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Coronavirus cases ‘levelling off’ across England ahead of three-tier system

first_imgFigures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed cases in the west Midlands, east of England, London and the south are now decreasing.  ONS data found that coronavirus cases are currently falling in two-thirds of London boroughs.  “We know how quickly this virus can spread and we all need to keep playing our part and drive numbers down further across our city,” he said. Around 1 in 85 people in England currently have the virus — down from 1 in 80 the previous week. London will join the bulk of the country on “high” alert next Wednesday, while Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool, Kent and Birmingham will enter Tier 3. Coronavirus cases have begun to level off across most of England, with London reporting a decrease in new infections over the past week, according to the latest official data. whatsapp Thursday 26 November 2020 3:18 pm Today marked the first day in almost five months that daily coronavirus cases have dipped below the 10,000 mark “There is a lot of work to do in London to keep it in Tier 2,” the health secretary told MPs. It comes as health secretary Matt Hancock today unveiled the new three-tier system that will replace England’s nationwide lockdown on 2 December. That means England’s R rate, which measures the rate of spread of infection, is currently between 1 and 1.1 according to government estimates. The health secretary added that it was a “close call” on whether to place London in Tier 2 or Tier 3 — the highest level of restrictions — and warned that it could easily move to the top tier.  The capital’s seven-day rate has now fallen from 199.6 cases per 100,000 on 15 November to 181.8 on 20 November. Today marked the first day in almost five months that daily coronavirus cases have dipped below the 10,000 mark Also Read: Coronavirus cases ‘levelling off’ across England ahead of three-tier system The mayor slammed the government’s decision not to scrap the capital-wide curfew, by instead extending it from 10pm to 11pm. “It is a real blow to pubs, bars and restaurants which have endured such a difficult year and deserve better,” he said. Show Comments ▼ Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said placing London in Tier 2 was the “right decision” for the moment, but cautioned against “complacency”. whatsapp Coronavirus cases ‘levelling off’ across England ahead of three-tier system Hancock said: “I know for those of you faced with Tier 3 restrictions this will be a particularly difficult time but I want to reassure you that we’ll be supporting your areas with mass community testing and extra funding.” Just three regions — the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly — will enter Tier 1. That means almost 99 per cent of the English population will come under the higher Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels when they come into effect next week. Today marked the first day in almost five months that daily coronavirus cases have dipped below the 10,000 mark Also Read: Coronavirus cases ‘levelling off’ across England ahead of three-tier system Poppy Wood Share The latest figures showed that fewer than one per cent of London’s population tested positive for coronavirus in the week to 21 November. The highest positivity rates remain in Yorkshire and The Humber, the North West and the North East of England, though they have started to level off.  Tags: Coronavirus Matt Hancock Re-lockdownlast_img read more

‘A hidden giant’: Alaska Legislature’s nonpartisan voice on the state budget is retiring

first_imgEconomy | Politics | Southcentral | Southeast | State Government‘A hidden giant’: Alaska Legislature’s nonpartisan voice on the state budget is retiringNovember 19, 2019 by Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media Share:Legislative Finance Director David Teal speaks during a House Finance Committee meeting in the Alaska State Capitol on Feb. 27, 2018. Teal is retiring in December after 22 years in his position. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)For two decades, as oil prices and Alaska’s budget gap rose and fell, state lawmakers could rely on one constant: the mild-mannered David Teal.As the Alaska Legislature’s chief budget analyst, Teal has been the go-to source for nonpartisan information on state spending and revenues. That will end next month when Teal retires. And budget experts say Teal’s work will be missed.His office’s job is to provide lawmakers with facts, minus the partisan spin.“You don’t give them recommendations,” Teal said. “You give them options, and the pros and cons of the various options. And they choose. You don’t try to influence the choice.”Teal started in the job in 1997. And since then, he’s kept to a nonpartisan approach in a state government that’s often divided by party.“We’re trying to help the Legislature have the process — the legislative process, the budget process — be as smooth as possible, get as much information as possible, without pushing any agenda,” he said.So Teal has always kept his comments to describing the facts as he sees them.“All we say is, ‘When you have a deficit, you burn through reserves. And you can’t do that forever,’” he said.Teal will spell out the consequences of cuts. For example, his office developed a chart that got a lot of attention this year. It showed that if the state pays out $3,000 permanent fund dividends, it would have to eliminate all state funding for most departments of state government to close the gap between what the state spends and what it brings in.“If you want to balance the budget without cutting education, dividends and Medicaid, you have to cut everything else,” he said. “And I think information like that’s pretty powerful.”Comparing the spending gap to spending on state agencies. (Graphic by David Purdy/KTOO. Source: Alaska Division of Legislative Finance)While Teal is careful not to take sides in policy debates, he recalls his office laying out the potential consequences of steep increases in state spending when oil prices have risen. So the budget crisis that followed the oil price crash five years ago hasn’t been a shock to Teal.“I mean, all of this stuff was foreseeable to anyone who’s really followed the budgets over the years,” he said.Teal’s approach has earned him respect from lawmakers who’ve worked with him.Former Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, said he’s thankful for Teal’s service. Parnell worked with Teal when Parnell served as co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee early in Teal’s time as director.“I just found him to be smart, professional, understood what his job was and he did a good job of balancing it,” Parnell said. “Because, in that role, you get competing demands from both parties.”Budget observers said it will be tough to replace Teal.Rebecca Braun covered the state budget process as the editor and publisher of the Alaska Budget Report. She later was policy director for former independent Gov. Bill Walker.Braun credited the Legislative Finance Division under Teal with building a consensus over what the facts are with the budget. Braun said that set Alaska apart from similar debates at the federal level. It allowed lawmakers to concentrate on policy, rather than argue over the facts.“I think he’s one of these people who’s like a hidden giant, who has so much to do with what goes on, and people just don’t see it,” Braun said. “Not just in budgeting, but really in legislators’ and ultimately, I think, the public’s ability to understand the way the state uses its money — where our money comes from and where our money goes.”Braun said she’s worried for years about who would replace Teal when he retires.“Hopefully there’s somebody who’s not just competent, but who’s also able to have that temperament, where they can really instill trust in so many people,” Braun said.As for Teal, he said he’ll miss being part of the upcoming session. But he predicts it will be difficult, as lawmakers again debate the size of the permanent fund dividend.Teal said many lawmakers see a competition for the money that’s available to the state, between state programs and dividends. But he said recognizing that doesn’t make it easy to fix.“But I’m convinced the law will change,” Teal said. “If not this year, then next year or the year after that.”So the analyst who’s refrained from offering recommendations for more than 20 years is leaving office making comments that sound a lot like one.“Cuts are harder and harder to find,” Teal said. “They need to balance the budget sooner rather than later.”Gov. Mike Dunleavy will be releasing his next budget proposal by Dec. 15.Tangeman resigns, saying revenue commissioner should be ‘100% aligned’ with DunleavyShare this story:last_img read more

People / Changes at Dachser ASL: Tobias Burger and Ralph Riehl new regional MDs

first_imgBefore joining Dachser, Mr Riehl worked for Panalpina for over 30 years, holding management positions in France, Singapore, and the US. Most recently, he was senior vice president of sales, responsible for all DSV Panalpina sales in North and Latin America.  “We would like to thank Thomas Krüger and Guido Gries for their many years of dedicated work in the business, and we wish them all the best for their professional and personal future,” said Edoardo Podestà, chief operations officer ASL.   “Dr Tobias Burger and Ralph Riehl will provide new impetus for the sustainable and profitable development of Dachser Air & Sea Logistics in their regions through their optimal combination of in-house and external expertise.” By Gavin van Marle 16/02/2021 Dachser Air & Sea Logistics (ASL), the forwarding division of the German 3PL and road freight group, has confirmed news broken by Loadstar Premium this morning that it has reorganised senior management in its business units in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Americas regions.  Tobias Burger (pictured above) has been appointed managing director ASL EMEA, replacing Thomas Krüger, who has led the air and sea freight business in the region since 2016. Dr Burger is currently responsible for the strategic development of Air & Sea Logistics as deputy director ASL. Before moving to the air and sea freight business, the 43-year-old was head of corporate governance & CEO at Dachser.  Ralph Riehl (pictured below) has been appointed managing director of ASL Americas, replacing Guido Gries, who has led Dachser’s business in the region since 2012.   last_img read more

$125M effort to find coronavirus drugs started by Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard

first_img The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the charitable group Wellcome and Mastercard, announced Tuesday that they were launching a $125 million effort to speed up the development of drugs to treat the novel coronavirus.The initiative, known as the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, will not be enough to develop even a single new medicine by itself, but it can jumpstart the process. Trevor Mundel, the president of the Gates Foundation, said the funding could provide important funds to companies and academic researchers immediately, before government funding will be available. Mundel estimates that two dozen companies, evenly divided between large pharmaceutical firms and small biotechs, could be involved in the effort.“You need some entity that can work between the private sector … and the public sector, both the governments and the World Health Organization, and is able to move fairly agilely between those entities,” Mundel said. That’s the gap that needed to be filled, Mundel said, if there are going to be new antiviral drugs or monoclonal antibodies, a type of biotechnology drug, available within the next year to 18 months to treat the disease known as Covid-19.advertisement But some of the money could be used in other ways. It could, for instance, pay for beginning to scale up manufacturing. That said, Mundel acknowledged, the amount of money set aside for the effort could barely cover the cost of setting up manufacturing facilities for a single drug. (Before joining the Gates Foundation, Mundel held a top position at Novartis, the Basel, Switzerland-based drug giant.)The effort is in some ways modeled on another project backed by Bill and Melinda Gates, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiatives, which focuses on the development of vaccines.The development of both medicines and vaccines can be time-consuming — and take several years. The fastest possible treatment on the horizon is Gilead’s drug, remdesivir, which is already in clinical trials and could see results as early as April. Mundel said he could imagine doses being available by the end of the year if all goes perfectly. But the drug, which must be given intravenously, might not be ideal for countries such as Africa. Support STAT: If you value our coronavirus coverage, please consider making a one-time contribution to support our journalism. One of initiative’s first goals will be to test antiviral drugs that have already gone through preclinical development or have already been tested in humans. Mundel said that the effort will have access to experimental medicines from Johnson & Johnson, and more from Calibr, the drug research arm of the Scripps Institute, as well as from other large pharmaceutical companies. All told, there could be 20,000 to 30,000 potential medicines to test. The hope is that just a few of those will be worth testing in humans.The plan is for the medicines to be screened against the coronavirus in a matter of five to six weeks. Mundel said the screening would likely be done by the Rega Institute in Belgium.advertisement Matthew Herper About the Author Reprints Health$125M effort to find coronavirus drugs started by Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard @matthewherper By Matthew Herper March 10, 2020 Reprints A clinician checks on a Covid-19 patient at the Red Cross hospital in Wuhan, China. STR/AFP via Getty Images Related: They have ‘Alzheimer’s brains’ but no symptoms. A new wave of drug developers wants to know why [email protected] Senior Writer, Medicine, Editorial Director of Events Matthew covers medical innovation — both its promise and its perils. “Our estimate is the devastation in those countries with poor health care infrastructure is going to be magnified dramatically,” Mundel said.A repurposed new drug from the libraries the new effort plans to test could be available by the beginning or middle of next year, after both small and large studies are run to test its effectiveness and safety. Antibody medicines, which many biotech firms are working on, could take until the end of next year in a best-case scenario. If drugs need to be discovered from scratch, that could add years to the process. All of those timelines are much faster than normal drug development, and could slip. Treatments derived from blood plasma of those who had recovered could be available more quickly, but supplies will be limited.With vaccines, Mundel worries that even if a vaccine is ready by the end of next year, the need to manufacture large numbers of doses could mean it would take several years to get it to hundreds of millions of people. He can imagine, he said, a period of as long as six years where therapeutics might be available, but not vaccines.To fund any company’s work, the Gates Foundation requires that companies pledge to make their medicines broadly available around the world. This does not limit prices that could be charged in developed countries like the United States. But Mundel said that executives at pharmaceutical companies are “leery” of being seen as taking advantage of Covid-19.“The companies that I’ve spoken to, including some of the big companies, one of their abiding fears is that anything they do in this area would be seen as some kind of price-gouging,” Mundel said. He added that he is optimistic drug companies would avoid such a scenario. The bigger worry is getting medicines that could be used to treat the sick or as a prophylactics that can prevent infection.The Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, Mundel said, is “a good starting point” for speeding up drug development. “We also realize that the real responsibility does lie with governments,” he added.  “We do believe they’re going to step up. But it’s just going to be slow.”The Gates Foundation will provide $50 million, part of the $100 million it has already committed to fighting Covid-19. Wellcome will commit another $50 million, and Mastercard $25 million. Tags Coronavirusinfectious diseaselast_img read more

Comment: Why the Laois senior football championship has to be played off over the next two weeks

first_img TAGSLaois SFC Comment: Why the Laois senior football championship has to be played off over the next two weeks Pinterest Electric Picnic organisers release statement following confirmation of new festival date Twitter Previous articleEmo’s famous win, Portlaoise’s demise, bragging rights for Port and another semi-final for Graigue – six Talking Points from Sunday’s Laois GAA actionNext articleWATCH: Local man captures stunning drone footage of Laois village Steven Millerhttp://www.laoistoday.ieSteven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he’s happiest when he’s telling stories or kicking a point. Twitter Electric Picnic Facebook Facebook Laois Councillor ‘amazed’ at Electric Picnic decision to apply for later date for 2021 festival Pinterest WhatsApp News RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Ballyfin footballers line their goal during their Laois SFC quarter-final win over The Heath on Saturday In the fast-moving Covid world we all live in, this could all be irrelevant.If the Government act on the advice that NPHET are giving to move the entire country to Level 5 of the restrictions, then all sport would be off the table for the foreseeable future.The whole uncertainty around it is horrible for us all and sport has been such a positive outlet for so many people over the last couple of months.But until we hear more, we’re in Level 2. That means that sport can go ahead – and even we move to Level 3 or 4, inter-county and club action will be permitted. And in that context, the Laois senior football championship must be played to a conclusion over the next two weekends and not deferred indefinitely until the county team are out of the championship.That’s currently the plan that Laois GAA are operating to.Yesterday, during the triple header of Laois SFC quarter-finals, the media were informed that the semi-final draw would be held on Monday, November 2.No reason has been given as to why that particular date has been chosen. No date has been pencilled in for the semi-finals but on the current schedule, it’s likely to be the end of November.The county senior footballers play Westmeath on Saturday week, October 17, in Round 6 of their Allianz Football League Division 2 campaign, a competition that has been postponed since last March.The following Saturday, October 24, they are away to Fermanagh. Both promotion to Division 1 and relegation to Division 3 is a possibility.They then have a two-week break before they play in the championship on the weekend of November 7-8 against the winners of Louth and Longford. If they win that they’d play Dublin on November 14-15.If that is the likely end of the road, then the earliest the club semi-finals would be played would be the weekend of November 22 though it would seem unfair on clubs to get their county players back just one week before a county semi-final.It has been mentioned before that two weeks would be permitted before clubs action resumes and if that bit more leeway was given then we’d be looking at a December county final.It means that the remaining teams – Ballyfin, Graiguecullen, Portarlington and Emo – are facing an eight-week break in the depths of winter between their quarter-final and semi-final. That’s not good enough.Losing three weekends to the second lockdown in August is a factor in Laois being well behind almost every other county in the country when it comes to getting their senior football championship played.Yet Offaly were locked down for the same length of time as Laois and got their final played yesterday. Kildare were a week longer in lockdown and got their final played on Saturday. Laois have only played their quarter-finals. There are some ways of explaining that, though.Kildare, as a predominantly football county, shoe-horned a lot of their hurling championship into mid-week, something that would never have been a runner in Laois. They did, however, play football championship on five successive weekends. Offaly’s senior championship has only eight teams compared to 16 in Laois.But the only measure taken to speed things up in Laois was to bring forward the intermediate championship. The same could have been done with the senior.The crossover with dual players was limited and, for the year that was in it, dual clubs and players would have to accept the reality of it. Doubling up on hurling-football weekends or playing one of the rounds midweek would have helped.In the case of Ciaran Burke – it was accepted that he would have to play a Premier Intermediate hurling semi final with The Harps on Saturday September 26 and then kick football for Crettyard in the intermediate football semi final on Sunday September 27 – the next day.But other than that, no other doubling up happened and it’s over and done with. But there is still time to correct the scenario we’re in.In some ways Laois appear caught but in the interests of all concerned, a solution can and should be found.Mike Quirke has only had limited time with his squad, opting not to bring players in on the week of club action and holding just two sessions last week.That’s not ideal but it’s worse for four clubs to be put on the long finger like this. Already, it’s believed that Portarlington players won’t be making themselves available to the county set up as they concentrate exclusively on their club duty.For the county, that’s not a good thing and it’s something you really don’t want to see. But the current plan is unfair on clubs and creating a situation, like the Port one, that is leaving the county in a weaker position. Everybody is losing.A better compromise has to be found and it has to be found quickly.The club semi-finals should be this weekend and the final the weekend after. Laois GAA should go to Croke Park and ask that given the exceptional circumstances the league game against Westmeath be put back until the weekend of November 1.Under the current fixture schedule both Laois and Westmeath are free that weekend with Westmeath due to play Dublin in the Leinster championship the following week.Yes, it would mean that all the last round of Division 2 league games can’t be played at the same time. But that’s the type of year we’re in. Plus, there has been precedent with other postponed league games in recent years played after the final round.When Laois were promoted from Division 4 in 2018, their match against Antrim was called off because of snow and it was never played because it was put back to the end of the fixture calendar – and when we got there, the outcome of the game would have made no difference to the table so it was declared null and void.With the close nature of Division 2, the Laois and Westmeath game is unlikely to fall into that category but it is still possible and is a possible get-out-of-jail card for all involved.Far too often in the past Laois have been a soft touch in the GAA.Would many other counties have offered a replay to Carlow after the ‘point that wasn’t’ in 1995? Would many other counties have put up with the re-fixed Armagh game in 2016 when Laois used a seventh sub deep in injury time?That was the same year that the Leinster Council brought Laois v Dublin to Nowlan Park as O’Moore Park wasn’t deemed suitable. The same O’Moore Park was deemed suitable for Dublin in 2018 and 2019.In 2017, our hurlers were demoted from the Leinster championship at the stroke of a pen.In 2018, during John Sugrue’s first year in charge, Laois were punished for going on a training trip during the club month of April – home advantage was lost for their 2019 league clash against Louth. Incidentally, Dublin got off scot-free for going on a trip to France that same month as they successfully claimed that it was an “historical pursuit”.Now is the time for Laois to fight back a bit.There are four club teams, plus a county panel, that deserve it.SEE ALSO – Champions out as Emo beat Portlaoise for first time in 48 years WhatsApp Home Sport GAA Comment: Why the Laois senior football championship has to be played off… SportGAAGaelic Football By Steven Miller – 5th October 2020 Bizarre situation as Ben Brennan breaks up Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael arrangement to take Graiguecullen-Portarlington vice-chair role Electric Picnic last_img read more

Fake news: Robinhood conspired against small investors in halting purchases of GameStop

first_imgFake news: Robinhood conspired against small investors in halting purchases of GameStop Professor Ray da Silva Rosa, UWA Business School provides an explanation on the trading halt to purchases of GameStop by retail investors.It seems fake news isn’t the province of Trump supporters.Whilst many bemoan the nonsense of Trump supporters who believe the US election was rigged they readily subscribe to the view that the halting of trades in GameStop is a conspiracy by “big money” to defraud the small investor notwithstanding there is a fairly straightforward – albeit arcane to the layperson – explanation.What happened with GameStop is entirely consistent with normal business practice but appreciating this point involves some attention and investigating.Sure, the explanation entails esoteric concepts but many phenomenon are difficult to understand and when they result in bad outcomes we don’t immediately conclude there has been a conspiracy.As it turns out, what’s happened with Gamestop – ostensibly sophisticated rich investors being thwarted by contrary market moves– is quite common. It occurs so often there is a term for it in finance theory: “noise trader risk”. “Noise traders” are those who trade on the basis of irrelevant or wrong information, that is, they trade on noise rather than signal. Noise traders are also known as sentiment traders.Of course, classification is subjective: You and I are smart investors; those with a different view are noise traders. It’s good they exist otherwise us smarties would have no one on the opposite side of our trades.On occasion, the volume of sentiment driven trade is such that it persistently pushes share price away from what “smart investors” believe is true value so the smarties lose money.As John Maynard Keynes, who never doubted his own brilliance, sagely noted early last century, “markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent”.The thing about sentiment trading is that it is virtually impossible to predict the duration and extent of its influence or even systematically harness it.Sentiment trading is an explanation we resort to when we don’t understand why prices have reached a particular level. It’s a tautology invoked to cover our ignorance.What’s different about GameStop is that the Reddit WallStreetBets site has made it seem like the little guys have mounted a coordinated attack on the supercilious hedge funds who shorted the company.The popular narrative is that retail investors have piled into the GameStop shares pushing them higher and heroically and gleefully hung on regardless of risk or true value thereby handing smug hedge fund short sellers a humiliating, costly defeat.It’s what one might call the Kamikazi approach to investing and, if you think, as many seem to do, that it’s a fine thing for unsophisticated investors to risk their shirts in order to show up hedge fund managers then it’s worth cheering.Inconveniently, the data don’t support the Kamikazi narrative. One of Bloomberg’s ace reporters, Daniel Levine, points out that the best available evidence indicates retail investors were, overall, slightly net sellers of GameStop shares most trading days in the week beginning Monday 25th January.The point here is, it’s not been the little guys who have been driving GameStop shares up. They have been fairly even in their buying and selling.Regardless, why did Robinhood put a halt to purchases of GameStop by retail investors (i.e., those who are its clients)?It wasn’t, as many believe, to help out the hedge funds.Given that the success of Robinhood’s business relies on giving retail investors the impression that they can compete on equal terms with the professionals that would be a self-inflicted own-goal.Robinhood did it for the mundane but compelling reason that the non-instantaneous share trading settlement process requires brokers to guarantee buyers’ capacity to pay for the couple of days it takes to settle a trade.The settlement risk is usually very manageable but when a stock becomes as volatile as GameStock so that its prices varies by 50% or more in the course of a day then the broker needs to put up more collateral to cover its risk.Until it gets the collateral, it reduces its exposure to risk by restricting purchases.As Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Larry Tabb is reported saying, “it’s not really Robinhood doing nefarious stuff. It’s the DTCC [Deposit Trust and Clearing Company, a key part of the settlement process] saying ‘This stuff is just too risky. We don’t trust that these guys have the cash to be able to withstand settling these things two days from now, because in two days, who knows what the price could be, it could be zero.’”The breakdown of market service just when most needed is not unusual; toilet paper stockouts during a pandemic being a topical example.There are many different risks to manage in investing.The risk that the market mechanisms you rely on to deliver your profits will fail just when you are about to make a killing is one of them.Many professionals know this to their cost.It’s what happened to Long Term Capital Management Fund, the fabled money-making machine that included two Nobel Prize winner amongst its co-founders.LTCM failed spectacularly in 1998 when the Russian government defaulted on its domestic local currency bonds.LTCM had assumed a sovereign government wouldn’t default but rather print more money.As has been pointed out, Robinhood implicitly promised retail investors a professional quality experience.They delivered, warts and all. /University Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Australia, business, conspiracy, currency, election, exposure, fake news, finance, Government, intelligence, Investor, outcomes, pandemic, settlement, share price, Trump, university, University of Western Australia, UWAlast_img read more

Gutwein refuses to step in and save Hydro jobs as government gears up to sack workers

first_imgGutwein refuses to step in and save Hydro jobs as government gears up to sack workers Tasmanian LaborPremier Gutwein backs decision to cut 50 Hydro jobsPremier should intervene after promising renewable energy jobs bonanzaWorkers set to lose as Barnett washes his hands of jobsPremier Peter Gutwein has refused calls to save jobs at Hydro Tasmania after the company revealed it was gearing up to sack five per cent of its work force.Shadow Minister for Energy David O’Byrne said the Premier had turned his back on Tasmanians who were set to lose their jobs.“Premier Peter Gutwein and Minister for Energy Guy Barnett continue to duck for cover when Tasmanian jobs are on the line,” Mr O’Byrne said.“This Government has promised a renewable energy jobs bonanza yet they are happy to stand by as the Hydro board cuts jobs.“The Premier’s refusal to intervene is at odds with his promise to create jobs and is another massive broken promise.“It was only months ago that Mr Barnett denied any knowledge of job cuts and restructures at Hydro, yet we saw a backflip on this last week.“These cuts have been made by the Hydro board and CEO with clear endorsement from the Government as the Premier confirmed they had been briefed and forewarned.“This Government cannot stand by as Hydro Tasmania is being pulled apart and the Government must intervene to save Tasmanian jobs.”David O’Byrne MP Shadow Minister for Energy /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:energy, Force, Government, job cuts, jobs, Minister, Premier, renewable, renewable energy, Tasmania, Tasmanian Labor, Tassielast_img read more

Rising CO2 Promises Wetter Storms For Northern Hemisphere, Says CU-Boulder Study

first_imgWhile two new studies by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences predict wetter storms for the Arctic and for the Northern Hemisphere because of global warming, whether or not this means more net precipitation depends on the latitude.”Global climate model predictions for the 21st century indicate an increase in the frequency of storms in the Arctic with no clear trend in the mid-latitudes but an increase in the amount of precipitation associated with individual storms in both regions,” said Assistant Professor John Cassano of the CU-Boulder atmospheric and oceanic sciences department and lead author of one of the studies.Both studies will be published on Dec. 28 in a special edition of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences titled “Changes in the Arctic Freshwater System: Identification, Attribution and Impacts at Local and Global Scales.” Cassano also will give a poster presentation on the work Dec. 13 during the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.According to Cassano, higher precipitation at high latitudes over the next century could influence important climate factors, such as seasonal snow cover, ice sheet growth and freshwater dilution of the Arctic Ocean. Enhancing freshwater sources to the ocean could, if substantial, affect the Atlantic’s thermohaline circulation — the ocean conveyor belt that helps maintain Western Europe’s warm temperatures and plays a dominant role in global climate, he said.”Already scientists have observed higher river runoff into the Arctic Ocean, but the source of this additional runoff was unclear,” Cassano said. “These studies provide one piece of the puzzle to understand this observed change.”In contrast, mid-latitudes, like the continental United States, will see wetter storms but also a drop in storm frequency, effectively canceling out any change in net precipitation, he said.Joel Finnis, a CU-Boulder doctoral student and lead author of the second study, analyzed the effects of rising CO2 levels on both the frequency and moisture content of storms over the entire Northern Hemisphere. He found that in mid-latitudes, higher storm moisture content will be offset, and in some cases exceeded, by decreases in storm frequency.”We’re likely to see fewer storms carrying more water,” said Finnis. “This could mean an increased chance that individual events will produce severe weather, but a decrease in overall water resources.” Finnis also believes that these changes in storm frequency and moisture content will be most pronounced during the fall.As for why storms will be wetter as CO2 rises, more than 75 percent of the predicted increase in storm moisture content will be the result of the warming and moistening of the atmosphere as the global climate warms, the researchers said.”The wetter storms and higher precipitation over the Arctic are best explained by the heating of the atmosphere as greenhouse gases increase,” said Cassano. “As the atmosphere warms it can hold more water and this change is largely responsible for the increase in Artic precipitation that is predicted over the next 100 years.”Both Cassano and Finnis used data sets from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report and analyzed projected storm tracks and precipitation changes under a doubling of present-day CO2 levels during the 21st century. Published: Dec. 9, 2007 Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more

Peppered Moths and More: Intelligent Design Takes Ownership of Evolution Icons

first_imgJane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. Share Intelligent design is taking ownership of some of the characters in Jonathan Wells’s book Icons of Evolution. Darwinians never had a rightful claim to them. Peppered MothsRare is any article about peppered moths that does not celebrate them as supreme examples of Darwinian evolution by natural selection. An open-access paper in Nature Communications Biology breaks that mold by focusing on a new skill in this species: the ability to “feel” color. Before adult peppered moths can fly into the tops of trees and challenge Darwinism there (unless they are tacked onto the trunks), they have to live as caterpillars. The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology summarizes new findings about camouflage in the larval stage:It is difficult to distinguish caterpillars of the peppered moth from a twig. The caterpillars not only mimic the form but also the color of a twig. In a new study, researchers of Liverpool University in the UK and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany demonstrate that the caterpillars can sense the twig’s color with their skin. Caterpillars that were blindfolded changed the color of their bodies to match their background. When given the choice of which background to rest on, the blindfolded caterpillars still moved to the background that they resembled. The researchers also found that genes that are required for vision were expressed not only in the eyes of the caterpillars but also in their skin. [Emphasis added.]Blindfolding a caterpillar: now there’s a challenge for a rainy day! They did it somehow, and when they tested their subjects on artificially colored twigs, the caterpillars mimicked them beautifully. A photo (above) shows dramatic color differences in these caterpillars, from near white to near black, all matching the artificial twigs they rest on. That’s an amazing trick to do blindfolded. Apparently, “genes that are required for vision were expressed not only in the eyes of the caterpillars but also in their skin.” This implies that the caterpillars can sense both light and color through the skin. The eye genes were found expressed in every body segment, sometimes more than in the eyes themselves. When moved from twig to twig, caterpillars changed their color to match the twig.“It was completely surprising to me that blindfolded caterpillars are still able to pick a branch that best matches their color. I don’t think my supervisor, Ilik Saccheri, believed me until he saw it by himself”, says Amy Eacock, one of the lead authors of the new study and currently a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology.References to Darwin and natural selection are lacking in the formal paper, although it gives some passing hat tips to evolutionary dogma, e.g.: “The peppered moth (Biston betularia) has evolved to be highly cryptic to visual predators, both in the adult and larval stages.” But even so, the next sentences are more favorable to a design perspective:Crypsis is achieved through contrasting mechanisms in each stage. The adult colour pattern polymorphism (melanism) is genetically determined, while the larvae camouflage through a combination of twig-mimicking masquerade and colour plasticity. Colour change in these polyphagous larvae is a continuous reaction norm in response to colour cues from the twigs in the larvae’s immediate surroundings rather than the leaves they eat. The precision of this colour and pattern response is at odds with the simple larval ocelli, and the distal position of the head relative to the twig when larvae are in the resting pose. We conjectured that the larvae could be using an additional visual sense.Intrigued by the observations, the scientists were motivated to understand a “sophisticated system” in these caterpillars. Did Darwin’s theory help? Only by supplying glittering generalities, like “the predators drove them to it.” Does that makes sense in the light of evolution?Our results significantly expand the current view of dermal light sense to include slow colour change, raising intriguing questions about the evolutionary sequence of pathway recruitment and modification that has culminated in this sophisticated system of extraocular photoreception and phenotypic plasticity, driven by a predator–prey evolutionary arms race.Darwin’s FinchesAny flying bird should be admired for its magnificent integration of complex systems that allow powered flight: musculature, a specialized skeleton, sense organs, perching feet, brains, digestive systems, reproductive systems, and streamlined morphology, to name a few. Beak size can become a deal-breaker in a drought, but for evolutionists to focus on millimeter-size changes in finch beaks, yet fail to account for all the other systems, is, as Michael Behe quipped, like worrying about the cents columns in hundred-thousand-dollar transactions.News from the University of Cincinnati is reinforcing Behe’s thesis in his latest book, Darwin Devolves. Basically, those iconic birds aren’t getting any fitter with time.A study by the University of Cincinnati found that Charles Darwin’s famous finches defy what has long been considered a key to evolutionary success: genetic diversity.The research on finches of the Galápagos Islands could change the way conservation biologists think about a species’ potential for extinction in naturally fragmented populations. [Emphasis added.]The UCI biologists published a paper in Conservation Genetics pointing out their findings. They gathered DNA from museum specimens and from living ones on the islands. What they found turns earlier beliefs upside down. It confirms that the birds are devolving, despite genetic diversity:In this study, we compared ancient DNA from ~ 100 year old extinct and extant Darwin’s finch populations in the Galápagos Islands to determine whether single time point genetic assessments in the past accurately predicted extinction risk, or if other factors such as metapopulation dynamics could mask population declines. Of eight extinct populations, only one had significantly reduced genetic variation compared to an extant population of similar characteristics. Contrary to our prediction that populations would have decreased genetic diversity prior to extinction when compared to persisting populations, at least one measure of genetic diversity was significantly higher in six of the eight extinct populations when compared to extant populations.As the headline says, “Genetic diversity couldn’t save Darwin’s finches.” Some of the varieties that are extinct now had higher genetic diversity 100 years ago than living ones today. According to standard evolutionary theory, they should have had higher fitness, but all that genetic potential for evolution wasn’t much help. There goes a simplistic assumption in evolutionary theory — the sound of one wing flapping.Early EyesIn Zombie Science, Jonathan Wells added the human eye to his new list of icons, because a myth had arisen that two evolutionists used a computer model to reveal an easy path from simple eyes to complex eyes. That turned out to be false, but in Chapter 7, Wells went further back to the first eyes in the fossil record. Wells pointed out that the eyes of trilobites were “already of a highly-developed type” with lenses that “represent an all-time feat of function optimization” (p. 133).We can now add more detail to this argument against Darwinism. Paleontologists at Lund University in Sweden were surprised to find eumelanin in the eyes of a fossilized crane fly, some 54 million years old. “The composition of fossil insect eyes surprises researchers,” they report, because “It was previously assumed that melanic screening pigments did not exist in arthropods.”“We were surprised by what we found because we were not looking for, or expecting it”, says Johan Lindgren, an Associate Professor at the Department of Geology, Lund University, and lead author of the study published this week in the journal Nature.The researchers went on to examine the eyes of living crane-flies, and found additional evidence for eumelanin in the modern species as well.In other words, there wasn’t any evolution from the fossil crane fly to living crane flies. Now here’s the kicker: given that crane flies had eumelanin, other arthropods probably did, too — including the first arthropods in the Cambrian explosion, e.g., trilobites. Paleontologists had thought the trilobite eye was composed of single crystals of calcium carbonate. That would have been unique and different from modern arthropod eyes, giving evolutionists an opportunity for storytelling. But since the fossil crane fly also had crystals of calcium carbonate, unlike the organic eyes of living crane flies, the scientists conclude that the calcium carbonate was a result of the fossilization process. Thinking backward, that leads to a similar conclusion about trilobites that are ten times as old as the crane fly fossil:This, in turn, led the researchers to conclude that another widely held hypothesis may need to be reconsidered. Previous research has suggested that trilobites — an exceedingly well-known group of extinct seagoing arthropods — had mineralized lenses in life.“The general view has been that trilobites had lenses made from single calcium carbonate crystals. However, they were probably much more similar to modern arthropods in that their eyes were primarily organic”, says Johan Lindgren.The Icons Are FallingWhen examined in more detail, the icons of evolution turn into evidences for intelligent design: complex eyes that appear at the beginning; birds with powered flight; and caterpillars that can see color blindfolded. Scientists and teachers should stop pointing to these outworn symbols of Darwinian evolution, which is “still a theory in crisis” (Denton) and “almost certainly false” (Nagel). When continuing research weakens iconic evidences for evolution, it’s a sign of a weak theory.Photo credit: Arjen van’t Hof, University of Liverpool, via EurekAlert!  Recommended Intelligent Design Peppered Moths and More: Intelligent Design Takes Ownership of Evolution IconsEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCSeptember 12, 2019, 5:05 AM TagsAmy EacockBiston betulariacalcium carbonateCambrian ExplosionCambrian NewscamouflagecaterpillarsConservation GeneticscrypsisDarwin DevolvesDarwinismGalápagos IslandsIcons of EvolutionIlik Saccheriintelligent designJohan LindgrenJonathan Wellslarval stageLund UniversityMax Planck Institute for Chemical EcologyMichael BeheMichael Dentonpeppered mothsSwedenThomas NageltrilobitesUniversity of CincinnatiZombie Science,Trending Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

Flathead County Bans Use of Fireworks on Public, Private Land

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Flathead County has banned the use of fireworks on all public and private land located within the county’s boundaries, outside of the city limits, effective immediately.The commission took a hard stand against fireworks on Thursday morning, removing any exemptions for previously permitted shows in the county’s jurisdiction.With the use of fireworks banned, the Flathead Emergency Communication Center, also known as the 911 Center, has set up a separate line to report non-emergency fireworks violations.The number to that line is 260-4161, and it feeds directly into the dispatch center. Emergencies such as injuries or fires should be reported to 911. There is no automatic fine assessed for violations, according to deputy county attorney Tara Fugina; the resolution states that violations may be prosecuted under applicable statutes.According to Sheriff Chuck Curry, this means anyone caught violating the ban can be charged with a misdemeanor crime, punishable with a fine up to $500 and six months in jail.When adopting the resolution to ban the use of fireworks, Commissioner Gary Krueger asked for legal advice about nullifying any permits already issued, like that for Eddie DeBartolo Jr.’s Candy Bar Ranch.Initially, the commission was told that they would have to host a separate hearing on canceling those permits and allow the permit holder to speak for their show. Instead, the commission merely amended the resolution, striking the line that exempted previously permitted shows.“We have to say no fireworks, period. It’s a fire hazard we’re discussing here,” Krueger said.Click here to read the Flathead County Commission’s resolution banning the use of fireworks.Commissioners Pam Holmquist and Phil Mitchell agreed with Krueger’s assessment, and Mitchell noted that Flathead County is one of the last in western Montana to enact such a ban.“We’re late on this and we need to do it,” Mitchell said.Whitefish Fire Chief Joe Page told the commission that his department would be on hand to cover the fireworks show at City Beach.When asked if he could immediately cancel the Whitefish show given the dry conditions and the forecast for winds up to 20 miles per hour on July 4 and 5, Page said he has the authority to cancel the show at any time, and that he wanted to make sure any cancelation is based on the latest facts and data.“If there is 20-an-hour wind, we’ll definitely cancel the show,” Page said.[UPDATE: The Whitefish City Beach show has been canceled, per the Whitefish City Council.]There were no permits issued for fireworks shows in Lakeside or Bigfork.“This is a complete ban on the use of fireworks in the Flathead County area outside municipalities,” Krueger said.The commission also unanimously voted to declare a state of emergency in Flathead County, which means the county will be able to access funds to help cover the cost if there is a significant fire to fight.Lake, Missoula, Ravalli, and Lincoln counties banned the use of fireworks on Tuesday, and firework use is also banned in Columbia Falls and Kalispell city limits. Fireworks are not allowed on state or federal land or in Glacier National Park.Emergency services coordinators for Lake County along with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the cities of Polson, Ronan and St. Ignatius agreed at a meeting to ban the use of fireworks immediately.The area will be in Stage 1 fire restrictions starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 3, which mean campfires are prohibited except in designated areas, like fire rings at developed campgrounds. Emaillast_img read more