BC researchers develop sprayon solution to costly quake conundrum

first_imgVANCOUVER – It was while flipping through British Columbia’s seismic upgrade guidelines at the beginning of his civil engineering master’s degree that Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki first realized something was amiss.He noticed that retrofitting schools to protect them from earthquakes almost always involved tearing down and replacing masonry walls — a costly and time-consuming process.Six years later, the PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia has come up with a form of spray-on concrete that keeps walls in place. Researchers say the concrete will keep schools safe from the most powerful earthquakes and cut the cost of seismic retrofits.“All my research career has been the same,” Soleimani-Dashtaki said Tuesday. “I try to see where there is a gap and I try to fill and bridge that gap.”The new material allows masonry walls to withstand up to three times the strongest earthquake expected on Canada’s West Coast. One test structure sprayed with a 10-millimetre layer kept it from crumbling in a simulation that mimicked the magnitude 9 quake that hit Japan in 2011, Soleimani-Dashtaki said.Prof. Nemy Banthia, who oversaw the project, said British Columbia gets 2,500 of the 4,000 tremors Canada experiences annually.“Earthquakes don’t kill people. It’s the buildings that kill people,” he said, adding that old masonry structures are the most at risk to fail.The new material will be used in the next few weeks to retrofit a Vancouver elementary school. Researchers say they hope to expand the application to other buildings around the province.The B.C. government has earmarked 346 schools for seismic upgrades, but a progress report in August indicated retrofits had yet to be completed in more than half of them.“If you look at our B.C. schools, you will see miles and miles of unreinforced masonry corridor walls,” Banthia said.“During an earthquake, these are the corridor walls that would collapse and these are the ones where our children would suffer casualties.”University president Santa Ono lauded the project as not only innovative but economical.“What’s remarkable is that this costs half of the cost of a standard retrofit,” he said.The substance is also described as being more environmentally friendly than traditional concrete because it replaces 70 per cent of the cement used in its production with fly ash, an industrial byproduct.B.C. Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark says the new technology will have a far-reaching impact and will save lives not only in the province but around the world.“This is a massive problem on the Pacific Rim, here in B.C., and we are all at risk,” Mark said.“My children attend public schools. We want to make sure that when we leave our kids in the morning that they’ll be there when we pick them up in the afternoon.”Soleimani-Dashtaki said his research could be expanded to other structures, such as bridges and columns, and he would like to refine its packaging to make it easier to use outside the developed world.“There are thousands and millions of houses in developing countries, like India, for example, which they can’t really afford to replace and they can’t really afford to do expensive retrofit solutions we have in today’s world,” he said.“So this type of a quick, in-and-out, very cost-effective system would really, really help them.”— Follow @gwomand on Twitterlast_img read more

Tori Spelling And Valspar Paint Support Habitat For Humanity

first_imgValspar Paint announces the second installment of the Valspar Color Project, an online video series following two of today’s favorite celebrity couples, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott as well as Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum, as they take viewers behind the scenes to share how they connect to the power in color and find the perfect Valspar paint color match to transform a room in their homes.Valspar Color Expert and Designer Genevieve Gorder assist Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott find their perfect Valspar color match through the Valspar Color Project benefitting Habitat for HumanityWith the help of interior designer and Valspar color expert Genevieve Gorder and the Valspar Perfect Match App on Facebook, each couple reveals how they merge their color styles. Beginning Tuesday, March 19 through Monday, June 10, 2013, watch each video on the Valspar Paint Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ValsparPaint. Each time a viewer shares their own color match through the app, Valspar Paint will donate $1.00 to the nonprofit affordable-housing organization Habitat For Humanity, up to $150,000. Habitat for Humanity is proudly supported by each celebrity couple and by Valspar as its national paint partner in the United States.Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum find their perfect match in Valspar Roasted Pumpkin 2005-3A“When designing a room, color is one of the most powerful elements in a designer’s toolbox and painting is one of the simplest ways to incorporate color in a room and refresh your palette,” said Gorder. “I love to see people push the boundaries when it comes to color in the home, as these couples have done through the Valspar Color Project. One of the tools that can give you the confidence to do that is the Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee. If you choose a Valspar Paint color and don’t love it, you can get a replacement color for free.”Actress and author Tori Spelling and her husband, actor Dean McDermott, turn to Valspar Paint and Genevieve Gorder to advise them on the perfect color match after deciding to refresh their kids’ playroom in their Los Angeles home. Gorder pairs Spelling and McDermott with Valspar Rushing Stream 5005-10B, a bright and modern shade of turquoise that reflects a combination of both their color tastes and personalities.“Color is a big part of our lives, so it was important for us to bring positive color energy into the playroom, especially because we spend so much time in that room together,” said Spelling. “Valspar Rushing Stream has created an inviting and lively environment for our family and we are thrilled to find a color that is a blend of everything we were looking for – something bright yet airy and light, with a springtime feel.”After using the Valspar Perfect Match App, TV personality Ashley Hebert and her husband, JP Rosenbaum, were matched with Valspar Roasted Pumpkin 2005-3A. This rich shade of orange fulfilled their desire to add a dynamic vibrancy to their living room, a common area where they often entertain and host guests.“As newlyweds, decorating our home together means merging our tastes in color and décor,” said Hebert. “Valspar Roasted Pumpkin is the perfect combination of our styles for a space we both use every day. We hope everyone will have as much fun as we did using the Valspar Perfect Match App.”Now in its second year, the Valspar Color Project is part of an ongoing partnership between Valspar and Habitat for Humanity. Since launching the national partnership in 2002, Valspar, through its Foundation, has committed more than $60 million in cash and paint to Habitat through 2014 and guarantees paint for every Habitat house built, repaired or rehabilitated in the United States.To watch the Valspar Color Project celebrity color transformation stories, use the Valspar Perfect Match App and share a color match to help raise money for Habitat for Humanity, please visit www.facebook.com/ValsparPaint. Through the Valspar Color Project, for each share of a color match between Tuesday, March 19 and Monday, June 10, 2013, Valspar will donate $1 to Habitat for Humanity, up to $150,000 and with a minimum donation of $25,000.last_img read more

Twitter closes up 72 percent in Wall Street debut

first_imgNew York City- Twitter made a spectacular Wall Street debut Thursday but analysts warned of challenges ahead for the popular messaging service vying to become the next fixture for global Internet users.The shares shot up by more than 90 percent in early trade to as high as just over $50. In the end, the stock closed with a one-day gain of 73 percent at $44.90, from the initial public offering (IPO) price of $26.But analysts cautioned that the success of the IPO was just a first step for Twitter, which must now justify its hefty valuation. “Kudos to Twitter for orchestrating a highly successful IPO,” said Lou Kerner of the Social Internet Fund.“However, as Facebook showed, an IPO success, or disaster in Facebook’s case, is really just noise in the long term. Twitter’s success as a stock is going to be based on how the company performs.”Kerner said Twitter “needs to perform extraordinarily well, in terms of user growth, user engagement, and user monetization to justify its price.”Appropriately, #TwitterIPO was among the top trending topics on the social network for much of the day.The key Twitter founders attended the opening on the New York Stock Exchange, along with “Star Trek” actor Patrick Stewart and a nine-year-old girl who operates a lemonade stand.“Honored to join @ev @jack @biz @dickc & the @Twitter team at their historic IPO this morning,” Stewart tweeted, referring to founders Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo.“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Costolo told CNBC television from the floor of the stock exchange. “All the capital raised by this is going into the company.”Asked about Twitter’s growth potential, Costolo said “it’s all about making it very simple and easy for new users to come to the platform… we all have examples of why this service can be useful to everyone on the planet.”Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali was upbeat about the company, saying in a note to clients that “Twitter is based on a one-to-all, all-the-time broadcast distribution model, and as such, fulfills an unmet need.”“This model is highly complementary to traditional media outlets (especially TV), and fulfills the need for up-to-the-minute, trending information in real time,” it said.But Brian Wieser at Pivotal Research issued a “sell” recommendation after the opening, saying Twitter “is simply too expensive” after the hefty opening gains with “nearly the same valuation as CBS… or even Yahoo.”Larry Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at Pace University, said the “investor mania” around Twitter is not an indication of success.“The fundamental question is how much people have to say on Twitter,” he told AFP.“We know there are some people who are social and want to talk all the time, but you can’t make a business model on those people.”Chiagouris added that “large corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars have not put substantial sums into paid media with Facebook and Twitter.”“They all are experimenting but nobody is putting 25 percent in social media. It may not sound cool but traditional media is still the media of choice today,” he said.Twitter offered 70 million shares trading under the symbol TWTR, generating $1.82 billion, and gave underwriters a 30-day option to purchase an additional 10.5 million shares.The IPO assigned a market value of around $14.4 billion to the company whose messaging service has become a hugely popular tool for celebrities, journalists, political leaders and others. But by the end of the day, that value had topped $24 billion.With the over-allotment it should be the second-biggest tech IPO after Facebook’s $16 billion effort last year and ahead of Google’s 2004 offer, which raised $1.92 billion, according to research firm Dealogic.Depending on the outcome of the common stock offer to underwriters, between 12.8 and 14.5 percent of the company’s shares will be publicly traded. The rest are held by its founders and a handful of early investors.Twitter has fast become engrained in popular culture but must still convince investors of its business model, having lost more than $440 million since 2010.But with 232 million users and growing, Twitter is expected to be able to reach profitability by delivering ads in the form of promoted tweets, and from its data analytics.The research firm eMarketer estimates Twitter will bring in $582.8 million in global ad revenue this year, and nearly $1 billion in 2014.last_img read more

French Frigate Hermione Stops at Tangier Port

Rabat – The French frigate Hermione, which carried the Marquis de Lafayette to the U.S. colonies, successfully arrived on March 7 in Tangier Med port, its first and only stopover in Africa.Symbolizing freedom, solidarity, and peace, the Navy has been sailing since January 30 from its home port in Rochefort, France, to bring worldwide youths closer as it carries onboard 350 volunteer sailors from 34 French-speaking countries.“I do not know if our experience can save the world, but it can serve as an example and make life more harmonious between people of different cultures, different countries, to be more open and more patient,” says Dani, one of the sailors from Canada. Launched in April 1779, the original Hermione is famed for having taken General Lafayette from Rochefort, France to Boston, USA, to deliver the secret news that he had secured 5,500 French troops and 5 frigates to support George Washington in fighting the American Revolutionary War.Miles Young, president of the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, said that the resurrection of Hermione makes history alive again.A crowd of several hundred people cheered its arrival at the port, including Morocco’s Minister of Justice, Mohamed Aujjar, and the French ambassador to Morocco, Jean-François Girault, who praised the commitment of these young gabiers participating in the movement “Freedom Together,” describing this first stopover of the Hermione in Tangier to be of  “great importance” as it symbolizes the “exceptional friendship between France and Morocco.”The Hermione crew set sail for a total of twelve stopovers including La Rochelle, Tangier, Barcelona, Sète, Toulon, Marseilles, Port Vendres, Nice, Bastia, Portimão, Pasaia, and Bordeaux, before the ship returns to Rochefort in France in June 2018. read more

Tamil man selfimmolates

The Swiss media reported that he was still alive at the time but succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Geneva. A Tamil man has succumbed to his injuries after he self-immolated himself outside the UN office in Geneva yesterday, the Swiss media reported.The police found the man lying on the pavement with his body almost completely burned and a container of gasoline in his hand. The police found the body near the picture of a soldier with symbols of the LTTE. Meanwhile the TamilNet website identified the victim as 35-year-old Senthilkumaran Ratnasingam. The website said that Senthilkumaran, a father of three, was living at Sion city in the canton of Wallis.He used to participate in demonstrations and protests since 2001. (Colombo Gazette)

Ban to chair highlevel donor conference next month for Syria humanitarian effort

The conference, to be held on 30 January in Kuwait, follows a $1.5 billion appealed launched last week by the United Nations and its partners, who have been hampered in their efforts to carry out relief activities due to lack of funds. The pledging conference is “a timely and much-needed opportunity to address the funding gap,” said a statement issued today by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. “The Secretary-General urges all Member States to be generous in their pledges and is thankful to those who continue to support the humanitarian efforts.”The bulk of the appeal – $1 billion – is to support refugees fleeing Syria to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. It is based on planning estimates that up to a million Syrian refugees will need help during the first half of next year.Another $519 million will be needed to support an estimated four million people inside Syria who need urgent humanitarian assistance, including an estimated two million internally displaced persons.This winter, many families are struggling to keep warm, without adequate shelter, warm clothes and heating fuel, the statement noted, adding that children make up more than 50 per cent of the civilians affected by the crisis. At least 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria 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 22nd month.Meanwhile, the Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will travel to Moscow to meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tomorrow.This is the latest in a series of meetings in the region and elsewhere – including with Mr. al-Assad in Damascus earlier this week – held by the Joint Special Representative as part of his efforts to bring about a negotiated, political solution to end the fighting in Syria. read more

Clutch second half keys Crew comeback win over Montreal Impact

Columbus Crew forward Jairo Arrieta (25) battles for a ball with Houston Dynamo defender Warren Creavalle (5) during a game at Columbus Crew Stadium Sept. 4. The Crew won, 2-0. Credit: Courtesy of MCTThe Columbus Crew seemed to be heading for another disappointing result Saturday night when they entered halftime trailing 1-0 to the Montreal Impact, but the sellout crowd of more than 21,000 at Crew Stadium was in for a redemption tale.The Crew (5-7-8) mounted a second-half comeback to notch a 2-1 victory on a pair of goals by midfielder Bernardo Anor.“I think we actually get more benefit out of a win like this than if we had come out and won 3- or 4-0,” Crew team captain and defender Michael Parkhurst said after the game. “It brings the team together when you have to grind out a win like that, especially the way things have been going lately.”The Crew enjoyed its first three-point showing since a 2-0 victory against Chicago May 24. The team had been 0-3-4 since then.Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark said the mentality in the Crew locker room at the half was that they needed to “fight like hell.”Clark certainly embodied that attitude against Montreal (3-10-5) from the 46th minute on. He made all five of his saves after the break, including two on back-to-back Montreal shots in the 64th minute and another in the 69th that required an acrobatic leap to accomplish.“(Anor) scored two fantastic goals, but (Clark) was our man of the match,” Crew coach Gregg Berhalter said in a postgame press conference. “He came up big. He’s been doing that all year.”Columbus took 18 total shots on goal. Furthermore, outside defenders Chad Barson and Waylon Francis covered space along the length of the field instead of only roaming in the Impact’s attacking half.Parkhurst said that the conceded goal — a 35th minute strike from Impact forward Marco Di Vaio that developed from what Berhalter described as a defensive “miscue” — was the product of the Canadian squad converting “pretty much their only chance of the first half.”“We try to get our fullbacks forward, we try to play attacking soccer. And you’re going to leave yourself vulnerable at times. You’re going to give up some chances at times,” Berhalter said. “When they scored, it took a little out of us. It hurt us a bit.”Midfielder Kevan George got his first start of the season Saturday afterteammate Wil Trapp was given a one-game suspension because he received two yellow cards and a subsequent ejection Wednesday during a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City.Stepping in for Trapp, who is tied for third on the team with three assists this season, George’s contributions did not go unnoticed by his colleagues.“Their strikers (Di Vaio and forward Jack McInerney) sometimes spread out wide and it drags us — the center backs — wide with them,” Parkhurst said. “So we talked to Kevan before the game and said if that happens, he has to sit between us so that we’re not completely stretched as a team.”George sank back several times to relieve pressure along the backline between 2014 MLS All-Star Parkhurst and Costa Rican national team defender Giancarlo Gonzalez.“I thought (George) had a really strong game,” Parkhurst said. “I think it would have been the same (plan with Trapp playing). You know, that holding midfielder, that’s his responsibility to sit there in front of the defense to be the first man to start the attacks. But most importantly, for the counterattacks.”Berhalter agreed, saying “Montreal does a great job in offensive transition … we were trying to minimize that by having Kevan kind of stay and then keep a middle presence.”Another bright spot for the Crew was how substitute forward Aaron Schoenfeld became an immediate offensive threat after coming off the bench for Adam Bedell in the 67th minute.Schoenfeld had gone on a recent tear scoring goals for the USL-PRO’s Dayton Dutch Lions FC during a stint on loan from the Crew, including a hat trick against the Charlotte Eagles July 5. The striker had earned his way back to training in Columbus on the strength of his production in Dayton and he saw action with the Crew as a reserve against the New York Red Bulls July 12.Schoenfeld’s first touch Saturday was a header off a corner kick taken by midfielder Federico Higuain and his shot bounced off the right goalpost.Berhalter said bringing Schoenfeld on was a “great” substitution for the game.“Aaron’s a little bit more mobile (than Bedell),” he said. “He’s big and he’s aggressive, and I thought he did a good job.”Columbus’ next league matchup has it playing the New England Revolution in a crucial conference showdown July 26 in Foxboro, Mass. Both teams have 23 total points in the Eastern standings but New England (7-10-2) currently occupies fifth place on a tiebreaker by merit of having more wins.The Crew are slated to take on English Premier League side Crystal Palace F.C. in an exhibition match Wednesday at Crew Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. read more

Playboy or Time Backbencher gets confused over Endas cover appearance

first_imgFOR A MOMENT in the Dáil today, it seems like Mattie McGrath TD knew something that the rest of us didn’t.The Independent TD, who has become renowned for his heckles in the Dáil, momentarily got confused over exactly which magazine Taoiseach Enda Kenny appeared on the cover of last week.The Tipperary South had been speaking for several minutes in the Dáil chamber on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill when he began to talk about kite-flying by government ministers in the run-up to December’s Budget – and he was not impressed.“The most sickening thing last week was to see the Taoiseach on the front page of Playboy magazine,” he told the Dáil chamber.I wish him well, as I voted for him as Taoiseach. However, I had expected a lot more from him. McGrath was gently corrected by Fine Gael TD Paudie Coffey who interrupted to say that it had actually been the cover of Time magazine.“The Deputy must read the other magazine,” said Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor.McGrath immediately apologised: “I am sorry,” he said. “I meant to say he was like a playboy on the front page of Time magazine”.Easy mistake to make.Photo: Enda Kenny is on the cover of TIME magazine this week >last_img read more

Who needs plows In 1948 Boston Mayor suggested flamethrowers to clear snow

first_imgBack in 1948, Boston was experiencing a Snowpocalypse of their very own. At the time, then Mayor James Curley (not pictured above) was looking for a way to disperse the huge amounts snow that had fallen so it didn’t all melt at once causing major flooding in the city.So like any good mayor, Curley sought out the smartest minds at his disposal and sent a letter to the geniuses at MIT looking for a possible solution. Only in his letter, he made several recommendations for the removal of such massive snow accumulation like using chemicals and flamethrowers.You read right. Curley suggested flamethrowers to take care of the huge snow removal problem.I don’t now about you, but while flamethrowers don’t sound like the most environmentally friendly option to rid our streets of snow and ice, I would be first in line to use one just to clear my freaking driveway so I could actually move my car this week.Read Curley’s full letter at MIT, via Reddit.last_img read more

Vale Phaedon Georgitsis your star will always shine

first_imgPhaedon Georgitsis, a popular Greek actor from the Golden Age of Greek Cinema, died in Athens on March 1, aged 80.The famous actor had been suffering from brain cancer for several years.His appearance in iconic films in the Sixties and Seventies has ensured that he’ll always be remember. He performed in dozens of films, 13 of which were produced by Finos Films.Iconic films included The Red Lanterns, Mermaids and Lads (Gorgones ke Manges), Blood on the Land and Marijuana Stop! Born on January 26, 1939, Georgitsis was drawn to the cinema from a young age and pursued a career in acting despite opposition from his father, a naval officer, who wanted his son to pursue a military career. He managed to get into the prestigious Karolos Koun Drama School and the rest – for most Greeks – is history.After a bright career, he created a theatre in Koropi upon his retirement. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

At Russia hearing FBI mum about possible Trump probe

first_imgWASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday refused to say whether his bureau was investigating any possible ties between Russia and the Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, citing policy not to comment on what the FBI might or might not be doing.Comey testified at the Senate’s second hearing in a week addressing allegations of Russian election hacking. In late October he angered Democrats when he announced 11 days before the election that the FBI was looking at more emails as part of its investigation of Hillary Clinton.“I would never comment on investigations — whether we have one or not — in an open forum like this so I can’t answer one way or another,” Comey told the Senate’s intelligence committee during his first public appearance before Congress since the unusual disclosure about Clinton.“The irony of your making that statement, I cannot avoid,” said Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent.Insisted Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., “The American people have the right to know this.”It wasn’t clear if Wyden was alluding to an investigation that may be classified, or if his questioning was an effort to cast Trump in a negative light shortly before the inauguration.Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrote two letters to the FBI last year before the election, asking the bureau to publicly disclose what it knew about Trump’s aides’ ties to Russia.last_img read more

Crime Stoppers seeks help in 2015 homicide of Vancouver man

first_imgCrime Stoppers of Oregon is offering a cash reward for help solving a Vancouver 19-year-old’s 2015 homicide in Portland.The victin, Dalton Marshall, was found on the morning of Nov. 12, 2015, after someone called to report seeing a bleeding and unconscious man on the road at North Bruce Avenue and Hudson Street in Portland.Marshall died of an apparent gunshot wound, and an autopsy concluded his death was a homicide.Investigators have no suspect information, or a motive behind his death, although detectives believe that Marshall may have been socializing along North Interstate Avenue in Portland earlier.Crime Stoppers of Oregon is offering a cash reward of up to $2,500 for information, reported through them, that leads to an arrest.People can submit tips through Crime Stoppers’ website, www.crimestoppersoforegon.com, or by calling 503-823-4357. They can also download the P3 Tips smartphone app.Tipsters can remain anonymous.last_img read more

interCaribbean and British Airways linked in new agreement

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 30 Jul 2015 – InterCaribbean Airways this week announcing another major milestone for the indigenous airline company which ties it to one of the largest airline carriers in the world, namely British Airways. CEO, Trevor Sadler explained that this new interline agreement can now link European travellers to their destinations in the region with one single ticket. Twelve cities in six countries is where interCaribbean Airways can take the European travellers and Sadler shared that it is particularly good because the agreement is solidified in time for the winter season. In a media statement, it is said: “Over the last 18 months interCaribbean retimed its schedule to create convenient “to and through connections” giving many travellers in the region choices never before available. With this new agreement we are proud to be able to partner with British Airways.” The new agreement with British Airways came into effect since Tuesday. Related Items:agreement, british aIRWAYS, Intercaribbean Airways, trevor sadler Recommended for you Airports Authority commanded to protect South Caicos airport by airline Turks and Caicos airline, ICA, now flies to Havana Domestic Airline Companies institute insecticide spraying to ward off Zikalast_img read more

United Grain shuts down elevator as dispute escalates

first_imgCiting threats from union pickets, state grain inspectors are refusing to enter United Grain Corp.’s export facility at the Port of Vancouver, prompting the company to shut down the largest grain elevator on the West Coast. The latest development in the bitter, 17-month-long standoff between United Grain, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has triggered a new round of finger-pointing, with no solution in sight.“For all practical purposes, we’re shut down,” Pat McCormick, spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association — whose membership includes United Grain — said Thursday.It’s not the first time the company’s operation has experienced interruptions. And shippers may still use other grain terminals in the region. But the full stop of United Grain’s operation has prompted national and state agricultural and export interest groups to call on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to restore inspections by directing federal personnel to take over the work. The refusal of inspections by the Washington state Department of Agriculture creates “an extremely troubling precedent that will cause irreparable damage to the integrity and reliability of the nation’s … grain inspection system,” the groups wrote to Vilsack in a July 14 letter.It’s unclear whether state inspections will restart or if federal checkups will be ordered. McCormick said United Grain is “pursuing all directions” to restore inspection services.last_img read more

76 rank flexible working in their top three benefits

first_imgMore than three quarters (76%) of respondents name flexible working as one of their top three priorities when it comes to being offered a benefits package from their ideal employer, according to research by BT.Its Mobile multiplier report, which surveyed 1,528 office employees across France, Germany, Spain and the UK, also found that 67% of respondents believe being able to work on the move, at home and flexibly using good technology is more important than being offered a company car.The research also found:80% of UK respondents rank flexible working in their top three employee benefits, compared to 88% of respondents in Germany, 75% of respondents in Spain, and 59% of respondents in France.40% of respondents aged 25-34 years old rank flexible working as their top employee benefit. This compares to 39% of respondents aged 35-44 years old, 35% of respondents aged 45-54 years old, and 31% of respondents aged 55-64 years old.13% of respondents never work away from the office.Andrew Small (pictured), vice president of the unified communications, mobile and contact centre portfolio at BT, said: “Businesses are keen to support their employees’ desire for a more flexible way of working, but the reality still falls short of the ambition. The technology in place often still lags behind, causing delays and frustration.“It’s important for [organisations] to future-proof their business by investing in mobile collaboration technology to support a flexible-working model. The more employees have a good experience of work on the go, the more benefits their organisation will see.”last_img read more

Awareness drive on cleanliness tomorrow

first_imgPatancheru: An awareness programme on ‘Saaf Hyderabad-Shaandaar Hyderabad’ will be conducted on Thursday in the 112th GHMC circle office presided over by Corporator and Standing Committee Member Thota Anjaiah. At a meeting here on Tuesday, GHMC Circle Deputy Commissioner Balaiah, SSDEP Member Jyothi, volunteers of an NGO called for steps to enlighten people on the utility value and aims of the programme.last_img

UPDATE Small Caribbean Islands To Get Hit From Irma

first_img11:05 a.m.Tropical Storm Jose has formed in the open Atlantic far from land.Jose is located to the east of Hurricane Irma, which is a powerful and dangerous storm heading toward Antigua and perhaps the U.S.Jose is the 10th tropical storm of the season. It has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and is about 1505 miles (2420 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles.___10:55 a.m.The Dutch government says it is sending about 100 marines to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten to help prepare it and two other small islands for the arrival of Category 5 Hurricane Irma.The government said Tuesday that the first marines were flown from the island of Aruba to St. Maarten in a coast guard plane. Some then traveled on to St. Eustatius and Saba.Two Dutch navy ships based in the Caribbean also are sailing toward the islands to provide help assessing damage and repairing vital infrastructure after Irma has passed.St. Maarten is an independent former Dutch colony that still relies on the Netherlands for defense and foreign relations issues. St. Eustatius and Saba are overseas municipalities of the Netherlands.St. Maarten has a population of around 37,000, Saba has 2,000 residents and St. Eustatius has about 3,200.___10:45 a.m.Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello says he has spoken to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as he seeks to have a state of emergency declared in the U.S. island territory due to Hurricane Irma.Rossello thanks Kelly in a tweet for “the attention given to Puerto Rico” as the storm approaches.Puerto Rico has announced a number of steps in preparation for the storm, including a 24-hour ban on the sale of alcohol starting 6 a.m. Wednesday.The government has also dispatched inspectors to stores throughout the territory to check for possible price-gouging.___9:50 a.m.The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands says he has submitted an emergency declaration to the White House due to the approach of Hurricane Irma and is urging residents of the territory to take the storm seriously.Gov. Kenneth Mapp says in a news briefing that he doesn’t want to frighten anyone but that forecasters predict the storm could skirt the territory or even pass directly over it.Mapp says people in the islands may start to feel the storm’s effects around midmorning Wednesday.___8:35 a.m.American Airlines has added extra flights out of two Caribbean islands to get people out of the path of Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 storm.The flights were added in St. Maarten and St. Kitts and Nevis. Those are in addition to regularly scheduled flights Tuesday and Wednesday to Miami.Both islands are part of the northern Leeward Islands and are under a hurricane warning as Irma approaches the region Tuesday.American says it expects to make additional flight changes as it monitors the storm.___8 a.m.Hurricane Irma has strengthened into a Category 5 storm as it roared toward the northeast Caribbean on a path toward the U.S.Irma’s maximum sustained winds increased to 175mph (280 kph) early Tuesday. It was centered about 270 miles (440 kilometers) east of Antigua and moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).Authorities warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, cause landslides and flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 meters). Government officials began evacuations in certain islands.Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that all decisions taken in the next couple of hours would make a difference between life and death.States of emergency were declared in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all of Florida. Share APThis Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Irma nearing the eastern Caribbean. Hurricane Irma grew into a powerful Category 4 storm Monday. (NOAA via AP)The Latest on Hurricane Irma:4:35 p.m.Some small Caribbean islands are bracing for a big hit from Hurricane Irma.Forecasters say those in the path of the Category 5 storm include tiny Anguilla as well as the islands of Barbuda and Anegada. All will be near or directly in the path of Irma.Anguilla is British Island territory of about 15,000 people. It is a low-lying island known for its smooth sandy beaches.Authorities are expecting the eye of Irma to pass directly over Anguilla early Wednesday.Disaster Management agency Director Melissa Meade says Anguilla is expecting the full force of the storms with winds of 185 mph. They also expect storm surge and flooding.Meade says four shelters are opening on the island Tuesday though people tend to stay with friends and family.___4:10 p.m.Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering the suspension of road tolls across the state as Hurricane Irma continues its ominous move toward the region.Scott says tolls will be suspended to keep traffic flowing as residents begin to evacuate coastal areas in the potential path of the dangerous Category 5 storm.The governor adds that tolls will remain suspended “for the duration of the storm’s impacts to Florida.”Several important Florida highways are toll roads including the Florida Turnpike, which runs from 60 miles north of Orlando all the way to Miami-Dade County.___4:05 p.m.The University of Central Florida has moved its football game against Memphis up a day as a precaution due Hurricane Irma.The UCF athletic department says the home game will be played Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando.The American Athletic Conference opener was originally scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m.The school also announced Tuesday that there will be no tailgating. Parking lots and the stadium will open for fans at 5 p.m.___4:00 p.m.Water and basic foodstuffs are flying off the shelves of some stores in Florida as residents stock up ahead of Hurricane Irma.Pablo Rodriguez surveyed the empty water aisle at a Fort Lauderdale Winn Dixie with dismay, saying “I was hoping to get a few cases.”The 65-year-old said he would have to try other shops, because “all the people are stocking up quick.”Theresa Webster, 60, of Fort Lauderdale had heard water was sold out at Publix but still available at Winn Dixie, but there was none by the time she got there in the afternoon.She was also stocking up on canned tuna, crackers and bread.Said Webster: “I got some water already but I wanted more.”3:30 p.m.Hurricane Irma is the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the Category 5 storm has winds of up to 185 mph (297 kph) as it approaches the Leeward Islands of the northeast Caribbean.Four other storms have had winds that strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they have been in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico where the usually warmer waters fuel tropical cyclones.Hurricane Allen hit 190 mph in 1980, while 2005’s Wilma, 1988’s Gilbert and a 1935 great Florida Key storm all had 185 mph winds.Experts say Irma’s strength is a result of unusually warm water for that part of the Atlantic.___3:15 p.m.Miami-Dade County’s mayor says residents and visitors should be prepared to evacuate Miami Beach and most of the county’s coastal areas as Hurricane Irma heads toward Florida.Mayor Carlos Gimenez says the voluntary evacuations could begin as soon as Wednesday evening.Gimenez activated the emergency operation center and urged residents to have three days’ worth of food and water. The mayor reminded residents that tap water was a good resource, telling them to fill up bottles with tap water now.Evacuation will begin Wednesday morning for special needs residents.All Miami-Dade County offices will be closed Thursday and Friday.12:30 p.m.Officials in the Florida Keys are gearing up to get tourists and residents out of the possible path of Hurricane Irma.Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark says in a news release that a mandatory evacuation for tourists will begin at sunrise Wednesday. An evacuation plan for residents is also under way but a timetable hasn’t been determined.Clark says government offices, parks and schools will close and there will be no shelters in Monroe County. The county’s three hospitals are also beginning evacuation plans.U.S. 1 is only route in and out of the island chain off the southern peninsula of Florida.Clark says residents and tourists should begin filling their tanks with fuel to prepare to drive to the mainland.#Irma is the strongest #hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea & Gulf of Mexico in NHC records https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/P8ebbQJR4k— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) September 5, 2017___12:10 p.m.Florida Gov. Rick Scott is activating 100 members of the Florida National Guard to prepare for Hurricane Irma.Scott says in a statement that the initial 100 troops will be stationed throughout the state. Some 7,000 National Guard members will report to duty Friday, when the storm could be bearing down on Florida.Scott said Tuesday that the exact path of the storm is still unknown but officials “must prepare for the worst.”On Monday he declared a state of emergency in all of Florida’s 67 counties.Two hurricanes hit the state last year but neither was as powerful as Category 5 Irma is right now.National Weather ServiceIrma’s latest trajectory.___11:25 a.m.Antigua’s airport has closed with an ominous statement from local authorities as Hurricane Irma approaches the Caribbean island.The statement from the V.C. Bird International Airport says it is shutting down Tuesday and advises all visitors and residents of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda to seek protection from the “onslaught” of the Category 5 storm.It closes with: “May God protect us all.”The center of the storm was expected to start passing north of Antigua and near or over Barbuda on Tuesday night.last_img read more

Investigation of Fatal Explosion at Gas Drilling Rig Owned by Houston Company

first_img Share U.S. Chemical Safety BoardThis photo shows the wreckage of the Patterson-UTI Drilling rig after a deadly January 2018 explosion.A federal investigation of an explosion and fire that occurred in January and that killed five workers at an Oklahoma natural gas drilling rig owned by a Houston-based company has made new findings.The explosion may have started after natural gas escaped from the well and safety equipment failed to prevent it, State Impact Oklahoma reported.Patterson-UTI Drilling owns the rig and new findings from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) suggest the accident occurred after workers removed pipe from the well.Investigators said that more than 100 barrels of drilling fluid were pushed into the drilling site’s mud pits before the blowout, far above levels that should have triggered alarms — and a strong indicator natural gas was flowing into the wellbore.Lead investigator Lauren Grim said the agency is examining the blowout preventer, a last-chance device used to shut down an uncontrollable well. “We are analyzing the data and testing the equipment to identify why the blowout preventer did not function,” she said.Investigators are also scrutinizing other equipment and crew experience, training and communication to see if proper procedures were followed and if workers missed any warning signs before the explosion and fire.The agency is also working to determine what ignited the fire.Fined by OSHAIn July, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited and fined Patterson-UTI Drilling and two Oklahoma City firms, Crescent Consulting and Skyline Directional Drilling, for improperly operating a heat lamp near the combustible opening of the well.OSHA also cited and fined Patterson-UTI Drilling and Crescent Consulting for not maintaining proper controls during drilling.The CSB investigation is expected to continue for months. A final report could include recommendations for industry and regulators.In a statement released after the agency updated its findings, a Patterson-UTI Drilling spokesperson said the company is cooperating with the investigation, will work to understand any related recommendations and is committed to workplace safety.At least three wrongful death lawsuits have been filed over the accident. Michael Lyons, an attorney who represents the family of one of the men killed, said the new information showed the accident “was 100 percent preventable.” “This disaster was the product of multiple failures to adhere to safe oilfield drilling practices,” Lyons said.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Macaos dedication to

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterMacao’s dedication to food and the important role it plays in developing tourism and the economy has been rewarded on a silver platter… on a worldwide scale.In unveiling its latest list of “Creative Cities”, UNESCO stated that Macao had been recognised for its gastronomy.Such designation is set to further endorse the worldwide recognition of Macao and its 400-year-old culinary legacy.“Such endorsement will also provide a favourable platform for food traditions to continuously thrive,” said Helen Wong, GM of the Macao Government Tourism Office Australia and New Zealand.“This is exciting news for Macao and its cultural importance to gastronomy, and to everyone involved in the creation of the many mouth-watering menus and dining options offered throughout the former Portuguese enclave,” she said.The designation of Macao as a member city of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of gastronomy is set to bring new opportunities for the city to diversify the economy.Gastronomy would now act as a driver to preserve Macao’s cultural identity, while promoting a sustainable development and expanding its international cooperation.As for the creativity aspect, the designation is expected to stimulate stakeholders in gastronomy and agents in other creative sectors to explore how culinary and other aspects of culture can fuse to diversify the economy.Other Creative Cities of Gastronomy include: Chengdu and Shunde (China), Belém and Florianopolis (Brazil), Popayán (Colombia), Rasht (Iran), Parma (Italy), Zahlé (Lebanon), Ensenada (Mexico), Bergen (Norway), Jeonju (South Korea), Tsuruoka (Japan), Dénia and Burgos (Spain), Östersund (Sweden), Phuket (Thailand), Gaziantep (Turkey) and Tucson (USA).Macao was among eight to be newly designated this week. The others were Alba (Italy), Buenaventura (Colombia), Cochabamba (Bolivia), Hatay (Turkey), Panama City (Panama), Paraty (Brazil) and San Antonio (USA),Sixty-four cities from 44 countries have been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities in the various fields. Launched in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created to promote cooperation with and among cities that had identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable development in regards to economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more