July 21, 2019 | | Post a Comment

With Record Tesla Model 3 Deliveries, Time To Review Vehicle Protection Musk penned an email to all of Tesla’s employees on Saturday. The email states:We are very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong, but, to be certain, we must execute really well tomorrow.If we go all out tomorrow, we will achieve an epic victory beyond all expectations.Today is the end of the third quarter and it’s believed that Tesla will soon report a Q3 profit, but Musk is pushing for more, more and more. Mostly Model 3 deliveries, but the S and X will be in the mix, too.In a just a few hours, InsideEVs will begin to report on our sales expectations for Tesla and a few other automakers. So, stay tuned for more to come soon.Elon sent this email to all employees:“We are very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong, but, to be certain, we must execute really well tomorrow (Sunday). If we go all out tomorrow, we will achieve an epic victory beyond all expectations.”— Model 3 Owners Club (@Model3Owners) September 30, 2018 Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 30, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News SEC Settles With Musk: Remains Tesla CEO, No Longer Chairman Source: Bloomberg In a last-minute push, Tesla CEO emails employees to urge an all-out Sunday.As the world awaits Tesla’s Q3 earnings report, early indications point towards profit.More Tesla News Source: Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model 3 Drive Unit Production Eclipses 10,000 / Week read more

July 21, 2019 | | Post a Comment

A Quiet Day Experiencing an Electric Car at the LimitConsumers are slowly but surely recognizing the benefits of owning an all-electric vehicle. Auto manufacturers have a primary message of driving miles and miles without ever having to buy gasoline. This is exactly what the public needs to hear and fully comprehend for EV sales to increase. While never having to stop at a gasoline station again is a very strong, appealing and sexy selling point, a car has to have more going for it than the ability to get from Point A to B cheaply. It also has to be a pleasant place to hang-out and it must perform.Chevrolet thought it would be fun (and they were right!) to invite automotive journalists to an autocross course in Southern California, to demonstrate that the 2018 Bolt is more than just a commuter and around-town compact. After a couple hours tearing around tight corners, we were convinced it was.Power, Traction and PerformancePowered by a 150-kW electric motor driving the front wheels, the 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque were instant and available at all times. Zipping around in the Bolt was great fun. Chevrolet claims a 6.8-second 0-60 time and 91 mph top speed. But, when on an autocross course, these figures are moot as the top speed might be 35 mph—for a brief few seconds. What we cared about was how to get the 3,560-lb. Bolt around the tight course and not smash too many cones in the process.The Chevrolet Bolt Autocross showed the EV was way more than just a commuterThe key to the Bolt handling so well starts with the batteries being located under the seats. With the weight placed only a few inches off the ground, the low center of gravity is the envy of race car engineers everywhere. The next factor affecting handling were the tires.Three of our autocross Bolts had the standard-equipment Michelin Energy Saver 17-inch all-season tires that are designed for low rolling-resistance. To make it more interesting, two of the autocross Bolts were shod with summer tires. According to Mike Burns, Bolt vehicle performance engineer/vehicle dynamics and chassis control, there should be a minuscule difference in grip between the two tires. Maybe in the lab, but not on the track—and certainly not on this day. Depending on the driver, there was a one-to-two second difference in lap times, with the  summer tire easily giving a better road feel, with less tire spin and more grip when braking and diving hard into corners.A third factor for good handling was the electric power steering not being too light. Many of the cars reviewed by Clean Fleet Report have dumbed-down steering, to the point of a loss of road feel. This is never good, but ever more so when driving fast on tight corners.Lastly was braking, which was very good and didn’t fade even with repeated hard stomping on the pedal. As with all electric vehicles, the Bolt has a regenerative braking system that, when braking or coasting, converts friction into electricity, which is then returned to the batteries. The Bolt comes standard with an anti-lock braking system, power-assisted front vented and rear solid discs. Handling and driving confidence was aided by dynamic rear brake proportioning and electronic stability control.The course drew out the Bolt EV’s great handling and agilityJust to spice it up a bit, Chevrolet brought-in a 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI, a hot hatch known for its great handling. While it certainly did handle well, it traversed the autocross course slower than the Bolt wearing the summer tires. The most likely reason for the Bolt having faster times goes back to the electric motor providing instant torque and horsepower at any speed. The GTI has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which is a blast to drive, but on the autocross course where you are on-and-off the accelerator pedal constantly and quickly, waiting even a split second for the turbo to spin-up was enough for the Bolt to out perform the VW. A small thing, but Chevrolet proved its point vividly how much fun the Bolt EV can be to drive.Design Assumption vs. RealityThe Bolt has a tall stance, placing it between a hatchback and a crossover. So, the initial impression is that handling will be affected by a higher center of gravity. But with the under-seat battery placement, weight being almost at ground level and the wide-set wheel placement, the minimal body roll was predictable and not an issue, even on the hardest and fastest corners.Observations: 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Autocross – Handling and PerformanceThe Bolts were faster and had more grip than you’d expectThe 2018 Chevrolet Bolt is not a race car, nor can it be considered sporty. However, a day at the autocross course on timed laps proved it should be seriously considered more than a way to drive around without having to stop at a gasoline station. The quiet performance of the motor might lull people into thinking that the “corners ahead” sign means to lift off the accelerator pedal. The opposite is more like it.Request from the Chevrolet sales associate a test drive that lets you try out the handling. Don’t scare them, but don’t hold back seeing how much fun you can have in a Bolt.Whatever you end up buying, Happy Driving!Related Stories You Might Enjoy—More Bolt InfoInterview: Chevrolet Bolt EV at One YearRoad Test: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EVPersonal One Year with my Chevrolet bolt EVPersonal: My Chevrolet Bolt EV—a Six-Month UpdateNews: Chevrolet Bolt Available Nationwide in AugustFirst Drive: 2017 Chevrolet BoltThe post Event: Chevrolet Bolt EV Autocross Experience appeared first on Clean Fleet Report. Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicles read more

July 21, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicles Magazine Anaheim Transportation Network, a non-profit that operates shuttles around Disneyland and other local tourist sites in Anaheim, has ordered 40 additional e-buses from BYD, which has a manufacturing facility in Los Angeles.Half of the order will be for 40-foot BYD K9M buses. The remainder of the buses will range in size from 30 feet to the 60-foot articulated K11M. ATN says the variety of bus sizes will allow it to efficiently serve a range of routes in the Anaheim Resort District, which includes Disneyland, Angel Stadium, and the Honda Center hockey arena.ATN received a grant from the Transit and Intercity CapitalProgram, which awards funding from the state-sponsored Greenhouse Gas ReductionFund. ATN also received funding from the state’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truckand Bus Voucher Incentive Project, which provides point-of-sale discounts whenorganizations purchase electric fleets.“We’ve been operating four of BYD’s 40-foot K9Ms on our routesover the past two years, and based on their performance, we are confident inBYD’s quality product and their support of our efforts to electrify our fleet,”ATN Executive Director Diana Kotler said. “These new buses will provide ATN a57% zero-emission fleet by 2020.”Source: BYD via Green Car Congresslast_img read more

July 21, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgYesterday’s post highlighted Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell’s recent speech before a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act audience.Today’s post provides equal time to Andrew Ceresney’s (Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division) FCPA speech to the same audience.To those well-versed on prior SEC FCPA policy speeches, there was little new information of significance in Ceresney’s speech (and you can assess this for yourself by visiting this subject matter tag which highlights every SEC FCPA policy speech in the public domain over the last several years). Indeed, significant portions of Ceresney’s speech were near carbon copies of prior speeches he delivered at the same event one year ago and two years ago (see here and here for prior posts).[From a LinkedIn comment: “I agree with your assessment of Director Ceresney’s speech. In fact the majority of the attendees who were present during the luncheon speech felt the same way. And judging from his presentation, he was hardly enthused about the speech. Basically, it was just read off paper word for word not even looking up. But you also have to put his speech in the proper context. It was something designed to take up the slack time between the main meal and waiting for the dessert to come out.”]The only new item in Ceresney’s speech was the following statement: “the Enforcement Division has determined that going forward, a company must self-report misconduct in order to be eligible for the Division to recommend a DPA or NPA to the Commission in an FCPA case.”As a practical matter, this statement is not very significant as the SEC has only used NPAs or DPAs three time since the SEC authorized their use in 2010. Moreover, the SEC has handled voluntary disclosure in the FCPA context in several different ways.  In certain instances, civil complaints are filed in connection with voluntary disclosures; in other instances, administrative cease and desist orders are used in connection with voluntary disclosures; and in other instances  – as noted by Ceresney – NPAs and DPAs are used in connection with voluntary disclosures.Prior to excerpting Ceresney’s speech, a few observations about the individual prosecution and BHP Billiton portions of the speech.Individual ProseuctionsCeresney stated:“Outside the FCPA context in particular, over the last five years, 80% of the SEC’s enforcement actions (excluding follow-on administrative proceedings and delinquent filings) have involved charges against individuals.  This focus on individuals also applies to FCPA cases.”Ceresney did not provide statistics for individual prosecutions in connection with corporate SEC enforcement actions so I will. As noted in prior posts here and here, since 2008 83% of SEC corporate FCPA enforcement actions have not resulted in any SEC charges against company employees.No doubt in recognition of these FCPA specific statistics, Ceresney attempted to articulate why FCPA enforcement actions against individuals “present formidable challenges.” However, most of the factors listed are also present in corporate FCPA enforcement actions. There is however a key difference.  In the FCPA’s history, it is not believed that the SEC has ever had to prove a case against an issuer whereas individuals are more likely to, and have, put the SEC’s to burden of proof and the SEC has never satisfied its ultimate burden of proof against an individual when this happens.BNY Mellon / Anything of ValueSimilar to his speech last year at the same event, Ceresney devoted a material portion of his remarks to an FCPA element that is seldom the focus of much discussion:  anything of value.   In the words of Ceresney “enforcing the FCPA to its fullest extent.”Ceresney provided a list of questions regarding less tangible things of value that will be of value to compliance practitioners.In connection with this portion of his speech, Ceresney defended the SEC’s enforcement action against BNY Mellon which focused on the company’s internship practices. He called criticism of the enforcement action “unfounded.”However, Ceresney failed to address many of the other criticisms of the enforcement action not necessarily connected to the anything of value element such as corrupt intent, obtain or retain business, and other statutory issues. (See here).The remainder of this post excerpts Ceresney’s speech.“Pursuing violations of the FCPA remains a critical part of the SEC’s enforcement efforts.  The SEC has taken a lead role in combatting corruption worldwide, enforcing the FCPA vigorously against issuers and individuals within its jurisdiction and working with foreign partners to enhance their anticorruption efforts.The Division of Enforcement – including its specialized FCPA Unit, as well as other members of the staff – continues to be very active holding wrongdoers accountable for FCPA violations.  The Commission’s enforcement efforts over the last ten years, along with those of our partners at the DOJ and FBI, have resulted in a sea change in enhancing the focus on FCPA compliance issues.[…]I thought I would spend some time this afternoon discussing a few issues that are important to the SEC’s FCPA program: self-reporting and cooperation; holding individuals accountable for FCPA violations; cooperation with foreign regulators; and ongoing efforts to ensure that the FCPA is enforced to its fullest extent.The Importance of Self-Reporting and CooperationI want to start with the importance of self-reporting and cooperation in FCPA cases.  The Commission launched its formal cooperation program a little more than five years ago, and as I have explained in other contexts, it has been a great success overall.  Even before that formal cooperation program was implemented, the SEC was rewarding cooperation in FCPA matters, and it has continued to do so under the more formal program.  In the last fiscal year alone, the Commission gave significant credit for cooperation in more than half a dozen cases.  These included the settlement with Layne Christensen, which included a significantly reduced penalty of 10% of the disgorgement amount; a settlement with PBSJ, where we entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and the penalty was a small fraction of disgorgement; and a settlement with Goodyear, which was the first case where the Commission agreed not seek any penalty in recognition of the company’s significant cooperation.  These cases should send the message loud and clear that the SEC will reward self-reporting and cooperation with significant benefits.  Companies should understand that the benefits of cooperating with the SEC are significant and tangible.Let me spend a moment on self-reporting because that is an issue that has attracted lots of attention in recent years.  Self-reporting is critical to the success of SEC’s cooperation program.  Self-reporting allows the Enforcement staff to discover misconduct more quickly and reliably than otherwise would be possible.  In certain cases, particularly when misconduct occurs overseas, companies may be in a better position to quickly investigate misconduct and the information provided by companies as part of their self-reporting often gives a significant head start on our investigations.Self-reporting also is a valuable tool for parties who want to maximize the benefits available for cooperation.  As the cases I just mentioned make clear, there are significant benefits available to companies who self-report violations and cooperate fully with our investigations.  Benefits range from reduced charges and penalties, to deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreements – known as DPAs or NPAs – in instances of outstanding cooperation, or in certain instances when the violations are minimal, no charges.However, beyond these benefits, which are the carrot, there is also a stick that should further incentivize self-reporting.  Companies that make a decision not to self-report misconduct take the chance that the Enforcement Division will learn of this misconduct through other means.  The SEC’s whistleblower program has created real incentives for people to report wrongdoing to us.  If the Enforcement Division finds the violations through its own investigation or from a whistleblower, the consequences to the company will likely be worse and the opportunity to earn additional cooperation credit may well be lost.  As I’ve said before, when discussing our cooperation program in general and specifically in the FCPA context, companies are gambling if they fail to self-report FCPA misconduct to us.Given the importance of self-reporting to our FCPA investigations, the Enforcement Division continues to looks for ways to encourage self-reporting of violations through our cooperation program.  Towards that end, the Enforcement Division has determined that going forward, a company must self-report misconduct in order to be eligible for the Division to recommend a DPA or NPA to the Commission in an FCPA case.  I am hopeful that this condition on the decision to recommend a DPA or NPA will further incentivize firms to promptly report FCPA misconduct to the SEC and further emphasize the benefits that come with self-reporting and cooperation.It is important to note here that while the Division will require a company to self-report in order to be eligible for a DPA or NPA, self-reporting alone is not enough.  Determinations of how much credit to give an entity for cooperation, including whether to take the extraordinary step of entering into a DPA or NPA, are made by evaluating the broad factors set out by the Commission in the Seaboard report. In addition to self-reporting, these factors include a corporation’s self-policing, remediation, and cooperation. While DPAs and NPAs are valuable tools, they reflect a significant level of cooperation and have been a relatively limited part of Commission enforcement practice.  I think this is appropriate and should continue to be the case.  But the Division will not even consider this step if a company fails to self-report.Requiring a company to self-report potential FCPA violations in order to be eligible for a DPA or NPA is consistent with the SEC’s practice since the introduction of our formal cooperation program in 2010.  In each FCPA case where the SEC entered into a DPA or NPA, the company involved self-reported the violations, and then provided significant cooperation throughout the investigation.The most recent example is the DPA the Commission entered into with PBSJ Corporation earlier this year.  In that case, the Commission charged a former officer of the Florida engineering and construction firm with violating the FCPA by offering and authorizing bribes and employment to foreign officials to secure Qatari government contracts. The Commission determined that a DPA with the company was appropriate.  PBSJ self-reported the violations to the SEC, took immediate steps to end the misconduct, and fully cooperated with the investigation, including voluntarily making foreign witnesses available for interviews and providing factual chronologies, timelines, internal summaries, and full forensic images to the SEC.  Under the DPA, PBSJ agreed to pay more than $3 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and a penalty of $375,000 – approximately 10% of the disgorgement level – and to comply with certain undertakings.Similarly, in 2013 the Commission entered into its first ever FCPA NPA with Ralph Lauren Corporation in connection with bribes paid by a subsidiary to government officials in Argentina.  In determining to enter a NPA with the company, the Commission recognized the company’s prompt self-reporting of the violation – within two weeks of discovering the illegal payments – and its extraordinary cooperation with the SEC’s investigation, which included voluntarily and expeditiously producing relevant documents, providing translations of foreign-language documents, providing witness interview summaries from its internal investigation, making overseas witnesses available, and bringing witnesses to the U.S.  The Commission also took into account significant remedial measures undertaken by Ralph Lauren.  Under the NPA, the company paid more than $700,000 in disgorgement and pre-judgment interest.Finally, self-reporting was a key consideration leading to the DPA with Tenaris, S.A., in 2011, which was the SEC’s first DPA since the introduction of the cooperation program.  The agreement with Tenaris involved allegations that the global manufacturer of steel pipe products made almost $5 million on contracts obtained through bribes of Uzbekistan government officials during a bidding process to supply pipelines for transporting oil and natural gas. The Commission determined that a DPA with Tenaris was appropriate.  The company immediately reported the violations to the SEC, conducted a thorough internal investigation, fully cooperated with the investigation, and implemented significant remediation efforts.  Under the DPA, Tenaris paid $5.4 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and agreed to enhance its compliance practices.  Tenaris paid no penalty.I hope that by highlighting the benefits of cooperation and detailing the efforts companies took to self-report and cooperate, the Enforcement Division can help provide a blueprint for companies regarding what kind of cooperation and remediation efforts are required to maximize the benefits of the SEC’s cooperation program.Focus on Individual LiabilityThe next area I want to talk about today is our focus on individual liability.  Holding individuals accountable for their wrongdoing is critical to effective deterrence and, therefore, the Division considers individual liability in every case.  Outside the FCPA context in particular, over the last five years, 80% of the SEC’s enforcement actions (excluding follow-on administrative proceedings and delinquent filings) have involved charges against individuals.  This focus on individuals also applies to FCPA cases.  When we are able to recommend a case against individuals for FCPA violations, we do so.However, it is also true that FCPA cases often present formidable challenges to establishing individual liability.  In most FCPA cases, the individuals most directly involved in the wrongdoing are foreign nationals who live outside the United States.  As a result, it is often difficult to establish personal jurisdiction over potential wrongdoers, particularly if they are employees of the foreign subsidiary rather than the parent issuer.  In addition, most of the witnesses and documents are located overseas, which presents evidentiary challenges.  The cases are very time-consuming and resource-intensive to litigate, and if the wrongdoer is a foreign national with no assets or ties to the U.S., recoveries may be limited.  Finally, given the evidentiary challenges and complexity of FCPA investigations, the statute of limitations also complicates these cases.  The statute of limitations applicable to Commission actions is not tolled when foreign evidence requests are outstanding.However, where the Division’s investigations find sufficient evidence to bring charges and establish personal jurisdiction, the Commission brings those cases.  Over twenty percent of the SEC’s FCPA cases this past year were brought against individuals, sometimes in conjunction with a case against the issuer, and sometimes before or after the issuer case was brought.  In the PBSJ case I discussed earlier, while the Commission entered into a DPA with the company, it charged the former PBSJ officer who orchestrated the scheme with violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.  As set out in the SEC’s order, the officer offered to funnel funds to a local company owned and controlled by a foreign official in order to secure two multi-million Qatari government contracts for PBSJ and also offered employment to a second foreign official in return for assistance as the bribery scheme began to unravel. The officer agreed to settle the charges and pay a significant penalty.In August, the Commission brought charges against a former executive at a worldwide software manufacturer for violating the FCPA by bribing Panamanian government officials through an intermediary to procure software license sales.  As set out in the SEC’s order, the executive orchestrated a scheme to pay bribes to one government official and promised to pay two others in order to obtain four contracts to sell software to the Panamanian government.  The executive, who lives in Miami, agreed to settle the charges and disgorge all of his ill-gotten gains.And earlier this fiscal year, the SEC charged two former employees in the Dubai office of a U.S.-based defense contractor with violating the FCPA by providing government officials in Saudi Arabia with improper benefits to help secure business for the company.  The individual employees settled the charges and each agreed to pay a significant penalty.The Commission is committed to holding individuals accountable and I expect you will continue to see more FCPA cases against individuals.Effective Coordination with International Regulators and Law EnforcementOne of the reasons we’ve been able to achieve such success in our FCPA cases over the past few years – both against companies and individuals – is the Division’s effective coordination with international regulators and law enforcement.  In today’s globalized marketplace, the SEC’s ability to protect investors and maintain fair and efficient markets is often dependent on Enforcement’s ability to investigate misconduct that takes place, at least in part, abroad.  This is especially true with FCPA investigations, which routinely rely on evidence obtained from foreign jurisdictions, and often are conducted in parallel with foreign governments.Over the past five years, the Enforcement Division has experienced a transformation in the ability to get meaningful and timely assistance from international partners.  Enforcement has greatly expanded its efforts to obtain evidence of potential wrongdoing from around the globe with the assistance of the SEC’s Office of International Affairs and continues to strengthen our partnerships with other countries.  There has also been an important trend of significant growth in focus and legislation on corruption issues worldwide over the last few years.  The result has been a tremendous increase in cooperation from other governments and better access to evidence in foreign countries.This increased coordination helps the SEC successfully conclude significant enforcement actions.  For example, assistance from foreign authorities was critical to the Commission’s recent case against Hitachi.  The investigation was greatly assisted by the African Development Bank and the South African Financial Services Board.  And the resulting case charged Hitachi with violating the FCPA by inaccurately recording improper payments to a front company for the African National Congress – the ruling party in South Africa – in connection with contracts to build two power plants.  The company agreed to settle the charges and pay a $19 million penalty for its FCPA violations.In April of this year, the SEC also charged FLIR Systems, Inc. for violating the FCPA by financing what an employee termed a “world tour” of personal travel for government officials in the Middle East who played key roles in decisions to purchase products from FLIR. The Commission’s order found that FLIR earned more than $7 million in profits from sales influenced by the improper travel and gifts.  We received valuable assistance in our investigation from the United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority.  To settle the matter, FLIR agreed to pay more than $9.5 million in disgorgement and penalties and report its FCPA compliance efforts to the agency for the next two years.  In the BHP Billiton matter I mentioned earlier, the Division received assistance from the Australian Federal Police.These are just three recent examples of the Division’s success in working with the international community to receive documents and other types of foreign assistance.  I fully expect the pace and extent of foreign agencies’ cooperation in the FCPA space to grow over the coming years as the Division continues to forge new relationships abroad and strengthen those we already have.Enforcing the FCPA Statute to its Fullest ExtentFinally, I thought I would say a few words about the Commission’s efforts to enforce the FCPA to the fullest extent of the statute.  As this audience surely knows, the statute precludes the payment or provision of “anything of value” to a foreign official in order to induce that official to take official action or obtain an improper advantage for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business.And of course “anything” of value is, on its face, a broad term.  Obviously, cash payments count.  Similarly, tangible gifts to foreign officials undoubtedly qualify as things of value.  But the Commission has also successfully brought FCPA cases where other, less traditional, items of value have been given in order to influence foreign officials.  For example, last year, I discussed a series of cases in which the Commission brought bribery charges against companies that made contributions to charities that were affiliated with foreign government officials, provided no-show jobs to the spouse of a foreign official, or paid for the honeymoon of a foreign official’s daughter, all to induce those officials to direct business to the companies.  Each of these benefits qualifies as something of value under the FCPA statute.The SEC’s recent case against BNY Mellon, its first FCPA case against a financial institution, also illustrates this approach.  The Commission’s case charged that the firm violated the FCPA by providing valuable student internships to family members of foreign government officials affiliated with a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.Some have expressed concern about these cases, arguing that it is difficult to draw a clear line between what constitutes a violation and what does not, in cases involving less traditional items of value.  In my view, these concerns are unfounded.  The line between what is acceptable and what constitutes a violation of the law is in the same place it always has been:  when something of value – which can include a gift, donation, favor, or hiring decision – is given or taken with intent to influence the foreign official in his or her official actions or obtain an improper advantage.  While this analysis is dependent on the facts and circumstances of each particular case, it is the same analysis companies routinely conduct when considering how their employees interact with government officials in the course of business. The relevant questions include:Was the gift, donation, favor, or hiring asked for by the foreign official?Did the company official believe that the gift, donation, favor, or hiring would advance their business interests and help them obtain particular business, or at least obtain an improper advantage with the foreign official?Was the gift, donation, favor, or hiring consistent with company policy and practice?Were the company’s normal procedures followed in connection with the gift, donation, favor, or hiring?Would the gift, donation, favor, or hiring have been made if there were no potential business benefit?In the BNY Mellon case for example, the Commission’s order described the following facts.  The sovereign wealth fund officials explicitly and repeatedly requested the internships and the BNY Mellon employees viewed providing the internships as important to keeping the sovereign wealth fund’s business and potentially obtaining new business.  Indeed, one BNY Mellon employee stated that failure to provide the internships would “potentially jeopardize our mandate” with the sovereign fund and another stated that providing the internship was “the only way” to increase BNY Mellon’s share of business from the sovereign funds’ European office. In addition, the bank did not evaluate or hire the officials’ relatives through its internship program, which had stringent standards, including a minimum grade point average, relevant prior work experience, and multiple rounds of interviews.  In fact, the family members hired did not meet the basic entrance standards for any established BNY Mellon internship program, did not have the requisite academic or professional credentials, and were not even required to interview before being offered the positions.Under these circumstances, I would suggest that there was ample basis for viewing the internships as something of value to the foreign officials who requested them for their relatives, and for concluding that they were given in an attempt to influence the foreign officials in connection with the performance of their official duties or to obtain an improper advantage from the foreign officials.As I’ve said before, bribes come in many shapes and sizes.  And in my view, the FCPA is properly read to cover providing valuable favors to a foreign official, as well as providing cash, tangible gifts, travel or entertainment.ConclusionTo sum up, the Enforcement Division is committed to aggressively pursuing violations of the FCPA by entities and individuals.  We will continue to use our cooperation program and to coordinate with international regulators and law enforcement to do so more effectively.  It is my hope that we can continue to build on the solid foundation we have created for FCPA compliance in the coming years.”last_img read more

July 21, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_img Password Remember me The Texas Supreme Court was presented a newly published narrative history of the court on Monday in a special session in the Texas Capitol’s historic courtroom. The last book-length history of the court was written in 1917.The narrative, “The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History, 1839-1986,” is written by Texas history writer James L. Haley and weaves justices’ biographies and their judicial philosophies from the Court’s beginning in the Republic of Texas and explores the Court’s rulings and the state’s history in such areas as slavery, women’s rights, Prohibition, water law and . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Usernamecenter_img Lost your password? Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgMay 22 2018Lipoprotein(a) is a variant of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and large amounts of data have shown that higher lipoprotein(a) levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Atherosclerosis patients with higher baseline lipoprotein(a) levels have a 26 percent greater risk of coronary death from heart attack than patients with the lowest lipoprotein(a) levels. To date, there have been limited therapies available that can effectively reduce lipoprotein(a) levels and reduce risk of cardiovascular events. In the latest analysis from the FOURIER (Further Cardiovascular Outcomes Research With PCSK9 Inhibition in Subjects With Elevated Risk) trial, researchers found that PCSK9 inhibitors reduced lipoprotein(a) levels and that patients starting with higher Lp(a) levels appeared to derive greater absolute benefit from taking PSCK9 inhibitors. Their results were reported at the 86th Annual Congress of the European Atherosclerosis Society.Related StoriesLipid-lowering drugs are underutilized for preventing atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseaseRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infectionsNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancer”In addition to its effects for reducing LDL cholesterol, PCSK9 inhibition may emerge as an important option for patients with elevated lipoprotein(a) concentration,” said first author Michelle L. O’Donoghue, MD, of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “We have identified a therapy, evolocumab treatment, that effectively reduces lipoprotein(a) concentration.”The FOURIER trial was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, which evaluated adding evolocumab to the treatment regimen in over 27,000 patients with high LDL cholesterol levels.Evolocumab was found to significantly reduce Lp(a) levels and reduce risk of cardiovascular events. Patients with the higher baseline lipoprotein(a) levels benefited the most from evolocumab treatment, with a 24 percent decrease in the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death. Patients with lower baseline lipoprotein(a) levels had a 15 percent reduction in risk with evolocumab treatment.”PSCK9 inhibitors may help us achieve a dual goal in treating cardiovascular patients: We might be able to reduce both LDL cholesterol levels and lipoprotein(a) levels with this treatment,” said O’Donoghue. “This treatment was particularly effective for patients with higher Lp(a) levels, as these patients derived a greater absolute reduction in risk after evolocumab treatment.” Source:http://www.brighamandwomens.org/last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgJul 12 2018The gains in insurance coverage with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have already translated into improved health for young women with gynecologic cancers, who are getting diagnosed at earlier stages of their disease because of ACA benefits. That’s the conclusion of a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, who looked at nationwide trends in gynecologic cancer diagnosis in a large population of women before and after the ACA’s implementation in 2010.The results were published in the June issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.”We were pleased to see that there was a significant improvement in capturing more women’s cancers early,” says Amanda Fader, M.D., associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior author of the new study. “It can take decades to observe changes in population-based health trends, so to see differences this soon is promising.”Women of all ages are at risk for gynecologic cancers, which include cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers. However, rates of these cancers–linked to both obesity and infection with human papilloma virus–are rising in young women. Each year in the U.S., about 2,000 women under the age of 26 are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer. In this population, early diagnosis is critical to treatment success and the ability to maintain fertility after treatment, Fader notes.Fader and her team credit the ACA for the improvement in early diagnosis because one of the key parts of the health care law was the dependent coverage mandate, which allows young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance through age 26. Nationwide, before the ACA, one in three women aged 19-26 were uninsured; since the new health care legislation went into effect, less than one in five of these women are uninsured.”We know if these women are identified early and treated early, they are much more likely to live longer and have their cancer go into remission,” says Anna Jo Bodurtha Smith, M.D., M.P.H., a gynecology and obstetrics resident at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and first author of the new paper.For the study, Fader and Smith looked at data from the National Cancer Database of women aged 21-26 compared with women aged 27-35 who were diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer either between 2004 and 2009, before the ACA was enacted, or between 2011 and 2014, after the health care law was in force. The database collects patient data from 1,500 cancer programs around the U.S., including from The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and is thought to include more than 70 percent of all new cancer diagnoses in the country.The researchers analyzed how insurance coverage was associated with stage at cancer diagnosis and receipt of fertility-sparing treatment. They also adjusted for demographic factors that may affect access to health care including race, household income and education level.A total of 1,912 gynecologic cancers pre-ACA and 2,059 post-ACA were identified in women 21-26 years old; in women 27-35 years old, 9,782 cases were identified in the pre-ACA time period and 10,456 post-ACA.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaWhen the researchers compared these numbers, and adjusted the numbers for potentially confounding factors such as education and income, they found a significant decrease in rates of uninsurance and a significant increase in early-stage diagnosis in the younger group of women but not the older group of women. Before the ACA, 56.2 percent of women aged 21-26 years old were diagnosed at an early stage of their cancer; after the ACA, 61.2 percent were diagnosed at an early stage. Early stage diagnosis did not significantly change in women aged 27-35, the comparison group. However, receipt of fertility-sparing treatment increased for women in both age groups, from 38.2 to 43.2 percent in women aged 21-26 and from 17.6 to 20.6 percent in women aged 27-35.”As the debate on how we insure women goes on, reminding ourselves that these insurance gains have huge impacts on people’s lives is the big takeaway here,” says Smith.While the results of this study shed light on the need for continued access to insurance coverage, especially among young women, the researchers caution that the numbers must be followed over a longer period of time to fully understand them. Since a relatively small number of women are diagnosed with gynecologic cancers each year, the power of the study to detect differences between groups was limited.While adoption of the ACA dependent care mandate led to a 2.5 to 2.8 percent increase in premiums for health insurance plans that cover children, relative to single-coverage plans, it’s estimated that early deaths from gynecologic cancer cost the U.S. economy more than $2 billion annually.The cost of treatment for each case of cervical cancer, the main type of gynecologic cancer among young women, ranges from $25,000 to more than $500,000, with a higher cost associated with the surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy needed for advanced cases. Identifying women with cervical cancer at early stages could save millions of dollars annually–and help women have less toxic treatments and enable them to keep working.”Detecting and treating cancer at an early stage saves lives and absolutely lowers health care costs compared to treatment of cancer at a more advanced, incurable stage,” Fader said. “Survival rates improve dramatically when precancer or cancer is identified when the disease is confined to the organ of origin. The cancer is much more likely to be treated successfully, and in the case of reproductive cancers, the potential to preserve fertility and the option of having children can be realized for more women.”Fader and Smith plan to continue studying how diagnostic trends change over time, and look in more detail at subgroups of women at highest risk of developing gynecologic cancers. In the future, they say they hope to study whether the ACA, or other policy changes, can influence not only the diagnosis of gynecologic cancers, but also the prevalence of the cancers. Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/aca_credited_with_earlier_diagnosis_of_gynecologic_cancers_in_young_womenlast_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgAug 16 2018Mathematics can help public health workers better understand and influence human behaviors that lead to the spread of infectious disease, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.Current models used to predict the emergence and evolution of pathogens within host populations do not include social behavior.”We tend to treat disease systems in isolation from social systems, and we don’t often think about how they connect to each other, or influence each other,” said Chris Bauch, co-author and a professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at Waterloo. “This gives us a better appreciation of how social reactions to infectious diseases can influence which strains become prominent in the population.”By adding dynamic social interactions to the models already used for disease outbreaks and evolution, researchers could better anticipate how a virulent pathogen strain may emerge based on how humans attempt to control the spread of the disease. This new addition to disease modeling could allow scientists to better prevent undesirable outcomes, such as more dangerous mutant strains from evolving and spreading.Related StoriesStudy looks into evolution of sex and transmissible cancerResearchers shed light on evolution and diversity of Leptospira bacteriaVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyThe social modeling could impact public health responses to emerging infectious diseases like Ebola and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Human behavior during these outbreaks often changes dramatically during the outbreak. People may start using face masks, or stop using them prematurely. Also, public fear of the pathogens may end up driving the wrong type of behavior if the public’s information is incorrect. The modeling could help public health responses navigate and better channel these kinds of population responses,Bauch and his co-author Joe Pharaon formulated the new mathematical model to study the influence of social behavior on the competition between pathogen strains with different virulence. Using computer simulations, they analyzed how the model behaved under various possible scenarios that might occur to populations to explore the logic of the hypothesis that social behavior plays a role in the evolution of the strain.”Human behavior plays a big role in the spread and evolution of an infectious disease,” said Pharaon,a PhD candidate at Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics. “The model we formulated was a general model, but it could be adapted with more biological detail and structure for more specific pathogens.”Source: http://www.uwaterloo.calast_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgSince the 1950s, the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, has repeatedly become resistant to new antimalarial drugs, making it difficult to control the spread of the disease and creating the threat of a future public health crisis. In the new study, Bushman and colleagues used mathematical modeling to investigate the historical observation that resistant strains of the parasite evolve first in regions with lower infection rates, like Southeast Asia and South America.Related StoriesEngineers crack the code to quickly diagnose anti-malarial drug resistanceMalaria free status for Algeria and ArgentinaMosquito surveillance in Madagascar reveals new insight into malaria transmission“We virtually never observe the early stages of drug resistance evolution, but the early stages are crucial – by the time resistance is identified, it’s often too late to control it effectively,” says Dr. Bushman. “Mathematical modeling can be incredibly helpful to understand what’s going on beneath the surface and identify drivers of resistance evolution that we can target to try and disrupt the process.”The researchers used a model that simulates the infection and transmission dynamics of drug-sensitive and resistant strains in a population of humans and mosquitoes. The model indicated that emerging drug-resistant strains are more likely to go extinct within a host in regions with high malaria transmission rates. But once the new strains finally become established, they spread more rapidly in areas that are heavily burdened with the parasite, than in countries with lower transmission rates.The study’s findings offer a novel explanation for the observed global patterns of drug resistance in malaria. A better understanding of the relationship between transmission rates and the rise of drug-resistant strains could help public health workers to tailor malaria response for local conditions and lead to improved strategies for slowing future drug resistance.“The more we understand about the evolution of drug resistance in malaria, the better equipped we are to stop it,” says Dr. Bushman. “If within-host competition inhibits the spread of resistant parasites, then we can try to leverage that as a tool to stop resistance from spreading.”Source: https://www.plos.org Lower-risk malaria regions are breeding grounds for drug-resistant strains. Credit: nuzree, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons Aug 24 2018New drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria tend to evolve in regions with a lower risk of malaria. This is because in hard-hit areas with high transmission rates, like sub-Saharan Africa, they get outcompeted by the more common, drug-sensitive strains inside the human host. In such high-transmission settings, it takes a long time for drug-resistant strains to take hold, but once they do, they can spread very rapidly, according to a new study publishing on August 21 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, by Mary Bushman of Emory University and her colleagues.last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgBecause most academies grant membership for life, their existing makeup partly reflects past biases. Among current members of the Dutch academy who are below the retirement age (fewer than half the total), women have better representation, at 24%. At NAS, about a quarter of newly elected members are women as well, McNutt says.One common approach to redressing the disparity, championed by the late Ralph Cicerone, McNutt’s predecessor at NAS, is to find more qualified women to nominate, then have them compete in the regular election process. But Van Dijck, herself the first female president in KNAW’s 208-year history, says the Dutch academy wants to move faster. The idea for special elections came from two male board members, she says: “I can’t claim credit but I embraced it lovingly.”The plan “does not come at men’s expense,” Van Dijck stresses, because regular election rounds, which allow 16 members annually into the pinnacle of Dutch academe, will continue. The proposal was approved by a 73% majority during an academy-wide vote earlier this year.“I think it’s truly remarkable. I know of no similar example in any academy,” says social anthropologist Frances Henry, an emeritus professor of York University in Toronto, Canada, who co-authored this year’s survey. Henry applauds KNAW’s plan. “If you want to move women forward, you have to provide the extra space,” Henry says. “Otherwise, we’re going to sit here for another two generations.” AMSTERDAM—Sorry guys—this time it’s women only. That’s the message the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) here has for male researchers during two special elections. In order to reduce its perpetual gender imbalance—87% of its 556 members are men—the academy seeks to recruit 10 new members in 2017 and six more in 2018, all female.It’s about as bold a step as any science academy has taken to address the underrepresentation of women—and for some it raises concerns. “I don’t think we would do that,” says Marcia McNutt, a geophysicist who became the first female president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. “Other people might feel that women elected this way somehow did not meet the same standards as their male counterparts, or even other women elected through the regular process,” McNutt says. But KNAW President José van Dijck says the process will be “just as rigorous as always.” I think it’s truly remarkable. I know of no similar example in any academy.Frances Henry, York UniversityKNAW’s headquarters, a palatial 17th century mansion on one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals, is hardly the only bastion of male power among science academies. A study based on data from 2013 and 2014, published in February by the Academy of Science of South Africa and the InterAcademy Partnership, found that only 12% of the members of 63 academies surveyed worldwide were women. NAS, like KNAW, had about 13%, although McNutt says the number today is 15.4%. The German and U.K. academies came in at 10% and 6%, respectively, whereas Cuba topped the list with 27%. Only 60% of academies had a specific policy or document addressing gender balance. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_img Hercules and Leo were born in 2006 at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, home to the world’s largest collection of privately owned lab chimps. In 2011, New Iberia loaned the duo out to the State University of New York in Stony Brook. There, they lived in a three-room enclosure and researchers inserted small electrodes into their muscles to study the evolution of bipedal walking. While there, the Nonhuman Rights Project—an animal rights group based in Coral Springs, Florida—filed a lawsuit to have Hercules and Leo declared legal persons and moved to a sanctuary in Florida. Despite multiple appeals over 2 years, the effort failed, and the chimps were shipped back to New Iberia in 2015.That year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared all U.S. research chimpanzees endangered, effectively ending research on them. And the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, said it would end all support for such research. Yet from 2015 to mid-2017, only 73 chimpanzees entered sanctuaries, leaving nearly 600 of the animals in labs; half were owned by the government, half by private research facilities. Both private and public labs resisted retirement, arguing that the animals were well cared for where they were. Sanctuaries—struggling for funding—also didn’t have enough space for all of them. And NIH was criticized for lacking a solid plan to retire its chimps. Crystal Alba/Project Chimps Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Crystal Alba/Project Chimps But retirement appears to be gaining momentum. Last night, Hercules and Leo—along with seven younger males who were part of their social group at New Iberia—boarded what was essentially a long, climate-controlled horse trailer and began a 14-hour, 1000-kilometer journey from Louisiana to Georgia. Staff used video cameras and microphones to keep an eye on the animals. “If anyone is having a tantrum, we can pull over,” says Ali Crumpacker, executive director of Project Chimps. “It’s usually because a food bowl has fallen.”At 9 a.m., the animals arrived at Project Chimps, where they made their way into one of the sanctuary’s “villas”—a four-level enclosure with ladders, swings, and hammocks. Two of the youngest chimps, Jacob and Oscar, both 7 years old, entered fairly quickly, says Leslie Wade, Project Chimps’s manager of communications. Leo was next and seemed eager to explore. Hercules hesitated, even when Leo tried to coax him in; the two sat together for a while and embraced. When all the chimps were in, Leo tried again, and this time Hercules came.The apes will spend their next month isolated from the rest of the sanctuary’s 31 chimpanzees to make sure they are healthy. Then, they’ll have access to a 2.5-hectacre patch of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they can climb trees and eventually socialize with other chimps.Crumpacker admits the transfer is probably very stressful for the chimps. “They’re moving to a strange new environment where they don’t know anyone,” human or otherwise, she says. “I think it scares the bejesus out of them.” Yet she feels it’s worth it in the long run because the apes will have opportunities such as access to the outdoors and the chance to live in more complex social groups, as they would in the wild. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Hercules in his new home at Project Chimps in Morgantown, Georgia Crystal Alba/Project Chimps Emailcenter_img Crumpacker says the sanctuary’s finances are in the black, even though it relies completely on donations because it takes only privately owned chimpanzees. She says Project Chimps is on track to build enough enclosures and outdoor habitats to take New Iberia’s remaining 173 chimps within 5 years.More government-owned animals are being retired, too, according to Chimp Haven. Thirty-three have entered the sanctuary since last summer, with six more coming this week, Ross says. During the same period last year, only 11 chimpanzees came to Chimp Haven—and none the year before that. NIH pays for 75% of the care of these animals, but the sanctuary is working to raise $20 million for an expansion that it hopes will accommodate the remaining 200 or so government chimps within 3 years. “When it all adds up, we’re getting close to the end,” Ross says.NIH, too, is optimistic. “We’re into a good rhythm,” says Deputy Director James Anderson, whose division of strategic initiatives oversees the NIH Chimpanzee Management Program. Not all chimps will make it to a sanctuary, he says, because some are too old or too frail to be moved. The agency recently created a working group to help figure out which animals would be better off staying where they are. “We’re committed to moving as many as we can,” Anderson says.“I’m glad to hear Hercules and Leo are getting out of New Iberia,” says Steven Wise, founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project. He says he would have preferred they went where his group’s lawsuit intended them to go—Save the Chimps, a Fort Pierce, Florida–based nonprofit where more than 200 chimpanzees live on 12 islands on Florida’s east coast. Still, says Wise—whose organization is currently considering launching personhood lawsuits for chimps, elephants, and orcas in other states—“I’m very happy to see them leaving a research facility. I wish every primate could.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By David GrimmMar. 21, 2018 , 4:00 PM U.S. chimp retirement gains momentum, as famed pair enters sanctuary Hercules and Leo—along with the rest of their social group—will spend a month in a villa like this before being given access to the rest of the sanctuary. Leo arrives at Project Chimps this morning. After years of experiments, a protracted battle to grant them legal “personhood,” and a life spent bouncing between two scientific facilities, two of the world’s most famous research chimpanzees have finally retired. Hercules and Leo arrived this morning at Project Chimps, a 95-hectare sanctuary in the wooded hills of Morgantown, Georgia.In many ways, the pair had also become the face of a tortuously slow effort to move hundreds of the United States’s remaining research chimpanzees to wildlife refuges. Their arrival at Project Chimps suggests plans to retire these animals—which can live up to 50 years in captivity—may be back on track.“For the first time, there are more chimpanzees in sanctuaries than there are in labs,” says Stephen Ross, director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, and board chair of Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana, the only sanctuary authorized to take government-owned chimps. “Hercules and Leo are representative of a movement that’s finally bearing fruit.”last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_img Plan to amend biopiracy rules would ‘smother research,’ biologists warn STEVE SPELLER/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO By Kai KupferschmidtJul. 3, 2018 , 12:30 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email European scientists are warning that a push to include “digital sequence information” in an international agreement against biopiracy could stifle research, hamper the fight against disease outbreaks, and even jeopardize food safety. Under proposed changes to the Nagoya Protocol, researchers might have to ask a country’s government for permission before using publicly available gene sequences obtained from plants or animals originating there. Just how that would work is unclear, but some biologists are alarmed.“If this comes to pass the regulatory burden will be enormous,“ says Andreas Graner, head of the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Gatersleben, Germany. “A lot of research could stop in its tracks.” The European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) warned in a 26 June statement that the plan “would smother research activities worldwide.” The United States, however, has not ratified the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which the 2010 Nagoya Protocol is a supplementary agreement, and would not be bound by changes to the protocol.Biopiracy—in which scientists or companies profit from the biological resources they find elsewhere in the world—has long been a concern of developing nations with a rich biodiversity. In one famous example, the U.S. company W. R. Grace in 1995 patented an oil extracted from the seeds of the Indian neem tree, long known for its medicinal properties, as a fungicide; the European Patent Office eventually revoked the patent because the concept wasn’t new. Under the Nagoya Protocol, countries can ask foreign researchers what they plan to study during a visit, and require a plan to share the benefits of any useful organisms they find. (A 1962 United Nations resolution already enshrined countries’ “sovereignty over natural resources” and some nations already had laws to regulate access and demand sharing of benefits, but the Nagoya Protocol created the legal framework to monitor compliance with these laws and triggered new legislation in many countries.) Many researchers say it has already added a huge burden of regulation to work.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe But in recent decades, scientists have assembled massive amounts of genetic information from organisms collected around the world and stored them in publicly available databases for others to study or use. The fight now brewing is whether the protocol applies not just to actual biological samples, but also to this type of information.Yesterday, a CBD advisory body began a 6-day meeting in Montreal, Canada, to try to come up with a recommendation. But any decisions can only be made at the next conference of the parties to the convention, in Egypt in November. Some insiders expect this week’s meeting to focus not so much on whether “digital sequence information” should be included in Nagoya, but on how exactly to define that term. Does it include only gene sequences, for instance, or also data on an organism’s gene transcription and its metabolites?Either way, developed countries are likely to try to delay a decision, says Edward Hammond, who directs Prickly Research, a small consultancy in Austin, Texas; developing countries will likely push for treating digital information much the same way as biological materials. “It’s going to be a big collision. … It will be the biggest issue [at the meeting] in Egypt,” Hammond says.Alice Jamieson, a policy officer at the Wellcome Trust, a London-based biomedical research charity, notes that rapid sequencing of the Ebola virus in the West African epidemic a few years ago helped stop its spread. Including sequence information in Nagoya would “do more harm than good,” the trust says in a statement submitted to the CBD panel. And taxonomist Chris Lyal of the Natural History Museum in London calls the idea of negotiating with dozens of countries to build a phylogenetic tree from sequence data “nightmarishly extreme.” EPSO says the plan would also “seriously impact the improvement of germplasm and thus put food safety in jeopardy.“Hammond calls that “low-class scaremongering.” It’s not yet clear what the new system would look like, he says. “To claim, before efforts to define the system are earnestly underway, that it will jeopardize food safety is irresponsible and likely reflects attempt to cloak self-interest in more palatable clothing.”Having a mechanism for benefit sharing is important, says Cassandra Quave, an ethnobotanist at Emory University in Atlanta who works with indigenous people to identify plants with medicinal properties. “On the other hand, overextension of the Nagoya Protocol to encompass sequence information on organisms could seriously compromise efforts aimed at the very conservation of the species in question,” Quave says, because genetic information also allows tracking of illicitly traded plants.Manuel Ruiz, a lawyer with the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law in Lima, says the researchers’ concerns are valid, but predicts that the extension of Nagoya is inevitable because it’s genetic information that is ultimately important for biotechnology—not a physical sample. “Digital sequence information should not only be included in the Nagoya protocol,” Ruiz says, “it’s what it should all be about.” To avoid hampering research, Ruiz says the Nagoya Protocol system should be changed from its current form, based on bilateral contracts drawn up before research is done, to a multilateral system focused on sharing benefits later.Despite worries about his own research, Lyal sympathizes with the developing countries. He says scientists have an obligation to “make this work so that everyone actually benefits. That’s the way we need to go.” India’s neem tree, which has fungicidal properties, has been the subject of a battle over biopiracy. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_img Barely 3 years after arriving in the United States from Mexico at the age of 13, Gabriela González was facing a precarious future. She had moved out of her mother’s house in Bellingham, Washington, and was living on her own while attending high school. Her grades were good and she wanted to continue her education, but college seemed out of reach.“Have you ever thought about engineering?” the youth minister at her church asked her.“Will it pay for college?” she answered. Gabriela González’s improbable journey to lead federal STEM panel Gabriela González By Jeffrey MervisJul. 18, 2018 , 3:00 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Gabriela González with high school girls at a science camp in Peru. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) “Maybe,” he responded.“Then OK,” she replied. “I’ll consider anything that will let me go to college.”That life-changing conversation 3 decades ago put González on a path to a successful career in engineering manufacturing. Today, she is an executive with Intel in Chandler, Arizona. She’s also writing a doctoral dissertation on the barriers to girls who want to pursue engineering careers. And last week she became chair of a new top-level advisory panel charged with shaping the U.S. government’s $3-billion-a-year investment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.But González hasn’t forgotten the barriers she’s had to overcome. And she’s determined to make it easier for subsequent generations of minority women pursuing STEM careers. “If we don’t make some very transformational changes in how we think about correcting this inequality,” she warns, “then we might as well just give up.”Who’s accountable?The current statistics are grim. Only about one-fifth of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded in the United States go to women. Their share has “flatlined” for the past 2 decades, says González, despite the considerable investment by government, industry, and the nonprofit sector in attracting more women to the field.She thinks that lack of progress is unacceptable. “In the corporate world you don’t stay on the same path for 20 years if it’s not working,” she says. “So why are we, as a society, not asking questions and holding anyone accountable?”González will have the opportunity to ask lots of questions as chair of the new STEM Education Advisory Panel. The body was created as part of 2016 legislation reauthorizing programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and STEM education activities across the federal government. One of the last bills that former President Barack Obama signed before leaving office, its intent was to give the community a voice in setting STEM education policy across the federal government.The 18-member panel includes senior members of the academic and research communities, professional societies, school teachers, and experts in informal science education. Nominees were screened by four federal agencies—NSF, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Education—and the panel reports to CoSTEM, a White House committee with representatives from 14 federal agencies operating STEM education programs.The panel’s first job will be to review a new 5-year strategic plan for STEM education being prepared by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Last month, 170 local and state education officials came to Washington, D.C., to provide input and get a peek at the plan, which emphasizes the need for a tech-savvy workforce and gives industry a major role in strengthening STEM education through such mechanisms as apprenticeship and certificate programs. The 2013 plan, developed by the Obama administration, paid more heed to improving STEM instruction, training more STEM teachers, and graduating more students with STEM degrees.NSF Director France Córdova, whose agency will staff the panel, says she chose González because of “her rare background that combines industry experience with a clear passion for expanding and diversifying STEM education. It is important that [CoSTEM] receives the perspective of industry” as it prepares the new 5-year strategic plan, she adds.González is not well-known across the STEM education community and acknowledges her status as an outsider. “I’ve never served on a federal committee or at the federal level,” she says. She also stresses that she will be serving “in her personal capacity, not as an employee of Intel.”The panel’s vice chair, David Evans, represents the other side of the coin, bringing both extensive government experience and institutional clout to the panel. Evans is executive director of the National Science Teachers Association in Arlington, Virginia, and its 50,000 members have a huge stake in federal STEM education policy. Trained as an oceanographer, Evans previously was undersecretary for science at the Smithsonian Institution and served for many years as a senior NOAA administrator.Evans, who also participated in last month’s White House meeting of state STEM leaders, says he hopes the new panel will press CoSTEM to flesh out its strategic plan. “The first step is to identify how well we have done since 2013,” he adds, referring to an upcoming OSTP assessment also mandated by Congress.A different messageDespite her lack of experience in the capital, González has spent much of her career working in STEM education, both as a role model and in formal programs to promote diversity. After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, she spent 8 years at Xerox before joining Intel in 2000. As she moved up the corporate ladder, she also became “the go-to person within Intel for anything has had to do with promoting STEM for girls.”She says she enjoyed playing that role but eventually decided that she needed to do more. In 2011 she began a Ph.D. program in the human and social dimensions of science and technology at Arizona State University in Tempe. Her dissertation examines the role that nonprofit organizations have played in attracting middle school girls of color into STEM activities. In line with those new interests, she shifted earlier this year from manufacturing engineering into the Intel Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm.Her graduate work has given her a broader perspective on the scope of the problem. Most researchers, she says, “are focused on fixing the girls or the women, asking what’s wrong with them and what we can do to make them want to do engineering and STEM. But it’s not the people we need to fix, it’s the institutions. That’s where the barriers lie.”One example, González says, are programs aimed at attracting girls into STEM that stress the importance of loving math and science and excelling in them. She feels that emphasis is misguided, if not harmful.“We have to start changing the stereotype of who belongs in STEM,” she explains. “I didn’t love math, and I didn’t do well in it at college. But I still became an engineer. And the reason is that math is only a tool. You don’t have to love the tool to become an engineer. You just need to learn how to use it.”She thinks that appealing to a student’s altruism would be more effective. “We should be telling them that engineers love to solve problems and love to make the world a better place. If you also like those things, then you should think about a career in engineering.”A sustained commitmentAlthough motivation is important, González says, having the means and the support to achieve one’s goal is also critical. And that help is needed at many levels.“It’s not enough to expose people to these opportunities if they can’t afford to go to college or get vocational training,” she warns. Once in college, she adds, students will also need help in overcoming the obstacles to obtaining their degree. “And even if they graduate with an engineering degree and get a job, they’re not going to stay in the field very long if they have to face a work environment that is not welcoming.”González thinks the federal government could move the needle through greater accountability. If the goal is to boost the share of women earning 4-year engineering degrees, she says, then agencies that fund such programs and universities that receive the money should be required to show how their programs are helping the country attain that goal.She hopes the advisory panel, which plans to convene this fall and then conduct two meetings a year, will be a forum to discuss such ideas. But she’s going in with her eyes open. “I’ve agreed to do it for a year, although there’s an opportunity to serve a 3-year term,” she says. “And my approach will be go in and learn as much as I can about the federal process. My intent is not to change government, but to provide input.”last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_img When Earth was a mass of newly minted rock some 4.5 billion years ago, the solar system was a cold place. Physicists predict our young sun put out some 15% to 25% less energy than it does today—enough to freeze over Earth’s oceans and make Mars even colder. Yet ancient rocks suggest water flowed across both planets, posing a perplexing puzzle.For years, climate modelers solved this so-called “faint young sun” paradox by proposing that ancient atmospheres on both planets had the right composition of greenhouse gases to insulate them and keep them above freezing. But if the young sun reached its current weight only after a diet—shedding perhaps 5% of its early mass in a stellar wind of escaping particles—it would have burned brighter in its past than predicted, resolving the paradox. The only problem with that hypothesis? Scientists have had no way of knowing whether this stellar slim-down happened.Now, astronomers say they have come up with a potential “fingerprint” of the sun’s ancient mass—climate cycles preserved in bands of martian rocks. To find their marker, Christopher Spalding, a planetary astronomer at Yale University, geobiologist Woodward Fischer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and astronomer Gregory Laughlin of Yale started with an orbital cycle that both Earth and Mars experience. As the solar system’s planets revolve around the sun, their own gravity tweaks each other’s orbits. Email MSS/JPL-Caltech/NASA By Joshua SokolDec. 3, 2018 , 8:00 AM S. Wiessinger/SDO/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Did our ancient sun go on a diet? Bands of martian rock could solve the ‘faint young sun’ paradox One of many such interactions pulls the orbits of Earth and Mars back and forth between a more circular path and a more elliptical one. This pattern, a relative of the cycles responsible for Earth’s ice ages, repeats every 405,000 years. According to the team’s simulations, that cycle has kept dependable time over the entire history of the solar system.Spalding’s team proposes that, as their changing orbits took them closer and farther from the sun, the climates on Earth and Mars shifted, leaving cyclical striping patterns in sedimentary rock, like the layered bands on the walls of Scandinavian fjords. When the orbits of the early planets took them closer to the sun, for example, already wet areas would receive more heat, more rainfall, or snow, and thus more erosion. Layers of sediment would be relatively thicker at these times than in colder parts of the cycle. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A sun that loses weight is one way to resolve the “faint young sun” paradox. Layers of rocks on Mars could record a 400,000-year climate cycle. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country And that means it could be used to track the mass of the sun. If the sun were 5% heavier a few billion years ago, it would have tugged the planets harder, increasing the cycle’s frequency by a matching 5%, to roughly once per 386,000 years.Earth, unfortunately, preserves little of its ancient rock, because of the churn of plate tectonics. But Mars does. Spalding suggests a future rover there, armed with dating equipment, could do the trick, he reports in a paper accepted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “You’ll have to do it as a side project,” he says, “because everyone wants to find life more than they want to find 400,000-year banding.”In 2006, another team laid the groundwork for Spalding’s hypothesis, pointing out the linear relationship between the sun’s mass and the larger family of interplanetary orbital cycles. But they stopped at that point because they felt “the climate record, or the geological record, does not have enough resolution,” says Renu Malhotra, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson who led the earlier study. She has similar reservations about Spalding’s approach, she says.Meanwhile, Dawn Sumner, a geobiologist at the University of California, Davis, and a member of NASA’s Curiosity rover team says modern Mars rovers could do at least part of the work Spalding’s team has suggested. Curiosity has already measured the thicknesses of sedimentary layers on exposed slopes, and the newly selected landing site for the 2020 rover seems to have steep cliffs, which may reveal similar stripes. “If we found the right spot, this is something people will do,” she says.But Sumner is less sanguine about dating the various layers, crucial to reveal minute changes in orbital cycles. On Earth, she says, that kind of precision dating requires lots of fieldwork to find the best samples and cart them back to the lab. A rover, by contrast, would be hard-pressed to do it all on site. Facing that obstacle, she says, “It’s probably impossible to test it in the next few decades on Mars.”last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgThe report also comes just weeks before Democrats are poised to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Incoming House leaders have promised to make climate change a priority, and have already announced a series of hearings early next year on the topic. Email That is the sobering message sent by a major federal report released today that examines climate change impacts on different U.S. regions, economic sectors, and ecosystems.“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” the report concludes. “The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.” Climate change poses major threat to United States, new government report concludes Efforts to address climate change “have expanded in the last five years, but not at the scale needed to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades,” it states. And without “substantial and sustained global efforts,” climate change will “cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.” U.S. gross domestic product could be reduced by 10% or more under some scenarios, with annual losses in some economic sectors reaching “hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states.” By David MalakoffNov. 23, 2018 , 2:00 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country NASA center_img Earth’s atmosphere from the International Space Station The new report is designed to be “policy relevant,” but does not make specific policy recommendations, federal officials associated with the U.S. Global Change Research Program in Washington, D.C., noted in a teleconference today. Still, its findings offer a stark contrast to positions taken by President Donald Trump and many of his top officials. They have repeatedly downplayed or rejected warnings from experts that climate change poses a serious threat to national security. And the administration plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, an international effort to cut emissions of warming gases, and has moved to roll back a wide array of domestic climate regulations. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Climate change is already being felt in communities across the United States, and will cause growing harm to the economy, infrastructure, and human and ecological health—unless the United States and other nations take concerted action to reduce emissions of warming gases and adapt to a warmer world. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), who is expected become the chair of the House science committee in January 2019, said in a statement that the report’s conclusions, “as we’ve sadly grown accustomed to, are quite terrifying—increased wildfires, more damaging storms, dramatic sea level rise, more harmful algal blooms, disease spread, dire economic impacts, the list goes on and on. That being said, all hope is not lost, but we must act now. We have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, work on adaptation and mitigation, and explore technology solutions such as geoengineering and carbon capture and sequestration.”The 29-chapter report, formally known as Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, is a follow-up to the assessment’s first volume, released a year ago, which summarized the state of climate science. The reports are required by a 1990 law that orders federal agencies to report at least every 4 years on the status and potential impacts of climate change. They were assembled by some 300 experts, about half of whom work outside the federal government. The process of preparing the report, which was led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, involved collecting public comment at events in more than 40 cities.Over the past year, some climate advocates had expressed concern that the Trump administration would attempt to alter or censor the report. But federal scientists emphasized that there was no outside interference. “The report has not been altered in any way to reflect political considerations,” said Virginia Burkett, a climate scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey who worked on the effort. Many climate advocates have noted, however, that the administration chose to release the report late on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the attention of the public and the press may be elsewhere.“How many wake-up calls do we need?” Carol Werner, executive director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, a policy nonprofit in Washington, D.C., asked in a statement. “Every new National Climate Assessment has built on the previous one, confirming that climate change is already happening and that we need to act. Time is running out. … Sadly, the fact that the administration released this important report on the Friday after Thanksgiving clearly shows its desire to squelch its impact.”last_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgAs Margaret Dickson was consigned to the gallows on Edinburgh’s historic Grassmarket on September 2, 1724, it is unlikely that anyone attending her public execution thought they would see the woman alive again afterward. The day of the hanging should have been just another ordinary day, with a routine proceeding on the schedule: the hanging of a woman sentenced to death.Her public death was certainly observed by both court and church representatives, family members and relatives, and probably other people who were there just for the grim entertainment of the hanging event itself.Grassmarket, with Edinburgh Castle towering above it. Photo by Kim Traynor – CC BY-SA 3.0There was one little incident which was resolved quickly. John Dalgliesh, the woman’s hangman, had left Dickson hands-free, and she attempted to relax the noose.But the crowds were quick to throw a stone or two at the hangman, and prevent any manipulation. The woman was eventually ‘hanged for the usual length of time’ and her body was claimed by family members who carried on to give a proper funeral.Western end of Grassmarket, painted in 1845.From Edinburgh, the cart carrying the coffin with the seemingly dead body was to be taken to Musselburgh, Dickson’s place of birth. However, the funeral party never reached Musselburgh.With Edinburgh behind their back, the group accompanying Margaret’s body stopped for drinks and refreshments at Peffermill. The coffin with the body in it was left outside the local inn, which is when it happened: the moment of “resurrection,” according to the several varying versions of the story.Noise and sounds were heard coming out from inside the coffin. Against all odds, Maggie Dickson was alive.Maggie was held in Old Tolbooth before the trial.But why was the woman sentenced to capital punishment? Several versions exist of how Maggie Dickson committed the crime of infanticide, leaving the lifeless body of her newborn on the bank of a river.The year was 1723 when Maggie’s routine life as a fish and salt vendor spun out of control. Maggie was in her early twenties, and her husband, a fisherman, went absent from the family home.Maggie was working as a fish vendor, her husband was a local fisherman.Like many other details concerning Maggie’s story, the reasons why she was left without a husband are not entirely clear. He could have gone away to work for the fisheries in Newcastle, perhaps to make some extra cash, or could have simply abandoned his wife. Soon, Maggie needed to find other ways to support herself.She ended up working in an inn, probably in the small burgh of Kelso, in the Scottish Borders area. Things got complicated as Maggie, aged 22 at that point, found a love interest in the son of the innkeeper and became pregnant.Maggie Dickinson faced the gallows in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket for the crime of Concealment of Pregnancy.Keeping the child was an issue, for several reasons, including the fact that she was still married and the baby was illegitimate, and that the father of her undesired baby was younger than her.The options were scarce for women like Maggie Dickson in those days. For one, she couldn’t afford to lose this job, as otherwise she would be left on the street. Maggie tried to conceal her pregnancy, probably as long as she could. We are not certain how successfully that went on, and the baby eventually arrived prematurely, either alive or it may have also been stillborn.American slang words we never knew were invented by the IrishWhat counts for a fact: the lifeless body of the infant was found the same day Maggie left on the bank of Tweed River. It is said she was unable to toss the tiny body in the depths of the flowing waters.The young woman was likely frozen, overwhelmed by the entire situation, something she reportedly tried to communicate and use in her self-defense later on, as her wrongdoing was revealed. The woman also claimed she delivered the baby prematurely and that she was in such an extreme state of pain, it left her unable to look for any help.River Tweed. Photo by Illmarinen CC BY-SA 3.0In the eyes of law, it was of no importance whether Dickson had gone through a miscarriage, or if she indeed killed her own child; she was violating the Concealment of Pregnancy Act. It was for this crime that she was sent to Edinburgh to face a trial.So what would happen to Maggie after she apparently re-awoke from death? According to Scottish law at the time, and to what officials later on also agreed, her punishment had already been carried out.Grassmarket in Edinburgh: shadow of the gibbet delineated in paving on the site of public executions, next to the Covenanters Memorial from 1937. Photo by Kim Traynor – CC BY-SA 3.0The woman was hanged once, so would not be subjected to the gallows again. It was seen as “God’s will” that she carried on living.Maggie was reunited with her husband and had several children with him. She also resumed with her duties as fish and salt vendor.It is also said, after her hanging, Dickson, who was not much of religious person, would dedicate one day every week to prayer and fasting until the end of her life. The exact date when she died is also unclear; some of the last accounts suggesting she was alive are dated to 1753.Hanging noose used at public executions outside Lancaster Castle, c. 1820–1830. Photo by Nabokov CC BY-SA 3.0Did her case had any direct implications on the laws concerning public execution by hanging? Maybe. The case was a much-debated matter back in the 18th century.Maggie’s case, in general, had attracted a lot of public attention, making her sort of local celebrity. People started calling her Half-Hangit Maggie.In Edinburgh today, she is also remembered with Maggie Dickson’s pub. Some people believe she did manage to manipulate the noose in some way that saved her from strangulation.Maggie Dickson’s Pub, Grassmarket, Edinburgh. Photo by Md.altaf.rahman CC BY-SA 3.0Changes in Scottish law concerning death penalties were implemented in 1790. For example, that year, hanging replaced burning as the preferred method of capital punishment, for wrongdoings done on the grounds of treason.Read another story from us: The Pope who Exhumed the Body of his Predecessor, Dressed it, and put it on TrialIt was also around this time that the legal vocabulary concerning the sentence of hanging was also slightly altered. In Maggie’s time it only read that the convict should be “hanged,” now the sentence was revised with two extra words: “hanged until dead.”Stefan is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to The Vintage News. He is a graduate in Literature. He also runs the blog This City Knowslast_img read more

July 20, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgIt made headlines in 2018 when researchers discovered the frozen remains of a foal that died 42,000 years ago in the Verkhoyansk region of Siberia, miraculously preserved in permafrost. But now an even more startling announcement has been made: Liquid blood and urine were found inside of the foal. In an interview given to the Siberian Times, Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, said, “The autopsy shows beautifully preserved internal organs. Samples of liquid blood were taken from heart vessels — it was preserved in the liquid state for 42,000 years thanks to favorable burial conditions and permafrost. The muscle tissues preserved their natural reddish color.”Grigorvev then made the statement which is reverberating throughout the scientific community: “We can now claim that this is the best-preserved Ice Age animal ever found in the world.”Scientists ‘confident’ they can clone an extinct horse species after foal discovered in Siberian permafrost https://t.co/Q3XKowR9bx— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) April 9, 2019Researchers say this makes the foal’s blood the oldest ever found by 10,000 years. What is drawing worldwide attention is the researchers have told the media they plan to clone the animal. For this to be successful, viable cells will have to be extracted from the blood samples and grown in a lab.Grigoriev has said there was one other case where liquid blood was found in an animal from the Pleistocene epoch: a frozen adult mammoth discovered in 2013 on an island that is off the northeast coast of Russia. Both Russian and U.S. media report that cloning attempts were underway with the mammoth as well, but have failed so far.The horse found. Photo by Michil Yakoklev/North-Eastern Federal University“As a rule, the blood coagulates or even turns to powder in the ancient remains of animals of the Ice Age, even if the carcass is preserved seems to be well,” Grigoriev said. “This is due to mummification when moisture and other biological fluids gradually evaporate over thousands of years, even if the remains are in the permafrost. The remains are preserved best if they are in the ice, as it was with our mammoth.”Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal. A Russian and South Korean team is selecting a horse to become ‘mother’ to bring prehistoric species back to life https://t.co/2DUDx4k1Rz pic.twitter.com/y1sffDFw5B— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) April 8, 2019There is some skepticism in the scientific community over the likelihood of the foal being cloned. Nonetheless, the Siberian Times reported that “work is so advanced that the team is reportedly choosing a mother for the historic role of giving birth to the comeback species.”The foal is believed to have succumbed when just weeks old, after it most likely drowned in a muddy body of water. Scientists say that the mud and silt that the foal swallowed in its last moments of life were found in its intestinal tract. Mud froze the foal in, preserving it for many thousands of years.Scientists Plan to Clone 42,000-Year-Old Horse Using Liquid Blood The extinct equestrian species known as Lenskaya, or Lena Horse, according to the Siberian Times, which populated the remote corner of Russia between 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.https://t.co/qhQxBpJwgB pic.twitter.com/PCyrMqW4mi— Before It’s News (@beforeitsnews) April 20, 2019At the time that the foal was found, Russian and Japanese researchers were searching for another frozen body of a mammoth that they could study and hopefully clone. The foal was found by digging beneath the surface of a crater in the Yakutia region. There the temperatures have been known to reach -60 Celsius. When they found the foal, its body still had hair.Read another story from us: Amazingly Well-Preserved Ice Age Horse Discovered in Siberian PermafrostThe Russian research team is working with a controversial South Korean cloning team. In 2009 one of its heads, Woo Suk Hwang, was found guilty in a court for bioethical violations and embezzlement. Hwang admitted to falsifying data. The Siberian Times says that the foal’s body will be exhibited in Japan starting in June 2019.Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers set in the Tudor era for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.comlast_img read more

July 19, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgShareTweetSharePinCruise visitors enjoying welcome entertainment at Roseau Cruise Ship BerthApril 25, 2019 marked the close of the 2018/2019 cruise season.  Dominica received its final cruise call for the season, as the MV Marella Explorer of TUI Cruises made the final call at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth. The ship brought approximately 2084 cruise passengers to Dominica shores.The last call for the season was commemorated with an array of Cultural performance which were held at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth. This included performances from Phaze Five Steel Band and the Kalinago Dancers.Throughout the 2018/2019 cruise season, Dominica received a total of 170 cruise calls carrying 252,500 passengers compared to 28 cruise calls and 18,378 passengers in the 2017/18 cruise season. Cruise passenger arrivals fell short of the last normal cruise season (pre Hurricane Maria) by only 4%.    Cruise passengers were welcomed at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth, Woodbridge Bay Port and the Cabrits Cruise Ship Berth. Of the 170 cruise calls, nine (9) cruise ships made their inaugural call to Dominica. Ceremonies to include plaque exchange, were held aboard the respective ships. Cruise Lines calling to Dominica for the 2018/2019 cruise season included TUI Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, P& O Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Holland America Cruises, among others.Dominica’s major cruise sites were heavily visited by cruise passengers throughout the season. These included the Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, Mero Beach, Ti Tou Gorge, Botanical Gardens, Middle Ham Falls, Morne Bruce, Wotten Waven Sulphur Springs, and Kalingo Barana Aute among others. River tubing, whale watching and snorkeling, were among the top activities enjoyed by cruise visitors.In a survey conducted at some of the popular Eco-Sites during the cruise season, 98% of visitors felt that the sites met or exceeded their expectations.  85% rated their overall experience at the sites as Excellent and over 75% rated individual elements (safety, cleanliness of site, and tour guides/site employees as Excellent.  A Net Promotor Score of over 80% for all the sites combined, indicates that visitors are extremely likely to recommend the sites to their friends and relatives.The 2018/2019 cruise season was deemed successful, as many cruise stakeholders earned a livelihood following the tremendous loss sustained from the passage of Hurricane Maria. Monitoring was done throughout the season to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for cruise visitors. Spot checks were undertaken at cruise sites and cruise ports to ensure that service providers adhered to the tourism standards.A Cruise Visitor Satisfaction Survey was also conducted among cruise passengers during the season.  The majority of respondents (82%) said their overall stay was either “very enjoyable” or “enjoyable”. The overall onshore experience and tour Experience, both received favorable ratings of 81% and 85% respectively.  The majority of respondents expressed the possibility of coming back to Dominica either on a cruise (85%) or land-based vacation (70%).In efforts to increase cruise arrivals to the island, more particularly to secure summer calls for the 2019/2020 cruise season and beyond, the Ministry of Tourism & Culture along with the Discover Dominica Authority and Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority, continued discussions with the Lines throughout the season. In addition  special pre scheduled meetings were held with cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, TUI Cruises, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises and Wind Star Cruises, during Dominica’s participation at two major cruise events.As at January 18, 2019,   the projected cruise calls for the upcoming 2019/2020 cruises season was 164 cruise calls. This translates to 286,470 cruise passengers. It is hoped that these figures will increase by the start of the 2019/2020 cruise season in October, in light of the recent meetings held with the cruise lines.The ongoing efforts to increase cruise calls included attendance at the 15th annual Cruise360 Conference hosted by CLIA, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and the 35th Annual Seatrade Cruise Global Conference and Tradeshow, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Representatives of the Discover Dominica Authority networked with the critical travel agent community at Cruise 360 Conference. This afforded the destination the opportunity to update them on the recovery and improvements undertaken since Hurricane Maria and to reinforce the readiness for visitation. The four day Seatrade Cruise Global Conference catered to professional players within the market, to provide insight into the cruise industry and provided the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with cruise executives.DDA solicits the cooperation of all tourism stakeholders in ensuring a welcoming and enjoyable experience for the cruise visitors for the upcoming 2019/2020 cruise season. . The Government of Dominica will continue its effort in promoting Dominica as a desirable cruise destination so as to increase cruise calls to Dominica.last_img read more

July 19, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_img Rishikesh: Lakshman Jhula declared unsafe, closed to traffic and pedestrians lakshman jhula, laxman jhula, lakshman jhula closed, lakshman jhula unsafe, lakshman jhula alternate, lakshman jhula rishikesh, rishikesh lakshman jhula, Uttarakhand CM trivendra singh Rawat Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna/File)A DAY after the Uttarakhand government ordered closure of the iconic Lakshman Jhula bridge in Rishikesh for pedestrian and vehicular movement, the state government on Saturday decided to explore possibilities to preserve the bridge as a heritage structure. 1 Comment(s) Iconic Lakshman Jhula in distress, to be closed down Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said Saturday a work plan will be prepared to maintain the bridge and preserve it.Explained: Why has the Uttarakhand govt shut down Lakshman Jhula in RishikeshThe state government on Friday had ordered the immediate closure of the 96-year-old bridge after a technical study report stated that it is in a distressed state and any movement on it can lead to a mishap.Rawat said that a decision has been taken to develop a bridge as alternative to the Lakshman Jhula. He said that six months ago, experts of IIT-Roorkee six were asked to conduct a feasibility study of the bridge and the report stated that the structure is not in a condition to further allow movement of pedestrian and vehicles. He added that in view of the upcoming Kanwar Mela continuing movement on the bridge would not be appropriate.The CM said that officials have been directed to develop an alternative of the bridge as soon as possible. Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun | Updated: July 14, 2019 2:09:27 am Explained: Why has the Uttarakhand govt shut down Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh Related News Advertisinglast_img read more

July 19, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgBy Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 17, 2019 2:32:30 am postal exams, postal exams Tamil Nadu, Rajya Sabha, postal exams in English, postal exams in Hindi, Indian express When Rajya Sabha commenced work on Tuesday morning, members of DMK and AIADMK started shouting slogans from their seats, demanding the cancellation of the exams.Submitting to pressure, especially from members from Tamil Nadu, the Union Government assured the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that exams held in the state on Sunday for recruitment on certain posts in the postal department will be canceled and fresh exams will be held soon. Congress raises China transgression, Rajnath Singh says borders secure As soon as the House resumed, some of the protesting members stormed to the well of the House. Deputy Chairman Harivansh tried to continue with the day’s business, but the disrupting members did not yield and Maitreyan tore pieces of paper and flung them into the air, and demanded a statement from Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad — who was making a statement in the Lok Sabha — on Tuesday itself. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad intervened and asked for the House to be adjourned, which was done for 15 minutes by Harivansh.The same scenes were repeated twice. Finally, after the House resumed at 2.30 pm after four adjournments, Prasad came to the Upper House and said he has “examined the matter today itself and it has now been decided to cancel the examination held on July 14”. He said, “The examination will now be held in all regional languages, as per a notification dated May 5, 2019 of the department concerning the examination, including in Tamil.”Prasad said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has “respect for all the regional languages, including Tamil”, adding that the government’s “commitment to respect all languages is full and total”.Congress member Anand Sharma said, “We are very happy that the minister has made this statement to resolve a very challenging situation that had resulted from these examinations that were held. The larger issue is to pre-empt and ensure that there is no recurrence.” Opposition criticises low priority to agriculture in Budget Advertising Best Of Express What steps taken to tackle patriarchy in farm sector: BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence center_img DMK leader T K S Elangovan later told The Indian Express, “These exams were held only in Hindi and English and not in Tamil… These are all small posts (and) local people will aspire to come… When exams are not held in regional languages, they (the people) will suffer.”He added, “The country is united because every language is respected… There should be mutual respect among the people speaking various languages. But if they are thrusting a particular language on us, then that mutual respect will break…”Maitreyan told The Indian Express that the exams for postal services have always been conducted in regional languages along with Hindi and English, but it was changed on July 11 when it was announced that the exams will be conducted only in Hindi and English on July 14. “Along with Hindi and English, all the regional Indian languages are also national languages,” he said. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan The government’s statement came after members of several parties — predominantly from the AIADMK and DMK — disrupted the proceedings, demanding the exams be scrapped as candidates could only choose to take the exam in English or Hindi.When Rajya Sabha commenced work on Tuesday morning, members of DMK and AIADMK started shouting slogans from their seats, demanding the cancellation of the exams. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked for order in the House, asking AIADMK leader V Maitreyan to not shout from his seat. Naidu stopped the live broadcast of the proceedings before adjourning the House till noon.During the adjourned period, BJP leaders including the Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan approached the AIADMK leaders to find a solution, but to no avail. Related News Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Advertising Post Comment(s)last_img read more