Alberta law society investigating David Blott

first_imgBy Kathleen MartensAPTN InvestigatesWINNIPEG –The work Calgary lawyer David Blott did with Indian Residential School survivors is being reviewed by his peers.The Law Society of Alberta (LSA) confirmed to APTN Investigates it has done an investigation and is now putting David Blott through its “conduct process.”That’s law society-speak for a process that could result in a lawyer’s suspension or other discipline.Alternatively, the lawyer could keep working but with conditions attached to his practice, said LSA spokeswoman Ally Taylor.“I verified with our conduct manager that at this point all we can share is Mr. Blott is proceeding through our conduct process and unfortunately we’re restricted by confidentiality from sharing anything further,” Taylor said from Calgary.Blott has been on the LSA’s radar since the fall of 2011. That’s when officials with the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat obtained a court injunction to stop him from working on survivors’ files.Officials were responding to complaints from survivors living on the Blood Reserve in southeastern Alberta. Blott represented them and thousands more across Canada in their individual Independent Assessment Process (IAP) compensation claims with the federal government.Blott succeeded in getting the injunction lifted but then became the subject of a court-ordered investigation into allegations he breached survivors’ trust, wrongly loaned them money, charged inflated interest rates and fees, and breached IAP rules by compensating third-parties he was in business with directly from compensation awards.Blott has denied all of the allegations as part of this on-going investigation into residential school lawyers by APTN.But investigators say they confirmed survivors’ complaints in their resulting $3-million report.  A report Justice Brenda Brown of the B.C. Supreme Court relied on in the spring of 2012 to bar Blott from any further, lucrative IAP work. However, he was allowed to keep practising by the LSA in an advisory role, meaning he couldn’t meet with clients directly the way other lawyers in his Blott & Co. firm did but could share in the profits.Recently, the LSA was allowed access to that report to assist with its own independent investigation into Blott’s work. It had to battle Saskatchewan-based lawyer Tony Merchant to get it. Merchant, who is one of the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that spawned the IAP, opposed the move on several grounds.Among other things, Merchant argued that the affidavits in the report “cannot be equated to civil proceedings such as the transcripts of examinations for discovery…” He also worried that “personal and private information provided …by former clients of Mr. Blott, could be put to inappropriate use.”Merchant concluded: The court does not “have in place a procedure for disciplining lawyers participating in” the settlement agreement.The judge released the report to the LSA anyway.Taylor, the manager of communications for the LSA, wouldn’t speak directly about the Blott case citing member privacy protection, but did explain the process in general.“Once we’ve gathered all the information and concluded an investigation, an investigation report is then prepared and served on the…counsel or his lawyer. And then that person would have an opportunity to reply,” she said in a telephone interview. “And that’s basically for clarification; did we get the facts wrong, that sort of thing.”Taylor said it all culminates in a final report making recommendations on discipline. A panel then meets to determine the outcome.“Sometimes in parallel,” she added, “there can be negotiation with the lawyer whether or not they’re going to resign, because some lawyers do choose to resign rather than be publicly disciplined in that manner.”Any disciplinary action taken is posted on the LSA’s website, Taylor added.kmartens@aptn.calast_img read more

Facebook to release Russia ads beef up election integrity

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook is slowly acknowledging the outsized — if unintended — role it played in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.Bowing to pressure from lawmakers and the public, the company said it will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators, while also pledging to make political advertising on its platform more “transparent.”“I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook video and wrote in an accompanying post . “That’s not what we stand for.”The moves Thursday come amid growing pressure on the social network from members of Congress, who pushed Facebook to release the ads after the company disclosed their existence in early September. Facebook has already handed over the ads to the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.Facebook’s reluctance to be more forthcoming with information that could shed light on possible election interference has prompted the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee to call for the company to testify in its election-meddling probe.A MORE TRANSPARENT FACEBOOKIn one of the first steps Facebook has ever taken to open up its secretive advertising system to observation, the company will now require political ads to disclose both who is paying for them and all ad campaigns those individuals or groups are running on Facebook.That’s a key step that will allow outsiders to see how many different variants of a given ad are being targeted to various groups of individuals, a tactic designed to improve their effectiveness. At the moment, there’s no way for anyone but Facebook to track these political ads, or for recipients to tell who is sponsoring such messages.Since average users “don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else,” Zuckerberg said, Facebook will “make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook.”The company will hire 250 more people in the next year to work on “election integrity,” Zuckerberg said.The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel would go farther. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is writing a bill that would require social media companies to disclose who funded political ads, similar to rules on television broadcasters. In an interview with The Associated Press, Warner said he hoped to work with social-media companies on the bill.AND YET STILL SECRETIVEZuckerberg suggested that the company may not provide much information publicly, saying that the ongoing federal investigation will limit what he can reveal.The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have sought to bring Facebook executives before their committee for the past couple of weeks. But critics say Facebook should go further. They say the company should tell its users how they might have been influenced by outside meddlers.The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, for instance, stressed again on Thursday that the company should make the ads public, “so that everyone can see the nature and extent of the use of Facebook accounts by Russia.”Zuckerberg also warned that Facebook can’t catch all undesirable material before it hits its social network.“I’m not going to sit here and tell you we’re going to catch all bad content in our system. We don’t check what people say before they say it, and frankly, I don’t think our society should want us to,” Zuckerberg said. But those who break the law or Facebook’s policies, he added, “are going to face consequences afterwards.”Facebook won’t catch everyone immediately, he added, but it can “make it harder to try to interfere.”FACEBOOK HAS COMPANY IN THE HOT SEATZuckerberg’s move came a day after Twitter confirmed that it will meet next week with staff of the Senate intelligence committee, which has been scrutinizing the spread of false news stories and propaganda on social media during the election.Warner said the committee wanted to hear from Twitter to learn more about the use of fake accounts and bot networks to spread misinformation.“Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our Terms of Service,” the company said in a statement.__LoBianco reported from Washington. Associated Press Writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Chad Day contributed to this story from Washington.last_img read more

Political myths fog crucial Alberta election debate over carbon taxes economist

first_imgThe commission has just published a report on carbon tax misconceptions.The worst, Ragan said, is that a carbon tax doesn’t work.“If you look at B.C., if you look at California, if you look at the U.K, if you look at Quebec, these policies do work. What they don’t do is work overnight.”At least five different published studies have found British Columbia’s carbon tax, introduced in 2008, has cut overall emissions, reduced per capita gasoline use by seven per cent, improved average vehicle efficiency by four per cent, cut residential natural gas use by seven per cent and diesel use by more than three per cent.Meanwhile, the province enjoyed about three per cent annual economic growth between 2012 and 2017.Other jurisdictions that have successfully used carbon taxes to reduce emissions include Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, several U.S. states, the U.K. and the European Union. EDMONTON, A.B. – Between politicians who fog the truth and the ones just in a fog, Chris Ragan wants to fan fresh air into a carbon tax debate that is clouding Alberta’s provincial election and drifting into an upcoming federal campaign.“It’s pretty clear this issue is warming up politically,” said Ragan, head of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, a non-partisan group of academics and business leaders focused on economic and environmental solutions.“We have been sorry to see that there’s a bunch of stuff out there that is either misunderstanding or poorly explained. There are a bunch of myths out there.” Three separate studies found B.C.’s tax either didn’t affect jobs or added them. A fourth found a small decrease in jobs for less-educated workers. Studies in the U.S. or the U.K. found little or no impact on job numbers.The commission’s report finds that far from hurting families, 70 per cent of Canadian households will receive more in carbon tax rebates than they pay.Energy economists such as Mark Jaccard at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University argue that regulations get faster, bigger results and are politically easier to enact. The big cuts to Canada’s carbon emissions, he said, have come from closing coal-fired power plants and clean fuel rules.“Some people will tell you you have to have carbon pricing,” he said on a recent podcast. “That’s not true. You could do it all through regulations.”center_img You could, concedes Ragan. But that would cost the economy more. Besides, he said, bringing in carbon taxes gives governments an opportunity to cut other levies such as income tax.Albertans who believe the province could escape a carbon tax by rescinding provincial legislation may also be mistaken.Martin Olszynski, a University of Calgary law professor, said all Ottawa would have to do is pass an order in council to bring Alberta under the same federal tax that recently came into effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick. None of those provinces had its own tax.“It’s a matter of getting cabinet together and writing the order,” Olszynski said.Looking to the courts to block Ottawa’s tax is an iffy bet, he suggested.In court hearings on Saskatchewan’s anti-tax constitutional challenge, Olszynski said, judges asked if allowing Ottawa to regulate greenhouse gases as a matter of “national concern” would impede provincial efforts to do the same.“If you recognize this matter as a matter of national concern, you would strip away the provincial ability to regulate these things,” he summarized.But Olszynski notes that courts have recognized that many issues _ especially environmental ones _ are best managed jointly between national and provincial governments.Other federal arguments in favour of a national carbon tax are backed by decades of case law, Olszynski added.Ragan said the debate over carbon taxes is as important to Canada’s future as debates over the GST or free trade with the United States.“It’s a big policy issue and it’s appropriate that we’re talking about it now.”Ragan just wishes the debate wasn’t so mythical.“We live in a democratic society where people play partisan politics. Those political debates don’t always stick to the facts.”last_img read more

Five years after Indian Ocean tsunami affected nations rebuilding better – UN

The largest emergency relief response in history was prompted by the earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on 26 December 2004, which sent waves as high as 30 metres crashing into 14 countries, claiming nearly 230,000 lives and leaving around 2 million people homeless. The international community pledged over $14 billion in aid for the overall emergency relief and recovery operations, according to a recent UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report summarizing the results of its programmes, which have received almost $700 million to date.The report noted that communities whose livelihoods, homes, schools and heath facilities were destroyed have had opportunities to build back better health, education, water and sanitation services, as well as improve the security of areas vulnerable to natural disaster or violent conflict, and provide safer environments for vulnerable children.For example, the UNICEF-supported Darusada Children’s Centre in Aceh – a region on the northern tip of Sumatra with the closest major population to the epicentre of the 2004 earthquake – opened in 2007 and currently serves around 120 children who have been orphaned, abandoned or sexually assaulted.In addition, the court house in the regional capital Banda Aceh has added a juvenile court which is presided over by a judge who has been given special training by UNICEF. Changes in the juvenile justice system in Indonesia were also adopted after the tsunami to strengthen child protection provisions. The UNICEF report noted that the unparalleled international response to the tsunami created a unique opportunity to bolster the peace process between the Government of Indonesia and the separatist Free Aceh Movement which resulted in the signing of a peace agreement in 2005 after 70 years of conflict.Recovery efforts in Thailand have been instrumental in building a model Child Protection Monitoring System, which was initially established in 2007 to identify and monitor children orphaned by the tsunami, as well as other at-risk children. The report also underscored some of the lessons learned from the relief and recovery operations, with efforts in Myanmar positively influencing preparedness and response to other emergency situations. Following Cyclone Mala and other emergencies in 2006, as well as Cyclone Nargis in 2008, for example, UNICEF was able to swiftly mobilize and deliver emergency relief supplies, including family and child survival kits, insecticide treated bednets, and essential drugs for local health centres, in the affected areas. In the Maldives, all the houses on the island of Dhuvaafaru are newly built, and construction to defend against rising sea-levels is ongoing. After years spent in temporary settlements on other islands, Dhuvaafaru has been transformed into a new home for an entire community displaced from nearby Kandholhudhoo by the tsunami, but with 4,060 people living in 600 homes, around 80 more houses need to be built.Expanded social services are also helping to protect and promote children’s right in the Maldives, and a UNICEF-backed non-governmental organization (NGO) is at the heart of the fight against the growing problem of intravenous drug use among adolescents since the tsunami.UNICEF noted that recovery programmes in some countries have now drawn to a close, with continuing projects handed over to the national authorities or integrated into existing programmes carried out by the UNICEF country offices. Due to the scale of the recovery required in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, the agency said it will continue to support reconstruction activities through the end of 2010.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has highlighted the power of community involvement in the reconstruction process, with shopkeepers, fishermen and women getting together to plan and build their new homes.“There was a great rush to get people back into permanent housing, but that rush could create problems, preventing a meaningful discussion with people and with the communities,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative for Thailand Hakan Bjorkman.“It took a little bit longer but the results were much better, and this is the essence of the ‘build back better’ concept – to have people involved in their reconstruction,” said Mr. Bjorkman.UNDP noted that since the tsunami governments, international agencies and civil society organizations have banded together to construct 250,000 permanent houses, over 100 air and seaports, thousands of schools and hospitals, as well as create national and regional tsunami warning systems by placing early detection buoys in the Indian Ocean. In collaboration with other UN agencies, national and international organizations and in cooperation with the Discovery Channel, UNDP has made a documentary telling the story of how community engagement has been successful in the mending and rebuilding lives affected by the tsunami in the hardest-hit areas of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives. The film shows that many formerly marginalized groups are playing increasingly more significant roles in their communities as a result of recovery initiatives, such as job training for women in fish processing, as well as marketing and business. 29 December 2009Five years after the massive Indian Ocean tsunami, which left a devastating trail of death and destruction, millions of people have benefited from the influx of aid by rebuilding stronger infrastructure, social services and disaster warning systems than existed before the catastrophe, according to the United Nations agencies at the core of the recovery effort. read more

Rally for unity in Matara

Following the successful rally held at Greenpath in Colombo in April the “Rally for Unity” announced that it’s second rally will take place in Matara on Sunday.“Rally for Unity” is a movement formed to show that moderates are strong and united against hate and are committed to promote understanding about the strengths of diversity and unity. The Matara rally will begin at 11.30am at Beach Park, Matara and the meeting point is the roundabout at the bus stand end. Given the recent spate of hate speech and the marginalization of minority communities in general, the voluntary movement of concerned Sri Lankans from various institutions, professions and industries organized a series of non- partisan, non-violent awareness campaigns and rallies against racist actions and hate-speech in Sri Lanka. “We believe that this will empower the silent majority of moderate Sri Lankans to stand up for an inclusive Sri Lanka and we hope that this will be a catalyst for many more similar events and initiatives. We welcome your kind support and assistance at this event,” the organizers said.The organizers said they look forward to the collaboration of the public in respecting and embracing the diversity of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Liberia making efforts to reform civilian aviation administration Annan

The report followed a request by the Security Council for information on steps Liberia has taken to improve its capacity in air traffic control and surveillance in compliance with the sanctions imposed in March 2001 in Council resolution 1343.That resolution had demanded that Liberian authorities ground all Liberia-registered aircraft operating within its jurisdiction until they updated their register of aircraft, and provide the updated information to the Council. Resolution 1343 also demanded that the Liberian Government immediately cease its support for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone and that it expel all RUF members from Liberia, prohibit all RUF activities on its territory, cease all financial and military support to the Sierra Leonean rebel group, cease all direct or indirect import of Sierra Leone rough diamonds not controlled through Freetown’s Certificate of Origin regime, and freeze financial resources made available within its territory for the benefit of the RUF. read more

Smart Start gives new Brock students a head start

Smart Start leaders (from left) Steph Teichgraf, Paul Taylor, Dylan Magee and Aidan Smyth will spend their summer helping new Brock students get ready for the school year ahead.Living in Niagara before attending Brock University, Steph Teichgraf may have had an advantage over other students heading to Niagara for school.She knew where the campus was and benefitted from the bonus of attending school in her home community. Still, Teichgraf had plenty of questions about balancing the academic demands with student life as she embarked on her university career.She found answers through Smart Start, a one-day orientation session to help students and their families feel reassured about the four years ahead.“Although I lived in the Niagara community, Smart Start was my first time coming on campus for academics,” Teichgraf said. “The program helped me to see all the ways I could get involved while balancing my academics with all the services that are available to support students.”Now Teichgraf, who’s going into her fourth year of the Concurrent Education Program, will be showing new students the way as a Smart Start leader this summer.She’ll give campus and residence tours, leading students and parents to services offered by the University and helping with course registration.Ultimately, Teichgraf and her fellow Smart Start leaders are helping new students scratch important items of their September to-do lists early, making their first weeks of school a little less stressful.“I left my Smart Start day feeling very excited,” said Aidan Smyth, a Smart Start leader going into his fifth year of Concurrent Education. “Getting a feel for the campus, meeting some of the faculty and staff, and knowing that I was properly registered for all of my courses made it easier to hit the ground running in September.”The cost to participate is $45 per student and $15 per guest. This fee covers program materials, refreshments, lunch and parking.It’s anticipated that more than 2,000 students will participate in the program this summer, bringing with them 2,200 guests.Those numbers will help Smart Start reach a milestone of having shown 26,000 students and 28,000 parents and guests the proverbial ropes of university life.Each year, the program is tailored to ensure it covers all the topics important to new students.“Much like student life itself, the Smart Start program changes from year to year to ensure the information and services we provide are always relevant and essential,” said leader Dylan Magee, a fifth-year visual arts student. “Not only is it a day for incoming first years, it is also an experience for parents and guests to ease the transition from home.”Leader Paul Taylor, a fourth-year concurrent education student, recommends incoming students take a Smart Start tour, even if they have friends and family already attending Brock.“Even if you already have a sibling who attends Brock, Smart Start is an easy way to get a head start for September,” he said. “Bring your sibling along, they may learn something new about their school as well.”Smart Start runs from June 24 to Aug. 9, with Saturday tours available in July.Visit Smart Start online to register or for more information. read more

Poll Should Irish people protest more

first_imgPEPPER SPRAY WAS used by Gardaí on protesters outside Leinster House yesterday while another protest blocked traffic during rush hour in the city.New barriers had been erected at government buildings ahead of the new Dáil term in anticipation of protests that started at 5am yesterday morning.So today we ask: Should Irish people protest more? Poll Results: Yes (4698) Not sure (965)center_img YesNoNot sureVote No (3708)last_img

Police to assess Jimmy Savile allegations no investigation yet

first_imgIt is not an investigation at this stage. POLICE IN LONDON have said they will begin to assess the recent allegations made against the late television broadcaster Jimmy Savile.In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Service said it had agreed to take the national lead in assessing information broadcast in an ITV documentary last night. The programme detailed claims from five women that the DJ and presenter sexually abused them on BBC premises when they were teenagers.The operation will be undertaken by the Serious Case Team of the Child Abuse Investigation Command.“Our priority will be to ensure a proportionate and consistent policing response putting the victims at the heart of enquiries,” a spokesperson said. “It is too early to say how many individual allegations there are, and we will be making contact with all those concerned in due course. Scotland Yard said it will be working closely with the BBC investigations unit during the process and the broadcaster has committed to cooperating with the operation. Detective Superintendent David Gray who is leading the assessment asked anyone with information to make contact with their local police.Earlier this week it emerged that at least three police forces had received complaints about the knighted television star but concluded there was not enough evidence to pursue them.One case of alleged rape has already been referred to the Metropolitan Police in London.Jimmy Savile was the presenter of programmes including Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix it. He died in October 2011.Jimmy Savile: BBC says it is “horrified” by sexual abuse allegationslast_img read more

HSE drug advisor says lifechanging cystic fibrosis drug is not value for

first_imgHSE drug advisor says life-changing cystic fibrosis drug is “not value for money” It was reported yesterday that the HSE would not be financing the drug. 11,815 Views Monday 28 Nov 2016, 10:14 AM Short URL An excerpt from a campaign calling for Orkambi to be funded. 48 Comments By Cormac Fitzgerald http://jrnl.ie/3106228 center_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Share356 Tweet Email THE HEAD OF the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) has said that the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi does not represent value for money and should not be funded by the Government at its current cost.Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Professor Michael Barry of the NCPE said that Orkambi costs too much and wasn’t effective enough to be financed by the HSE.The NCPE advises the HSE’s drugs group on the economic viability of pharmaceutical medication.The news broke yesterday that the HSE was going to reject the use of Orkambi, a drug that has transformed the lives of some people with CF.The HSE has been in talks with the drug’s manufacturer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, in a bid to reduce its cost, for several months.Yesterday the Sunday Business Post reported that the HSE’s drugs committee will recommend against funding the medication.In a letter to Philip Watt, CEO of CF Ireland, Health Minister Simon Harris yesterday said he has not yet received a decision from the HSE regarding Orkambi.Professor Michael Barry said today that that was also his understanding of the issue.“The HSE executive has to receive the recommendation from the drugs group and I know that the HSE executive hasn’t made a decision as to whether a drug will or will not be made available,” he said.However, Barry – who is also on the HSE’s drugs group – said that the group was sticking with its earlier recommendation that the drug “was not value for money”.He said Orkambi – which can greatly alleviate the symptoms of CF – was not value for money because of its “inherent efficacy”.He said the drug – which currently costs about €160,000 per patient per year – would only work for about 25% of patients.“You’re being asked to pay a really high price for a drug which won’t work in a lot of people,” he said. Nov 28th 2016, 10:14 AM We did say in our report that we felt the price would have to fall to about €30,000 per patient per year to render it value for money.Funding Barry said that ways around combatting the high price could include a “risk sharing” approach between the HSE and the drug manufacturer.This is where an agreement could be reached whereby every patient who needs the drug receives it and the HSE would pay in the cases where the drug is effective.Orkambi manufacturer Vertex said that it had engaged in a meaningful way with the HSE to try to reach a funding agreement, however Barry said this was not the case.“It’s true they’ve engaged. I think they could have engaged in a more meaningful way,” he said.I think to be honest we need to be very frank about this that Vertex needs to put patients first and the well-being of shareholders second.The expected HSE decision not to fund the drug has been met with strong criticism from CF support and advocacy groups.In a statement, CF Ireland said it “will fight this decision” and is “angry at the cynical way the HSE has conveyed this information to our patients, some of whom are very ill”.Barry said he believed the drug could be funded eventually but that Vertex “needed to come to the table” with a viable offer.Read: ‘Orkambi saved my life, other people should get access to it’Read: Cystic fibrosis patients ‘dismayed’ at decision to not fund life-changing drug An excerpt from a campaign calling for Orkambi to be funded. last_img read more

Jimmy Black Caviars brother dies

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Jimmy; Australia’s most expensive and controversial young thoroughbred has lost his battle with the crippling foot injury laminitis and was euthanased on Sunday. The $5 million half-brother of world champion horse Black Caviar spent the last two months at the University of Melbourne Equine Centre at Werribee where some of veterinary surgeons tried to fight the foot disease. The young horse has been the talking point of Australia ever since he was purchased for $5 million by Bill Vlahos last April, however, the owner failed to pay for the horse. Source: The Agelast_img read more

Article 13 EU countries approve copyright directive

first_img Share your voice Internet Services Tech Industry Tags The EU has adopted Article 13, among other reforms. Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images European countries approved sweeping reforms to copyright law on Monday after the European Parliament voted to adopt the new legislation last month.The EU Copyright Directive will protect and govern how copyrighted content posted online, bringing outdated rules up to scratch for the internet age. The law has been hotly debated both by politicians and the wider tech community, with some of the world’s biggest companies taking a strong stance against the legislation — in particular a section known as Article 13.Article 13 dictates that anyone sharing copyrighted content must get permission from rights owners — or at least have made the best possible effort to get permission — before doing so. In order to do this, it’s thought that internet services and social networks will have no choice but to build and enforce upload filters and generally apply a more heavy-handed approach to moderating what users post online.For proponents of digital rights, the approval of the directive comes as a huge blow after over a year of campaigning to uphold what they see as the integrity of the internet. Following the European Parliament vote in March, there was hope that enough key countries might try to block the directive that it wouldn’t pass, but ultimately it didn’t face enough opposition on a national level (all EU legislation faces a final vote by member states before it can pass into law).Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden voted against adopting the directive, whereas Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained. In total 19 countries voted to approve the legislation.”This is a deeply disappointing result which will have a far-reaching and negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online,” said Catherine Stihler, chief executive of rights group the Open Knowledge Foundation in a statement. “The controversial crackdown was not universally supported, and I applaud those national governments which took a stand and voted against it.”But not every was disappointed by Monday’s result. A coalition of organizations representing news publishers in Europe celebrated the adoption of the directive. “This important reform will help make the EU copyright regime fit for the digital age without stifling digital innovation,” said Christian Van Thillo, chairman of the European Publishers Council in a statement.center_img 2 Commentslast_img read more

Sitka Tribe Names New General Manager

first_imgThe Sitka Tribe of Alaska has hired a new general manager. Lawrence SpottedBird, currently of Washington State, will start work on Monday.STA’s previous manager, Ted Wright, resigned in October, after about two years on the job. Tribal Attorney Allen Bell has been serving as the interim manager since then.Speaking with KCAW on Thursday, SpottedBird, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, said he has spent the last 34 years working with tribes and Native American entrepreneurs on business and economic development. He currently runs a consulting firm, SpottedBird Development.Lawrence SpottedBird will take over as general manager of STA on Monday, April 14. (Photo by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska)“I consult with primarily tribes and Native American individuals in business development, with a focus on federal contracting development, looking for opportunities in contracting with the U.S. federal government,” SpottedBird said. “A lot of tribal governments and Native American entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the many incentive programs in the federal government and developing contracting enterprises to do so.”SpottedBird has also spent time in Southeast Alaska: from 1999 to 2000 he served as general manager of Shaan Seet, the village Native corporation in Craig, on Prince of Wales Island.Tribal Council Chairman Michael Baines said SpottedBird’s background in economic development is exactly what the Sitka Tribe needs. One key priority for STA in coming years will be finding new sources of revenue, Baines said.SpottedBird agreed.“Getting a solid footing financially and budgetarily is very important,” he said. “So I will be focusing on looking at ways to address the budget and financial situation that any tribe – or any government really – faces around the country.”Baines said the Council received about sixteen applications for the position, and flew in three finalists for interviews. All of the finalists came from outside of Sitka.SpottedBird will be formally introduced to the Tribal Council and public at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, April 16, at the Sheet’ka Kwaan Na Kahidi, immediately before the council’s regular meeting.last_img read more

Dhaka Beijing sign 9 instruments

first_imgChinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan (R) shakes hands with a Bangladeshi delegate as Bangladesh`s prime minister Sheikh Hasina (back-L) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang applaud during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 4 July 2019. Photo: AFPBangladesh and China on Thursday signed nine instruments for further strengthening cooperation on power, water resources, culture and tourism sectors as well as providing 2,500 metric tonnes of rice for the displaced Rohingyas.The instruments, including two loan deals, were signed in presence of Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after a bilateral meeting between the two leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the capital of China.Of the instruments, four ones were signed between the Economic Relations Division of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Commerce of China, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque told reporters.The four instruments are Framework Agreement of Expansion and Strengthening of Power System Network under DPDC Area; Framework Agreement of Power Grid Network Strengthening Project under PGCB Project; Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the two governments; and Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Investment Cooperation Working Group.The ERD also inked two loan agreements with the Export-Import Bank of China.Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina (R) and Chinese premier Li Keqiang attend a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on 4 July 2019. Photo: ReutersThe two agreements are Government Concessional Loan Agreement of Expansion and Strengthening of Power System Network under DPDC Area Project; and Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement of Expansion and Strengthening of Power System Network under DPDC Area Project.Besides, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and its Implementation Plan upon provision of Hydrological Information of Yaluzhangbu/Brahmaputra River was signed between Ministry of Water Resources of Bangladesh and Ministry of Water Resources of China.Bangladesh`s prime minister Sheikh Hasina and China`s Premier Li Keqiang talk during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on 4 July 2019. Photo: ReutersAnother MoU on Cultural and Tourism Exchange Programme was signed by Ministry of Culture of China and Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh.The remaining instrument is Letter of Exchange (LOE) on the Rohingya Refugees Rice Aid, which was signed the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry of Bangladesh and China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).Under the LoE, China will provide 2,500 metric tonnes of rice as assistance for the displaced Rohingya people who have taken shelter in Bangladesh.On behalf of Bangladesh side, ERD Secretary Monwar Ahmed signed most of the instruments, while Water Resources Secretary Kabir bin Anwar and Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Jena Mostafa Kamal inked one instrument each.last_img

Titanic Gets Second Chance as Replica Sets Sail in 2022

first_imgStay on target ‘Titanic’ Car Scene Handprint Is Still Visible 22 Years Later’Doctor Who’ Underrated Villain of the Week: Max Capricorn The Titanic‘s legend goes on and on.Since her maiden voyage in April 1912, the shipwrecked British passenger liner has become one of history’s most beloved vessels.And she’s making a comeback.AdChoices广告Titanic II is set to launch in 2022, tracing its doomed namesake’s North Atlantic route from Southampton, England, to New York.Helmed by Australian shipping company Blue Star Line, the modernized ship—now with enhanced stability and state-of-the-art navigation—will carry the same number of passengers (2,400) and crew (900) as the original.Except this time, there’ll be a few more lifeboats.Rendering of Titanic II (via Blue Star Line/Cyril Codus)Under the command of Capt. Edward Smith, the 1912 boat carried some of the world’s wealthiest people, as well as hundreds of emigrants from Europe seeking a new life in the US.Most, of course, didn’t make it that far: After stops in Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, the Titanic (spoiler alert!) hit an iceberg, broke apart, and sank.The wreck was discovered more than 70 years later, gradually disintegrating some 3,780 miles underwater. Her final survivor, Millvina Dean (only two months old at the time of the sinking), died in 2009 at the age of 97.“In 1912, the Titanic was the ship of dreams,” Blue Star Line chairman Clive Palmer said in a statement. “For over a century, Titanic‘s legend has been powered by mystery, intrigue, and respect for all she stood for.“Millions have dreamt of sailing on her, seeing her in port, and experiencing her unique majesty,” he continued. “Titanic II will be the ship where those dreams come true.”In April 2012, Blue Star Line announced plans to replicate the famed ship, initially projected to set sail in 2016.The firm, led by billionaire Palmer, re-commenced work on Titanic II in September, after missing two launch deadlines. Blue Star Line now aims to break a bottle of champagne over the bow in 2022—110 years after the ill-fated expedition.Titanic II rendering (via Blue Star Line)If all goes well on its inaugural trip west, Titanic II will eventually embark on various global routes.“The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York,” Palmer said. “But she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivaled attention, intrigue, and mystery in every port she visits.”There is no word on how much tickets will cost, though you can expect to spend at least an arm and a leg (but hopefully not your life) for admission.More coverage on Geek.com: Titanic Expected to Disappear by 2030 Thanks to Hungry Bacteria Scientists to Scan Titanic Wreckage in 3D ‘Oldest Intact Shipwreck’ Discovered in Black Sealast_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

Govt develops Energy Action Plan to ensure generation of worldclass electricity in

first_imgKolkata: The state Power department has developed a comprehensive ‘Energy Action Plan’ in order to generate world-class electricity in Bengal.The Power department has been exploiting all its resources to ensure that the people here in the state can avail the quality of electricity that is normally found in Western countries. In its attempt to produce best quality power, the state government has focused on the renewable energy sector. A senior official of the department said through the development of an ‘Energy Action Plan’, the department aims to produce the best quality electricity, at par with the Western countries, in the next 2-3 years. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”We are venturing into the unknown areas of renewable energy sources and in the future years, there will be a paradigm shift from conventional energy to renewable energy. We are taking all necessary steps to make the whole process more sustainable. How the grid integration will be done remains a big challenge for us,” a senior official of the Power department said. In the last one year, more than 10 power sub-stations have been constructed across the state to maintain better quality of electricity and also to address the voltage problem that has often been reported from some pockets, the official added. In the solar energy sector, Bengal has already achieved a significant growth through various projects. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedStressing on the generation of hydroelectricity, the Bengal government has taken up a number of new initiatives. Several hydroelectric projects are coming up on Teesta river, namely Teesta I, Teesta II, Teesta V, Teesta Intermediate state and Rammam Stage I in Darjeeling, each having a capacity of 80-84 MW. “The number of hydroelectricity resources is not plenty in Bengal. Despite the challenges, we are trying our best to generate hydroelectricity, which is one of our main focus areas in the state now,” the official said. It may be mentioned here that the Centre, during the Paris Convention in 2015, had vowed to catch up with other developed nations in the field of energy generation and power. The Centre has also made some commitments before the United Nations, saying that it will achieve the target of producing 40 percent of its power through renewable sources by the end of 2030. The overall carbon emission level in the country will also be reduced within the same period. India has so far been successful in generating 20 percent of its total power through renewable sources. The country will achieve the goal if all the states give more emphasis on renewable energy, thereby contributing towards the cause. Bengal is one of the states that has done a great deal of work on building infrastructure in the renewable energy sector. Since the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in the state, there has been a significant infrastructural reform in the energy sector. Power generation from solar energy has been given paramount importance through the launch of the ‘Aloshree’ project, a brainchild of the Chief Minister. To this end, solar panels have been set up on the rooftops of various government buildings, schools, colleges and other offices by the Power department.last_img read more

Pope 85 tells elderly its beautiful to be old

first_img Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories Sponsored Stories ROME (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI has told a group of elderly Romans that it’s “beautiful to be old” and that they still have much to offer society despite their limitations.The 85-year-old pontiff said Monday he knows well the difficulties that come with age: He started using a cane occasionally earlier this year, and has slowed down. But his health remains robust and his schedule full. Monday, for example, took him out of the Vatican to a nearby residential home to mark Europe’s year of solidarity with the elderly.center_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Benedict urged the residents to not look back sadly on their youth but to enjoy their age now. He said: “The quality of a society, I’d say of a civilization, is judged by how well it treats its elderly.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Men’s health affects baby’s health too Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Travelling like a fella to Melb Peru

first_imgTop 29 Cities for MenImage Source: AskMen Australia’s cultural capital has ranked tenth behind powerhouses such as London, New York and Rio in AskMen’s fourth annual ‘Top 29 Cities for Men’ 2012.As part of the AskMen study, men found Melbourne’s ‘buzzing night life’ and sports scene was key to drawing in the fellas while popular city, Sydney failed to even garner a showing.   AskMen Australian editor Jamie Watt said he understood the appeal behind Melbourne, which managed to steal attendance from both local and international males. London took top spot, with men declaring it “the centre of the world”, while Peru’s capital Lima was described as “the next sexy South America city you’ve never been to” and ranked in at number 13.“From Olympic fever in London (#1), to the adventure of a lifetime in Mumbai (#2), to preparing to be the most watched city on earth in 2014 – thanks to Rio (#3) hosting the Soccer World Cup and of course, enjoying ‘the beach party of your dreams’ in Cartagena (#7) – when it comes to this year’s ‘Top 29 Cities for Men’ it’s all about world sporting spectacles, soaking up the sun, partying and enjoying the foodie factor in exotic locations,” an AskMen representative said. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh (#14) was also incorporated into the list this year “because the food keeps getting better” as well as Cartagena in Spain for hosting the “beach part of your dreams”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Home Values Take a Drop

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News Home Values Take a Drop March 15, 2019 1,117 Views Home Value Appreciation Jeff Tucker Rent Growth Zillow 2019-03-15 Donna Josephcenter_img Share According to the February Zillow Real Estate Market Report, rent prices grew at their fastest rate in 10 months in February, reaching 2.4 percent year-over-year appreciation. However, while rent price growth increased, national home value appreciation sagged to its lowest level since December 2017. The report found that the U.S. median monthly rent was $1,472 in February, recording an increase from $1,438 a year earlier. This translates to more than $400 in additional yearly expenses for the typical renter. Zillow noted that rents have steadily recovered since a slowdown in the fall that saw the first annual price decreases in more than six years. Data on the annual rent growth reflected an acceleration from January rates in most large housing markets, with the biggest jumps coming in Portland—a turnaround after six straight months of annual rent declines from July through December—and Indianapolis.Orlando and Pittsburgh were the only two large housing markets where rent growth declined. Despite that slowdown, both areas experienced higher-than-average growth, with Orlando rents growing at a faster pace compared to any other large metro area (7.0 percent). Addressing Amazon’s HQ2 withdrawal from Long Island City, the report indicated that New York renters are yet to feel the effect. New York rent prices along with those in Washington, D.C., and Nashville—two markets where Amazon still intends to build large office spaces—have largely followed national trends since the November announcement, Zillow pointed out. “The rental market spent part of last year catching its breath after several years of breakneck growth,” said Jeff Tucker, Economist at Zillow. “Landlords are now coming to terms with the fact that rent cannot grow faster than income forever, and after that short correction we can expect a much more vanilla, slow-growth market going forward. As we enter the 2020s, the demand for rentals is projected to fall as many millennials move on to homeownership,” he added. The median U.S. home value increased by 7.2 percent increase from a year earlier with a  cooldown mostly felt in San Jose, California; and San Francisco. U.S. for-sale home inventory grew 1 percent year-over-year, an increase of 16,137 homes. Inventory picked up the most in San Jose, Seattle, and Los Angeles, further signaling a cooldown from the frenetic pace of the past year in major West Coast markets. Zillow stated that Mortgage rates listed were mostly flat in February. Rates ended February at 4.16 percent, down one basis point from the start of the month. Click here to read the full report.last_img read more