Canadian contribution to peacekeeping reaches new low under Liberals

first_imgOTTAWA – The Trudeau Liberals may have promised to ramp up Canada’s role in peacekeeping, but new UN figures show there were fewer Canadian peacekeepers in the field last month than at any point in recent memory.The revelation comes as Canada prepares to host a major peacekeeping summit in Vancouver next month, raising fears the country will be badly embarrassed unless the numbers start rising — and fast.The Liberals promised last summer to make up to 600 soldiers and 150 police officers available to the UN for future peacekeeping missions, but have yet to make any concrete commitments.The intervening year has instead seen a steady decrease in the number of Canadian blue helmets and blue berets deployed around the world, from 112 peacekeepers in August 2016 to 68 last month.The decline is largely attributed to 44 fewer Canadian police officers being deployed to Haiti, where the UN is closing down its 13-year stabilization mission in favour of a much smaller effort.Walter Dorn, an expert on peacekeeping at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto who has studied the numbers, says the result is the smallest Canadian contribution to peacekeeping since at least 1990.By comparison, Canada’s smallest contribution to peacekeeping under Stephen Harper, who made no secret of his dislike for the UN, was 88 soldiers and police officers in October 2014.“The government is at an all-time low while saying that it wants to re-engage in peacekeeping,” Dorn said. “Its numbers are lower than the Conservatives ever were.”Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s spokesman, Adam Austen, said the government remains convinced that Canada has an important role to play in peacekeeping and that it is committed to do more.Defence Department officials have drawn up a list of possible missions for the government to review, sources have told The Canadian Press, one of which would involve sending transport helicopters to Mali.While the Liberals reportedly hope to make a decision before the upcoming peacekeeping summit in Vancouver on Nov. 14-15, there is no certainty they will.The government has repeatedly said it will not be rushed into a mission, which Austen repeated on Monday, saying in an email: “We are doing this carefully and thoughtfully, as Canadians expect.”But the UN expected last year when it agreed to let Canada host the peacekeeping meeting that Canadian troops would already be on the ground.The summit, to be hosted by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, is only supposed to be open to officials from countries that have made concrete pledges to peacekeeping missions.UN officials and foreign diplomats have expressed varying degrees of frustration and disappointment with the Liberal indecision over the last year, which Dorn echoed on Monday.“Not only has Canada not lived up to its promises, it has actually decreased its contribution,” he said. “Canada is setting a poor example as the host for a pledging conference.”The fact there are any Canadian peacekeepers in the field may come as a surprise to many people.While the Liberals promised a return to peacekeeping during the last election campaign and again last year Canada has, in fact, continued to contribute soldiers and police officers to UN missions for decades.But last month’s numbers continue a trend of declining participation that has seen Canada move from being one of the largest contributors to peacekeeping in the 1990s to the bottom half of the pack today.There has also been a gradual shift from deploying Canadian military personnel to police officers; of the 68 Canadian peacekeepers in the field last month, 40 were police.— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.last_img read more

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Ontario Liberal government moves to introduce legislation to end college strike

first_imgTORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government is moving to introduce back-to-work legislation that would end a nearly five-week strike by college faculty, though opposition from the NDP means it may not happen quickly.Premier Kathleen Wynne said unanimous support of the legislation would have meant students could return to class on Monday morning.“We have said repeatedly that students have been in the middle of this strike for too long and it is not fair,” she said in a statement. “We need to get them back to the classroom.”But the NDP blocked a government attempt to table the bill by refusing unanimous consent to allow the Liberals to do so Thursday evening after the normally scheduled time period for introducing legislation.Some 500,000 students have been out of class since the strike by 12,000 college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians, began Oct. 15. It is now the longest strike in the colleges’ history in Ontario.The legislature will now reconvene Friday, when it does not normally sit, and the Liberals will again try to introduce the legislation in the afternoon. If it is again blocked, they say they intend to sit through the weekend.NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her party does not support any legislation that takes away workers’ rights.“It looks like Kathleen Wynne wanted to use anti-worker back-to-work legislation all along,” Horwath said in a statement, criticizing the premier for what she called five weeks of inaction.Horwath also wants students back in the classroom Monday, she said, but wants that to happen through a deal.NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson said the government has the tools to pass the legislation over the weekend.Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews said with unanimous consent the legislation could have been introduced and sped through first, second and third readings Thursday night.“We could have done it in 10 minutes and then students would know they’re back in the classroom on Monday,” she said. “It was very disappointing that the NDP decided to block it.”The legislation would have to pass on Friday for the province’s 24 colleges to prepare for classes to resume Monday, Matthews said.The College Employer Council, which represents the colleges, said it supports the introduction of back-to-work legislation as soon as possible.The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents the striking faculty, said Thursday morning that he would not support any back-to-work legislation.“From my perspective, if they do that, the labour movement has to oppose that,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Labour rights are enshrined in law and to this point in time they’ve respected the collective bargaining process.”Wynne had asked the colleges and the union to return to the bargaining table Thursday after workers voted to reject a contract offer, but within several hours the two sides reached an impasse when they could not agree to binding arbitration.OPSEU had recommended the colleges’ contract proposal be rejected.The colleges have said the offer included a 7.75 per cent salary increase over four years, improved benefits and measures to address concerns regarding part-time faculty, with language surrounding academic freedom remaining as the only major outstanding issue.But the union said the offer contained “serious concessions” that were not agreed to, which would erode faculty rights and contribute to an unsustainable staffing model.Under the proposed back-to-work legislation, the strike would end and all outstanding issues would be referred to binding mediation-arbitration.Earlier Thursday, Matthews had sharp words for both the colleges and the union.“I would say that both parties share the failure, and it is a failure,” she said. “Both parties need to recognize that their approach to this date has not resulted in any kind of success. They have to focus on students.”Matthews also said that the semester can still be salvaged.“We are approaching the time where we will start to see people with lost semesters but we are not there yet,” she said. “We need to get them back immediately so that the semester can be saved.”The provincial government has ordered the colleges to create a fund — using savings from the strike — to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of the labour dispute. Matthews has estimated Ontario’s colleges have saved about $5 million so far.Hu Zhengtao, an international student from China attending George Brown College to study business and marketing, said the labour disruption has thrown his plans to graduate in December and return home into serious doubt. He spoke with Matthews on Thursday to express his concern about the strike.“Because of the strike I don’t know when I can finish my classes and graduate,” he said. “The school has nothing to say right now. … They say they’re planning but can’t say exactly what they’re going to do because they don’t know if the strike will keep going.”Law firm Charney Lawyers filed a proposed class action against the 24 colleges Tuesday, saying 14 students have come forward to potentially stand as representative plaintiffs.The notice of action alleges the colleges breached contracts with students by failing to provide vocational training and a full term of classes. It seeks full refunds for students who choose not to continue with their programs and refunds “equivalent to the value of the lost instruction” for students who do want to continue.last_img read more

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Tensions in Darfur camp top UNAU envoys talks with Sudanese officials

On Thursday, Ibrahim Gambari, who also serves as AU-UN Joint Special Representative in Darfur, met with Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, Sudan’s Minister of the Interior, and several top defense and police officials to discuss the situation in Kalma camp. Mr. Gambari thanked Mr. Hamid for his Government’s cooperation with the mission, known as UNAMID, stressing the need to rapidly resolve the situation in the camp to protect civilians in and around the site, where deadly clashes broke out recently between IDPs who support peace talks being held in Doha, Qatar, and those who oppose them. The UN-AU envoy also called for a climate of cooperation and dialogue between the two parties in order to protect civilians, enable humanitarian assistance, recognize UNAMID’s mandate and respect the Sudanese Government’s sovereignty. On six people who sought refuge at the mission’s local Community Policing Centre, Mr. Gambari stressed that under its mandate, UNAMID is obliged to ensure that due process and the protection of individual’s rights are ensured at all times. For his part, Mr. Hamid promised that the Government will work closely with UNAMID towards a peaceful resolution to the situation, adding that security in Darfur is a priority for both parties. He said that the security of Kalma camp as been a major source of concern for many years. Also in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, Mr. Gambari briefed AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping and the heads of the five permanent members of the Security Council on UNAMID’s efforts to reach an amicable solution to the problems in the camp. As many as 2.7 million Darfurians live as IDPs or as refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of the seven-year-old conflict in the western region of Sudan that has also resulted in an estimated 300,000 deaths. 7 August 2010Escalating tensions in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in southern Darfur were the focus of talks between the head of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission and senior Sudanese officials. read more

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Primary school league tables 2016 compare your schools performance

first_imgIn separate measures published this year, a school will also be considered to be above the floor standard if pupils achieve sufficient progress scores in all three subjects, namely at least -5 in English reading, -5 in mathematics  and  -7 in English writing.Our unique interactive version of the table allows you to search these results and others by specific school or region and compare schools of your choice against one another. If you want to search by specific school or postcode you can type it into the search box. Alternatively, use the interactive map to search by region. You can then add schools to your comparison list by checking the ‘add to compare’ box or clicking the ‘add to compare’ button.The compare page shows you this headline measure, alongside the percentage of pupils achieving the ‘higher standard’ in reading, writing and maths, and a school’s average scaled score and progress made in each subject. School league tables showing the performance of 11-year-olds at primary schools across the country have been published today by the Department for Education.Pupils are assessed in reading, writing, and maths, with at least 65 per cent of pupils required to meet the expected standard (previously Level 4) in the 3 Rs. Clicking on an individual school’s name brings up more detailed information, including the relevant national and regional averages and the school’s location, contact information and pupil intake.Our other interactive league tables:A-level school league tables: compare your school’s performanceGCSE school league tables: compare your school’s performanceTop 100 secondary schools by A-level resultsTop 100 secondary schools by GCSE resultsNotes: Schools with no data are excluded from the tables for several reasons, including: small numbers of pupils (which risks an individual pupil’s results being identified); investigations into maladministration of tests; no pupils at Key Stage 2 level; or for other reasons beyond the school’s control. 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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Vice chancellor salary study demolishes their claims that pay rises are based

University of Bath Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis BreakwellCredit:SWNS The most comprehensive study into university vice-chancellors’ pay has demolished their claims that their huge rises are based on performance.Economists have shown that instead it is the vice-chancellor equivalent of “keeping up with the Jones’s’” as the lower-paid race to close the gap with the best-paid university bosses.“A better performance of the VCs is not what causes a higher pay,” say the researchers who analysed the performance of 154 universities’ vice-chancellors over a decade on everything from the quality of their university’s research to increasing student participation.“It is much rather a benchmarking behaviour where those universities with below average pay increase their VC pay quicker than those with average pay.“’Keeping up with the VC Jones’s is what seems to explain the recent inflation of VC pay, rather than their good performance.” 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. No previous study has analysed the relationship between pay and performance as comprehensively, according to the researchers, and the findings are likely to be studied closely by the government and new Office for Students which is seeking to crackdown on vice-chancellors’ soaring pay packets.The economists Dr Adelina Gschwandtner, from Kent University, and Dr Richard McManus, from Canterbury University’s Christchurch business school, used complex economic models to test the vice-chancellors’ claims that their average pay rises of 41% in 10 years were due to improvements in the performance of their universities.The pair say the ratio between vice chancellor and staff pay is increasing with those at some universities earning 12 times more than the average of academic staff and 35 times more than the average workers in the local area. While vice-chancellors pay rose by 41% in a decade, academic staff’s increased by just 3%.However, the researchers found no evidence for a causal link between vice-chancellors’ pay rises and the performance of their universities, based on analysing six criteria including expanding student numbers, the popularity of their institution, their league table positions and research excellence.“There is not a statistically significant link between a change in pay being associated with a change in performance,” they say.“That is, high performing institutions pay higher salaries to their chief executive [vice chancellor] but changes in either pay or performance is not associated with changes in the other.” Dr Gschwandtner said the benchmark that universities used was often the pay of the Russell group of leading research-intensive universities to which others aspired.However, she added: “The relationship between pay and performance needs to be strengthened. We need to have a structure like you have with shareholders in business to hold them to account.“Normally, vice-chancellors’ tenures are relatively short. They stay for five years on average. To improve a university takes years. If they are paying them more based on what others are paid, they should be more frank about it. They should not come out with this good performance argument when it is not the case.” University of Bath Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell The researchers instead turned their attention to the benchmarking theory where, using sophisticated economic and mathematical models, they found that 71% of the variance in vice-chancellors’ pay could be explained by the “keeping up with the Jones’s” thesis.The pay of vice-chancellors in the lower or middle brackets rose by up to 6 points greater than those at the top end – even those who were highest paid continued to enjoy decent increases in their salaries.The researchers cite Bath University and Bath Spa University, which claimed they got value for money as the performance of their vice chancellors was outstanding during a turbulent time in higher education and their universities had flourished under their leadership.Bath University vice chancellor Glynis Breakwell left with a final annual salary of £471,000 after a series of bumper pay rises. Her pay pushed the ratio between the university’s lowest and highest paid to 30:1.Bath Spa University paid its vice-chancellor Christina Slade more than £800,000 in her last year in office, including a £429,000 compensation for loss of office. read more

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Crossbow killer who shot dead pregnant exwife plotted her murder for a

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told the Old Bailey that the couple, who had three children together, divorced in 2014 after their arranged marriage came to an end. She subsequently began a relationship with Mr Muhammad, who moved into the house. 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. An embittered former husband plotted for more than a year before shooting dead his heavily pregnant ex-wife with a crossbow in a “calculated act of revenge”, a court heard yesterday.Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo nurtured a “deeply held desire for a most violent revenge” after his wife Devi left him and went on to marry another man.The 51-year-old amassed a cache of deadly weapons at the bottom of her garden before launching his attack in November last year.His former wife, who had changed her name to Sana Muhammad after re-marrying and converting from Hinduism to Islam, died from devastating internal injuries, the Old Bailey heard.Her unborn baby boy survived after being delivered by Caesarean section. The crossbow bolt is thought to have missed the baby by just a few inches.The jury at Unmathallegadoo’s murder trial was told that he launched his attack after plotting over the course of a year  to kill Mrs Muhammad and her new partner, Imtiaz Muhammad, who she had met when came round to decorate the kitchen of their family home in Ilford, east London. Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo denies murdering  his former wife, Sana Muhammad Credit:Facebook Unmathallegadoo, formerly of Ilford, denies murder and the attempted destruction of the unborn child. Here he shot his former wife as she fled upstairs in terror.Mr Wright said: “Imtiaz saw the defendant, who was at the bottom of the stairs, shoot Devi who was halfway up the stairs. The effect on her was immediate and she fell to the floor.”The court heard that after Unmathallegadoo was restrained and disarmed by two of his older children he told them: “It would have been easier if you guys weren’t here, like I would have done it.”Unmathallegadoo later claimed he had shot his former wife by accident and had intended to kill only Mr Muhammad.But Mr Wright suggested the evidence would show that Mrs Muhammad, 35, was the “principal target”.”This was a quite deliberate and calculated act of revenge on his part intended to cause at the very least the death of Devi and the extinction of the child she carried,” he said, adding that  Unmathallegadoo ‘had every opportunity’ to shoot Mr Muhammad as he pursued him through the house, but “needed to conserve his readily available fire power”.Mr Wright said the timing of his positioning himself in the shed was “no coincidence”, adding: “This attack was designed to take place before Devi gave birth to her child.” The prosecution claimed his plan was to restrain and then kill his ex-wife and Mr Muhammad, along with their unborn child.But jurors heard he was disturbed by Mr Muhammad who had gone to the shed to store a box.Mr Muhammad fled back to the house to raise the alarm, followed by Unmathallegadoo carrying the two crossbows. Sana Muhammad, shot dead with a crossbow in front of her husband and childrenCredit:Facebook Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo denies murdering  his former wife, Sana Muhammad  Unmathallegadoo, a former site manager at Newham General Hospital in east London, had “not reacted well”, said Mr Wright.By November 2017 he allegedly began to store equipment in an electricity stub-station close to his ex-wife’s house as a means of carrying out his warped mission, including two crossbows and numerous bolts.The cache was discovered by chance by a neighbour in March 2018 and removed. However, Unmathallegadoo spent £2,000 buying new equipment, while also carrying out surveillance of the home in Newbury Park, Ilford, in order to establish the comings and goings of family members, the court heard.By the morning of November 12 2018, he had taken up position in a shed at the bottom of his wife’s garden, armed with two crossbows, bolts, a hammer, a knife in a home-made sheath, cable ties and duct tape, awaiting his moment to strike. Sana Muhammad, shot dead with a crossbow in front of her husband and children read more

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TeleNav to offer free browserbased GPS navigation

first_imgSometimes the announcements with the biggest long-term ramifications can almost go unnoticed. GPS navigation service TeleNav has announced that it will be offering a free HTML5-based voiced navigation app. While it may not have the sexiness of an Apple leak or a Galaxy Nexus release date, this can potentially be just as important.TeleNav, whose tech powers the navigation in Ford vehicles and several existing mobile apps, will be releasing the web app for free. It will be compatible with all of the major mobile platforms, and will feature voiced directions, full color maps, and automatic rerouting. In addition to the browser-based direct consumer access, the company is also releasing an API so developers can add the service to their apps.All of the major mobile app stores are saturated with navigation apps. They vary in price and quality, but the best ones generally cost $30 or more (the big exception is the excellent — and free — Google Maps navigation on Android). There are other free options, but they usually have a catch: incomplete crowd-sourced maps, freemium content, or a confusing interface.With the advent of the TeleNav HTML5 app, all of that can change. iOS users will be able to open Safari, add the web app to their homescreen, and have free turn-by-turn navigation. More importantly, third-party apps that incorporate the TeleNav API will no longer just display a list of directions to a queried location. Users will be guided to the location without even leaving the app.No release date has been set, but TeleNav says we can expect the service to launch in early 2012. Developers who want early access can sign up here.Read more at TeleNav, via PC Maglast_img read more

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Athens education showcase packs them in

first_imgEDUCATION & CAREER 2013 – the largest exhibition of international education opportunities in Greece – was held in Athens on 9 and 10 March, and 150 exhibitors from ten countries attended the showcase over the two days. One of the 12,000 visitors to the fair, now in its 15th consecutive year, was Roula Tsiolas, Managing Director of the Australian Industrial Systems Institute (AISI). Ms Tsiolas told Neos Kosmos: “The fair enabled us to reach out to the largest foreign student market in Europe. “A very high percentage of Greek students opt to study at foreign universities and Greece has more students studying abroad than any other nation, proportionate to its population.” AISI was the only Australian education provider present at the expo. With up to 50,000 Greek students studying abroad at undergraduate and graduate level, Greece is a top European market for student recruitment. “It’s important for Australia-Greece bilateral relations to be a part of such a prestigious exhibition – it provides the opportunity to showcase Australia’s high quality education services,” said Ms Tsiolas, who said that she would like to see more Australian providers attend the Greek education expo in future. “The international studies trend shows no sign of a slowdown,” said Ms Tsiolas. “Even under the current tough economic situation, education remains a number one priority for every Greek family.” Ms Tsiolas said that the AISI’s experience of the fair showed prospective students had a great interest in Australia – for its reputation of high quality education provision, and because of the support network that exists within the Greek Australian community. The prospect of being able to work whilst studying was also a major factor in Australia’s attractiveness. “Students were interested in their prospects and value of the qualifications once completed, as their experience in Greece has been disappointing, with many being unemployed despite the completion of high level tertiary degrees.” During their visit Ms Tsiolas and her colleagues’ visit met with professionals from medicine, accounting, chemists, engineers, nurses, teachers and highly-skilled tradespeople. “All expressed an interest in professional development – not only in their current fields of expertise, but also a willingness to pursue new career paths with opportunities for professional growth and competitive employment skills,” said the AISI’s CEO. “They expressed a need to fill the current void that they are currently living on many levels. They came to the exhibition seeking training that will be ‘valuable for life’, as they said, training that will provide them with global opportunities.” AISI first began marketing their education services in Greece two years ago. “Since then we have seen the market grow at a very fast rate. From the Institute’s own statistics, the market shift from the sub-continent and Asian nations to European international student enrolments has been astounding, with students from Europe now making up more than 65% of the Institute’s student body.” Pana Tsiolas, AISI’s business development officer who also attended the exhibition, said that it had given exhibitors the opportunity to network, to recruit students and look for collaborations and alliances. “This is what will continue to facilitate Australia’s profile in Europe and what will promote Australian-Greek/European relations. “Our decades of knowing and understanding each other’s cultures should not be taken lightly. “It was great to see and meet with participants from Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus – and in particular the European University of Cyprus with whom AISI has an articulation arrangement. “We just wished that there were more participants from Australia.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Zoo de Pékin son restaurant propose de déguster les animaux après les

first_imgZoo de Pékin : son restaurant propose de déguster les animaux après les avoir observésPékin, Chine – La nouvelle est sinistre. Après avoir permis à ses visiteurs d’observer des animaux sauvages, parfois en voie de disparition, le zoo de Pékin propose ensuite de déguster certains de leurs congénères dans son restaurant.Cette situation alarmante a été reportée par le journal chinois Legal Daily. On apprend grâce à lui que le restaurant du zoo permet de déguster hippopotames, kangourous, scorpions, crocodiles ou cerfs.Ge Rui, du Fonds international pour la protection des animaux (IFAW), explique qu’il est “totalement inapproprié pour un zoo de vendre ce genre de choses”. Les zoos sont censés “cultiver l’amour des animaux ainsi que leur protection, proposer la viande des bêtes en cage incite à la consommation et augmente la menace sur les animaux qui vivent à l’état sauvage”. Selon Chang Jiwen, un expert de l’Académie chinoise des sciences sociales, ces ventes sont “légales” mais pas “humaines”. Zheng Yuanjie, un célèbre écrivain chinois est lui outré que l’on puisse “observer des animaux emprisonnés dans un espace limité tout en mangeant leurs congénères”. Suite à cette polémique, les propriétaires du restaurant Bin Feng Tang ont déclaré que la viande provenait de fermes d’animaux exotiques et qu’ils n’avaient jamais rencontré de problèmes avec les autorités. Malgré cela, ils auraient tout de même décidé de réviser leur menu. Le 29 mai 2010 à 12:14 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

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121 Giant Exoplanets May Host Habitable Moons

first_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System Broadening their search for extraterrestrials, researchers identified more than 100 giant planets whose moons may be capable of supporting life.In the near-decade since NASA launched its Kepler telescope, scientists have identified thousands of exoplanets.These celestial bodies orbiting outside our Solar System have already furthered our understanding of the formation and evolution of this galaxy. Soon they may provide more knowledge of alternative ones.AdChoices广告Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Southern Queensland catalogued 121 giant planets whose orbit is within the habitable zones of its stars (also known as the “Goldilocks Zone,” where it’s neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water).These Jupiter-like gas giants, though less common than rocky planets, are believed to each host several large satellites, which may provide an even more favorable environment than Earth.The so-called “exomoons” receive energy from their star, as well as radiation reflected from their planet.“There are currently 175 known moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system,” Stephen Kane, an associate professor of planetary astrophysics at UCR, said in a statement. “While most of these moons orbit Saturn and Jupiter, which are outside the Sun’s habitable zone, that may not be the case in other Solar Systems.”Moving forward, the team will refine their research based on observations of the best candidates for hosting potential exomoons.“Our follow-up studies will help inform future telescope design so that we can detect these moons, study their properties, and look for signs of life,” according to Michelle Hill, an undergraduate at the University of Southern Queensland.NASA recently sent its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) into space on a two-year hunt for undiscovered worlds. Intended to “cast a wider net than ever before,” the spacecraft serves as a sort of precursor to the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, heading into orbit next spring.“Including rocky exomoons in our search for life in space will greatly expand the places we can look,” Kane said.Read more in a paper recently published by The Astrophysical Journal.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetlast_img read more

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Virginia state firm signs apple export deal with India

first_imgA Virgina state company has signed a deal for export of Virginia apples with a major Indian importer as part of a state push to pursue trade opportunities and new investments.The deal between Virginia’s Crown Orchard Company of Covesville and India’s IG International was witnessed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in Mumbai during his recently-concluded trade and marketing mission to the Middle East and India.”The deal is a significant development that strengthens Virginia’s partnership with one of the world’s largest economies and population bases,” said a news release from the governor’s office.”After opening the Indian apple market for Virginia producers last year, it was important that we continue that momentum and push hard to expand those sales,” said McAuliffe while announcing the new sale into the highly competitive Indian produce market.”Export deals like this one play a vital role in generating additional revenue and jobs for the Commonwealth and are critical to my work to build a new Virginia economy,” he said.Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe visited several fruit and vegetable markets in Mumbai with the IG International leadership to promote Virginia’s growing apple trade with India.”We have focused on India as an important strategic market for Virginia agricultural and forestry products since launching the export growth initiative in 2011,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.”Virginia has emerged as the second-largest apple-exporting state to India, and we are working continuously to drive more sales and make new introductions between our producers and Indian apple importers,” he added.Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $3.35 billion in 2014. While currently a relatively small market for these products, the Indian market is growing and holds strong potential for Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries.For example, exports to India were just over $5 million in 2013 and last year were valued at over $6 million. In 2014, Virginia exported about $1.6 million in apples to India, up from zero in late 2011, when Virginia opened its representative trade office.As of September of this year, Virginia has exported $1.2 million in apples to India. Exports to India in 2014 represented more than half of the state’s total apple exports worldwide, while the year-to-date sales as of September to India account for more than 60% of this year’s total apple exports.”India was a very important new export market for us in 2014, and we are pleased to expand sales there for our 2015 crop,” said Henry Chiles, owner of Crown Orchard.”Virginia apples are already earning a solid reputation amongst Indian produce buyers for their high quality, sweet flavour and overall value,” said Tarun Arora, CEO of IG International. “Apples are in high demand in India, and I am pleased to have found a great new source for quality apples in Virginia and the Crown Orchard Company.”last_img read more

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Jet Airways Indian pilots dont want to share cockpit with expat pilots

first_imgA Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER taxis at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, February 16, 2015.Reuters fileServices of Jet Airways could face disruption from May 1 if the 1,000 pilots of the full-service carrier Jet Airways refuse to work with expat pilots. The National Aviators Guild (NAG), representing Jet Airways’ domestic pilots, demanded to rid the carrier of foreign pilots over an alleged assault on an examiner in  Bengaluru a few days ago.The company has a simulator training facility for B737 and B777 aircraft at the Training Centre in Bangalore.”NAG has issued a directive to all its members not to fly with the foreign pilots in the airline from May 1 as one of the foreign pilots assaulted a designated examiner during a training session about 10 days ago,” the PTI quoted a source as saying. Jet Airways has a fleet of 105 aircraft.While remaining non-committal, Jet Airways cited the multi-cultural nature of its workforce when asked to comment. “As an Indian airline operating internationally, Jet Airways has always focused on recruiting the brightest talent and today, has best-in-class cockpit crew from around the world, including a limited (marginal) percentage of expatriate pilots,” it said in an official statement.There are other issues also, such as alleged misbehaviour of foreign pilots with passengers. “The safety of our passengers and pilots is of prime importance and these kind of issues cannot be tolerated at all. The expats are also a huge drain on the company’s and the nation’s finances,” the NAG said.Foreign pilots number about 60 in the Naresh Goyal-controlled company that has a market share of about 15.5 percent in the growing domestic air space, the largest being budget carrier IndiGo.In the third quarter (Q3, FY2017), the company’s partner Etihad, along with Etihad Airways Partners (an alliance comprising eight carriers– Etihad Airways, Air Berlin, Alitalia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways, and NIKI) brought 5.59 lakh passengers on to Jet Airways, according to the company’s conference call post Q3 results.Jet Airways had 13,527 employees as of March 31, 2016 according to its annual report for FY2016.Etihad Airways holds 24 percent stake in Jet Airways; the stock closed 1.19 percent lower at Rs 496 on the BSE on Monday.The BSE Sensex ended at 29,414, down 48 points from its previous close.  An Etihad Airways Boeing 777-3FX company aircraft takes off at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, France, August 9, 2016.Reuters filelast_img read more

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4 Bangladeshis disappear before reaching US univ in Malta

first_imgMap of MaltaFour Bangladeshis enrolled at the American University of Malta have recently been disappeared before reaching their campus, said the Times of Malta.The students, according to the Maltese media, never showed up on campus and were suspected to have used their Schengen visas to travel to another European Union (EU) country.However, the Schengen visa allows its holder free movement in 22 EU member states and four other European countries, it added.Quoting The Sunday Times of Malta, it said the four students were recruited by the university a few weeks ago but ‘disappeared’ before they had even reached the university campus.Quoting a spokesman for Identity Malta said the students never reached Malta.The Bangladeshis were part of about 15 new students who were supposed to join the university in January, the report added.last_img read more

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Theres A Way To Get Around Downtown Houston For Free On Weekends

first_imgGail DelaughterDowntown Houston’s free circulator bus is expanding its hours to weekends. Bob Eury with the Downtown Management District says they’re hoping to fit “Greenlink” into Metro’s frequent bus network.“It’s not like we’re building our own transit system,” says Eury. “We really see this as a piece of a puzzle for transit that lets people get out of their cars.”The evening Greenlink buses will serve destinations like the Theatre District, the George R. Brown Convention Center, and Discovery Green.The service will run until midnight on Thursdays and Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays, and on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Houston Metro Sharelast_img read more

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How Houstons Texas Medical Center Prepares For Disasters

first_imgListen 00:00 /03:39 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Florian MartinTexas Medical Center COO Shawn Cloonan says they have learned a lot after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.Houston made preparations for Tropical Storm Cindy this week.That includes the Texas Medical Center, a 50 million square-foot campus with more than 100,000 employees.Cindy ended up not affecting Houston, but in 2001, the Texas Medical Center suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and lost research due to Tropical Storm Allison.We sat down with Shawn Cloonan, chief operating officer at the TMC, to talk about how it prepares for disasters and what it learned from Allison.You can listen to the interview by clicking on the play button above. Xlast_img read more

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Rick and Mortys Rickstaverse game is full of new and exciting content

first_imgThe newest expansion pack to the Rickstaverse added more mini comics to the game, this time featuring the parallel dimension version of Garfield, called Gazorpazorpfield. It’s just like Garfield, but on planet (dimension?) Gazorpazorp, everything has two human arms growing out of its head. Gazorpazorpfield first appeared in the season one episode “Rixty Minutes” before making a quick background showing in season two’s “Mortynight Run.” There are four Gazorpazorpfield links to discover, and each one has three comic strips: 1, 2, 3, 4. The Rickstaverse also contains hidden “N33dful Things,” mini comics based on season one, episode nine, “Something Ricked This Way Comes.” These are designed like and instruction manual, and each one parodies a modern product and the curse of owning one. There are four N33dful Things comics in the Rickstaverse: Asniizo (making fun of Amiibos), N33dtendo 4DS (obviously the 3DS), Fat Bit watch (the Fit Bit), and XL TuffCase phone (phone packaging). Rick and Morty season two came to DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday June 7, which means you can finally own all 11 episodes of season two and digest the special features that come with the home release (in this case, a specially-designed user guide for a plumbus!). It also means some new Rick and Morty content, namely the relaunch of the Rickstaverse!The Rickstaverse as we knew it until now.For those that missed the game the first time around, “Rickstaverse” is a game “played” on the Instagram app by clicking on photos and reading captions. It originally launched in the summer of 2015 as Adult Swim was ramping up to the premiere of season two. If it sounds confusing, it only sounds that way in words, which is why when it launched, Justin Roiland voiced a quick explainer video as the titular characters:I know the first thing that you want to do is check out that Jerrygotchi. So, good news: there are three different ones: work, leisure and cooking (click here for all of them).Rickstaverse was developed with Carrot Creative and aims to be the first “video game” on Instagram. The game is basically clicking and reading, with occasional video segments and “collectibles” like mini-comics and easter eggs. Building something like this using tagging on a platform like Instagram involves making dozens of accounts, each with several tiles of art.When the game first launched, it spanned 80 accounts and over 1,200 images, representing 11 locations from the first season of Rick and Morty. After the season two finale in October, the Rickstaverse (on Instagram @RickandMortyRickstaverse) received its first expansion pack, The Smiths Get Squanched, which expanded the worlds to include locations from season two, including the Galactic Federation prison where Rick currently resides. All of these links are shortcuts around an Instagram experience that is really meant to be played, not described. Each one of the photos also has a caption, usually with their own well-crafted joke. The newest update tiles are all captioned from Summer’s point of view (since Rick is in jail and unable to update the Rickstaverse, duh).Even though the Rickstaverse isn’t canonical to the show’s plot, it’s a solid dose of Rick and Morty when that’s exactly what you need, and also a staggering achievement as far as utilizing the Instagram platform goes.Let’s hope that the Rickstaverse’s return with a new expansions foreshadows ongoing content as we lead into season three. We could finally see some new worlds! Just on Instagram first this time.You can play it here, and the instructions are here.center_img Since the end of season two, the Rickstaverse has remained the same — but no longer! The second expansion pack that launched this June is called “Interdimensional Cable Adventures” and, as you can probably guess from the title, expands the game to include worlds and “shows” from season two, episode eight, “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate.” You can visit a Plumbus Factory! See a whole account with Ball Fondlers art! There are even more collectables.The Collectables are still all over the place. The first blast of the Rickstaverse had hidden One True Morty comics, based on a joke from season one, episode 10, “Close Encounters of the Rick Kind.” In that episode the many captive Mortys of an evil dimension’s Evil Rick created a mythology around The One True Morty. These comics gave us a glimpse at that mythology, which has some good reveals. Who knew Mortys masturbate so much to try and drive Ricks away (thereby keeping the Morty safe)? There are four One True Morty comics hidden in the Rickstaverse: Crystal Not!, Door to Destruction, Your Holy Hole, and Unidle Hands. There’s one more unique interactive layer to the Rickstaverse more in line with the Jerrygotchi we played with at the top. This one is called the “Bang Box,” and each one is themed after an alien race and has three buttons with three other aliens or objects from the Rick and Morty universe. You select another alien/object to see what it would look like if the two alien things had sex. Yeah, that thought you had when you read “Bang Box” is actually pretty accurate. There are three Bang Boxes in the Rickstaverse, one for a Gazorpian, one for a Zigerion, and one for Bird Person (like you ever wondered).last_img read more

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Metro railway plans to hire private security

first_imgKolkata: The Metro Railway authority is planning to hire private security personnel and install more CCTV cameras in its underground railway stations following the moral policing incident, a Metro railway spokesperson said.The incident of moral policing took place at Dum Dum metro station earlier this week.”We require more RPF personnel. We are planning to go for outsourcing security personnel. We will contact private security agencies for the purpose,” Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee said. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsDecision has been taken to increase the number of CCTV cameras at the metro stations, she said.”Currently there are 561 CCTV cameras (in metro stations). Before this incident we had decided to install 250 more cameras. We will install those cameras at the stations”, she said.Banerjee said a decision has also been taken to try and fit surveillance cameras inside the 13 existing air-conditioned rakes.”All our new rakes have closed circuit television cameras inside coaches. We are trying to fit Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedsurveillance cameras inside the 13 AC rakes. It has already been sanctioned,” she said adding that a final nod from the the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to finalise its specifications was awaited.According to media reports, a few people on Monday objected to a man hugging his woman friend in a metro train coach. An argument ensued between the two sides and the protestors heckled the couple, pushed them out of the train and beat them up at Dumdum metro station. Protests were held outside Tollygunge and Dumdum metro stations on Wednesday against the alleged moral policing incident.There was alleged assault of some girls protesting against the moral policing by unruly Metro Railway passengers yesterday evening near Dum Dum metro station last evening and a complaint was lodged with the police.Asked about the incident, Banerjee said it had nothing to do with the Metro Railway because it “happened outside the Metro Railway jurisdiction”.A senior officer at Sinthi Police station, where the complaint was lodged said: “We are looking into the matter. We are talking to some eye witnesses who were present at the spot that time.”last_img read more

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How A Stomach Acid Could Help Cure Cocaine Addiction

first_img(Credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock)When it comes to studying cocaine addiction, one group of researchers has stomach acid on their brains.In a paper published Thursday in PLOS Biology, researchers find that a surgery that diverts some bile acid into the bloodstream seems to cut back cravings among mice with a cocaine habit.It’s a nifty angle on a pernicious problem, but it’s also another piece of evidence that bile acid, a compound produced by our digestive systems to help break down fats, also plays an important, though little-researched, role in the way we think.That’s because when I said the researchers have bile acid on the brain, I meant it literally. Most bile acid remains within the digestive system, cycling from liver to gall bladder to small intestine. But, a small amount will make it into the bloodstream, and eventually, to the brain. Research in recent years has shown that bile acid can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and, once it’s inside, interact with specialized receptors to influence neural processes.Researchers now argue that, instead of a digestive compound, bile acid should be classified as a steroid hormone — a shocking twist for something once thought to be used solely to digest food. But it’s based on a growing body of evidence that shows bile acid interacts with our brain and can influence the way we think in some situations. Others studies have even shown that a type of bile acid might be produced by cells in our brains in small quantities. Its cognitive influence could extend beyond our thoughts, as well — some studies have shown that it could also help to protect against a range of neurodegenerative diseasesCurb Your EnthusiasmA previous study found that mice who had received the a surgery that altered the path of bile acid through the gut and diverted some of it to the bloodstream showed a marked decrease in their preference for fatty foods, even when they were readily available.The researchers found that bile acids seem to interact with the dopamine reward system in our brains that lights up whenever we experience something pleasurable — fatty foods and cocaine both qualify. But bile acids dampen the dopamine response, meaning that the mice get less enjoyment from them. The result is a marked drop-off in interest.Here, the researchers did the same thing as in the food study, but with a far more enticing stimuli. They gave cocaine-addicted mice the surgery increasing bile acid concentrations and watched their behavior afterward, finding that they reduced their drug-seeking behavior in the aftermath. Looking at their brains, they found lower levels of dopamine after a cocaine hit, an indication that the treatment had reduced the pleasurable effects of the drug.Further tests with a molecule that mimics the action of bile acid in the brain returned similar results, indicating that it could be a potential treatment for addicts. Bile acid is already approved by the FDA for therapeutic use in humans, too, substantially easing a path to market.Stomach to BrainFor researchers, it’s another demonstration of the strength of the gut-brain connection, and a reminder that our brains are subtly affected by a vast range of chemicals and systems not immediately obvious to us. Bile acids, for example, could help with weight loss and other conditions where a dopamine rush leads us to make bad decisions.Why bile acids perform two very different functions in our bodies is a bit of mystery. The fact that they both break down fats and seem to help us regulate cravings for them is intriguing, though no definite links have been found between the two yet.And, in any case, bile acid also seems to protect our brains against degeneration, something completely separate from digestive processes. There are some hints that the compound might also serve to protect brain cells against diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS by decreasing rates of cell death. There’s little research in that area, though, and researchers aren’t even completely sure how bile acids interact with our brains yet.last_img read more

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Here is why Aretha Franklin the original diva was a LGBTI icon

first_imgShe died in her home aged 76, it was announced today (16 August).To so many black LGBTI men and women, and people regardless of race, she was like a grandmother.Aretha celebrated us. She represented civil rights and female empowerment. A woman who knew her own damn mind.Aretha Franklin made us feel proud[embedded content]Otis Redding originally made Respect in order to take on his marital problems.Aretha turned the song into a universal declaration of pride: for blacks, for women, for LGBTI people.Many black and soul artists credit Aretha Franklin for their careers.Luther Vandross idolized Aretha. He ended up writing and producing her 1982 hit Jump To It.Without Aretha, we wouldn’t have Whitney or Mariah.Many of her songs, like Say A Little Prayer, Think, Baby Love and Son of a Preacher Man, are all classics. They all connect love, break-ups, finding your own voice.[embedded content]Craig Washington, a sexual health rights activist, named Aretha as his own icon.‘As an HIV-positive older black gay man…I chose Aretha as my principal muse,’ he said.‘Twenty years ago, I named my first HIV prevention program after her house classic remake “Deeper Love.”‘The name expressed what I wanted black gay men to rediscover and celebrate in congregation.’ Watch Ariana Grande’s inspiring tribute to Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin: ‘Never quite a gay icon’ but a queen for life and in deathSoul queen Aretha Franklin has died aged 76Read the full article on Gaystarnews:  :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/here-is-why-aretha-franklin-the-original-diva-was-a-lgbti-icon/ eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) GAYSTARNEWS- Aretha Franklin was the original diva.The Queen of Soul, her hits like Respect and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman defined the sound of an era. She released 16 albums. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Performing for a same-sex couple at their wedding[embedded content]She knew of her influence on LGBTI people, and returned the favor.Recently, she performed at an Elton John AIDS benefit.While she seemed fragile, having battled illness recently, she took to the stage in a sparkly dress and white stole. And she sang. The crowds loved it.Elton remembered: ‘I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof.‘She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her.‘My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me.‘The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.’[embedded content]And very recently, privately, she performed at a gay wedding.Bill White and Bryan Eure were married by Prop 8 attorney David Boies.The wedding, which drew guests like Barbara Walters, Gayle King and former New York City mayor David Dinkins, had a very special performance.Aretha performed renditions of I Will Always Love You, I Say A Little Prayer and Respect.Ultimately, she will be remembered for her voice. Her all-powerful voice that reached millions.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us .last_img read more

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