AAP responds to EC directive for removing CM’s image from hoardings

first_imgNEW DELHI: Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pictures are widely in use under various pretexts, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday in its response to the Election Commission’s order said that a “level playing field” should be ensured for free and fair elections. In its order, the EC had directed removal or covering of pictures especially of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the words ‘aam aadmi’, citing deference to the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsReplying to the order, AAP national spokesperson and Lok Sabha candidate Raghav Chadha has argued that Modi’s pictures are plastered all over the city under various governmental/non-governmental pretexts and must be subject to the same standards and regulations as are being imposed on the Delhi Chief Minister. In his written reply to EC, Chadha said: “It is essential that if a level playing field is ensured, the directions ought to be issued across the board, to all parties. It is pertinent to point out that directions ought to be issued only in such a manner, to ensure free and fair elections.” Earlier on March 12, hoardings and banners containing Modi’s photographs were removed from petrol pumps in the national capital following the enforcement of MCC.last_img read more

Morocco’s Climate Change Commitment Confirmed in One Earth Summit

Rabat – King Mohammed VI’s participation in the One Planet summit today in France affirms that Morocco has a strong commitment to the preservation of the environment, previously showcased during the organization of COP22 in Marrakech.Gathering more than 50 heads of state and government in La Seine Musicale, the main focus of the summit, which will revolve around “Climate Change Financing,” is to take further action on the financial front of the objectives of the Paris Agreement.The participation of King Mohammed VI isn’t arbitrary. The sovereign is an awarded environmental protector. On May 9, the Energy Efficiency Visionary Award was given to King Mohammed VI, in recognition of his “outstanding” and “visionary” leadership. Upon the reception of the award, the King sent a letter to the organizers, expressing Morocco’s “strong interest in energy efficiency as part of our vision of socio-economic development, given its role in strengthening the fundamental rights of citizens, protection of the environment, preservation of public health, reduction of energy dependence and rationalization of the State budget.”Morocco has implemented an integrated national policy for the protection of the environment, combating the effects of climate change and anticipating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by up to 32 percent by 2030.As part of this policy, Morocco has launched a series of initiatives aiming to integrate the green economy, notably through by adopting the National Environment Charter and Efficiency Strategy and liberalizing the renewable energy sector.“Morocco, which hosted the COP22 in Marrakech on November 7-18, 2016, stands out for its exemplary approach to renewable energy under the visionary leadership of the King,” said Gil Quiniones, the co-chair of the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) Board of Director.“Morocco has been able to put in place a global strategy that has allowed a significant improvement in energy efficiency in the Kingdom, on the way to achieving the specified objectives In the Paris Climate Agreement.”The King  has previously said that “the urgent challenge facing our world today is not so much the lack of energy resources but more of the necessary investment in this matter mobilization. Therefore, it is necessary to build the adequate energy infrastructure and to develop alternative technologies.”“That is why the kingdom of Morocco,” he continued, “is constantly working to adapt to future changes in order to ensure its economic and social development and to meet its growing energy needs on a sustainable basis.”The policies undertaken by the Kingdom place it at the forefront of climate change and environmental issues, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Richard Kinley previously said.Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, praised during the preparation of COP23 in  Fiji the “great” Moroccan presidency of COP22, held in Marrakech in November 2016.“The Moroccan presidency was great, and we had an incredible partner with whom we delivered the first session of the Conference,” said the official in a statement to the MAP on the sidelines of the Pre-COP23 meeting.The One Earth Summit will be mainly devoted to the mobilization of funding to advance concrete projects in all areas of the fight against climate change: renewable energies, clean transport, agriculture, buildings and sustainable cities, and the protection of the population from the impacts of climate change.The goal of the One Planet Summit is to bring together all key players in the world of finance and climate to build the tools, alliances, and initiatives essential to the greening of finance and accelerate the implementation of climate projects on field. read more

SecretaryGeneral set to travel to Africa next week

18 February 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is slated to leave early next week for Africa where he will make his first official visits to South Africa and Tanzania, as well as stops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Egypt, his spokesperson announced today. While in South Africa Mr. Ban will meet with President Kgalema Motlanthe, as well as the Ministers for Finance and Environment, Marie Okabe told reporters in New York. He is also expected to meet with former President Nelson Mandela.In Tanzania, one of the pilot countries for the UN reform programme on “Delivering as One,” the Secretary-General will hold discussions with President Jakaya Kikwete, as well as address the diplomatic and academic community in Dar es Salaam. In addition, Mr. Ban will inaugurate the One UN Office in Zanzibar which will house all UN agencies under a single roof. He is also due to fly over the receding ice cap of Mount Kilimanjaro on his way to Arusha to visit the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.Following that, he will head to the DRC where he will meet with President Joseph Kabila, as well as with parliamentarians and members of civil society. He will then go to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, to visit Panzi Hospital, where victims of sexual violence are cared for. Then in the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma, he will meet with members of the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) and with local authorities. He will also visit the Mugunga camp for people displaced by conflict before flying to Rwanda to meet with President Paul Kagame.Mr. Ban then plans to travel to the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he will participate in the 2 March “International Conference in support of the Palestinian Economy, for the reconstruction of Gaza,” co-chaired by Egypt and Norway. read more

Conservation projects in Guatemala and Nepal win UN environment prize

23 February 2011A forest conservation initiative in Guatemala and a sustainable development project in Nepal are the recipients of this year’s Sasakawa Prize, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today. The UNEP Sasakawa Prize, worth $200,000, recognizes the most innovative, groundbreaking and sustainable grassroots environmental initiatives in developing countries.The Asociación Forestal Integral San Andrés, Petén (AFISAP) in Guatemala and the Manahari Development Institute in Nepal (MDI-Nepal) won the award, whose theme this year is “Forests for People, Forests for Green Growth” in support of the 2011 International Year of Forests.The theme highlights the central role of forests in the pursuit of a global ‘green economy’ as key economic resources whose real value has all too often been excluded in national accounts of profit and loss, according to UNEP press release.Estimates from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) indicate that deforestation and forest degradation are likely costing the global economy between $2.5 and $4.5 trillion a year, more than the losses of the recent and ongoing financial crisis.AFISAP, which was founded in 1999, is focused on preserving the forests on a 52,000-hectare concession within the Mayan Biosphere Reserve in the San Andres area in Guatemala, which plays a critical role in regional conservation. According to an AFISAP study that used remote cameras, the Mayan Reserve has the highest-density of jaguars ever reported in the world.The organization, which has distinguished itself as one of the most successful community groups in Guatemala, has also introduced projects to extract the lucrative xate, the popular foliage used for floral arrangements worldwide. Xate, which has been used for 40 years and is exported, has brought enormous economic benefits for the rural communities in the area. MDI-Nepal, a non-governmental organization founded in 2001, has introduced agroforestry to help improve crop productivity and water irrigation systems as well as reduce soil erosion on the forested hills and mountainous areas.Apart from making up most of the country’s land mass, the slopes are also home to 18 million people. The agroforestry measures have significantly improved food security and living standards of the rural communities living on the steep slopes of Nepal, said UNEP.In a related development, a forest conservation scheme in Kenya is one of the projects to benefit from a new partnership between UNEP and the European Union (EU).The partnership, announced today at the UNEP headquarters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, covers funding from the European Commission (EC) to UNEP up to 2013 and identifies key areas of joint activities.Under the partnership, the EC will provide funding for the restoration of the north-western part of the Mau forest complex in Kenya.The project, which supports the strategy of the Kenyan Government to rehabilitate one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest closed canopy forests, will contribute to maintaining nature-based assets worth an estimated $1.5 billion a year to the Kenyan economy.“Today we are also announcing support to the Government of Kenya, through UNEP, towards rehabilitation and restoring one of Kenya’s and East Africa’s key pieces of natural infrastructure,” said Mr. Potocnik.“The Mau forest complex is a living example of where economy and environment intersect and reflects not only our cooperative work with UNEP, but the EU’s overall vision for a sustainable 21st century at home and abroad,” he added. Mr. Steiner said: “The Government of Kenya has embarked on a remarkable transformation of its economy in which renewable energy and improved management of its nature-based assets are at the core of its sustainable, 2030 Vision, development path.“Realizing that vision however requires the support of committed partners – and I would like to thank the Environment Commissioner for the EC’s commitment in the UNEP-Kenya partnership in support of conserving and restoring Kenya’s vital water towers,” added Mr. Steiner. read more

Oil sands workers complain they were laid off and replaced by foreigners

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The federal government is investigating an allegation that several dozen Canadians working in Alberta’s oil patch were laid off this week and replaced with foreign workers.A spokeswoman with Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s office said Thursday that he has asked for an urgent review.They literally walked past the replacements on the way outThe Alberta Federation of Labour said that 65 of its ironworkers were laid off on Tuesday. The workers’ paystubs say they were being paid by a company called Pacer Promec Joint Venture.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick Federation president Gil McGowan said the employees were immediately dismissed from their jobs at Imperial Oil’s Kearl oil sands mine.“They called the guys into an office, told them that they were gone, and they literally walked past the replacements on the way out,” McGowan said.He alleged the foreign workers from Croatia are making about $18 an hour — half the wage of the Canadians.A spokesman for Imperial Oil said its contractors make their own hiring decisions.Melissa Ligertwood with Calgary-based Pacer Corporation said in a statement that the company is not actively recruiting foreign workers and is no longer involved in the Kearl project. She said Pacer is affiliated with Promec Construction.A woman who answered the phone at Promec in Calgary said no one was available to comment on the matter until Monday.“The allegations in question are very troubling,” Alexandra Fortier, Kenney’s press secretary, said in an email.“Our government will not tolerate any abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Our government has recently made reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that Canadians are first in line for available jobs, and this program remains under review.”Ottawa brought in new regulations in December to calm fears that foreigners were snatching jobs from Canadians, allowing officials to conduct workplace inspections without warrants and blacklist employers who break the rules.The move followed a furor over laid-off workers at RBC being ordered to train their replacements — including those who came to Canada on TFW permits. A B.C. mining company was also in hot water for hiring more than 200 Chinese workers after an ad seeking Mandarin-speakers failed to attract Canadian applicants.McGowan said, despite the changes, the program is being exploited. And the government isn’t doing enough to stop it.“This is not an isolated case. Increasingly, this is becoming business as usual.”McGowan has heard complaints from two other groups of oil patch workers in the past month that they have been replaced by cheaper, foreign labour.“The (government) is allowing employers to use the program as a tool to drive down wages and displace Canadians, despite all the reassurances to the contrary.” read more

Top publishers sue Audible for copyright infringement

NEW YORK — Some of the country’s top publishers are suing Audible, citing copyright infringement as they ask a federal judge to enjoin the audiobook producer-distributor’s planned use of captions for an education-driven program.The so-called “Big Five” of publishing — Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishing and Macmillan — are among the plaintiffs in the suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The legal action comes in response to “Audible Captions,” which Audible announced in July and indicated would be formerly launched as students return this fall, with titles including “Catch-22,” ”The Hunger Games” and “The Hate U Give.”“Audible Captions takes Publishers’ proprietary audiobooks, converts the narration into unauthorized text, and distributes the entire text of these ‘new’ digital books to Audible’s customers,” the lawsuit reads. “Audible’s actions — taking copyrighted works and repurposing them for its own benefit without permission — are the kind of quintessential infringement that the Copyright Act directly forbids.”Audible, which is owned by Amzon.com and is the dominanrt producer in the throving audiobook market, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Maria Pallante, who heads the Association of American Publishers, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that repeated efforts to communicate with Audible — including cease-and-desist letters — had failed to produce any changes.said in a statement that Audible had showed “deliberate disregard of authors, publishers, and copyright law.” Audible, owned by Amazon.com, is the dominant producer in the thriving audiobook market.Hillel Italie, The Associated Press read more

Regina—Wascana candidates make election pitch to students and public at U of

Students at the University of Regina got a sense of the wide gulfs separating the federal parties on Monday, as they heard from six candidates running to represent the campus and nearby community in Ottawa.The University of Regina Students’ Union’s All Candidates Forum brought together prospective MPs for the riding of Regina—Wascana, which encompasses the university and much of south, east and downtown Regina.Each candidate began with an address to several dozen attendees gathered in a multi-purpose room at the university’s Dr. William Riddell Centre. The crowd included a contingent of uniformed students from Mother Theresa Middle School. The moderator, Dale Eisler, then asked each candidate to name the most important issue in the campaign leading up to the Oct. 21 election.Most candidates used the question as an opportunity to detail their party platforms. Incumbent MP Ralph Goodale framed the election as a decision about who can lead a fair, inclusive, growing country “in the midst of global turmoil.”But he also leapt at the chance to lay out the Liberal record: middle-class tax cuts, an improved child benefit and a million new jobs.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Conservative candidate Michael Kram, running against Goodale for the second time, also sees an election centred on who should lead. He phrased the Liberal record in rather less rosy terms.“I would say the most important issue in this campaign is the credibility of Justin Trudeau as prime minister,” said Kram.He argued that Trudeau’s credibility has been shattered by the SNC-Lavalin scandal, deficit spending and a broken promise on electoral reform.“Justin Trudeau is not as advertised,” he said, prompting Goodale to quip that Kram’s address sounded like a “commercial.”NDP candidate Hailey Clark said her most important issue is “inequity.” The word allowed her to spell out key commitments from the party platform, including a federal minimum wage, more affordable housing and better living standards in Indigenous communities.She even got a word in about climate change, saying it risks compounding inequities that already exist.The Green Party’s Tamela Friesen aimed to surprise.“You might be guessing that I will say it’s climate change, but it’s not,” she said of her top issue.“It’s fixing our electoral system.”Friesen emphasized the need for more co-operation between parties. She argued that moving to a system of proportional representation would lead to a more co-operative Parliament.Mario Milanovski, running for the People’s Party, said one issue stands out for him “besides the economy.”“For me, personally, the most important issue is immigration,” he said.He warned about refugees entering the country from the United States and called for an immigration system based on “our economic needs.”The Students’ Union had neglected to invite former mayoral candidate Evangeline Godron, who says she is running as an independent candidate for Regina—Wascana after losing the Green Party nomination.Eisler ensured that she was able to speak when she attended. She said her major issue is the state of the foster care system.awhite-crummey@postmedia.com read more

International meeting sets agenda for protecting ozone layer UN agency reports

During today’s high-level meeting in Colombo, delegates were addressed by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayeke, who announced his country’s plan to phase out CFCs by 2005, five years earlier than required by the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. UNEP said the completion of the CFC phase-out schedule for developing countries was of particular importance for the recovery of the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. Under the Protocol, these countries pledged to freeze their production and consumption of CFCs by 1999, reduce them by 50 per cent by 2005 and by 85 per cent by 2007, before completely phasing them out by 2010. Developing States will also be required to freeze halons and methyl bromide in 2002. Developed countries almost completely phased out CFCs in 1996. The Colombo meeting also conducted the first review of national data on the consumption and production of CFCs by developing countries. The data indicates that most developing countries are in compliance, but that 25 out of 136 had increased their consumption of CFCs in 1999, while one increased its production. “Fortunately, these countries can call on the Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, which provides financial support to help governments make the transition to ozone-safe technologies,” UNEP said in a statement issued after the meeting. The participants also agreed to the terms of reference for a study that will help governments determine the level at which the Fund should be replenished for the 2003-05 funding period. Since 1991, more than $1.2 billion has been disbursed by the Fund for phase-out projects in some 120 developing countries. The meeting also considered the problem of the illegal trade in controlled substances. As a next step, it requested the Protocol’s secretariat to prepare a report on the issue in time for the next meeting of the Protocol’s Open-Ended Working Group in mid-2002. read more

2014 NFL Preview The AFC South Cant Be Any Worse Than It

Last season was a disaster for Jacksonville, mitigated by a semi-competent second half. Through eight games, the Jaguars were 0-8 and had been outscored by a remarkable 178 points (more than 22 points per game). To compare, the 2008 Detroit Lions — the only team to go 0-16 — were outscored by “just” 102 points through eight, and the 1976 Buccaneers — the worst NFL team ever4The 1976 Buccaneers ended the season even worse than they started it, finishing with an 0-14 record and a -287 point differential (20.5 points per game). The 2008 Lions were only outscored by 249 points in their 0-16 season (15.6 points per game). — were outscored by 109.Unfortunately for rubberneckers, Jacksonville finished the season 4-12.5The Jaguars weren’t eliminated from playoff contention until Week 15, a remarkable feat given that they spent half the season on pace to become the worst team of all time. The team hopes to improve on that win total this season, but it must do so without bowling-ball-shaped running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the best player the franchise has had in the last decade. He’ll be replaced by Tobinbo Gunnar Gerhart, who’s spent his four-year career backing up Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. Will Gerhart be any good?From 2010 through 2013, Gerhart had 276 rushing attempts for the Vikings, and gained 1,305 yards. That works out to 4.73 yards per attempt, and if that sounds good, well, it is. The table below ranks running backs by yards per attempt through age 26 (post-merger, minimum four seasons played and 250 attempts). Gerhart is certainly worse than Peterson, but he still makes the top 30 out of 351 qualifying backs.There are a couple red flags on this list — Mercury Morris and DeAngelo Williams dropped off pretty sharply after age 26 — but Gerhart also compares favorably to LeSean McCoy and a young Frank Gore.Gerhart isn’t just racking up yards on tired fourth-quarter defenses. In nine games where’s he’s seen a heavier load (10 or more carries), he’s run for 697 yards on 148 attempts, or 4.71 yards per attempt. He also hasn’t gotten an enormous lift from his Minnesota teammates. By Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards statistic — which measures the offensive line’s contribution to the running game — the Vikings’ line placed 11th, 18th, 10th and 10th in the league since 2010; generally above average but by no means dominant.The Jaguars’ line, during the same span, placed second, 13th, 17th and 31st — meaning it’s yet another element of the game that has gone to hell in Jacksonville the last few years.6The only 2013 team worse than the Jaguars in this stat? The Baltimore Ravens, with Michael Oher at right tackle. Expectations are low in 2014, but if the offensive line can get it together, Gerhart just might be a pleasant surprise.Read more of FiveThirtyEight’s NFL season previews. Vegas is bullish on the Texans in 2014 (45 percent chance to make the playoffs!), despite a 2-14 record last year, 14 straight losses, and a last-place finish. Houston clearly underperformed, but it’s not like the Texans revamped much in the off-season: Andre Johnson and Arian Foster are both a year older, Owen Daniels and Ben Tate are gone, and the quarterback du jour is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been cut by both the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills.But who cares about the offense? The Texans’ hopes this season lie in the enormous hands of two enormous men: 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and rookie Jadeveon Clowney. Both defensive linemen saw regular double-teams last season. Now they get to combine their powers.Watt is an outstanding lineman in every regard, but his signature move is the batted pass. According to ESPN Stats & info, Watt had four batted passes his rookie year, while Jason Pierre-Paul and Calais Campbell led the league with eight. The next season, Watt had 16. This defensive focus was a pretty brilliant innovation, considering the steps that go into a successful NFL completion:Step 1: The quarterback does some stuff, throws the ball;Step 2: The ball travels through the air;Step 3: The receiver, having done some stuff, catches the ball.Recent NFL rule changes have made it much harder for defenders to disrupt Steps 1 and 3 (and stopping receivers may be even harder in 2014). So why not take a shot at Step 2?The Texans aren’t the only defensive line to focus on blocking passes, but they’re by far the most successful. The chart below shows the number of batted passes for each team in the league, since 2011.The Texans have had 21 more batted passes than the next closest team. Watt alone has had more batted passes than the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans’ offense could get ugly in 2014, but there might not be a more exciting defensive line in football.Tennessee TitansExpected wins: 7.1Playoff probability: 28 percent (19 percent to win the AFC South)Super Bowl win probability: 1 percent From 2004 to 2008, he was second in the league in EPA (82.0), then fifth (64.7), first (82.1), fifth (63.6), and fifth again (64.3). From 2003 to 2010, he never fell out of the top 20, and from 2002 to 2012 he never fell out of the top 40. Even with an injury in 2013, Wayne posted a 19.4 EPA in less than half a year, and finished 55th overall.Houston TexansExpected wins: 8.4Playoff probability: 45 percent (34 percent to win the AFC South)Super Bowl win probability: 2 percent FiveThirtyEight is running a series of eight NFL previews, one division at a time, to highlight the numbers that may influence each team’s season. America’s favorite weekly soap opera is about to begin; get prepped.Indianapolis ColtsExpected wins (using implied power ratings from Las Vegas point spreads): 8.8Playoff probability: 54 percent (42 percent to win the AFC South)Super Bowl win probability: 4 percent Over the last two seasons, Indianapolis has gone 22-10 and outscored its opponents by just 25 points. That’s a worse differential than the Pittsburgh Steelers (+31) and San Diego Chargers (+48), both of whom have gone exactly .500 over the same span. Winning close games may itself be a skill, but it’s pretty clear that the Colts are a relatively mediocre team as far as good teams go, and this makes them the perfect candidate to reign as champions of the terrible AFC South.In 2013, the teams in the AFC South tallied 24 wins and a .375 winning percentage overall, which is even worse when you remember that each of these teams plays the others twice, so the division is guaranteed 12 wins.1Assuming no ties. Here’s a list of divisions that were worse than the 2013 AFC South by winning percentage, since the NFL introduced divisions in 19662The 2009 NFC West was just as bad as the 2013 AFC South, with 24 wins.:The 2008 NFC West (22 wins, .344 winning percentage)The 2008 AFC West (23 wins, .359 winning percentage)That’s it. That’s the list. The Colts are the favorite to win the trash heap again in 2014, largely because everyone else is worse than them and Andrew Luck will probably improve.But don’t forget about Reggie Wayne! Until Wayne tore his ACL against the Denver Broncos in Week 7 last year, he had played in 189 consecutive Colts games. During that streak, which began in 2001, his rookie season, he quietly positioned himself as one of the most productive receivers in the modern era.We can see Wayne’s dominance through the stat Expected Points Added (EPA) from Advanced Football Analytics, which calculates the net impact a player has on his team’s likelihood of scoring. Sum up the EPA for a player’s snaps over a season or career — it’s an accumulating stat, not a rate stat — and you get a good sense of who’s making the biggest difference to his team. Advanced Football Analytics has EPA going back to 1999. Since then, 722 receivers have debuted in the NFL, and just seven of them have accumulated 400 career EPA during the regular season. Wayne has accumulated 606.Wayne’s progress is driven by remarkably consistent production.3Wayne’s 606 EPA is actually second in total EPA produced since 1999, behind Randy Moss (627). Unfortunately we don’t know Moss’s career EPA, since the stat isn’t available for 1998, his rookie year. Nevertheless, even a down year for Wayne in 2014 would put him ahead of Moss’s current cumulative figure.Other players who debuted before EPA is available but produced more than 400 EPA since 1999 are:Marvin Harrison (536);Derrick Mason (455);Terrell Owens (454);Hines Ward (441). With records of 9-7, 6-10 and 7-9 the last three seasons, Tennessee has fallen into a cycle of inescapable mediocrity. One reason the Titans have been in limbo — maybe the biggest reason — is that QB Jake Locker keeps getting injured, be it his foot, hip or shoulder (on top of injuries to his ribs, thumb and neck from his college career). Locker has been the Titans’ opening-day starter the last two seasons, but has started only 18 games.To help protect Locker, who is still their quarterback of the future, the Titans gave a four-year, $20 million contract ($9.5 million guaranteed) to right tackle Michael Oher, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens. The homecoming for Oher, a Tennessee native made famous by Michael Lewis’s “The Blind Side” and the subsequent movie, is a feel-good story for everyone involved, even if Oher no longer technically plays on the blind side. Except for one thing: Oher isn’t a particularly good NFL tackle.This isn’t to say he’s terrible — terrible players (usually) don’t keep getting snaps, and Oher’s taken over 5,000 at tackle during the regular season — but he’s certainly below average.Oher entered the league in 2009. Since then, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), 77 tackles have taken at least 1,000 snaps as pass blockers. The histogram below shows how often these pass-blocking tackles let their quarterbacks take a hit on the play.A player doesn’t want to be on the right side of that distribution. Lines with the median tackle allowed a QB hit on 2.0 percent of pass-blocking snaps. Lines with Michael Oher allowed hits on 2.5 percent of snaps, an additional hit every 200 snaps. He’s far from the worst in this metric — that would be David Diehl, whose lines allowed a hit on Eli Manning on 4 percent of snaps — but 58 of these 77 tackles had a better figure than Oher.What’s more, Oher commits a lot of penalties while trying to protect the quarterback. For the same 77 tackles as above, the histogram below shows the penalty yards received per 100 snaps (both rushing and passing):Oher has even worse marks here, averaging 6.2 penalty yards per 100 snaps against a median of 4.4 yards. Some 84 percent of the tackles in the data set did better, and only two — Jonathan Scott and J’Marcus Webb — had a worse penalty yard rate and QB hit rate than Oher. For a Titans squad that’s already floundering, this is not exactly an auspicious combination.Jacksonville JaguarsExpected wins: 5.0Playoff probability: 8 percent (5 percent to win the AFC South)Super Bowl win probability: *rolls eyes* read more

Fishermen resume operations after deadly pirate attacks

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related30 persons in custody over piracy attacks, says Suriname Justice, Police MinisterMay 7, 2018In “Crime”Six nabbed offshore Suriname over first pirate attackMay 4, 2018In “Crime”2nd pirate attack leaves 1 dead, crew members missingMay 3, 2018In “Crime” More than two weeks after the deadly pirate attacks in Surinamese water, fishing vessels  have resumed their operations Saturday afternoon.Fishermen prepare to head out at sea (file photo)Fishermen and fishing boat owners suspended their operations in light of the attacks which have left 11 still missing and four dead. Five men survived the attacks which were executed in the Wia Wia Bank area. In the first incident, four boats were attacked but mere days after; another boat suffered the same fate.However, the green light was given for the trade to recommence as from Saturday. The high seas fishing trade in Suriname is carried out by Guyanese natives who operate out of Paramaribo.They have been promised protection by the Suriname coast guard as well as the Guyanese lawmen.At noon on Saturday, several fishing boats left Port Paramaribo on the first fishing expedition since the deadly attack.On Thursday last, the decomposed body of Gavin Outar was discovered at the Number 63 Beach, Corentyne. Outar was one of the fishermen killed during the recent pirate.Dead: Gavin OutarOutar was reportedly working on the MV ‘Shifanie’ which is the same boat on which one of the four survivors, Sherwin Lovell worked. Danesh Persaud also called ‘Vicky’; the captain of the boat was the first to be discovered on the Wai Wai Bank.Outar is expected to be laid to rest today at the Stanleytown cemetery.(Andrew Carmichael) read more

Wisla Plock sign Marko Tarabochia

Marko TarabochiaOrlen Wisla Plock ← Previous Story Talant Dujshebaev “in love” with Kielce until 2019! Next Story → POLAND: Szczecin sensation against Kielce The Bosnian national team player with Croatian origins, Marko Tarabochia, signed contract with the Polish second best team – Orlen Wisla Plock. Manolo Cadenas reinofced his squad with the 27-years old playmaker who spent last two seasons in Azoty Pulawy, the fourth Polish team last year.Tarabochia has played also for RK Maribor Branik, PPD Zagreb and RK Medvescak before his departure to Poland in 2013.Orlen Wisla Plock will compete in the upper part of the EHF Champions League, among 16 best teams in Europe. read more

Comment un site archéologique brésilien perturbe les modèles en cours

first_imgComment un site archéologique brésilien perturbe les modèles en coursLes sites de la Serra da Capivara au Brésil font partie de ceux qui mettent en cause la théorie d’un peuplement précolombien du Nouveau-Monde par la seule culture de Clovis. Des humains pourraient avoir vécu en Amérique du Sud il y a quatre fois plus longtemps que prévu.Il arrive parfois que de belles découvertes archéologiques constituent rapidement de véritables casse-têtes pour les chercheurs. Que faire quand un nombre réduit d’abris sous roche chamboule complètement l’état des connaissances ? Au Brésil, dans le parc national Serra da Capivara, classé au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité, des peintures rupestres et divers autres indices indiquent une présence humaine bien plus ancienne que prévu dans le Nouveau Monde.Le New-York Times a récemment publié tout un article sur le sujet. Selon la théorie dominante, l’Amérique aurait d’abord été peuplée il y a 13.000 ans par la culture de Clovis, du nom d’un site archéologique du Nouveau-Mexique. Elle est arrivée depuis l’Asie par le détroit de Béring alors émergé. Or, certains outils des sites brésiliens remonteraient à 22.000 ans et un crâne vieux de 11.000 ans, étudié par Walter Neves de l’université de São Paulo, présente davantage de ressemblances avec ceux des Aborigènes australiens que des Asiatiques.Les archéologues du Nouveau-Monde se déchirent violemment sur la question, certains comme Gary Haynes de l’université du Nevada n’hésite ainsi pas à déclarer que ces outils auraient pu être façonnés par des singes. Il faut dire que des analyses d’ADN mettent bien en valeur l’existence d’un lien entre les populations indigènes d’Amérique Centrale et d’un enfant de la culture de Clovis mort il y a 12.700 ans. Une étude de 2013 montre à l’inverse des liens génétiques entre les Amérindiens Botocudo et des Polynésiens.Des éléments encore plus anciensÀ lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?La contestation d’un modèle unique basé sur la culture de Clovis prend donc de l’ampleur et s’étaye d’éléments concrets. En novembre, un site uruguayen aurait montré un peuplement humain vieux de 30.000 ans, tandis que des charbons tirés d’un foyer découvert à Serra da Capivara ont été datés d’il y a environ 48.000 ans.”Si ces théories sont vérifiées, ceux qui ont vécu à Serra da Capivara n’ont pas transmis leur patrimoine génétique aux populations d’aujourd’hui, explique au New-York Times Michael Waters de l’université A&M du Texas. Nous devons réfléchir longuement et profondément sur ces sites anciens et à comment ils s’insèrent dans l’histoire du peuplement des Amériques.”Le 6 avril 2014 à 18:34 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Skip the Lines at CashierLess Amazon Go Now Open in Seattle

first_img Amazon today opened its first cashier-less grocery store in Seattle.Amazon Go invites customers to “just grab and go”—no checkout required.Simply sign into the Amazon Go mobile app to enter the store, shop as usual, and walk out the doors without touching your wallet.AdChoices广告Relying on computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning (the same functions used in self-driving cars), the company’s so-called “Just Walk Out Technology” automatically detects when a product is removed from or returned to shelves, and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.Upon departure, your Amazon account is charged and a receipt is sent.“We asked ourselves: What if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?” the firm wrote online. “Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go?“Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping.”Pop in for a pre-prepped snack, grocery essentials, or an Amazon Meal Kit, featuring “all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.” The brick-and-mortar retailer, of course, also stocks products from new subsidiary Whole Foods Market.The OG Go location—in an Amazon office building at 2131 7th Ave. in Seattle—includes a team of associates prepping ingredients, making ready-to-eat food, stocking shelves, and helping customers. The “conveniently compact” shop is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.The first Amazon Go is located in a company office building in Seattle (via Amazon)You’ll need to download the Amazon Go app for iOS, Android, or Amazon before visiting.There is no word on if or when the tech titan will add more venues; according to Reuters, there is no plan to expand the technology to Whole Foods stores.Initially opened to Amazon employees in December 2016, the convenience-style store was expected to go public by early 2017. Technical issues—identifying shoppers with similar body types, children moving items to incorrect places—delayed the grand opening, though.“We have spent a lot of time figuring out how to make our algorithms and our sensors reliable, highly available, and very efficient so that you get things right and we’re very accurate,” Dilip Kumar, Amazon Go’s vice president of technology, told Fast Company. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls last_img read more

NAMs Dissatisfied with Budget Allocation for Youth

first_imgBy Amie SannehSome members of the National Assembly have expressed their dissatisfaction over the budget allocated for youth in the 2018 draft budget estimates. The budget allocated for the Ministry of Youth and Sport is D53, 110,784.Members described youth as important; that they form the chunk of the population and thus the need to invest in them by empowering them to acquire skills and be independent or get employment. They said the reason why youth are leaving the country for Europe through the ‘back way’, is because there is nothing in store for them at home.Responding to these concerns, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs explained that youth have been taken care of adequately; that youth are also going to benefit from the programs under education and agriculture. These institutions he went on, should develop skills and training geared towards youth development. Finance Minister Sanneh further said that their focus is on private sector development to create employment and generate growth in the economy, noting that government cannot employ everybody. This, he added, is the reason why they want the private sector to grow and improve which is why they have reduced the company tax rate and they are also trying to bring down the income tax rate and provide the conducive environment for them. “All these are efforts to lay the ground for youth empowerment,” he said.last_img read more

Updated forecast calls for considerably less snow Tuesday

first_imgConflicting weather forecasting models began to agree Sunday, and their conclusion was this: Tuesday night will be a good time to stay home.Snow is likely to fall in the metro area beginning Tuesday afternoon, and then switch to freezing rain around midnight. The freezing rain will persist until late Wednesday morning before it turns back to rain again, said Wanda Likens at the National Weather Service office in Portland.The weather service is predicting no more than a half-inch of snow to fall Tuesday afternoon, and then possibly another inch Tuesday night before the freezing rain starts.That’s a far cry from a foot or more of snow, as some weather models had predicted late Saturday and early Sunday.Steve Pierce, columbian.com weather blogger, explains it this way: ““The storm is still on track for late Tuesday afternoon and evening. The center of the storm will pass to the north, which will limit the amount of snow we see. Precipitation should begin as snow in most areas near Portland and Vancouver Tuesday after 4 p.m. A transition to freezing rain, sleet and then rain is likely at some point Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Models are in general agreement that enough precipitation will fall to accumulate some snow across the metro area Tuesday night before it all changes to rain. How much snow is still up in the air and we will know more by (to)day and (to)night.“What this does not look like is a big snowfall that remains here for days, followed by even colder weather later in the week.”Likens said that meteorologists use several different weather forecasting models, which do not all use the same data. In some cases, the different models agree, but in this case, there had been some disagreement. By Sunday evening, they were all predicting about the same thing.last_img read more

Vancouver soldier seriously wounded in Afghanistan

first_imgA Portland TV station is reporting that a Vancouver soldier has been seriously wounded in Afghanistan.Michael Crawford, a recent Union High School graduate, was wounded Dec. 27 when an IED detonated near his vehicle, KGW-TV reported Wednesday night. He was just weeks into his deployment.The explosion killed three and injured three, including Crawford. Currently at a military hospital in Texas, Crawford’s injuries include a broken back, his father told KGW.“The initial prognosis was that he will not walk,” Adam Crawford told KGW. “He’s lost feeling and mobility.”Click here to see KGW’s report.last_img read more

How to identify the best type of share plan for an organisation

first_imgViewpoint: Share schemes offer significant tax incentivesTypically, an organisation’s choice of employee share scheme will depend on the degree of employee share ownership that it wishes to introduce. One employer might want only key people to own shares, whereas another might prefer all employees to become part-owners of the business by introducing an all-employee share scheme.Various factors could be relevant: strategic reasons such as securing ownership succession; rewarding employees, and if there are financial reasons, whether this means employees share in any growth in the organisation’s value, annual profits, or both; a tax-efficient way to reward employees; business reasons such as enhancing the loyalty of employees or establishing a common interest among employee-owners.An employer that wishes to extend ownership to individual employee shareholders should be able to take advantage of one or more of the significant tax incentives that are available. These include the following arrangements: the enterprise management incentive (EMI) under which smaller organisations that satisfy certain conditions can grant to employees options to acquire shares on a discretionary basis. Provided that the price payable under the option for the shares is not less than the market value of the shares when the option is granted, there will be no income tax or national insurance (NI) on any increase in value of the shares. Any gains realised will be subject to capital gains tax (CGT), which can be at a rate as low as 10%.The company share option plan (Csop) permits grants of options over shares valued at up to £30,000, which, broadly, can be exercised without paying income tax or NI.The all-employee share incentive plan (Sip) under which income tax relief is available when employees buy shares in their organisation and/or when they are given free shares. Any gains realised will be free of CGT.Stephen Chater is share plans director at Postlethwaite Need to know:Employers need to choose the employee share scheme that matches their business objectives and the interest and eligibility of those they hope will sign up to it.The number of new shares that can be issued under employee share plans will have a limit, so employers should ensure the capacity is there to be able to offer the options that they want.Internal departments must work collaboratively to get the best out of the scheme, which also needs to be well communicated to employees so that they understand the real value of membership. Employee motivation is no longer linked solely to remuneration; employers are constantly looking for more effective and innovative ways to reward staff, boost motivation and engagement, and ultimately, productivity.As many are discovering, an employee share ownership scheme can be an effective way of incentivising staff through a sense of ownership that increases their loyalty to the company.The good news for employers planning to make such a move is that there are a number of schemes to choose from that offer a range of alternatives to traditional pay increases or bonuses, says Gabbi Stopp, head of employee share ownership at IFS Proshare. “There is more choice, but employers must also be sure that they choose the plan that best suits them as an organisation,” she says. “For example, with a share incentive plan (Sip) [employees] have real shares. With a sharesave scheme [they] have the option to buy, but not the obligation. There is also the issue of affordability, and certainly with the minimum monthly saving into a [sharesave] plan of just £5, there is no barrier to part-time or lower-paid employees.”Benefits of different share schemesShare schemes can be introduced to meet different business objectives. All-employee schemes, for example, can enhance employee engagement by fostering a sense of alignment with the organisation’s success among staff. Others are used to target selected individuals on the basis of seniority, potential or merit.The four main types of HR Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax-advantaged employee share schemes include Sips, sharesave (or SAYE), enterprise management incentive (EMI) schemes, and company share option plans (Csops). Which type of scheme employers choose will depend upon a number of factors, including size of the organisation, employee demographics and salary levels.Sips, which can include free shares, partnership shares, matching shares, and dividend shares, can be offered to all employees. They have proved popular among smaller employers that may not otherwise have offered a staff share scheme. The shares must normally be held in a trust on the employee’s behalf for five years before removal, without incurring a tax or national insurance contribution (NIC) liability.Sharesave schemes are also used by organisations looking to grant options to all members of staff, with the number granted linked to the amount that each employee agrees to save each month. At the end of a fixed term of three or five years, employees receive a tax-free bonus on their savings.Enterprise management incentive (EMI) schemes are designed to help small, higher-risk organisations attract and retain key talent by offering tax-favourable share options. Simon Burton, tax director at Johnston Carmichael Chartered Accountants, says: “Commercially, there is no risk for the employee because there is no cash outlay until the options are exercised and this will often be at a time when the shares can immediately be sold at a profit.”Company share option plans (Csops) are typically offered to selected, senior staff members. However, there is no reason why they cannot be operated on an ‘all-employee’ basis, says Sarah Nicholson, senior associate at Squire Patton Boggs (UK). “A Csop is less flexible, can take longer to put in place and the tax benefits are not as generous as for EMI options, but it can be useful if an organisation or the relevant employees do not qualify for EMI,” she explains.Share scheme advantagesOne of the most significant advantages of using shares to reward employees is they need not have a cash cost. The issue of new shares is paid for by diluting existing shareholders, rather than drawing on often-scarce cash reserves, explains Andrew Page, partner at Aon’s talent, rewards and performance practice. But it is not entirely a free ride. “Investors generally place a limit on the amount of new shares that can be issued under employee share schemes, so [employers need to] check whether [they] have ‘headroom’ to make the awards [they] want,” he says.Another consideration is the administration of the scheme. Stopp says: “A share plan requires a great deal of cross-functional cooperation, from finance, HR, payroll [and so on], to make it run smoothly throughout its life.”Therefore, an employer should carefully choose the type of share scheme that best matches its business objectives and the eligibility of its employees that it is hoping to engage with the scheme.PCA Predict offers share scheme to motivate staffPCA Predict provides address validation technology used on e-commerce sites, for customers that include Tesco, Dow Jones, and Disney. The organisation, which has offices in Worcester and New York, and employs over 55 members of staff, offers an enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme.The EMI scheme was chosen as a way of motivating staff through the generous tax incentives it provides to encourage wider share ownership. Guy Mucklow, co-founder of PCA Predict, says: “It has been proven that employee-owned businesses are consistently more productive, innovative and profitable than those that that are not. One of the main reasons for this is that employee shareholders treat the business like it’s their own.“They care more about the [organisation’s] future and understand how their financial and career paths are inextricably linked to the success of the business. If we can get to that point, then we will create that virtuous circle where everyone will benefit.”The organisation decided to kickstart the scheme by gifting up to 10% of equity to employees. Mucklow says: “It is a fairly unusual arrangement in that with most EMI schemes, employees are expected to pay something for the option. By gifting our equity, it means that there is immediate value in the share award and that, ultimately, unless the business is worthless when we sell, the share options will provide a good return for our employees.”To illustrate, an employee who received 0.01% of the equity on the first round that was paid out last May, would have received approximately £6,000 of immediate value for their shares based on a valuation received in December 2015.Mucklow says: “We are very keen to ensure that we have the best talent and that we do our utmost to share our success.”last_img read more

Troopers Report Multiple Vehicle Related Incidents In Peninsula On Wednesday

first_imgThe damage to his window was estimated at $300 dollars.  Investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Alaska State Troopers in Seward at 907-224-3346. Mike Chihuly, age 66 of Ninilchik, contacted the Alaska State Troopers, on February 28,  and reported that someone broke into his vehicle near Resurrection Trail head and the Sterling Highway.  Chihuly reported 100.00 dollars in cash, credit cards and other cards were missing from his wallet. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Alaska State Troopers in Seward at 907-224-3346. Investigation is ongoing. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Alaska State Troopers reported three separate vehicle related incidents on the Kenai Peninsula on Wednesday, February 28. In a trooper dispatch posted on February 28 AST reported on a hit and run that took place on February 12, at this time the investigation is still ongoing. Russell Kuipers, age 35 of Anchorage, contacted Soldotna dispatch and reported a minor motor vehicle accident.  Kuipers said he was north bound on the Seward Highway near mile post 57.0 when a white truck tried to pass him and clipped the back end of his vehicle.  Kuipers lost control and struck the guardrail. Everest Haynes, 20 of Seward, contacted the Alaska State Troopers, on February 28, and reported his vehicle stolen.  Haynes last saw his vehicle the day prior on Salmon Creek Road, in Seward.  The vehicle is a blue 2007 Mazda bearing Alaska plates JEK901. The white truck continued towards Anchorage.  Kuipers was not hurt, was wearing his seatbelt, and made plans to have his vehicle removed.  Kuipers did not have a license plate for the white truck. Anyone with information are asked to contact Soldotna AST at 907-283-4453.last_img read more

Melodious tribute

first_imgIndia Habitat Center as a part of their monthly program calendar has organised the first Dhrupad Sandhya, a musical evening, in collaboration with Pandit Siyaram Tiwari Memorial Sangeet Trust. A Dhrupad Sabha also commenced on August 23, 2014 to pay tribute to the legendary Dhrupad singer Padma Shree Late Pandit Siyaram Tiwari of Darbhanga Gharana.The event will stage three young Indian classical musicians committed to the ancient and pure Dhrupad style. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’On this occasion, Sumeet Anand Pandey, disciple of Pt Abhay Narayan Mallick will present his first solo Dhrupad recital. Pandey belongs to the Darbhanga Gharana of Dhrupad music which owes its allegiance to the legendary Tansen. He will start the ocassion with a recital of traditional Mangalacharan followed by elaborate Dhrupad style alap sketching the entire structure of the raag appropriately, embellished with Gamak and Meend. Pandey will be accompanied by Kulbhushan Goswami on Sarangi and Kumar Shubhashish Pathak on Pakhawaj. President of Pandit Siyaram Tiwari Memorial Sangeet Trust, Anand Mohan Pandey announced the date for the second Dhrupad Sabha in March 2015 in Patna.last_img read more

VIDEO Andy Dalton got booed off the field and pelted with a

first_imgWhat say you, Sam Wyche? Advertisement Andy Dalton will never get confused for a top tier quarterback, that’s been well established. But after throwing 4 picks at home in a crushing  20-0 shutout loss to the Ravens, the home fans had seen enough from the Red Rifle.As Dalton ran into the tunnel after the final whistle, he was showered with boos, “you suck”s, and even got pelted with a freakin’ hat. This is as much disrespect as you’ll see given to the home team quarterback. He would have gotten a better reception from the Dawg Pound. Playmakers on 3?Unfortunately, Sam Wyche wasn’t there to remind the fans they don’t live in Cleveland, they live in Cincinnati.Here’s why Andy Dalton runs off…One fan: “You suck.”Another throws hat at Dalton.Another fan yells: “I want Carson back.” #Bengals pic.twitter.com/uAHDcNImMu— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) September 10, 2017last_img read more