Humans not solely to blame for passenger pigeon extinction

first_imgWhen the last passenger pigeon died at a zoo in 1914, the species became a cautionary tale of the dramatic impact humans can have on the world. But a new study finds that the bird experienced multiple population booms and crashes over the million years before its final demise. The sensitivity of the population to natural fluctuations, the authors argue, could have been what made it so vulnerable to extinction.“This is a very nice piece of research,” says paleornithologist Helen James of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the work. “I hope we can take what we learn from this and begin to build better ways of determining a species’ extinction risk.”In the 1800s, the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), named after the French word passager for “passing by,” was the most abundant bird in the world. It accounted for more than a quarter of all birds in North America, with an estimated population of 3 billion to 5 billion. The species traveled in enormous flocks, as wide as a mile and many miles long, and could strip an area of nuts within days. When the last passenger pigeon died in 1914, ecologists blamed deforestation and overhunting; the bird had become a popular source of cheap meat for both human consumption and livestock feed. But the story didn’t add up for everyone.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“We thought that some piece was probably missing in this puzzle,” says Chih-Ming Hung, a biologist at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. “If people are just killing pigeons one by one, even combined with habitat loss, it’s still hard to believe they can go down in number so fast.”Hung and his colleagues collected tiny tissue samples from four well-preserved passenger pigeons held at museums around the world and used cutting-edge genetic technology to sequence the animals’ DNA, as well as the DNA of a modern relative, the domestic pigeon. By comparing the genes from each bird, Hung’s team was able to determine how the overall passenger pigeon population had changed over the years. At any given time, a smaller population of birds means less genetic diversity.Hung found that before Europeans settled in North America, the passenger pigeon population was already far from steady. Instead, the number of pigeons had fluctuated by up to 1000-fold during multiple population shrinkages and growths over the previous million years. Such massive fluctuations aren’t typical for any species. The researchers suspect that climate-driven shifts in the availability of acorns, one of the pigeon’s primary food sources, might be responsible. These shifts  matched up with the fluctuations in population size. But they have no way to prove the connection.The findings suggest that the passenger pigeons’ extinction may not have been solely due to human influence. Instead, the double whammy of an already natural population decline coupled with the pressures of hunting and population loss may have done the bird in, Hung and colleagues report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “If it’s already on this track, human influence can further increase the speed that the population goes down,” Hung says. “And once it gets down to some really low level, there’s no way for the birds to recover.”Beth Shapiro, a paleogenomics researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who also studies the passenger pigeon’s genetic past, says the new data are encouraging and fit with her own group’s unpublished findings. “I think the discovery that their populations regularly fluctuate in size makes these birds even more fascinating,” she says. “This is not what we consider normal behavior.”More work will still be needed, though, she points out, to fill in gaps in the pigeons’ natural history. The genetic data show only very long-term trends, and thus don’t reveal what the birds’ last decades were like. It’s also unclear which biological properties of the passenger pigeons made them so prone to population fluctuations. If biologists can answer these questions, Shapiro says, they may be able to identify other species that, while they are plentiful in number and not considered at risk of extinction by classical methods, could be in danger of an unexpected die-off.last_img read more

Sania Mirza wants best mixed doubles team at Rio Olympics

first_imgIndian tennis ace Sania Mirza on Wednesday said it is too early to take a call on who she would partner in mixed doubles at the Rio Olympic Games.The confident Sania though believed the best possible team should be fielded in the multi-sport extravaganza.”Who knows who is going to be healthy and who won’t be healthy. The most important thing people should know is that the best team should be put forward. Now, I don’t think is the right time to take that call,” Sania said. (Sania Mirza longing to meet this special friend. Find out why)Ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, there was a controversy over selection of the Indian doubles team.Asked about her preparation for Rio Games, Sania said she is at the moment focused on tournaments preceding the mega event.”I just played a final on Sunday so I am not preparing at this very point because I have been playing six weeks in a row. I was in three different countries in the last three days, and I fly back to Dubai tonight again and we play on Tuesday in Doha, so I have a few days to hit,” he said.Sania said she always plays for the country be it the Olympics or Wimbledon.”I am always playing for the nation. People mistake that we don’t play for the nation just because we don’t play as a team. We are always representing India and it doesn’t matter if it’s at Wimbledon or Olympics. Olympics does bring a bit more patriotism because everybody follows it under the Indian flag, quote unquote!” she said.advertisementSania said, unlike other sports, tennis players do not have the luxury to focus on events happening four months from now.”We don’t have the luxury like other sports to focus on something that happens four months from today. But when we get there, rest assured we are going to try and win a medal like every other time. But for now, we are looking ahead. It is at the back of our heads. Its not something right in front of us,” she said.Asked what was the secret behind her super success in doubles with Martina Hingis, Sania said they give their best when under pressure.”Usually, in partnerships, there is one player who plays better and the other doesn’t. In this I feel both of us play very well under pressure and that’s what makes it difficult to beat us. More often than not we come through. That is our biggest strength,” she said.last_img read more


first_imgThe new federal tax law allows the use of money in college savings plans to pay for tuition for elementary and high school students.State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald says the College Savings Iowa plan is not set up for that change though:Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…..your can’t” :10College Savings Iowa is what is known as a “529 plan” and it allows you to deduct contributions to the plan from your state income tax as long as the money is used for qualified college expenses.Fitzgerald says the state deduction won’t be allowed for K-12 expenses unless the law changes.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……..a law change. :11He says you should be aware of the issue as you prepare your tax returns for 2017.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………of Iowa”. :13Fitzgerald says the attorney for the College Savings Iowa plan says money withdrawn from the plan for K-12 expenses under current state law would have to be added as income to your tax return.Radio Iowalast_img read more

India’s World Cup dream over, New Zealand storm into final

first_img scorecard India’s World Cup dream over, New Zealand storm into finalIndia vs New Zealand World Cup 2019 semi-final: New Zealand defeated India by 18 runs to qualify for their 2nd successive World Cup final. This was India’s second successive World Cup semi-final defeat. graphs commentary view more view less No data available! advertisement Rajarshi Gupta ManchesterJuly 10, 2019UPDATED: July 10, 2019 20:33 IST New Zealand reached to their second straight final in World Cups. (Reuters Photo)HIGHLIGHTSIndia lost to New Zealand by 18 runs in the 1st semi-final of World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford on WednesdayNew Zealand will play either of Australia or England in the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s on July 14This was India’s 2nd successive defeat in a World Cup semi-final. In 2015, India had lost to AustraliaRavindra Jadeja’s heroic 77 went in vain as India crashed to an 18-run defeat to New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup after Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul flopped in a run chase of 240.India were playing for a spot in their 4th World Cup final but at the end of the day, New Zealand stormed to their second successive title clash. In 2015, New Zealand had lost to Australia in a one-sided final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 4 years later, they will wait to see which of Australia and England meet them at Lord’s on July 14.For India, it was a repeat of the 2015 World Cup campaign. After dominant performances in the group stage and the quarter-final 4 years ago, India went down to Australia. In 2019, India finished on top of the group stage only to lose to New Zealand in the semi-final.Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had scored 1089 runs in World Cup 2019 between them before the semi-final but both men were dismissed for 1 each in overcast conditions. KL Rahul had scored 360 runs including a maiden World Cup hundred before Wednesday but like Rohit and Kohli, he too perished for 1.India vs New Zealand, World Cup 2019 semi-final: Live Cricket ScoreIndia were tottering at 5 for 3 in 3.1 overs in pursuit of 240. Matt Henry was breathing fire, Trent Boult was on fire after getting Virat Kohli. India needed a miracle and for a while, it looked like Rishabh Pant would provide them that moment of magic.Playing only his 4th World Cup match, Pant showed more flair than the other Indian batsmen. While Dinesh Karthik played out 16 dot balls at the other end, Pant was keen to get on with the game. Even when Karthik departed to leave India in hot water at 24 for 4, Pant was prepared to play his shots.advertisementMeanwhile, Sourav Ganguly fumed on air because there was no sign of MS Dhoni at the crease. It was surprising enough that India had sent in Dinesh Karthik before Dhoni but the team management decided to spring one more surprise: Hardik Pandya ahead of a man who has scored nearly 11,000 ODI runs.MS Dhoni has been criticised for his strike rate in the World Cup. His approach in a steep run chase against England stunned Sourav Ganguly and Nasser Hussain who were baffled by his approach. But MS Dhoni was still India’s most experienced batsman in the middle-order and it was hard to fathom why he walked in to bat at No.7.But Jadeja and Dhoni were not going down without a fight. Ravindra Jadeja was called a bits and pieces cricketer by Sanjay Manjrekar but on Wednesday, he was determined to show he was not. He slammed 77 off 59 balls and added 106 for the 7th wicket with MS Dhoni.India’s hopes were dashed when Jadeja fell to Trent Boult in the 48th over.On Tuesday, the play was suspended due to rain after New Zealand had reached 211 for 5 off 46.1 overs. The match resumed on Reserve Day and the Black Caps finished 239 for 8 in 50 overs. India would have imagined it was going to be a breeze but New Zealand had other plans. And their pacers executed them beautifully.Also Read | Viral video: MS Dhoni advising Yuzvendra Chahal and fielders during World Cup semi-final is goldAlso Read | India vs New Zealand: Virat Kohli’s public chat with Ravi Shastri gets tongue wagggingAlso See:Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySaurabh Kumar Tags :Follow World Cup 2019Follow India vs New ZealandFollow 1st semifinal Nextlast_img read more

Dartmouth General Hospital Renovation Reaches Another Milestone

first_img Thirty-five patients moved into newly renovated space at Dartmouth General Hospital this week. “I’d like to thank both patients and staff at the hospital who may have experienced some inconvenience during the renovations to modernize and update this facility,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “The completion of this phase, means we are at the halfway point in the renovations to the third and fourth floors.” The renovations included: “The third floor, east wing renovations will make a huge difference for our patients, their families and our staff,” said Adrienne Malloy, president of the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation. “We are pleased, through the generosity of our donors, to be part of a project that is helping to enhance care at our hospital.” This is the second of four units to be renovated. The project will cost about $6.5 million over two years. The Department of Health and Wellness has committed $4.85 million towards the project with the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation funding the remaining $1.6 million. “These renovations help ensure we’re using our health-care assets in the most efficient way possible for the benefit of patients and health-care providers,” said Dr. Todd Howlett, Dartmouth General Hospital’s chief of staff. “It is an important step toward providing better access to health care that will meet the needs of Nova Scotians, but particularly the residents of Dartmouth and surrounding communities, for years to come.” This is part of the QEII redevelopment project that will better connect Nova Scotians to the care they need. It will also enhance Dartmouth General’s role in the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Some patients and surgeries that do not require the specialized care provided by the QEII Health Sciences Centre will be moved to Dartmouth General. A video on the Dartmouth General’s renovations and updates on the QEII redevelopment project can be found at: new central control centres where staff can work more efficiently as a team on patient care upgrades to patient rooms and washrooms that better accommodate those in wheelchairs and walkers new handwashing sinks in hallways for health-care workers new utility rooms where medical equipment can be safely cleaned and sterilized that will save nurses’ time and enhance infection controlcenter_img NOTE TO EDITORS: Karen Mumford, senior director, QEII Redevelopment Project, Nova Scotia Health Authority, is available for media interviews from 10 a.m. to noon today. Call or email the media contacts to make arrangements.last_img read more

Protests spark renewed debate over plan to restore ties with Iran

first_imgOTTAWA – Several days of deadly protests in Iran are not deterring the Trudeau government from its efforts to restore diplomatic ties with Tehran — at least for now.A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland indicated Tuesday that Canada is not contemplating ending talks with Iran, despite being “deeply troubled” by the deaths of at least 21 protesters and the arrests of hundreds more.“Canada will continue to engage with Iran on terms that we set, as it remains an effective tool to hold Iran to account, promote human rights and advance our consular interests,” Adam Austen said in a statement.Debate over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise to restore diplomatic relations has been rekindled during six days of protest across Iran that have been described as the most significant challenge to the country’s ruling regime in nearly a decade.The unrest began Thursday when demonstrators gathered to express anger at unpaid wages and rocketing inflation before spreading into expressions of dissatisfaction with the current government.Austen called on Iranian authorities to show restraint.“Canada is deeply troubled by the deaths of protesters in Iran,” he said. “We call on the Iranian authorities to uphold and respect democratic and human rights.”Austen lauded Iranians “who are bravely exercising their basic right to protest peacefully” and said Canada will continue to support their fundamental rights, “including freedom of expression.” He added that the government will continue to monitor the protests closely and speak out about the treatment of protesters.Austen also reiterated Canada’s opposition to Iran’s support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, its ballistic missile program and its support for the repressive regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.Nevertheless, he said the government believes “open and frank dialogue” is the way to hold Iran to account on human rights and to advance Canadian consular cases.Stephen Harper’s Conservatives cut ties with Iran in 2012. The Liberals pledged during the 2015 federal election to restore relations with Iran, and Global Affairs officials have since held several rounds of quiet discussions with Iranian counterparts.A senior official from Iran’s foreign ministry told the state-run Mehr News Agency on Dec. 18 that the two sides had recently wrapped up a fifth round of talks, and that another had been planned for early in 2018.“We are planning to deploy an Iranian delegation at the directorate-general level to Canada following the New Year holidays,” Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh, general director of American affairs, was quoted as saying.Even before the protests, federal opposition parties, academics and members of the Iranian-Canadian community were already sharply divided over the Liberal plan to restore diplomatic ties with Tehran and that continued Tuesday.“One of the prime minister’s early commitments was to re-engage with Iran and re-open that embassy,” said Iranian-Canadian lawyer and human rights activist Kaveh Shahrooz.“Now I think frankly it’s probably time to abandon that promise and focus on the moral act of supporting the protesters.”The Harper government cited several reasons for closing the Canadian embassy in Tehran and ejecting all Iranian diplomats from Canada in 2012, including Iran’s support for terror and its abysmal human rights record.Those concerns remain valid and reason enough not to re-engage even without the protests, said Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole, who criticized what he saw as a weak Liberal response to the demonstrations.“At this time, and with what Iran is doing in the wider region, we don’t think we should be focusing on improving relations,” O’Toole said. “We should be isolating the regime.”Yet others, such as NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere, said the protests underscore the need for Canada to actually have a diplomatic presence on the ground in Iran to monitor and try to influence events.“Of course, if it reaches a point where we say, ‘Look, we cannot move further into renewing diplomatic relations,’ it may reach that point,” Laverdiere said.“But I think at this time, it’s more important to look towards the future and press the point that Iranian authorities need to respect the right to protest and all sides need to avoid violence.”Thomas Juneau, an expert on Middle East politics at the University of Ottawa, said the Liberals knew the Iranian regime was brutal and repressive when they promised to re-engage with Tehran.“The broader calculus that it would be in Canada’s interests to have an embassy in Iran doesn’t change,” he said. “(The protests) are something to keep in mind, but it doesn’t fundamentally change anything.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitterlast_img read more

Pakistan quake survivors want to go home UN refugee official says

As tens of thousands of people displaced by last October’s earthquake in Pakistan stream home from their temporary camps, a top official of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), which is leading the relief effort, listened to the aspirations and concerns of survivors and pledged to continue supporting them. “What UNHCR wants is what the quake survivors want for themselves. They want to go home to their villages,” said Wendy Chamberlin, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. “We are working with various agencies like IOM (International Organization for Migration) to facilitate transport and return.” UNHCR has supported the Pakistani Government in running the temporary camps with 132 emergency staff, 55 mobile teams funded by the European Commission for Humanitarian Affairs (ECHO) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The effort is assisting Pakistani authorities in 112 relief camps for some 73,000 quake survivors. The Deputy High Commissioner later pledged that: “UNHCR will continue to assist in the transitional phase, however, the long-term response will fall to other agencies.” More than 88,000 camp dwellers have gone back to rebuild their homes in the last month, UNHCR said. The agency launched a mass information campaign in the camps last month to ensure that details on conditions in areas of return and expected assistance for shelter reconstruction reach people so they can make an informed choice.In the Thori Park camp, group of young women and widows told Ms. Chamberlain that their main concerns about going home were the availability of land, road rehabilitation, and shelter in their villages.The refugee agency has emphasized that provision must be made for vulnerable people who cannot return now. Some have been orphaned, widowed or disabled; others have lost their land or come from towns like Balakot, which lies on major fault lines and has to be relocated. The authorities in Muzaffarabad have set aside at least two camps – Thori Park and Mera Tanolia – for these residual groups. Another three camps have been designated as residual camps in North West Frontier Province. UNHCR is providing resources and training to the civilian authorities to help them manage and assist those who remain in these camps. read more

At Holocaust memorial event Ban highlights need for courage to do what

“For most of us it is hard to imagine the anguish of knowing that you and your loved ones have been singled out to die because of your faith, your culture or your race – yet, this is the stark truth,” Mr. Ban said at the commemoration, held at the Park East Synagogue in New York City, and which included Holocaust survivors amongst its attendees.“In the Second World War, Jews, Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, communists, the mentally ill – anyone who did not conform to Hitler’s perverted ideology of Aryan perfection – were systematically persecuted, rounded up and transported to death camps. Some were murdered immediately; others cruelly worked to death. Such an operation takes extensive organization. It takes many people – from leaders to ordinary citizens – to participate, cooperate or simply turn a blind eye,” he continued. “This is perhaps the greatest tragedy of genocide – and the reason why we must be ever vigilant.” Noting that attacks which diminish their rights of others can affect the chances of such beliefs taking root, the UN chief highlighted his remarks about Holocaust denial when on a visit to the Iranian capital of Tehran in 2012, as well as the work of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, which was launched in 2005, through the initiative of Spain and Turkey and under the auspices of the UN, and seeks to promote better cross-cultural relations worldwide.“Neither anti-Semitism nor Islamophobia nor other such forms of bias have a place in the 21st century world we are trying to build,” Mr. Ban said. “This is also why I worry about the continued stalemate in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. We now have a whole generation of young people on both sides who risk growing up with a demonized, dehumanized – and utterly false – concept of their neighbours.”“They need to be educated to co-exist peacefully with their neighbours,” he continued. “The only way to build peace is to build bridges and break down walls. Doing so will take courage, but it must be done.”In relation to this year’s International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, the UN chief noted that the theme for the observance – ‘Rescue during the Holocaust: The Courage to Care’ – is aimed at honouring those who risked their lives and their families to save Jews and other victims of persecution from almost certain death during the Second World War.“Some, like Raoul Wallenberg, are household names,” Mr. Ban said. “But most are unsung heroes – brave men and women from all walks of life, and many nations… their example is as relevant today as ever.”He added, “In a world where extremist acts of violence and hatred capture the headlines on an almost daily basis, we need to take inspiration from these ordinary people who took extraordinary steps to defend human dignity.” While the International Day is on 27 January, a range of events – organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme and including exhibits, film screenings, educational activities, as well as the annual memorial ceremony – will be held the week beginning 21 January to mark the moral values and courage that lie behind the acts of rescue involving tens of thousands of Jews, Roma and Sinti and others during the Holocaust. In his remarks at the synagogue, the Secretary-General recalled his visit last year to Srebrenica, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where at least 6,000 Muslim men were killed in 1995 during the conflicts that affected much of the Balkan region. The Srebrenica massacre is widely considered the worst act of genocide in Europe since the Holocaust.“I visited the graves and wept with the mothers of the slain. It is not an easy place for a United Nations Secretary-General to visit. The United Nations – the international community – failed to protect thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys from slaughter,” Mr. Ban said. “The shadow of Srebrenica has joined that of Rwanda, Cambodia, the Holocaust. Each time we hear ‘never again,’” he continued. “But can we truly say we have learned the lessons of these tragedies? As an international community, do we have the courage to care – and the resolve to act?”The UN chief also flagged the principle of the responsibility to protect, which – adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005, at the level of Heads of State and Governments – puts the obligation firmly on States to protect their populations from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or ethnic cleansing.“In the face of these crimes and violations there is a corresponding duty of the international community to act. The responsibility to protect applies everywhere and all the time,” Mr. Ban said. “It has been implemented with success in a number of places, including in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire. But today it faces a great test in Syria.”More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and hundreds of thousands more have been displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in early 2011. Recent months have witnessed an escalation in the conflict, which is now in its 23rd month.“I am deeply concerned about the situation in Syria not simply because of the terrible suffering, but because of what may come next. Each day’s delay in resolving the crisis raises the spectre of the violence spreading along religious and ethnic lines. Each day’s delay sees new atrocities by both sides,” Mr. Ban said. “It is essential that all perpetrators of international crimes understand that they will be held to account,” he stated. “There will be no amnesties for those most responsible. The old era of impunity is ending. In its place, slowly but surely, we are building a new age of accountability. But the important thing is to end the violence in Syria – now – and begin the process of transition.” The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the Arab League on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, has been engaged in meetings in the region and elsewhere, as part of his efforts to bring about a negotiated, political solution to end the Syrian conflict. Mr. Brahimi has reiterated the belief that a political solution can be achieved, based on the so-called Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012, which, among other items, calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.The Geneva communiqué was issued after a meeting in the Swiss city of the so-called Action Group for Syria and lays out key steps in a process to end the violence in the Middle Eastern country.The Action Group is made up of the Secretaries-General of the UN and the Arab League; the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as the Turkish Foreign Minister; the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, in their respective roles related to the Arab League. read more

Sir Patrick Stewarts politics From a preMeToo women rights advocate to a

From left-wing politics to domestic violence, Sir Patrick’s views have been shaped from personal experience from an early age. But the 78-year-old’s decision to quit the Labour Party is just the latest public stand taken by the Hollywood actor across a wide range of issues. And as he prepares to reprise the role of Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek television series, the veteran actor sees it as another chance for one of his most famous characters to explore the latest social issues of the day. Sir Patrick Stewart humbly says he would never compare his activism to the work carried out by his good friend Sir Ian McKellen.  “During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about… read more

High Court halts airport strikes by granting injunction to DAA

first_imgUpdated 17.15pmTHE HIGH COURT has granted an injunction to the Dublin Airport Authority to halt the planned closure of Ireland’s airports this Friday.Unions at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports planned to go strike for four hours at the beginning of the St Patrick’s Day bank holiday weekend in a row over a €700 million gaping hole in the workers’ pension fund.UnlawfulDublin Airport Authority (DAA) went to court last Friday to seek the injunction to stop the unions from going on strike, claiming that the industrial action is unlawful. Ryanair also took the same step.Dublin Airport Authority welcomed the decision by the High Court today which directs SIPTU to withdraw its planned industrial action at Dublin and Cork airports this Friday.SIPTU confirmed the the injunction would mean the suspension of their planned strike action.In response to the decision of the High Court, SIPTU Pensions Advisor, Dermot O’Loughlin said:We will be complying fully with the orders of the High Court. However, this does not resolve the pensions dispute.Accordingly, we will be consulting with our legal advisors with a view to developing a strategy to enable us to exercise our right to withdraw labour and take industrial action in the absence of a fair resolution of the pensions issue within a reasonable time. Reacting to today’s judgement, DAA said:Given the unwarranted nature of SIPTU’s planned action and the significant disruption that it has already caused to airline customers, passengers and DAA’s own business, DAA had no option but to apply to the Court for injunctive relief, to try to ensure that both Dublin and Cork airports operate as normal on March 14.DAA apologised to its customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience and stress that the “unnecessary threat of industrial action has caused”.DAA called on SIPTU to fully focus on engaging with the Government-sponsored Expert Panel, which was established last week which they said is seeking to reach a “fair and sustainable resolution to broader pension issue”.The trade union Mandate withdrew its notice of strike action stating that they would be meeting with the expert panel this Friday and will await the outcome talks.Sean Brogan, the Interim Chief Executive of Aer Arann also welcomed the court’s decision, stating that it “provides certainty to passengers and staff of the airline, and ensures that all scheduled flights will operate as normal this weekend”.Speaking today, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said he too welcomes the High Court ruling which he said should allow the State airports to operate normal services this Friday.“I have said on a number of occasions that the strike should have been deferred given that the Expert Panel is currently engaging with all parties involved in the dispute,” he concluded.Originally published 4pmRead: Mandate union withdraws from strike action at DAA> Read: DAA and Ryanair launch court action to stop strike at Irish airports>last_img read more

City will raise parking rates effective March 1

first_imgVancouver – The city of Vancouver will increase parking rates for the first time since 2009 and also replace older meters.On March 1, the hourly parking rate in downtown Vancouver will increase from 50 cents per hour to $1.25 per hour, according to information from the city. Older coin-only parking meters will continue to be 50 cents per hour until they are replaced.On-street parking will still be free after 6 p.m. during the week, and all day on weekends and city-recognized holidays.The city will begin replacing older coin-operated parking meters downtown with new pay stations. The parking rate at the new pay stations will be $1.25 per hour.The goal is to decrease maintenance and operational costs and improve customer service, according to information from the city. The city will also install coin-only parking meters in areas of Uptown Village, including Main Street. The parking rate will be 50 cents per hour. The city plans to actively enforce the area. Later this year, the city hopes to explore the possibility of providing a mobile parking app to allow people to pay for parking and add money using their mobile device.At the Vancouvercenter Park ‘n Go garage on West Sixth Street, parking rates also will increase on March 1 to: $1.25 per hour; $9 Monday through Friday daytime until 6 p.m.; $3.50 Monday through Friday 6 p.m. to close; $12.50 Monday through Friday full day; $3.50 weekends for the full day.For more information about parking in downtown Vancouver, visit read more

USS Carl Vinson departs for RIMPAC 2018

first_imgUSS Carl Vinson departs for RIMPAC 2018 Posted: June 18, 2018 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) departed San Diego, June 18, to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.Carl Vinson is joining more than 50 surface ships and submarines from 26 nations in the world’s largest international maritime exercise. The aircraft carrier’s 5,000 Sailors are part of 25,000 personnel scheduled to participate in various training events ashore and at sea June 27 through Aug. 2.“This is a chance for us to showcase what we do and strengthen relationships with our international partners,” said Capt. Matthew Paradise, Carl Vinson’s commanding officer. “There are a lot of opportunities to build camaraderie.”The training syllabus includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises as well as military medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Units will also train in counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations.RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971. Participants this year include forces from Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating for the first time.Carl Vinson completed a three-month deployment to the Western Pacific in April. The mission included a bilateral exercise with Japan’s maritime forces and the first visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam in more than 40 years.The ship supports more than 70 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 2 and also serves as the flagship for Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1.– CVN 70 – KUSI Newsroom, Categories: Local San Diego News center_img June 18, 2018 FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom last_img read more

Sun Shines On Arctic Coastal Plain

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Senator Lisa Murkowski R-AK: “This is a very historic day of course, but it’s also…winter solstice…the shortest day, the darkest day…for us in Alaska we have had some pretty dark days recently.” Love her for working across the aisle or hate her for being a RHINO, no one can take away this magic moment from Senator Lisa Murkowski. It’s a message Alaska’s Congressional Delegation has dreamed about delivering. Murkowski is credited with entering the ANWR opening language into H.R. 1 Tax Cuts And Job Act as she chaired the committee in charge of the jobs portion of the bill. Senator Lisa Murkowski R-AK: “With passage finally, almost 40 years later, to allow us to open up the 1002 area, this is a bright day for Alaska.” Moments before handing the spotlight over to Murkowski, President Donald Trump Wednesday stood in front of the White House offering antidotes on the improbable quest of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. Story as aired:Audio PlayerDorene-on-sun-shines-on-arctic-coastal-plain.mp3VmDorene-on-sun-shines-on-arctic-coastal-plain.mp300:00RPd President Donald Trump: ” They tried in Ronald Reagan, they tried with the Bushes, they tried with everybody. They never got ANWR, but we got ANWR in this bill. So we have ANWR, we have mandate.”last_img read more

Yukon River coho harvest sets record

first_imgDownload AudioThis year’s harvest of coho salmon on the Yukon River is the largest on record, with over a thousand fish caught. That’s almost twice as much as Fish and Game’s preseason projection. The record-breaking harvest comes out of a run that managers do not know much about, including how many fish are returning to their spawning grounds.last_img

Obama Oil states must prepare for cleaner future

first_imgPresident Obama hosted governors, including Gov. Walker. (Pete Souza/White House.)Download AudioPresident Obama told the nation’s governors today that oil and coal producing states should prepare for a shift to cleaner energy.“I want to be honest with you — if those states with extractive industries are not currently preparing for the fact that the energy mix is going to continue to change over time, you’re probably doing a disservice to your constituencies,” he said.Obama hosted the National Governors Association at the White House today.At the meeting, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker pleaded for more access to drill on federal land, pointing to the state’s massive budget deficit.“We got problems,” Walker told the president. “We have an oil pipeline that’s empty.  I need to fill it up.  There’s a lot of oil up there, and we’re going to get it safely.  And thank you for some of your positions you’ve taken, but we need to put oil in that pipeline.”Obama told him it’s a matter of balancing values.“We have encouraged exploration in some areas.  There are some areas that are just real sensitive,” he said.Obama described the federal government’s role as helping states “maximize your production, minimizing your pollution, but also preparing you for the fact that 20 (or) 30 years from now, there’s going to be a higher mix of clean energy and a lower mix of traditional fossil fuels.”Obama took the opportunity to again extol at length the beauty he saw when he visited Alaska last summer.“It fills up your soul being up there, just the landscape and the expanse,” he said. “The sheer scale of everything is remarkable, and the people could not have been more gracious and wonderful.”Obama has proposed a new oil tax of $10.25 per barrel to fund low-polluting transportation system. Republican leaders, though, say Congress will never approve it.last_img read more

No headway in Twaki murder case

first_imgThe investigation into the murder of Tanvir Muhammad Twaki, son of Naraynganj cultural personality Rafiur Rabbi, is yet to be completed over four and half years after his killing.However, the trial of the sensational seven-murder case has almost been completed, despite these killings taking place a year after Twaki’s death.“It took just over three years to pronounce the verdict of a complex case like the sensational 7-murder in Naraynganj whereas the charge sheet of Twaki murder case is not being submitted though everything related to the murder has been revealed [in investigation],” Rafiur Rabbi told Prothom Alo.Twaki went missing from in front of their residence in Narayanganj city on 6 March in 2013. Rabbi filed a general diary with the Sadar Model police station later in the day.On 8 March, the body of Twaki was recovered from Shitlakkhya river. The victim’s father filed a lawsuit against unknown perpetrators that night.On 18 March, he submitted a written complaint to Narayanganj police superintendent requesting him to take action against the suspected murderers — ruling Awami League MP Shamim Osman, his son Aoyon Osman, district Jubo League leader, now expelled, Zahirul Islam Parvez alias Kangaroo Parvez, and district unit Chhatra League vice-president Rajib Das, general secretary Mizanur Rahman, Saleh Rahman Simanta, and Rifat.Rabbi said that he had protested at the extortion of “Osman Family” members from public transports plying on Dhaka-Naraynganj route. “This is why they planned to kill my son to punish me. An investigation by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has also revealed this. Media also published reports in this connection,” he said.Police was the first to investigate into the murder case. Later, following a High Court order the case was handed over to the RAB after Rabbi filed a petition in this regard.RAB arrested Yusuf Hossain alias Liton, Sultan Shawkat and Tayebuddin alias Jacky on allegation of their involvement with the murder. Of them, Yusuf and Sultan gave confessional statements in the court under section 164.Yusuf said his son Saleh Rahman alias Simanta, Bhromor, Abul Kalam Shikder and others strangled Twaki to death after torturing at Jatiya Party leader Haji Ripon’s residence in Jamtala. Later, they put the body in a sack and threw it into Shitlakkhya river.Another accused Sultan Shawkat alias Bhromor said former MP Nasim Osman’s son Azmeri Osman led the killing mission.Later, a team of RAB-11 conducted an operation at Azmeri Osman’s readymade garment’s factory in Narayanganj town and recovered blood stained denim pant and two sticks. They also seized eight CC cameras, LCD monitor and other evidences related to the murder.RAB also detained two of Azmeri’s drivers and a security guard. Later, they were released after quizzing. However, Azmeri Osman was not present during the drive.Since then, four years have gone by but the investigation has not been completed.In the meantime, two accused, who gave confessional statements, were released on bail.When contacted, RAB-11 commander Lt Col Kamrul Hasan said, “The investigation of Twaki murder is still in progress. We have been submitting the progress reports to the court.”Twaki’s father, Rafiur Rabbi, however, alleged that the case proceedings have come to a standstill as ruling party’s MP Shamim Osman and his elder brother’s son were involved with the murder.last_img read more

Road crashes claim 11 lives in Faridpur

first_imgThe crashed vehicle at Dhuldi area of Sadar upazila in Faridpur on Saturday. Photo: UNBAt least 11 people were killed and 20 others injured in two road accidents in Sadar and Nagarkanda upazilas of Faridpur on Saturday, reports UNB.In Sadar upazila, a bus fell off a bridge in the afternoon, killing eight people and injuring 20 others.Three of the deceased were identified as Habibur Rahman, Faruk Hossain and Asma Akhter.Further details about them and the identities of the other victims are still awaited.Faridpur highway police superintendent Mostafizur Rahman said the Gopalganj-bound bus of ‘Comfort Line’ from Dhaka plunged into the canal crashing the railing of the bridge in Dhuldi area around 2:30pm as its driver lost control over the steering.He was trying to give passage to a speedy motorcycle.The accident left six people dead on the spot and 22 others injured, said Kotwali police station officer-in-charge FM Nasim.The injured were taken to Faridpur Medical College Hospital (FMCH) where two of them succumbed to their injuries, he added.Firefighters with the help of local people and police carried out the rescue operation, said Faridpur fire service assistant deputy director Shawkat Ali.Top officials of the local administration and local representatives visited the spot.Local MP and former minister Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain directed the hospital authorities to ensure proper treatment to the injured.Deputy commissioner Atul Sarkar said the local administration will bear all the treatment costs of the injured.In Nagarkanda upazila, three people, including a woman and her child, were killed when a bus hit an auto-rickshaw at Talma on Dhaka-Barishal highway in the afternoon.The deceased were identified as Reshma Begum, 30, her son Raju, 10, and Abul Shikder.Assistant SP (Nagarkanda circle) Mohiuddin said that the bus hit the auto-rickshaw around 3:00pm, leaving Reshma and Raju dead on the spot and injuring pedestrian Abul.Abul was taken to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, the ASP said.Besides, an army sergeant was killed and six others injured as a bus overturned at Rahobol on Rangpur-Bogura highway in Shibganj upazila of Bogura in the morning.The deceased was identified as Abdul Aziz, 35, of Lakshmipur district. He was posted in Bandarban.The bus turned turtle around 7:00am, killing Aziz on the spot and injuring six other passengers, UNB quoted Abdul Quader Zilani, officer-in-charge of Gobindaganj highway police station as saying.Locals took the injured to Shibganj Upazila Health Complex.Police seized the bus.Meanwhile, a report prepared by Nirapad Sarak Chai (Nischa) said at least 185 people were killed in 135 road accidents on the national and regional highways between 10 and 18 August during the Eid-ul-Azha vacation.last_img read more

Harris County Will Sue Arkema For Chemical Fires At Crosby Plant During

first_img Share KHOU.comFire at the Arkema chemical company in Crosby, Texas.Harris County will sue Arkema for the environmental incident that started in its Crosby (Texas) plant on August 31st after the Commissioners Court approved Tuesday providing funds to pay for filing the lawsuit.During the incident, which continued for four days, according to a news release from the office of Harris County Attorney, the plant experienced several chemical fires after it was inundated by floodwaters from hurricane Harvey.Rock Owens, head of the Environmental Division for the Harris County Attorney’s Office, says the goals of the lawsuit are getting a court order to make Arkema be in compliance with Texas’ air quality laws, as well as a civil penalty for the company and making it reimburse Harris County for the expenditures it incurred in during the incident.Owens detailed those expenditures have to do with the county’s Fire Marshall advising the Crosby Fire Department during the incident, as well as the fact personnel from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was in charge of guarding the 1.5 mile security perimeter that was established and staffers from the county’s Pollution Control Department have investigated Arkema’s environmental violations.“Dozens of first responders and county employees were forced to go and handle this crisis in the middle of a hurricane when they could have been deployed elsewhere. It was a real mess. It shouldn’t have happened,” Owens told Houston Public Media and added Arkema “should have been more proactive” in the handling of the incident.Owens added the county is working on the finishing touches of the lawsuit, which will be filed this week or early next week.Several first responders involved in the response to the August 31st incident, as well as some Crosby residents, are also suing Arkema.last_img read more

Myth music and stage

first_imgThe ongoing Bharat Rang Mahotsav’s day two saw diverse plays, multi-lingual, non-verbal and some mythology based. Theatre lovers couldn’t have asked for more.The first play of the day was Pampa Bharatha enacted by Samudaya group from Karnataka, was in Kannad. The play begins with two university scholars visiting Pampa’s hometown, Dharmapuri, in search of evidence of his work in his old age, and their encounters with characters from the past, who have witnessed the events. The plot moves forward with Pampa rising from the stone inscription erected in his memory by his friend and the Samantha king, Arikesari, and he also meets his favorite character from the Mahabharata, Karna. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’In the course of this journey one experiences the hard realities of caste-based politics in society up till now, from the injustice done to Karna because of his caste to the political conspiracy leading to the murder of Pampa,  carried out by the then business class, the Jains and the Brahmins.Another interesting play staged was Those Who Could Not Hear the Music which was created by the group Ranan from Kolkata. The performance piece was doubly inspired by the life, music and writings of and on Beethoven and Vikram Seth’s novel – Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAn Equal Music.Two letters form the core of this performance. One written by Julia, the protagonist of An Equal Music, to her fellow musician and lover Michael; the other written by composer Ludwig Van Beethoven to his brothers. Both deal with the pain of inevitable and irretrievable loss as their writers come to terms with their growing deafness – a loss all the more poignant since it involves the one sense central to the world of music that both individuals – one from contemporary fiction and one from European musical history – inhabit. This combination of text, movement, Kathak and Beethoven’s music explores the many individual and collective, personal and epic textures arising out of this deep sense of loss. Beethoven’s music evokes all these and so much more of human experience with unbelievable insight, nuance, power and passion.Hindi play Anji by Ank group from Mumbai is inspired by Dr Vasant Deo’s Hindi translation of Tendulkar’s original Marathi comedy, Chi Saubhagyakanshini. Undaunted by the fact that she is getting on in years but is yet to find the right match, Anjali Sharma (Anji) sets out to search for her dream man herself. During this journey, she comes across several characters, situations and difficulties. An explosive climax persuades us to re-examine our value system, especially concerning women.Multi-lingual play Urubhangam by group Kasba Arghya, Kolkata was a six-hour long with four intervals.The Play was a narrative initiated by Bhasa’s text of Urubhangam but expanding further to Vyasa’s Mahabharata or that exists as a performance text in our folk performances, to locate how a power centre is formed and how it gets demolished, how the pillars of the power structure get broken like the thighs of Duryodhona.It starts from the reminiscences of the empire after the Bharat war and attempts to trace out how it all happened. Arghya’s Urubhangam is a theatre of Mahabharata, depicted through the body of an Indian actor adopting Indian acting methodology, also attempting to traverse the multicultural mythological India in its six hours journey. It is a theatre of physicality, if someone calls it a narrative then it is a physical narrative. The intervals are actually celebrated in an informal space outside the proscenium through folk performances or music to connect the tales of the tale.Lastly, a play titled The Woman Who Didn’t Want to Come Down to Earth was a solo performance by Gabrielle Neuhaus.  This non-verbal play was a mini-series which deals with the life of a woman who refuses to touch ground. Confronted with external threats and demands, she obeys neither rule nor gravity and reaches absurd and extreme situations.Each episode portrays with humour and surreal imagery the woman’s personality, as she follows with dogged termination of her own path.Starting with a comic-style indoors aerial trip through a living room in which furniture becomes both obstacle and support in her quest to avoid encroaching dust, the piece soon develops a darker mood. She tentatively begins to take charge of her new surroundings before finding a triumphant, yet fragile new existence.Originating partly from autobiographical material, The Woman Who Didn’t Want to Come Down to Earth depicts in crisp and succinct images the universal challenge of the individual to stay true to oneself.When: On till 19 Januarylast_img read more

Deepti Naval Shekhar Suman to celebrate love

first_imgTwo theatre productions Gardish Mein Taare and Ek Mulaqat—starring Arif Zakaria-Sonali Kulkarni and Shekhar Suman-Deepti Naval — will bring alive the love and life of Guru Dutt-Geeta Dutt and Sahir Ludhianvi-Amrita Pritam.The two musical romantic theatre productions by Saif Hyder Hasan, part of a trilogy, would be staged on September 19 and 20 in FICCI Auditorium in the national Capital.“These two productions are fictional, based on the lives of India’s most celebrated artists, their unfulfilled love and their trials and tribulations of adjusting themselves to the societal norms. “The music, the clothes, the sets and even the language will transport you to an era when India produced best in the field of literature, films or music,” Hasan said in a statement. Gardish Mein Taare, which is heavily inspired by the life of Guru Dutt and his singer-wife Geeta Dutt also touches upon the filmmaker’s other relationships.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Fictional characters of Devdutt Bose (Arif Zakaria) and Bhavana (Sonali Kulkarni) will revolve around Dutts’ tumultuous marriage. Ek Mulaqat, starring Shekhar Suman and Deepti Naval, exploring the relationship of Sahir Ludhianvi and Amrita Pritam, has a good dose of literary references, nazms and the original poetry by the authors.last_img read more