first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday proposed to Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) to provide compensation of Rs 5 lakh for each family whose houses have been damaged or collapsed at Bowbazar due to tunneling work.KMRCL has already accepted the proposal by Banerjee to build the houses which have collapsed and repair those which have been damaged. Till the completion of work and handing the houses over to the owners, KMRCL will arrange their accommodation. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe Chief Minister has also set up a core committee led by Chief Secretary Malay De, which would monitor the whole process. The Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, the Mayor, the Transport Secretary and Disaster Management Group (DMG) officials will comprise the committee. On Tuesday, Banerjee along with Mayor Firhad Hakim, MP Sudip Bandopadhyay and Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay met with senior officials of KMRCL, including the managing director Manas Sarkar. During the meeting, Banerjee proposed to KMRCL to provide compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of families who have been shifted from their residences. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayShe also informed that CCTV cameras have already been installed in the area so that no theft can take place. It has also been decided that after taking precautionary measures and checking, one member from each family will be allowed to retrieve their belongings from their damaged houses in presence of police and DMG personnel. She also suggested that the families can be temporarily rehabilitated in a building near Gem Cinema belonging to KMRCL, which is capable of housing the homeless residents. “This is not the time for blame game. All of us must come forward to help the families in distress. We have requested KMRCL to provide interim shelters to the families who have been evacuated. KMRCL has accepted our request and will arrange for the same. They will build and repair the houses which have been damaged,” said the Chief Minister. Apart from the houses, KMRCL will also build and hand over the shops which have been damaged and collapsed, to their owners. She further said: “Several residents have complained that they could not even retrieve a single document like Aadhaar card, ration card or Voter ID card. It has been decided that special camps will be held to reissue such documents to the affected people.” Apart from these decisions, Banerjee requested KMRCL authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh to the family that used to reside at 13A Durga Pithuri Lane, as one of the family members’ marriage has been fixed on January next year. She has also proposed to provide some amount of money as monthly compensation to those who became jobless due to the incident. The Chief Minster stated that an extensive survey of the area by experts must be done at the earliest. Following Banerjee’s request, Sarkar stated that KMRCL is ready to extend help from all sides. But deciding the amount of compensation is not possible for him as it will be decided in KMRCL’s board meeting. He assured that he will place the proposals before the board and will do everything he can.last_img read more

FRANKFURT — German automaker Volkswagen saw operating profit slip in the first quarter as the company set aside 1 billion euros for legal issues but reaffirmed its profit goals for the year and saw better profits at its core brand.The company said Thursday that operating profit fell to 3.9 billion euros ($4.4 billion) from 4.2 billion euros in the same quarter a year ago. Group sales revenue rose 3.1% to 60.0 billion euros.The Volkswagen brand, one of the company’s 12, saw operating profit rise 5 % to 921 million euros as cost control and a more profitable model mix compensated for lower volumes.Volkswagen still faces legal issues from its 2015 scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions test, including a pending suit from investors.The Associated Press read more

“Remembering is a necessary rebuke to those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated,” said Mr. Annan in a video message that was part of a two-hour ceremony observing the UN’s first International Day of Commemoration.The Secretary-General invoked the day’s theme – “remembrance and beyond” – and urged all to “pledge ourselves to even greater efforts to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity.”Although unable to personally attend the gathering because he is travelling in Europe, Mr. Annan and his wife, Nane, marked the Day in Zurich, Switzerland, where they met with Auschwitz survivors and a group of young members affiliated with the International Auschwitz Committee.Nane Annan is the niece of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi persecution during the Second World War.In comments to reporters after meeting with the Auschwitz survivors, Mr. Annan invoked his wife’s late uncle. “How come there were so few Wallenbergs, where were the others?” he asked. “We all have a responsibility in trying to ensure that we do protect society and each other.”Mr. Annan also emphasized that the Holocaust must not be denied or forgotten, and warned against complacency in the face of hate. “There are bigots today who would deny that the Holocaust occurred, that unique experience of Holocaust occurred, and that should be countered,” he said.“We see racism, humiliation of the other, and that is how it begins. You start with humiliation, you start with discrimination, you demean the other and before you know it, it has moved onto incredible levels,” he warned.About 2,000 people – Holocaust survivors, their family and friends, UN staff members and the public – gathered to in New York to hear the message from Mr. Annan as well as speeches by Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, the Acting President of the General Assembly, Brazilian Ambassador Ronald Mota Sardenberg, Israeli Ambassador Gillerman, and other dignitaries who shared the podium with survivors and activists.Many members of the audience were moved to tears as Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein emotionally recounted how former U.S. Army lieutenant Kurt Klein, a German Jew who fled Nazi Germany in 1938, liberated her in Volary, Czechoslovakia, and later became her husband. He died in 2002.“I weighed 68 pounds. I was in rags. I had white hair,” said Ms. Klein of her condition when Mr. Klein arrived at the former bicycle factory where she and other survivors had ended a 350-mile death march ordered by her captors. She was two days shy of her 21st birthday after a six-year ordeal that began when Germans invaded her southern Polish town in 1939. She lost every member of her family, except for one uncle who was living in Turkey.After starting the ceremony with two minutes of silence to honour the victims, Mr. Tharoor said it was appropriate that the liberation of Auschwitz be commemorated at the UN, which was built on the ashes of the Holocaust.“When they were confronted by the full horror of what had been done in the death camps of Europe, world leaders were inspired, indeed driven, to create a place where they could work together to change our world for the better,” Mr. Tharoor said.Mr. Sardenberg, who spoke on behalf of Assembly President Jan Eliasson, said it was crucial for the international community to remember the horrendous crimes that occurred in Nazi death camps in order to prevent new horrors from occurring in the years ahead.He recalled that in adoption its resolution designating the Day, the 191-member General Assembly rejected “any denial of the Holocaust as an historic event, either in full or part.”The General Assembly chose 27 January for the annual commemoration because it was that day, in 1945, that the Auschwitz concentration camp fell to Allied Forces.Israeli Ambassador Daniel Gillerman gave a vivid speech in which he urged the crowd to imagine “the shattering of skulls and the burning of flesh” as he recounted the horrors of the Nazi death camps.And in a touching display that brought the Holocaust tragedy to a personal level, individual photos of more than a dozen victims – from an infant to a 60-year-old man, were shown on a large screen as Mr. Tharoor read brief, gripping narratives of their lives.The event also included a performance by the Zamir Chorale of Boston and a lecture by Yehuda Bauer, an academic advisor to Yad Vashem and the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.The meeting, which was web cast, culminated a weeklong series of events held at UN Headquarters that encompassed people of all ages and included film, candlelight vigils, photo exhibits and poetry readings. read more

The motives behind these illicit activities are various and the toll that they are taking is incredible – millions of birds are being killed each year – numbers that are totally unsustainable and which alongside other pressures such as habitat loss and climate change are leading to many once common species being at risk of extinction.The theme of this year’s World Day is “…and when the skies fall silent? Stop the Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade!”Ahead of the Day, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) announced the creation of the Intergovernmental Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean composed of Governments and the European Commission.UN organizations such as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), international environmental treaties, INTERPOL, law enforcement and judiciary organizations, hunting communities and nongovernmental organizations will also be part of the coalition.World Migratory Bird Day is co-organized by CMS and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), international treaties administered by UNEP.“I fully support the global campaign to raise awareness about the threats to migratory birds from habitat destruction, overexploitation, pollution and climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “I call for greater international efforts to restore and preserve migratory birds and the network of sites they need to survive as an important part of the environment on which we all depend.”Perhaps the simplest way to appreciate how important birds’ life is to us all, to the planet, to our ecosystem, and to nature is to step outside for a moment, close your eyes and just listen, or look up the skiesUNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: “During their long journeys, migratory birds run afoul of any number of natural obstacles, from predators to weather. They shouldn’t also have to duck the grasping claws of the illegal wildlife trade. Illegal taking and killing of birds threaten not only the survival of bird species, but ecosystems, communities and livelihoods as well. So World Migratory Bird Day is not strictly for the birds; it’s to remind us of the part they play for planet and people alike.”Bird hunting has been traditionally practiced in the Mediterranean for centuries, but the recent surge in illegal activities, such as poaching and trapping, is endangering many threatened species that are already subject to other pressures, such as climate change and habitat loss. World Migratory Bird Day. White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) Sergey Dereliev (UNEP/AEWA), migratory birds Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA, said: “Migrating birds are facing increasing pressures along their journeys and habitat losses and degradation are the most difficult to tackle. But the birds are also exposed to illegal killing, taking and trade. We can no longer say that these practices are traditional as the equipment to capture birds has become more efficient. The nylon mist nets are now almost invisible to birds. As a result more birds are taken from declining populations. We must stop the illegal killing now, if we don’t want our skies to fall silent.”Each year, up to 6.2 million exhausted birds, migrating between their breeding and wintering grounds, are caught in illegally set nets stretching for hundreds of kilometres along the North African coastline. The less lucky ones suffer an agonizing death on lime stick traps – twigs covered with extremely sticky glue. It is estimated that up to 2 million Blackcaps die in such traps each year.The Intergovernmental Task Force will add new momentum to international efforts to tackle the illegal killing, taking and trade in birds by agreeing on new guidelines, recommendations and action plans to address the causes of poaching.The Task Force will work towards changing the hunting practices in the region to make them compliant with national and international laws. It will also aim to enhance the enforcement of these laws through training of local police and judiciary, information exchange, promoting deterrence and prevention policies to end the large-scale killings of migratory birds taking place today.The Task Force, which will hold its first meeting in Cairo from 12 to 15 July 2016, is expected to be replicated in other major flyways across the world. The socio-economic study on Hunting and Illegal Killing of Birds along the Mediterranean Coast of Egypt, which will be released by BirdLife International on World Migratory Bird Day, will give important input to this meeting.Tackling illegal killing and trade in wildlife, including birds, and mobilizing global action around the issue will also be the focus of the 2016 World Environment Day, which takes place on 5 June and is hosted by Angola, under the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life.’ A global UN campaign to garner support for stopping the trade in many species and their products will also be launched. read more

Ohio State junior forward Mason Jobst prepares for a face-off against Robert Morris on Oct. 27. The Buckeyes won 5-3. Credit: Nick Hudak | For the LanternNo. 17 Ohio State (6-3-3, 1-3-0-0 Big Ten) defeated Connecticut (3-8-2, 2-4-1 Hockey East) 5-4 in a high-scoring battle in the first game of the men’s hockey weekend series Friday, then tied 1-1 in a goaltender showdown in the second game Saturday. Freshman goalie Tommy Nappier made his first Ohio State start in the opening game of the series and made 35 saves in the game.Game 1The Buckeyes lit up the Huskies for five goals in Game 1. The Buckeyes got up to an early 3-0 lead thanks to two first-period goals by senior forward Matthew Weis. Weis opened up the scoring with a goal 40 seconds into the first period off assists from sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski and junior defenseman Sasha Larocque.UConn got two back later in the second period off goals by senior forward Jesse Schwartz and senior forward Spencer Naas to bring the score to 3-2 going into the third period.Junior forward Mason Jobst scored his sixth goal of the season to give the Buckeyes a two-goal lead early in the frame, scoring on the man advantage, something Ohio State has struggled with this season. The Buckeyes went a strong 2-for-4 on the power play in Game 1, with junior forward Dakota Joshua scoring in the second period while a man up.The Huskies attempted a comeback and were given a great opportunity on a major penalty by senior forward Christian Lampasso, but Ohio State killed off the five-minute power play. UConn cut the lead to 5-4 on a late goal by junior forward Max Kalter with an empty net, but Ohio State held on for the tight victory.Game 2After the nine goals in the first game, only two found their way past redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo and sophomore goalie Adam Huska in a 1-1 draw. Romeo made 29 saves, including six crucial saves in the overtime period to preserve the tie. Huska made 24 saves.Both teams had numerous opportunities, as Ohio State had five chances on the power play and UConn had four. But neither team found the back of the net while on the man advantage.Laczynski tallied his third point of the series on a goal halfway through the third period that opened the scoring for Ohio State. Senior defenseman Janik Moser earned an assist on the play.The Huskies countered late in the third period and scored the equalizer with about three minutes to go on a shot by Schwartz for his second of the series.The lone goals on both sides of the ice were the only two goals in the game and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. UConn led in shots for the second game in a row 30-25.The Buckeyes have a bye week next week then travel to Ann Arbor for a rival conference matchup against Michigan. Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 and 7:30 on Nov. 25. read more

first_imgAS IT IS currently structured, the Irish healthcare system ensures that people spend an inordinate amount of time not being treated for what ails them. The current structure incentivises inactivity, not efficiency. Patients are seen as a cost, and one that only has to be realised when a patient enters the hospital.This is why most of our healthcare spending is outside of hospitals. We spend an inordinate amount of money on patients who are waiting for expert treatment, while those who run the bureaucracy think that they are saving money by not treating the patients properly.Everyone accepts that there are grave failings in the Irish healthcare system; the only thing that divides us is how to solve them. Some would argue that we should move towards an NHS style service, others look for lessons in Berlin, and still others would find solutions in Havana.The influence of political ideologyWhat typically happens, is that people bring their political ideology to the table and then pick the health service which most closely matches it.Take for instance the former Minister for Health, Mary Harney. She was of a school of thought that believed that we should have a health care system populated by private for-profit institutions.Harney believed, as an article of faith, that private for-profit businesses are, in and of themselves, a good thing, and so she sought the solutions to our healthcare problems in private, for-profit, businesses.While there are major problems with the US healthcare system, the best managed institutions I have ever worked in were in New York. When I was working in the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, the only waiting the patients did was in the room outside my clinic door – similarly in Mount Sinai Hospital. Sloan-Kettering and Mount Sinai are private, entirely not-for-profit institutions, founded by wealthy philanthropists and financed by insurance revenues; they are meccas for cancer specialists, researchers and patients alike.The US model: medics leading medical institutionsAny insured cancer patient can access this hospital (ie 80 per cent of the American population). Care is single-tier. Politicians, millionaires, pop stars, actors and ordinary citizens were all seen in the same clinics, admitted to the same wards, operated on in the same theatres, and critically, all cared for by the same doctors. There was no co-located hospital for the wealthy.The main problem with US healthcare is the lack of universal healthcare insurance – we should not emulate that. But, in terms of working hospitals you will find the best doctors, the best treatments, and the best outcomes for patients in the US. The chairs of these institutions are doctors. These clinically excellent medics lead their medical institutions, supported by technically adept managers, whom they guide with medical brilliance. At an institutional level we must move towards the US model, what we should avoid is the US insurance model.Also problematic in the US system, is that for those who have insurance, doctors and hospitals are incentivised to carry out medical procedures which may not be necessary. With an unfettered free market approach, and a fee per item system, this is inevitable; as inevitable, as the incentivised inactivity in the Irish system.The German model: healthcare based on need – not wealthThere is a middle route between these two extremes which is a model based on the principle of social solidarity, where access to healthcare is based on need and not wealth. Looking at the international landscape, the model I think we can learn most from is the German model, if we are aiming for an egalitarian system which is also efficient and effective.In Germany, the typical worker contributes 9 per cent of their gross income to their health insurance. There are many ways of structuring this. Some huge employers have their own schemes, others buy commercial insurance from the market, and all those who are unemployed are insured by the state.This is progressive, those who earn more, pay more; despite the fact that people who earn more typically have fewer health problems than those who live more difficult lives.Every person has their own freely negotiable insurance credit. They can go to whatever institution they choose to go to, individual institutions decide what areas of care they offer, and the degree of care they offer within those clinical areas.Ireland: the least efficient healthcare sector in the worldThis approach is anathema to the bureaucrats which currently govern this country; they are not interested in patient outcomes, but in controlling admin budgets. They do not care if money can be better spent, they choose instead to manage the devils we know rather than risk devils we don’t know.Dr Don Thornhill of the National Competitiveness Council argues that we have the least efficient healthcare sector in the world. We spend a very average amount on healthcare. Had we the same demographics as other European States; we would have the most expensive healthcare system in the world. With 100,000 young Irish people emigrating every year, our country is aging much faster than anticipated, the inevitable funding crunch will arrive far sooner than we would like.We do not have the worst quality of healthcare in the developed world, we have instead the worst managed healthcare system in the developed world, run by technically deficient, medically illiterate bureaucrats.It is not even their fault that the healthcare system is so bad – how else could it be, given the dysfunctional nature of what we have asked them to do? We ask them to ration healthcare, they do as we ask of them.Professor John Crown is a Senator in Seanad Éireann. He trained in cancer medicine in New York in Mount Sinai Hospital and Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Centre and was appointed as a consultant in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin in 1993.Read: HSE U-turn on funding for epilepsy sufferer ‘insulting’>Read: HSE rehired three staff the day after they retired>last_img read more

first_imgGARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING an incident in which an 18-year-old was held at gunpoint by two masked men.The teenager had arranged to meet an individual at Newtownstalaban near Drogheda with a view to selling his car. However, when he went to the location he was met by two masked men, one who was armed with a firearm.The man was taken at gunpoint to a disused farmhouse and held there for a number of hours. He was then taken to his own house where a number of family members were assaulted (no serious injuries) the house was searched and some property was taken.The masked men left the house in the owners car,which was later found burnt out a short time later.Investigating Gardaí are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact Drogheda Garda Station on 041-9874200, the Garda Confidential Line 1-800-666-111 or any Garda Station.Read: These cars were bought with fake bank drafts and sold on to unsuspecting buyersRead: Warning after multiple cases of car sales scamlast_img read more

first_img‘IT’S NOT SOMETHING you see every day’ — as one onlooker noted.The circumstances of how a fight broke out today between a street performer dressed as Spiderman, and another man, not dressed as Spiderman, are unclear as yet.However, thankfully — it appears all involved came out of the encounter on Dublin’s South Anne Street relatively unscathed.It all starts quite violently indeed — the blue-tracksuited man appearing to connect with a few punches. ‘Spiderman’ then wrestles him to the ground, and the pair engage in a brief scuffle over the second man’s baseball hat.It all gets a bit weird after that. (Weirder still.)The ‘superhero’ apparently decides he doesn’t want to let the man past a certain point in the street (past the Gotham Café, appropriately enough).There’s a few more handbag-like encounters — after which a number of onlookers intervene, and the whole situation appears to calm down a little.The whole video can be viewed here. [Credit: RM Videos]Read Here’s everything we know so far about Star Wars filming in Co. Kerry Read Strangers donate money online for US man robbed during Liffey rescuelast_img read more

first_imgGameloft do some pretty cool games it has to be said, with their N.O.V.A franchise being classed as some of the best FPS for the iPhone and iPad.If you have never played the above game before, or were looking for a Gameloft title at a bargain price, then this piece of news will certainly get you rushing to the iTunes store (I know I did).AdChoices广告As Gameloft have announced – for a short-time only – over 30 of their best selling titles on the iPhone and iPad are slashed in price to just $0.99.Gameloft’s blog post below shows a selection of the games on sale, but I found it was easier to just type in Gameloft from within the iTunes search bar and look for games that way. I ended up finding that Splinter Cell Conviction was on sale, having played the demo I thought this was a must have.Read more at the Gameloft Bloglast_img read more

Benitezs message to Newcastle fans Dont be concerned

first_imgRafael Benitez feels that fans should not be “concerned” by Newcastle United’s EFL Cup second-round defeat to Nottingham ForestFollowing Daryl Murphy’s 2nd minute opener for the hosts, Newcastle spent almost the entire game on Wednesday night behind until Salomon Rondon equalised in injury time.But their renewed hopes proved to be short-lived after Forest weighed in with two late goals to win 3-1 and knock Newcastle out of the EFL Cup for the second successive season.Asked if fans should be worried, Benitez told Sky Sports: “No, don’t be concerned.“They knew at the beginning it would be a difficult start to the season so we must just keep working and carrying on.“I am disappointed. Everyone could see what happened. I didn’t like the beginning of the game – I think the team reacted well.“We didn’t have much control but we were close, maybe we are missing the final pass to create the more clear chance.“When we had the draw and we were there, everyone saw what happened.”Benitez added: “We are disappointed, we lost the game, and even more was the way we lost, we conceded an early goal, they were not creating clear chances, we didn’t have clear chances either.“We could see what happened at the end, the way you lose you have to be disappointed, it’s not the first time this year this has happened.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“The positive thing for me is you could see the reaction from the team and then we have to manage the situation better.”FULL TIME – Nottingham Forest 3 Newcastle United 1 #NUFC— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 29, 2018Striker Ayoze Perez was denied a penalty for a challenge by Forest goalkeeper Luke Steele.“The decisions weren’t in our favour and it was difficult to take,” continued Benitez.“A lot of players seem to do well in terms of effort, they were working hard, it was a question of managing the final minutes better.“After the penalty appeal, we had the feeling we deserved more.”At the same stage of the competition last year, Forest grabbed a 3-2 win over Newcastle at St James’ Park.last_img read more

first_imgBOSTON — Jeff Green scored 19 points, Jason Terry added 17 and the Boston Celtics cruised to a comfortable win without Rajon Rondo, topping the Portland Trail Blazers 96-78 on Friday night.The star point guard served the first game of his two-game suspension for his role in a scuffle Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. Courtney Lee started in Rondo’s place and finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.The Celtics never trailed. They carried a 56-33 advantage into the break and took their biggest lead on a 22-foot jumper by Kevin Garnett that made it 65-38 with 8:26 left in the third quarter.The Trail Blazers lost their fourth straight game and had just two scorers in double figures — LaMarcus Aldridge with 23 points and J.J. Hickson with 11.Aldridge provided more than half of the Trail Blazers’ points in the first half, scoring 17 while collecting five of their seven field goals. Hickson and Damian Lillard scored the others.last_img read more

Plane that crashed in Everglades removed from scene

first_imgWEST BROWARD, FLA. (WSVN) – Crews have disassembled and removed a wrecked plane that crashed in the Everglades.The small aircraft was taken away Tuesday after it crashed into the Everglades over the weekend. 7’s Skyforce HD flew over the scene as crews took the plane apart in West Broward.The plane made an emergency landing on Sunday after officials said it went down about 25 miles north of U.S. 41.Two people were on board, but no one was hurt.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Language in the House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill requiring DOD to trim its headquarters budgets and personnel by 20 percent over five years garnered a strong objection from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which claimed the provision was unnecessary.The bill stipulates that the streamlining initiative generate $10 billion in savings and calls for the department to prepare an accurate baseline accounting of defense headquarters budgets and personnel, and detailed information on planned reductions in management headquarters.The department, however, already is carrying out a plan to reduce headquarters personnel, according to OMB’s “Statement of Administration Policy” issued Tuesday for H.R. 1735. That effort should be implemented by FY 2019, but has projected savings of only $5.3 billion.OMB also said the proposed language is “overly restrictive” because it targets the national capital region and exempts DOD civilians whose salaries are funded through the defense working capital fund, which collects funding through user fees. “This could have a profound impact on personnel and cause arbitrary across-the-board cuts,” the agency said.The bill would preclude the department from slashing personnel through a superficial accounting exercise.“Any reduction in personnel should not be implemented as an across-the-board cut, but rather should be strategically designed to retain critical functions, capabilities, and skill sets — including but not limited to depots and the acquisition workforce — and eliminate unnecessary or redundant functions or skill sets that do not benefit or support mission requirements,” the legislation states.The Pentagon also cannot claim savings by moving employees or responsibilities to other sections within the agency, reported Federal Times.“Such reductions shall be strategically designed to retain critical functions, capabilities, and skill sets. Management, functions, programs, or offices shall be moved to the lowest appropriate organizational level,” according to the bill.The headquarters streamlining language was one of dozens of provisions the administration objected to that collectively triggered a veto threat from the White House.last_img read more

first_imgThe process of taking a games console and converting it to be a portable unit has been made popular by Ben Heck’s many projects, the most impressive of which include turning an Xbox 360 and a PS3 into a laptop.It’s not just the latest consoles that benefit from the portable treatment though, in fact it’s a lot cheaper to attempt this with an older machine due to how cheap they can be picked up for on eBay. Plus, if you mess up, your main gaming console still works to help you get over the loss before trying again.Usually we only get to see a few stages of a console re-build along with a detailed explanation of the problems and design decisions made. However, one modder posting on forum has taken a different approach. He simply states that old consoles shouldn’t be thrown away as “you can make a brand new one out of it.” That message is then followed by 75 pictures showing every stage of turning an N64 console into a handheld, portable unit. More than anything this gallery of images shows you just how much work is involved in carrying out a hardware project like this. The amount of wires that need to be connected up correctly, the thought that goes into repositioning the controller buttons, and the addition of a display and battery as well as moulding the case show this isn’t a project for those with little patience or time.The end result looks pretty impressive to me. I doubt it gets very good battery life, but the unit certainly looks easy to hold, which is important because it will be heavy. Carrying out this project has no doubt taught the modder a lot about the internals of the console along the way, so if it stops working, or he has other N64s that breakdown, the chances are he’ll now be able to fix them.View all 75 images at Fishki.netlast_img read more

Researchers propose new kind of MOF to clean coal burned in power

first_imgNanoporous structure of 1. Credit: Science Advances (2015). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500421 As the researchers note, most of the effort currently put into making coal a cleaner fuel source revolve around capturing the carbon dioxide that is released when coal is burned. They suggest a better alternative might be to separate out the carbon dioxide as part of the burning process, leaving clean hydrogen gas as the actual fuel used to heat water to turn turbines.The new MOF proposed by the team involves the use of nickel and isonicotinic acid as a sponge to pull the carbon from the coal. It would be part of a process that involves burning the coal with steam under cycles of high and low pressure. They claim their approach is twice as efficient as other sponge methods and that it is also simpler, faster to make and is not harmed by moisture, making it easy to store and transfer materials.The big catch with the process is what to do with the carbon dioxide that is separated out—capturing it, holding on to it, transporting it and ultimately storing it would represent a substantial cost outlay for any given utility, which at this point, would appear to be prohibitively high for plants that are attempting to keep electricity costs down in places where locals could not afford higher rates, such as is the case in parts of India, China and many third-world countries.In speaking with the press, one of the researchers, Ramanathan Vaidhyanathan, suggested that this might be an issue to be brought before an international forum such as the recent Paris Climate Change Conference. He notes that rather than storing the carbon dioxide, it might be used in industrial applications, such as oil extraction or for creating new compounds. More information: S. Nandi et al. A single-ligand ultra-microporous MOF for precombustion CO2 capture and hydrogen purification, Science Advances (2015). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500421AbstractMetal organic frameworks (MOFs) built from a single small ligand typically have high stability, are rigid, and have syntheses that are often simple and easily scalable. However, they are normally ultra-microporous and do not have large surface areas amenable to gas separation applications. We report an ultra-microporous (3.5 and 4.8 Å pores) Ni-(4-pyridylcarboxylate)2 with a cubic framework that exhibits exceptionally high CO2/H2 selectivities (285 for 20:80 and 230 for 40:60 mixtures at 10 bar, 40°C) and working capacities (3.95 mmol/g), making it suitable for hydrogen purification under typical precombustion CO2 capture conditions (1- to 10-bar pressure swing). It exhibits facile CO2 adsorption-desorption cycling and has CO2 self-diffusivities of ~3 × 10−9 m2/s, which is two orders higher than that of zeolite 13X and comparable to other top-performing MOFs for this application. Simulations reveal a high density of binding sites that allow for favorable CO2-CO2 interactions and large cooperative binding energies. Ultra-micropores generated by a small ligand ensures hydrolytic, hydrostatic stabilities, shelf life, and stability toward humid gas streams. © 2015 Journal information: Science Advances Citation: Researchers propose new kind of MOF to clean coal burned in power plants (2015, December 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further (—A small team of researchers with members from India, Canada, the U.S. and Germany has come up with a new kind of metal-organic framework (MOF) to keep carbon in coal from entering the atmosphere when it is burned in power plants—thus reducing pollution and problems with global warming. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their new technique, and what hurdles need to be overcome for it to be used in commercial plants. 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. Britain indicates phase-out of coal power plantslast_img read more

Master List of Windows 10 phone home connections

first_imgMaster List of Windows 10 “phone home” connections by Martin Brinkmann on August 03, 2018 in Windows – 39 commentsMicrosoft released the first version of Windows 10 three years ago and privacy has been a hot topic ever since.We published Windows 10 and Privacy back in 2015 to highlight privacy issues such as the inability to turn off Telemetry collection and transfers in the user interface.Microsoft was criticized by government agencies in various countries such as France or the Netherlands for privacy issues, and a rising arsenal of privacy tools for Windows 10 promised users protection against the data hunger of Microsoft.One option that Windows users and administrators have is to block endpoints so that connections can’t be established. The method requires extensive testing as critical functionality may become unavailable when connections are blocked.If you block Windows Update endpoints, you should not be surprised that you cannot use the automatic updating system anymore to keep the operating system up to date.Default Windows 10 systems, those installed using default settings and left untouched, make a large number of connections automatically for a variety of purposes. Windows 10 checks for updates regularly, checks new files against Windows Defender databases, or submits telemetry data to Microsoft.While some connections are required for the operating system to work properly, others may be disabled without noticeable impact in functionality; the latter is true especially if features are not used on the system.Microsoft released a master list of Windows Endpoints for non-Enterprise and for Enterprise editions of Windows recently. The non-Enterprise listing is available for Windows 10 version 1709 and 1803, the Enterprise-specific listing for Windows 10 version 1709.Tip: Check out my side-project Privacy Amp for detailed lists and other privacy related topics.Without further ado, here are the connection endpoints of Windows 10 version 1803 (non-Enterprise).Windows 10 FamilyDestinationProtocolDescription*.e-msedge.netHTTPSUsed by OfficeHub to get the metadata of Office apps.*.g.akamaiedge.netHTTPSUsed to check for updates to maps that have been downloaded for offline use.*.s-msedge.netHTTPSUsed by OfficeHub to get the metadata of Office apps.* connections to Windows to retrieve Windows Spotlight to retrieve Windows Spotlight*HTTPSUsed to connect to the Office 365 portal’s shared infrastructure, including Office*HTTPSUsed to retrieve Skype configuration*HTTPUsed to download certificates that are publicly known to be to communicate with Microsoft to communicate with Microsoft to communicate with Microsoft*HTTPSUsed to communicate with Microsoft for the Windows Push Notification Services (WNS)*HTTPSEnables connections to Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and the online services of Microsoft connections to Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and the online services of Microsoft connections to Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and the online services of Microsoft by OneDrive for Business to download and verify app to retrieve Windows Spotlight connections to Windows Update.ipv4.login.msa.akadns6.netHTTPSUsed for Microsoft accounts to sign for online activation and some app licensing.location-inference-westus.cloudapp.netHTTPSUsed for location to Maps by Windows Error*HTTPSUsed to connect to the Office 365 portal’s shared*HTTPCRL and OCSP checks to the issuing certificate*HTTPSUsed by OneDrive for Business to download and verify app*HTTPSUsed to retrieve Windows Spotlight*HTTPSUsed to retrieve Windows Spotlight*HTTPSUsed for Windows apps to dynamically update their*HTTPSUsed as a way for apps to dynamically update their*HTTPSEnables connections to Windows*HTTPSUsed to revoke licenses for malicious apps on the Microsoft*HTTPSUsed to communicate with Microsoft*HTTPUsed to download updates to the Weather app Live for content regulation.ip5.afdorigin-prod-am02.afdogw.comHTTPSUsed to serve office 365 experimentation by Windows Error Reporting.Windows 10 ProDestinationProtocolDescription*.e-msedge.netHTTPSUsed by OfficeHub to get the metadata of Office apps.*.g.akamaiedge.netHTTPSUsed to check for updates to maps that have been downloaded for offline use.*.s-msedge.netHTTPSUsed by OfficeHub to get the metadata of Office connections to Windows Update.* connections to Windows to retrieve Windows Spotlight*HTTPEnables connections to Windows*HTTPUsed to download certificates that are publicly known to be to communicate with Microsoft to communicate with Microsoft for the Windows Push Notification Services (WNS) connections to Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and the online services of Microsoft to retrieve Windows Spotlight metadata.ipv4.login.msa.akadns6.netHTTPSUsed for Microsoft accounts to sign in.location-inference-westus.cloudapp.netHTTPSUsed for location by Windows Error*HTTPCRL and OCSP checks to the issuing certificate to retrieve Windows Spotlight*HTTPUsed to download updates to the Weather app Live for content regulation.vip5.afdorigin-prod-am02.afdogw.comHTTPSUsed to serve office 365 experimentation trafficWindows 10 EducationDestinationProtocolDescription*.b.akamaiedge.netHTTPSUsed to check for updates to maps that have been downloaded for offline use.*.e-msedge.netHTTPSUsed by OfficeHub to get the metadata of Office apps.*.g.akamaiedge.netHTTPSUsed to check for updates to maps that have been downloaded for offline use.*.s-msedge.netHTTPSUsed by OfficeHub to get the metadata of Office apps.* by Windows Error connections to Windows Update..windowsupdate.comHTTPEnables connections to Windows Update.* connections to Windows*HTTPEnables connections to Windows*HTTPSUsed for OneNote Live*HTTPSUsed to connect to the Office 365 portal’s shared infrastructure, including Office*HTTPSUsed to retrieve Skype configuration*HTTPUsed to download certificates that are publicly known to be to communicate with Microsoft to communicate with Microsoft to communicate with Microsoft*HTTPSUsed to communicate with Microsoft*HTTPSEnables connections to Windows*HTTPUsed to download apps from the Microsoft*HTTPSEnables connections to Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and the online services of Microsoft connections to Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and the online services of Microsoft*HTTPSEnables connections to Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and the online services of Microsoft*HTTPSUsed by OneDrive for Business to download and verify app to retrieve Windows Spotlight metadata.ipv4.login.msa.akadns6.netHTTPSUsed for Microsoft accounts to sign*HTTPSUsed for online activation and some app to Maps by Windows Error*HTTPSUsed to connect to the Office 365 portal’s shared*HTTPCRL and OCSP checks to the issuing certificate*HTTPSUsed by OneDrive for Business to download and verify app*HTTPSUsed as a way for apps to dynamically update their*HTTPSEnables connections to Windows*HTTPSUsed to revoke licenses for malicious apps on the Microsoft*HTTPUsed to download updates to the Weather app Live for content regulation.vip5.afdorigin-prod-ch02.afdogw.comHTTPSUsed to serve office 365 experimentation by Windows Error*HTTPSUsed for updates for Cortana, apps, and Live Tiles.SummaryArticle NameMaster List of Windows 10 “phone home” connectionsDescriptionMicrosoft published master lists of endpoint connections that recent versions of the company’s Windows 10 operating system make recently.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

For the first time Lebanon politicians call to decriminalize gay sex

first_imgTwitterYoung Lebanese LGBTI people come out to fight for equality These people risked assault to march in trans rights protest in LebanonAfter India decriminalizes gay sex, which country might be next?400 people to be tortured for being gay at a ‘therapy conference’ in GhanaRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  : eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Lebanon politicians have called for the Middle Eastern country to decriminalize gay sex.The Kataeb party, a Christian Democratic right-wing party, spoke about their plans to remove the law that makes homosexuality a crime live on television.This marks the first time a mainstream political party has spoken out on LGBTI rights in Lebanon.Lebanon politicians call to decriminalize gay sexIn an announcement of their political platform on Sunday (11 March), decriminalization of homosexuality was a central part of Kataeb’s social agenda.It was included as part of a 131-point mission to complete if they gained a majority at the 6 May elections.,‘This is big,’ Georges Azzi, the executive director of Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality, told Gay Star News.‘We have been pushing for parties to publicly support the LGBTI community for a long time.‘We have had closed door promises. But this is the first time politicians have publicly supported us.’Still technically illegalHamed Sinno gay frontman of Lebanese band Mashrou LeilaLebanon criminalizes homosexuality with up to a year in prison. However, Penal Code’s Article 534 which prohibits ‘unnatural’ sex has not been used to jail gay people for a long time.However, it is still used by police officers to arrest and intimidate the LGBTI community.‘If it’s not ordered from the government to arrest people based on sexuality, police still have the right to arrest people,’ Azzi said.‘It’s the law. And the police can use it however they like it. ‘We need the highest judiciary to send a message to not use the Penal Code to attack the LGBTI community.’There are two possibilities for decriminalization in Lebanon. One is if the Kataeb party is elected this year, and the other is through the legal system.‘Homosexuality is a personal choice, and not a punishable offense’Judge Rabih Maalouf, in January last year, declared ‘homosexuality is a personal choice, and not a punishable offense’.The Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality is hoping the courts will agree the law is unconstitutional.But Azzi hopes political pressure will speed up the process.‘If a progressive party and independent candidates that support decriminalization get a majority in parliament, we could see it happen very quickly,’ he said.‘The police need to see there’s a political push.’‘We’re going in the right direction’In 2015, an IPSOS survey found the majority of Lebanon considers homosexuality to be immoral and unnatural. Parents said they would not support their son or daughter if they came out as gay, bi or transgender.However, 65% said they do not believe it should be punishable by jail time.‘We’re going in the right direction,’ Azzi added. ‘We’re hopeful something positive will happen. We need politicians to say this law is not relevant to the LGBTI community or remove it completely.‘This election is where we have a chance. We’re very hopeful.’Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . GAYSTARNEWS- Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading…last_img read more

first_imgA 30-year-old pedestrian has died following a serious accident on the M6 motorway this morning. The southbound carriageway was shut for almost nine hours from J14 A34 (Stafford North) to J13 A449 (Stafford South) following a collision involving the man and a lorry at around 3am today (February 14). A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said:  “Police were called to reports of a collision between a lorry and a pedestrian on the M6 Southbound between junction 14 and junction 13. “Emergency services have attended and sadly a 30-year-old man has died at the scene. Next of kin have been informed and specialist officers are supporting the man’s family. Anyone with information or dashcam footage is being asked to call police on 101 quoting incident number 52 of February 14. Read MoreSix injured after car collides with group of pedestrians near Staffordshire school   West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed the man had been pronounced dead at the scene, while the lorry driver was treated for minor injuries. A Highways England spokesman said:  “All lanes are now reopen on the M6 Southbound between J14 Creswell and J13 Dunston after this mornings ongoing incident. “J14 Southbound entry slip remains closed for the time being. Thank you for your patience. Please take care through the area as delays remain.” Read MoreM6 in Staffordshire to shut for up to 18 hours to remove this landmark 140-tonne bridge The motorway was closed from around 3.20am until 12.10pm today. The entry slip road onto the southbound carriageway at junction 14 was the last stretch of carriageway to reopen – with Highways England confirming traffic was flowing again at 12.30pm. The northbound carriageway was also briefly shut but had reopened in a few minutes. Long delays are reported on the motorway before the closure – with congestion back towards junction 16 and onto the A500 at one point There have also been long delays on surrounding routes into Stafford including the A449 and A34 – with roadworks at Greyfriars Roundabout adding to delays on the route, which formed part of the official diversion that was put in place. Diversion:Highways England say the following diversion is in place on the M6 Southbound near Stafford due to a police incident this morning (February 14): Diversion symbol is via the hollow square diversion symbol: At M6 junction 14 take the exit to the A34 east. Continue along the A34, Greyfriars/Queensway to its junction with the A449, Wolverhampton Road. Take the exit to the A449 south and continue to its junction with M6 junction 13. A number of vehicles have broken down in the queues leading up to the closure, adding to delays.  A large number of vehicles were trapped in the closure, with some motorists still there more than six hours later. Highways England and the Central Motorway Police Group turned trapped traffic around and later released it via lane three of the motorway. Read More’This place has been an eyesore for TWENTY years…’ – Watch as bulldozers start knocking down the East-West Precinct TODAY   Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us  @SOTLive  or message us on  our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at  StokeonTrentLive .13:27One lane closed between J15 and J14The closure is now down to one lane.13:19Delays continue due to broken down lorry within queues for original accidentTwo lanes closed, long delays and queueing traffic due to broken down lorry on M6 Southbound between J15 A500 D Road (Stoke-On-Trent) and M6 (Stafford Services). Travel time is 30 minutes.Lanes one and two (of three) are closed for a separate broken down lorry within the queues of a separate accident earlier. The lorry has broken down in lane two, therefore lane one has also been closed. Stafford Services is located between J15 and J14. 13:13Buses expected to return to normal shortlyA First Potteries bus spokesman said:The M6 in Stafford has now reopened, so we expect service 101 to return to normal within the next hour.” 13:02Two lanes closed due to broken down vehicleTwo lanes closed, long delays and queueing traffic due to broken down lorry on M6 Southbound between J15 A500 D Road (Stoke-On-Trent) and M6 (Stafford Services). Travel time is 30 minutes.Lanes one and two (of three) are closed for a separate broken down lorry within the queues of a separate accident earlier. The lorry has broken down in lane two, therefore lane one has also been closed. Stafford Services is located between J15 and J14. 12:48Broken down vehicles adding to delaysA Highways England spokesman said:We currently have Lane 2 (of 3) blocked on the M6 Southbound between J15 Hanchurch and J14 Creswell due to 2 broken down vehicles. Please take care through the area. “12:4770 minute delays continueThere are 70 minute delays on the M612:32Entry sliproad now reopenedA Highways England spokesman said:J14 Southbound entry slip #M6 is now reopen. Thank you for your patience during this incident. “12:11Motorway reopensThe M6 has reopened. Highways England have confirmed.A spokesman said: All lanes are now reopen on the M6 Southbound between J14 #Creswell and J13 #Dunston after this mornings ongoing incident. J14 Southbound entry slip remains closed for the time being. Thank you for your patience. Please take care through the area as delays remain .”11:57Latest M6 Southbound closed severe delays, stationary traffic due to accident investigation work between J14 A34 (Stafford North) and J13 A449 (Stafford South). Congestion to just after J15 (Stoke-on-Trent) as well as routes through Stone and Yarlet and all roads within Stafford are queuing.Remains closed after a serious accident at 03:30. There has been trapped traffic within the closure for several hours but they are now being released in lane three (of three) at 10:35. There is now a separate break down within the queues. Diversion – hollow square symbol, via A34 and A449 through Stafford. All roads around Stafford are queueing with a travel time of around 1 hour not helped by roadworks at the Grey Friars roundabout. 11:19Traffic being ran through lane threeA Highways England spokesman said:For any trapped traffic within the closure on the M6 J14 Creswell to J13 Dunston we are now running traffic through lane 3 (of 3) to release any vehicles stuck in the closure. “11:03M6 remains closedThe carriageway remains closed as of 11am.10:23Latest bus newsA First Potteries spokesman said:Due to the closure of the M6 in the Stafford area, service 101 from Hanley to Stafford is severely disrupted at the moment. Some drivers are reporting running up to an hour and a half late.Buses on the hour from Hanley will run through to Stafford, buses in between will terminate at Stone Business Park.We have vehicles trapped in Stafford but until they are released we are limited in what we can do. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.” First Potteries bus trapped in traffic in Stafford this morning (Image: ReachPlc)10:21Congestion in Stafford this morningCongestion in Stafford this morning (Image: ReachPlc)10:12Final stages of police investigation taking place and trapped traffic still being turned aroundA Highways England spokesman said:The total closure of M6 J14 Creswell to J13 # Dunston is currently in the final stages of the Police investigation , trapped traffic is still being turned around by traffic officers. Thank you for your patience. “09:59M6 remains closedHighways England at the scene (Image: ReachPLC)09:45Bus service disruptedA First Potteries spokesman said;Due to the closure of the M6 in the Stafford area, service 101 from Hanley to Stafford is severely disrupted at the moment. Some drivers are reporting running up to an hour late and some buses from Hanley are terminating at Stone Business Park. We have vehicles trapped in Stafford but until they are released we are limited in what we can do. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.” 09:44Heavy traffic throughout Stafford Borough Congestion to around three miles before Stafford Services as well as routes through Stone, Yarlet, Sandon, Great Bridgeford and all roads within Stafford are queuing. 09:32M6 collision: What we know nowEmergency services were called to the southbound carriageway of the M6 between Junction 14 and Junction 13 shortly after 3am after a collision involving a lorry and a pedestrian.The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene while the lorry driver was assessed for minor injuriesThe carriageway is expected to remain closed for several hours as collision investigaton work takes placeLong delays are reported on the M6 and surrounding roads, with a diversion in placeSome motorists have been trapped in the closure for more than four hours – although police and Highways England are working to turn them around09:26Ambulance service confirm man pronounced dead at sceneA West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews discovered a man who had suffered serious injuries in the collision.“Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent nothing could be done to save him and he was confirmed dead at the scene.“The lorry driver, a man, was assessed and treated for minor injuries before being discharged at the scene.”09:1930-year-old man dead following collisionPolice have released a statement confirming a 30-year-old man has died following today’s accident. More here.09:04Accident involves lorry and pedestrianInrix, the traffic data company, report the accident involves a lorry and a pedestrian.08:48’Forensics at scene’One eyewitness has told us collision investigation officers remain at the scene. Police are turning around trapped traffic. One bus passenger has contacted us to say they have been stuck for more than four hours.08:47Congestion on the M6 this morningCongestion on the M6 this morning (Image: Highways England)08:45Delays on motorway past junction 15Queueing traffic for three miles and delays on M6 Southbound before J15 A500 D Road (Stoke-On-Trent). Congestion to Keele Services as well as on the D Road approaching J15. Travel time is 20 minutes.Due to drivers leaving the motorway early due to a closure at J14. 08:32Latest photo of delaysDelays continue on the M6 following the accident this morning (Image: Highways England)08:24Emergency services contacted for commentWe have contacted both Staffordshire Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service for comment and we understand both are set to be releasing statements.08:17M6 expected to remain closed for next few hours – police confirmA Staffordshire Police spokesman said:he M6 southbound between junction 14 & junction 13 is closed due to a road traffic collision & is expected to remain closed for the next few hours. Please find alternative routes where possible.” 08:15What we know as of 8.15amThe M6 Southbound remains closed between J14 and J13 near Stafford following a serious accident near junction 13Long delays are reported both on the motorway and on the diversion route around the closureEmergency services and Highways England were called to the scene at around 3.20amSome traffic has been trapped in the closure since then, but police and Highways England are currently turning it around08:13Contacting emergency services for commentWe are currently contacting the emergency services for comment.08:07Trapped traffic now being turned aroundA Central Motorway Police Group spokesman said:The M6 is still closed southbound between junctions 14 and 13 while our colleagues from the Collision Investigation Unit carry out their investigations. Along with Highways England we are turning the trapped traffic around. Please bear with us. We are working as quickly and as safely as we can. “last_img read more

TICO keeps controversial TRVL site out of Ontario ­– for now

first_img TORONTO — TICO has stepped in to quash a website that allows consumers to sign up to become so-called ‘TRVL agents’ and earn up to 10% commissions on hotels booked by themselves, friends and family.TRVL violates provincial laws, says TICO. Shortly after TRVL launched, TICO sent TRVL founder and Dutch entrepreneur Jochem Wijnands a letter saying his unregistered company had staff consulting on travel, in contravention of the province’s Travel Industry Act.“Anybody who is selling travel in the province … must be employed by or otherwise aligned with a registered travel agency in the province of Ontario,” said TICO President Richard Smart.The TRVL site’s home page says ‘Welcome to the secret world of the travel industry’. The site lets travellers bypass travel agents and pocket commissions.After some back-and-forth correspondence, TICO offered a solution: register with the council through a process that requires an annual fee and setting up a branch office in the province, or stop providing access to the service in Ontario.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesSmart said the process allows the regulator to protect consumers by making sure they receive accurate information when booking online, such as passport and visa requirements, and ensuring its roughly 2,400 agents all follow the same rules.Wijnands says he disagrees with TICO’s assessment, arguing the platform’s users aren’t travel agents; the site’s users don’t handle money, he said, but rather use the online advertising platform to make bookings with service providers.He agreed to pull out of Ontario, saying the growing business can’t afford to be destructive at the moment. He says he believes the company can reposition itself to clarify any confusion. TICO is the only complainant to date, he said.A message for visitors trying to access the site in Ontario now reads: “Due to restrictions set by the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, TRVL is currently not available in Ontario. We are working to resolve this issue soon.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesWijnands says this type of thing is “happening everywhere,” pointing to other online platforms like Airbnb and Uber. “The legacy professions hide behind certain rules that they think will give them protection.”TRVL users can also share a link to their site with followers looking for recommendations. TRVL allows users to pocket most of that commission, except for a cut that the company keeps.The company could write a letter to TICO and the provincial ministry responsible for it, Smart said. While TICO would reply, there’s a slim chance the regulator would budge from its position.“If it’s a question of my interpretation of the law, it’s going to be pretty tough to change my mind,” Smart said. Monday, October 23, 2017 TICO keeps controversial TRVL site out of Ontario ­– for now Travelweek Group With files from The Canadian Press Share Posted by Tags: OTAs, TICO << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

FHFA HARP Refinance Volume Continues to Grow for Q1

first_imgFHFA: HARP Refinance Volume Continues to Grow for Q1 The Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their first quarter refinance report, revealing that refinance volume has increased in March, while mortgage rates remained near 20 month lows in February. The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) had 31,648 refinances, bringing the total refinances through this program to 3,302,102 since it began.HARP volume represented six percent of total refinance volume in the first quarter of 2015, the report said. Borrowers with loan-to-value ratios greater than 105 percent accounted for 24 percent of the volume of HARP loans, in the first quarter, while eight percent of refinanced loans had a loan-to-value ratio greater than 125 percent.The FHFA also reported, 28 percent of HARP refinances for underwater borrowers were for shorter-term 15-and 20-year mortgages. These build equity faster than traditional 30-year mortgages. In the first quarter, HARP refinances represented 14 or more percent of total refinances in Florida and Georgia, more than double the six percent of total refinances nationwide over the same period.A lower delinquency rate was seen by borrowers who refinanced through HARP compared to borrowers eligible for HARP who did not refinance through the program, the report said.HARP was enacted April 1, 2009 to help homeowners who are unable to access a refinance due a decline in their home value, the FHFA noted in the report. The program gives borrowers a chance to refinance by allowing them to transfer the existing mortgage insurance to their newly refinanced loan, or by allowing those without mortgage insurance on their previous loan to refinance with new coverage. HARP was expanded in 2012 to provide more access to the program for responsible borrowers. The program is set to expire December 31, 2015.HARP Eligibility Criteria:Loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.Loan must have been originated on or before May 31, 2009.Current loan-to-value ratio — LTV — (outstanding mortgage balance/home value) must be greater than 80 percent. There is no LTV ceiling.Borrower must be current on their mortgage payments at the time of the refinance.Payment history – borrower is allowed one late payment in the past 12 months, as long as it did not occur in the six months prior to the refinance. May 29, 2015 486 Views Federal Housing and Finance Agency First Quarter Refinance Report Home Affordable Refinance Program 2015-05-29 Staff Writercenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Servicing Sharelast_img read more