lose confidence in the judicial process. The atmosphere at the police stations and courts and medical centres are also devastating to the victims, show the findings.From police stations to hospitalLawyer Maksuda, who has been in the profession for 30 years, said in the beginning of a rape case, the victims face suspicion. She said, police ask the victims if they went there on their own or if they were paid.She added that the victims were even branded as professional sex workers.Maksuda also said, “They are suspected of being involved in a love affair or have had sex with consent.”Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said a female and child-friendly desk has been opened at every metropolitan police station.“Female police run the desk. The DMP women support and investigation division has female employees, too,” he added.DMP’s additional deputy commissioner (Motijheel division) Monalisa Begum said, “We are trying to remove the adverse environment at the police stations. Women-friendly officers are also required.”“Also, supervision of investigation by senior police officers must be intensive,” she observed.The physicians examine the whole body, particularly the vaginal area for signs of forceful sexual intercourse. This requires the victim’s consent. But the whole process adds to the victim’s trauma.Male physicians mostly conduct the medical tests due to lack of female forensic experts. This also discourages most of the victims, the finding added.The so-called two-finger-test, which has recently been prohibited by the High Court, has been used to examine the vaginal canal, its laxity along with the signs of injury and the condition of the hymen.Sometimes the physicians write that the girl is habituated to sexual intercourse. According to the forensic experts, the language is unscientific and irrelevant to substantiate rape incidents.A report on a raped child reads ‘old ruptures of the hymen’. Such comments are used to brand the woman or child to be of generally immoral character.There are allegations of bribery to change forensic reports.Asked about the matter, forensic expert Sohel Mahmud said he found this allegation ‘hard to believe’.Humiliation at the courtThe public prosecutors (PPs) at the tribunals say, they cannot make the witnesses, either the victim or the plaintiff, to come before the court for testimonies. This is one of the main reasons for delay in trial and lack of conviction.Tribunal-1’s PP Md Abdul Bari said, “Judges ask court officials to make phone calls to the plaintiffs. We also contact them, but they don’t receive our phone calls.”Lawyer Maksuada said, “The victims need coordinated support along with the case proceedings, which is not available.”Prothom Alo findings also show that a victim of the much-talked-about Banani hotel rape case had to come to the court for three days before she could give her testimony. She was not heard by the court on the first two dates set for recording her statement. On one such date, the Prothom Alo reporter was present at the court. He overheard many snide remarks directed towards her, even by the court officials.Prohibiting the two-finger-test, the HC asked the judicial court to ensure that the victims are not asked humiliating questions over the rape.Defence lawyers also try to prove a victim of rape immoral since, according to section 155 (a) of Evidence Act, questions can be raised about the deposition of an immoral victim.The Supreme Court advocate Shahdeen Malik said rape offence has nothing to do with whether the girl is moral or immoral.The section actually has added to the harassment of the victim, he observes.The victim has to recount before the court how she was raped. The special law of 2000 to prevent repression of women and children dictates, if the victim wants or the court decides it appropriate, then it can hold a closed-door hearing or camera trial in rape cases.Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, an experienced lawyer in criminal cases, doubts the number of petitions ever filed over this.”The PP should ensure the closed door hearing. It is the PP who must save the plaintiff from obscene questions of the defence party. And, it is the judge’s responsibility to save the victim from being humiliated.”The security of the witness is also a crucial factor in case of the defence party’s strong political liaison and wealth.Haunted by fearThe girl was 16-17 years old in 2013. She lived with her parents in Dhaka and was training in tailoring. One of her friends took her to the river Buriganga river for a boat ride one day.Three men from another boat forcefully boarded their boat and took them to a solitary char (river island). They raped her after tying up her friend. Later, seven more men raped her in turns.The girl was bleeding and injured all over. One of the rapists took her to his home. The girl told her sister everything over phone. Her sister came and admitted her to hospital. She also filed a case with Keraniganj police station alleging gang rape.The physician got rape evidence. The detailed statement the victim presented before the magistrate was horrific.The police arrested seven perpetrators. Two of them came up with a statement to the magistrate that the girl’s friend had negotiated to hand over her to them for Tk 1,500 and the girl also had consent.In this case, 10 persons including the friend were indicted. The tribunal-1 has completed recording testimonies by four witnesses. But, neither the girl nor anyone in the family showed up in court. The lawyers said they were not attending in fear of the defendants.When the Prothom Alo correspondent went to the family’s rented quarters in Dhaka, one of the relatives of the landlord said, they left the place soon after the incident. No member of the family could be traced even at her village when the correspondent went there too.’False’ caseAminul Haque Ghani, who moved as a defence lawyer in a number of such cases, says, “Most of the rape cases currently running in the court are to harass people.”The special law of 2000 to prevent repression of women and children has given right to file a counter case. But, such examples are rare.The additional DIG of CID police Sheikh Rezaul Haider said he had seen some false cases filed due to land disputes in villages.The DMP deputy commissioner Monalisa Begum added that most of the rape cases were genuine. There were exceptions in the cases connected with ‘relationships’ and ‘rape’ she added. “These cases are complicated in character.”Relationships and promises of marriageThe Women and Children Repression Prevention Act-2000 has defined rape after the section 375 of the 1860 criminal procedure code. It states that, rape involves intercourse with someone other than one’s wife, and over the age of 16, by force or by deception.Intercourse with a girl under 16 years of age is always a rape. Though, it is different in case of a wife. If she is not under 13 the penal code does not have any scope to considering this as a rape.Many of the police officers and PPs have questions on the issue of cheating. This section is used for accusations of rape on making promises of marriage.PP Abdul Bari has seen many such cases being filed long after the crime. If the woman is an adult, she claims she was picked up, bluffed that marriage was on the cards, and then raped. As a long time elapses following the incident, no evidence is found.Bari said, “It becomes evident that they lived together willingly. The defendant then says, nothing happened by force.” So the case cannot stand and settlements take place.A mother, in a case filed in 2008, complained that a youth known to their family raped her daughter who was a garments factory worker, after promising to marry her. They rented a house in Kamrangichar of the capital. The mother filed a case after the girl had conceived.The girl’s mother and brother said the girl gave birth to a baby while the case was under trial. They settled the matter with the rapist as he agreed to marry her.As per the settlement, no one went to testify before the court. But the youth left the girl once the Tribunal-2 acquitted him from the case in 2016.Now he does not even bear the child’s maintenance costs.Reality of settlementPP Abdul Bari said, he has seen the instances of acquittal in cases even though there were evidence of gang rape of a minor girl by her “lover” and his “friends”.Most of the rape victims come from impoverished families. They settle the matter outside court. In some cases, they either testify that no such incident happened or they do not even come forward to testify.Human rights lawyers said the pressure to negotiate intensifies once the trial procedure delays. The families of victims face different kinds of pressure, to which they ultimately give in.Dhaka district and session judge court public prosecutor (PP) Khandaker Abdul Mannan said practice of such settlement should be stopped by any means.The state or prosecution should strictly oversee the matter so that rape cases are not settled outside the court. Even the court should declare the witness as hostile if s/he tries to testify in favour of the accused.Settlement benefits allInvestigating some cases, Prothom Alo finds that complainants are not the only ones seeking arbitration or settlement processes. And such arrangements are lucrative for the third parties as well.Advocate Maksuda said powerful quarters like local political leaders and elected members of union council generally lobby for the accused. Police and prosecutors remain active in favour of the accused in police stations and courts. They sometimes arrange marriage between the accused and victim. They are financially benefitted from the settlement.Tribunal-5 PP Ali Asghar claimed they remain in the darkness about the settlement.“Defendants think that if we inform the PP, s/he would intervene. And the plaintiff thinks PP would ask for money if s/he knows about the matter.”He, however, agrees sometimes three parties get involved in the settlement process.“If someone is dishonest, it is solely his personal choice,” he added.Former inspector general of police Nur Muhammad says, there is no scope of denying allegations of bribery or unlawful transactions for detouring a case. And both the parties, those who take and those who give, are responsible for this. He thinks strong supervision by senior police officials could improve the situation.Lawyer Shahdeen Malik believes the state can easily hasten the process of justice. But it does not bother meting out justice for those poor women.No one cares!A 12-year-old girl was raped in 1999. She lived with her aunt in a slum in Dhaka. One day a neighbour took her to some security guards of a building. Two guards raped her on the rooftop of the house.  Then another man raped her.Police arrested four persons following the filing of a gang rape case with Gulshan police station.Tribunal-2 began the trial in 2002. But after 17 years, all the accused got acquitted as the police and PP failed to produce any witness. By the time, one accused died.What about the girl?Nobody knows as her details are not written anywhere. Her fading fingerprinted signature at the end of the case complaint remains to be the only proof that once she was there.*The report, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla print edition, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza, Toriqul Islam, Nusrat Nowrin and Galib Ashraflast_img read more

No gas price hike in present situation BERC

first_imgNo hike of gas price now: BERC. File PhotoBangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on Tuesday said it scrapped the decision of enhancing gas price ‘considering the overall situation’ in the country.The watchdog body announced its decision at a press conference at the commission office in the capital city, reports UNB.“In the present situation we find no reason to raise the gas price”, said BERC chairman Monwar Islam while briefing newsmen.He, however, did not directly respond to the question that there is a perception the commission this time did not hike gas price because of the advice of the prime minister Sheikh Hasina ahead of the general elections.Monwar said the distribution companies appealed for price hike calculating import of 1000 mmcfd LNG gas. But currently, LNG could only supply 300 mmcfd.Secondly, he said, NBR has given supplementary duty waiver on import of LNG.”That’s why we don’t allow raising gas price”, he said.Other commissioners were also present at the briefing.Commission member Mohammad Abdul Aziz, however, said that the government would have to provide Tk 3000 as subsidy to the distribution companies to cover the loss that they will incur due to the import of LNG.He said the commission would ask to provide Tk 1400 from short support fund.He said the commission will consider price hike when the 1000 mmcfd LNG will be supplied to the national network.Earlier, all the eight state-owned downstream entities in gas sector — six distribution companies, one transmission and an LNG marketing company — had appealed to the BERC seeking an average 75 per cent hike on the existing gas prices for different consumer groups except the household and commercial ones.The upward price revision was sought for industrial consumers, power plants, fertiliser factories, captive power plants, and CNG refuelling stations.The distribution companies are Titas Gas Transmission & Distribution Company Limited (Tatas Gas T&D), Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Limited (BGDCL), Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Limited, Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited and Sundarbans Gas Company Limited (SGCL).While participating in the hearing, the gas entities argued that as per the government decision they had to submit their respective price hike proposals because of the high import cost of LNG as it will push up their cost substantially.The Petrobangla started supplying the imported LNG to national gas network from 18 August through re-gasification by private sector-operated floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU).Officials said currently 300 mmcfd gas is being supplied from LNG and it will go up to 500 mmcfd in a month or two and then 1000 mmcfd gas will be flowed from next year as per a government plan.last_img read more

Most top govt officials corrupt Mahathir

first_imgMalaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. ReutersMalaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who staged a stunning election upset earlier this year to return to power aged 92, said he inherited a government lousy with corruption and with few trustworthy officials, reports CNN.”From outside we saw the damage, but we never expected the damage to be so extensive,” he told CNN at his offices in Putrajaya, south of the capital Kuala Lumpur. “Most of the top echelons in the government are corrupt.”Mahathir’s predecessor and former protege Najib Razak has been charged with multiple counts of corruption for allegedly embezzling millions in public money from Malaysia’s 1MDB fund.”I have to work with some of those people who are suspect,” Mahathir said. “It’s a very difficult job, if you don’t work with people you trust, you don’t know whether what you want them to do will be done or not.”Malaysia ranked 62 of 180 countries in Transparency International’s most recent global corruption index, with the NGO’s local affiliate warning that corrupt officials have been able to “stash their ill-gotten gains in their house or foreign banks and invest them in luxurious mansions, expensive cars or lavish lifestyle for their children with total impunity and in blatant disregard for the citizens they are supposed to serve.”As well as widespread corruption and the case against Najib, Mahathir is also facing significant foreign policy challenges, as Malaysia faces a more aggressive China and the fallout from US president Donald Trump’s trade war.Succession plansNow 93, Mahathir is the world’s oldest leader, 21 years older than Trump and more than twice the age of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.Credited with turning Malaysia into a major trading and economic force in Southeast Asia, Mahathir left politics in 2003, but he returned with a vengeance this year, determined to oust Najib, who he blasted as corrupt and dictatorial.To do so, he teamed up with former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who Mahathir himself once jailed, to lead a coalition of opposition parties which succeeded in toppling Najib in a landslide.Now Mahathir is back at the seat of power: literally, his staff said he uses the same desk as during his previous premiership.Soon after the win, Anwar, who had been in prison on sodomy charges, received a royal pardon, and both men have talked of him eventually replacing Mahathir as prime minister.”If the condition for us working together is my serving as prime minister for two years or three years, for me that is not important,” Mahathir said. “I will abide by the wishes of the people.”He said his personal opinion of Anwar did not matter — “I have to trust him whether I like it or not. I can’t be here all the time.” — though he added if “people want me to serve” beyond the time agreed with his coalition partners, then he would stay in power.Anwar is expected to run in a by-election in the near future in an effort to rejoin parliament, allowing him to replace Mahathir as prime minister.Caught between China and USMahathir’s keenness to remain in office may be lessened once he begins the task of tackling the many challenges — both at home and overseas — facing his government.Najib had pulled Kuala Lumpur close to Beijing, signing up to Chinese president Xi Jinping’s much vaunted Belt and Road trade and infrastructure initiative.Mahathir, however, has so far appeared more cautious.This month, Malaysia canceled a multibillion-dollar China-backed rail project after a government assessment found it was some $20 billion over budget.”We have always been friendly with China,” Mahathir told CNN. “There’s a saying, ‘the powerful will take what they will, the weak will yield what they must.'”Referring to Beijing’s increasingly assertive behaviour in the South China Sea — which it claims almost all of as its territory, including islands claimed by Malaysia — he added “we cannot go to war with them.””They are more powerful, and we cannot fight against them, (so) how do we benefit from their wealth and their power? That’s what we are looking at now,” Mahathir said. “We have to accept the reality of the situation.”He accused China of seeking to “spread its influence using the money that it has,” and said while China-backed mega projects are welcome in Malaysia, he didn’t want the government or businesses to be reliant on borrowing Chinese money.Some experts have warned Belt and Road projects may pile debt onto smaller countries, putting China in a strong position to influence their strategic decisions or even gain control of important infrastructure.Mahathir’s second major foreign policy concern is the other Pacific power: The United States. He has previously criticised Trump as a bully and expressed concern he could destabilise the region’s security or economy.”Trade war does not do anything good for the world,” he said of Trump’s recent economic policies.”He asked for things which are quite, quite unacceptable. For example, he wants to build a wall to separate Mexico from the US, and he is asking the Mexicans to pay. It’s your project, you pay! But is it because he thinks he’s powerful so he can ask people to pay for what he wants to do? So how do you deal with that kind of mindset?”He added that a trade war would hurt everyone: “The US will lose, China will lose, the whole world will lose. War and trade wars (don’t) solve any problems.”Terrorism threatMalaysian security concerns aren’t limited to Chinese warships in the South China Sea. Like many of its neighbors, Kuala Lumpur has faced a growing threat of Islamic terrorism, fueled by returnees from the Middle East and the proliferation of groups affiliated with the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.Last year, an ISIS-allied militant group was driven out of the southern Philippines city of Marawi by a concerted military campaign. The group included multiple Malaysians, including financier Mahmud Ahmad, considered one of Malaysia’s most influential jihadists and the assumed source of funding for the Marawi operation.Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia have been stepping up security cooperation, particularly in the largely ungoverned border areas where militant groups are known to shelter.”It is a threat to our country but you know, we tried to counter terrorism with very sophisticated ways and all that using new technology to fight terrorism, but terrorism has a reason, it has a cause,” Mahathir said. “You have to (tackle the) cause of terrorism, if you can tackle the cause and remove it, then there won’t be terrorism.”He added that no one can win a guerrilla war, which “can only be fought within the hearts and minds of the people,” and blamed extremist religious leaders for fueling violence.”Islam that you see today is not actually the Islam that is taught by the religion. It is the Islam interpreted by certain powerful people, leaders, scholars and all that,” Mahathir said. “Islam of the Quran is a very moderate Islam. (It) calls upon all Muslims to be brothers, it forbids killing, but (they) are doing all those things which are forbidden by Islam.”last_img read more

Dozens of Texas Districts Must Improve Failing Schools – Or Outside Managers

first_img Share Dozens of school districts across Texas — including Houston — are currently on track to face tough, new sanctions, if their elected officials don’t improve chronically failing schools by next August.The Texas Education Commissioner could replace the school boards in all those districts, following a tough “no excuses” law passed by state lawmakers in 2015.“It changes our focus from the level of the campus to the absolute top — where I think needs to be  — sort of school boards and superintendents,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath at a hearing last August.The option to install a board of managers has been available to the commissioner before. But it’s usually reserved for districts with widespread academic struggles as well as financial mismanagement.This law, known as House Bill 1842, allows the commissioner to appoint outside managers if a district has even one campus that chronically fails the state’s standards for five or more years. Then, the district’s elected officials could face the consequences – and lose their jobs.News 88.7 analyzed the data from the Texas Education Agency and found more than forty districts that could see an outside board of managers as early as next year, if their school ratings don’t change by 2018.On the list: the Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio districts.“The stakes are going to be very high this year. If districts don’t begin to see some improvements, then some of those more difficult choices under the law are going to start to come into play,” said David Thompson, an attorney with the firm Thompson and Horton.The Houston Independent School District could end up becoming the poster child for the law’s sanctions and strict timeline. It’s the biggest district in Texas, with more than 200,000 students and a $2 billion budget. Plus, it has the most schools — more than a dozen — that have missed the state’s standards for three or more years. In Texas education parlance, they’re labeled “improvement required.”“While I think it’s unfair, it’s also incumbent upon us to do our jobs. And one school with multiple years of (improvement required) is too many,” said HISD trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones.She represents Kashmere High School, which has failed state standards for the last seven years. That’s the worst record of any campus in the state. Several other campuses in her district in Northeast Houston are struggling to meet state standards as well.Laura Isensee/Houston Public MediaStudents on a youth council and members of a community board helped create a new Kashmere Success Center on campus to provide wrap-around services for students. The marching band celebrated the opening in 2016.Other HISD schools that have persistently missed state standards: Wheatley and Worhing high schools.“And so I think it’s critical that we move the needle for these kids. But more importantly, for the kids. Not because we need to stay compliant with the law,” Skillern-Jones added.Some intermediate steps spelled out in the law have already happened, primarily two-year turnaround plans for the struggling campuses.But the clock is ticking for districts to improve all the chronically failing campuses – or face the consequences.“This bill is designed on a fundamental basis of what gets measured, gets fixed,” said state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston.“You know, is it going to be eight years? Is it going to be 12 years? You just can’t look the other way anymore.”And now, Texas education officials are watching closely.“I don’t think we can sit back and kind of arm-chair quarterback and complain about under-performing teachers at  an individual campus when in fact it’s the leadership at the district level that sets the stages whether they can succeed or not,” Morath told Bettencourt and other senators last year.Morath previously was a school board trustee himself in Dallas, until Gov. Greg Abbott named him the state’s education chief.“I used to quip when I was on the school board before that, you know, there are not enough layers in the bureaucracy to protect teachers from our foolishness,” Morath said. X 00:00 /04:03 00:00 /01:11 Listen center_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen X Across Texas, local voters elect their board of trustees, who then hire the superintendent, guide policy and set the budget for their local public schools.That’s why some view the risk of an outside board of managers as an extreme option.Thompson described it as an “almost nuclear option of the governance of an entire community’s schools.”“If you think about it, you’re not just telling the school board, ‘We don’t think you’re doing a good job.’ You’re literally telling a community, ‘We don’t think you as a community are capable of governing yourselves,’” he explained.The Texas Education Agency declined to comment for this story, saying they had to wait until the agency officially releases 2017 school ratings later this month.But Thompson said that he’s concerned Texas is ratcheting up sanctions while it shrinks financial support.“Setting standards or requirements and then not providing the means to meet those requirements isn’t accountability. It is simply punishment,” he said.“And there is a lot of concern among school districts that – to use an old Texas phrase – the state is all hat and no cattle.”The commissioner could choose another option. Instead of suspending elected officials, he could close low-performing campuses.Laura IsenseeIn HISD, and other Texas independent school districts, local voters elect trustees to direct policy, set budgets and hire the superintendent.In Houston, HISD trustee Skillern-Jones said that she would rather lose her job than close a school like Kashmere High.“Put in a board of managers and that affects nine board members’ lives,” she said. “You close the school down, especially one like Kashmere, you affect 500 families and kids. And I think that’s not the correct action to take.”Because, she said, when schools close, the community suffers and poverty snowballs even more.School districts like Houston will know more where they stand after the state released the 2017 school accountability ratings later this month.Some districts could improve and escape the risk of a state take-over.For others that still have persistently low-performing schools, the pressure could increase, because then, the process to appoint a board of managers – or close campuses – will ramp up with one more year of low ratings in 2018. Houston ISDNews 88.7 found more than 40 Texas school districts that could see an outside board of managers as early as next year, if their school ratings don’t change by 2018.last_img read more

IRMA UPDATE Nearly 125 Million Without Power In Florida

first_imgThe Latest on Irma (all times local):6:30 p.m.Florida emergency management officials estimate nearly 12.5 million residents remain without power.The updated number came during a briefing on Monday evening at the state’s emergency management center in Tallahassee.Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irma has left 62 percent of customers without power.Of the 6.5 million reported outages, nearly a third are in South Florida. Nineteen of Florida’s 67 counties report more than 100,000 outages.The biggest outages are in Miami-Dade County (801,648) followed by Broward (629,134) and Palm Beach (505,520). Hendry County in the southwest part of the state is the only county listing 100 percent outages.___6 p.m.Authorities are reporting the first death in South Carolina related to Tropical Storm Irma.Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley said 57-year-old Charles Saxon was cleaning limbs and debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls around 3 p.m. Monday when a limb fell on him.Ashely said in a news release that Saxon died at the scene. An autopsy has been ordered.The National Weather Service says winds in the area were gusting to around 40 mph (65 kph) at the time Saxon was killed. Calhoun Falls is located 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Greenville, South Carolina.___5:30 p.m.Irma’s eye has finally left Florida and exited the state as a weak tropical storm with 50-mph (85-kph) winds.The National Hurricane Center says the storm’s center is over southwestern Georgia, about 10 miles (15 kilometers) east of Albany. It is forecast to take a northwest turn Tuesday morning, moving into Alabama.It is zipping north-northwest at 17 mph (28 kph) It is still a 415-mile (665-kilometers) wide storm.Some, but not all, storm warnings in Florida have been discontinued, but storm surge is still expected along western Florida and from around Daytona Beach to South Carolina. South Carolina, Alabama and north central Georgia are expected to get 3 to 6 inches (7 to 15 centimeters) of rain with spots hitting 10 inches (25 centimeters). Northern Mississippi and southern Tennessee and parts of North Carolina are forecast to get 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain.___5 p.m.Officials say the 42-bridge roadway that connects the Florida Keys to each other and the mainland must be checked for safety before motorists can be allowed back onto the islands.Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that once officials are able to inspect, and to clear debris and sand from the Overseas Highway, it should be usable again.___5 p.m.Officials are reporting a second death in Georgia related to Tropical Storm Irma.Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said the death was confirmed Monday in Sandy Springs, north of Atlanta. She said she had no further details.The storm is also being blamed for the death of a 62-year-old man in rural southwest Georgia. Worth County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kannetha Clem said the man use a ladder to climb onto a shed Monday morning as sustained winds in the county exceeded 40 mph (65 kph).Clem says the man’s wife called 911 saying he suffered a heart attack, and first responders found his body lodged between two beams on the shed’s roof with debris on top of him.The dead man’s name was not immediately released.___4 p.m.At least one of the Orlando, Florida, theme parks popular with tourists around the world has plans to reopen now that Hurricane Irma has moved out of the state.Universal Orlando said Monday that all three of its parks will reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Universal was closed down ahead of Irma.Universal said its facility suffered relatively minor damage to fences, trees and building facades.Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said Monday that they assessing damage and would announce their reopening plans later. All three theme parks said they never lost power. Sea World also said all of its animals are safe.___3:45 p.m.As South Carolina’s governor was issuing warnings about Tropical Storm Irma for the state’s residents, the storm toppled a massive oak tree on an apartment building he owns.Gov. Henry McMaster says the tree fell on a building he owns in Columbia around noon Monday.McMaster says the college students living at the apartments are safe. The governor says “no one suspected it might fall,” but the tree destroyed two apartments in the two-story building.The Columbia Fire Department says the fallen tree has left up to eight people without a home, but no one was injured.One displaced resident told WIS-TV the tree crashed through her apartment to the one below, taking furniture with it.___3:30 p.m.Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the Navy has deployed the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to help with search and rescue and “a lot of other things” in the state.Scott says he flew over the Keys and saw a lot of flood damage and boats that had washed ashore.He says there is “devastation” and he hopes everyone who stayed behind survived Irma. He said almost every mobile home park in the Keys had overturned homes.Scott also flew over the west coast of Florida on Monday and said the damage was not as bad as he thought it would be.__3:30 p.m.President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser says Irma is still a dangerous storm despite being downgraded to a tropical depression.Tom Bossert says while Irma’s category of strength may have been reduced, its combined effects might replicate that of a more powerful storm. Irma was once rated at Category 5 storm, the most powerful on record.Bossert notes that Jacksonville, Florida, is experiencing some of the worst flooding it has seen in 100 years.He says Tennessee and Kentucky, both targets as Irma moves to the U.S. interior, could experience inland flooding.Bossert says his message to the millions of Floridians who evacuated before the storm hit is not to rush back home because conditions are still dangerous.3:20 p.m.Georgia officials say at least one person has been killed by Tropical Storm Irma.Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said Monday that one storm-related death has been confirmed in Worth County, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south of Atlanta. She had no further details.The county is located in southwest Georgia, where Irma’s center was churning northwestward toward Alabama on Monday afternoon. With tropical storm winds extending more than 400 miles (640 kilometers) from its center, Irma has caused damage across the state from trees falling on inland homes to flooding in neighborhoods on the Georgia coast.The storm has also been blamed for one death in Florida. At least 36 people died in the storm’s wake across the Caribbean.___3 p.m.Communities along the Georgia coast are seeing extensive flooding from Tropical Storm Irma.Irma’s storm surge pushed water ashore at the high tide Monday afternoon, and heavy rainfall made the flooding even worse. On Tybee Island east of Savannah, Hollard Zellers saw waist-deep water in the street as he went to fetch a kayak.About 3,000 people live on Tybee Island, which is Georgia’s largest public beach. City manager Shawn Gillen said the waters seemed to be receding quickly, but most of the island appeared to have some level of flooding and water was in many homes.Storm surge also sent floodwaters into downtown St. Marys just north of the Georgia-Florida line. St. Marys police Lt. Shannon Brock said piers and boat docks were heavily damaged and many boats sunk.___3 p.m.A massive sinkhole opened up at the edge of an apartment building in Orange County, Florida, swallowing air-conditioning units and bushes and a concrete slab. The sinkhole destabilized the building so seriously that firefighters evacuated dozens of residents amid the hurricane’s winds and pouring rain.Ronnie Ufie heard a loud bang and her 6-year-old grandson saw sparks shoot up behind the building, then their power flickered out.The fire alarm started screaming.Ernest Almonor, who lives next door to Ufie, ran outside but saw no fire and went back inside.But firefighters arrived and told them they had to leave the building. Ufie, who cares for her two young grandsons, grabbed some coloring books and crayons and headed through the rain for a neighbor’s house.But most residents, around 25 people, ended up scrambling through the storm to hunker for the night in the complex’s clubhouse.___3 p.m.Dutch King Willem-Alexander has flown to St. Maarten to see firsthand the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma on the tiny Caribbean territory and express gratitude to relief workers struggling to deliver aid and start the process of rebuilding shattered communities.Images broadcast by Dutch news outlets showed the king, wearing sunglasses and a khaki shirt with the sleeves rolled up, touring the badly damaged Princess Juliana International Airport . The airport, named for his grandmother, has become a vital hub for flights bringing in relief supplies as well as a gathering point for tourists and residents waiting to leave the island in the aftermath of last week’s devastating direct hit by Irma.Later Monday, the king was scheduled to visit the hospital in the capital, Philipsburg, and a school that is being used as a coordination center for distributing aid. Willem-Alexander also was expected to meet police and troops who have been struggling to maintain order on St. Maarten, where widespread looting broke out after Irma had passed.St. Maarten is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but has had broad autonomy since 2010.After spending the night in St. Maarten, the king is flying Tuesday to two nearby Dutch islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, which also were hit by Irma, but suffered less damage.___2:30 p.m.State and federal environmental regulators have issued a blanket waiver for Florida electricity companies to violate clean air and water standards for the next two weeks.The Environmental Protection Agency announced the decision in a letter issued Monday as Hurricane Irma blew through the state. The agency said the so-called No Action Assurance granted through Sept. 26 will provide Florida utility generators needed flexibility to maintain and restore electricity supplies.The assurance letter will allow utilities to operate outside restrictions mandated by their permits, including potentially using dirtier fuels, running for longer hours or electively bypassing pollution-control equipment.The Associated Press reported last week that air pollution levels spiked in the Houston area after a similar enforcement waiver was granted to petrochemical facilities ahead of Hurricane Harvey.___2 p.m. In Florida, Hurricane Irma has brought dangerous floodwaters, knocked out power to millions and turned human possessions into debris in the past 24 hours. After making landfall on Sunday, the huge storm remained a Category 1 hurricane as it moved over the state’s northwest early Monday, before finally being downgraded to a tropical storm.Irma has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, with stronger gusts. At 2 p.m. ET, Irma’s center was about 50 miles south-southeast of Albany, Ga., and 55 miles east of Tallahassee.National Hurricane CenterIrma is now a tropical storm — but it still poses severe flooding threats across Florida and into neighboring states. The storm’s predicted path is seen here in forecasters’ 11 a.m. ET release.Flash flood warnings have been issued in Jacksonville — a victim, like other eastern Florida areas, of the heaviest rains that are commonly found in hurricanes’ northeast quarter. Flood and tornado warnings have been issued for parts of coastal Georgia and South Carolina.More than 6 million electricity accounts in Florida are currently without power, state officials say. While the full extent of Irma’s damage isn’t yet known, the storm has weakened at a faster rate than expected.As the sun rose Monday, many Floridians anxiously began to assess the damage wrought by the hurricane, either inspecting their houses and neighborhoods for themselves or contacting those who stayed behind.Full radar loop showing the trek of Hurricane #IRMA through the #FL peninsula since very early Sunday morning. #flwx #NWS #NHC pic.twitter.com/IgEJZ2gexU— NWS Tampa Bay (@NWSTampaBay) September 11, 2017For those caught in Irma’s path — and wondering what to do after it passes — member station WLRN in Miami has assembled a guide to help.Irma was a hurricane for part of 12 days, having been dubbed a hurricane on Aug. 31, when it was far from land in the Atlantic Ocean. For days, it was a Category 5 storm, wreaking havoc in the Caribbean, where recovery efforts are still underway.On Monday morning, the storm brought storm surge risks as high as 4 to 6 feet above normal water levels in parts of Florida. Irma was also extending tropical-storm-force winds outward up 415 miles, the National Hurricane Center says.The perilous storm and the massive evacuation it sparked were reflected in an unusual scene in Florida early Monday, when the state’s skies were empty of airliners. A screenshot taken by journalist Sam Sweeney shows, as he wrote, “not a single airplane over the state of Florida.”7:24am EST Monday– There is not a single airplane over the state of Florida. pic.twitter.com/fWGwU5VkFP— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) September 11, 2017Irma is moving north-northwest at nearly 17 mph — a motion that’s expected to continue through Tuesday. The storm’s center is forecast to move near the Florida Peninsula’s northwestern coast and cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia Monday afternoon. It will then move through southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama through the night and into Tuesday. National Hurricane CenterHurricane Jose, which had shadowed part of Irma’s route toward the Leeward Islands, has veered off north, as expected — but forecasters say the storm will follow an odd curlicue path over the next several days, putting it south of its current position and possibly threatening parts of the Bahamas this weekend.When it arrived in Florida, Irma was more than 400 miles wide; the storm remains huge. Consider that when it made landfall at the bottom of Florida’s peninsula on Sunday, Irma’s thick bands of rain were already drenching parts of northern Florida and southern Georgia.Hurricane Irma made landfall twice in Florida on Sunday, smacking into the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm before moving over water and hitting Marco Island as a Category 3 on Florida’s southwest coast.Here are some of the stories we’re seeing in Florida:JacksonvilleThe city has already seen bad flooding, as the St. Johns River overflowed its banks — and it’s going to get worse around 2 p.m., when high tide will come, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says.Historic flood levels already. Levels will continue to rise. Expect 4-6 feet above normal high tide levels. You need to be concerned. https://t.co/doN3zYLezh— Jax Sheriff’s Office (@JSOPIO) September 11, 2017The sheriff’s office writes Monday morning: “Historic flood levels already. Levels will continue to rise. Expect 4-6 feet above normal high tide levels. You need to be concerned.”Officials had been calling for people to leave areas along the St. Johns River, and to contact emergency numbers for help leaving. To those who didn’t leave, the sheriff’s office says, “If you can’t get out, you need to get to a house with a second story.”Key WestThe far-flung island lost power and phone connections, but some news began to emerge from Key West late Sunday night. Photographer Rob O’Neal relayed an account of damage, highlighted by flooding, and downed trees and utility poles. Some buildings had also lost their rooftops.“Counted 10-20 utility lines & 20 trees down in Oldtown. Downed trees & tree limbs scattered throughout KW. Counted at least 100 ppl walking around outside after eye wall passed,” O’Neal said.“Heaviest damage from Marathon to Lower Keys,” O’Neal said.Thousands of people are believed to have resisted mandatory evacuation orders to stay in the Keys. Sunday night, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew for the Keys.OnlinePeople in the hurricane’s path are using a Facebook group to check in and mark themselves as safe, with nearly 400,000 people in the group as of Monday morning, offering peace of mind to loved ones and giving a hint at this storm’s reach.Members of the group also used it to commiserate, share tips, and vent their feelings about Irma.As the sun rose Monday, they also shared some of what they’re seeing. A sample, from Davenport, in central Florida, where Benjamin McKinney wrote:“Walked around to check out my yard. The neighbor’s screen patio was torn off and is laying in the street. The stop sign on the corner is missing. The neighbor behind us fence is down. We’re missing some pieces from our roof overhang. Our boughanvilla bush was uprooted and pulled our fence out. Nothing too crazy.”TampaAs the storm approached, it sucked water out of Tamp Bay and other areas, prompting curious residents to head out onto the muddy ground — and, in at least are, to rescue stranded manatees.The hurricane center warned on Sunday, “Don’t be fooled by low water conditions on the FL W coast ahead of Irma, water will rapidly surge back when the winds change direction.”Around midday on Monday, the National Weather Service office in Tampa extended flood warnings for at least 10 rivers, saying they’re close to flood levels — and will rise further.“Significant river flooding will continue over the next several days as heavy rainfall from Hurricane Irma drains into West Central Florida rivers,” the agency says.OrlandoFrom member station WMFE:“Florida Highway Patrol said they’re seeing too many people out ‘sightseeing’ and not obeying the curfew. FHP reports trees are down and there’s standing water from the exit ramps at 528 to 520. Those ramps have been closed in both directions… “FHP says traffic’s starting to build up on 95 and the Turnpike southbound. They expect traffic to pick up as the day goes on and people want to go home and check out their property. Officials say people can’t enter the Keys, so evacuees need to stay put.”MiamiThe city is focusing on clearing roads of debris trees, and sand — in some areas, parts of the beach have been pushed over roadways. Mayor Tomás Regalado said 72 percent of the city of Miami is currently without power, NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang reports. Police report at least 26 looting incidents, with 13 arrests made.“At one time, Miami was dead in the center of the track, and could have been hit very hard,” NPR’s Jon Hamiton says on Morning Edition. But today, Jon says, much of the city looks “surprisingly normal” — at least out toward the airport.“I have seen a whole lot of power trucks going by on the freeway out here,” Jon adds. “There’s still water on the ground in places, they’re picking up lots of palm fronds, but the city looks like it’s getting back in business.”Miami International Airport saw wind gusts near 100 mph and “sustained significant water damage throughout,” the airport director, Emilio Gonzalez, said via Twitter. The facility is closed to passenger flights at least through Monday.RT StevePetyerak: #Irma evacuees emptying out GermainArena in Estero, FL pic.twitter.com/V3WZdugcMR— Zachary’s Weather (@ZacharysWeather) September 11, 20179:45 a.m.Actress Kristen Bell says she’s “singing in a hurricane” while riding out Irma in Florida.The “Frozen” star is in Orlando filming a movie and staying at a hotel at the Walt Disney World resort. She stopped by an Orlando middle school that was serving as a shelter and belted out songs from “Frozen.”Back at the hotel, Bell posted pictures on Instagram of her singing with one guest and dining with a group of seniors.Bell also helped out the parents of “Frozen” co-star Josh Gad by securing them a room at the hotel.Bell tells Sacramento, California, station KMAX-TV — where her father is news director — that the experience is her version of one of her favorite movies, “Singin’ in the Rain.”___9:30 a.m.People are being rescued from flooded homes Monday morning south of Jacksonville, Florida, as Tropical Storm Irma pounds the state with rain and wind.John Ward, the emergency operations manager of Clay County, says crews have pulled 46 people from flooded homes by early Monday and an undetermined number are still stranded as the area’s creeks and ponds are getting record flooding.Ward says between 400 and 500 homes received severe flood damage but there have been no serious injuries or deaths.Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning, a day after hitting the state as a powerful Category 4 hurricane.WATCH: Police in Lakeland, Florida, show high winds and rain in the city right now as the eye of Hurricane #Irma moves through the area. pic.twitter.com/6PrNyDS3lN— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 11, 2017___9:05 a.m.An Atlanta airport official says there’ve been around 800 cancellations due to the threat of Irma, which weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning.Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil says the airport will still be operational Monday and will monitor storm conditions.Gobeil says the airport created an overflow parking plan to allow planes unable to land in areas such as Florida to park at the airport in Atlanta.Also in Atlanta, the city’s transit system has suspended all bus and rail service ahead of the weather conditions caused by Irma.Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority spokesman Erik Burton says both systems will be closed for Monday. He says officials will continue to coordinate with state and local officials along with emergency personnel to determine MARTA’s service schedule for Tuesday.___9:05 a.m.Much of central Florida, including Orlando, suffered significant damage as Irma blew through Sunday night and into Monday morning.Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said Monday morning that there’s been widespread damage and significant power loss throughout the area.Jacobs said approximately 300,000 residents in Orlando are without power. She also said 60 percent of the fire stations are operating on backup generators and dispatchers received 1,381 calls between Sunday at midnight and 5:45 a.m. Monday morning.Residents are being asked to minimize usage such as flushing toilets, bathing, along with washing dishes and laundry.___8:30 a.m.Irma is causing record-setting flooding in Jacksonville, Florida, as it moves over the state Monday on its way to southern Georgia.The National Weather Service in Jacksonville says storm surge flooding exceeds the record set in 1965 during Hurricane Dora.The city on Florida’s northeastern Atlantic coast remains under a flash flood warning until 12:45 p.m. Monday.Jacksonville Sheriff’s officials warned residents not to drive through standing water, adding that in addition to flooding, there are trees and power lines down across the area.Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning, a day after hitting the state as a Category 4 hurricane.___8:30 a.m.Florida Gov. Rick Scott says there’s damage across the state caused by Hurricane Irma and it’s still too dangerous for residents to go outside or return from evacuation.Scott said Monday on Fox News that he’s concerned about flooding now unfolding in Jacksonville and the amount of damage in the Florida Keys. The governor will be flying out of Mobile, Alabama, on a U.S. Coast Guard plane down to the Keys where he plans to inspect the extent of the damage there.Local officials in the Keys on Sunday warned of a humanitarian crisis due to Irma’s winds and storm surge.Scott asked Floridians to be patient and warned that roads are impassable and that there are downed power lines.___8:30 a.m.Two children evacuated from Florida as Hurricane Irma approached have been killed in separate car crashes in Georgia.News outlets report Woodstock police say 3-month-old Riley Hunt of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was struck by an SUV driven by a 17-year-old girl Saturday night and was later pronounced dead. DeKalb County police say an 11-year-old boy who was also traveling from Florida to Georgia was hit and killed by a car early Monday in Stone Mountain.The identity of the boy hasn’t been released, and the cause of the crash is currently unknown.The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office says Hunt’s mother, 28-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt, and 61-year-old Kathy Deming were also hit and are listed in critical condition. The incident remains under investigation. No charges had been filed.___8 a.m.Irma has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves over Florida toward southern Georgia.The storm’s maximum sustained winds decreased Monday morning to near 70 mph (110 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says it’s expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.Irma is centered about 105 miles (170 kilometers) north-northwest of Tampa, Florida, and is moving north-northwest near 18 mph (30 kph).Irma hit southern Florida on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.___7:45 a.m.The National Guard and local fire rescue teams evacuated more than 120 flooding homes in Orange County, just outside Orlando, as Hurricane Irma moves over Florida.Trees and power lines were down across town and floods cut off roads to a neighborhood.As the sun rose in Orlando, many tried to go outside to survey the damage, but authorities warn that conditions remain dangerous and ask that people to abide by the curfew that lasts throughout most of the day.___7:45 a.m.Winds and rain from Hurricane Irma have moved into South Carolina and officials are warning residents to be very careful throughout the day.A hurricane watch is in effect Monday from Edisto Beach into Florida. A storm surge warning and a tropical storm warning are in effect from near Georgetown into Florida.A flash flood warning is in effect along the southern coast of South Carolina, where more than 40,000 were ordered to evacuate barrier islands.The storm surge could reach 6 feet (2 meters), especially from late morning to mid-afternoon. Up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain is also possible.Wind gusts of up to 60 mph (97 kph) are expected along the South Carolina coast. Forecasters say tornadoes are also possible.South Carolina Electric & Gas reported more than 13,000 customers without service Monday morning.___7:45 a.m.The European Union says it has released 2 million euros ($2.4 million) to help the Caribbean islands hit hardest by Hurricane Irma.EU’s humanitarian aid commissioner, Christos Stylianides, announced the assistance Monday, saying the money will go to key sectors such as health, water and sanitation and waste management.The EU has already been involved in the emergency relief effort, and Stylianides said the bloc stands ready to provide longer-term assistance as well. He called it “our moral duty to help those in need whose lives and homes are being destroyed or severely threatened.”___7:10 a.m.Nearly 4.5 million homes and businesses across Florida have lost power as Hurricane Irma moves over the state.And utility officials say it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. Farther north, more than 100,000 are in the dark in Georgia.Much of eastern Alabama and coastal South Carolina are under tropical storm warnings as Irma pummels Florida, weakening on its march northward.The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will cross Monday into southwest Georgia, where a hurricane warning was in effect for a large rural area including the cities of Albany and Valdosta.Rain already is falling in parts of the state, including metro Atlanta, early Monday.___7 a.m.Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says that while the city hasn’t escaped Hurricane Irma’s wrath, the situation isn’t as bad as they had feared.Speaking Monday morning on MSNBC, Buckhorn said “What we thought was going to be a punch in the face was a glancing blow.”Buckhorn did say there are a lot of downed power lines and debris.He said Tampa’s officials have vehicles positioned “to be sure that when that surge comes in we can keep people out of the streets.”He said he expected power to be out for some sections of Tampa for at least a couple more days.Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula after hitting the state Sunday as a Category 4 storm.___6:45 a.m.Police in Miami are investigating reports of people looting stores as Hurricane Irma hit the state.On Sunday night, Miami police took two people into custody and detained two others.Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera told the Miami Herald the officers went to the Shops at Midtown on Sunday afternoon as the winds of Hurricane Irma were at their strongest in South Florida. Cabrera says a group in a white truck hit multiple locations. Police have also received additional reports of looting in the city.Police had issued a curfew Saturday night, partly to ward off looters by giving officers probable cause to stop anyone for being on the street during the storm.Cabrera didn’t have specific details about the looting incidents.___6:45 a.m.The British government is defending its response to Hurricane Irma amid claims it has been slow to help its overseas territories devastated by the storm.The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands were all pummeled by the hurricane last week, leaving thousands without electricity or shelter.Opposition politicians have compared Britain’s response unfavorably to that of France, which has sent more than 1,000 troops, police and emergency workers to St. Martin and St. Barts.Britain has dispatched a navy ship and nearly 500 troops, including medics and engineers.Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday that Britain had responded strongly to an “unprecedented catastrophe.” He says the government will soon increase the 32 million pounds ($42 million) it’s pledged to the relief effort.___6:30 a.m.Police in Lakeland, Florida, say a family with small children was rescued from a car that was submerged in water as Hurricane Irma crossed the area.Lakeland police said in a Facebook post that officers rescued the family of four early Monday as water reached the children’s car seats. No one was injured and police were able to get the family back to their home.“When you become a police officer you hope to make a difference in the lives of others,” the Facebook post said. “Tonight, there is no doubt these officers made a difference.”Lakeland is between Tampa and Orlando, off of Interstate 4.Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula after hitting the state Sunday as a Category 4 storm.___6:30 a.m.A Florida sheriff’s sergeant and a paramedic were trapped in a sheriff’s vehicle when a live power pole fell on the cruiser as they were returning from dropping off an elderly patient as Hurricane Irma moved over the state.Polk County spokesman Kevin Watler said in a news release that Sgt. Chris Lynn and Polk County Fire Rescue paramedic James Tanner Schaill were trapped for about two hours late Sunday.Crews from Lakeland Electric crews disconnected the lines around 1:15 a.m. Monday. Both men have returned to their jobs to continue assisting hurricane recovery efforts.___6:10 a.m.More than 120 homes are being evacuated in Orange County, just outside Orlando, as floodwaters from Hurricane Irma started to pour in.The Orange County Emergency Operations Center said early Monday that the fire department and the National Guard are going door-to-door using boats to ferry families to safety. No injuries have been reported. The rescued families are being taken a shelter for safety.A few miles away, 30 others had to be evacuated when a 60-foot sinkhole opened up under an apartment building. No injuries were reported in that incident.Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula after hitting the state Sunday as a Category 4 storm.___5 a.m.Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula early Monday.Irma hit Florida on Sunday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, hammering much of the state with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.By Monday morning, Irma had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds near 85 mph (135 kph). Additional weakening is forecast and Irma is expected to become a tropical storm over northern Florida or southern Georgia later in the day.___4:45 a.m.Dutch search and rescue experts are heading to the shattered former colony of St. Maarten to support the humanitarian relief effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.A team of 59 urban search and rescue experts is flying Monday to the Dutch territory that’s home to some 40,000 people, where 70 percent of homes were badly damaged last week by a direct hit from the Category 5 storm. Four people were killed and dozens injured.The Dutch government also is sending extra troops to maintain order following widespread looting and robberies. The government says there are already nearly 400 extra troops in St. Maarten and that number will rise to some 550 over the next two days.Dutch King Willem-Alexander is expected to visit the island Monday to show his support for local residents and the emergency services working to restore infrastructure and begin the process of reconstruction.___2 a.m.Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm as the massive hurricane zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.The hurricane’s maximum sustained winds weakened to 85 mph (135 kph) with additional weakening expected.As of 2 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Tampa and moving north-northwest near 15 mph (24 kph).Irma continues its slog north along Florida’s western coast having blazed a path of unknown destruction. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many are holding their breath for what daylight might reveal.___An earlier version of this report, incorrectly said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s comments were made on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. Hurricane Jose is expected to make an unusual curlicue maneuver in the Atlantic as it passes north of Puerto Rico. By this weekend, it will be close to the northern Bahamas. Enlarge this image Sharelast_img read more

Comcast Boys Girls Clubs Create TechSavvy Seal for Youth

first_imgClub youth explore the newly-renovated technology center at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington’s Richard England Clubhouse.For children coming of age in the 21st century, online platforms have shaped the lives of these young people more than any other generation. These children are no strangers to using smartphones, electronic tablets and computers as tools for learning and communicating. Google is the cure for this generation’s inquisitiveness,  and sharing thoughts, photos and ideas through social media is like second nature.On Nov. 13, Comcast partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington to introduce the “My Future,” initiative, which wasdesigned for youth at the Richard England Clubhouse in Northeast, D.C.  The clubhouse is located in Ward 7 and is historically known as having one of the highest African-American populations and most under-served residents in the city.Comcast provided the non-profit organization with $100,000 to fund the clubhouse’s fully renovated technology center.“We are worried about students starting out behind and not being able to catch up,” said Charisse Lillie, vice president of community investment at Comcast and president of the Comcast Foundation, in an interview with the AFRO.Boys and Girls Club staffers, community leaders, Comcast execs and media personalities celebrate the launch of Comcast and Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s new technology initiative.The initiative, which is part of a five-year partnership between the two entities, reaches nearly 4 million youth in over 4,100 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. Out of the 12 clubhouses in the D.C. metro area, only one was chosen as an anchor for the project.“We have need here, why shouldn’t we do it here,” said Pandit F. Wright, president and CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.She said she hopes that the new technology can entice more young people to visit the clubhouse on a more consistent basis.District youth now get personalized, hands-on experiences in the digital realm through the initiative. This program encourages safe and productive online interactions with over 40 activities that reinforce digital literacy, including exploring the web, communicating with others and building media. Children are also encouraged to tap into interests that could potentially lead to careers in robotics, coding, game design and online journalism.“When they walked into the computer lab, the smiles on their faces is what mattered most,” said Dr. Damon Williams, senior vice president and chief educational and youth development officer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.last_img read more

Researchers create superrepellant surface material w video

first_img(Phys.org)—Researchers from the University of Michigan working in collaboration with associates from the US Air Force have created a new type of surface cover that repels oils, water, alkali solutions, acids and even non-Newtonian fluids. In their paper published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, the researchers describe their new material and the different ways it can repel various liquids. The material they’ve created works due to two separate aspects: its chemical structure and its physical layout. It’s based on a very small gauge steel mesh which has been coated with polymer (PDMS and POSS) beads. The unique pattern laid down limits surface area and has an overhanging structure that limits adhesion. Also, tiny air pockets between the beads prevent materials from actually touching other parts of the surface, preventing liquids from getting a grip.The researchers explain that surface repellents work in general by limiting the wetting hysteresis – the amount of deformation that occurs when a liquid hits a surface. Ideally the contact angle at both the front and rear of a drop remain the same – the result is a lessened impact area. In practical terms this means that the more a drop remains formed like a drop when it strikes, the less likely it is to adhere to a surface. Play Credit: J. Am. Chem. Soc., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/ja310517s PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Play Credit: J. Am. Chem. Soc., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/ja310517s The researchers demonstrated the material’s ability to repel liquids by shooting various liquids through a small jet at a covered surface and filming it as it bounced off instead of adhered. They also demonstrated that the covering also provides protection from chemical attack by dunking a coated aluminum plate into several acidic solutions. Its strength in doing so, the team explains, comes about from the same properties that prevent adhesion. If an acid cannot touch a surface (because of the air pockets) it cannot destroy it. 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. Play Credit: J. Am. Chem. Soc., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/ja310517s Researchers have found it particularly difficult to develop surface covers that repel liquids that contain polymers, particularly non-Newtonian fluids. This is because such substances tend to deform almost immediately on contact. Thus, the challenge has been to discover a way to cause such fluids to retain their shape as they drop onto a surface. With the new material, the overhanging, eave-like edges of the beads prevent the liquid drop from distending while also preventing it from reaching an adjacent part of the surface. That limits the amount of distension and thus the deformation of the drop. More information: Superomniphobic Surfaces for Effective Chemical Shielding, J. Am. Chem. Soc., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/ja310517sAbstractSuperomniphobic surfaces display contact angles >150° and low contact angle hysteresis with essentially all contacting liquids. In this work, we report surfaces that display superomniphobicity with a range of different non-Newtonian liquids, in addition to superomniphobicity with a wide range of Newtonian liquids. Our surfaces possess hierarchical scales of re-entrant texture that significantly reduce the solid–liquid contact area. Virtually all liquids including concentrated organic and inorganic acids, bases, and solvents, as well as viscoelastic polymer solutions, can easily roll off and bounce on our surfaces. Consequently, they serve as effective chemical shields against virtually all liquids—organic or inorganic, polar or nonpolar, Newtonian or non-Newtonian. Citation: Researchers create super-repellant surface material (w/ video) (2013, January 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-super-repellant-surface-material-video.html PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen © 2013 Phys.org Journal information: Journal of the American Chemical Society Explore further Research duo discover why non-Newtonian fluids harden on impact PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreenlast_img read more

Paul McCartney almost played Ross fatherinLaw on Friends

first_imgBeatle star Paul McCartney almost guest starred on Friends as he was offered the role of Ross’ father-in-law.Emmy-nominated casting director Leslie Litt, who was working on the NBC hit series during most of its run, revealed that McCartney, now 72, could’ve appeared in the season 4 finale of the show as David Schwimmer’s on-screen father-in-law, but he turned it down, reported Huffington Post.“I went through his manager and gave him all the details. One day, someone in the office brought me a faxed letter written to me by Paul himself! He thanked me for my interest and said how flattered he was, but it was a very busy time for him,” Litt said.If the British musician had agreed to do it, he would’ve appeared in the two-part season four finale which aired in 1998.In the said outing, Ross married Emily (Helen Baxendale) in London though he accidentally said Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) name instead of his bride’s name at the altar.last_img read more

Reworking informal businesses

first_imgAirbnb—the room rental company that does not own any rooms—has just sued the city of New York. Why? This is because the city has introduced a bill to penalise anyone who rents out their apartment for less than 30 days. This would effectively kill Airbnb’s business, which makes every household owner a potential hotelier. Airbnb provides an online listing system—anyone who owns a house, or many properties can rent out space. The business cuts into the profits of conventional hotels who have to buy land, build rooms and take care of the establishment. In Airbnb’s case, the costs are low and distributed. More importantly, thousands, even millions, of rooms suddenly become available, which eat into the market of house rentals or hotels. Airbnb is, not surprisingly, hitting old business, which also is hitting back.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIt is also difficult to regulate. Just think. How do city governments control millions of property owners who have become instant hoteliers? Airbnb argues that its reputational system, where owners and guests rate each other, regulates the informal market. Governments disagree. Airbnb is fighting similar battles in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and even in its hometown of San Francisco, and the list is growing. Uber—the taxi service that does not own any cars—has similar battles on hand. Uber, and others like it, have turned every car owner into a potential service provider. All that Uber does is to aggregate these millions of car owners who have overnight become taxi drivers. This is why it can reduce costs and work the market—drastically undercut the market price and drive regular taxi service into the red. All this without owning a single car.  Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveUber and its variants are facing tremendous hostility from the old business. I saw this at close hand when the Supreme Court of India directed that all taxis, including those run by aggregators like Uber or Ola, should convert to CNG. This was done to reduce Delhi’s runaway air pollution. But the result of this seemingly simple order was out and out war. All taxi owners—from the black and yellow, radio taxi, to the tourist taxi and all India tourist taxi—converged at the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (I am a member of it), which is required to oversee the implementation of the Supreme Court’s direction. They had only one demand: stop Uber and Ola.  Our objective was different—to regulate the fuel used by taxis and not to stop their operations. But regulation is a challenge. In the very first meeting, the police informed us that they are helpless. They could not identify the taxi—every car had become a taxi. Uber and Ola told us that they were not taxi operators—only aggregators. In fact, their companies are registered as information technology providers. They were also not responsible for anything—customers hired cars using their platform and rated the service provided by drivers. The Delhi government had issued guidelines, which would curtail the operations of such aggregators, but Uber challenged this in the court. Finally, after weeks of protracted discussions, and often violent disagreements, it was agreed that all taxis, including those listed with the aggregators, would run on CNG. But all other issues, including the contentious issue of surge pricing, remained unresolved. Governments in India and abroad are battling with taxi operators and technology companies to formulate these rules. But why am I writing this now? The fact is Airbnb and Uber are part of the inevitable change in our future. The reason is that the modern world has formalised its economy to the point that it has become unviable. The brick-and-mortar world requires massive infrastructure, and this then requires regulations to ensure that all this operates within rules. The cost of regulations is also high and adds to the cost of running the economy. In my view, Uber and Airbnb are undercutting this world—by making the best use of the individual’s assets. In both cases, they are optimising existing resources—the cars and houses people own—to make more money and share the profits. But most importantly, these businesses are working the informal space. They are doing this to reduce costs and to expand opportunity. This is where we need to think further of what our world is about. In countries like India, informal business is the existing order of the day. Everything—from collecting sewage from homes, recycling garbage to providing transport in our cities—is managed by millions of myriad informal businesses. But we do not consider it part of our future. Worse, it defies regulation as we know it today. So, it must go. But given that the formal economy comes with costs, we cannot replace this informal and thriving business. But to kill it we neglect it; make it illegal, and altogether despise it. But still, it stays. We just can’t make it work. So, is it time we thought of a different business future? Let’s discuss this again.(The writer is Editor of Down To Earth magazine. Views expressed are strictly personal.)last_img read more

Investors are Pouring Cash Into AI Startups Focused on Health Care

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. A recent report from CB Insights found that healthcare Artificial Intelligence startups have raised $4.3 billion across 576 funding rounds in the last five years – more than any other sector. Investment flowing into building AI that works with people to tackle healthcare issues will continue globally. Meanwhile, finding sustainable answers to tragic conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease will require accurately kept health records to advance progress — and take the willing participation of people whose lives are fatally impacted by the disease. The party ultimately responsible for finding the answer to Alzheimer’s might not be human — or at least, the effort to rid the world of the disease may not be fully a human one.Artificial Intelligence presents the medical field with new opportunities to use learnings from existing and newly created data sets to solve complex human issues over the next few years. The technology’s complementary utility for health science and medical research offers new opportunities to unearth minuscule clues from individual patient histories that lead to global breakthroughs. AI has the potential to serve as a natural partner for medical researchers and professionals who spend careers combing through records to uncover trends and anomalies.Related: AI Is Transforming Healthcare as We Know It. Here’s a Look at the Future — and the Opportunities for Entrepreneurs.AI helps people find medical answers.As an industry, health science is beginning to realize the full benefits of using precision medicine to treat disease. Early success stories include making progress in cancer detection and uncovering potential health indicators from medical histories and DNA analysis. The underlying idea of using AI for health science, in particular, is to look at people’s specific genetic or molecular profiles and determine what personalized treatment works best on a case-by-case basis.In the coming years, successfully advancing precision health science will depend on collecting and storing data representing diverse patient populations. It will also rely on the health science sector’s ability to develop sophisticated AI and machine learning algorithms that mine massive amounts of data to answer very specific healthcare questions. Questions like: how do we find the indicators hidden in countless health records? Which genetic variants matter? Why does one disease impact a patient and not someone with a similar genetic makeup? AI can serve as as a means to helping the health science sector answer some of these questions, analyze specific factors with precision and bring clarity to patients earlier in the diagnosis discovery process.Related: Wonders Artificial Intelligence is Doing For The Healthcare SectorAI’s real world impact across health sectors.AI’s real world impact on health science has already materialized in the form of new pharmaceutical combinations, more promising hypotheses, improved medical diagnostics, targeted risk factor analysis and reporting that leads to more accuracy in personalized medicine. AI can fully absorb, contextualize and analyze critical healthcare information in the time it takes a human counterpart to read through a few records. The technology is built to mobilize and manage large data sets autonomously. Meanwhile, human counterparts can focus on communicating the benefits of AI findings, proactively using them to address individual medical concerns and offer more personalized patient care.AI can integrate data from multiple sources and determine relevance to specific cases swifter than humans. The technology can analyze data in real-time and produce actionable insights that would take several hours — or years in some cases — for people to complete. When built responsibly using objective data sets and lab-tested technology, AI does not have preconceived notions about the medical records, DNA and RNA analysis and general information it sorts through, eliminating potential biases and erroneous conclusions.AI’s health science success hinges on the availability of human-curated training data sets that allow for performance and bias testing prior to AI entering the market. The opportunity to connect AI and countless data sets presents the greatest opportunity for medical professionals looking toward technology for answers. In practice, AI’s core ability to automate data analysis frees up medical research people to focus on the end result, apply findings to real world medical or pharmaceutical trials, and, ultimately, adapt individual healthcare plans to incorporate new methods.Related: How AI is Making the Impossible Possible in Healthcare SectorLooking ahead to an uncertain future.The biggest challenge for health practitioners turning to AI in 2019 will remain the availability of curated data sets needed to train algorithm-driven technologies destined for disease detection and other crucial medical work. AI must be trustworthy enough to make accurate predictive assessments that dramatically impact patient care and health results in the real world. The process of preparing AI for health will become easier in the near future as the technology advances, regular people become more familiar with AI and its real world applications for disease prevention prove successful.After all, disease prevention is the holy grail. Technologies, like AI, that enable early disease detection and interception will transform patient care wholesale. AI can help medical professionals detect diseases earlier and give people impacted by those diseases a fighting opportunity to overcome them.Undoubtedly, human efforts to rid the world of Alzheimer’s disease, and other deadly illnesses or inherited conditions, will advance with the support of data-driven technologies. Tapping AI for those tasks will allow doctors and medical professionals to focus on providing more precise and empathetic patient care. Researchers can spend time making sense of AI-driven findings in order to bring machine-discovered remedies into a very human reality, like living with Alzheimer’s, that changes lives — and saves them. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. November 7, 2018 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 5 min read Register Now »last_img read more