October 23, 2019

SFs Muni was fined 220K by state for blowing off emissions requirements

first_img Tags: muni Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% While the Air Resources Board occasionally puts out a press release trumpeting its settlement agreements  it did not do so in this case. Muni was the only municipal transit agency dinged by the state in 2016. No news stories — prior to this one — have been written about Muni’s hefty fine and settlement for evading emissions requirements. Muni’s failure to measure, maintain and record emissions levels led, unsurprisingly, to its failure to submit mandatory annual reports detailing the above. In addition to the fine, Muni was required to remedy this and other mechanical and clerical practices. The transit agency was ordered to train its staff on emissions testing procedures — and to begin smog-testing its vehicles. One of the settlement’s stipulations stated that “SFMTA shall instruct all employees who operate diesel-fueled vehicles to comply with the idling requirements” of section 13 in the California Code of Regulation. The state, bluntly, is ordering Muni to cease violating the law. And, intriguingly, it was these very laws regarding over-idling buses that Muni workers allege are still being broken when coaches are allowed to rumble on indefinitely at bus yards. These are the buses, again, in which Muni opted to not install automated programs that would curtail excessive idling. It is questionable how well this stipulation is being followed. Muni is allegedly doing one of the very things the state ordered it to not do, and its decision to not install idling auto-shutdown programs further enables that.  When queried about the settlement, Muni officials sent an e-mail claiming the situation had “less to do with the actual emissions of the vehicles than … with paperwork and regulatory policies” — and was exacerbated by the inconsistent advice and faulty equipment of the Air Resources Board.Queries to the Air Resources Board seeking its view of Muni’s response — and asking whether Muni could be subject to further fines — have not yet been answered. It feels like Muni is under a cloud of late. One of its own making. This week, Mission Local revealed that the agency’s new diesel-electric hybrid buses are operating without a pollution-control program that has been par for the municipal transit course since the 1980s. The buses’ onboard computers are not programmed to shut down the engine after several minutes of idling — and sources say buses are being allowed to idle excessively in the yards, a decades-long Muni malady. Muni, it turns out, is on an emissions kick. In September of last year, it quietly agreed to a settlement with the California Air Resources Board: Muni pledged to fork over $220,500, mend its ways and make investments in training and maintenance after the state regulators alleged San Francisco’s transit agency failed, for years, to ensure its vehicles met California emissions standards — and failed to even attempt to do so. “SFMTA failed to test, measure, record and maintain records of smoke emissions from its fleet of heavy-duty diesel vehicles for years 2013 and 2014,” states the settlement agreement. The state says some 329 buses failed to meet “the applicable in-use performance standards.” center_img 0%last_img read more

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THE players spent Day 6 of the Australia Tour stil

first_imgTHE players spent Day 6 of the Australia Tour still recovering from the West Tigers game up the coast at sunny Newcastle, writes Head of Youth Mike Rush.All the players and staff got the opportunity to have some fun time on the beach and a game of tick and pass; still the best form of the game for us older guys.Mr Tommy Martyn acted as the referee and to think he used to call the like of Colin Morris and Stan Wall when he was a player, to say he was bad would be a glowing report.Following the short stint on the beach the group headed off to the International Game at Newcastle Stadium. (Many thanks to the International Federation for helping source the tickets…)The game itself didn’t match the expectations of many but to watch Darren Lockyer in his last game in Aus was special and the lads were made up to watch players like Slater, Gallen, Smith etc live and up closeAgain the day is a money can’t buy experience for all on the trip and the whole group enjoyed a wonderful day up the coast.The trip continues to be a massive success and a experience I am sure none of the players or staff will ever forget.last_img read more

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It was fantastic we came up with the win he sai

first_img“It was fantastic we came up with the win,” he said. “I thought it was a really good game of rugby league. Wakefield were outstanding and we fought all the way until the very end and got away with it.“It was my second experience of never write off the Saints … we needed it, got it and I’m rapped.“I thought we started to panic with 25 to go but settled down with 15 remaining. We kept coming and in the end came up with something to win it.”He continued: “Theo Fages and Danny Richardson went ok I thought. Jonny Lomax did us a favour at the last minute moving into the centre and did well.“I was also pleased for Matty Lees. He went well in a tough game to make his debut and I thought he did a really good job.“I have watched him since I came here – and he stepped up and played four really good games in the Reserves so I thought he deserved his chance. He went well.”The result leaves Saints in fifth position, a point behind Wakefield with the rest of Round 5 still to play.“I am happy we are still alive with a couple of games to go,” Justin added. “The beauty of the Super 8s is that everyone plays everyone and for us to know we face Huddersfield next week and could be in a better position is exciting for everyone.”Justin also announced that Alex Walmsley left the game late in the second half to return home as his partner was in labour.Alex and Simone have had a baby boy and everyone at the club sends their congratulations.last_img read more

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Saints beat Salford 342 on Sunday to go four from

first_imgSaints beat Salford 34-2 on Sunday to go four from four in Super League – and now head to the Halliwell Jones Stadium for a local derby.“A lot is made of a five day turnaround but it is fine,” Holbrook said. “The players will enjoy it as they won’t have to train a lot! They will just freshen up and get another game. They want to play so it won’t be an issue.“We were happy to get the game played on Sunday. It was a disjointed week in terms of preparation and it showed as it took us a while to get on top of Salford.“In the end we did and that is the main thing. It was a good win but, like other teams, we will get better as the season goes on.“We were a little off on Sunday with our execution. We may have had a good start to the season but we’re not getting comfortable with where we are at. We will keep working hard.”Saints are set to be without Jon Wilkin on Friday following his head injury at the weekend. That could see young prop Matty Lees come in for only his second appearance in Saints colours.For Warrington, Declan Patton is likely to be banned after being charged with a Grade D high tackle whilst Sitaleki Akauola will sit out the game for dangerous contact.“Warrington will be tough and ready to go I’m sure,” Justin added. “They compete hard every week and we’d expect that on Friday too.”last_img read more

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Academy Reserves

first_imgJake Wingfield, Jamie Pye and Matthew Foster are all included as both teams have been forced to make several changes due to injuries and first-team call-ups.Yorkshire took the lead in the three-match series with a 24-14 win at Castleford last month and the second match will offer another opportunity to see some of the country’s brightest young talent for Our League members and early-birds at the Bash.Lancashire have looked south to the London Broncos to strengthen their squad, with call-ups for Oliver Leyland, a scrum half from Kent who started his development with the Invicta Panthers junior club in Maidstone, and Kai Pearce-Paul, a forward from south-east London whose elder brother Kam has already played senior rugby for the Broncos.There are four more newcomers to the squad, two each from Warrington and Wigan – Cole Oakley and George Roby from the Wolves, lifting their representation in the 18-man squad to four players, and Ben Holdcroft and Brad O’Neill from the Warriors, who now have six in the squad.Warrington and Wigan are also represented in the Yorkshire squad. Amir Bourouh, one of five new faces in their 18, played his junior rugby for the renowned Halifax club Siddal before signing for Wigan, while the Warrington trio of Riley Dean, Ellis Longstaff and Jacob Gannon all retain their places in the Yorkshire squad – coached by Luke Robinson, the former England half-back / hooker who is now a member of Simon Woolford’s Huddersfield Giants staff.The other newcomers are Ben Tibbs and Robson Stevens of Huddersfield, and the Bradford Bulls pair Ethan O’Hanlon and Anesu Mudoti. Yusuf Aydin, the Wakefield Trinity prop who was named man of the match in the Yorkshire’s opening win, is again joined by club-mates Jack Croft and Connor Bailey in the starting 13.And Tom Holroyd, another Siddal product who has played Super League rugby for Leeds Rhinos this season after impressing in England Academy’s victory over the Australian Schoolboys last autumn, will be another focus of attention in Blackpool.The third match of the series will be played in Yorkshire on June 15 – with the whole series being shown live on Our League and Twitch.SquadsLancashire: Josh Thewlis (Warrington), Ben Holcroft (Wigan), Cole Oakley (Warrington), Sam Halsall (Wigan), Umyla Hanley (Wigan), Joe Barnes (Warrington), Oliver Leyland (London Broncos), Ethan Havard (Wigan), Jake Wingfield (St Helens), Jamie Pye (St Helens), Kai Pearce-Paul (London Broncos), Connor Wrench (Warrington), Matthew Foster (St Helens), George Roby (Warrington), Jake Bradley (Whitehaven), Harry Rushton (Wigan), Jarrod O’Connor (Leeds), Brad O’Neill (Wigan).Yorkshire: Liam Whitton (Leeds), Jack Croft (Wakefield Trinity), Ben Tibbs (Huddersfield), Dom Young (Huddersfield), Liam Tindall (Leeds), Riley Dean (Warrington), Mikey Lewis (City of Hull Academy), Yusuf Aydin (Wakefield Trinity), Corey Johnson (Leeds), Tom Holroyd (Leeds), Ellis Longstaff (Warrington), Connor Bailey (Wakefield Trinity), Jacob Gannon (Warrington), Amir Bourouh (Wigan), Robson Stevens (Huddersfield), Ethan O’Hanlon (Bradford), Rian Rowley (Leeds), Anesu Mudoti (Bradford).last_img read more

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Pender County urges residents to prepare for possible tropical storm

first_imgPENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County Emergency Management is urging residents to prepare for possible power outages and flooding in certain areas.The storm could bring up to 5 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.- Advertisement – “We’re tracking this storm,” said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency Manager. “Every Pender County resident should take precautions to prepare for possible power outages. Citizens residing in low lying areas should be alert for localized flooding ”They also ask residents to secure lawn furniture, gas grills, and items that can be become flying debris.Collins said residents should prepare for possible power outages.Related Article: Time to prepare as Hurricane Florence, takes aim at US SoutheastPender County Health Department urges residents to take this opportunity to assemble emergency supply kits which include at least one gallon of water per person, non-perishable packed or canned foods and juices, a can opener, rain gear, flashlights, a radio with fresh batteries, fully charged cell phones with an extra battery, cash, and fuel for generators. All important documents should be secured in a waterproof container. All pets should be secured.According to the National Weather Service the tropical storm’s potential impacts include minor structural damage, large limbs and trees downed and scattered power outages.“Motorists should not cross flooded roadways with more than 4-inches of rushing water,” said Collins.Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on their Facebook page and on their website.last_img read more

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State Total agricultural losses estimated at more than 11 billion

first_imgFarmers say Hurricane Florence destroyed tobacco crops in NC. (Photo: Graham Boyd/Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina) RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Initial estimates for crop damage and livestock losses to North Carolina’s agriculture industry are expected to be more than $1.1 billion, based on assessments following Hurricane Florence. That number easily tops the $400 million seen following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.“We knew the losses would be significant because it was harvest time for so many of our major crops and the storm hit our top six agricultural counties especially hard,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “These early estimates show just what a devastating and staggering blow this hurricane leveled at our agriculture industry.”- Advertisement – Following are estimates by crops:Row crop losses are estimated at $986.6 millionForestry losses are estimated at $69.6 millionGreen industry losses are estimated at $30 millionVegetable and horticulture crop losses are estimated at $26.8 millionLivestock, poultry and aquaculture losses are estimated at $23.1 millionLivestock losses are 4.1 million poultry and an estimate of 5,500 hogs.The estimates were based on the percentage of crops still in the field in the 35 most highly impacted counties*. The calculations also looked at a five-year average for crop production and the prices of commodities. Assessment information from the department’s regional agronomists, N.C. State University agents and specialists, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and commodity associations were used to develop estimates.Related Article: Four County Electric gets $11M in Hurricane Florence reimbursementsThe N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services continues to staff the Ag Emergency Hotline number, 1 (866) 645-9403, to coordinate disaster response. Hotline staff can also help direct callers to agricultural disaster assistance programs.last_img read more

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Migrants rush to enter Mexico ahead of security crackdown demanded by Trump

first_img Reuters Reuters Reuters Reuters Reuters Reuters Reuters SharePrint Reuters Reuters Reuterscenter_img Reuters 1 of 16 Reuters Reuters <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Reuters Central American migrants eager to beat a crackdown by Mexico on its southern border with Guatemala scrambled into the country on Thursday as the government prepared to send thousands of National Guard members to plug gaps in the porous frontier.Mexico has agreed with the United States to demonstrate by late July that it can contain a surge in U.S.-bound migrants, following a threat from U.S. President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on Mexican goods if it failed to do so.Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said this week that Mexico would beef up control of its southern border, including sending 6,000 members of the National Guard. The deployment was due to begin on Wednesday though witnesses saw no signs of the deployment.As dawn broke on Thursday, a family of Honduran migrants floated across a narrow crossing of the Suchiate River from Guatemala on a raft and staggered onto Mexican soil.“They told us that they were deploying the National Guard,” said Melvin Ochoa, 28, carrying his 20-month-old daughter. Beside him was his heavily pregnant wife. “It made us hurry. I’m pushing to continue faster so they won’t catch us.”The trip was especially risky for Ochoa’s wife who was only one month shy of giving birth. She declined to give her name.“But the risks at home were worse,” Ochoa said, explaining that the family had fled loan sharks affiliated with a criminal gang who demanded money even after they had paid them back.“If not, they were going to kill us.”Behind them, the steady daily traffic of the river continued unabated, with no Mexican official in sight. Migration officials remained in the shadow of immigration posts on a bridge linking the two countries.Improvised rafts made of planks of wood floating on giant inner-tubes carried black-market Corona beer, coffee and other contraband towards Guatemala. Half a dozen more floated towards Mexico crowded with Central Americans fleeing gang violence and poverty.It was business at usual too at immigration checkpoints along the highway north.“We haven’t seen any increase,” said a police officer at a checkpoint, when asked about any build-up in security forces. He asked not to be identified because he lacked permission to speak to the press.Mexico and the United States brokered an immigration agreement last week to prevent Washington from imposing tariffs starting at 5% on Mexican goods. The Mexican government has agreed to consider changing its migration laws after 45 days if it proves unable to stem the flow of people.The standoff over the border has piled pressure on Mexico’s leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He has called for national unity, describing the tariff threat as unfair, but vowing to avoid confrontation with the United States, Mexico’s largest trading partner.Threatening to raise tariffs on Mexican imports as high as 25%, Trump wants Mexico to accept asylum seekers as part of his effort to slow the flow of migrants and to relieve pressure on stretched U.S. border and immigration authorities.Mexico in December agreed to start taking in mostly Central American asylum seekers while their cases are being heard in the United States and absorbed about 10,000 during the first few months of this year, according to the Mexican government.However, under the deal struck last week, tens of thousands could be sent back to Mexico before the end of this year, putting increased pressure on Mexican migration authorities, said Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas.“This has become a national problem,” he told Reuters.‘AS FAR AS GOD PERMITS’Mexico sends around 80% of its exports to the United States so any move by Trump to impose levies on its goods would have serious repercussions for the economy, which is already struggling after contracting in the first quarter.Given that the United States had never managed to properly seal its own southern border, the chance of Mexico doing any better were extremely remote, said Andres Rozental, a former Mexican deputy foreign minister responsible for North America.“We’re never going to be able to get what presumably Mr. Trump wants in 45 days,” Rozental told Reuters.Complicating the deployment of the militarised police force along the border is the fact that the National Guard was only formally created a few weeks ago, and Lopez Obrador’s six-month-old administration is still finding its feet.For some migrants, those issues are of small consequence.“We have no plan. Only to go forward, as far as God permits,” said Antonio Hernandez, 29, stepping off another raft at dawn with his wife and 2-year-old son. Anxious and exhausted from days of travel since they fled El Salvador, they hustled on.WhatsApp Reuters Reuterslast_img read more

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Obama Cant use iPhone Due to Security Reasons

first_imgAdvertisement Well, well — it’s not that US President Barack Obama hasn’t considered the iPhone, but he isn’t allowed to use Apple’s device because of “security reasons,” Reuters reports.Obama made the news in 2009 when he fought a fierce battle with Secret Service to keep his trusty BlackBerry with him when he took on the nation’s top role, and so far, he’s been BlackBerry’s most high-profile fan.It seems like BlackBerry may have been his only choice among consumer handsets after all. It’s not like the iPhone doesn’t hold appeal — after all, Obama’s daughters are Apple fans as seen at the president’s second inauguration. – Advertisement – Apple was first implicated as being complicit with NSA’s PRISM surveillance program earlier this year, but the company denied its involvement, saying that it had never heard of it.BlackBerry, a Canadian company formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd, virtually invented the idea of on-the-go email, but lost its market stranglehold as rivals brought out more consumer-friendly devices, like Apple’s iPhone and phones using Google’s Android software.The company recently halted plans to be sold and is trying to chart a new course by focusing on large business and government clients.last_img read more

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Today Is The Last Day To Buy Google Glass

first_imgAdvertisement Google is ending the Glass experiment. After today, Google will stop selling the novel device — at least in its current form. Google insists the product is still in development and it’s highly likely that a new version will eventually be released.News broke last week that the Google Glass will be pulled from the market and the project was spinning out of Google X skunkworks to exist as a standalone project.  Former Apple executive and Nest founder Tony Fadell is now overseeing the project.The future of Glass rests in capable hands. – Advertisement – Glass launched with much fanfare three years ago in April 2012 and failed to become a consumer hit. But it did spark imaginative ideas, which could have been Google’s plan all along.As a Google spokesperson told us last week, the idea behind the Explorer program was always to see how people would use the technology. Now that Google has received quite a bit of feedback — both good and bad — it decided to close the program in order to focus on future versions of Glass. The current version of Google Glass will continue to work, but don’t expect official software updates. As of writing, Google Glass is widely available from the Play Store even though today is the last day they’re officially available.Techcrunchlast_img read more

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New tools for Facebook Pages improve communication with their audiences

first_imgFacebook has released a new set of tools designed to facilitate better communication between Page owners and their audiences. Image Credit: Entrepreneur Advertisement Facebook has released a new set of tools designed to facilitate better communication between Page owners and their audiences.The company claims it is now the go-to destination for communicating with businesses on the go — with the number of messages being sent to Pages doubling compared to this time last year.Now there are new features to help Page owners become more responsive to their audience from any device. This includes both private and public communication between Pages and Facebook users. – Advertisement – Response Time Building off of a feature launched this past summer, Facebook is now giving control to Page owners to indicate the average length of time it takes for them to respond to messages. Options include “within minutes,” “within an hour,” “within hours” or “within a day.”This feature was available on Pages previously, but the response time was calculated and displayed automatically. Now, even if you tend to respond within a few hours, you can set your average response time to show as “within a day.”“Away” Setting In addition, there’s now a new “Away” setting that can be used when an admin will definitely not be available to respond to messages — such as evenings, holidays, and so on. Messages sent to a Page while the Away setting is activated will not count towards the automatically calculated response time.[related-posts]Away Messages & Instant Replies Even further, when the Away setting is activated Page owners can choose to set away messages and/or instant replies, similar to e-mail and autoresponders. Instant replies can be used at any time, such as an instant reply to a person’s first correspondence with the business.More Context About Individuals The Page admin’s inbox has been redesigned to give more context about an individual they are communicating with. In addition to publicly available profile information, admins can add their own private notes about people and sort of keep their own files on individual. In addition, tags can be added to conversations as a way to keep similar topics organized.Keep Track of & Respond to Comments There’s a better way for Page owners to keep track of and respond to all comments received. This can be accessed within the Activity tab on both mobile and desktop. Here admins can either respond to the comment directly, reply privately, flag it for follow-up later, or just mark it as read.All of these newly announced Page communication features are now being rolled out globally and will be available to everyone in the coming months.[Search Engine Journal]last_img read more

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Supreme Court to Hear Plea to Ban WhatsApp

first_imgAdvertisement The Supreme Court will hear next Wednesday a petition seeking a ban on WhatsApp on the ground that the messaging platform’s end-to-end encryption gives terrorists a means of communication that is impossible to intercept.Filed by Sudhir Yadav, a Haryana-based right-to-information (RTI) activist, the petition said WhatsApp has from April started to enable its every message with 256-bit encryption that cannot be broken into.“Even if WhatsApp was asked to break through an individual’s message to hand over the data to the government, it too would fail as it does not have the decryption keys either,” Yadav said in his petition. – Advertisement – Seeking a ban on WhatsApp in India, Yadav said any terrorist or criminal can safely chat on WhatsApp and make plans to harm the country and the Indian intelligence agencies would not be able to tap into their conversations to take necessary actions.The petition said that in order to decrypt any message on WhatsApp, one would need a whopping 115, 792, 089, 237, 316, 195, 423, 570, 985, 008, 687, 907, 853, 269, 984, 665, 640, 564, 039, 457, 584, 007, 913, 129, 639, 935 key combinations, which is almost impossible for even a super computer.[related-posts]Decrypting a single 256-bit encrypted message would take hundreds of years, Yadav said.Other messaging platforms such as Hike, Secure Chat, Viber and a few others are also using high encryption and constitute a threat to national security, the petition said.Yadav, 27, told IANS that he had written letters to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the Ministry of Communications and IT before filing the petition, but received no reply.The apex court is now scheduled to hear his public interest litigation (PIL) petition on June 29.[Gadgets 360]last_img read more

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Facebook to Tackle Fake News From Spreading on the Platform With New

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook Inc. said on Thursday it will introduce tools to prevent fake news stories from spreading on its platform, an about-face in response to rising criticism that it did not do enough to combat the problem during the U.S. presidential campaign.The social network company stressed that the new features are part of an ongoing process to refine and test how it deals with fake news. It has faced complaints this year involving how it monitors and polices content produced by its 1.8 billion users.Facebook said users will find it easier to flag fake articles on their News Feed as a hoax, and it will work with organizations such as fact-checking website Snopes, ABC News and the Associated Press to check the authenticity of stories. – Advertisement – If such organizations identify a story as fake, Facebook said, it will get flagged as “disputed” and be linked to the corresponding article explaining why.The company said disputed stories may appear lower in its news feed, adding that once a story is flagged, it cannot be promoted.A few weeks ago, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said it was a “crazy idea” that fake or misleading news on Facebook helped swing the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump. But criticism persisted amid reports that people in the United States and other countries have fabricated sensational hoaxes meant to appeal to conservatives.Critics said fake news often was more widely read than news reported by major media organizations.[related-posts]Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, Facebook users saw fake news reports saying Pope Francis endorsed Trump and that a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead.The effort by Facebook is intended to focus on the “worst of the worst” of clear hoaxes created by “spammers for their own gain,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president in charge of its News Feed, said in a blog post.Some far-right conservative writers quickly pounced on the announcement, decrying it as a covert attempt to muzzle their legitimate content.“Translation: A group of incredibly biased left-wing fake news outlets will bury dissenting opinions,” Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large of the far-right website Infowars, which routinely peddles unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, said on Twitter.Facebook has struggled throughout the year to mollify conservatives who fear the company may be censoring them. The company fired contractors who managed the site’s trending news sidebar after a report by Gizmodo in May quoted an anonymous employee claiming the site routinely suppressed conservative news.On Thursday, Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for U.S. public policy, met with President-elect Trump at his Manhattan tower.source: Reuterslast_img read more

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BEN KEITH Gaul Wood in Non OolyFooly Restaurant Recommendation SHOCKER Good Luck

first_imgGaul Wood, who I have been banned from referring to as ‘my right-hand-man’ (the corporate people and truth-censors at Star seem to be infiltrating a little further every week), is normally a bastion of Ooly Fooly restaurant recommendations. A defender of artichoke paste, rocket, cumin, dark chocolate/coconut based desserts, samphire, and all other such pretentious and unnecessary products and additions of sustenance. Added to this, we recently attended a particularly painful work-group-socialising event and Gaul again showed that he is a small portion sympathiser. Squirming with delight, he announced to the table, after the starter, that he thought what he had just eaten was ‘quite delicious!’. I deadpanned him with ‘Gaul, it was so small I couldn’t even taste it, mate.’Anyway, following a couple of recommendations that fell WELL below the required bar (the types of places the waiters wear trousers that finish an inch above the ankle and there are STRICTLY no chips or anything nice on the menu), Gaul has now produced the goods – in spades.On the whole, non ooly-fooly restaurants have been driven out of Central London. So we recently took a journey out to North London, just to the right of Highgate, and arrived at Toffs Fish n Chips, of Muswell Hill.They clearly know how the game works.The lemon-sole was plumper, well grilled (crunchy skin – perfecto), and bigger, than I have experienced anywhere else. There was a superb pudding menu (old favourites for old-skool lardies, such as: chocolate pudding with custard, spotted dick etc etc), and the service impeccable. Just to be sure of standards, and in order to inform you fully, Blog, I also ordered a non-battered-sausage, on the side. Excellent and v meaty. They did however, fail on two fronts, the first certainly not minor: the chips were not cooked quite long enough and they didn’t do normal peas, opting only for the horrible mushy version. They claim to have been in business for thousands of years, so I thought they would have picked up on those two clues by now.With Central London seemingly not having a decent fish n chip shop (I hear you cry “What about ‘The Seashell’ in Lisson Grove?!?!”, No, No, No, Blog! The small-portions AND under-cooked chips police had to be called in IMMEDIATELY there!), Toffs achieves a ‘very good’ rating. This equates to about an 8.5/10. Sort the chips and normal peas situation out and they would cruise to a 10/10.In other news:I was running along the canal to Camden, yesterday, and I bumped into Tony Bloom and his mum and dad, who were walking towards me, Tony at the helm; pushing a pram. When I was nineteen I made my way out to Gibraltar to work for Tony. It was my first life adventure. I learnt so much from him, principles I still work to daily, now, and during future life-adventures that turned into disasters, was so lucky to have his friendship and assistance, to extricate myself and continue the battle. Tony has lived the dream, but at the same time, done well by everyone he has dealt with. In the coming week, Tony is trying to succeed in his ultimate life-adventure and ambition, of bringing Brighton and Hove Albion to the Premier League.Tony, I wish you the very best of luck! I’m eternally indebted to you, and if I could do anything to help you, I would. Sadly though, I don’t have £60million available to buy Ronaldo, in the coming week, for BHA. If that lack of readdies situation clears in the next forty-eight hours, I shall certainly let you know!!Ben xlast_img read more

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JULIE COLLIER Weds Starters Orders

first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Julie Collier with our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Wednesday 5 SeptemberJULIE COLLIERIntroduces the daily specials and offers on Wednesday:<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span> HORSE RACING2.30 BathDreamboat Annie 12/1 > 4/13.40 LingfieldDame Vera 8/1 > 7/27.55 WolverhamptonThunderbolt Rocks 3/1 > 7/4LIVE FOOTBALLNational League19:45 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD23/20 Havant & Waterlooville9/4 Aldershot Town11/5 DRAWBET NOW starsports.bet or 08000 521 321last_img read more

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Demand for gasoline doubled during evacuation for Rita

first_imgShareCONTACT: B.J. Almond PHONE: (713) 348-6770 E-MAIL: balmond@rice.edu Demand for gasoline doubled during evacuation for RitaRetail gas prices are likely to increase, but researchers at Rice University’s Baker Institute say projection of $5 a gallon is overstated The unprecedented demand for gasoline during the massive evacuation of Texas and Louisiana during Hurricane Rita resulted in the U.S. effectively having two Labor Days this year in terms of heavy-driving periods. Although the higher demand will put additional strains on the U.S. gasoline distribution system in the coming weeks and result in higher retail prices, researchers at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy said predictions that national average retail prices will exceed $5 a gallon might be largely overstated. For this time of year, normal consumption of gasoline in Houston and the surrounding area is about 22 million gallons per day.   For the days leading up to Hurricane Rita’s Sept. 24 landfall, the evacuation of some 3 million people pushed gasoline demand to an estimated 45 million gallons per day – about two times higher than normal.   All else being equal, this increased demand would push national consumption of gasoline during that period to levels comparable to those for the traditionally heavy-driving week of Labor Day, or about 10 percent higher than usual for this time of year, according to estimates provided by energy experts at the Baker Institute. Research into the historical relationship between U.S. crude oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and average U.S. pump prices indicates that today’s national average retail price of about $2.80 per gallon is in line with crude prices of about $75 per barrel, suggesting that consumers should not expect to see a dramatic rise in prices to $5 per gallon.   Rice researchers cautioned, however, that many factors affect U.S. gasoline prices besides crude oil price levels, including future uncertainty about supplies involving political developments and other factors, refinery downtime, inventory levels and sudden changes in demand and import levels. ”Many factors have significant statistical explanatory power for gasoline prices,” said Kenneth Medlock, Baker Institute energy fellow and lecturer of economics at Rice. ”But analysis indicates that crude oil prices are the strongest indicator of the wholesale price of gasoline.” Medlock noted that the study of historical relationships indicates that under normal conditions even a rise to $120 a barrel for WTI would mean that consumers could expect gasoline prices approaching only $4 a gallon, which is far short of the $5-per-gallon prediction cited by media sources.   Medlock added, however, that ”uncertainty about the ability to provide adequate supplies to meet expected demand could drive a risk premium into the wholesale price of gasoline, which would ultimately result in higher prices at the pump.   Low inventories, refinery outages and unexpected surges in demand all contribute to such uncertainty.” Consumer inclinations to keep their automobile gas tanks full can worsen the situation, the Rice researchers said.   A consensus shift from half-full to full-tank use represents a near-term boost in demand that can put pressure on the market. ”Consumer response is the best remedy we have,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute. Price caps implemented in the 1970s failed to discourage consumers from filling their tanks and left many without needed fuel. Public commitment to voluntary adjustments to habits and practices is the best short-term solution, Jaffe said, adding that the U.S. may be pressed by allies to institute rationing measures if strategic supplies from stocks in Europe and Japan are to be tapped in any significant volumes down the road.   ”The international emergency stockpiling agreements stipulate demand-control measures as well as stock-supply measures,” she said. ”We cannot just ask for more fuel and let other countries bear the brunt of changed patterns in usage.” In the longer term, the U.S. should address permanent solutions to abate gasoline demand in an effort to avoid tighter markets, increased uncertainty and ever higher prices, according to Baker Institute policy studies. Charts showing the retail gasoline price vs. crude oil price and a comparison of crude oil prices to average retail gasoline prices can be downloaded from the following Web site and reprinted: FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more

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A river flipped humans trump nature on Texas river

first_imgFacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareCONTACT: Jade BoydPHONE: 713-348-6778E-MAIL: jadeboyd@rice.edu A river flipped: humans trump nature on Texas riverRice study: Human activity eclipses Brazos River’s native carbon cycleA new study by geochemists at Rice University finds that damming and other human activity has completely obscured the natural carbon dioxide cycle in Texas’ longest river, the Brazos.“The natural factors that influence carbon dioxide cycling in the Brazos are fairly obvious, and we expected the radiocarbon signature of the river to reflect those influences,” said study co-author Caroline Masiello, assistant professor of Earth science at Rice. “But it looks like whatever the natural process was in the Brazos, in terms of sources and sinks of carbon dioxide, it has been completely overprinted by human activities.”The study, which is available online in the journal Biogeochemistry, is the first to document such an overwhelming influence of human activity on carbon dioxide in a major river.With humans adding some 8.5 gigatons of carbon dixoide to the atmosphere each year through the burning of fossil fuels, scientists are increasingly interested in studying how the atmosphere and biosphere exchange carbon dioxide. Plants take up carbon dioxide from the air via photosynthesis and store it in their leaves and stems. Some of that stored carbon gets buried in the soil and locked away for hundreds or thousands of years. But much is also washed into rivers, where rapid decomposition can quickly return it to the atmosphere. Understanding when and where that plant carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere is essential if policymakers are to plan effective carbon-sequestration strategies.One method scientists use to gauge how effectively ecosystems store carbon is radiocarbon dating. The technique involves precisely measuring the amount of radioactive carbon-14 in samples from an ecosystem. Because about half of the carbon-14 atoms in a material will decay and become nitrogen-14 every 5,730 years, scientists can determine the age of a material based on how much carbon-14 it still contains.In a 2005 study, Masiello and colleagues used radiocarbon dating and found that the Amazon River, the world’s largest, cycles carbon into the atmosphere in less than five years. Previous radiocarbon dating studies in cooler climates, like the U.S. Northeast, had found that rivers could store carbon from plants for thousands of years. The Amazon study indicated that rapid carbon cycling could be the norm for tropical and subtropical rivers where warmer temperatures aid decomposition.“We wanted to know if Texas is more like New York or more like Brazil,” said study first author Fan-Wei Zeng, a graduate student in Masiello’s lab. “Because it is hot and humid in Texas, we expected the geochemistry of Texas’ rivers to more closely resemble the geochemistry of tropical rivers.”To test the idea, Zeng began collecting and analyzing water samples at seven sites along the Brazos in 2007. The Brazos is the U.S.’s 11th longest river. Zeng gathered samples from as far south as Freeport, Texas, near the river’s mouth, to Granbury, Texas, about 300 miles inland. Zeng, Masiello and co-author Bill Hockaday, now an assistant professor of geology at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the carbon dioxide in the samples.“The headwaters of the Brazos are in limestone that formed in the Cretaceous, at least 65 million years ago,” Masiello said. “If you’re running water over that limestone, and dissolving it, then it should contain no measurable radiocarbon. But downstream, south of College Station, there’s no limestone and it’s a humid, subtropical system. So we expected the lower Brazos to be another fast, five-year system like we’d seen in the Amazon.”The lab results showed the exact opposite. At the head of the river, the carbon is from rapidly cycling organic matter, and at the base of the river, the radiocarbon tests revealed ancient carbon that had been locked away from the atmosphere for several thousand years.In a 2009 study, Zeng and Masiello had found that human activity — namely the use of seashells as road base material in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — skewed the radiocarbon results in Buffalo Bayou, a heavily urbanized watershed that runs through downtown Houston. Based on those results, the team believes the “old” carbon from the southern Brazos is also from dissolved seashells in old roads.“The carbon dioxide chemistry in the Brazos is flipped,” Hockaday said. “Downstream, the carbon dioxide we found was old due to the dissolution of shells. In the upper part of the river, damming has changed the dynamics so much that if there ever was any carbon dioxide coming into the river from the limestone it’s been cut off. With the damming, the carbon in the upper reaches appears to be rapidly cycling between the air and the water due largely to algal photosynthesis.”Scientists currently believe Earth’s rivers take up about 1 gigaton of carbon each year and give off about the same amount. But the exact dynamics of the process are largely unknown. For example, the residence time of carbon dioxide — how long it stays in the river — has been studied in fewer than a half a dozen rivers worldwide. If a significant number of those rivers are like the Brazos, scientists may need to adjust the way they think about rivers inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide.“The Brazos may be a special case,” Zeng said. “The upstream damming is not usual in the developed world, but the dissolved carbonate from seashells may be somewhat unusual.”Masiello said, “What this shows, as much as anything, is that rivers have unique geochemical stories. We may need to read many more of these stories before we can understand the bigger, global saga of riverine carbon cycling.”The research was funded by the Texas Water Resources Institute, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Institutes for Water Research, and Hans O. and Suse Jahns.last_img read more

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Author of Science vs Religion available for media interviews

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: David Ruth                                                                                                     PHONE: 713-348-6327                                                                          EMAIL: druth@rice.eduAuthor of ‘Science vs. Religion’ available for media interviewsRice University’s Elaine Howard Ecklund in Baltimore for Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meetingElaine Howard Ecklund, Rice University sociologist and author of the recently released book “Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think,” is available for media interviews prior to and during her visit to Baltimore and the D.C. area for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meeting Oct. 30 and 31.Ecklund’s research indicates that most of what people believe about the faith lives of respected scientists is wrong. She surveyed nearly 1,700 scientists and interviewed 275 of them. She centered the book on portraits of 10 representative individuals who work in the natural and social sciences at top American research universities. She found that few scientists are purely secular. And many — nearly half — are religious. Other scientists are what she calls “spiritual entrepreneurs” who are looking for new ways to hold science and faith together.Who: Elaine Howard Ecklund, Rice University sociologist and author of “Science vs. Religion.”What: In-studio and pre-event media interviews. When: In-studio interviews Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30 and 31; pre-event interviews upon request.For more information or to schedule an interview with Ecklund, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6327 or druth@rice.edu.last_img read more

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A possible fix for misfolding proteins

first_imgAddThis ShareMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduA possible fix for misfolding proteinsRice University lab reports advance in Gaucher disease researchTroubled proteins in need of rescue may someday have a champion in a common drug used to treat high blood pressure. The Rice University laboratory of bioengineer Laura Segatori reported today that research involving lacidipine, a calcium channel blocker also known by brand names Lacipil and Motens, could be a key to helping people who suffer from an incurable, neuropathic form of Gaucher disease. This inherited metabolic disorder is characterized by accumulations of a fatty substance in cells and certain organs that can prevent them from functioning properly. The paper by Segatori, Rice’s T.N. Law Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and graduate student Fan Wang and Rice senior Ann Chou appears in today’s online edition of Chemistry and Biology.Segatori’s research focuses on the misfolding of proteins, workhorses in the body that determine what cells and organs do and how they do it. Proteins start as chains of amino acids that snap in an instant into distinct configurations, a process that remains one of biology’s great mysteries but one that Segatori and her peers are figuring out, bit by bit.Proteins often misfold even in the healthiest persons, Segatori said, and cells have an elegant, efficient system for eliminating misfolded proteins and other refuse. But the system can break down.In Gaucher disease, proteins containing destabilizing mutations misfold and are degraded very quickly. Loss of these proteins, which normally traffic to the lysosome and catalyze the degradation of lipids, results in buildup of these lipids; this can lead to such problems as a malfunctioning liver, enlarged spleen, skeletal disorders, anemia and neurological disorders. The Rice researchers worked with fibroblasts taken from skin lesions of people with Gaucher. They found that lacidipine enhances the protein-folding mechanism by modulating calcium levels and regulating the movement of signaling calcium ions. Segatori said impairment of calcium homeostasis further compromises the folding of already destabilized, mutated versions of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GC). Slowing the folding process ever so slightly by regulating calcium stabilizes GC and lets it fold properly and enter the lysosome, where it breaks down lipids. “If you can force the folding to occur, you can rescue native folding of mutant proteins, which has been shown to lead to restored activity,” Segatori said.Segatori and Wang hope their work opens the door to possible treatments for neuropathic diseases that will be easier on patients and less expensive than enzyme replacement therapy, which involves injecting recombinant protein. Segatori said lacidipine has three distinct advantages: It is nontoxic to cells, is a small molecule that readily crosses the blood/brain barrier and is approved for use in humans by the Food and Drug Administration.On the other hand, the researchers have not yet studied the effect of lacidipine on neurons. “We don’t want to say we can cure this disease with calcium blockers, but they are a good tool for research,” Segatori said. “Essentially, we treat cells with this molecule and see if we rescued the protein activity. If we did, we can then work to understand what the molecule actually did to the folding machinery of the cell.”She also cautioned that calcium blockers might have side effects. “Their response in the cell is quite broad. That’s why I’m hesitant to say that this could be a cure for Gaucher disease. Maybe we’re rescuing the folding of that enzyme, but we don’t know what else we might be doing.” But the positive implications go beyond Gaucher. “There is possibly an avenue to use calcium blockers to further the study and treatment of other types of misfolding diseases,” Segatori said. “Similar studies have been conducted using calcium blockers in neurons of Parkinson’s patients. The results are highly promising. And there’s also a lot of interest in the correlation between Parkinson’s and Gaucher diseases, because it seems like a lot of people who have Gaucher are at risk for Parkinson’s disease.”Gaucher disease occurs in about 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 100,000 people. Treatment for the more common types of the disease involves enzyme replacement therapy.Read the abstract at http://www.cell.com/chemistry-biology/abstract/S1074-5521(11)00158-XDownload high-resolution art athttp://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/NewsRels/_DSC2690.jpghttp://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/NewsRels/_DSC2697.jpghttp://www.media.rice.edu/images/media/NewsRels/Gaucher_graphic.jpgCAPTIONS: A new study by Rice University researchers shows small molecules that function as calcium blockers, particularly ryanodine and lacidipine, enhance a cell’s protein-folding capacity by restoring calcium homeostasis. They found calcium imbalance leads to misfolding of glucocerebrosidase (GC), which in turn causes an aberrant accumulation of lipids, the root of Gaucher disease. Calcium is regulated by ryanodine (RyaR) and inositol (InsP3) receptors and SERCA pumps on the cell’s endoplasmic reticulum (ER). (Credit Segatori Lab/Rice University)Rice University graduate student Fan Wang, left, and Professor Laura Segatori found in a new study that a common high blood pressure medication, the calcium channel blocker lacidipine, may be key to finding a treatment for Gaucher disease. (Credit Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)last_img read more

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Telemedicine in Texas schools is topic at Rices Baker Institute Oct 30

first_imgAddThis ShareMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruthdavid@rice.edu713-348-6327Jeff Falkjfalk@rice.edu713-348-6775Telemedicine in Texas schools is topic at Rice’s Baker Institute Oct. 30HOUSTON – (Oct. 27, 2015) – Texas state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, will discuss efforts to advance policies to support the sustainability of telemedicine in Texas at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Oct. 30. Laubenberg is the author of House bill 1878, which passed in the 2015 legislative session and provides Medicaid reimbursement for physicians who provide telemedicine services in schools.Hosted by the Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences, the event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.Who: Featured speaker Texas state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker.Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics at the Baker Institute and professor of economics at Rice, will give welcoming remarks.Dr. Quianta Moore, the Baker Institute scholar in health policy, will provide the introduction.What: A luncheon talk titled “Telemedicine in Schools: Improving Access to Health Care.”When: Friday, Oct. 30, noon-1:30 p.m.Where: Rice University, Baker Hall, Doré Commons, 6100 Main St.Telemedicine in schools can be a powerful tool to increase access to health care for children in need, according to event organizers. Diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases in children decreases morbidity and mortality in adulthood. Yet, as of 2013, one out of eight children was uninsured in Texas and had limited access to health care. With telemedicine, medical providers use communications technology to deliver medical services remotely. The advancement of telemedicine in Texas is dependent upon reimbursement for medical care provided during a telemedicine session.This event will highlight the challenges in advancing policies to support the sustainability of telemedicine in Texas and discuss innovative telemedicine programs around the state.Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.The public must register to attend this event at http://bakerinstitute.org/events/1742. A live webcast will be available at the registration page.For a map of Rice University’s campus with parking information, go to www.rice.edu/maps. Media are advised to park in the Central Campus Garage.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInsitute.Follow the Center for Health and Biosciences via Twitter @BakerCHB.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 10 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.last_img read more

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