Paul Simon recently wrote a column for USAToday.com calling on President Obama to give children the high priority they deserve.“President Obama has placed the plight and vulnerabilities of the nation’s children high on his second-term agenda,” wrote the legendary singer/songwriter in the column, which he penned with Irwin Redlener, co-founder of the Children’s Health Fund. “In his inaugural speech… the president called on the nation to care for the most vulnerable, and ensure that ‘all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, (Conn.), know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.’“Just five weeks earlier, speaking at a memorial for the children slain at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the president said of caring for our children that, ’It’s our first job. If we don’t get it right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.’“We couldn’t agree more. But, getting it right will require a real commitment of effort and resources to make sure that all of our children are not only safe from horrific violence, but also able to grow and thrive to their full potential.“There are many obstacles facing children living in poverty — and it’s not just lack of access to doctors. Homelessness, food insecurity, mental and emotional health disparities, educational inequities, transportation barriers, danger in our streets and too many substandard schools, have made it extremely difficult for poor children to achieve their potential.“Despite isolated pockets of improvement, the outlook for children in America today remains bleak. We’re already a decade into the 21st century and our wealthy, industrious nation has 17 million children living in poverty. More than 16 million U.S. children regularly go to bed hungry and less than half of disadvantaged eligible preschoolers have an opportunity to get into an early education program.“We all legitimately worry about leaving our children and grandchildren with astronomical debt. But if we worry about long-term consequences that may well undermine the nation’s ability to remain economically strong and globally influential; we should have similar concerns about allowing another generation of children to grow up poor, undereducated and unprepared to contribute fully to the American future.“If equality, opportunity and growth are values that will drive the agenda for Obama’s second term, then protecting, nurturing and inspiring all of our children will become one of the president’s most enduring legacies.”To read the full post, click here.
TORONTO — The densely populated Ontario municipalities that have said no to cannabis stores are a “painful haircut” to pot retailers’ expectations, but some remain optimistic that some cities will give them the green light down the line, industry players say.Municipalities in Canada’s most populous province had until Tuesday night to opt in or opt out of recreational pot shops within their boundaries and 337, or roughly 81 per cent, said yes, according to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.While Toronto and Hamilton did opt in, other large centres such as Mississauga and Markham were among the 77 municipalities that said no, dealing a blow to would-be pot retailers who wanted to tap their dense populations and relatively high income levels, said Stuart Rolfe, an analyst with Veritas Investment Research.“These are huge head counts… It’s a painful haircut to your expectations,” he said.Recreational pot has been legal since Oct. 17 but currently can only be bought in Ontario through a government-run website. Private retail stores are set to open on April 1, but the provincial government limited the initial number to 25, citing cannabis supply shortages as a factor. Earlier this month, 25 entities were selected through an AGCO lottery to be able to apply for those retail licenses.After the lottery period ends on Dec. 19 of this year, the market will be widened to other retailers.Several municipalities that said no indicated they wanted to gauge the ramifications of retail cannabis elsewhere, and will reconsider allowing pot shops in their own region at a later date.Under AGCO rules, those who opt out can change their mind at a later date but the decision to opt in cannot be reversed.Much can change in the next six to 12 months, said Nick Kuzyk, chief strategy officer of retailer High Tide Inc., which has a half-dozen stores open in Alberta and 28 under construction.“The municipalities that have opted out will be monitoring those that opted in… It will be interesting to see who will revisit and change their decision at a later time. And it’s up to industry and the operators of these 25 stores to earn those opt-ins, and make municipalities feel comfortable.”High Tide’s entry into the Ontario cannabis retail lottery was not selected, but Kuzyk said the company continues to be in discussions with some of the 25 winners. The company has roughly 20 conditional leases on retail properties in Ontario, but will wait to see how things unfold over the lottery time period, and whether the cannabis supply situation abates, he added.These decisions to allow or ban cannabis stores also has an impact on licensed producers that, along with their affiliates, cannot have a retail license under AGCO rules but can do farm gate sales at one of their cultivation facilities, down the line.As well, expect cannabis retailers to set up shop near municipalities that have opted out, said Brenna Boonstra, director of quality and regulatory at Cannabis Compliance Inc., as residents look beyond their town borders to buy pot.“You could reasonably expect to gain business from the municipality that opted out, if they are in close proximity,” she said.Cannabis Compliance is working with lottery winner Clint Seukeran, owner of CGS Foods Inc., whose first choice for a location, Brampton, opted in, said Boonstra.There is still a considerable constituent of stakeholders, such as residents of these towns and cities, that can accept cannabis in principle but not in their backyard, said Rolfe. However, saying no to legal cannabis stores may not keep pot out, he said.“That’s the dilemma,” Rolfe said. “You have the opt out, but then you also have the illegal market that will then be able to set up, and perhaps deal with the fines whenever they come and wait out the police raids.” Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today accused the United Nations (UN) of being biased and working under an agenda influenced by the West.JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the recent actions of the UN have shown that they work towards making the US and other Western nations happy. The JVP MP also said that the UN supports the military goals of some countries including the US.He said that under these circumstances no country can expect the UN to protect their sovereignty or stand for their rights. (Colombo Gazette) Audio Playerhttp://colombogazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ANURA-UN.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
by Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press Posted Oct 8, 2013 1:29 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama called the top Republican in the GOP-controlled House Tuesday, telling Speaker John Boehner once again that he won’t negotiate over reopening the government or must-pass legislation to prevent a U.S. default on its obligations.In the second week of the partial government shutdown, Obama’s call, revealed by Boehner’s office, came as the speaker softened the tone of his rhetoric in remarks to the media and as Democrats controlling the Senate planned to move quickly toward a vote to allow the government to borrow more money by raising the statutory limit on the federal debt.The White House confirmed the call and said Obama repeated to Boehner “what he told him when they met at the White House last week: the president is willing to negotiate with Republicans — after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed — over policies that Republicans think would strengthen the country.”“I want to have a conversation. I’m not drawing lines in the sand. It is time for us to just sit down and resolve our differences,” said Boehner, R-Ohio.He added: “There’s no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table.”For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is willing to negotiate over the budget but only after the government is funded and the debt ceiling lifted.“All we’re asking is that government be reopened. Stop threatening a catastrophic default on the nation’s bills,” the Nevada Democrat said.A spokesman said Reid could unveil the debt limit measure as early as Tuesday, setting the table for a test vote later in the week. The measure is expected to provide enough borrowing room to last beyond next year’s election, which means it likely will permit $1 trillion or more in new borrowing above the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling that the administration says will be hit on Oct. 17. It’s not expected to include new spending cuts sought by Republicans.GOP aides said that the House vote would set up a new bipartisan panel to negotiate reopening the government and avoiding a default, tied to legislation to make sure federal employees who are required to work during the partial shutdown get paid on time.Those affected include families of service members killed in action. Survivors are typically sent a $100,000 payment within three days to help with costs such as funeral expenses. Because of the shutdown, the Defence Department doesn’t have the authority to make the payments, officials said Monday, even though most of the department’s civilian workers have been recalled.Some 350,000 civilian Defence Department workers were summoned back to work Monday as the result of legislation Congress passed and Obama signed after the shutdown began. Many other agencies, such as NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency, remain mostly shuttered.Even the White House is feeling the effects, with about 3 out of 4 staffers furloughed.It’s not clear whether Reid’s gambit will work in the Senate. Republicans are expected to oppose the measure if it doesn’t contain budget cuts to make a dent in deficits. The question is whether Republicans will try to hold up the measure with a filibuster. Such a showdown could unnerve the financial markets.Until recently, debt limit increases have not been the target of filibusters; the first in memory came four years ago, when Democrats controlled the Senate with a filibuster-proof 60 votes.Many Republicans in the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Whip John Cornyn of Texas, have voted for so-called clean debt limit increases during Republican administrations.Some Republicans seemed wary of participating in a filibuster that could rattle the stock and bond markets.“We shouldn’t be dismissing anything out of hand, whether it’s the debt ceiling or what we’re going to do with this government shutdown,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said. “We’ve got a situation where you’ve got a calendar running, you’ve got people who are frustrated and upset, so let’s figure it out.”The impasse over the shutdown — sparked by House Republicans’ insistence that a temporary funding bill contain concessions on Obama’s health care law — shows no signs of breaking, as each side sticks to its guns and repeats its talking points.Democrats from Obama on down to the most junior lawmakers said again that the House should vote immediately on ending the partial closure of the government. Obama said that Boehner “doesn’t apparently want to see the … shutdown end at the moment, unless he’s able to extract concessions that don’t have anything to do with the budget.”Boehner, in rebuttal Monday, called on Obama to agree to negotiations on changes in “Obamacare” and steps to curb deficits, the principal GOP demands for ending the shutdown that began with the Oct. 1 beginning of the new fiscal year, and eliminating the threat of default. “Really, Mr. President. It’s time to have that conversation before our economy is put further at risk,” Boehner said on the House floor.The White House has said repeatedly the president will not negotiate with Republicans until the government is fully reopened and the debt limit has been raised. But it hasn’t said the debt limit measure has to be completely “clean” of add-ons.White House aide Jason Furman told reporters the White House could accept some add-ons if Boehner “needs to have some talking point for his caucus that’s consistent with us not negotiating … that’s not adding a bunch of extraneous conditions.” Another White House official, Gene Sperling, said the administration could be open to an interim, short-term debt limit extension to prevent a catastrophic default.Republicans were sticking with a strategy of trying to pin the blame for the shutdown on Obama for being unwilling to negotiate. The House also passed legislation Monday to reopen the Food and Drug Administration, the latest in a series of piecemeal funding bills to advance through the GOP-controlled chamber.It’s been commonly assumed that Republicans would suffer politically from the shutdown and the early polling data seems to bear that out.A survey released Monday by The Washington Post and ABC News said disapproval of Republican handling of the budget showdown was measured at 70 per cent, up from 63 per cent a week earlier. Disapproval of Obama’s role was statistically unchanged at 51 per cent. Obama to Boehner: No talks until government reopens
UN Photo/Eskinder DebebeMark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefs the Security Council on the situation in Syria.During a recent visit to Saqba and Kafr Batna in eastern Ghouta, UN staff observed the resumption of some services, with electricity, education and health facilities starting up once more, and a limited number of businesses and markets reopening.“But it was clear that there are huge unmet needs, and extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure,” Mr. Lowcock said.There had been almost 200,000 people who reportedly stayed in the suburb throughout the fighting. The authorities report that more than 10,000 people have returned to eastern Ghouta from Rural Damascus over the past two weeks, makes access to the area even more critical.The Government has already approved an inter-agency convoy to provide aid for 70,000 people living in the capital of the enclave, Duma, but it has not yet left, he said, reiterating a request to the government to move ahead with providing greater access to eastern Ghouta.The situation in the northwestern province of Idlib is alarming, Mr. Lowcock said, noting that on-going airstrikes, clashes between armed groups, overcrowding and severely stretched basic services, are deepening the suffering of both displaced people who have fled there and host communities.More than 80,000 newly-displaced people have arrived in the area since March, which is the last remaining Syrian province not under the control of government forces. “Keeping pace with the increase in needs in Idlib has involved redirecting resources from other activities,” he said.Many of the most recent new arrivals in Idlib have come from northern rural Homs. Some 35,000 people were evacuated from this area earlier this month, after a significant escalation in violence there. “Those two million people, in places like northern rural Homs, Douma and southern Damascus, are some of the most desperate in the country,” Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said during his briefing to the 15-member body.Only six inter-agency convoys have reached those areas since January, providing relief for 169,000 people, which is “less than 20 per cent of the people we would like to be reaching,” he added.Updating members on the situation in formerly rebel-held eastern Ghouta, Mr. Lowcock, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said he had released $16 million from the Syria Humanitarian Fund to support people in that area – now under government control.The Damascus suburb was recaptured after years of siege in April, following an intense battle, and the Syrian government asked the UN to provide assistance to local people there.
Tempête Xynthia : 170.000 clients France Télécom privés de ligneFrance – Environ 170.000 clients de France Télécom auraient été privés de ligne téléphonique suite à la tempête Xynthia qui a touché une grande partie de la France ce week-end.Ces interruptions ont eu lieu principalement dans les régions du Centre, du Poitou-Charentes et des Pays de la Loire. Les clients sont privés de téléphone fixe et/ou d’Internet haut débit. Le groupe a annoncé que “plus de 2.000 techniciens et spécialistes réseaux sont au travail depuis hier afin de rétablir les communications”.À lire aussiNomophobie : traitement, symptômes, qu’est-ce que c’est ?Plusieurs centaines de sites techniques ont été privés d’électricité suite aux vents violents et aux inondations qu’a causé la tempête. L’énergie sera donc provisoirement fournie par des groupes électrogènes. S’ajoute à cela la coupure de plus de 100.000 lignes terminales. Selon France Télécom, “la réparation de l’ensemble de ces lignes individuelles nécessitera de l’ordre de 2 à 3 semaines”.De même, plus de 1.000 antennes relais ne sont plus alimentées, les utilisateurs de téléphone portable risquent donc d’avoir quelques problèmes avec leur matériel.Le 1 mars 2010 à 14:32 • Emmanuel Perrin
Automatonophobics, beware: Virtual reality porn producers VR Bangers recently introduced the “POV Head Rig”—a disembodied mannequin head that “adds a personal touch” to adult-related scenes.The nightmarish doll serves as an “approximation” to a human head, with shiny camera lenses for eyes and microphones sprouting from its ears.“This rig was built especially for adult VR scenes because we noticed that there is a much warmer and more intimate emotional attachment between the performer and the recording device if the device itself can be kissed, caressed and whispered to in the same sort of ways that a real person would sense those subtle communications,” VR Bangers CTO Boris Smirnoff said in a statement.Stereoscopic cameras capture 4K resolution at 60 frames-per-second through optics on the front, back, and top of the dummy’s noggin; binaural sound microphones in both ears “add a level of realism to each whisper, moan and shift in sound,” the executive said.VR BangersThe firm is known for advances in stitchless virtual reality post-production and initially intended to show off its new rig at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in January. But were allegedly denied “because they still think this industry and tech are different or something,” according to Smirnoff.“The truth is that our industry has always been at the forefront of improving interpersonal technologies,” he added.In fact, video sharing network Pornhub last year added a virtual reality category to its site; videos powered by BaDoinkVR can be viewed through most VR headsets, including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard.Similarly, VR Bangers’ content is accessible via the PlayStation VR, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Google Cardboard using an Android smartphone. Membership to the site is also required.“The content we are recording with this new rig is extraordinary, and the feedback our fans are giving us at the shows demonstrates that we are definitely moving in the right direction,” Smirnoff said. “Virtual reality is no longer a future technology. It’s happening right now.” Stay on target British Airways Tests VR Entertainment on Select First-Class FlightsGeek Pick: HP Reverb Is Clear-Eyed Virtual Reality
The Ghana National Team footballer believes he can has his “best season yet” with The MagpiesWith two years already with Newcastle. And having been transferred to The Magpies last season.Ghana international Christian Atsu believes the 2018-2019 season could be the best one with his club.The winger started playing professionally with Porto in 2011. But was loaned six times.Two seasons ago he managed to be loaned to Newcastle and made such an impression that the team bought him.Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…Now he has to demonstrate why the team had so much faith in him.“I want to be more consistent in the games I play, score more goals and assist more,” he told ESPN.“Last season was the first time in many years that I started a season knowing I was here long term and it helped,” he added.“This will be a big season for me and I have a feeling it will be my best season yet too”, he said.
Chelsea legend John Terry thinks Jose Mourinho lacks strong leaders and personalities he needs to succeed at Manchester United.The Red Devils have suffered two defeats in four matches which have left the Old Trafford outfit in 10th position.However, the former Chelsea skipper believes Mourinho must first find “personalities” like Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba to set the standard.“At every club, he has had big characters, and I’m not sure he has that at Manchester United at the moment. At Chelsea, he did,” Terry told the Daily Mail.Vidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.“You have to stand up and turn up at training every day and show him that you want to win at all costs. If you’ve got that, he’s 100 percent on your side.“I do think he’ll bring success to United, but it needs patience.“My top three for this season will be decided between City, Liverpool, and Chelsea. That leaves United and Spurs fighting for fourth.”
As part of the ongoing effort by ASA and the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance to elevate the importance of market access for agriculture in China, ASA and other producer groups have joined together in outreach to the Administration. Along with the U.S. Grains Council, National Corn Growers Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation, ASA has engaged with officials from the National Security Council and the U.S. Department of State to raise the issue of biotechnology approvals in China.President Obama is expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Beijing this November, where he will meet with President Xi Jinping. In meetings with key officials of the Administration, ASA has stressed the importance of high level and broad U.S. Government engagement with China on these issues, and requested that the issue be addressed during the President’s agenda on his trip to the APEC Summit.In addition to engaging with China during the APEC summit, ASA and the other producer groups have requested that Secretary Lew of the U.S. Treasury Department raise the issue of regulatory approval procedures for biotechnology products in conversations with Vice Premier Li.“China is a key export market for U.S. farmers. Exports of U.S. corn, soybeans and dried distillers grains to China totaled over $16 billion in 2013,” the letter to Secretary Lew states. “This trade has been put at risk by China’s restrictive regulatory approval procedures for biotechnology products.”Click here to read the entire letter.
Car manufacturer Volvo Cars has introduced a new parental leave policy for sales employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).The gender-neutral policy was announced on 6 May 2019, and offers both mothers and fathers six months of leave with 80% pay. The new paid parental leave policy is a pilot that could lead to the roll-out of a similar scheme to all 43,000 global Volvo Cars employees.The initiative seeks to equalise paid parental leave for both men and women, and forms part of Volvo Cars’ people strategy, which aims to attract and retain the best people.Hanna Fager, head of people experience, HR, said: “The EMEA initiative is one of several activities with the aim to create an inclusive culture and attract and retain a diverse set of people.“It improves life-work balance, boosts family time and fits with a progressive, human-centric [organisation] such as Volvo Cars.“We need to be a truly attractive employer to be able to deliver on our ambitious growth plans. Attracting and retaining the best people is crucial, and we know that skilled talents will be more selective in their choice of employer.“The winners in this battle for talent will be [employers] that value diversity, modern and flexible working practices, and employee wellbeing.”
In the last week the fragile newsstand distribution system has essentially broken down. Two of the four major wholesalers have, in effect, exited the business. Publishers and the remaining wholesalers are scrambling to pick up the scattered pieces. If this wasn’t enough, the recently-released second-half 2008 ABC and BPA newsstand sales data revealed (based on a preliminary analysis) that the unit sales of audited publications fell a devastating 14.9 percent and the revenue declined a record 6.7 percent. The story behind the dysfunctional newsstand distribution business is so convoluted that it makes Tim Geithner’s stimulus plan explanation seem clear by comparison. But regardless of its complexities one thing is sure—there is plenty of blame to go around for the collapse of the distribution channel. It includes wholesalers seeking massive unilateral price increases and a ranting former channel partner that apparently would rather sue than try to find a reasonable solution. Equally culpable are the publishers and their National Distributor representatives that have allowed, largely for competitive considerations, channel conditions to reach these devastating proportions. However, the second half sales data shows there are other considerations besides a crumbling infrastructure that are troubling the newsstand industry. Prior to the recent distribution system meltdown, the sales declines reached epic scale in the second half of last year. In the last decade unit sales have fallen an average of about 3 percent per year while revenue decreased only about 0.3 percent annually. In the first half of last year the pace of unit sales decline began to accelerate at a slightly faster rate. This deterioration can be traced to record cover price increases, especially those initiated by Bauer, the industry’s unit sales leader. But in the second half of last year the relatively minor sales erosion trend turned into an avalanche. There is no doubt that poor economic conditions have acerbated the situation But dramatic cover price increases, which grew by a record 9.7 percent (from an average of $3.52 to $3.86), have accelerated the sales decay. Publishers who are keenly aware of the inelasticity of subscription pricing seem to have ignored that principle in regard to cover pricing. The lack of cover pricing discipline has come back to bit publishers in the behind. Checkout Titles Get the WorstThe sales slide in the second half of last year affected nearly every publisher and every magazine category. However, the adverse effect was most pronounced among checkout titles. Checkout sales, which account for about 70 percent of the newsstand revenue of audited publications, drive the newsstand market. Within the checkout sector, the sales of celebrity titles have the greatest influence.Over the last five or six years, celebrity titles have lead a newsstand sales surge. But the celebrity sales bubble may be ready to burst. In the second half of last year the unit sales of the six major celebrity titles (People, US, In Touch, Star, OK!, and Life & Style) declined 20.3 percent, and experienced its first ever revenue fall—6.9 percent. Among the celebrity titles People sales were the anomaly. Its unit sales were relatively stable (declined only 0.8 percent), but the sales of the other five titles in the celebrity category fell a combined 27 percent. This decline appears to be a result of the 2007 mega-price increases (50 percent) for the two Bauer celebrity publications In Touch and Life & Style. These pricing changes have been a market catalyst for reducing the number of multiple title purchases and concentrating sales on People to the detriment of the other celebrity publications. This, in turn, appears to have had an adverse impact on the sales of non-celebrity checkout titles, whose unit sales fell a steep 15.9 percent. Among the 68 checkout titles only 6 reported unit sales gains—In Style, Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Vogue and the beleaguered Entertainment Weekly. The newsweeklies, which have struggled for the last few years at the newsstand, were helped in the second half of last year by the intense interest in the Presidential campaign and the Obama-effect (Economist was also one of a handful of titles whose unit sales rose).The sales of publications sold on the mainline, however, declined only a relatively modest 5.3 percent in units and 2.9 percent in revenue. This performance, although not robust, was inline with recent mainline sales results. Mainline sales were helped by the fact that its publications only increased average cover price by 2.5 percent in the second half of last year. This compares to the massive 11.5 percent cover price increase for checkout titles. Sales Erosion Wide-Spread Among Publishing CompaniesThe sales decrease was greatest among checkout titles, but nearly all publishing companies suffered sales difficulties. Among the top 50 newsstand companies only three—Newsweek, Economist and Lindy’s—reported unit sales increases. In many instances the sales declines were huge. For example, among the top 10 companies everyone experienced a unit sales decline. Six of the top 10 companies reported declines of more than 20 percent—#2 Bauer 22.9 percent, #4 Hearst 25.5 percent, #5 Wenner 22.4 percent, #7 Source Interlink 22.8 percent, #8 Meredith 21.5 percent and #9 Northern & Shell (OK!) 20.8 percent. The units sales of #3 American Media were off 14.3 percent and #6 Conde Nast reported a 10.0 percent decline. Only #1 Time, Inc. and #10 Rodale came through relatively unscathed with modest declines of 2.4 and 4.5 percent respectively. These results clearly show that size alone does not provide protection against the ravages of a volatile market.Put Differences Aside Cavalier cover price increases and harsh economic conditions lead to record sale declines in the 2nd half of 2008. But those declines will look small in comparison to the havoc that is likely to ensue as a result of a partially collapsed newsstand distribution channel. The distribution system is precariously close to imploding. It’s now up to National Distributors to put petty differences aside and demonstrate the leadership to find a more permanent solution for stabilizing the magazine newsstand distribution channel. There’s a lot at stake here – the time for rescuing the toxic newsstand channel assets, without government intervention, is now.
This week, 49 voices heads to the Bear Tooth Theater in Anchorage, where Alaska Public Media’s Indie Alaska program held a screening last week and made a short movie with Alaskans willing to answer a few questions in front of the camera.Download AudioOne of my favorite things about Alaska is you could say it’s beautiful, it’s this it’s that, but it’s the people.In 1979, when this was Flapjack Jim’s, I started at the record store next door. Obviously records and tapes went belly up. Took my severance pay and bought a gold mine. And used that for the down payment for my home, and that was 35 years ago.When I meet people who don’t live here, and the first thing everyone always asks you is ‘Oh, I know this person who lives in Anchorage or who lives in Alaska. Do you know them?’ While that may be a bogus question to ask someone in New York City or L.A., the chances that you know somebody else up here are actually pretty high.You’ve heard the expression, ‘A Sourdough is a person is soured on the country, but doesn’t have the dough to leave.’ Well I have a twist on that. I’m an April 1st I came on April 1st and was foolish enough to stay for 50 years. Tomorrow is my 50th anniversary of being in Alaska.After a couple different summers working up here, it was actually like a physical breakup – that’s how I would describe it – whenever I had to cross the border and go back down to the Lower 48. Honestly, it was like this: You’re crossing the border and I felt this like heart pain, and I was like, ‘Oh my god! It’s not you. It’s me. Just give me more time. And then I realized that I want to live in Alaska. So I moved up a couple years ago and have not looked back. It’s been a really good decision.
Dunleavy keeps open court seat, questions nomination processAssociated PressGov. Mike Dunleavy has declined to fill for now a seat on the Palmer Superior Court, citing questions with the process used in sending nominees to him for consideration.Lawmakers, open meeting advocates criticize conditions on attending Gov. Dunleavy meetingsAndrew Kitchenman, KTOO – JuneauLawmakers and open meeting advocates are criticizing the meetings Governor Dunleavy is holding around the state next week.Dunleavy appointee to lead state environmental agency hits back at criticsElizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – AnchorageJason Brune’s appointment is controversial because he worked as the public affairs and government relations manager for mining company Anglo American when it backed the proposed Pebble Mine.China, Russia find common cause in ArcticLiz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington D.C.China and Russia are teaming up to pursue their interests in the Arctic, and regional security expert Rebecca Pincus says the United States needs to pay more attention.“We need to play a shaping role in this region. It’s our backyard,” she said.Foretold Disaster – the Exxon Valdez oil spillRachel Waldholz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – AnchorageThe Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds and brought commercial fishing in some of Alaska’s most productive waters to a standstill. It’s often talked about as an unprecedented, unthinkable event, but it was, in fact thinkable, and people tried to prevent it.Anchorage efforts to reduce homelessness see success, challengesKirsten Swann, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageAnchorage Assembly member Felix Rivera, chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Homelessness, says funding is one of its top concernsWild dogs take down muskox near Toksook BayAnna Rose MacArthur. KYUK – BethelJimmie Lincoln wanted to get out of town, so he jumped on his snowmachine and took off. Less than two miles later, he came upon something he calls “unbelievable.”Racist graffiti targets Homer restaurant ownersAaron Bolton, KBBI – HomerThe owners of a restaurant just outside of Homer woke up to racist graffiti scrawled across the front of their building Thursday. The owners of Wasabi’s Bistro reported the incident to police shortly before 8 a.m. and the photos have been shared widely on social media.Eagles fly free as Alaska Raptor Center rings in springEnrique Pérez de la Rosa, KCAW – SitkaMarch 20 is the official start of spring on our calendars. But for the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka, spring started last Saturday, March 16, when a number of its patients were discharged before an appreciative audience. Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @AKPublicNews
First hackers, now thieves: Sony just can’t catch a break. A brand new shipment of Sony Ericsson Xperia Play smartphones, headed to New Zealand to be part of the device’s launch there, all turned up missing yesterday. Vodafone New Zealand called the issue a “major security breach” on Monday, and while it’s not the same as the data security problems that Sony has had with the PlayStation Network, it does represent a lack of physical security. Or so we thought, until Vodafone broke the news yesterday that the whole thing was really a marketing stunt designed to drum up publicity for the Xperia Play launch in New Zealand.The so-called “PlayStation Phone” was due to be launched in New Zealand this week, and initially Vodafone kept quiet on a rescheduled release in order to let the “theft” sink in. Then, this morning, they let the cat out of the bag and said that they were launching a “manhunt” to find the “stolen” phones, and that they needed the community’s help. They even released a video showing the supposed theft.The goal of the PR campaign was supposedly to kick off a kind of scavenger hunt, encouraging Vodafone customers to join in to find the lost phones, with the winner getting six free phones and a $5,000 credit to use towards games.Vodafone New Zealand admitted to the stunt on Twitter, and when asked about it by another Twitter user, they responded that as long as people are talking about the launch, then the campaign must have been successful.The Xperia Play is already available in the UK, Spain, Ireland, and Canada. Just yesterday, Sony announced the Xperia Play would be available in the United States through Verizon Wireless on May 26th, with pre-orders starting on the 19th. The reaction to Vodafone New Zealand’s stunt has been largely negative so far, but its clear they’re trying to make the best of it, instead of just backing down and admitting it was a mistake.Read more at Twitter, via Mashable
Photos: The 2018-2019 US Winter Season (So Far) As Seen From SpaceWatch: Why You Should Be Like a Banana During Polar Vortex Stay on target Looks like Chicago’s trains were not the only modes of transportation struggling during the deep freeze that blasted cities in the Midwest earlier this week.Drivers of Teslas and electric cars discovered on Wednesday, at the peak of the Arctic cold blast brought on by the polar vortex, that they were dealing with way less range than they were used to. Some drivers were reporting diminished battery life, and some Tesla owners couldn’t even get into their frozen cars, according to Mashable.Tesla conducts tests in icy and snowy conditions at an extreme cold facility but it seems that the record-breaking temperatures that some Midwesterners experienced this week were just too much for the vehicles.Last week, TeslaCEO Elon Musk promised “cold weather improvements” in an upcoming computer update, but unfortunately for the stranded drivers, those didn’t come in time for this week’s deep freeze.In Tesla’s Winter Driving Tips guide posted on their website, the company acknowledged that it is normal to see increased range consumption during winter. “In colder months, when ambient temperatures are lower, more energy is required to maintain an optimal temperature,” the company said.And drivers did notice the limited range in extremely cold temperatures.In case anybody is wondering how the @Tesla performs at -23F. About 120 miles range on a full charge Model X 100D @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/vilhhVKOmq— William H. Spear, MD (@wspear21) January 30, 2019But several drivers also reported that they couldn’t even get into their vehicles.Typically, Tesla door handles slide open when someone approaches, but layers of ice were keeping everything frozen in place..@elonmusk .@Tesla I love you but can you hire a designer/engineer from places where the weather gets bad so that we don’t have to deal with bad design like this again?? This is after 30+ minutes of preheating the car to 80 degrees. Also wipers and side mirrors were frozen too pic.twitter.com/HO8igw131x— sa ra (@sarahthanif) January 30, 2019And Tesla is not the only electric carmaker hearing about problems in the frigid temperatures. Drivers of other EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf, have reported issues such as reduced mileage, a known problem in cold weather.We’re sure Tesla and the Nissan are working to improve their vehicles’ performance in sub-zero temperatures, and build better batteries and door handles. Hopefully, the improvements will come in time for the next polar vortex.More on Geek.com:Watch: Why You Should Be Like a Banana During Polar VortexThe Polar Vortex As Seen From Space42 Stunning Images of Snow and Ice From Space
Rayavadee in Krabi has announced an extension to its Winter Offer including bonus complimentary nights for guest stays from Australia in a Deluxe Pavilion at this popular resort in Thailand through to the end of October 2016.The Rayavadee Winter Offer is applicable for new bookings only of a minimum 4-night stay in a Deluxe Pavilion, which will include the fourth night free and can be combined with a special Kids Go Free Offer and a reduced Half Board Offer. Bookings need to made by 31 August 2016, valid for travel from now until 31 October 2016.The Kids Go Free Offer provides a complimentary stay and dining for one or two children up to 12 years of age sharing a room with adults. The Special Half Board Offer is priced at THB1700 (approx. AUD65) per person per day, a 25% reduction off of normal pricing.A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Rayavadee presents award-winning architecture, fine cuisine, a relaxation spa and a fleet of speedboats for excursions to surrounding islands. Set within the spectacular scenery of Krabi’s Marine National Park in the heart of the Phranang Peninsular on southern Thailand’s Andaman coast, Rayavadee features 98 luxurious pavilions and four beachfront villas spread over 10.5 hectares of coconut groves and tropical landscapes, set against a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs and bordered by three beaches.Each two-storey Deluxe Pavilion offers fully-equipped spacious accommodation and stylish, tropical decor with polished wood, richly coloured fabrics and handcrafted details throughout as well as an outdoor terrace with seating.Whether guests are looking to visit a deserted beach at sunset or spend the day on a luxurious speedboat visiting Phi Phi Island or Phang Nga Bay, the array of sea excursions promise exhilarating adventure and romance. Guests can kayak through a pristine mangrove forest, climb aboard an elephant for a ramble through the Krabi landscape, scale a rock wall with a private rock climbing instructor, hike a nature trail to a waterfall, learn to scuba dive or discover the art of Thai cooking.Accommodation in a Deluxe Pavilion is priced from THB14,000 (approx. AU$535) per night for two people net inclusive of breakfast, tax and service charge.
Cyprus’ shipping authorities are primed to capitalise on opportunities and ready to safeguard the industry against negative developments reports Mike TheodoulouTHOMAS Kazakos clearly likes facts and figures, which he rattles off at high speed. But he pauses occasionally to put them in context, never losing sight of the bigger picture. This is when the tireless director of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) puts aside numbers and turns to pop culture, always with a big smile.“If you build it, they will come,” he says, comparing the thinking behind the island’s shipping industry to the baseball field in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams.Cyprus began building it in the early 1960s when it established its shipping registry and introduced legislation providing ship managers and owners with a more tax-efficient business environment. And come they did, transforming the island into a shipping superpower.Cyprus now boasts the largest third-party ship-management centre in Europe, one of the largest crew management centres in the world, and the 11th largest fleet in the world.Thomas Kazakos“Our companies compete with the biggest shipping giants on Earth in their field of operation,” Kazakos says. “And our big fleet and vibrant resident shipping industry gives Cyprus substantial political and financial strength.”Cyprus will soon be able to boast one of the world’s biggest ship-management companies, with two long-established, Limassol-based companies set to merge under an equal partnership. With due diligence for the deal between Columbia Shipmanagement and Marlow Navigation finished, the merger is simply awaiting regulatory approval from anti-competition authorities in Cyprus and Germany where each have important presences.The shipping sector is both the island’s longest-serving generator of foreign direct investment and its most resilient industry, contributing more than €1bn a year to the economy. This accounts for 7 per cent of GDP, a far higher figure than in other countries seriously engaged in merchant shipping. The industry directly employs 4,500 shore-based personnel – more than half of them Cypriot graduates – and 55,000 seafarers from around the world.The sector survived the 1974 Turkish invasion, the devastation inflicted on the global shipping industry by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and emerged from Cyprus’ bailout in 2013 unscathed in terms of taxation and operational framework, although some shipping companies suffered a “haircut” of their local bank deposits.There is tangible potential for further growth, which can materialise without substantial cost because the infrastructure is already in place.Brexit and natural gas now present major opportunities, which would be boosted by a Cyprus settlement, if it ever happened:• UK-regulated ship insurers have identified Cyprus and Luxembourg as attractive jurisdictions for an outpost or base in the event of a hard Brexit which they fear will hinder their access to the EU’s financial market. Meanwhile, a major UK-based European ship management company has reportedly decided to move to Cyprus because of Brexit. And, prompted by uncertainty in the Greek economy, some Greek ship-owners and ship-management companies have transferred some of their operations to Cyprus – and have joined the Cyprus Shipping Chamber as members.• Cyprus’ well-established shipping industry is ideally placed to capitalise on the discovery of large natural gas fields in Cypriot, Egyptian and Israeli waters. There are six LNG carriers in the Cyprus fleet and plans to add many more under the island’s new gas strategy which embraces the LNG market.• A settlement of the Cyprus problem would swiftly and dramatically boost the size of the island’s commercial fleet because the Turkish embargo on Cypriot-flagged ships would be lifted virtually overnight. “If the Cyprus flag is now roughly 1,000 ocean-going vessels, another 2,000 ships from our existing membership could register under the Cyprus flag quite fast,” Kazakos said.While there is no guarantee that all three scenarios for potential growth will be realised, Cyprus’ shipping authorities are firm believers in forward planning. That way, they will be primed to capitalise on opportunities and ready to safeguard the industry against negative developments.Cyprus must be ready, for instance, to cope with new demand if the Turkish embargo is lifted, Kazakos said. Otherwise, existing customers will become dissatisfied and potential new ones will not come aboard. “We work continuously to upgrade our maritime administration, to build our competitive package in both good times and bad,” says Kazakos.That competitive package will be strengthened later this year when parliament is expected to pass a bill to establish an Under-secretariat for Shipping after years of campaigning by the CSC. The new Under-Secretariat will upgrade and eventually replace the Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS), a body of the Ministry of Transport and report directly to the island’s president. While the DMS is a “very sound department”, Kazakos says the new Under-secretariat will allow it to become “even better – more efficient, more autonomous, more flexible, and more business-minded”.By working in close partnership with the shipping industry, the administration would be able to draft legislation that boosts the attractions of Cyprus for ship-owners, managers and operators. To be based in Limassol, the island’s maritime capital, the Under-secretariat of Shipping will be the first ministry outside Nicosia. It will be ideally located to work with the CSC, the professional trade association of the shipping and shipping-related companies based on the island.Founded in 1989 by 17 ship-owners, the CSC now has 200 members whose interests it promotes and protects along with ensuring the good reputation of the Cyprus flag.Most of the shipping companies are based in Limassol, a cosmopolitan tourist resort and port city which has undergone a major transformation in recent years. Bustling cafés and restaurants fill its revamped historic old town while its long coastal road is now flanked by cycle paths, pedestrian walkways and prestige, high-rise residential developments.Being ready for what Kazakos calls “the day after” is what steered the island’s shipping industry through several crises. During Cyprus’ bailout in 2013, the island’s troika of lenders readily accepted there was no need to tamper with the shipping sector whose tax framework was already modern, flexible, transparent and, above all, EU-approved.Cyprus had put more than 10 years of hard work into negotiations with Brussels to secure an upgraded and competitive EU-approved tonnage tax (TT) system which was introduced in 2010. The main benefit of the TT regime is the certainty it provides companies on their annual tax obligations, enabling them to do their business plans accordingly. While other jurisdictions might have less expensive TT regimes, Cyprus’ incorporates all three types of maritime activities – ship-owning, ship management, and chartering, making it unique in the EU where other jurisdictions might specialise in just one or two of these areas. Cyprus is also in effect the only fully EU-approved open registry in Europe.See also: Seeking growth in stormy watersThe TT regime ensured the island was an attractive jurisdiction despite the illegal Turkish embargo, which was imposed in 1987. It was also a protective shield during the 2013 bailout. The shipping chamber lost none of its existing members and, without soliciting new business, even registered new ones in 2013 and 2014 in the midst and aftermath of the upheaval caused by the banking crisis. “While other industries faced serious operational problems, we were rowing the boat against the tide,” Kazakos said. “We also passed the troika’s test with flying colours.”The shipping chamber’s “after sales” care service also kicked in, helping to guarantee the goodwill of its members. The chamber worked quietly and efficiently with the troika, the ministry of finance and transport and the Central Bank to secure an EU directive to reduce the losses of those that suffered a “haircut” on their bank deposits.“The shipping industry in these past three to four years remained loyal to Cyprus, no company has left the island. On the contrary, we saw some companies establishing offices here,” Kazakos said.Kazakos re-works another pop cultural reference to describe how the CSC responds to challenges or crises: “When the going gets tough, the well-prepared get going.”See also: ‘We compete with other countries not each other’You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
An outbreak of distemper in the north has led to the death of around 100 dogs and animal shelters are temporarily shutting down to keep the problem contained.Veterinary services and animal shelters in government-controlled areas were informed on Tuesday, according to Animal Party leader Kyriacos Kyriacou.No cases of distemper have been reported in the Republic, he told the Cyprus Mail.In a lengthy post on April 6, Kyrenia animal rescue (Kar) said there had been an outbreak of distemper and that it was closing down until further notice.It said its shops were still open but that the rescue centre was no longer taking animals in or allowing animals out.Kyriacou said at the moment there is no cause for concern as most dogs in government-controlled areas have been vaccinated.Kar’s post specified emergency supplies were requested for ‘heavy duty vaccination along with supplies of intravenous Vitamin C – which is not currently out of stock’ in the north.“New supplies are on their way from France – due to arrive over the next week or so – hopefully. Vets and staff will begin a massive program for all of the dogs left up at Kar to try and give them a chance against distemper – we do not know if it will work. We do not know if they will survive.”Kyriacou said the north had not requested any assistance from the Republic and that even if they were going to, there was no procedure in place.“There is no cooperation. If we need to, we will have to do this through NGOs or via technical committees.“If there is an epidemic, will there not be a bridge of cooperation? Something needs to happen.”He also stipulated there was no shortage of supplies in government-controlled areas to tackle the problem if cases of distemper were observed in the Republic.Kar’s post said that one morning staff found a litter of pups abandoned at the centre and, as procedure outlined, they were health checked and placed in a quarantine area.One puppy was snuffling and coughing and had a fever the next day. It was treated by a vet however distemper was not the first thing that came to mind as other illnesses can have the same symptoms, the rescue centre said.“His condition, at the centre, further deteriorated over a period of time…at that point, it came to light that there had been a recent case of a dog with distemper in the Girne area. So the puppy was tested and the result was positive.“The puppy was put to sleep and staff were advised to keep a close eye on the siblings. It was not long before they too became ill with distemper. The whole litter sadly was euthanized. That was the end of the problem so Kar and the vet thought. Not so.”Over the next few weeks, more and more dogs were becoming ill and diagnosed with distemper. Hardly surprising, Kar said, as the disease can be transmitted by airborne viral particles breathed in.“Staff were arriving in the mornings to find dogs had died overnight – it has been heart breaking for them.”Canines both young and old were being affected by distemper and some were even going to be sent away to homes outside of the island.“We have already lost 80 dogs to this outbreak of distemper we do not want to lose anymore – but we feel that it may be inevitable. But we have to try and give them all the best chance of survival that we can.”Kyriacou said he had been informed that other shelters in the north had also temporarily closed down and that about 100 dogs have died of distemper. You May LikeLowerMyBillsPay Off Your House At A Furious Pace If You Owe Less Than $625kLowerMyBillsUndoTummyTuckHipoRob Kardashian Shows Off Impressive TransformationTummyTuckHipoUndoHaveTip9 Things Done by a Man When He no Longer Loves YouHaveTipUndo House rejects presidential veto over repossession lawUndoHeroes’ welcome for Israeli teens after woman detained for false rape claim (Update 2)UndoFour dead in California garlic festival shootingUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
By George PsyllidesRULING Disy and opposition Diko have joined forces to prepare a “social package” that will include a cut in fuel tax and rewards for borrowers who have been consistent in repaying their obligations, it was announced on Thursday.Speaking in parliament, Disy leader Averof Neophytou said he had agreed with his Diko counterpart, Nicolas Papadopoulos, to prepare a package to support those in need but also those who have been consistent in paying their loans and their taxes.Neophytou said cooperation with Diko, which supported the recovery of the economy at great cost, must now move onto allocating the dividends.Included in the measures is a scheme similar to the one designed to help vulnerable homeowners, but this time for reliable borrowers and taxpayers who “shouldn’t feel like idiots.”This was an allusion to Estia scheme whose detractors say it was designed to bail out strategic defaulters and banks.People who have restructured their loans have also protested since they will not be eligible for the scheme.The state said Estia will cost taxpayers around €33m and Papadopoulos believes the same amount must be set aside for the people who have been repaying their loans.Neophytou said this could be done by subsidising the interest rates but talks will be held with the government on the specific ways.Measures were being considered to help people with low pensions too.The two parties were also looking at supporting workers and the self-employed who will be called upon to raise their contributions in March next year to pay for the national health scheme. Workers will have to fork out an additional 3.6 per cent for the scheme and a 1 per cent increase in social insurance.“It is a matter we must look at with great care and sensitivity,” Neophytou said.At the same time, the parties have prepared bills to cut the fuel consumption tax by 15 cents per litre instead of a reduction in the tax on interest rates from deposits.The Disy leader said the package will not affect fiscal stability nor shake market confidence.You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoThrone: Free Online GamesIf You’re Over 40 And Own A Computer, This Game Is A Must!Throne: Free Online GamesUndoMBA Degrees | Search AdsMBA Programs Online – See For YourselfMBA Degrees | Search AdsUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola