Why Pluto is a frigid prison for nitrogen ice

first_imgAll planets lose a small portion of their atmospheres to space, if individual gas molecules get hot enough and reach escape velocity. Before NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft swooped past Pluto last July, scientists thought that the dwarf planet’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere was eroding into space at a rate of 1027 molecules per second. But data from the encounter show that the atmospheric escape rate is in fact four orders of magnitude lower, because of a cooling effect high in its atmosphere, scientists report today in Science. One explanation is that a surprisingly thick layer of smoglike haze particles (bands shown above) act as coolants, absorbing and emitting solar energy that would otherwise heat up nitrogen gas molecules in the atmosphere. Another possible explanation is hydrogen cyanide, an efficient coolant that was recently detected in Pluto’s atmosphere by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile. Regardless of the mechanism, the cold, dense atmosphere could help explain why Pluto has held onto features like the Sputnik Planum, the pool of mostly nitrogen ice at Pluto’s “heart.” If the newly calculated escape rate has held steady over the solar system’s 4.56-billion-year history, Pluto would have lost the equivalent of only 6 centimeters of nitrogen ice—although the rate may have been higher in the past because of variations in Pluto’s orbit and tilt. The cold, compact atmosphere also explains why a surprisingly small amount of it collides with the solar wind, according to another study published today in Science. In addition to the studies of the atmosphere and the near-space environment, three other studies are published today in Science. One focuses on Pluto’s geological features, including the idea that two mountains are actually cryovolcanoes that once spewed ice. Another focuses on the chemical compositions of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. And a third paper examines Pluto’s four smaller, irregularly shaped moons: Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra.last_img read more

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Girl power

first_imgPrashanti, Akanksha and Pratima are a formidable part of the national basketball teamGoing against the flow is not easy. When it comes to uncharted territories, it becomes even more challenging. So when we came across six remarkable women-all of them confident, talented, accomplished, and pursuing unusual careers-we knew we had,Prashanti, Akanksha and Pratima are a formidable part of the national basketball teamGoing against the flow is not easy. When it comes to uncharted territories, it becomes even more challenging. So when we came across six remarkable women-all of them confident, talented, accomplished, and pursuing unusual careers-we knew we had to write about them, just so you know who you share the city with.At first glance, there seems to be nothing out of the ordinary about these three women. They are young, they enjoy movies, music and hanging out with friends. And they like the odd, guilt-ridden helping of junk food. Of course, they’re also slightly taller than the average woman-that’s where the ordinariness ends. Prashanti, Akanksha and Pratima Singh are members of India’s national women’s basketball team. The same team that’s doing phenomenally well at international meets. They also happen to be sisters.”Actually, there are five of us,” says Prashanti. Eldest sister, Divya, is a coach. Second is Priyanka, who was part of the national team, and is now pursuing her MBA from the US (where she plays for her university). Prashanti, 25, qualified for the national team in 2003, and is now the team captain. Akanksha, 21, entered the team in 2007. And Pratima, 20, is the recent entrant into the senior team and captain of the junior team. “We’re thinking of forming our own team, the five of us,” jokes Prashanti.”Mom can be our manager! For the sisters who grew up in Varanasi, basketball “just happened, and they ended up living together in Delhi, and training for hours everyday to represent Delhi nationally and India internationally. When they play together on court, their combined on-court wizardry leaves many an opponent stunned. The Singh trio look forward to playing league basketball after the recent agreement signed between the Basketball Federation of India and IMG Reliance. “The IPL seems to be benefiting others sports as well,” Prashanti says.advertisementFor now, though, the three sisters are off to Indore to train for the upcoming Asian Games. Come to think of it, there’s nothing usual about them at all.Sharma enjoys riding on the DND Flyway and going on weekend trips to Jaipur on her bikeWhether it’s a cold winter morning or a sultry summer morning, her passion for motorbikes knows no bounds. While most of us would like to sleep late on a Sunday morning, this is not so in the case of Ambika Sharma. “Once, my neighbour asked me if I was preparing for some competition. He was not ready to believe that I do this just for the love of biking,” says this 31-year-old.Work keeps her busy during the week but the weekend sees her on a Honda CBR 1000 RR Fireblade, her current machine. “Biking gives me a lot of things-freedom, solace and not to forget, tons of fun. It takes up most of my ‘me’ time, she says. And, she says, “When the weather is favourable, I don’t mind riding to office on my bike, especially if it’s a Friday or a Saturday.”Sharma’s interest has surprised almost everyone who’s met her. “I have come across a series of shocked faces, and I am yet to come across a man who will be comfortable being the pillion with a woman rider,” she says. Nevertheless, she is a member of an all-male biking group, GODS. “They have got used to my eccentricities, but they never give up an opportunity to pull my leg about the big hoop earrings under the helmet or the pink socks under the riding boots.”All of this is nothing strange for Sharma. Coming from a fauji family, ‘You cannot’ was not a term that her parents ever used. In fact, she was introduced to bikes quite early in life. “My father taught me how to handle one even before my feet could touch the ground.”Malik share a love for green spaces and international travelFor Sharma, her dreams are always evolving. “I own my current dream machine, but I would love to own a Goldwing or a Busa sometime in the future,” she says.She has always been around the game. Her father plays golf six days a week, while her mother plays at least once a week. But Shalini Malik took her love for the sport further. “I started learning golf when I was 15 and I just stuck to it,” says this 35-year-old international golf referee.It has been a long and phenomenal journey for Malik- from a keen player to an international referee now. “The game got me free university education in the US. I got to travel to the most amazing places and meet incredible people. In fact, I was the first girl to go from India on a golf scholarship. But today there are many girls from India playing there at the elite level. “Women’s golf has definitely gone to the next level. I think within the next five years we will produce some serious contenders on the international field.”advertisementFrom playing in the Dubai Ladies Masters which is one of the finest events on the European tour and on the other side the experience of playing at the Pro Am of St. Tropez which is all about glitz and glamour, she has come a long way indeed.RamasamyThis computer engineer with an MBA never found the cushy corporate world as interesting as inhospitable jungle environs. “I was always into landscape photography. And then gradually I started clicking birds and other wildlife. And I realised this is where my heart lay,” says Rathika Ramasamy, wildlife photographer.Heavy camera equipment, extreme weather conditions, lots of travel-which means staying away from family-Ramasamy happily embarked on an uncomfortable journey, leaving her flourishing corporate career behind. “It was not easy, but I always believed in doing uncoventional things. I have to carry six to seven kilos of weight on my own, but the sheer joy of being with nature, and photographing birds, makes me forget everything.”Ramasamy has been to all the national parks but Bharatpur National Park remains her all-time favourite. “I go there every month, but during November and December, when the migratory birds come to India, I visit every week. It’s like a second home to me. But what she cannot forget is spotting a frogmouth, an endangered bird species, at Salim Ali Sanctuary. “There are only two frogmouths in India, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted one.”Ramasamy has also been to national parks in Tanzania and would like to go there again. “I visited the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. It was amazing. And no matter how much you complain about the parks here, Ramasamy feels there is more scope for adventure in Indian national parks.”You don’t really have to spend long hours there, since there is such an abundance of fauna, whereas in India you have to really work hard to find the animal and get your shot.”last_img read more

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How to Grow Your Freelance Career—by Getting Rid of Your Clients

first_imgThis is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.Rookies to the world of freelance may think otherwise, but growing your business by simply adding more and more clients is not the way to go.At first it may seem like a great idea. But eventually, you’ll realize that signing up for energy-draining and money-pinching contracts is merely a waste of time.It’s not really the contract that is to blame. Let’s face it: The client is the money pincher, soul-crusher, and ego-buster.I know what it feels like being a hungry freelance blogger. You’re willing to accept almost any and every offer you receive.In such a competitive field with an ever-growing number of workers, who would be willing to offer you work for a more than decent pay, right?Wrong. What’s missing in the numbers is the ever-increasing number of clients in the field as well.According to Benrmatthews, freelance consultant and digital expert, “Twice as many freelancers have seen an increase in demand in the past year as have seen a decrease – 32% experienced an increase versus 15% who have seen a decrease”In other words, the playing field is wide and we freelancers have options: yes or no.Embrace the “No”:You might be taking extra work because you want more money, but let’s face it… if you take more workload than you can manage, you will not be able to do it well.It is necessary to have realistic expectations when you are accepting work. Remember, you’ve got enough on your plate already with your day job, housework, bills and other such obligations.Trying to do too much will deteriorate the quality of work you have to offer.It’s not always a matter of how much you can or can’t manage: Sometimes, the client, the work, or the amount they are willing to pay is simply not worth your time and efforts.Again, you need to clarify your expectations before you say yes to such an assignment.There’s is nothing wrong with saying “no” to your clients.But one problem remains. How do you know whether the next assignment is a dud or a do?Some signs you’re signing up for a dud contract:It becomes hard to differentiate between what you should or shouldn’t pursue when you’re new.However with experience—and some instinct—you’re bound to figure it out.Here are a few signs that you’re dealing with career-draining client.1. The client doesn’t respect you or your workThe relationship should be unlike the traditional one-way relationship you may have seen in rigid office-based environment.Since freelancing offers far more flexibility and freedom to “choose” who you work for, there’s no reason for you to view your client as a dreadful boss you fear, but can’t get rid of (or else he’ll get rid of you).What is even more important is that your client should respect and appreciate the work you offer – otherwise there is no reason to go on with the relationship.Join the Union (it’s free!)Become a member2. The work just isn’t youThe work you signed up for may be a fairly decent job, but it could be something you’re just not cut out to do.For example, as a marketer and a creative, I can’t imagine what it would be like to sign up for a job that required “bookkeeping.”Accounts is certainly not my favorite field and if I were ever given the task to keep accounts, my boredom from doing such a job would reach unbearable levels by the end of the day 2.When money becomes the main motivator, we tend to take on gigs that just aren’t quite right for us – but it’s a trap!Remember, you want to fill your portfolio with work that is on your list of “interests” or “experience”, not work you signed up for just to earn money.3. You’re not being paid enoughIf you’re a freelancer, remember this motto: never sell yourself short!It’s easy to undervalue your work and accept the “lowest possible rate” when you’re bidding, but that only negatively impacts your work, reputation, quality of life, and career.Know what you’re worth and stick to it!How to Weed ‘Em Out:So, how do we weed out those suckers without offending their “highness”?It’s much simpler than you may think.Sometimes, we’re stuck with long-term clients and long-term contracts to which we have already agreed.In such cases it’s better to tactfully do away with the client. One way is to raise your prices owing to “market changes” and to such an amount that forces them to search for services elsewhere.You may also cut down a service or two and tell them how the terms of agreement have to change (if possible).Another way is to inform them of “other commitments” that prevent you from working for other clients (legally)—and of course, this doesn’t have to be true.On a final note, try to be as professional and ethical as possible when you eliminate your clients.Give notice of your decision well before you actually so that they have enough time to make alternative arrangements.They may be tyrannical soul-suckers, but with your reputation on the line, it’s best to be humane.Edward Warner is a professional freelance copywriter and blogger. He provides essay writing service in UK. He writes ad copy for many local ads in UK.last_img read more

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Low: Messi more complete than Ronaldo

first_imgLionel Messi ‘Messi more complete than Ronaldo’ – Low favours Barcelona star over Real Madrid rival Matt Dorman 06:56 5/26/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Ronaldo Messi Split Getty/Goal Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Germany v Mexico Argentina v Iceland Portugal v Spain Real Madrid v Liverpool Barcelona v Real Sociedad Germany Argentina Portugal Real Madrid Barcelona World Cup UEFA Champions League Primera División The Germany boss could face both in Russia this summer and is clear on which of the multiple Ballon d’Or winners poses the greatest threat to his side Lionel Messi’s ability to both score and create goals means Germany boss Joachim Low would prefer him in his team ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.Debate over which of the two La Liga stars boasts the greater legacy is set to rage again during the World Cup in Russia as they both aim to claim football’s biggest team prize for the first time. Ronaldo will hope to replicate the success Portugal enjoyed at Euro 2016 while Messi is seeking to atone for Argentina’s defeat in the final at Brazil 2014. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Low got the better of the Barcelona man in that match, but he would happily have the attacker in Germany colours over Real Madrid star Ronaldo.”I would stick with Messi,” Low told Bild.”Cristiano Ronaldo is sensational, a very good professional, an incredible goalscoring machine for many years, but Messi is the most complete player I have seen.”He is a great team player. He’s provided 30 to 40 assists for the last 10 years as well as scoring around 50 goals.”He’s capable of leaving eight or nine players in his path and his goals always stay in your memory.”Low will attempt to lead Germany to back-to-back World Cup triumphs in Russia, a feat managed by only two other nations.last_img read more

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Kingston Hosts Earn US$2.4 Million from Airbnb Service in 2017

first_img Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says there is scope for greater expansion of the Airbnb service in Jamaica, which earned hosts in Kingston US$2.4 million in 2017. Story Highlights Based in San Francisco, California in the United States, Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world, whether an apartment for a night or week, or a villa for a month. Mr. Holness informed that Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has been working with the executives of Airbnb to streamline the service in Jamaica to make it seamless, thereby resulting in its continued growth locally. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says there is scope for greater expansion of the Airbnb service in Jamaica, which earned hosts in Kingston US$2.4 million in 2017.Based in San Francisco, California in the United States, Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world, whether an apartment for a night or week, or a villa for a month.Mr. Holness informed that Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has been working with the executives of Airbnb to streamline the service in Jamaica to make it seamless, thereby resulting in its continued growth locally.The Prime Minister was speaking at his quarterly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston, on Wednesday (August 15).The Tourism Minister has said that more and more Jamaicans have been buying into the Airbnb concept, opening up their homes to visitors and earning money as a result.“This is all a part of Brand Jamaica, and the beauty of the Airbnb solution is that it allows the average Jamaican to participate in the hospitality industry and use Brand Jamaica,” Mr. Holness said.According to data from Airbnb, there are now 3,100 hosts in Jamaica, up from 2,300 in December 2016. Listings also saw an increase from 4,000 in 2016 to 5,900 in 2017. Visitor usage saw the most significant increase from 32,000 in 2016 to 59,500 in the last 12 months.In the meantime, the Prime Minister said the tourism sector continues to experience unprecedented growth.He informed that overall, the country recorded a growth of 5.4 per cent for the first six months of this year.“That’s significant, with stopover visitor arrivals increasing by 5.9 per cent and cruise visitors by 4.8 per cent. We expect that this level of growth will continue for the next six months of the year,” the Prime Minister said.last_img read more

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Skuld Advises Strict Compliance to ECA Rules

first_imgzoom It has only been three weeks since the new ultra low sulphur regulations have come in to force in North America and Northern Europe, and already it is becoming clear that these rules will have teeth and that enforcement will be rigorous, P&I Club Skuld warns. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States has now issued a detailed set of guidelines for setting of penalties, should a vessel fail to comply with the new regulations that mandate a maximum of 0.10% sulphur content in fuel for designated Emission Control Areas (ECAs).According to the EPA guidelines, civil penalties may amount to USD 25,000 per violation per day; penalties are not limited to sulphur content violations; and penalties are designed to deter future violations, that means they are likely to be larger the more aggravated the offence was found to be.Skuld warned its members of the very stringent approach to environmental violations taken by both the EPA and the USCG – which could lead to both criminal and civil sanction for an offence.An additional, and very serious offence, is the giving of false information to a federal officer, a felony offence punishable by up to five years in prison, Skuld says.According to the Danish Ministry of the Environment, new EU rules will see member states be required to check on 10% of vessels calling in relevant member state ports per year, specifically reviewing logs and bunker delivery notes.The new rules would then advance as of January 1, 2016, with testing to be done of the fuel used on-board for at least 40% of the vessels of the 10% that are inspected by member states in or fully bordering an ECA.There will also be testing, but at a lower percentage, of the vessels in member states partly bordering ECAs, and even in member states not bordering any ECA.While the official EU regulation in this regard has not yet been published, these rules will see hundreds of ships being subjected to inspection during the course of this year and many more in the year thereafter, Skuld says.As such there should be no doubt as to very serious and committed approach that will be taken towards enforcing the new MARPOL Annex VI limits. Skuld has therefore advised its members to keenly follow further developments and to ensure that their vessels do in fact comply with the new regulations.Source: Skuldlast_img read more

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CEVA Logistics Shareholders Should Reject CMA CGM Offer

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: CEVA Logistics French shipping major CMA CGM could receive a rejection on its public tender offer for all publicly held registered shares of Swiss logistics company CEVA Logistics.Following CMA CGM’s offer with a nominal value of CHF 0.10 per share, revealed on November 26, 2018, the shipping company published its prospectus for the offer on CEVA shares with an offer price of CHF 30 per share on January 28.However, CEVA Logistics’ Board of Directors recommended that its shareholders resist the takeover offer “as valuation based on independent review of revised business plan indicates midpoint value significantly above offered price.”CEVA explained that a valuation of the revised business plan indicates a midpoint value of CHF 40 per share, well above the share price of CHF 30 offered by CMA CGM.“While the Board of Directors concluded that the offer price of CHF 30 per CEVA share is reasonable from a financial perspective and that the offer provides a fair exit opportunity for shareholders who wish to receive cash for their CEVA shares, it makes its recommendation in the belief that shareholders could realize a higher value with their continuing investment,” the company informed.“I am proud to be putting the whole organization on track to accelerate our transformation and turnaround action plan in the next three years and beyond. This can be achieved by a combination of our commercial and sales focus, cross selling with CMA CGM customers, our own productivity actions, the integration of CMA CGM Logistics within CEVA and sharing resources with CMA CGM in the field of non-strategic procurement and administrative functions,” Xavier Urbain, CEO of CEVA, added.last_img read more

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Board Will Decide if Woman Fired Because She Was Pregnant

first_imgAn independent human rights board of inquiry will begin hearing testimony in a complaint from a Brookfield woman who claims she was fired from her job because she was pregnant. Coralyn Fleck had been working for Ashton’s Salon and Day Spa in Truro for two years when she was terminated in June 2004. In May 2004 she informed her co-workers and supervisor that she was pregnant and would need to take regular breaks as part of her schedule. She expressed concern about her bookings after this because time was not being allowed for the breaks. On June 7, 2004, Ms. Fleck was admitted to hospital and suffered a miscarriage after which her doctor placed her on bed rest for a week. After informing her employer of the doctor’s instructions, she received a termination letter on June 9, 2004. The hearing is being chaired by David J. MacDonald. The board will begin hearing evidence on Wednesday, May 24, at 9:30 a.m. at the Best Western Glengarry Hotel, 150 Willow St. in Truro. The hearing is scheduled to continue on Thursday, May 25. A complaint is referred to an independent board of inquiry when the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission believes a prima facie case of discrimination is made after an investigation by a human rights officer. The chief judge of the provincial court selects a board chair from a roster and the commissioners ratify the nomination. The decision on the complaint is then in the hands of the independent board. Evidence collected during investigation of a complaint is presented at the hearing by the commission’s legal counsel. The complainant and respondent can make submissions and question witnesses. The board chair then decides whether discrimination has occurred. All parties have a right to appeal decisions of boards of inquiry to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.last_img read more

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Centre BJP trying to incite violence in Bengal Mamata

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Monday that the Centre and the cadres of the ruling BJP were trying to incite violence in the state and conspiring to bring down her government. She also said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to throttle her voice as she was the only one in the country to protest against them. “They (BJP) are spending crores and crores of money to spread fake news through different social networking websites. The central government and (BJP) party cadres are trying to incite violence in West Bengal,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist She said the Centre also had an equal responsibility as the state governments in case any violence or riot took place in any state. “If there is any riot or violence in any state, then the central government cannot shrug off its responsibility,” she said. “This (inciting violence in West Bengal) is a planted game. This is their game plan to throttle my voice, because they know that Mamata Banerjee is the only person in the country to raise voice against them. This conspiracy to bring down our government will not succeed,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief said, hitting out at the Centre for sending an advisory to her government in the wake of the Sandeskhali killings. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France “That’s the reason the advisory was sent to the state government. But I will not speak on it because the chief secretary has already given his reply on it,” she said. The Centre expressed “deep concern” on Sunday over the continuing violence in West Bengal, saying the “unabated violence” even after the Lok Sabha polls appeared to be a failure on the part of the state government. Stating that there were a few “stray post-poll clashes” in the state, the West Bengal government claimed that the situation in the state was “under control” in a letter to the Centre, which issued the advisory after four persons died in incidents of violence between the workers of the TMC and the BJP. State Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De wrote in the letter that “firm and appropriate actions” were initiated in all cases of violence without any delay.last_img read more

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SledTown ShowDown – Tumbler Ridge needs your vote

first_imgTUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – The final four contestants have been chosen for the SledTown ShowDown and Tumbler Ridge needs your vote to beat Edson, AB and advance to the championship round.SNORIDERS, an online website and resource for snowmobile enthusiasts, is holding their annual contest for the best Snowtown. Snowmobile clubs across Canada have been battling for bragging rights for the best snowmobile trails in Canada.The provincial finals have wrapped up and there are currently four new winners. Tumbler Ridge, B.C., Edson, Alberta, Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan and Flin Flon, Manitoba will now face off for the ultimate champion bragging rights. Tumbler Ridge is seeking your votes to push them through to the FinalsTo VOTE for Tumbler Ridge CLICK HERElast_img

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Closing Bell Toronto stock market suffers threedigit loss amid backdrop of China

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market suffered a triple-digit loss Monday as commodities prices mostly fell amid continuing worries over slowing growth in China.The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 136.35 points to 15,129, after closing down 200 points on Friday. Base metals, gold and energy were among the heaviest weights on the Toronto exchange.The Canadian dollar lost 0.70 of a cent to 90.65 cents US against a strengthening U.S. dollar.U.S. markets were also in negative territory with the Dow Jones industrials down 107.06 points to 17,172.68. The Nasdaq fell 52.10 points to 4,527.69 and the S&P 500 index lost 16.11 points to 1,994.29.Craig Fehr, a Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones, said it was time for investors to prepare for a return to volatility on markets.“We’ve been in an environment for the past couple of years where volatility has been well below average and I think that even with the return to a normal type of market volatility or fluctuations it is going to be a little bit of an adjustment for investors who didn’t have to deal with that . . . for a couple of years,” Fehr said from St. Louis.“Investors should reposition their portfolios . . .(amid) expectations for higher volatility.”Traders are looking ahead to the latest Chinese economic growth data with the release Tuesday of HSBC’s gauge on China’s manufacturing. The report is expected to show renewed weakness in the world’s second-largest economy amid a recent spate of soft data. If the index falls near or below 50, it would indicate that China’s manufacturing is barely growing or possibly even contracting.In economic news, fewer Americans bought homes in August as investors retreated from real estate and first-time buyers remained scarce.The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes fell 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million last month. That snaps a four-month streak of gains with August sales down from a July rate of 5.14 million.The decline came from the exodus of investors who had been buying properties in the aftermath of the housing bust and recession. Overall, the pace of home sales has dropped 5.3% year over year.Commodities were mixed with December copper fading five cents to US$3.04 a pound and the November crude contract dipped 78 cents to US$90.87 a barrel. December gold bullion added $1.30 to US$1,217.90 an ounce.In corporate news, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) plans to sell its new Passport smartphone for US$599 without a wireless carrier contract in the U.S., about $50 to $250 cheaper than various models of the iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 currently on shelves.The price could give BlackBerry an advantage as it works to secure large orders of the device from corporate customers and plans to sell the phone at wireless stores. Canadian prices for the BlackBerry Passport haven’t been officially released. Shares in BlackBerry gained 16 cents to $12.05 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Meanwhile, oil and gas company Veresen Inc. (TSX:VSN) says it’s spending more than US$1.4 billion to buy a stake in a U.S. pipeline, which it says will bolster plans to ship natural gas from a proposed terminal in Oregon.The Calgary-based company says it’ll be buying a 50% stake in the Ruby pipeline system from Global Infrastructure Partners. The Ruby pipeline runs nearly 1,100 kilometres from Wyoming to Oregon and has the potential to ship up to two billion cubic feet per day of gas. Its shares lost 26 cents to close at $17.17. read more

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New UN environment studies show rising mercury threat to people in developing

Produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the studies note how parts of Africa, Asia and South America could see increasing emissions of mercury into the environment, due mainly to the use of the toxic element in small-scale gold mining, and through the burning of coal for electricity generation.“Mercury, which exists in various forms, remains a major global, regional and national challenge in terms of threats to human health and the environment,” UNEP’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said in a news release on the studies.Mercury – a naturally-occurring, silvery-white metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures – can be harmful to humans and the environment. When released from industry and other man-made sources, it can circulate in the environment for up to centuries at a time. This, according to UNEP, means that it is likely to be several years or decades before reductions in mercury emissions have a demonstrable effect on mercury levels in nature and the food chain.One of the UNEP studies, the Global Mercury Assessment 2013 – which provides a comprehensive breakdown of mercury emissions by region and economic sector – reports that emissions of the toxic metal from artisanal gold mining have doubled since 2005, in part due to new and better information, but also due to rising gold prices that are expected to lead to further increasesDue to rapid industrialization, it further notes, Asia is the largest regional emitter of mercury, and accounts for just under half of all global releases.The UNEP study also assesses, for the first time at a global level, releases of mercury into rivers and lakes. Much human exposure to mercury is through the consumption of contaminated fish, making aquatic environments the critical link to human health. In the past 100 years, man-made emissions have caused the amount of mercury in the top 100 metres of the world’s oceans to double. Concentrations in deeper waters have increased by up to 25 per cent. The study highlights significant releases into the environment linked to contaminated sites and deforestation, with an estimated 260 tonnes of mercury – previously held in soils – being released into rivers and lakes.Along with a parallel UNEP study, Mercury: Time to Act, the new assessment will be formally presented at the International Negotiating Committee on Mercury, to be held in Geneva from 13 to 18 January this year.According to UNEP, governments attending the conference are aiming to conclude discussions on a global legally binding treaty to minimize risks to people and the environment from exposure to mercury. The UN agency notes this would reduce cases of neurological and behavioural disorders, and other health problems linked to mercury, as well as the contamination of soils and rivers caused by man-made emissions of the metal. Governments gave the green light to negotiations towards a global treaty at the UNEP Governing Council held in Nairobi, Kenya, some years ago. “In 2009, at the UNEP Governing Council, nations agreed to launch negotiations for a legally binding treaty aimed at bringing down releases from sources such as industry and mining, address mercury-containing products, and tackle historical pollution sites—the final negotiations begin in just a few days’ time,” said Mr. Steiner.“Mercury has been known as a toxin and a hazard for centuries – but today we have many of the alternative technologies and processes needed to reduce the risks for tens of millions of people, including pregnant mothers and their babies,” the UNEP chief added. “A good outcome can also assist in a more sustainable future for generations to come.”The UNEP studies state the fact that mercury released from man-made sources can circulate for such a long time reinforces the need for swift action by governments, industry and civil society to strengthen efforts to reduce mercury emissions and releases. Delays in action, according to the reports, will lead to slower recovery of ecosystems and a greater legacy of pollution.Amongst other findings in the studies, UNEP highlights the rising levels of mercury present in the Arctic, where an estimated 200 tonnes of mercury are deposited each year, generally far from where it originated. Studies have shown a ten-fold increase in levels of mercury in certain Arctic wildlife species in the past 150 years, due mainly, it is thought, to human activity.The two UNEP studies state that global emissions of mercury have remained relatively stable in the last 20 years, with 2010 emissions from human activities thought to be just under 2,000 tonnes.However, despite improved availability of data on mercury, the emissions estimate is still subject to uncertainty, and covers a range of 1,010 to 4,070 tonnes.Coal burning is responsible for some 475 tonnes of mercury emissions annually, or around 24 per cent of the global total. UNEP notes that despite increased coal combustion in certain regions, more stringent regulations on pollution in several countries have contributed to reducing overall mercury emissions from coal burning and off-setting part of the emissions arising from increased industrial activity. Along with coal burning, the use of mercury to separate metal from ore in small-scale gold mining remains the chief source of emissions worldwide, according to UNEP. Annual emissions from small-scale gold mining are estimated at 727 tonnes, or 35 per cent of the global total. Greater exposure to mercury poses a direct threat to the health of some 10-15 million people who are directly involved in small-scale gold mining, mainly in Africa, Asia and South America. An estimated three million women and children work in the industry.Mercury-free methods and other low-cost solutions for reducing emissions during gold extraction are available, UNEP notes, but socio-economic conditions, and low awareness of the risks of mercury, are barriers to adopting safer techniques. read more

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Syria UN human rights chief urges probe into alleged execution of Government

“Based on the analysis by my team to date, we believe armed opposition groups in one incident – documented by a video – executed at least 30 individuals, the majority of whom appeared to be soldiers,” the High Commissioner said in a statement issued by her office. Ms. Pillay said allegations of the killings after a battle in Khan Al-Assal, a district in rural Aleppo, are “deeply shocking” and reiterated the need to ensure that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law on all sides of the conflict are made accountable.Opposition forces in Khan Al-Assal purportedly filmed and posted on the internet between 22 and 26 July a series of videos, one apparently showing Government soldiers being ordered to lie on the ground. Another shows several bodies scattered along a wall and a number of bodies at an adjacent site, according to the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR).“These images, if verified, suggest that executions were committed in Khan Al-Assal,” Ms. Pillay said. “There needs to be a thorough independent investigation to establish whether war crimes have been committed. And those responsible for such crimes should be brought to justice.” Another video shows bodies being collected by members of the Red Crescent and Free Syrian Army medical doctors, according to the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR). There were several other videos showing the bodies of dead Government soldiers scattered around town, most of whom appeared to have been shot in the head.Meanwhile, OHCHR said is has received information from a reliable source that opposition fighters still hold government officers and soldiers captured in Khan Al-Assal.“The High Commissioner reminds the parties to the conflict that all persons no longer taking part in hostilities, including captured and wounded soldiers, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely and in accordance with international law,” OHCHR said in today’s statement. The UN human rights office said it continues to investigate the circumstances and scope of the killings – including reports that the overall number of dead is much higher. According to OHCHR, UN investigators are being allowed to visit Khan Al-Assal as part of a separate probe into three sites in the country to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use. “Let me also renew my call to the Syrian Government to grant representatives from my Office and the Commission of Inquiry on Syria access to the country, in order to be able to investigate human rights violations, no matter who committed them,” Pillay said.The events in Khan Al-Assal are further evidence that flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by all parties have tragically become the norm in the Syrian conflict, stressed Ms. Pillay. “Opposition forces should not think they are immune from prosecution. They must adhere to their responsibilities under international law,” Pillay said.The Commission of Inquiry on Syria has previously highlighted the emerging patterns of summary execution and murder, perpetrated by anti-Government armed groups, as well as Government forces and affiliated militias. Established by the UN Human Rights Council in August 2011, the Commission has been mandated to investigate and record all violations of international human rights law during the Syria conflict.More than 100,000 people have been killed since fighting began between Syrian Government forces and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad. Almost 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries and a further 4 million have been internally displaced. read more

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Synthetic drugs flooding market new UN study shows

The 2014 Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment also reports that new psychoactive substances (NPS) are flooding a market for synthetic drugs, which has long been dominated by amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as ecstasy and methamphetamine now more widely used than opium or heroin. “There is a dynamic and unprecedented global expansion of the synthetic drugs market both in scope and variety,” said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs at UNODC. “New substances are quickly created and marketed, challenging law enforcement efforts to keep up with the traffickers and curb public health risks.” Marketed as ‘legal highs’ and ‘designer drugs’, the new psychoactive substances are proliferating but in the absence of an international framework, responses to the problem vary significantly from country to country, according to UNODC.None of the nearly 350 NPS reported globally in over 90 countries at the end of 2013 is currently under international control. And although UNODC has detected 348 NPS, the actual number of these substances available worldwide may be significantly higher, given that this figure only reflects reports of official sources.The report also notes that the term ‘new’ does not necessarily refer to new inventions but to substances that have been recently become more available like khat.Khat, a plant-based NPS until recently confined to traditional use in East Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula, is increasingly being trafficked from East African countries, such as Ethiopia and Kenya, to European destinations, such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and even as far afield as North America. Lately, khat has also been seized in East and South-East Asia, as cultivation of the plant has extended to that region.Meanwhile, the use of synthetic cannabinoids, which mimic the effects of cannabis, is soaring; the total number of these substances almost doubled from 60 in mid-2012 to 110 by 2013.The report notes that a particularly worrying development is that NPS are no longer restricted to niche markets.Evidence from almost all regions of the world indicates that tablets sold as ecstasy or methamphetamine contain substances other than the touted active ingredients and are comprised of chemical cocktails that pose unforeseen public health challenges. “Emergency services may therefore find themselves unable to identify life-threatening substances and powerless to administer the proper medical treatment,” UNODC says. The 2014 synthetic drug report says the new global supply channels are linking formerly regional ATS markets. Supply routes to Asia, already the largest market for ATS and ecstasy worldwide, have emerged from West Africa and the Americas, the report says. Since 2009, about 86 percent of ATS originating from West Africa seized at Western European and Japanese airports were destined mainly for Japan as well as Malaysia. Rates of methamphetamine seizures are higher than ever across the world, largely driven by the rise in seizures in East and South-East Asia as well as in North America.Methamphetamine, which can seriously harm users, continues to spread in Asia, posing a growing challenge to health care providers and drug control authorities dealing with large youthful populations. The report quotes Turkish authorities as saying that Turkey serves as a transit point for methamphetamine smuggled from the Iran to East and South-East Asian countries.Ketamine, a veterinary anaesthetic, is more widely misused in East and South-East Asia. Mainland China and Hong Kong accounted for almost 60 per cent of global ketamine seizures between 2008 and 2011.Synthetic drugs have gained in popularity among the young. In parts of South and Central America, ATS use in younger age groups sometimes even exceeds that of cannabis and/or cocaine. In North America and Europe, certain NPS are more widely used by young consumers than traditional illicit drugs. UNODC is continuously monitoring and researching global illicit drug markets in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their dynamics. Drug trafficking is a key part of this research. read more

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Happy Valley viewer complained about offscreen death of sheep BBC Trust report

first_imgThe scene, in which Sergeant Catherine Cawood, the programme’s main character, held a rock over the badly-injured animal’s head, breached editorial guidelines on harm and offence because the BBC did not give adequate warning it was going to happen, the viewer claimed.Details of the complaint, which was not upheld, were released in the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee bulletin on Tuesday. The viewer, who has not been named, claimed after the first episode of the second series in February that the BBC should have run an on-air caption or announcement before the scene or after to make clear the animal suffered no distress.The woman also complained that it had been shown just after the 9pm watershed, which she claimed should be the “beginning of the transition to more adult material” instead of an “abrupt” change. Show more Tommy Lee Royce, played by James Norton  It is an emotionally brutal crime drama which has featured murder, rape and suicide.But for one Happy Valley viewer, it was not the discovery of a dead body or the use of strong language that proved too much – but rather the off-screen death of a sheep. Staff from BBC audience services initially closed down her complaint, claiming that a strong language announcement given before the programme should have correctly set the tone.A note also said the actual moment the sheep was killed had not been shown and stated: “The BBC appreciated that programme content could have some resonance with someone in the audience.“However, it would be very difficult to warn against everything that might cause offence and so warnings were carefully considered so as not to undermine the importance of those that were issued.”Unhappy with the response, the woman wrote to the BBC Trust and the Trustees, which sit on the committee, to try to appeal the decision but was unsuccessful. Tommy Lee Royce, played by James Norton Credit:Ben Blackall/BBC The Trustees dismissed it on the basis it was “reasonable to expect a post-watershed adult audience to understand that this was acting and that the sheep had not been killed by the actress”.They added that there had been a “build-up” to the scene, which would have allowed viewers to look away, and reiterated that the moment the sheep had been killed was not shown.Happy Valley is filmed and set in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, and stars Sarah Lancashire, as Sgt Cawood, and James Norton, who plays psychopath Tommy Lee Royce.Its debut run, which included an opening episode in which the man who drove Sgt Cawood’s daughter to suicide is released from prison, attracted nearly 8 million viewers, while the show has also won two BAFTAs. It is reasonable to expect a post-watershed adult audience to understand that this was actingEditorial Standards Committee Trustees Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Samantha Markle says she hopes to give her sentimental wedding present to

Samantha Grant with Meghan Markle before they lost touch She has orchestrated a string of critical interviews, refused a palace plea for her discretion, and claimed responsibility for the photoshoot that brought the royal wedding into headlines for all the wrong reasons.But Meghan Markle’s estranged half sister has not given up hope of seeing her in person for her wedding to Prince Harry.Samantha Grant has said she would still like to give a “sentimental” wedding present to the couple in person, despite not being invited to the Windsor Castle celebrations.Thomas Markle, her father, is allegedly undergoing medical treatment for a heart condition which, in the most recent of many pronouncements, he has said will leave him unable to travel to walk his daughter down the aisle.Kensington Palace have not commented on the claims, with observers left mystified over this week’s rapidly developing events.   Ms Markle’s friends including Jessica Mulroney, a Canadian stylist, have also landed in the UK, for what Royal watchers will now hope are trouble-free final preparations for the wedding on Saturday.Ms Grant, meanwhile, understood another round of media interviews, in which she appeared on Australian television and spoke directly to gossip website TMZ.Asked whether the palace had ever requested her discretion in her words about Ms Markle during an appearance on Sunrise television, her half sister disclosed: “Early in the year we were asked not to speak to the public, but I’m pretty adamant about it.“It was my observation that even family members who didn’t speak to the media were made fun of, they were taunted, they were photographed, they were insulted.  Referring to Ms Markle, she told TMZ: “There’s something in this country called freedom of speech.”She doesn’t have a copyright on that and she’s not going to tell me that I can’t speak about my own life and my father’s when it’s a matter of public self-defence.“This is not Great Britain and I am a United States citizen and she’s way out of her league by telling me she can’t speak.” She will meet the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ahead of the wedding, now expected to go alone instead of with her ex-husband Mr Markle.Ms Ragland, who is being looked after by staff at Kensington Palace, was met at the airport by Prince Harry’s assistant private secretary Amy Pickerill, with her luggage – including a dress-sized bag from Burberry – taken through Heathrow’s VIP Windsor suite. Samantha Grant with Meghan Markle before they lost touch Meghan Markle with her mother Doria Thomas Markle, with his daughter Meghan Ms Grant, along with her brother Thomas Markle Jr, have not been invited to the wedding and no longer has any relationship with her half-sister.Asked by an incredulous-sounding reporter whether she had bought a wedding present for Prince Harry and Ms Markle, Ms Grant said she had found “something that I thought was really sentimental”.“I’d like to give it to her in person,” she said, promising a “surprise”. “But if not I would certainly send it.” Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will wed on Saturday “I’m not giving them license for them to disparage me like that without at least leveling the playing field for intelligent minds.” Meghan Markle with her mother Doria Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will wed on SaturdayCredit:Chris Jackson On Wednesday, Doria Ragland, Ms Markle’s mother, flew into Heathrow to be by her daughter’s side, in a planned trip that will now take on extra resonance.Ms Ragland, who has spent time with Prince Harry as his relationship with Ms Markle developed, will provide welcome support for the bride-to-be, whose paternal family have caused major disruption to wedding planning this week. Thomas Markle, with his daughter Meghan Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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CSM Bucuresti to replace Mette Klit with Kim Rasmussen

← Previous Story IHF suspends handball in Kuwait! Next Story → SLIM JAMBO: Strahinja Milic with 20KG less before EHF CL start! The Romanian TOP team CSM Bucuresti decided to give a “big applause” to the coach Mette Klit for his commitment in the last period. It is hard to say what was the reason for this kind of decision by the Management of the club, however, Danish coach put in her CV the Championship title in Romania last season and currently 100% of success in the new season – 4/4.However, Klit is now only the history of the team from Romanian capital who now looking for a new coach. According to rumours Klit’s compatriot, Polish NT head-coach Kim Rasmussen is already promoted in the new coach, but 43-year old Dane didn’t want to confirm that for domestic media.Rasmussen was also a short-term coach in ZRK Vardar Skopje, where he was fired after only 28 days. His biggest success is fourth place with Poland at World Championship 2013 in Serbia. CSM BucurestiLars RasmussenMette Klit read more

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New Zealand school gets rid of gendered uniforms

first_imgNew Zealand school gets rid of gendered uniforms Now, students will have a choice between wearing a kilt, culottes, shorts, trousers or PE gear, depending on their preference. 36 Comments Share540 Tweet Email2 Mar 21st 2017, 4:35 PM By Aoife Barry Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Source: RNZ/YouTubeA SCHOOL IN New Zealand has got rid of rules that govern what uniform boys and girls have to wear – and given pupils their choice, regardless of gender.Students at Dunedin North Intermediate can now wear their choice of a kilt, culottes, trousers, shorts, or a PE uniform.Radio New Zealand reports that two students approached their principal Heidi Hayward to ask why girls in the school had to wear skirts. Hayward found she could not come up with a good reason for gendered uniforms.So an initial decision was made to allow students to wear either the boys’ or girls’ uniform. This was later broadened to include a total of five options after some girls got teased for wearing the boys uniform, according to the Guardian.“We’re not necessarily expecting that there will be a great onset of boys wearing skirts, but it still sends the message to them that it’s not actually a problem to wear what you feel comfortable in,” said Hayward.The move is also an important one in showing pupils that it’s OK to be different when it comes to gender and sexuality.“If they see that their school is accepting of difference, regardless of the fact that they may not be ready to be different, it’s really an important message from us that we see diversity,” said Hayward.In the UK, new rules were brought in last year in state schools to allow students to wear either skirts or trousers, regardless of gender.Read: Users of Epipens warned to check theirs as batch is recalled> Tuesday 21 Mar 2017, 4:35 PM http://jrnl.ie/3299319 Short URL 17,969 Views last_img read more

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