Canadas supply management a flashpoint in NAFTA talks Heres why

first_imgSupply management: economists love to hate it, and Canadian farmers are loathe to give it up.The politically explosive issue emerged yet again Monday as a flashpoint in increasingly heated NAFTA renegotiation talks after the United States asked for an end to the system within the next decade.So what, exactly is supply management, and why does it stir up so much controversy?The debate has been going on since the federal government created the system in the early 1970s in response to wide swings in prices and interprovincial trade disputes as technology and other developments disrupted the agricultural markets.The complicated system sets prices and protects Canadian farmers from competition, creating stability for dairy, egg, chicken and turkey producers. But it is seen as a symbol of government overreach and distortion of the market by those opposed.Because the system blocks out foreign production from the Canadian market, it is a thorn in the side of trade negotiators as other countries look for freer access to Canada’s food markets, while Canadian politicians have shied away from any drastic changes.The federal and provincial governments use a few ways to control the market.They keep out foreign competition with high tariffs on imports, which vary by product but run as high as 300 per cent for butter.To avoid oversupply, provincial boards regulate how much farmers are allowed to produce.For example, any farmer, except very small producers, that wants to produce eggs, milk, or poultry needs to secure a government “quota,” or production allotment. Much like the medallion system that regulates the number of taxi drivers, quotas mean a farmer has the right to produce a certain amount of the product.Any new farmer has to buy in, and the rights don’t come cheap. The prices vary significantly by category and by province, some of which have capped how high the quota price can go.In 2015, the right to produce a kilogram of butterfat a day — the standard measurement for dairy quotas — sold for $42,500 in British Columbia, but for $23,000 in New Brunswick. Overall, the government says the value of all the supply management quotas issued stood at about $35 billion last year.Finally, with both foreign and domestic competition limited by the system, the government boards need to decide how much farmers will be paid for their production, since standard market forces that are supposed to set prices aren’t at work.The government sets a minimum price that processors have to pay the farmers, or a “price floor.” Critics have argued that floor is artificially high, meaning dairy and other products cost more for Canadian consumers that they might otherwise.To help determine the price, provincial boards canvas producers to figure out the costs of production and then add a margin of profit to determine how much they’re guaranteed to be paid, explained Alfons Weersink, a professor of food and agriculture economics at the University of Guelph.“The system provides a stable return, and a decent return. And that’s the hallmarks of the system,” said Weersink. “It’s not subject to volatility of other agricultural sectors, which are inherently variable; ups and downs in prices constantly.”But that artificial, government-controlled price stability goes against the basic tenants of free-market thinking, according to economists like Herbert Grubel.The senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, and professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, says the system inflates prices, with several studies showing the average household pays hundreds of dollars more because of it, and that it would be better for the market to set prices and adjust for risks.“The free market adjusts the returns that people get from certain activities by taking account of the amount of risk they take,” said Grubel.He believes the quota system adds significant costs to farmers (and therefore consumers) because they have to buy the right to produce, and take on significant debt to do so.The industry, however, disputes that there would be any savings from dismantling the system, and that other countries provide more indirect subsidies to their agriculture industries.The issue came up in Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, while U.S. negotiators have demanded an end to the system as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations.Canada did make concessions in the recently enacted Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, allowing 16,000 tonnes of duty-free cheese plus another 1,700 tonnes for use in food processing, while leaving the system as a whole largely unchanged.There have been various proposals on how to dismantle the system, either by adding a surcharge to products to compensate farmers for their quota investments, or to gradually keep increasing the number of quotas allotted, but it won’t be a simple affair to dismantle such an entrenched program.last_img read more

UN to host seminar series aimed at combating intolerance

Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the 21 June event, which kicks off the series “Unlearning Intolerance.” The daylong programme includes numerous experts on anti-Semitism and leaders of various faith-based groups working to promote greater understanding. The UN will also host a public photo exhibition in conjunction with New York’s Center for Jewish History from 15 June to 9 July entitled “Diaspora: Homelands in Exile” by Frederic Brenner. UN officials said the next seminar, set for around January 2005, would deal with the problem of Islamaphobia. read more

Canada Pension Plan fund manager to buy HVAC equipment maker for 11

TORONTO – The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has agreed to pay $1.1 billion for the air distribution division of Tomkins, a diversified U.K.-based industrial company that the fund manager owns with Onex Corp.The division makes products used in heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for commercial and residential buildings.“Through our joint ownership of Tomkins since 2010, we have acquired deep knowledge of the air distribution business and have built strong relationships with management,” said Andre Bourbonnais, senior vice-president of private investments at CPPIB.“With this acquisition, we will acquire directly a significant majority interest in the air distribution division, including the portion that we don’t currently own indirectly through Tomkins.”Onex (TSX:OCX) and the CPPIB acquired Tomkins in a US$5-billion deal in September 2010. Each owns a 50 per cent interest in the company.The core business at Tomkins is its Gates subsidiary, a manufacturer of power transmission belts and hydraulic hoses for the industrial and automotive aftermarket.Since the CPPIB-Onex acquisition, the company has sold five non-core businesses for total proceeds of almost $1 billion, which has been mostly used to reduce the company’s debt.“With the sale of air distribution, we’re nearing completion of our planned disposition program well ahead of schedule,” said Seth Mersky, a managing director at Toronto-based Onex.“We can now focus our efforts on building value in the core Gates business with a significantly de-levered capital structure.”The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter but other financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed. Canada Pension Plan fund manager to buy HVAC equipment maker for $1.1 billion AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted Sep 21, 2012 10:37 am MDT read more

Sustainable cities key to implement SDGs says head of UN regional forum

Speaking at the opening of the Cities Conference, Alicia Bárcena, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) underscored that despite significant progress in reducing poverty, high degrees of socioeconomic residential segregation continues to persist in metropolises and large and small cities and towns. “Socioeconomic segregation deepens inequity and contributes to social fragmentation and the high levels of violence that characterize many cities in [the region],” she said. According to estimates, by 2030 – the timeframe to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – there could be more than 92 million additional people living in cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region is already the most urbanized developing region in the world. Therefore, added Ms. Bárcena, it is necessary to guarantee the right to the city as a basic requirement for achieving sustainable development. Concluding this Friday, the Cities Conference focuses on the regional implementation of the New Urban Agenda – the outcome of the Habitat III conference – to build inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. Also at the inaugural session of the Conference, the head of ECLAC presented the Regional Action Plan for implementing the Habitat III outcome, proposing actions the countries of the region can take to ensure sustainable development of their cities and human settlements. The Regional Action Plan is centred on six action areas, which include national urban policies; urban legal frameworks; urban and territorial planning and design; financing urbanization; local implementation; and monitoring, reporting and revision mechanisms. The Cities Conference has been organized by ECLAC, the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the General Assembly of Ministers and High-level Authorities of the Housing and Urban Development Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean (known by its Spanish acronym, MINURVI) in Santiago, Chile. read more

Saddleworth Moor fire Apocalyptic blaze breaks out in Yorkshire after Britains hottest

They included engines from Marsden, Huddersfield and the Kirklees area.Incident Commander Laura Boocock told the BBC it was “one of the biggest grass fires (she) has ever seen”, but it was “nothing they can’t handle”.Witness Harry Broughton tweeted: “Never seen anything like this – had a drive up as these things look terrible.”High up on the Pennines between Saddleworth and Marsden on the Manchester/Yorkshire border, but close to houses including two pubs. Hope it is contained.”Britain’s wildfires, in pictures Firefighters make their way cross the charred moorland  The huge fire in EdinburghCredit:Jane Barlow/PA Two firefighters stand by as the fire rages in the background in East SussexCredit:Solent/Eddie Howland The view of the Saddleworth Moor fire from the roadCredit:John Eccles/PA People watch the fire burn on Arthur's Seat Firefighters from across the UK have been battling a string of wildfires after Britain saw its hottest winter day on record on Tuesday.The most recent blaze was whipped up on Saddleworth Moor, which witnesses described as “apocalyptic”. Firefighters were called there just before 8pm on Tuesday after Britain enjoyed its third day of unseasonable sunshine. It continued to burn into Wednesday until firefighters eventually brought it under control around lunchtime, but it wasn’t the only wildfire to hit the UK. Dramatic photographs showed a huge fire burning on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh as crews battled to bring around 800m of gorse under control having been alerted at 6.30pm. Earlier in the afternoon, East Sussex Fire and Rescue had to extinguish two separate wildfires. The first, just before 3pm engulfed 35 hectares in Nutley, before another broke out around a mile away in Ashdown Forest. Britain saw its hottest winter day on record on Tuesday when the mercury hit 21.2C (69.4F) in Kew Gardens, London. For the second day running we’ve broken the UK record for the warmest winter day with 20.8 °C at Porthmadog, Gwynedd pic.twitter.com/E4VOg6CQAR— Met Office (@metoffice) February 26, 2019 Saddleworth Moor fire  The fire near Marsden could be seen for miles around as crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service battled to contain it through the night.Witnesses described the “terrible” scene of fire coming close to buildings high on the moorland.  West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had five fire engines and two specialist moorland firefighting units at the scene. A firefighter walks through the charred moor Firefighters make their way cross the charred moorland Credit:Chris Furlong/Getty Two firefighters stand by as the fire rages in the background in East Sussex A firefighter walks through the charred moorCredit:Christopher Furlong/Getty  Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Greater Manchester and Huddersfield tackle a large wildfire on Saddleworth MoorCredit: Anthony Devlin/Getty The fire rages on Saddleworth Moor Britain’s hottest winter dayThe UK yesterday experienced its warmest winter day since records began for the second day running.Records were broken in England and Wales, as temperatures edged above 21C (69.8F) and Britons continued to enjoy a spell of unseasonably mild weather.The 21C barrier was hit at Kew Gardens in west London in late afternoon after temperatures hit 20.8C (69.4F) in Porthmadog, Gwynedd, North Wales, at 1.22pm, the Met Office said.On Monday, the thermometer reached 20.6C (68.5F) at Trawsgoed in Ceredigion, West Wales, the highest recorded in February and beating the previous record of 19.7C (67.4F) in Greenwich, south-east London, in 1998.Parts of Britain on Tuesday were hotter than a series of popular holiday destinations, beating Malibu, Athens and Barcelona. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. People watch the fire burn on Arthur’s SeatCredit:Duncan McGlynn And reaching 21C, the temperature matched that of Cairo, Buenos Aires and Delhi.  Firefighters continue to work on Saddleworth Moor overnightCredit:Jon Super/Reuters Saddleworth Moor fire Credit:Nick Lawton/PA The view of the Saddleworth Moor fire from the road Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Greater Manchester and Huddersfield tackle a large wildfire on Saddleworth Moor Firefighters tackle wildfire in Ashdown Forest Saddleworth Moor Damage caused by the wildfire on Saddleworth Moor in West YorkshireCredit:Richard McCarthy/PA Firefighters tackle wildfire in Ashdown ForestCredit:Solent/Eddie Howland The huge fire in Edinburgh  The fire rages on Saddleworth MoorCredit:Getty/Anthony Devlin The warmth follows last February’s Beast from the East, which plunged temperatures below freezing and brought heavy snowfall across the country.Cooler temperatures expected from Wednesday onwards will be “still above average” for February, Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said.Heavy showers are possible on Thursday as temperatures struggle to get above 11C (51.8F) or 12C (53.6F).Friday, March 1, will mark the first day of meteorological spring and is expected to be mostly dry before a wet weekend. Damage caused by the wildfire on Saddleworth Moor in West Yorkshire Saddleworth MoorCredit:Rich Needham/John Eccles/PA Firefighters continue to work on Saddleworth Moor overnight Mr Miall added: “The weekend doesn’t look great, it’s looking wet and windy across the country.”There’s lots of uncertainty over the details because it’s still a long way off but wet and windy seems to be the theme through many areas.”Monday’s record highs were likened to a “climate breakdown” by Green MP Caroline Lucas.Mr Miall said: “This kind of event is what climate change would expect but we can’t directly relate it to climate change.” read more

Catchup Wednesday 3 midweek longreads

first_imgSome time in the late 19th Century, the drowned body of a young woman was recovered from the River Seine. As was customary in those days, her body was put on display at the Paris mortuary, in the hope that someone would recognise and identify her. The pathologist on duty became so entranced by the face of the girl with the enigmatic half-smile that he asked a moulder to take a plaster cast of her face.2. Golden Gate tragediesAn average of 30 people take their own lives by jumping from the Golden Gate Bride every year. Liza Gross argues that this sad figure could be changed if a simple fix was put in place: bridge barriers.Slate, approximately 9 minutes reading time – 1871 words IT’S MIDWAY THROUGH the week and you want to get up to speed on the latest news topics and catch up on opinions and insights.We’re here to help you do just that, with our three midweek longreads:1. Saving faceWho is the woman of the Seine, the 19th century female whose face is probably the most kissed in the world? Her visage is on the CPR mannequin ‘Resusci Anne’, and Jeremy Grange went on a journey to find out more about her story.BBC, approximately 8 minutes reading time, 1710 words 3. Budget woesBudget 2014 was announced yesterday – and Opinion and Insight columnist Damien Kiberd argues that the arithmetic behind the figures is “not just iffy – it’s scary”. He looks at the review of medical card holders and the ‘mathematics of imaginary numbers’.TheJournal.ie, approximately 4 minutes reading time – 912 words Noonan says the economy will grow in volume terms in 2014 by 2 per cent. Maybe, maybe not. Presumably the Troika has approved this number.  The actual outcome could be better…..but it could also be a whole lot worse.Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>center_img Police found his car later that night in the parking lot west of the bridge toll plaza. Because no one saw him jump, the coroner’s report made no mention of suicide, even though an investigator told me the pattern of injuries and circumstances suggested “he most likely jumped off the bridge.” What happened isn’t a mystery. The mystery is why we allowed it to happen.last_img read more

How Pokemon Go brought back mystery in the Internet Age

first_imgPokemania dominated the majority of my childhood. Everyone that I can remember obsessed over the cards, the games, the show, and, of course, the merch. But amidst the furor, there were the rumors. The “my uncle who works at Nintendo said” the “this is how you catch Pikablu,” and the “I know where to find Mew.” This hearsay ruled the playground, affording fleeting cachet to those who held privileged knowledge.Most of these tricks were false. But they were often so difficult to test and so wonky that they gained traction anyway. Plus, the few that were true were indistinguishable from the others like The Missingno. glitch (which let players make copies of rare items through a convoluted sequence of in-game actions) may be infamous today, but in 1999 telling someone to follow the very precise set of instructions needed to make it work sounded about as realistic as anything else.Trading these rumors was a vital part of what it meant to buy into Pokemania and the evolving culture around it at the time. The act of dissecting and testing theories with friends forged its own community, one built on exploration and discovery. It was like overhearing in arcades how to pull off Mortal Kombat fatalities, only the fights were cuter. After the early 2000s, though, everything changed. Pokemon struggled to maintain that same air of mystery. Now that millions of players could work together to debunk or confirm just about anything in a few days, the mystique that once drove a large chunk of the quintessentially 90s Pokemon experience died.Games like Dark Souls have built up their own fandoms around using the internet to encourage people to test out their ideas and swap theories or stories about the game’s world. But with that, there are no secrets, no undiscovered territory.Earlier this year I played an early copy of Dark Souls III for review, and even then — when just about all information was under lock — there wasn’t too much left to be discovered by the time the game officially launched.So how does Pokemon Go fit into this? Through some magic cocktail of poorly designed tutorials, server issues, artificial scarcity, and a smattering of easter eggs, nobody’s quite sure how it all works.Over the past week and a half the internet culture driving the app’s runaway virality has come up with and debunked dozens of “secrets.” One of the best examples of this is the idea that players could control how some Pokemon grow.Eevee is one of the more famous pocket monsters, known for its ability to transform into one of several forms. In the Gameboy games, you controlled this process with magical in-game stones. In Pokemon Go? People had a lot of theories, but nobody was sure until a couple of days ago. Some suggested that forcing Eevee to evolve at a certain time of day would control what it became. Others suggested it was the Pokemon’s characteristics that mattered. Nope. All wrong.All you have to do is name it after obscure, one-off characters from the old 90s television show. That’s ludicrous. No one would have thought that of all the hypotheses about how this stuff worked, it’d be the one based on an arcane reference. And that’s exactly what makes it special.Beyond weird features or tricks, Pokemon Go organized cliques and pushed them to track down and find new Pokemon together. New subreddits and Facebook groups are cropping up all over, dedicated to helping others and talking about how to succeed in this otherwise impenetrable game.And it’s for  ridiculous reasons. Pokemon Go isn’t well-designed. Rampant bugs and technical problems have helped foster some of the more prevalent rumors. For example, catching Pokemon is the main thrust of the game. To catch new Pokemon, you need to throw special balls at the creatures. If you miss, the game would show your ball rolling off into the background.During the first few days the game was out, people started tapping on the screen to pick up that missed ball. This only gained traction because the game wouldn’t update the number of Pokeballs in your inventory. After a few more days though, players caught on and realized that they’d bought into a false tip. That’s just one example of dozens, perhaps hundreds of rumors fans have swapped around, but it’s emblematic of how much false information there is about there, and how long it’s taking the tens of millions of players to suss out what’s real.For others, suggestions about where people might find the rarest Pokemon are all over. I know that in my city of Minneapolis, our Como Park Zoo is a haven for Magmar. Lake Calhoun is where you can find Dratini and a swarm of Magikarp. On their own, these aren’t much, but Pokemon Go enforces an artificial scarcity for its beasts that incentivize people to work together to figure out how to “catch ’em all.”The thing to remember is that Pokemon Go has accidentally stumbled on an incredible phenomenon, made real only through its many failings. But in so doing, it recaptured the magic of the mid-to-late 90s explosion.It’s hard to say how much longer this will continue. Every day it seems, we know a bit more about the game, and as the gap of what we don’t know starts shrinking, the sea of once unanswered questions will dry up. That, for now at least, is what’s made Pokemon Go special for so many. You’re not just playing a game, you’re participating in a once-in-a-lifetime event. Guarantee 1000+ CP1/17For Pokemon that can evolve, their starting CP will dictate whether or not their final evolution will hit the coveted 1000+ mark. While each Pokemon grow at different rates, you can use PoGoToolKit to estimate their final CP.Photo Credit: @iBlali on Twitter.<><>last_img read more

Torino reports ready for Napoli clash

first_imgCoach Walter Mazzarri spoke before today’s match on how the team has “picked up fewer points than we deserved”In an early Italian Lega Serie A match-up, Torino will play against Napoli.And for Torino’s manager Walter Mazzarri, his team does not deserve to be in the place they are right now, but on a better spot.The Granata are in 12th place, after only one victory, two draws and one defeat in the competition.“I expect our fans to be passionate, fired up and give us a hand to put in a great performance,” said the coach in his press conference as reported by Football Italia.Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“So far we’ve picked up fewer points than we deserved. It angers me when we play well and don’t win the game, such as against Udinese. We dominated there for 90 minutes and were very unlucky to concede a goal.”“Napoli represent an important test for us. If we can build on the second half performances against Roma and Inter, that’d be a big step forward,” he added.“I don’t like to make comparisons. Napoli plays well and Ancelotti is one of the top Coaches in the world, not to mention a lovely person. They drew 0-0 with Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League this week, but absolutely dominated that match. If they played it again, they’d win 3-0 or 4-0.”“Marek Hamsik is playing in a new role, even if it’s the one people wanted me to use him in all those years ago, as a playmaker. Napoli is still a very strong squad and we’ll see where they end up,” he concluded.last_img read more

Reds sweating on the fitness of key duo

first_imgLiverpool are likely to be without Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League fixture at Burnley.Both players are injury concerns following Sunday’s 1-0 win against Everton in the Merseyside derby.Hence, Jurgen Klopp and his staff are considering rotation with the busy festive period fast approaching.“We have to see, but we have opportunities, options [and] we can make different line-ups. We’ll see,” Klopp told Sky.Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, LiverpoolMo Salah laughs off Sadio Mane incident with a brilliant video Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Mohamed Salah laughed off his little spat with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane by posting a brilliant video showing they’ve made up.“But Sadio got a real knock on his foot, we’ll have to see how that ends. He played a game, huh? He was so quick, unbelievable. But that’s only one thing.“Hopefully all the rest will be OK. Robbo I think has a dead leg, his hip, so in the moment we have to see.“Of course, we play in three days, that’s really hard, but tonight we don’t have to think about that. We celebrate, go home, [have a] proper sleep. Tomorrow, recovery, and then we’ll make ourselves ready for Burnley.”last_img read more

Roy Ayers Method Man Redman More To Play Crate Diggers NYC Music

first_imgNews Presented by Discogs, the “largest vinyl collector’s festival series on earth” is coming to the Bronx on July 27Rachel BrodskyGRAMMYs Apr 11, 2019 – 12:22 pm Crate Diggers NYC, presented by renowned music database Discogs, and in association with Japanese audio company Audio-Technica, has announced the official music lineup for its New York City festival on July 27 at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx.Funk icon Roy Ayers will headline the fest, with support from by Method Man & Redman, Rudimental, Smif-N-Wessun, Black Moon, Mad Skillz, Jurrasic 5’s Soup Presents: The Fullee Love Collective, and more.Entrance to the record fair is free to attend all day, and tickets for the fest cost $30 and go on sale Friday, April 12 at 10:00 am EST.  Crate Diggers NYC welcomes record sellers from around the region, as well as rare-finds and freshly pressed vinyl collectors looking to add to their stock.According to a release, Crate Diggers will offer more than “100 tables of vinyl for sale by some of New York’s most respected record dealers, some of the finest local DJs spinning wax all day, craft beer, great food and free admission from noon until close in a festival atmosphere.”Behind The Board: Get Into The Vinyl Groove With Producer/Engineer Jeff Powell Roy Ayers, Method Man & Redman & More To Play Crate Diggers NYC Music and Record Festival Email Facebook Twitter Crate Diggers NYC Music and Record Festival Lineup roy-ayers-method-man-redman-more-play-crate-diggers-nyc-music-and-record-festivallast_img read more

Scientists debunk famous legend of Mona Lisas eyes

first_img 10 Photos Comments Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.’Hello, humans’: Google’s Duplex could make Assistant the most lifelike AI yet. Wacky science images from the Getty (pictures) Share your voice Sci-Tech Tags 2 The study used a ruler to help participants indicate where they thought the Mona Lisa’s gaze was directed. CITEC/ Bielefeld University There’s more mystery to the Mona Lisa than just her secret smirk. The Mona Lisa Effect is the concept that the eyes in an image are following you. It was named for Leonardo da Vinci’s famous portrait from the Renaissance, but it may need a new moniker now.Researchers at Bielefeld University in Germany took a closer look at the Mona Lisa Effect to see if Mona Lisa’s eyes actually seem to track viewers moving in front of the painting housed at the Louvre in Paris. monalisaresearchersEnlarge ImageGernot Horstmann (left) and Sebastian Loth measured the direction of the Mona Lisa’s gaze. CITEC/ Bielefeld University “People are very good at gauging whether or not they are being looked at by others,” says psychologist Gernot Horstmann, an expert on eye movement and co-author of a study on the Mona Lisa Effect published this week in the journal i-Perception.The researchers says the effect kicks in when the subject of a photograph or painting looks ahead toward the viewer. The team displayed part of the Mona Lisa’s face on a computer screen and used test subjects to measure the painting’s perceived gaze. They found that participants perceived the Mona Lisa’s gaze to be off to the right-hand side. The scientists laid out their results in no uncertain terms: “We conclude from the measurements that the lack of evidence is due to the claim being objectively false: Mona Lisa does not gaze at the viewer.” The Mona Lisa Effect has a notable role in modern technology. Study co-author Sebastian Loth researches communication with avatars. “When communicating with an avatar, for example in a virtual environment, gaze improves our understanding of the avatar,” Loth says. He says the avatar can use its gaze to point at objects or express attention. The Mona Lisa is a spectacular painting, but now we know she’d make for a lousy avatar.last_img read more

Market watch Sensex extends losses gold prices soar

first_imgThe S&P BSE Sensex extended its losses for the third consecutive session on Wednesday, falling by 67 points on the back of rising concerns over companies’ earnings in the September quarter.The Sensex closed at 26,779 points, down 0.25%, while the 50-share Nifty fell by 23 points, or 0.29%, to end at 8,107.”Sentiment was hit after index heavyweights like Hindustan Unilever and TCS announced quarterly results which were below street expectations,” said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL.Investors’ worries rose after second quarter earning results from India’s second largest IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) missed market expectations and Infosys revised down its dollar revenue forecast for the current fiscal. While TCS posted 6.1% growth in net profit for the second quarter this fiscal year, Infosys lowered its annual sales growth forecast to 6.4-8.4% in dollar terms from a previous estimate of 7-9% despite posting a forecast-beating net profit in Q2.”TCS, the industry growth leader, has marginally missed street’s growth estimates in the past two quarters. In spite of the stock having witnessed a time correction over the past six months, its valuation remains elevated at 18x FY17 P/E. As the earnings growth is expected to lag revenue growth over the next couple of years, valuation could come under pressure,” Ambani said.IT shares came under pressure following TCS results. The TCS share plunged by over 4%, while Infosys ended 0.11% lower.Besides, weakness in global markets as a result of renewed worries over slowdown in China weighed on market sentiments.China’s inflation fell to 1.6% in September from 2% in August, indicating a reduced demand in the country and consequently, signs of a further slowdown in economic activity in the world’s second largest economy.Tata Motors closed 2.4% lower following the release of disappointing economic data in China. China is the largest market for Tata Motors’ luxury car division, Jaquar Land Rover (JLR).India’s largest automobile manufacturer, Tata Motors had reported nearly 49% drop in its net profit in the first quarter of 2015-16 due to declining sales in the world’s biggest car market, China.Among the BSE sectoral indices, IT was the top loser, while consumer durables index ended as the biggest gainer.Hindalco (up 2.8%), ACC (up 1.8%), Tata Steel (up 1.4%), HDFC (up 1.2%) and Reliance Industries (up 1%) were the top gainers among Sensex stocks. DLF (down 2.5%), Hindustan Unilever (down 1.9%) and ICICI Bank (down 1.6%) were the top losers.On the commodity front, gold prices soared by Rs 385 to Rs 27,185 per 10 grams, while silver prices rose sharply by Rs 500 to Rs 37,300 per kg.In the overseas markets, prices of the yellow metal rose to a three-and-half month high amid weakening dollar, as comments from the US central bank officials point to reduced chances of an interest rate hike in the country this year.The rupee appreciated by 15 paise to 65.04 against the US dollar supported by weakness in the greenback in the overseas markets.last_img read more

IS claims Tripoli suicide attack

first_imgLibyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala (R) and Interior Minister Fathi Bash Agha (L) deliver a speech on 25 December following an attack on the Foreign ministry. Photo: AFPSuicide attackers stormed the Libyan foreign ministry in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday, killing at least three people including a senior civil servant in an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.Twenty-one other people were wounded in the attack, authorities said.A car bomb exploded near the ministry, prompting security forces to rush to the scene, said special forces spokesman Tarak al-Dawass.A suicide bomber then blew himself up on the second floor of the building while a second attacker died when a suitcase he was carrying exploded, he said.A third assailant, who was unarmed and wearing a bulletproof vest, was killed by security forces outside, Dawass added.At least three people were killed and 21 wounded, according to the health ministry.Foreign Minister Tahar Siala said one of the dead was senior diplomat Ibrahim al-Shaibi who headed a department in his ministry.Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the building as ambulances, paramedics and security forces gathered outside.IS claimed the attack in a statement distributed on social media, saying that it was carried out by three “soldiers of the caliphate” who were armed with suicide belts and automatic weapons.Interior Minister Fathi Bash Agha admitted during a news conference that “security chaos” reigned in Libya and was “out of our control”.He said this was creating a “fertile ground” for IS to operate in the North African country.Torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity, Libya has become a haven for jihadists since the ouster and killing of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.Jihadist footholdTwo competing administrations, rival militias, tribes and jihadists have been vying for control of territory and the country’s vast oil wealth.IS took advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the coastal city of Sirte in 2015.Forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) regained control of Sirte in December 2016 after eight months of deadly fighting.Since then, some jihadists have returned to the desert in an attempt to regroup and reorganise.The interior minister said his department lacked the equipment necessary to restore law and order in Libya.Bach Agha said he found “zero weapons and zero vehicles” in the ministry’s warehouses when he took up his job in October.”Weakness and a security breakdown” allowed assailants to attack the foreign ministry, he said.The foreign minister said the UN should lift an arms embargo it has imposed on Libya since the 2011 uprising.”Stability cannot be restored… without a partial lifting of the embargo. It is needed to guarantee security and combat terrorism,” Siala told reporters.Envoys denounce attackThe head of the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) denounced the “cowardly terrorist attack” in a statement.Ghassan Salame also pledged to work with Libyan people “to prevent terrorist groups from turning Libya into a haven… for their crimes”.Frank Baker, Britain’s ambassador to Libya, also denounced an “appalling terrorist attack” and tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.Italian foreign minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi joined the chorus of condemnation in a statement reiterating Rome’s “solidarity with the Libyan people and their just aspiration to real security”.In September, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the headquarters of Libya’s National Oil Company in the heart of Tripoli which left two dead and 10 wounded.Four months earlier, it claimed an attack on the electoral commission’s headquarters which left 14 dead.In April, the GNA launched an operation to track down IS fighters operating in areas of western Libya under its control.Last month IS claimed responsibility for an attack on militia forces in southeastern Libya in which at least nine people were killed.The US military has regularly carried out strikes on jihadists in Libya, particularly south of Sirte.The GNA was set up under a 2015 UN-brokered deal, but a rival administration based in the country’s east aligned with military strongman Khalifa Haftar refuses to recognise its authority.Rival Libyan leaders had agreed to a Paris-brokered deal in May to hold a nationwide election by the end of the year.But instability, territorial disputes and divisions have delayed plans for elections.last_img read more

Relax regulatory norms on excavation of sediments from rivers for preparing bricks

first_imgKolkata: Bengal Brick-field Owners Association (BBOA) has urged the state government to relax the regulatory norms on the excavation of sediments from rivers so that the silt can be used for preparing bricks.Ashoke Kumar Tewari, President of BBOA said the brick kiln owners under the fold of their organisation are following the anti-pollution norms set by the state Pollution department.He said excavation of sediments and de-silting all stagnant as well as flowing water bodies like ponds, lakes, canals, tributaries and rivers should be allowed. “We have written to the state Irrigation and Urban Development department so that brick field owners are allowed to excavate the sediments which can be used for preparing bricks. This will also help the government to conduct the dredging of rivers and other water bodies,” Tewari said. He also said brick fields in the state have always given sincere response to all pollution norms laid by the government from time to time. Maximum units have been converted to high draught kilns with zig-zag system long back when the system was not even heard of in others parts of the country. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe organisation also claimed that the silt-based brick making process will effectively address the issue of top soil based brick making. A lots of regulatory guidelines have been issued to regulate the operations of brick fields.It also demanded that no guideline relating to the location should be imposed on existing units which have been regularly paying royalty, cess, khazna and commercial tax. The demands of the organisation include simplification of the process for issuing environmental clearance and de-siltation of all rivers and canals. In Bengal, there are approximately 7,000 brick units providing employment to 10 lakh, claimed the organisation.last_img read more

How This Etailer Converts Site Visitors Into Customers

first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 4 min read Before co-founding the online T-shirt and prints marketplace TeePublic in 2013, COO Adam Schwartz knew he’d have to solve a problem, one that had bedeviled every site he’d worked on before. “You’re only converting like 2 percent of your traffic into customers,” he says. “There’s a lot of meat left on the bone with the 98 percent of people who are coming and going.” He knew he needed a way to salvage lost customers and maximize conversion.Schwartz decided to give Bounce Exchange a shot at boosting his conversion rates. The New York City-based marketing technology startup uses pop-up graphics to capture users’ attention and convert them into customers. Last year TeePublic embedded a few lines of code from Bounce Exchange onto its site; this allowed the platform to monitor the e-tailer’s traffic and serve up offers and pitches based on user behavior.Adam Schwartz of TeePublic.Image Credit: Robert WrightFor example, if a user on TeePublic moves her mouse toward the top of the page to open another browser tab, Bounce Exchange predicts that she is likely to leave the site, and it displays a prompt asking for her email address. In other cases, it will display an image inviting her to browse other categories of T-shirts she might like, based on the pages she’s already viewed. TeePublic also runs occasional sales on T-shirts, and Bounce Exchange can display a countdown timer on specific product pages, letting customers know they have a limited time before the sale ends.The Bounce Exchange design team creates the custom graphics that run on clients’ websites. Its account managers identify where users are leaving the purchase funnel, and they make ongoing suggestions for customer segmentations and interactive graphics to improve conversion. They run A/B tests to see which graphics work best, then implement the results.Schwartz appreciates the thorough approach. “A lot of software companies want to hand over software, drop it off and sort of say, ‘You figure this out.’ Bounce Exchange is getting in there with you to make it work,” he says. “I can’t think of another piece of software I use where that really happens.”The resultsAfter a year of use, Bounce Exchange is bringing in an extra $40,000 per month in sales that would have otherwise been lost, Schwartz claims. For capturing email addresses from visitors who click on a TeePublic ad, the platform has a 15 to 20 percent opt-in rate, and those new sales leads have a lifetime value of $5 to $10 each.Bounce Exchange CEO Ryan Urban admits that the soup-to-nuts platform isn’t cheap; pricing starts around $4,000 per month for small businesses. Schwartz declined to reveal how much TeePublic pays for the service but says, “It pays for itself and more.” Urban claims that the ROI for small firms ranges from five to 20 times the cost of implementation, depending on prior conversion rate and industry.A second opinionHiten Shah, founder of Kissmetrics, a San Francisco-based analytics and conversion company built to optimize marketing, believes Bounce Exchange fills an important role in e-commerce. “The knowledge around how to do e-commerce, what to do and what things to try is definitely one of the industry’s weak spots,” he says.According to Shah, Bounce Exchange’s reliance on disruptive pop-up ads to drive sales works, plain and simple. “Every single time I’ve measured users’ dissatisfaction with pop-ups in the past, I find a single- digit percentage of people who complain about the pop-ups,” he points out. “But I also find a double-digit percentage who actually sign up.” Register Now » This story appears in the November 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » October 29, 2015last_img read more

Honduras nabs alleged drug lord wanted in US

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Honduran brothers charged in cocaine-trafficking case US general sees anti-drug effort faltering in Latin America as funding declines Dutch seize huge cocaine shipment hidden in cassava roots from Costa Rica Honduran football and banking magnates indicted on money laundering charges in US A suspected Honduran drug lord wanted by the United States has been arrested while shopping in a bakery, an official said Thursday.Carlos Arnaldo Lobo, also known as “Negro Lobo,” or black wolf, was picked up in the city of San Pedro Sula, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of the capital Tegucigalpa, said Carlos Vallecillo, spokesman for the police anti-drug agency.Last May, prosecutors seized bank accounts and property owned by Lobo worth an estimated 2.7 million dollars. The charges against him were drug trafficking and money laundering.Central America is a key transit point for cocaine being shipped from South America to the United States.It has led to an epidemic of violence in the region’s poor countries like Honduras, which now has the world’s highest murder rate as gangs fight over drug trafficking routes.A judge will now decide on whether to extradite Lobo.In 2012, the Honduran Congress approved a constitutional reform allowing the extradition of Honduran suspects for drug trafficking and terrorism. Until then, this was possible only for foreigners.last_img read more

Spain proposes big fines for alleged Antarctic fish poachers

first_imgMADRID (AP) — Authorities in Spain have accused a company there of running a lucrative international operation that illegally captured vast amounts of an Antarctic fish prized in top restaurants.The Spanish government proposes fining the company as much as 11.4 million euros ($12.9 million) for alleged poaching of the Antarctic toothfish, a delicacy marketed in North America as Chilean sea bass.A government statement said the operation was concealed behind a labyrinthine system of foreign front companies, with fishing boats flying the flags of African and Asian countries to mask ownership. Spain did not name the companies, but New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully told The Associated Press in an interview they were all linked to Vidal Armadores SA, which was fined 150,000 euros in 2010 for illegal fishing near Antarctica.The Spanish government declined comment when asked why it did not name Vidal or the front companies it allegedly used.Efforts to reach Vidal for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful. The company has no listed telephone numbers, and a former spokesman said owners have changed their numbers and he could not get new contact information. The company’s longtime lawyer, Carlos Perez Bouzadas, declined to comment.In 2010, Vidal’s legal team argued that boats flying flags of countries that have not signed accords limiting Antarctic fishing in international waters are not doing anything illegal while fishing in those areas.McCully, the New Zealand minister, said his country provided Spain with some of the evidence it needed to take action against Vidal and described the proposed fines as “a giant step forward” in the fight against Antarctic poaching.Vidal, a family-run business operating out of Ribeira, a town of fewer than 28,000 people on Spain’s northwestern Galicia coast, does not face criminal charges. The Vidal-linked companies accused by Spain can either pay the fines or challenge them in court. Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Spanish authorities broadened investigations into companies suspected of illegal fishing after a new law in January gave them the power to prosecute Spanish citizens or Spanish companies found to be catching fish illegally, no matter where in the world they were doing it or under what flag.Authorities are still investigating how the fish got into the legal commercial circuit and ultimately into restaurants. Spanish officials said the vessels were run by several front companies based in Panama, Uruguay, Belize and Switzerland.___Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Fifty Spanish sailors accused by Spain of having worked on the fishing boats and participated in illegal fishing could be disqualified from fishing activities, Spain said in the statement about the proposed fines.The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the international body that oversees Antarctic fishing, each year allows companies from around the globe to legally catch only 26,000 metric tons of toothfish, more than half of which is sent to the United States. Industry experts estimate that some 1,000 metric tons of Antarctic toothfish worth about $20 million are caught illegally each year.“We’re anxious to remove all illegal, unreported and unregulated vessels,” said Andrew Wright, the commission’s executive secretary. “They completely undermine our efforts to make fishing there sustainable.”The Spanish ministry said in its statement it believes the targeted companies contravened international fishing agreements.The boats engaged in illegal Antarctic fishing did not fly the Spanish flag but used those of countries that have not signed international fishing conservation or high sea resource management agreements, such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and Indonesia, authorities said. Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd says it confronted some of the Vidal-linked toothfish boats in the waters near Antarctica over the Southern Hemisphere summer fishing season that lasts from December through March.Sid Chakravarty, captain of the Sea Shepherd boat the Sam Simon, said he tracked down two Vidal-related boats in early February, after the New Zealand navy had spotted them earlier.He said when he approached the vessels he noticed the numbers and names on them had been freshly painted over and that one had used a piece of cardboard to fashion the flag of Equatorial Guinea.“They didn’t even have an actual flag,” he said.Chakravarty said both vessels had fishing gear on the decks ready to be deployed. He said he got no response when he hailed them, with the vessels splitting up and speeding away. He said he decided to follow one, a chase that lasted for about eight days through heavy sea ice.Environmental campaigners cheered the Spanish government’s announcement. Maria Jose Cornax, Fisheries Campaign Manager at Oceana, a U.S.-based sea protection group, said the sanction against Vidal was the first of its kind in the European Union.Environmental and industry groups say they hope the proposed Spanish sanctions, along with the recent impounding of boats suspected of illegal toothfishing by authorities in Africa and Asia, will mark an end to the illegal industry around Antarctica. But McCully said that though the developments were welcome, it was “premature to declare a total victory.”last_img read more

WAs baited breath over luring Chinese

first_imgThe tourism bureau’s strategy holds that Perth is an attractive destination because of its proximity to China, The West Australian reported.  “Over the next 20 years, economic studies show that tourism will replace the resources sector as the leading source of Australia’s future growth,” the report said. The strategy paper also said that it was important to continue direct flights between Perth and Asian destinations. Western Australia’s Tourism Council is betting on WA’s culinary and nature experiences to boost the numbers of people coming to Perth. The strategy plans for the arrival of 100,000 people to Perth annually by 2020, a 200 per cent increase on current visitor levels.  “The focus of these visitors will be on a quality urban setting that also allows access to the natural environment and outdoor experiences that are unique to Perth.” Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

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first_img Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories Every week, Paige Dimakos (@The_SportsPaige) will catch up with an Arizona Cardinals player and give our listeners the opportunity to submit questions to be answered on video.Submitting a question is easy. Head on over to @AZSports on Twitter and tweet as many questions as you can think of. The best ones will make the cut!This week features Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden. You can find him on Instagram at Markus Golden. What will you find out? His favorite Valley restaurant, who he likes to sack, his fondest memory from his college days at Mizzou and the video game he plays during his free time. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelolast_img read more