Top biscuit maker Parle may cut up to 10000 jobs as economy

first_imgNew Delhi: Parle Products Pvt Ltd, a leading Indian biscuit maker, might lay off up to 10,000 workers as slowing economic growth and falling demand in the rural heartland could cause production cuts, a company executive said on Wednesday.A downturn in Asia’s third-largest economy is denting sales of everything from cars to clothing, forcing companies to curtail production and raising hopes that the India government will unveil an economic stimulus to revive growth. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details A sharp drop in Parle’s biscuit sales means the company may have to slash production, which may result in layoffs of 8,000-10,000 people, Mayank Shah, category head at Parle, said in a telephone interview from Mumbai. “The situation is so bad, that if the government doesn’t intervene immediately … we may be forced to eliminate these positions,” he said. Parle, founded in 1929, employs about 100,000 people, including direct and contract workers across 10 company-owned facilities and 125 contract manufacturing plants. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Shah said demand for popular Parle biscuit brands such as Parle-G had been worsening since India rolled out a nationwide goods and services tax (GST) in 2017, which imposed a higher levy on biscuits costing as low as 5 rupees, or 7 cents a pack. The higher taxes have forced Parle to offer fewer biscuits in each pack, hitting demand from lower-income consumers in rural India, which contributes more than half of Parle’s revenue and where two-thirds of Indians live. “Consumers here are extremely price-sensitive. They’re extremely conscious of how many biscuits they are getting for a particular price,” Shah said. Parle, which has an annual revenue of above $1.4 billion, held talks over the past year with the government’s GST council as well as former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, asking them to review tax rates, Shah added. Once known as Parle Gluco, the Mumbai-headquartered company’s flagship biscuit brand was renamed as Parle-G, and became a household name in India through the 1980s and 1990s. In 2003, Parle-G was considered the world’s largest selling biscuit brand.The slowdown in India’s economic growth, which has already led to thousands of job losses in its crucial automotive industry, was accelerating the drop in demand, Shah said. Market research firm Nielsen said last month India’s consumer goods industry was losing steam as spending in the rural heartland cools and small manufacturers lose competitive advantages in a slowing economy. Parle is not the only food product company to have flagged slowing demand. Varun Berry, managing director of Britannia Industries Ltd , Parle’s main competitor, said earlier this month that consumers were “thinking twice” about buying products worth just 5 rupees. “Obviously, there is some serious issue in the economy,” Berry had said on a conference call with analysts. Shares in Britannia were down 1.5%, as of 0620 GMT, having fallen as much as 3.9% earlier on Wednesday. (With inputs from Indian Express)last_img read more

Universality of global pact on mines and other explosive devices vital Ban

11 November 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for greater efforts to expand the number of signatories, especially among developing countries and States in conflict, to a global pact banning the use of mines, booby-traps and other explosive devices against civilians. Congratulating the 93 States that have consented to be bound by Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), he called on those countries that have not yet done so to ratify the pact as soon as possible.“The universality of the Protocol remains of vital importance,” he said in a message to the 11th Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Protocol, taking place in Geneva. The Secretary-General commended the decision to re-establish the Group of Experts, an informal mechanism that has helped to improve understanding of the impact of improvised explosive devices on civilians and combatants alike, and urged parties to continue to make use of it. He also called on all States that have not yet done so to ratify the other international treaties in the field of mine action, including the Mine Ban Convention and the new Convention on Cluster Munitions, which is expected to enter into force in the near future.In addition, he drew attention to the grave threats to civilians posed by mines other than anti-personnel mines, which in many regions are another serious obstacle to the delivery of humanitarian aid, the return to normal civilian life after hostilities, and economic development.“Although CCW States parties have not yet found agreement on this topic, I consider it my duty to bring this issue to your attention yet again, since the grave effects of such mines continue to be felt,” he stated. read more

UN and partners launch humanitarian aid appeal for Libya crisis

The appeal will help fund the current and planned activities of 17 aid groups in assisting people who have fled and for other affected people in Libya for the next three months, covering areas such as food security, nutrition, health care, water and sanitation and shelter. “This appeal is based on planning scenario projecting up to 400,000 people leaving Libya – including the 200,000 who have left to date – and another 600,000 people inside Libya expected to need humanitarian aid to varying degrees,” said Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.Ms. Amos travelled to the Tunisia-Libya border on Saturday to review the ongoing relief effort for people fleeing Libya amid the recent violence. She told a news conference in Geneva today that the efforts of UN agencies and international partners, including Member States, had been scaled up considerably to meet the needs of the over 100,000 people who had thus far transited through Tunisia.She also noted the appointment of Rashid Khalikov as the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Libyan crisis. Mr. Khalikov, the current Director of the Geneva branch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will work along with the UN resident coordinators for Tunisia, Egypt and Niger on operations along Libya’s border, she stated. Both Ms. Amos and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have been calling for urgent humanitarian access for aid groups to people affected by the violence, which began in mid-February. Mr. Ban discussed the “increasingly troubling humanitarian situation” in a telephone call yesterday with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, who agreed to the Secretary-General’s suggestion of dispatching a humanitarian assessment team to the capital, Tripoli.The Secretary-General has named Abdul Elah al-Khatib, a former foreign minister of Jordan, as his Special Envoy to Libya to undertake urgent consultations with the authorities in Tripoli and in the region on the immediate humanitarian situation as well as the wider dimensions of the crisis.Speaking at the news briefing in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres thanked those agencies and Governments which had helped with the massive repatriation exercise. Of the 120,000 people who had crossed the border into Tunisia – most of whom were migrant workers from different countries – only 15,000 were left as of today. Mr. Guterres underlined that it is important for developed nations to offer resettlement opportunities for those who could not return home, including Somalis, Eritreans, Palestinians and Iraqis. 7 March 2011The United Nations and its partners today launched a $160 million appeal to address humanitarian needs arising from the crisis in Libya, where the Government’s violent crackdown against protesters demanding the ouster of Muammar Al-Qadhafi has sent around 200,000 people fleeing to neighbouring countries. read more

Disarmament through effective inspections alternative to armed conflict Blix says

The disarmament of Iraq through the inspection process is an alternative to the avenue of armed conflict, the chief United Nations arms inspector, Hans Blix, said today in Vienna, where he made a brief stopover on his way to Baghdad for further talks with Iraqi officials this weekend.”I think everybody would like to see effective inspections to be the way to disarmament,” Mr. Blix, Executive Chairman of UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), said in an address to a group of inspector trainees. “This is certainly the wish of the Arab world, all Europeans and I’m convinced also of [US] President Bush and [UK Prime Minister Tony] Blair.”The group of 57 men and women from 22 countries, having completed their three-week training course, are going back to their respective countries and are now on a roster from which UNMOVIC can draw personnel for future inspections.In his statement, Mr. Blix also stressed that the disarmament process requires active cooperation from Iraq, both on process and substance. “We had eight years there when a lot was achieved, but we would like to have a disarmament that is quicker than that,” the Executive Chairman said. “The world is not going to wait another eight years.”Mr. Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are expected to arrive tomorrow in Baghdad, where they will hold two days of talks with senior Iraqi officials. A press conference is scheduled for the conclusion of the discussions on Sunday evening. read more

Human rights situation in Somalia not promising UN expert says

“Northwest Somalia (Somaliland) and northeast Somalia (Puntland) had shown improvement last year, but human rights in Somalia is complicated as some regions improve one year while others deteriorate,” Ghanim Alnajjar said on his third annual fact-finding visit to the country since June 2001.While in Somalia through 1 September, Mr. Alnajjar’s two-person team will look into a variety of human rights-related issues, including the state of the judicial system, law enforcement and prison conditions, child soldiers, the status of women and displaced persons.”Right now a lot depends on the peace process. The more human rights are considered at the talks, the higher the chance of peace. It is an opportunity for Somalis to show their commitment to human rights,” Mr. Alnajjar said in reference to the ongoing Somalia National Reconciliation Conference at Mbagathi, Kenya.He is expected to meet with a variety of diplomats, local authorities, civil society representatives and international organizations in Somalia as well as Nairobi, Kenya. read more

Technology gives unique voices to those who cant speak

by Holly Ramer, The Associated Press Posted Jul 15, 2016 1:00 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Technology gives unique voices to those who can’t speak In this Friday, June 24, 2016, photo, Jessie Levine smiles as she listens to her recorded outgoing phone message on her iPhone in Springfield, N.H. Levine was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS in 2015, and it has caused her speech to become slow and slurred. She is now exploring a new way to restore her voice via speech synthesis, or the artificial production of human speech. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) SPRINGFIELD, N.H. – Jessie Levine smiles and shakes her head when she hears the outgoing voicemail message on her iPhone.“I sound young! And fast!” she marvels. “That person never, ever expected to talk like this.”The message was recorded before Levine was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, in early 2015, and before the progressive motor neuron disease caused her speech to become slow and slurred. But as her ability to talk deteriorates, she’s exploring a new way to restore her voice via speech synthesis, or the artificial production of human speech.The technology has been around for decades, but as devices shrink in size, efforts to customize them are expanding. Multiple companies and research groups are using speech synthesis engines to create voices from spoken samples, usually thousands of recorded sentences.For example, CereProc, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, created a voice for the late film critic Roger Ebert several years before his death in 2013 by mining commentary tracks he’d recorded for movies.But VocaliD, a Belmont, Massachusetts, company, is taking a different approach by creating custom voices using just a small sample from the recipient, even if they can’t speak.Starting with just a tiny snippet of someone’s voice — a few seconds of saying “Ahhhh” — the company matches recipients with a “donor voice” — in Levine’s case, maybe a relative — and then blends the two together. The result is a sound file that can be plugged into any text-to-speech device.“I have two sisters, one of whom has a lisp like I have, which I had before I had ALS. The other one, we all have this stuffiness to our speech,” said Levine, 45, the manager of Sullivan County, New Hampshire. “It never occurred to me that I could use their voices, adapt it to me, and then be able to use that.”Company founder and CEO Rupal Patel is a speech technology professor on leave from Northeastern University. Her research found that people with severe communication disorders preserve the ability to control aspects of their voices, such as pitch and loudness. Those characteristics — what Patel calls the “melody of speech” — are also important for speaker identity, she said.“There is a level of empowerment that comes with having the freedom to be able to communicate in your own voice, and that’s such an important thing, which I think has been overlooked,” Patel said.No one would give a young girl a prosthetic leg meant for a grown man, she said, and voices should be no different.The company delivered its first seven voices late last year and is working on about seven dozen more, which will cost $1,249 each. More than 14,000 people worldwide have donated their voices so far in a process that involves about six hours and 3,500 sentences read aloud.One of the first recipients was 17-year-old Delaney Supple, of Needham, Massachusetts, who was born with cerebral palsy. She had been using a generic computerized voice but didn’t like it much; she makes a gagging gesture when her mother mentions it.Some voice devices are controlled by eye movement or head movement. Delaney Supple types out her words on a tablet touch screen and then taps it to play them back.Delaney likes her new voice. So does her mother, Erica Supple, who said it’s a much better fit.“I love listening to it,” she said, “and it’s funny because when I first heard it … it sounded a little bit like her brother’s voice when he was younger.” read more

Learning how to listen in the South African mining industry

first_imgIntenational Mining’s South African technology and services focus is one of the articles in the January issue. Among the many burning issues on which South Africa’s mining industry is currently reflecting is the way it talks to its workers and their communities – and the way it listens to them.In the wake of recent mine violence and strikes, there is a growing need for a more effective engagement between mine management and local stakeholders, according to Nancy Coulson of the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) at the University of the Witwatersrand.“This is by no means a new issue for mines,” said Coulson, “but recent events have shown how much we still need to learn, and how much better we need to become at dealing with the deep and complex issues between mines, communities, workers and other stakeholders in this sector.”Getting mines to help build and diversify their local economies, for instance, has been one of the aims of government mineral policy for some time. She said that CSMI research is showing that a fundamental shift is already underway in how mines see and direct their socio-economic contribution to local economies.“In the past, a mine would largely have taken its own decisions on what projects would be initiated or supported in communities on its doorstep,” said Coulson. “Today, mines’ Social and Labour Plans require engagement with local municipalities and other stakeholders. Mining operations are also recognising that socio-economic investments may be made more wisely if they pool their resources with other mines in their locality. This would require a change to the present regulatory framework and is an indication of the significant strides forward.”But this is the start of a long process, a key aspect of which is to build knowledge and awareness among senior mine management and professionals, to take the industry beyond the check-list approach to community engagement.“This is a learning curve that many managers have gone through on other important sustainability issues, such as mine safety and environmental impact,” she said. “While there are managers and experts dedicated to each priority area on a mine, top management must be knowledgeable to the extent that they can pull these priorities together into an effective corporate strategy.”The good news, according to Coulson, is that that there is a growing body of working knowledge on stakeholder engagement – in the mining sector and beyond – that is helpful for this kind of work, and South African practitioners are benefiting from the progress made by local mines.The CSMI – which trains and educates managers, practitioners and regulators in various aspects of sustainable development – is developing a module for the MSc Mining Engineering course, looking specifically at issues of socio-economic development and stakeholder engagement.“Our concern is that learning in the field of community and stakeholder development has often been limited to a fairly low-level, hands-on approach that tries to provide simple steps to success,” she said. “We need to take this to a higher level, to help decision-makers to understand the systems at play in their workplace, the legacy that underpins our conditions today and the profound nature of inequality in our society that compounds our circumstances.”She insists that while there is no ‘right way’ to do this, there are certainly better ways – and the future of the industry will in part be dependent on how well mines can open up effective communication channels and engage with pressing issues outside their boundary fences.“It’s important to understand, for instance, the links between how stakeholders are engaged inside a company and what happens outside with a community,” said Coulson. “These two worlds are so inter-related that they can’t always be dealt with separately by different departments within a company; management needs to be alive to where worker issues overlap with community issues – and where these in turn link to questions of environmental impact.”Miners’ reporting on sustainable development can gloss over the real difficulties faced at operational level in meeting compliance targets; these unresolved issues, which frequently include living conditions and housing, then tend to bubble under the surface until they reach bursting point.Getting deeper into the complex challenges of community engagement will foster understanding and guide better mine-community interventions, she said, but long term impact cannot be achieved by mines alone. It is vital that initiatives are “institutionalised”, to carry them forward in a sustainable way.“The involvement of government is one of the most common ways that mines can leverage their community projects and boost both impact and longevity,” said Coulson. “It is certainly a problem that local government often does not have the capacity to deliver on their mandates to communities on the outskirts of mines, but this is part of the landscape that mines engage and need to help find solutions.”A central theme of this journey towards better stakeholder engagement, she said, is that better partnerships make more of an impact on fighting poverty and advancing development. This outcome will not be achieved by following a proven recipe, but by fostering critical and engaged thinking among management and other role players.The Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) is a centre of excellence in Africa for the training and education of managers, practitioners and regulators in sustainable development. It was formed in 2004 as a partnership between the School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand and mining companies BHP Billiton, Lonmin and AngloGold Ashanti.last_img read more

Les plus de 50 ans représentent un tiers des adeptes du web

first_imgLes plus de 50 ans représentent un tiers des adeptes du webPrès de 30% des internautes sont aujourd’hui des retraités, des adeptes du web de plus de 50 ans surnommés les silver-surfers. C’est ce que révèle l’Observatoire des usages internet de Médiamétrie dans son dernier bilan.”Les silver-surfeurs poursuivent leur conquête du web” affirme Médiamétrie dans un communiqué publié sur son site Internet. D’après la dernière enquête de l’Observatoire des Usages Internet de la société anonyme, un tiers des internautes sont aujourd’hui des silver-surfeurs, à savoir des personnages âgées de plus de 50 ans. Les plus de 65 ans sont les plus concernés par cette augmentation du nombre de silver-surfeurs, avec en un an, près d’un million de nouveaux internautes de cette tranche d’âge. Comme le souligne l’étude, le fossé des générations “n’a plus lieu d’être” en matière de web. Quant à la parité homme-femme, elle est quasi-parfaite puisque 49,4% des internautes sont aujourd’hui des femmes.Vidéos, visiophonie et partage de photos plébiscitésÀ lire aussiLe World Wide Web a 30 ans : devons-nous nous inquiéter de son évolution ?L’étude s’est aussi penchée sur les usages des internautes, et révèle ainsi qu’au cours du deuxième trimestre, plus de la moitié des internautes, soit quelque 22,1 millions de personnes, ont utilisé les services de banque en ligne. En un an, ces services qui permettent de gérer ses comptes sur Internet, a fait 3 millions de nouveaux adeptes. Mais l’aspect divertissant du web est aussi très plébiscité : 52,7% des internautes disent consulter des vidéos sur Internet, soit près d’un million de personnes de plus que l’année dernière. La messagerie instantanée connaît elle aussi toujours le même succès, avec 47% des internautes qui communiquent par ce moyen.Plusieurs activités sont en outre de plus en plus pratiquées sur le web. C’est notamment le cas de la visiophonie, qui ne cesse de gagner des adeptes. Aujourd’hui, 27% des internautes communiquent avec leur proches grâce à une webcam. Le partage de photographies connaît lui aussi une importante croissance : 17,5% des internautes disent en effet avoir créé un album photos en ligne dans ce but.Le 7 août 2011 à 12:22 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Fort project wins preservation award

first_imgA project that turned a century-old Fort Vancouver infantry barracks into a new Forest Service headquarters has been recognized as one of Washington’s outstanding examples of historic preservation.Fort Vancouver National Historic Site was among those honored by Washington archaeology and historic preservation officials. The renovation of Infantry Barracks Building 987 received one of the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s 2017 awards for outstanding achievements in building rehabilitation.The two-story building reopened in January as headquarters of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.The project “posed particular challenges, beyond a normal rehabilitation, because of cultural and archaeological resources and historic landscapes,” Tracy Fortmann, supervisor of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, said after Thursday’s announcement.The structure is at the west end of the row of four buildings facing Officers Row. The double barracks is just across Fort Vancouver Way from the O.O. Howard House. Built in 1907, the structure had been vacant since 2010, when the Army Reserve’s 104th Division was transferred north to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.The National Park Service took over the east and south portions of Vancouver Barracks in 2012.“There is always concern when historic structures are rehabilitated for adaptive reuse — especially when you try to incorporate modern systems and our demand for technology,” said Alex Patterson, Fort Vancouver’s facilities manager. “In addition to knowing what we need now, you’re also building in capacity for the future.”last_img read more

Second conviction tossed for Cowlitz County man accused in relatives death

first_imgLONGVIEW — A state appeals court has overturned, for the second time, a man’s conviction in the 2011 beating death of his brother-in-law at their Longview-area home.The Daily News reported Thursday that 45-year-old Sergey Fedoruk awaits a new third trial for second-degree murder.In a ruling published Tuesday, the panel said the lower court should have ordered a competency evaluation for Fedoruk earlier in his 2017 trial in Cowlitz County Superior Court.Fedoruk’s lawyers argued that the lower court erred when it proceeded with Fedoruk’s trial even after it became clear that he was no longer competent.Fedoruk was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2012 for second-degree murder. That conviction was thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct and his lawyer’s failure to bring up problems with Fedoruk’s mental capacity in a timely way.last_img

Ireland are making progress says ONeill

first_imgDespite failing to score in their fourth game in a row on Monday, Martin O’Neill believes the Republic of Ireland are making progress.The Republic of Ireland were relegated from Group B4 after their goalless draw with Denmark on Monday, but Martin O’Neill is choosing to focus on the positives as he praised his team’s defending and commitment.“We were very strong defensively, as we probably had to be,” O’Neill told Sky Sports.“Overall, in terms of creativity, maybe not completely there, but I thought the commitment was absolutely excellent against a very strong Danish team.“In the competitive games we’ve played this season, I think that might have been our eighth debutant, and the players are getting used to playing with each other.Emile Heskey, LiverpoolReport: Former Liverpool striker Heskey reveals all George Patchias – September 10, 2019 Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey reveals all in his new book.In Heskey’s new book “Even Heskey Scored,” serialised in the Guardian, the player talks,…“The players are bedding in, young players coming on. This is international football, this is a massive step up for a number of our players, but they are trying to adjust.“It’s certainly been tough (this year). We have played five friendlies, but we haven’t chosen easy friendlies. We’ve never done that.“We’ve tried to play the hard games as much as possible. I think we will learn far more by playing tough opposition.“We are making progress. The young players will come through, and hopefully, with a little bit of guidance by some of the senior players and all of us round about it, they can be ready in a few months’ time.“I think in my professional playing career and in my managerial career, I don’t think I could have won the things that I won as a player and manager if I didn’t have that drive and enthusiasm.”last_img read more

October briefings set for rural land banks

first_imgClark County has updated the schedule for briefing the county commissioners and the planning commission on a proposal for a rural industrial land bank along state Highway 503. The proposal includes two sites on a total of 602 acres in the vicinity of Northeast 119th and 149th streets in the Brush Prairie area. County staff will brief the commissioners during a work session at 9 a.m. Oct. 1. Staff will brief the planning commission in a work session at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Both meetings will be open to the public on the sixth floor of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver. If the land bank is established, zoning would change from agricultural to light industrial. No heavy industrial uses would be allowed. The land could provide work sites for local residents near the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad.More information is at www.clark.wa.gov/planning/landbank/index.html. Anyone interested can sign up to receive project updates by email, including public hearing schedules when determined.last_img read more

Game of Thrones star drops huge spoiler for upcoming books

first_img 1 Now playing: Watch this: 6:00 Most heartbreaking Game of Thrones deaths George R.R. Martin says books won’t end like Game of Thrones Game of Thrones season 8: How to rewatch, and what’s next for Westeros Game of Thrones book by summer 2020, author vows, or ‘imprison me’ Tags TV and Movies See all the Game of Thrones season 8 photos 187 Photos Hempstead Wright said he thought the scene where Tyrion suggests Bran as king was a powerful one.”It’s a long scene, and it was about 10 minutes a take, so we watched Peter (Dinklage) do that speech over and over again — and it didn’t once become boring,” Hempstead Wright said. “There were a couple of times I almost forgot my line because I was so completely involved in his storytelling.”But fans who were disappointed in the ending shouldn’t write off the entire show, the actor says.”I don’t think it’s the ending people need to take away from, it’s the overall message of what these characters have done and how they’ve changed,” he said. “You can read into it in all sorts of ways but at the end of the day, what Game of Thrones is so brilliant at is telling really human stories, and you can take away anything you want from it.”Martin has written five books in what’s planned to be a seven-book series. He recently vowed to have a completed book six, The Winds of Winter, in hand by summer 2020.  Share your voice Comment 57 Photos Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright may have dropped a major spoiler. HBO Game of Thrones fans already know the two remaining books in George R.R. Martin’s series, A Song of Ice and Fire, won’t follow the HBO show’s plot exactly. But the actor who played Bran Stark revealed in an HBO interview published Wednesday that the show’s ending and that of the books just might match.screen-shot-2019-05-19-at-7-09-28-pmIsaac Hempstead Wright revealed that he was stunned to learn his character would be sitting on the Iron Throne at the end of the eight-season show. But he also shared that it came from author Martin himself.”[Show creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss] told me there were two things George R.R. Martin had planned for Bran, and that was the Hodor revelation, and that he would be king,” Hempstead Wright said. “So that’s pretty special to be directly involved in something that is part of George’s vision. It was a really nice way to wrap it up.” More Game of Thrones Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today Game of Throneslast_img read more

Pugh Claims Victory

first_imgThis year’s Baltimore mayoral race has been called the most important in a generation – one year after widespread unrest that rocked the city’s foundations. With 13 candidates on the Democratic ballot and 5 hopefuls on the Republican side, the eyes of the nation were on who the city would pick as its next leader.Senator Catherine Pugh speaks on election night with her staff and supporters at the Baltimore Harbor Hotel on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Baltimore. Pugh, a three-term state senator who also runs a public relations firm, has won the Democratic nomination in Baltimore’s mayoral race. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun via AP)On April 26, Catherine E. Pugh claimed victory in the race to be mayor. Given that Baltimore is overwhelmingly a Democratic stronghold, she is all but assured of being the next mayor.Pugh’s narrow primary victory was celebrated this week in the shadows of a hotly contested election.  Pugh won by a slight 37% to 34% margin- less than 2,900 votes – over Sheila Dixon, the former mayor of Baltimore, who sought to regain her seat in this year’s election. The current results are subject to change, however. The official count of votes begins April 28 and may take up to a week to complete. The current count also does not include absentee ballots and provisional ballots. On Election night, Pugh seemed aware of the work that she still needs to do to transform her celebration into one that can unite the entire city in November. “For the first time, we can focus on some of those neighborhoods and communities that we have left out, “ Pugh said during her victory speech. Several leading figures from Baltimore’s Public Colleges and Universities offered Pugh congratulations – and a healthy dose of acknowledgement that the work for Pugh and the city is just beginning. Morgan State University President David Wilson is ready to get to work with Pugh and get on with the goal of improving life for Baltimoreans. “I’ve worked closely with Senator Pugh over the years and have found her quite effective in getting things done. The city has many challenges that need attention and as Maryland’s public urban research university and an anchor institution in this community, we are ready to roll up our sleeves”, Wilson said. John Willis, professor of government and public policy in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore and Secretary of State for Maryland from 1995 to 2003, acknowledged that Pugh needs to bring many still skeptical people together. “The next mayor of Baltimore will need to work hard to unify the city. Although there remains a general election to win, Senator Pugh is well positioned to form a strong team before an inauguration in December to help her tackle the significant challenges inherent in managing a complex, major urban government.” On the city’s west side, Solomon Iyobosa Omo-Osagie II, Professor of Political Science and History at Baltimore City Community College, also warned that Pugh must get right to work in Baltimore’s neighborhoods. “The city desperately needs economic, educational, and cultural resurgence and in all ramifications after the image beating it took in the pre and post Freddie Gray case and the riots and destruction that ensued. She has quite a task before her,” Omo-Osagie said. Omo-Osagie stressed that Pugh will need to reach out to her opponents before taking a victory lap in the November General election. “Will the other losing candidates actively engage and encourage their supporters to vote? Senator Pugh needs a large voter turnout to cement any claim she may have that the citizens of Baltimore City meant it when they chose her over the other candidates. It will signal that the city residents and voters have chosen to move forward in making the city stronger with “new” leadership” he said.last_img read more

Japanese researchers turn a crab shell transparent

first_img New molecule may aid in production of biofuels and fungi-resistant plants Citation: Japanese researchers turn a crab shell transparent (2011, December 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-japanese-crab-shell-transparent.html Journal information: Soft Matter Explore further A group of researchers working out of Kyoto University in Japan have successfully transformed a normal crab into one that is transparent. As they describe in their paper published in the British Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Soft Matter, the team used a chemical process to take advantage of the special properties of chitin, one of the main ingredients in crab shells. More information: Md. Iftekhar Shams, Masaya Nogi, Lars A. Berglund and Hiroyuki Yano, Soft Matter, 2012, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06785KAbstractAn optically transparent crab-shell with an intact original shape and substantial morphological detail is presented. Inorganic calcium carbonate particles, proteins, lipids and pigments are removed from a native crab-shell, and the remaining chitin nanofibrous structure is impregnated by a monomer and polymerized. The nanostructural implications for man-made nanocomposites are discussed. An important application of the finding is demonstrated as heterogeneous micro-scale crab shell chitin particles are successfully used to process transparent nanocomposites. The incorporation of nanostructured chitin macro-particles not only retains transparency of the matrix resin but also drastically reduces the coefficient of thermal expansion of the polymer. Moreover, the optical transmittance of the composite is stable over a large range of temperatures despite significant inhomogeneity at the mm scale and the large temperature changes in the refractive index of the resin in its isolated state. This class of materials is an interesting candidate for transparent substrates in next-generation electronic devices such as flexible displays and solar cells. © 2011 PhysOrg.com The purpose of the research is to find new materials for making flexible displays for electronic devices or solar cells. After making the crab shell see-through, the team applied the same technique to a material made of crushed chitin and acrylic that was flattened to make a type of transparent paper.To make the crab transparent, it was first bathed in hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide and ethanol to remove everything from the shell that wasn’t chitin, leaving a plain white shell. They then soaked the shell in a bath of an acrylic resin monomer, which caused the chitin to become transparent. The resultant transparent crab retained all of the physical characteristics it had at the onset, which made for a rather odd-looking, eerie, specimen; somewhat reminiscent of a hardened jelly fish.Another positive aspect of chitin is the fact that it doesn’t expand when heated, a property that would be very useful when making flat or bendable type displays for televisions and computers or in solar cells that could be molded to fit real world surfaces. The paper-like material the team made turned out to be ten times as heat resistant as traditional materials such as glass-fiber epoxies, and it had a high light transmittance to boot.If chitin turns out to be the next great find in electronic materials science, it will be a lucky thing, as it’s quite plentiful in the natural world and not just in crab shells; it’s found in virtually all crustaceans, as well as many insects and most arachnids. It’s even found in the cell walls of many fungi. Technically defined as a horny polysaccharide, it’s a long chain polymer of a derivative of glucose and its primary use in the human world up to now has been as an ingredient in medicines and industrial products. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Rather dismal scenario

first_imgThe Socio-Economic and Caste Census, the first since 1932, was released by the Government of India on Friday. Suffice to say, it presented a rather bleak picture of rural India, indicating that one out of every three families living in its villages is landless and depends on some form of manual labour for livelihood. The only positive one can take from this exercise is that it is the first paperless census conducted on hand-held electronic devices, possibly paving the way for further digitalisation of our public records.  The census, carried out in 640 districts, also revealed that 23.52 percent of rural families have no literate adult above the age of 25 years, indicating a poor state of education.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Speaking to the media, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “It’s going to be a very important document for all policy makers both at central and state governments. This document will help us target groups for support in terms of policy planning.” The fundamental point here is that such data will allow policymakers, both at the State-level and Centre, to establish a convergent, evidence-based plan to tackle rural poverty, taking into account India’s grassroots governance structures. In light of this new data, the Centre and the States will have to address fundamental concerns surrounding the recently proposed Land Acquisition Bill.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWith only a 15 percent share in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, the Indian agriculture sector employs 60 percent of its population. Arguing for the Centre’s Land Bill earlier this year, Union Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the government has to bring people out of agriculture and create jobs in the manufacturing sector. This is probably the most succinct argument the Centre has presented for the bill. In order to achieve this transition to manufacturing, however, people from the rural agricultural sector need to acquire the requisite skills. If not, the only possible avenue for poor farm labourers is manual labour in the construction sector.  Basic education and healthcare standards in the rural sector are at an all-time low. Public healthcare expenditure only amounts to 1.19 percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product, when compared to China (3 percent) and Brazil (4.9 percent). It is well below the 5 percent figure recommended by the World Health Organization. Although Prime Minister Modi has inaugurated a host of insurance schemes for the rural poor, it cannot make up for the terrible lack of public health infrastructure that currently exists in India. There is no better form of insurance for the rural poor than a functioning public health care system. Education spending, meanwhile, has been lower than the world average. Only 3.3 percent of its GDP has been spent on education, compared to the global average of 4.9 percent.  The Centre, unfortunately, has not taken any productive steps in addressing the malaise. Instead in the last Budget, the Centre cut down education spending by 16 percent. In addition to better rural education and healthcare, there needs to be a nation-wide initiative to digitalise and update all land records so that the farmer can receive adequate and timely compensation for the plot they sell. Following West Bengal’s example, State governments must digitise and update all their land records. The Centre’s latest census, therefore, reminds us on the urgency required of India’s push towards manufacturing the integral role education must play.last_img read more

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" The wave of horrifying crimes had brought an end to a more innocent era in the Sacramento suburbs when children rode bicycles to school, "No one thinks they live next door to a serial killer, China prevents outsiders from gathering information on their own. Chinese authorities said the vehicle was driven by ethnic Uighurs. read more