Category: kgpatmos

Pacific Oil Gas Limited closes acquisition of Canbriam Energy Inc

first_imgCanbriam’s President and CEO, Paul Myers, says his company looks forward to the integration and that they will continue to develop the Montney resource to support future natural gas export opportunities in Canada.In connection with the closing of the acquisition of Canbriam, on June 18, PO&G issued a conditional redemption notice to the holders of its Senior Notes, due 2019, to retire the notes. CALGARY, A.B. – Pacific Oil & Gas Limited has announced that it has completed the acquisition of all the issued and outstanding shares of Canbriam Energy Inc.President of PO&G, Ratnesh Bedi, says the intention of this acquisition is to continue to produce natural gas from the Montney region.“We welcome the Canbriam team to Pacific Oil and Gas Limited. Our intention is to continue to produce the cleanest natural gas from the Montney region, and to help reduce global GHG emissions by sharing that resource through international export.”last_img read more

Al Gore International Olympic Committee among UN Champions of the Earth laureates

1 February 2007Former United States Vice President Al Gore and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its President Jacques Rogge are among seven Champions of the Earth announced today by the United Nations ecological agency for their efforts to save the world’s environment. The 2007 laureates, from each of the world’s regions, will be presented with their awards at a special ceremony in Singapore on 19 April for achievements ranging from chemical safety, sustainable waste management and the greening of sporting events to the conservation of deserts, rainforests and the global climate. The seven new Champions announced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are:Algerian Environment Minister Cherif Rahmani (Africa) for advancing environmental law, including model financial and economic instruments aimed at promoting a tax system based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle, as well as seeking to improve global environment by reducing greenhouse gases that affect climate change.Philippines’ Environment Secretary Elisea “Bebet” Gillera Gozun (Asia and Pacific) for her leadership in World Bank projects that have resulted in tangible results such as the introduction of pollution charges for industrial effluents and her efforts to involve local urban communities, the private sector and local governments in projects such as community-based waste recovery, recycling and reuse. Swedish Environmental Ambassador Viveka Bohn (Europe) for her prominent role in multilateral negotiations, including environmental treaties such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva (Latin America and Caribbean) for her tireless fight for the protection of the Amazon rainforest, where she has made a “remarkable” contribution to preserving the biologically diverse, complex and rich region with deforestation estimated to have decreased by more than 50 per cent in the last two years. Former US Vice President Al Gore (North America) for a career-long campaign to protect the environment, including his congressional efforts to clean up toxic dumps that led to the formation of the Superfund as well as his more recent battle against climate change as exemplified by his critically-acclaimed documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Jordanian Prince El Hassan Bin Talal (West Asia) for his holistic approach manner, in particular, his belief in trans-boundary collaboration as well as his actions in the field of environmental management and protection, specifically water quality management. The IOC and its President Jacques Rogge (UNEP Special Prize) for his important role in developing the sport and environment agenda, introducing stringent environmental conditions for cities bidding to host Olympic Games that require a comprehensive environmental programme, such as this year’s Torino Winter Games widely hailed as the greenest ever. The announcement came ahead of UNEP’s annual gathering of environment ministers next week at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The risks and opportunities of globalization, in relation to environmental issues, will be high on the agenda. “Steering globalization onto a more intelligent and sustainable trajectory requires the commitment of Governments, the private sector, local authorities and civil society, but it also needs individuals capable of catalyzing change, empowering others and inspiring action,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. “The men and women we are recognizing today are indeed role models who have committed themselves to realizing a more just, equitable and sustainable world – proof, if proof is needed, that globalization can be sustainably managed if we harness the intelligence, energy and vision so self evident in these Champions of the Earth 2007,” he added. read more

Ban urges immediate end to ongoing violence in Gaza and Israel

“I am heading to the region to appeal personally for ending the violence and contribute to ongoing efforts to that end,” he said in a statement. The new wave of violence in Gaza and Israel – which includes rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza, and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza – has resulted in several people being killed or wounded on both sides.Mr. Ban said that he is “deeply saddened” by the reported deaths of more than 10 members of the Dalu family, including women and children, and additional Palestinian civilians killed as a result of the ongoing violence in Gaza. He is also alarmed by the continuing firing of rockets against Israeli towns, which has killed several Israeli civilians. “This must stop,” he stated, strongly urging the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate ceasefire. “Any further escalation will inevitably increase the suffering of the affected civilian populations and must be avoided.” read more

Magic Johnson Was Never Cut Out To Do This

Just before the start of free agency last June, Los Angeles Lakers President Magic Johnson made a relatively blunt declaration when he said he’d willingly step down from his post if he failed to sign star players. So it was a legitimate jaw-dropper when Johnson, just nine months after landing the world’s best player, opted to resign Tuesday during a tearful, impromptu press conference in the bowels of Staples Center prior to the team’s season finale.Yes, this was a trying year for Johnson and the storied franchise, which fully expected to return to the playoffs after getting LeBron James. But the playoffs didn’t happen, and while Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka deserve a lot of the blame for why things went wrong, no one thought it would result in this — at least not this soon, and certainly not in the bizarre manner in which it played out.In the coming weeks, there will be ample opportunity to analyze what comes next for the Lakers, who still have LeBron, a young supporting cast and enough cap space to make the kind of signing that could make them an actual contender again out West.Normally, we’d be prone to view a team president’s sudden resignation as a sign of enormous trouble for a franchise. The fact that we aren’t talking about how much this will damage Los Angeles speaks volumes about Johnson and how ill-prepared he was for the front-office job in the first place.Team owner Jeanie Buss, who got wind of the resignation after reporters did, now has an enormous task. She has to tap the right person, but based on her hiring of Magic — a choice she made based on trust and their almost 40 years of friendship after contentiously ousting her brother in 2017 — we don’t know yet who she’ll get or what level of experience that person will carry.Nonetheless, that role is vital, both to restoring the franchise to its rightful place — this 37-win season marked a Lakers’ record sixth-straight year with no postseason — and obviously for maximizing the 34-year-old James’s window for championship contention.What we do know now is that Johnson, an all-time great on the hardwood and one of the more personable businessmen in America, simply wasn’t prepared for the cutthroat front-office life, an issue we touched on briefly back when he was hired. Johnson himself says that leaving the role of president will make him happier, as it will allow him to return to his old life, away from the sourced reporting that, to him, likely felt like anonymous backstabbing. And back to a life where he can freely mentor and tweet to congratulate players leaguewide — something he couldn’t do as an executive, because of the tampering rules.From the outset, Johnson struggled with how to play inside those rules. Even more concerning about his front-office tenure: He often struggled to properly assess the value of players and what they brought to the table. Months after taking the gig, he traded a young, talented point guard in D’Angelo Russell to get Brook Lopez and his expiring contract, as well as the pick that would become Kyle Kuzma.1The move also gave L.A. the ability to dump Timofey Mosgov’s hefty contract. While Kuzma has been fine for a young player, Russell has since become an All-Star who has led Brooklyn back to the postseason. And Lopez — whom L.A. let walk in free agency last summer — has been one of the NBA’s best floor-spacing bigs, giving Milwaukee exactly what this shooting-starved Lakers club needs.2On a cheap, $3.3 million contract, too.Similarly, 24-year-old Julius Randle had a career year (21 points, 8 rebounds a game) in New Orleans after the Lakers let their former No. 7 overall pick go in free agency despite his relatively modest price tag.3He signed a two-year, $18 million deal with New Orleans. Instead, L.A. followed up on its LeBron move by then agreeing to deals with Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson, leaving it woefully deficient from a perimeter-shooting standpoint. The head-scratching decisions weren’t limited to the perimeter, though: The Lakers also offered talented big man Ivica Zubac to their Los Angeles counterparts at the deadline, reportedly befuddling the Clippers by trying to unload a solid young player unnecessarily.None of this even gets into the fact that Johnson and the Lakers took their sweet time — waiting until it was likely too late — to try to deal for a second star, which was borderline malpractice considering James’s age. Depending on how you look at it, the failed play to acquire Anthony Davis at the trade deadline was either just the Pelicans being stubborn or them being realistic — and smart — after realizing that the youngsters L.A. was offering in return weren’t good enough (particularly when James was injured) to justify dealing away a franchise player.But that doesn’t excuse the Lakers not being more aggressive two summers ago, when they could’ve made a play for Paul George, who’d made it clear that L.A. was his destination of choice before Oklahoma City gambled on a deal for him. Nor does it explain why the Lakers didn’t do more to engage the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard (and pair him with LeBron) before he was ultimately sent to Toronto. In either case, having a second star likely would’ve provided L.A. with the insulation it needed to withstand a James injury and make the playoffs regardless.And there were the problematic mixed messages that Johnson sent: the preseason comments about how new LeBron teams always take a while to find their stride and the need for patience, but then the reports about him going off on coach Luke Walton just weeks later, apparently for not meeting the expectations he’d just tamped down. Then there was his suggestion that the young players who’d heard their names rumored in potential Davis deals simply needed to be hugged and nurtured after the whole ordeal, which he followed, one day later, by saying that those same players needed to be treated like men, rather than babied through the media.Had Johnson remained on the job, his next true test as team president was a decision about Walton’s future. Johnson told reporters Tuesday that he’d been given the authority to fire Walton, who has history with the Lakers as a former player and still has a good friendship with Buss. But Johnson said he didn’t want to pull that trigger and instead opted to step down himself.Now, it’s Buss’s turn to make a decision again. And while the stakes are incredibly high, with the team at an important crossroads, the Lakers can take solace in the fact that they’re almost certain to now get a more analytical, experienced front-office type than they had in Magic, who was never really meant for the unforgiving nature of an NBA job like this to begin with. read more

Ohio State mens basketball suffers 2nd loss of season to Indiana

After the Indiana-Ohio State men’s basketball game ended Saturday, citizens of Bloomington, Ind., had cause to celebrate on New Year’s Eve well before the clock struck midnight. The No. 2-ranked Buckeyes lost their second game of the season against the No. 15 Hoosiers, 74-70, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. With OSU trailing, 72-70, Buckeyes senior guard William Buford heaved a potential go-ahead 3-point shot with 2.3 seconds remaining in the game. Buford missed the target, though, and Indiana gathered the rebound and added free throws to clinch the win. In a game that featured eight ties and 10 lead changes, the Hoosiers retook the lead with less than a minute to play after OSU sophomore guard Aaron Craft’s turnover lead to an uncontested lay-up by Indiana sophomore guard Victor Oladipo that put his team up, 71-70. Oladipo’s late bucket turned out to be the game-winner for the Hoosiers (13-1, 1-1 Big Ten). Craft scored a team-high 16 points and added four assists and two steals. Sophomore forward Jared Sullinger tallied 15 points in the game, but failed to score in the final 2:26 of regulation. With the loss, OSU drops to 13-2 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes didn’t suffer their second loss of the 2010-11 season until February 20, 2011. Conference play continues for OSU Tuesday against Nebraska at 6:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Ohio State womens ice hockey to take on New Hampshire

The OSU women’s ice hockey team prepares to take the ice prior to an exhibition game against Western Ontario at the Ohio State Ice Rink Sept. 28. OSU tied 2-2.Credit: Grant Miller / Copy ChiefThe Ohio State women’s hockey team was a model of inconsistency last season.  Coming into its season opener against the University of New Hampshire this weekend, the Buckeyes are hoping to ditch the Jekyll and Hyde show and find consistency in their team.OSU comes off a season where it went 15-17-5, but earned a 9-4-3 record following winter break. The late push gave the Buckeyes a template for success they can build upon this weekend in Columbus.Given its roster makeup, OSU is in a much different position than it was at the start of last year. The Buckeyes graduated five seniors but retained the majority of their veteran skaters.“I think that they’re a together group,” said coach Nate Handrahan. “That’s not to say that last year’s group wasn’t, but it just seems that this group has come together a lot quicker.”OSU returns a large group players from last season, including nine of its top ten point scorers. Their key offensive departure was forward Ally Tarr, who led the Buckeyes with 32 points in 36 games last season.Defensively, OSU’s biggest loss was Annie Svedin, who logged 134 games over four seasons on the blueline. Buckeye senior defensemen Kari and Sara Schmitt might be forced to help pick up the slack, as the pair combined for 51 points last season.While the Buckeyes have retained key veteran skaters, it’s a different story in the goal crease. Redshirt-junior goalie Stacy Danczak is the lone returner in her position, and on Thursday, Handrahan announced freshman Kassidy Sauve would be Friday’s starter.Danczak, Sauve and freshman goalie Alex LaMere each saw a period of action in OSU’s 2-2 exhibition tie against Western Ontario last weekend. Sauve started the game, making seven saves in the first period.“Everyone played well,” Kari Schmitt said. “It was a good start to the season and we’re ready to go.”Sauve won a gold medal with Team Canada at the International Ice Hockey Federation U-18 Women’s World Championship and comes to OSU following a minor-midget career where she became the first woman to play in the Ontario Hockey League cup.“She’s got some patience and she’s pretty agile side to side,” Handrahan said. “She’s trying to let shooters make the first move as opposed to her trying to dictate the play.”Aside from goaltending, the Buckeyes’ minimal roster turnover has put them ahead of schedule in introducing tactics and systems into their play, redshirt-senior defenseman Kara Gust said.“We can already see it on the ice in our practices,” Gust said. “Our systems are already getting there quicker and I think we’ll have a better start to the season this year than we did last year.”Positive fitness tests have also been an indication of the Buckeyes preparedness for the season, Handrahan said.The University of New Hampshire Wildcats welcome seven true freshmen, a new head coach and new assistant coach to their roster this season. Coach Hilary Witt is coming off of a two-year stint as an assistant coach and head scout for the U.S. Women’s National Team.The Wildcats dropped their season-opener, 2-1, on the road against the University of Maine last weekend.The puck is set to drop on Friday at 6:07 p.m. and Saturday at 2:07 p.m. at the OSU Ice Rink. read more

LETTER The insertion of the word absolute has now created a

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedArticle 161(2): No preferential order between ‘judges’, ‘fit and proper’- NandlallMarch 4, 2017In “Opinion”“How can a Govt fall on a vote of confidence if nobody can cross the floor?” CCJ Judge questions BostonMay 10, 2019In “Court”Court of Appeal erred with 34 majority reasoning – RamMarch 24, 2019In “latest news” Dear Editor:The rules or guidelines for statutory interpretation are intended to ensure that ambiguities are avoided in order to give effect to a statute or law. However, many times the statutes can be easily interpreted since the words have a plain and straightforward meaning, in other words, it says what it says.Unfortunately, the Courts in its endeavor to give its interpretation sometimes obfuscate the simple literal meanings and create an entirely different meaning from that intended by the drafters of the constitution. It must be borne in mind that the function of the Courts is only to expound and not to legislate (G.P Singh, Principles of Statutory Interpretation, page 4). However, it would seem that the Court of Appeal did just that in its interpretation of ‘majority’ in Article 106.Article 106(6) of our Constitution unambiguously states that, ‘The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence’. On December 21st, 2018 all the elected members voted on the no confidence motion and 33 of the elected members voted in favor of that motion. The Constitution makes it clear that 65 members constitute the National Assembly. That is crystal clear and conclusive. Therefore, when the foregoing Article speaks about a ‘majority’ it is in respect of these 65 members. If the drafters of the Constitution had wanted this to be an ‘absolute majority’, the word ‘absolute’ would have been inserted. Instead they used the word ‘majority’ which in its simple plain literal meaning means 33 or any amount above 33…34, 35, 36, etc from the total of 65.It is therefore submitted that the Appellate Court by its insertion of the word ‘absolute’ has now created a new piece of legislation not intended by the Drafters. They specifically provided for 65 members of the National Assembly to avoid any ambiguity or misinterpretation. Chief Justice George in her ruling on January 31st was absolutely correct when she ruled that, ‘In our 65- member National Assembly a majority of all elected members, in accordance with the principle of ‘one over all rivals combine’, is the thirty-three (33) members’.I do hope that the PNC flag is not once again flying high above our Courts and democracy has taken a sudden flight!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor –Region 6 read more

Wildlife Commission collects jaguar from Lima Sands

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related’Hefty fines, jail time for illegal hunting’ – Wildlife Commission warnsJuly 10, 2019In “Environment”Jaguar captured at Lima SandsMay 22, 2019In “Environment”Woman to be charged for being in possession of JaguarSeptember 4, 2014In “Crime” The Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission has confirmed collecting the young female jaguar which was being held at Lima Sands, Essequibo Coast in Region Two.The official who spoke with <<>> only confirmed that the country’s national animal was collected by the Commission; other details regarding what will happen next will be included in a press release to be issued later.Questions about the location of the jaguar came into disrepute after a section of the media published an article in which it posited that imposters might have collected the animal.The jaguar was captured by residents of  the Lima Sands on May 22, 2019. Marvin Calvan had told INews that he took special care to ensure that the animal was not harmed. He explained that it was necessary to capture the jaguar as it was eating out the livestock of farmers in the community.The Guyana Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Panthera Corporation, aimed at conserving the Jaguar.Founded in 2006, Panthera is an organisation devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems.The jaguar is the third-largest feline in the world, and the largest in the Western hemisphere.Globally, jaguar populations are on the decline mainly due to the loss of habitat and conflict with people. As a result, these animals are listed as a ‘near threatened’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The jaguar is protected by the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2016 which states that the collecting, holding in captivity, hunting, killing, or otherwise molesting ‘protected’ species is prohibited. read more

Depraved and exploitative Jimmy Savile abused vulnerable people aged between 5 and

first_imgTHE HORRIFYING SCALE of Jimmy Savile’s abuse has been outlined in 28 reports published by the Department of Health in the UK today.The investigation has revealed that the former television star’s victims were aged between five and 75 years old at Leeds General Infirmary, an NHS hospital in Savile’s home city.The BBC presenter had unprecedented access and influence at the facility, regularly visiting wards and departments in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.Nineteen children and 14 adults were patients at the time of their abuse. Nineteen members of staff also reported abuse or inappropriate encounters with the man.According to investigators, they also heard eight further accounts from victims who were external to the Infirmary, but whose abusive encounters had a connection with it.In the majority, the victims were aged in their late teens or early twenties at the time of their encounters.The earliest case was in 1962, when Savile was 36 years old; the most recent in2009, when he was 82.These abusive encounters took place in wards, corridors, offices and other hospital locations, as well as a nearby café, his mother’s house and his campervan.Three of the incidents involved “other people who assisted Savile”.There was also evidence of grooming of both victims and families, while at least 10 were “intimidated and humiliated” after the initial assault.The report into Savile’s activities at Broadmoor Hospital, a London mental health facility where he was given a managerial role, describes the perpetrator as “charming and persuasive, at least to some, but at the same time he was grandiose, narcissistic, arrogant and lacking any empathy”.According to investigators there, fewer reported assaults by Savile have come to light at Broadmoor than at the other NHS hospitals with which he was most closely associated.“We believe this is likely to reflect both a degree of under-reporting (because of understandable patient concerns about the consequences to themselves) and the likelihood that there were fewer opportunities for Savile because of the nature of Broadmoor.However, we have no reason to doubt that Savile was an opportunistic sexual predator throughout the time he was associated with Broadmoor.Each of the 28 reports include detailed victim testimony about what happened during their meetings with Savile.Secretary of the Department of Health in the UK, Una O’Brien, said they detail the “depraved activities” of the presenter.They make for “shocking reading”, she added.“On behalf of the previous Department of Health and Social Security, and Department of Health, we are deeply sorry that inadequate processes in 1988 enabled Jimmy Savile to occupy a position of authority that he used to abuse his victims at Broadmoor Hospital,” she continued in a statement.Kate Lampard, the woman who led the investigation, is due to publish here “lessons learned report”, in the autumn.The 1998 letter that warned police about Jimmy SavileHaughey believed Jimmy Savile would be a good mediator for Thatcher dealingslast_img read more

Trivia Night at Philhellene

first_imgJoin the Trivia Night at Philhellene restaurant, to test your knowledge on all things Greek – food, geography, people, places.A grand prize will be secured for the winner, plus lots of spot prizes. Get a few friends together and create your own team. Price: $45, sharing style banquet and a glass of wine/beer included. Bookings are essential. When: Tuesday 29 October at 7.00 pm Where: Philhellene Provincial Greek Cuisine, 551-553 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds For more information and bookings, contact (03) 9370 3303 Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Closure lifted at Vancouver Lake algae advisory downgraded

first_imgClark County Public Health has lifted the beach closure at Vancouver Lake, and downgraded the algae advisory at the lake from warning to caution.According to a Public Health news release, test results taken earlier this week showed reduced E. coli bacteria levels at the lake.Public Health closed Vancouver Lake to swimming and wading Tuesday after routine testing discovered levels of E. coli in the water above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Results from Tuesday testing revealed the bacteria levels had dropped back below those thresholds, which allowed for the closure to be lifted.The algae advisory at the lake has also been downgraded from warning to caution, since test samples indicate low toxin levels in the water.There are still blooms of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, present at the lake, which is why an advisory remains. Public Health’s news release stated that as long as algae is present toxin levels can still change, depending on how lake conditions shift.Public Health is still advising people to avoid direct contact with water in areas that have floating blue-green-colored scum. The toxins can be harmful to people and deadly to for small pets.last_img read more

Paul Scholes remains coy on vacant managerial position at Oldham

first_imgManchester United legend Paul Scholes refuses to break his silence on speculation linking with the manager’s job at Oldham AthleticThe 44-year-old’s name has reportedly emerged on the shortlist at Oldham to replace the fired Freddie Bunn in the League Two.The Latics controversially fired Bunn by email at the end of last year with the club down in 12th-place in the standings and seven points off a playoff spot for promotion to the Championship.And Scholes, who is understood to be interested in giving coaching a go in the near future, downplayed reports that Oldham are ready to name him their new manager.“I have made no secret one day I do want to get back into football in some form of coaching,” said Scholes, according to Daily Mail.“If that’s Oldham I don’t know. I’ve nothing to report on that, if that’s a year, two years I don’t know.“If that will conflict with Salford [City] I don’t know as of yet. I am not too clear what the rules are.”Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.The former England midfielder has been busy working as a pundit on BT Sport since retiring in 2013 after winning his 11th Premier League title at United.While he’s relatively enjoyed his work on national television, however, Scholes doesn’t feel fulfilled in the role.“The media stuff I have half-enjoyed doing it but it’s not the same as being involved with a club every day,” he added.“When you leave school after 20 years you want to achieve something and I feel like that’s been lost in the last four to five years.”Scholes was speaking at a press conference today to announce former team-mate David Beckham‘s arrival as a joint-owner of Salford City.The former England captain has purchased a 10% stake of the National League side and will combine the role with his duties at new club Inter Miami FC in the MLS.last_img read more

Testing Refusals Hit Haines Put Star Rating And Funding At Risk

first_imgAn AMP flyer posted at Haines School. (Emily Files)A growing national movement to opt-out of standardized testing has hit the Haines School District hard. In the past six years, only one student has refrained from taking annual tests. But this year, families of 12 students refused the test.Download AudioDistrict administrators say that puts Haines well below the federally-mandated 95 percent participation rate. That could mean more scrutiny and work for the district. It could also put thousands of dollars in grant funding at risk.“This is catching me completely by surprise,” said Haines Superintendent Ginger Jewell.School districts around the U.S. are required by federal law to assess student progress with testing each year. In Alaska, students in grades 3-10 are tested in English Language Arts and Math. Grades 4, 8 and 10 are tested in science.“The reason why we have that in place is because it’s an accountability measure to make sure students are receiving education as defined by the state,” said Elizabeth Davis, administrator for student assessments with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (EED).The AMP (Alaska Measures of Progress) tests are new this year. They replaces SBAs (Standards Based Assessments.) AMP tests are aligned with new state education standards adopted in 2012.They’re conducted online, instead of with a pencil and paper. Davis says the new education standards are more rigorous and emphasize critical thinking.Most states around the US have adopted the Common Core State Standards in their curriculum and tests. Alaska is not one of them. The new standards here are called the Alaska English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards. Davis says they include Alaska-specific material.But some parents and even legislators see a difference between Common Core and Alaska Standards only in name, not in substance. That is a central reason for the increasing number of refusals.“So there’s a group of people who feel like their students shouldn’t take this test because it’s a Common Core test,” Davis said.  “Which would be an inaccurate statement.”A group called Alaskans Against the Common Core did not return requests for comment. But one Haines parent did explain his reasons for opting his students out of the AMP test this year. He asked not to be identified to protect his children’s privacy.He says his main concern about testing also has to do with privacy. He says AMP is aligned with Common Core, and his understanding of Common Core’s purpose is to track students through their schooling and into their career, and then that data is available to be sold to companies that are recruiting.“Absolutely not. We do not sell student data, period,” said Brian Laurent, the data supervisor for EED.He says the data from AMP tests resides on the servers of the test vendor, which is the University of Kansas Achievement and Assessment Institute. They’re the ones who ‘crunch the numbers’ and then report them to Alaska’s education department.“Any transfer of student information from our test vendor in Kansas to staff here in the department is done in a secure, encrypted manner. Student data are not at risk of being released or shared,” Laurent said.Haines is not the only school district in Alaska dealing with a huge increase in test refusals.“At this point in time we have a total of 32 parent or student refusals out of 283 testers,” said Robyn Taylor, assistant superintendent and testing coordinator for the Sitka School District.When Taylor spoke to KHNS on Friday, two out of five schools had finished testing. Both schools fell well below 95 percent participation. In Haines, the district participation rate was about 93 percent.That’s a problem because No Child Left Behind requires schools to have a 95 percent participation in assessments.“The lower the participation rate, the less valid the results are in telling us how the school does,” said EED Deputy Commissioner Les Morse.In normal circumstances, low participation could drop the school’s Alaska School Performance Index rating, which is on a scale of one to five stars. Right now, Haines homeschool, elementary and high school all have four or five-star ratings.“When your star rating drops to three or below, then you become under heavy, heavy scrutiny by both the state and possibly the federal government for much more paperwork, much more oversight,” said Superintendent Jewell.But since this is the first year for the AMP test, EED is requesting federal approval to freeze schools’ star ratings. So, at least this year, Haines schools’ star ratings might not change.However, with a participation rate below the federal requirement, state officials say the district will still have to develop a plan to bring participation next year back up.There is also a whole range of federal funding that is contingent on student assessments. If a state is out of compliance, the US Department of Education could withhold funding. If school districts fail to comply with testing requirements, the state could withhold funding from them. Davis says the state has not discussed that option.“Alaska doesn’t withhold funding when schools are making their best effort,” she said.So schools are stuck in the middle of two things they cannot do very much about: federal requirements on test participation and parents’ freedom of choice to refuse testing.Districts like Haines and Sitka have tried to put out information to combat worries about AMP testing. Jewell says she’s concerned the ‘genie is out of the bottle,’ and that what she calls ‘misinformation’ will not go away.last_img read more

Workplace smoking ban advances

first_imgRep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, expresses her views during a House floor session in the Alaska Capitol on March 30. LeDoux allowed a bill to ban smoking in workplace to advance on Tuesday. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)A state bill that would ban smoking in workplaces took a major step forward Tuesday night. The House Rules Committee passed a new version of Senate Bill 63.Listen nowCommittee chairwoman Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, an Anchorage Republican, had declined to schedule a hearing for most of the session.LeDoux said she scheduled the hearing now to allow it to move forward to a vote on the House floor.“I’ve got some questions about this entire bill,” LeDoux said. “But, nevertheless, in order to extend an olive branch to the people who really want this bill, (she is) trying to get this bill in a reasonable form so that we can get it to the floor.”The committee changed the bill so that it won’t affect the use of electronic cigarettes or marijuana.It also would allow municipalities to opt out of the workplace smoking ban. Currently, municipalities can opt in to bans.Juneau Democratic Rep. Sam Kito III opposed the changes.“We’ve got more than enough support for the bill as it sits, on the House floor,” Kito said. “I do not appreciate … having these changes being added at this late date in this forum on this particular bill.”The Senate passed the bill last year. It will need to go back for another vote in the Senate if the House approves the changed version.last_img read more

Bullethit body found in Chuadanga

first_imgDead Body. A Prothom Alo IllustrationBullet-hit body of a man was recovered from Utholi Mollabari village in Jibonnagar upazila of Chuadanga on Thursday, reports UNB.Deceased Imran Hossain, 27, son of a certain Abdur Rahman of Alamdanga upazila is a top-listed criminal, police said.Locals spotted the body at a field in the village and informed police in the morning, said Sheikh Gani, officer-in-charge of Jibannagar police station.Police recovered the body around 9:00am and sent it to sadar hospital morgue for an autopsy.Imran might have been killed over an internal feud between two groups of criminals in the night, the OC said.Meanwhile, Abu Russel, assistant superintendent of police in Jibonnagar, said Imran was wanted in several cases including that of robbery.last_img read more

Is The Austin Serial Bomber A Terrorist Not Legally – Yet

first_img– / 12When Natalie Rogers defines the word “terrorist,” she starts with the root.“It is someone who is trying to invoke terror,” said Rogers, a 36-year-old software engineer in Austin.To some residents, the serial bomber successfully did that.“I had a friend who lived on the same street as one of the package bombs and for her to be scared to go to a park, that’s a terrorist,” Rogers said. “Someone who changes peoples’ lives for the worse and making them feel terrorized to go out and do the normal things they would do every day.”Since March 2, explosions in Austin have killed two people and injured four. Another bomb exploded at a FedEx distribution center in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz. A final bomb exploded in Round Rock, detonated by serial bomber Mark Anthony Conditt as police closed in on him.So was Conditt a terrorist? Law enforcement officials have avoided using the word because for something to officially be considered terrorism, the fear and terror stoked by violence needs to have an aim.“Even though the words are enormously similar, there’s a vast difference between being terrorized and what terrorism is,” said Bruce Hoffman, a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Inside Terrorism. According to the federal government’s definition of domestic terrorism, Conditt would have had to have used violence to attempt to coerce a group of people to do something – be it with a political or ideological goal in mind.On Thursday, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley weighed in, saying the legal definition was beside the point. In my opinion he did create terror in our community & therefore his conduct was terroristic regardless of the specific ideology we look for to meet the legal definition for prosecution. My heart remains with the victims & families deeply impacted by these senseless crimes.— Chief Brian Manley (@chief_manley) March 23, 2018Even though there is no criminal charge for domestic terrorism, the government can still use the legal classification to investigate or surveil someone.“We can’t look at the perpetrator,” Hoffman said. “We have to look at what their motivation is and how they are justifying and legitimizing that act of violence, if at all.”This can run the gamut: anything from the shooting of workers at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, which some elected officials called “terrorism,” to the Sept. 11 attacks.A Timeline Of The Austin BombingsConsider the 2015 shooting in Charleston, S.C. A 21-year-old white man killed nine black parishioners at a church. The motive? To incite a race war. That would seem like ideological coercion.“In my view, there’s not much of a debate whether someone like Dylann Roof is a terrorist or not because he has ascribed political motives to horrific killings,” Hoffman said.But Roof was charged with other crimes because there’s actually no federal criminal charge for domestic terrorism.On Wednesday, law enforcement officials revealed that Conditt had left behind a 25-minute video confession, in which he described how he assembled seven bombs, including the one set off in his vehicle during the police pursuit. But Manley said the recording did not reveal anything that would lead law enforcement to call Conditt a terrorist or what he did terrorism.Here’s A Timeline Of The Austin Bombings“He does not at all mention anything about terrorism nor does he mention anything about hate,” Manley said at a press conference Wednesday.That doesn’t mean the serial bombings won’t eventually be deemed terrorism. But Erin Miller, who manages the Global Terrorism Database, said without clear evidence of Conditt’s motive, it might be hard to prove.“If you’re trying to send a message to someone and we don’t know what the message is, it’s not working,” she said. The Global Terrorism Database, which is run out of the University of Maryland and funded mostly by the federal government, is an open-source collection of data on terroristic acts.Miller said a recent example of this is the case of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, where 64-year-old Stephen Paddock shot and killed 58 concertgoers from a hotel window.“At the end of the day, we have zero indication whatsoever that he was ideologically motivated,” she said, “and if he was, he certainly didn’t do a good job of sending that message.”But whether Conditt’s acts constitute terrorism, it’s hard to argue that people weren’t terrorized – especially people of color after the first three bombings killed or injured black and Latino residents. University of Texas professor Eric Tang published an op-ed in the New York Times on Thursday, detailing historic fear among minority communities in Austin who faced segregation and now face displacement.“In another 100 years, when local history buffs recall the ‘serial bombings of 2018,’ I wonder whether they will acknowledge the racial terror that struck East Austin,” he wrote. “Fear, I know, crept into the hearts of all Austinites. But the events of this month have left this city’s African-Americans and Latinos wounded in ways that few others will ever truly know. These are wounds that never seem to heal.” Sharelast_img read more

Spending Bill Allows CDC To Study Gun Violence Researchers Skeptical It Will

first_imgRICH PEDRONCELLI / APDr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency room physician at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. Wintemute researches gun violence and the firearms industry, and is skeptical new authority given to the Centers for Disease Control to research causes of gun violence will help. “There’s no funding. There’s no agreement to provide funding. There isn’t even encouragement,” he says.Government health agencies have spent more than two decades shying away from gun violence research, but some say the new spending bill, signed by President Trump Friday, will change that.That’s because, in agency instructions that accompany the bill, there’s one sentence noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.“I think this is a huge victory for our country and our communities and our children. This is one step in many to help stop gun violence in this country,” says Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat from the Orlando, Fla., area.But researchers who study gun violence are unimpressed.“There’s no funding. There’s no agreement to provide funding. There isn’t even encouragement. No big questions get answered, and there’s nothing here, yet, of significance for the research community,” says Dr. Garen Wintemute, a well-known expert on gun violence and a professor of emergency medicine at the University of California, Davis.“I’m not particularly optimistic that anything will change,” says Daniel Webster, a researcher at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public health.The CDC has been willing to look at non-controversial activities, such as the effect of mediating disputes between gangs, says Webster, “but the CDC has not, and I don’t believe they will examine other kinds of interventions or other kinds of solutions to the problem,” he says.That’s because, back in 1996, Congress passed something called the Dickey Amendment. It said that none of the funds given to the CDC for injury prevention could be used to advocate or promote gun control. The law came along with a cut in funding that delivered a powerful message: Pursue research on hot-button questions about guns and face the wrath of lawmakers who control the agency’s funding.“At a time when we were just beginning to do good science around how to protect ourselves and better understand the risk and the benefit from owning and using firearms, language was put on the federal budget which had a chilling effect, and in effect, stopped research dead in its tracks,” says Dr. Georges Benjamin, who is the executive director of the American Public Health Association.Jay Dickey, the Arkansas Republican and former lawmaker who the federal amendment is named for, later told NPR that he regretted it. “It wasn’t necessary that all research stop,” Dickey explained. “It just couldn’t be the collection of data so that they can advocate gun control. That’s all we were talking about. But for some reason, it just stopped altogether.”Recent mass shootings have forced government officials to address the lack of research funding. Alex Azar, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, spoke to lawmakers on Capitol Hill in February, days after the Parkland shooting in Florida. When asked about the Dickey Amendment, he said his understanding was that it “does not in any way impede our ability to conduct our research mission. It is simply about advocacy.”Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Florida, pressed him on whether he would instruct the agencies he leads to do gun research. “We certainly will,” Azar answered. “Our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—we’re in the science business and the evidence-generating business, and so I will have our agency certainly be working in this field.”As mild as those remarks were, they made headlines. And the language in the government spending bill explicitly refers to those comments: “While appropriations language prohibits the CDC and other agencies from using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has stated the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.”Daniel Webster worries that rather than freeing up the CDC to fund more research on gun violence, this new language might do the opposite, by seeming to limit CDC funding to examining the “causes” of gun violence.“Before, it didn’t restrict it to the ’causes,’ ” notes Webster. In his view, this spending bill “certainly doesn’t add anything new that is good.”In an ideal world, Congress would have done something much bolder, says Georges Benjamin. “I would have preferred the Dickey language to be removed — strong language that says, ‘Yes, research is permissible,’ and money,” Benjamin says. “We didn’t get those three things.”But he does believe the intent of the budget language was to make research more permissible. And, that public health agencies should be able to find some money in the funding they’re due to receive from the new budget to move firearms research forward. Sharelast_img read more

New evidence suggests the Devonian Nekton Revolution never occurred

first_imgA pair of researchers at Yale University has found evidence that suggests the Devonian Nekton Revolution never actually occurred. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Christopher Whalen and Derek Briggs describe their study and what they believe actually happened in the world’s oceans during the Devonian Period. Scientists who study the evolution of life during its early days have a difficult job—there is little evidence of the creatures that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Then there is the problem of how to classify those that are found. Fossils of sea creatures from so long ago bear little resemblance to those that that are alive today, so how to arrange them is unclear. As just one example, some early sea creatures simply floated in the sea while others could clearly swim—but what if it is difficult to distinguish floaters from swimmers? Such difficulties underlie a debate surrounding the Devonian Nekton Revolution—an event theorized to have occurred between 419 and 359 million years ago. Some have suggested that during this period there was a sudden change in the population of creatures living in the sea from floaters to swimmers. So sudden was the change that it has been dubbed a revolution. But that may not have been the case at all—Whalen and Briggs claim that they have found evidence that supports a gradual movement to swimmers. That there was no revolution.The study by the researchers entailed taking a close look at over 2000 fossils from 540 to 252 million years ago and classifying each as either a swimmer or a floater—they also classified them as living either on or near the ocean floor or higher up. The researchers found no evidence of a sudden shift from floaters to swimmers. Instead, they found evidence of a very gradual changeover that happened right up to the end of the Paleozoic.Whalen and Briggs suggest that the reason they came to a different conclusion than earlier teams was because they classified fossils differently. As an example, they point out that they classified some ammonoids as swimmers and some as floaters, whereas prior teams had classified all of them as swimmers. They further argue that logic suggests a gradual shift to swimming. They point out that it is an activity that requires a lot of energy, which means a large intake of oxygen—but during the early parts of the Devonian, there was far less dissolved oxygen in the world’s oceans. Fossils of early tetrapods unearthed in Scotland Citation: New evidence suggests the Devonian Nekton Revolution never occurred (2018, July 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2018 Explore furthercenter_img Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B More information: The Palaeozoic colonization of the water column and the rise of global nekton, Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2018). rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2018.0883AbstractThe colonization of the water column is among the most important transformations in the evolution of animal life and global ecosystems. The Devonian nekton revolution has been identified as a major macroevolutionary event signifying the rapid occupation of the water column by independent radiations of swimming animals. Using new data, an expanded taxonomic coverage, sample standardization and increased ecological resolution, we analysed patterns of nektonization during the Palaeozoic. We find that nekton and eunekton were well established prior to the Devonian and did not diversify dramatically during any Palaeozoic interval. Relative nektic diversity and occurrences decreased rather than increased during the Devonian. Eunektic diversity and occurrences increased throughout the Palaeozoic, but this rise was protracted and cannot be attributed to any single interval. Our new data indicate that the metazoan colonization of the water column was considerably more complex and gradual than previously understood. Proportional Palaeozoic water-column generic diversity and occurrences by ecomorphological life mode. Blue denotes plankton, green demersus, yellow nekton. Dashed lines demark Klug et al. DNR results for comparison, P, plankton; D, demersus; N, nekton. (a) SSCG (supplemented Sepkoski’s compendium of Q5 genera) RT diversity. (b) PBDB (Paleobiology Database) SQS standardized SIB diversity. (c) PBDB (Paleobiology Database) generic occurrences. Credit: (c) Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0883 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

Looking back Collapse evokes memories of past mishaps across nation

first_imgKOLKATA: A portion of the extremely busy Majerhat Bridge collapsed on Tuesday with the extent of the damage yet to be determined, triggering shock and panic across the city.Several people are feared trapped under the debris as rescue operation is underway. The incident has brought back frightening memories of similar bridge collapses in Bengal and in India in which hundreds have either lost their lives or gone missing. Here are a few such cases: Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe 140-year-old Kadalundi bridge collapse claimed 57 lives in 2001. In the wee hours on March 31, 2016, in Kolkata, the Vivekananda Flyover collapsed leading to 27 deaths and over 80 people being injured. The century-old Savitri River bridge in Maharashtra collapsed in the same year within a few months, claiming 28 lives. Interestingly, the collapse of the partially completed Vivekananda Flyover was the second such incident in Kolkata since 2013, when a 60-metre long chunk of a flyover in Ultadanga area collapsed under the weight of a goods truck, killing one and injuring three others. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedVaranasi in Uttar Pradesh saw a rerun of the Vivekananda Flyover tragedy in May this year, as a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed, killing at least 18 people. Even the cited reason — a loose cross-beam or failed bearing, bore an eerie similarity to the incident in the city in 2016, where inherent design flaws were the culprit. At Rafiganj, a rail bridge collapsed on September 10, 2002, killing as many as 130 people. On October 29, 2005, 114 people lost their lives in the Veligonda Railway Bridge collapse, near Hyderabad. A flash flood swept away a small rail bridge, and a “Delta Fast Passenger” train travelling on it derailed at the broken section of the line, killing at least 114 people and injuring over 200. A pedestrian bridge in Bhagalpur collapsed in December 2006, killing around 30 people. The flyover bridge Panjagutta in Hyderabad caved in on September 9, 2007, which claimed 20 lives. On December 25, 2009, the Kota Chambal Bridge in Rajasthan collapsed, killing around 9 with 45 missing. The list of the above-mentioned mishaps begs the question as to why and how the apparently sturdy structures met their unfortunate fate. The reasons cited for each of the incidents indicate a deeper underlying malaise that ails such flyovers in India. Subpar quality of construction materials and lack of timely supervision are obvious culprits but the issues like rampant finger-pointing and improper and hasty planning and construction are equally responsible. Weakened girders or support beams are often overlooked or neglected during routine checks. Most of the flyovers in the nation also carry enormous traffic loads during peak hours, which exceed the carrying capacity of the structures at times, leading to gradual weakening of support pillars or cross beams. The reasons behind Tuesday’s mishap are yet to be determined. Senior civil engineers and key government officials are visiting the spot to determine the primary cause behind the fate of the structure, which is over 40 years old. It is important to note that the traffic load on the flyover remains exceedingly high almost throughout the day on weekdays, with several heavy goods vehicles plying at night.last_img read more