The latest sporting sensation to hit India on October 2nd: Plogging!

first_imgImage Courtesy: zeenews/plog.runAdvertisementPlogging: the idea of Jogging and picking up litter on the way, is the newest fitness craze around the globe, and India has caught up on the fever as well. The government has announced to organise a plogging run in an attempt to make the streets cleaner, and what day could be better than 2nd October?Image Courtesy: zeenews/plog.runPlogging was first organised in Sweden in 2016, and slowly made its way into other countries. Plog runs were already organised by individual communities in several Indian cities, and now the government has decided to conduct an official ‘Fit India Plog Run’ moment, to be organised a part of the Fit India movement, recently launched by PM Narendra Modi on 29th August.Back in 2014, the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ was launched on the same day, to see a cleaner nation along the length and breadth of the country. And as presently, the young generation are catching up to the Plog run movement, so it is a brilliant concept to bring the two seperate movements together.#PloggingRun has been going viral on social media, as Union minister Kiren Rijiju is urging more and more people to become a part of the cause. Bhaichung Bhutia, Bajrang Punia and Shilpa Shetty are also coming forward in support of the movement.Social media platform TikTok has also urged its users to be a part of the movement with the #IAMLessPlastic campaign.Advertisementlast_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

The last revolutionary?

first_img“Our biggest mistake has been not having been able to learn much more in much less time.”-Reflections by Fidel Castro: The Tariffed Truth, in Escambray, August 27, 2013Fidel Castro’s actions appeared quixotic to the outside world, but often yielded surprising results. His Cuba, an island nation of 11 million, held the world in thrall for over half a century and kept the most powerful nation at bay. When Fidel handed over power to his younger brother Raul in 2006, the revolution appeared to be losing steam. The need to plug Cuba’s enormous energy and talent into the currents coursing through an interconnected world was apparent. Raul’s decision not to seek another term after 2018 paved the way for the post-revolution reformers.A country which portrays its iconic leaders in gigantic murals and monuments did not have a single public bust or statue of Fidel, as far as this writer could see. The spirit of El Comandante, nevertheless, pervaded the island. His writings and speeches, cogent messages on nuclear disarmament, climate change, human health, etc. are taken as gospel. Cuba’s achievements in education, health, sports, scientific applications, cinema, ballet, etc. enhanced his faith and his reputation.Deepak BhojwaniReality, meanwhile, had inured a generation over the years when leather was passed off as meat and privation was a fact of life. Ice cream was sold for a Cuban peso (4 US cents) a cone, but smuggled into the black market for a dollar a litre. The same applied to cigars, cosmetics, any product Cubans could use to ‘resolve’ their daily tribulations. Enterprise was either forbidden (all property, even fish caught at sea, belonged to the State) or discouraged. Salaries were pegged at levels unheard of even in India: $20 to $40 for hairdressers, scientists, doctors. That the system prevailed is a tribute to Fidel. Some call it his curse.The foundations of Cuba’s reputation as a beacon against cynical political domination and economic exploitation were laid in Latin America, Africa and Asia. In the hearts and minds of leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who, at 71, called on a 34-year-old Fidel in September 1960 at a Harlem hotel. No ‘self-respecting’ hotel in New York would offer the revolutionary a room. This gesture cemented a relationship that saw an ailing Fidel make the unprecedented gesture of receiving a vice-president-M.H. Ansari-in October 2013 for 65 minutes. The most memorable moment was Fidel’s bear-hug of Indira Gandhi at the 1983 NAM Summit in Delhi. Rajiv Gandhi, who had met Ronald Reagan and recalibrated India-US relations in June 1985, visited Cuba in August that year. Manmohan Singh had a long meeting with Fidel during his visit to Havana for the 2006 NAM Summit.advertisementFidel’s affection for India did percolate to a hardened Cuban diplomatic and bureaucratic establishment, but sentiments do not make policy. India was opposed to the Cuban chair’s attempt, at the 1979 NAM Summit in Havana, to label the ‘socialist camp’ (USSR) a ‘natural ally’ of the movement. In 2011, despite high-level demarches, Cuba did not support in writing the short resolution on the expansion of the UN Security Council. It had its own views on the veto and other issues.The economic relationship was a non-starter. Trade over the past five years peaked at $40 million. Indian investments on the island were non-existent after ONGC shut shop in 2014. The US embargo, uncertainty over the investment regime and cost-benefit analysis made the project unviable. The Taj group sought, but were not allocated a prime hotel property in Havana in 2012. Indian enterprise needs goodwill in a reforming Cuba.Back in India, Blas Fernandez, the Cuban boxing coach and the first foreigner to receive the prestigious Dronacharya Award (2012), has trained Indians since the 1970s to Olympic glory. Cuban biotechnologists worked at Biocon’s laboratories in Bengaluru for over a decade. India provides dozens of technical scholarships annually and set up an IT centre in Havana in 2009. The government wrote off Cuba’s debt of $68 million in 2008 and has financed the refurbishment of some industrial establishments. India’s engagement with Cuba, however, does not match that with even relatively obscure countries in the region.The incongruity of Fidel’s doctrine, in a world moving towards greater economic integration, was evident by the 1990s. As communism collapsed and China became a ‘socialist market economy’, Fidel refused to accept that the old tenets needed revision. His core beliefs were challenged, but seldom altered. His revolution may have come to an end but some of the challenges he warned us of remain.Deepak Bhojwani served as India’s ambassador to Cuba in 2010-12last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

5 luxurious Swiss boarding schools you will never be able to afford

first_imgThe sky is overcast, it’s about starting to rain and the nip in the air is typical of Switzerland at this time of year. It’s a quarter after one on a Friday afternoon, and we are at Institut Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland, largely considered one of most,The sky is overcast, it’s about starting to rain and the nip in the air is typical of Switzerland at this time of year. It’s a quarter after one on a Friday afternoon, and we are at Institut Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland, largely considered one of most expensive in the world. It is time to break for lunch and young boys and girls in their teens, from all over the world, nattily dressed, start filtering out of their classrooms heading out to the main dining hall, about two blocks away from the building, where classes are conducted. The dining, done in typical English design, has a formal sit down arrangement, with a strict no-nonsense character to it.Students start taking their seats and check out the menu for the day, which is always an elaborate affair with multi-cuisine, multiple course offerings. Prepared by trained in-house chefs, the lunch has innumerable healthy dishes, side dishes and desserts; more than most students can imagine or conjure. Just to ensure that the students don’t miss out on home-cooked meals and feel homesick, the school goes out of its way to take care of every minute detail. Now this is true luxury; extravagant and exclusive as only the Swiss are privy to. Home to some of the top-end private and family-run boarding schools, these luxurious pods of learning-dotted all across Switzerland-offer a home away from home for students privileged enough to call them their alma mater. Here’s our pick of the top five; each boasts a unique character, curriculum and philosophy of its own.advertisementINSTITUT LE ROSEYROLLELush, green manicured landscape, Nordic and English architecture, and a huge dome-shaped glass edifice greet us as soon as we step inside the guarded gates of Institut Le Rosey, commonly called Le Rosey. The 136-year-old, family run institution has been home to a number of royals, the Rothschilds and the Borgheses, thanks to its refined facilities and quality education. It is the only school in Switzerland, for instance, which shifts itsentire campus during winter; the winter campus with typical Swiss-style chalets is located in the ski resort of Gstaad, at an altitude of 1,000 m, with 250 km of ski slopes. But it is the main campus, located in Rolle, halfway between Geneva and Lausanne, looking down at Lake Geneva, that took us by surprise. During our tour, we got a chance to experience a live performance by an international music band in the 900-seater concert hall-the Paul & Henri Carnal Hall Arts-where both acoustics and interiors are state-of-the-art, and where all the theatrical and musical performances are hosted. With a sailing centre of its own, Le Rosey’s culture veers towards exposing boarders to the finer things; offering a choice of 30 weekly sports, over 15 musical ensembles, including choir and orchestra, to cultural events.Fact File: Students sit the full International Baccalaureate (IB) or French Baccalaureate; lessons are in English and FrenchFee: 110,000 CHF (Rs 74 lakh) per yearAt: 1180 Rolle & 3780 Gstaad, SwitzerlandTel+41 21 822 55 00 www.rosey.chAIGLON COLLEGEVILLARSThere is stress on individual training needs of students at Aiglon. Photo courtesy: India Today SpiceModest in its teaching philosophy, while insisting on challenging students to step out of their comfort zone, at Aiglon College, learning happens both inside and outside the classrooms. An open, interactive style of education is followed, where students and teachers debate, ideate and connect over an exchange of ideas. With less stress on bookish knowledge, Aiglon encourages students to question that which is not obvious, and find answers to that which is. In an ongoing art class, for instance, students are being prodded to do a thorough analysis of the installation done by a local artist.With an academic programme based on sport, art, drama, music and science, the school ensures that students develop a holistic personality. Spread over an area of 44,000 sq m on a south-facing plateau, 1,170 m above sea level, Aiglon founded in 1949, is the only school where meditation is part of the curriculum. Students need to take a meditation class every morning before heading out to classrooms. Though the school does not believe in talking about its alumni, it is worth a mention that actor Abhishek Bachchan studied here. During the winter term, students take part in a weekly programme of Alpine and Nordic winter pursuits; with one or two compulsory sessions per week that include Alpine skiing.Fact File: Students undertake the IGCSE’s before completing IB diploma. Teaching and learning is in English, learning French is compulsory.advertisementFee: 102,600 CHF (Rs 69 lakh) for upper boarding; 94,800 CHF(Rs 64 lakh) for middle schoolAt: Avenue Centrale 61; Chesieres, SwitzerlandTel+41 024 496 6161www.aiglon.chBEAU SOLEILVILLARSSkiing is the main sport during winter at Beau Soleil. Photo courtesy: India Today Spice Nothing could have prepared us for the stunning view of the Alps, from the classrooms at College Alpin International Beau Soleil or even how different the campus, ambience and overall character would be from the other boarding school we had visited. With countries like Italy, France and Germany as close neighbours, Beau Soleil, established in 1910, looks more like a resort than a school facility, located in Villars-sur-Ollon, at an altitude of 1,300 m. Wrapped around the curve of a hillside with a campus area of around 15,000 sq m (an additional 30,000 sq m will to be added this year as part of an elaborate renovation).The school believes in making its students feel at home and takes extra care to make it happen in theory and practice as well. For instance, when they had an Indian student from a Delhi-based Jain family on board, they got the chef to train and perfect special cooking techniques to take into account the boy’s special meal requirements. Academics are important at Beau Soleil, but a lot of the focus is on outdoor pursuits, entrepreneurship, and the arts. Students have to take at least two extra-curricular clubs per week and can choose from 30 to 40 different activities, including performing arts, expeditions or charity. During winter, skiing is the main sport with the slopes at an easy walking distance from the campus building.Fact File: The school follows two academic programmes; the international section has English as teaching medium, whereas it is French for the French sectionFee: 98,500 CHF (Rs 66 lakh) per year for boarding and tuition, plus 25,000 CHF (Rs 16 lakh) for extras like skiing, uniform, expeditions, excursions, pocket money, and health insuranceAt: Route du Village 1, CH-1884 Villars-sur-OllonTel+ 41 24 496 26 26www.beausoleil.chBRILLANTMONT INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLLAUSANNEBoarders are offered at-home feeling. Photo courtesy: India Today SpiceThere is a real sense of family atmosphere at Brillantmont, where every student is known by name to the school’s’ management and teachers. This is the smallest boarding school with only 100 boarders and 30 day students. It also has a history of hosting Indian families, particularly young women from royal backgrounds; one prestigious alumnus is Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, who studied here in her teens. Owned by the same family since its foundation in 1882, the school is built like an old castle, with English and French design nuances, wood-framed glass windows, and boarders’ house rooms that overlook Lake Geneva. Situated close to the centre of Lausanne, in a quiet neighbourhood, the campus is spread over eight buildings in a green leafy park. It might be the smallest boarding school, but size is no deterrent to the personal development of the students. An extra-curricular programme covering sports, creative, humanitarian and critical thinking enables students to develop strengths and talents beyond the classroom.Fact File: Only school which offers British A levels; all classes are in EnglishadvertisementFee: 70,000 to 76,000 CHF (Rs 47 lakh-Rs 51 lakh) per year; 8,000 CHF (Rs 5.39 lakh) per year for extrasAt: Avenue Secretan 16, 1005 Lausanne, SwitzerlandTel + 41 21 310 0400www.brillantmont.chINSTITUT AUF DEM ROSENBERGST GALLEN With a class size of eight on average, Rosenberg believes in fostering individual development plans (IDP) for students, and encourages them to delve into their tastes and hone their skills. The curriculum encompasses art and drama, fashion and design, and leadership skills. The school follows strict discipline and students are dressed accordingly in formal uniforms. But the cosy, country style cafe and bonhomie suggests a casual informality in leisure areas. Established in 1889, the school campus covers an area of 100,000 sq m, apart from 15 art nouveau buildings, all hemmed by dense green.The geographic setting of the school, located in the old town of St Gallen, positioned ideally between Lake Constance and the Santis peak, allows students to experience varied seasons, and the resultant sporting activities such as soccer, basketball, water skiing in the school’s own boat during summer, snowboarding and ice skating in winter, plus ballet, trapeze, golf, and trampoline. City trips and visits to the theatre and musicals aren’t a rarity either.Fact File: Academic courses extend across sections; German, International (British and American), Italian, SwissFee: 84,000 CHF (Rs 56 lakh) per academic school yearAt: Hohenweg 60, 9000 St Gallen, SwitzerlandTel+ 41 71 277 77 77www.instrosenberg.chlast_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Micromax announces Evok Note and Evok Power in India

first_imgJust the other day, we at India Today tech reported that Micromax is going to launch a new mid-ranged smartphone in India, which is dubbed to be the Evoke Note. Proving it absolutely correct, Micromax in a joint venture with Flipkart officially announced the Evok Note, alongside another device called the Micromax Evok Power. As the company itself claims, these smartphones are targeted at the people looking out to purchase affordable yet classy smartphones.”With the launch of the new Evok series, we further strengthen our resolve to offer the best products to consumers at competitive price points,” says Shubhajit Sen, Chief Marketing Officer, Micromax Informatics. Further, a press note the company highlights states, ” With the launch of the Evok series, Micromax aims to break the price & performance barrier to offer the tech savvy, urban youth a perfect fusion of brute force and elegance as they seek to do a lot more with their phones.”Also Read: Micromax to launch Evok Note soon, will be exclusive to FlipkartLet’s take a quick glimpse at the Micromax Evoke Power and Evoke Note below.Micromax Evoke NoteThe Evoke Note sports a 5.5-inch FHD display and offers a dynamic contrast and colour vibrancy. The smartphone further comes with a 2.5D cover glass and juices its power from a big 4000mAh battery. Furthermore, the Micromax device is powered by a 1.3GHz Mediatek Octa core processor MT6753 and is further coupled with a powerful 3GB RAM. This as the company claims will help the user to seamlessly multitask.advertisementOn the camera front, the Micromax Evoke Note expertises in enhancing low light photography. The smartphone comes packed with a 13-megapixel auto focus camera on the rear panel. The camera also includes a 5P Largan Lens for enhanced performance in low light conditions. While at the front, the smartphone fits a 5-megapixel selfie shooter which is further paired with a wide angle lens. Micromax in a press note says, ” With wide angle lens for front camera the new smartphone takes the selfie game to a whole new level for selfie aficionados.”To provide a great photography experience, the Micromax Evok Note also comes with apps like Beauty Plus me preinstalled. Furthermore, the smartphone comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage space. The key highlight of the smartphone is the new security layer that Micromax includes.Micromax Evoke Note comes with inbuilt first ever private security application called Secure Space that brings forth efficient encryption with applications and the phone. This features enable the users to use their fingerprint to easily encrypt applications in their smartphone and create encrypted notes and shortcuts on their phones. Pricing wise, the Micromax Evoke Note is available at a price tag of Rs 9,499 and includes several connectivity options like – 4G Enabled, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.Micromax Evoke PowerEvoke Power doesn’t differentiate much from the Evoke Note, apart from a very minute differences at the specifications front. This Micromax device is powered by a 1.3 GHz Quad core processor and is further coupled with 2GB of RAM. “The device allows you to multitask like texting to watching movies to playing games without any hiccup,” says Micromax in an official press release. The smartphone comes is powered by a powerful 4000 mAh battery.Also Read: Confirmed: Xiaomi Mi 6 set to launch on April 19The Evoke Power also comes with Smart Power Play feature, which allow the users to use their phone’s battery much efficiently and also keep a tab on the battery usage. Further, the device comes with a fingerprint sensor. Micromax Evoke Power is priced at Rs 6,999.”Our new Evok Series will yet again showcase our commitment to empowering consumers and at the same time introducing more people to the best of the connected world,” says Shubhajit Sen, Chief Marketing Officer, Micromax Informatics. “We have been working closely with Micromax to develop their Flipkart exclusive – Evok Series. The Evok Series has been ‘Designed for India’ keeping in mind the evolving preferences of Indian smartphone customers. We are confident that Evok series will resonate with our young customers,” comments Ajay Veer Yadav, Vice President Mobiles, Flipkart on the Micromax Evoke series launch.last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

New Contract for PSV Topaz Faye

first_imgzoom Topaz Energy and Marine has won a new contract for its fast growing West Africa operation.Under the terms of the US$ 11 million agreement, Topaz will supply a global oil major with a platform supply vessel, the Topaz Faye, for 18 months to support its offshore production operations. This contract comes on the back of several recent contract wins in West Africa and further strengthens Topaz’s US$ 1.2 billion contract backlog.The deployment of Topaz Faye in West Africa brings the total number of vessels under operation by Topaz in the region to 10, representing approximately 10% of Topaz’s total fleet. As part of its global expansion strategy, the company is building up its capabilities in West Africa as the region represents a long-term growth opportunity for Topaz with above market growth in industry activity and OSV demand.Topaz Faye, a medium size DP2 PSV, was recently delivered together with four sister vessels and brings the total number of vessels in Topaz’s fleet to 95, excluding 2 under construction, with an average age of 7 years against an industry average of around 15 years.Topaz Energy and Marine, April 14, 2014last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Paul Walter Hauser joins Cruella liveaction

first_imgLos Angeles: “BlackKkKlansman” actor Paul Walter Hauser has been roped in to star in “Cruella”, which features Emma Stone in the title role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor will play Horace, one of Cruella’s henchmen in the movie. The film reunites Hauser with “I, Tonya” director Craig Gillespie, who is helming Disney live-action take on the 1961 animated classic “101 Dalmatians”. Stone will play Cruella De Vil, the infamous villain in what is being touted as an origin story, set in the early 1980s with a punk vibe. The film also stars Emma Thompson. Tony McNamara has penned the most recent script. Andrew Gunn is producing with Marc Platt and Kristin Burr. Hollywood veteran Glenn Close famously portrayed the role in live-action “101 Dalmatians” (1996) and “102 Dalmatians” (2000). “Cruella” is scheduled for a December 23, 2020 release.last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Orphan Black creator promises more flashbacks in final season

first_imgLast season of Orphan Black saw everything coming full circle. Through the heavy use of flashbacks, characters galore were brought back from the dead, including the clone that set Sarah off on her journey — Beth Childs. According to show’s co-creator, Graeme Manson, you can expect the flashbacks to continue in the fifth and final season, which kicks off June 10 on BBC America. And that’s just one of the juicy teases he shared with us about the clone drama’s final run of episodes. Read on for more.ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So are we going to be meeting any new clones this season or is this more about wrapping up the story for the sestras we have?GRAEME MANSON: Well, I think that the heart of the story is wrapping up our sisters, and we really felt that Tatiana [Maslany] has played, I think, 116 characters since this show started. So, we’re like, let’s concentrate on those 116 and then wrap that up, and then perhaps there might be a little squeak of room for one more clone.You do have a few new characters though. What can you say about them?Well, we have scaled our conspiracy. We are at the top of the pyramid ready to punch it in the eye. We met at the end of the last season our big bad— who’s sort of at the top of Neolution — P.T. Westmoreland. This is a man that we have believed has been dead for a hundred years or something. Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Facebookcenter_img Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitterlast_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Ban urges ongoing efforts against use of landmines

“Let us rededicate ourselves to this life-saving cause so that our children can live on a planet free from the threats caused by landmines and explosive remnants of war,” Mr. Ban said in a message on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The Secretary-General said mines and unexploded ordnance “clog roads in Afghanistan, Sudan, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They block access to schools and hospitals in Laos, Gaza and Nepal.” The weapons continue to cause grievous injuries and death, hamper reconstruction in post-conflict zones, damage the environment and prevent economic development long after conflicts have ended, Mr. Ban said, noting, however, that the campaign against them was bearing fruit. UN assistance in mine action had reached more than 60 countries and territories during the past two decades, removing the weapons, creating awareness, assisting landmine survivors to rebuild their lives and helping communities and UN peacekeepers build safe environments, he said. “Our mine action work also involves promoting universal adherence to all relevant legal instruments, including the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, and the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” said Mr. Ban. The convention seeking to ban the use of cluster munitions will enter into force in August, the Secretary-General added. To mark the International Day, which this year focuses on the needs of the growing number of landmine victims and survivors, a photo and art exhibition entitled “Impact!” will open at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday. It features the work of Cambodian artists, some being landmine survivors, as well as photographs taken by Venezuelan photographer Kike Arnal, who explores the impact of cluster munitions on the lives of individuals in Lebanon, and Slovenian photographer Arne Hodaliè, who recently travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Events are also taking place in a number of countries, including in Sudan, where although the number of casualties has significantly decreased in recent years, mines continue to kill and maim civilians everyday, reduce agricultural activity and prevent many communities from pursuing their livelihoods. “Each kilometre of road opened means that a farmer can now bring his produce to the market to sell. New clinics and new schools can be built. Displaced populations can return to their land and rebuild their home,” the UN Mine Action Office said in a statement issued in Khartoum. Meanwhile in Kabul, dozens of deminers met yesterday with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, as well as ambassadors and donors at a compound devoted to mine awareness and filled with the debris of war. Mr. de Mistura, who took up his post as the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) last month, noted that more than 15,000 minefields and battlefields have been cleared, and millions of Afghans have received mine risk education throughout the country, since the time when he worked there 22 years ago. “Afghanistan can be proud of being on the side of example, rather than the problem,” he stated. “Afghanistan needs this feeling these days in particular, not only on demining, but in many other fields,” he added. 4 April 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for continued efforts to rid the world of landmines and explosive remnants of war, and lauded mine action workers for their dedication despite the dangers posed by the indiscriminate weapons. read more

Read more 0 Comments

Almost 900 Burundians return from Tanzania under latest repatriation plan UNHCR

Almost 900 Burundian refugees have returned home from Tanzania as part of a new plan limiting repatriations to the northern part of Burundi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.”They are tired after staying in camps for nine years, they want to go home,” UNHCR’s spokeswoman in Tanzania, Ivana Unluova, said of the 884 refugees who have returned to Burundi in three groups since 28 March.The return of refugees to the southern provinces of Ruyigi and Makamba will remain on hold due to the insecurity of the area, UNHCR said, while those returning to the more stable north will continue to be repatriated at the rate of about 500 per week. The returnees receive food and a reintegration package at a transit centre in Burundi before departing for their region of origin. So far, more than 50,000 refugees have signed up for voluntary repatriation.Last Thursday, a two-day meeting between UNHCR and the Governments of Tanzania and Burundi on transport and reception plans for repatriated refugees agreed that the UN agency should only facilitate the repatriation of refugees who originate from the northern provinces of Burundi.UNHCR said the current security situation in Burundi did not allow for a mass organized return, but agreed to help transport and reintegrate those refugees who wished to return home.”A ceasefire in Burundi would create the strongest pull factor for refugees currently in Tanzania,” said UNHCR representative Chris Ache. “It’s up to the Governments of Burundi and Tanzania to create conducive conditions for a massive repatriation.”Tanzanian authorities have repeatedly complained that the Burundian refugees – close to 1 million scattered in UNHCR-run camps or in villages living with relatives or friends – are a burden to their impoverished country and should be repatriated or resettled in another country. read more

Read more 0 Comments

EYEWITNESS Moving on…

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEYEWITNESS: “Boat gone a wata”…September 21, 2018In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: New designs…July 18, 2017In “EYEWITNESS”Eyewitness: Haitians…August 5, 2019In “latest news” …with teaching reformsYour Eyewitness has repeated the caution of the strong possibility of “a slip between the cup and the lip” on the matter of teachers’ salaries, now that they’ve accepted going to binding arbitration. But he feels it’s as good a time as any to talk a bit about other matters that have to be cleaned up in the education sector, whether or not teachers get their fair shake.We’ve got to accept we’ve been caught with our pants (and skirts) down on being educated in the oil and gas sector. Now, we can’t blame anyone on this matter specifically. But because of our lack of stress on technical education on the whole, it looks like we’ll be screwed royally for a long time. In our education curricula, we retained the colonial emphasis on academic qualifications, even the rest of the world has shown that working with our hands to create and maintain is just as important for development.Technical subjects were presented as being suitable only for those who were “failures”, by the criteria of the academic curriculum. So even if a bright student wanted to get into the technical, applied areas, they were turned off by the associated stigma. At our stage of development, the Government should’ve long established secondary schools that emphasised technical subjects and ensured that some of our brightest students were streamed into them through available inducements. For instance, guaranteed employment in manufacturing operations.Take the matter of scholarships from primary schools. Presently, the best and brightest are sent to Queens College where hands-on learning is looked down upon. They teach, for instance, Agricultural Science as a “double major”…but it would be shocking to know the figure on how many of the “Agri” passers went on to careers in agriculture in the past two decades. You can literally count them on the fingers of one hand. Ditto agri mechanics.Even the specific technical schools have become dumping ground for our secondary school “failures”. Compare them to the record of the GuySuCo Training School, going back all the way to the late 1950s when it was established by Bookers. The school had qualified instructors – initially from England – who established the curriculum in electrical, mechanical and other relevant areas relevant to the sugar industry.It’s student body – ‘apprentices” – were culled by a competitive examination that drew applications from the very brightest children of sugar workers, who knew they were guaranteed employment at their graduation. These apprentices returned to the sugar estates to work under “journeymen” to complete their applied training.After the first PNC regime’s depredations, most of those former apprentices migrated to North America where they’ve achieved spectacular successes.Let’s get technical in education!…to local contentOK…so we’ve established we don’t have the manpower to fill a whole lotta technical jobs in the oil industry at this state. But apart from establishing our own technical schools, how about legislation to compel foreign companies that have the required competencies to hire say, at least 60 per cent locals within a reasonable time frame – depending on the competency – by giving them hands on training?? They have a fancy name for this – local content – but this isn’t new.Even before Guyana’s independence, the same Bookers mentioned above, started a programme they called “Guyanisation” that was intended to replace the senior staff with locals. Local content!! Those selected individuals were trained abroad – like two present prolific letter writers EB John and Nowrang Persaud – and then given positions in management. The Apprenticeship Training School was intended to train the junior technical staff.And we can continue in this vein in every other area for the oil and gas industry.But evidently, the Government can’t!!…not fired?Ramjattan says Ramnarine hasn’t resigned as Top Cop (ag). Why should he? According to the law – which Ramjattan should know – hasn’t he been “constructively dismissed”?He should sue them for damages…unless Granger’s “specific reason” is related to his job performance. read more

Read more 0 Comments

Is chess more interesting with portals

first_imgChess is already a very interesting game, and one that many a clever person has spent years trying to master. Very few have, with Garry Kasparov probably being the most well known champion of the chess world, and Bobby Fisher is probably the most eccentric based on my viewing of Bobby Fischer Against the World.But what if you’ve mastered chess, taken your understanding of it as far as you dare, or have just become bored of the game? Why not try playing it with portals?By portals I do mean the portals from Valve’s very popular games series Portal.Portal Chess has been thought up by Ian Buckley, who runs a doodle appreciation website and describes himself on Twitter as “The C.A.O. of Slly Tech Industries.” But humor aside, the rules are pretty simple and as the video above demonstrates, it certainly adds a new dimension to the centuries old game.There’s no danger of Portal Chess being taken seriously by anyone other than fans of Portal or a few Chess groups who get drunk and decide to mix things up a bit. But with a few rule refinements I wouldn’t be surprised if a board game manufacturer takes an interest and investigates creating a boxed version. After all, it only requires two extra pieces ship with a standard chess set, and the Portal name on the box would be great for marketing.As well as the video, there’s a thorough breakdown of the rules available on imgur and reproduced below in case they otherwise disappear. The main complaint from the comments I have read is about what happens when a piece is sat on a portal. Should it exist in one or both locations?Click the image below to view the rules full size:via Kotakulast_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Explainer What are all these rows about carbon tax about and will

first_img By Christina Finn Short URL Sunday 31 Mar 2019, 7:30 PM https://jrnl.ie/4567093 103 Comments SINCE LAST SUMMER, you have probably heard about the government’s plans to increase the carbon tax in a bid to tackle climate change.Carbon tax currently applies to carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of turf, coal and other fossil fuels. It is charged at €20 per tonne of CO2 and is applied at the point of sale.However, the latest is the Special Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action has approved a recommendation to quadruple the tax to €80 per tonne by 2030. But some people aren’t happy. Who disagrees with the carbon tax increase? Well, Fine Gael backed the recommendation, though Fianna Fáil got into a row at the committee meeting about clarification about supports for those in fuel poverty. Fine Gael members accused Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley of attempting to “water down” the report.TD Martin Heydon said the cost trajectory gives people “certainty” about what they will have to pay, but was quick to add that it is not a revenue raising tax, and is merely being introduced to change people’s behaviours. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also said this week that the carbon tax will not solve climate change issues, but is just one of a suite measures the government plans to roll out. Dooley said his party agree with the carbon tax increase, and in the end, an amendment was added to the report which essentially kicked the row between the two parties down the road. The government will have to come up with an evidence-based plan, as well as an impact assessment on who might be negatively impacted by the tax and unable to pay, by the end of June. So, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – the two parties in the cosy confidence and supply arrangement – are okay with the tax. Others that are happy enough with it are the Green Party. Parties who were unhappy with it include People Before Profit and Sinn Féin, with both parties producing their own ‘minority reports’.  Bríd Smith criticised the majority of the committee who supported the increase in carbon tax, stating that they were “disgraceful” and speaking out both sides of their mouth, due to them blocking her own fossil fuels bill, but supporting tax increases on ordinary people. She said the report will a “fig leaf” for the government’s plan “increase carbon tax on ordinary people while big business and agri-food giants get a pass”. Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster and Brian Stanley repeated lines the their leader Mary Lou McDonald had said in the Dáil, that a carbon tax will not change people’s behaviours. “Sinn Féin rejects this increased carbon tax. A fair, green alternative is possible,” the party said in a statement. Okay, but what does this mean for my wallet? When will I pay?Any changes to the carbon tax will not apply until 2020, unless the measures are introduced on the night of the budget this year. The Taoiseach said in January that he had not decided yet if that would be the case. Then every year from then, the price will increase up to €80 per tonne, so yes, you feel the price hike on things such as petrol, diesel and other fossil fuels (impacting other things like home heating fuel). I hear we might get a cheque or rebate to offset it? Yes, that’s the government’s plan. They think that increasing carbon tax will change our behaviours around fossil fuel consumption, and state they don’t want to bring it in to raise revenue. The Taoiseach said there are two ways of doing this – either giving everyone a carbon cheque in the post or giving it back through the tax and welfare system such as an increase in child benefit funded by the carbon tax or an increase in tax credits and welfare.When did the government first float the idea of increasing the carbon tax?Back in August, Varadkar said he planned to bring it in for Budget 2019, but he later rolled back on that, stating that he had a choice between hiking up VAT or increasing the carbon tax. However, if you cast your mind back to that time, there was a lot of speculation that the Taoiseach was considering calling a general election. What do politicians like to avoid doing before the go to the polls? That’s right, increase taxes. It tends not to serve them well on the doorsteps. In the end, an election did not materialise, so the government is now pushing on with it.So, what’s next? In the committee’s view, which is likely to be adopted by government, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will set out a carbon price trajectory that rises to €80 per tonne by 2030. Before any such tax can be rolled out, the government must examine the impacts on low-income families and on those who “may not be in a position to immediately transition from fossil fuels, including the potential use of social protection mechanisms such as tax credits and welfare payments. The report states that a review should be completed by June 2019 into the extent of fuel poverty across all cohorts of society, and a public consultation should be launched into the carbon tax increase proposals. The results of the review and public consultation should form the basis of a draft policy paper, which will be submitted by the end of June 2019.The local elections happen before then, so it could well be a move that gets some push back from Fine Gael members on the ground. The Taoiseach has said he wants cross-party support on the issue before rolling it out in 2020 – but that has already proved problematic, and that was only getting the committee’s report over the line. Either way, this issue won’t be going away for some time yet.  Share28 Tweet Email1 Explainer: What are all these rows about carbon tax about and will I end up paying more? The Special Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action has approved a recommendation to quadruple the tax to €80 per tonne by 2030 Image: Shutterstock/FREEDOMPIC Image: Shutterstock/FREEDOMPIC Mar 31st 2019, 7:31 PM 16,448 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

16-Foot Python, 50 Eggs Removed From Florida Everglades

first_imgStay on target A Burmese python that measured more than 16 feet long was captured from under a house in the Florida Everglades Saturday, and her nest of up to 50 hatching eggs was destroyed.The invasive snake, which weighed 165 pounds, nearly broke the record for the biggest Burmese python ever captured in the Everglades. The biggest one, captured in April, stretched 17 feet long.Everglades conservationist and South Florida Water Management District Board member “Alligator” Ron Bergeron helped capture the giant snake after it was spotted by two campers under a house at an Everglades camp about 4 miles south of Alligator Alley in Broward County.Native to southern Asia, Burmese pythons were first discovered in the Everglades two decades ago, according to CBS Miami. They were imported or bred as pets and have colonized the Everglades, taking a huge toll on native mammals, birds, and alligators.“The Burmese Python poses a significant threat to the Florida Everglades by disrupting the natural food chain,” said Bergeron. “With good fortune, we were able to find a large female, and remove her and an entire nest of up to 50 baby snakes which would have continued killing off our precious habitat.” Nearly 18-Foot Burmese Python Caught in Florida National PreserveWatch: 13-Foot ‘Queen of the Pythons’ Lays Massive Clutch of… center_img In their native range, Burmese pythons commonly reach 18 feet, and the largest specimens exceed 20 feet, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). In Florida, they are typically between 6 and 10 feet long, and as adults, are larger than almost all native snakes.Burmese pythons are such a problem to native wildlife in and around the Everglades ecosystem that the FWC actually runs an incentive program — the Python Pickup Program — designed to encourage the public to humanely kill Burmese pythons from the Everglades ecosystem and report locations to the FWC.People who submit proof of python with location of removal will be entered into a drawing scheduled for October 2020, and can win prizes.More on Geek.com:Enormous Python Swallows Eats Entire Crocodile in Horrifying Swamp Photos‘Mutant’ Three-Eyed Python Found in AustraliaPython Found Covered With More Than 500 Ticks Treated for Anemialast_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Camas-Washougal firefighters rescue dog trapped in canyon

first_imgclick to enlarge CAMAS — The days of firefighters climbing trees to rescue cats are mostly in the past, but on Thursday officers from the Camas-Washougal Fire Department completed the increasingly rare animal rescue.The department was alerted early Thursday morning that a dog was barking from somewhere downhill from the intersection of Northwest Ostenson Canyon Road and Northwest 18th Loop in Camas. They arrived around 9:30 a.m. and after two hours, pulled the dog to safety using a makeshift harness.“We don’t have equipment specific to a dog as far as harnesses,” said James Tierney, one of two officers with the department who went down into the steep canyon to rescue the animal. “We had to improvise to make a harness for a dog out of some webbing. We would’ve have more resources and more ropes going down (for a person).”The dog — a female German Shepherd who appeared to be about five years old, according to Camas Police Sgt. Brie Bieber — didn’t appear to have injuries. After she was lifted to the street, she was energetic and walking around. The dog had a collar, but no tags, and wasn’t chipped.The dog was taken to the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, where staffers will try to find the dog’s owner. April Nicholas, dog shelter manager, said the Humane Society keeps found dogs for five days while actively looking for an owner. If one isn’t found in five days, the society’s veterinarian will check the dog, and if it is healthy, it’s put up for adoption.last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Lasagna spoke about Udinese relegation troubles

first_imgUdinese lost 11 out of their last 12 matches and they ended their losing streak just win a 3-3 draw at Benevento the last weekend – and Kevin Lasagna insisted that they have to gain at least a point against Inter.Udinese are about to face a very difficult opponent as they will play against Inter Milan but Lasagna claimed that no matter what, they need to gain at least a point to get away from the relegation zone.Lasagna spoke about his side’s difficult situation as he said, according to Football Italia:“We need to stay up. And we need to take at least a point against a team who are very strong in all areas – who were beating Juve.”Maurizio Sarri, JuventusMaurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0.“There’s Icardi. Miranda and Skriniar are very strong in defence, without even talking about Handanovic. It’s tough.”“I will do my best like all the time, giving 110 percent.”“I am very happy in Udine, I have four more years of the contract. I enjoy the fans’ appreciation and I will always give my best.”last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Lego uncloaks 900piece Hogwarts Clock Tower

first_img Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) See at Amazon 19 Photos CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Boost Mobile $999 TV and Movies Enlarge ImageFight off Dementors with Lego’s Harry Potter Expecto Patronum set. Lego Lego likes to go epic when it comes to Harry Potter-themed sets — take the spellbinding 6,020-piece Hogwarts Castle it released last year as an example. The magical Lego world will soon expand to include a Dementors battle, the Triwizard Challenge, the wonky Knight Bus, Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts Clock Tower.The largest of the new sets is the 922-piece Clock Tower, which includes updated Lego minifigure versions of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and other popular characters. The Clock Tower covers the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Hospital Wing, Prefects’ Bathroom, Dumbledore’s office and cool-weather decorations for the Yule Ball. hogwartsclocktowerEnlarge ImageThe Clock Tower contains 922 pieces. Lego The sets, which range in price from $19.99 to $89.99, will be available in the US on Aug. 1. Lego also announced a Harry Potter advent calendar stocked with minifigures and micro versions of the Hogwarts Express train and the Great Hall table. The $39.99 calendar will be released on Sept. 1.The Harry Potter kits will also go on sale in the UK and Australia. The Clock Tower will run £84.99 or AU$$139.99.hargridhutEnlarge ImageThe Lego Hagrid’s Hut set lets you replay Buckbeak’s rescue. Lego While the last movie starring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter came out in 2011, the franchise is still going strong on books, Fantastic Beasts films and merchandising. Potter fans were thrilled at the news of an upcoming Vans shoes and Harry Potter collection. That means you may soon be able to stick your feet in some Gryffindor kicks while building a three-story purple bus with a shrunken head on board. That sounds like peak Harry Potter fandom.    HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle: Cast your eye on the magical photos Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) The Cheapskate Turo Sarah Tew/CNET Chris Monroe/CNET Read the AirPods review $60 at Best Buy Read Google Home Hub review Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X $210 at Best Buy An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. $999 $299 at Amazon Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) $999 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Share your voice Harry Potter Lego,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. $6 at Tidal $999 Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. $520 at HP TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Read Lenovo Smart Clock review $59 at eBaycenter_img Sarah Tew/CNET $155 at Google Express Best Buy Apple iPhone XS Post a comment 0 Sprint See It $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Turo: Save $30 on any car rental DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Tags Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. See it Angela Lang/CNET See It See It See at Turo Amazon JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Read the Rylo camera preview Read DJI Osmo Action preview Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) 7 What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Sarah Tew/CNET Share your voice Tags Comments Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. Rylo Sarah Tew/CNET DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89)last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Fallen tree throws traffic out of gear

first_imgSri Nagar Colony: After the rainfall on Saturday, a tree in Sri Nagar Colony fell on the road, and it is causing a lot of inconvenience to the commuters. The issue led to power cut for a few hours in the colony. A few branches of the tree have been chopped off, but the rest of the tree is left on the roadside.Ravi R, a roadside hawker, said, “On Saturday evening, there was heavy rainfall here, and due to which a tree fell on the electric wires. The tree was chopped off and kept on the roadside for quite a long time. This is causing an enormous traffic jam in this area.” Sudha L, a pedestrian, said, “The road was completely dark after the rain because of the power cut. The streetlights of this area generally do not work properly. It was causing a lot of inconvenience to walk on the road because of the traffic, muddy roads and no light.”last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Study confirms highways are bad news for several bat species

first_img Bats bounce back in Europe Citation: Study confirms highways are bad news for several bat species (2014, May 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-05-highways-bad-news-species.html Other research has confirmed that one of the biggest human impacts on the environment is road construction. Apart from the initial habitat destruction caused by clearing areas to build highways, roads tend to break up the environment into fragments, which means wildlife cannot migrate freely. This stops the flow of genes across landscapes, which reduces the genetic health of wildlife. Many papers have documented the effect of traffic on wildlife behaviour and abundance. For example it was found the grey shrike-thrush sang at a higher frequency, if there was a lot of traffic noise, than other bird species such as the grey fantail. And that the number of both species declined substantially with increasing traffic noise and traffic volume. It has also been shown that some species of rainforest frogs are less abundant near large, busy roads. But there has been less research into the effects that large roads have on bat populations. Dr Justin Kitzes and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkley, set out to investigate how roads impacted the activity of several bat species native to the area in question—these were the Brazilian free-tailed bat, big brown bat, hoary bat and silver-haired bat. Kitzes and his team concentrated on three major highways in California. The researchers set up an acoustic recording system for each highway. Microphones were set up on one metre poles along a transect perpendicular to the highway to record the calls of bats which happened to fly by them. These microphones were placed at 20, 100 and 300 metres from the edge of the road. The habitat varied between transects. For example, some transects consisted of bare sand and open water, whereas others consisted of marshland with intermittent trees. (Phys.org) —Large roads and highways have been shown to reduce the numbers of many species that live near them. Previously, this effect has been mostly studied in birds. But a recent research paper, published in the science journal PLOS ONE, has shown that close proximity to highways reduces the activity of four bat species native to California. Model predictions of nightly bat passes by species and distance from road. Three values are displayed for each species, representing the predicted activity for that species at 0 m, 100 m and 300 m from the road. All models show an approximate doubling of bat activity at 300 m as compared to 0 m with the exception of L. noctivagans, which shows a tripling. Credit: PLoS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096341.g001 More information: Kitzes J, Merenlender A (2014) Large Roads Reduce Bat Activity across Multiple Species. PLoS ONE 9(5): e96341. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096341 The recordings were taken between sunset and sunrise over the course of about a month in the autumn of 2011. Every time a bat flew past a microphone, its call was automatically recorded. Different species of bat were later distinguished by playing back the recordings and identifying their specific calls. Activity was measured at each of the three microphones by counting the number of bat calls that were recorded per night; bat activity could then be compared at varying distances from the highway. Journal information: PLoS ONE Explore further Credit: Jack Sparrow/public domain Statistical analysis was then completed to find if bat activity varied with distance from the road, and the results were highly significant. Kitzes said, “the key finding is that we find fewer bats near large roads – highways in our case – which suggests that these roads decrease the amount of suitable habitat for bat species”. It was also found that bats were generally more active in warmer temperatures. Kitzes went on to say that the results were expected, given that previous research has shown that large roads and highways are generally bad news for the native wildlife. But the effect of roads on bat activity may have been larger than some expected. It was found that there was around a 50 percent decrease in activity in bats recorded right next to the highway when compared to bats recorded 300 metres from the highway, a relatively large effect for such a small distance. And this effect was consistent across all four species. The current research paper did not attempt to decipher the mechanisms behind the road effect. But possible explanations include traffic noise, headlight illumination, or changes in wind speed (due to passing traffic) affecting the bat’s ability to hunt. Kitzes added, “If these results are confirmed with further studies, especially those that are able to identify the mechanism causing the road effect, future road construction and maintenance projects might need to consider accounting for the associated reduction in bat habitat as part of their impact assessments.” (c) 2014 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments

Slothy Sunday At home in the water

first_imgRelated posts:Slothy Sundays: A topsy-turvy world Slothy Sundays: A dangerous dump Slothy Sundays: Keeping an eye out Slothy Sunday: Slow movement, slow metabolism This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Did you know that sloths are amazing swimmers? Sloths can move up to three times faster in the water than they can on land.last_img read more

Read more 0 Comments