After finalising the paperwork for the first phase of the privatisation process, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) revealed a second phase on the cards in a briefing with a plan to privatise 20-25 airports. AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra asserted confidence that the second phase of privatisation will witness increased participation from foreign airports. While it is important to draw up future plans and attract foreign players to develop a consortium of airports across India, sorting out the first phase of privatisation takes precedence. In fact, it is the very success of the first phase which shall determine interest in the process on bidders’ part, as the AAI Chairman cited with the example of Munich and Dublin airports who had shown tremendous interest but “probably required more confidence” and were waiting to see the outcome of the first round of privatisation. But bidders’ interest does not only lie in how well players, or in this context a single-player, manage the Organisation and Management (O&M) of airport besides development. It gives equal weight to the bidding process and the criteria held by AAI in deciding whom to award the contract. Criteria, above all, take precedence since AAI has to keep essential prerequisites such as per passenger fee and total project cost as well as prior experience in O&M of airports. In this regard, the first phase of privatisation assumes even more importance and is supposed to set a benchmark for future biddings and development. The pertinent question is, did it? The first phase of privatisation began back in November 2018 when following the Union Cabinet’s in-principle nod to privatise six airports owned by AAI, the government panel for public-private partnerships–PPP Appraisal Committee (PPPAC)–met to recommend the proposal for final approval on Dec 11. Responsible for deciding the criteria and norms upon which the bidding process will be conducted, PPPAC brushed aside key recommendations to improve the criteria for selecting bidders given by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and NITI Aayogy in favour for decisions taken by Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS)–constituted by the Union Cabinet to take decisions on any issue falling beyond the scope of PPPAC. These key recommendations included prerequisites of O&M as well as development experience along with total estimated project cost which would aid in determining the capacity of interested players. With the tender floated by AAI on December 14 for six airports viz., Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru, AAI, in February 2019, declared Adani Enterprises Limited as the highest bidder for all six airports. And, on July 3, 2019, the Union Cabinet gave its nod for leasing three of these airports for on a long-term lease of 50 years. With Adani bagging all six airports, DEA’s recommendation of incorporating a clause that “no more than two airports to be awarded to the same bidder duly factoring the high financial risk and performance issues” took an unceremonious exit. In fact, DEA backed its recommendation by citing how at the time of privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports, GMR was the only qualified bidder, yet both airports were not awarded to it. Countering DEA’s recommended clause was a unanimous decision from EGoS citing that “no restriction needs to be placed on the number of airports to be bid for or to be awarded to a single entity”. Not just this but NITI Aayog’s suggestion to press on the need to have players with prior O&M experience was also trumped by PPPAC quoting EGoS’ decision that “prior airport experience may neither be made a prerequisite for bidding nor a post-bid requirement”, since it will enlarge the competition for brownfield airports which are already functional. Now while it is fine by PPPAC to exercise autonomy in deciding norms, it should be duly noted that EGoS was constituted to take decisions on any issue which falls beyond PPPAC’s scope but as per PPP guidelines, O&M standards fall right under PPPAC’s purview; there was no need to consult EGoS over this. The criteria-deciding process did not yield effective norms to restrict Adani’s bid for all six airports up for privatisation in the first phase and eventually, it bagged all of them–though three of those await a decision by the government. Also Read – A compounding difficultyAbsence of a cap and prior O&M experience recommended by DEA allowed Adani–who does not have O&M experience–to bag all six airports, which does not exude much confidence for bidders looking forward to the second phase. Lack of norms which were present during the privatisation of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports who each had to find a foreign player with O&M experience to comply with RfP norms suggest a casual attitude from PPPAC and draws criticism for allegedly favouring one player over others. It is to be noted that in its pursuit to draw foreign airports to bid in the second phase of the privatisation, AAI must ensure strict norms with an unbiased environment because without a level-playing field, potential bidders might exercise restraint which will adversely affect the prospects of developing these airports. This might leave the government with no other option but to award a dozen airports to Adani in the next phase, which is not exactly impossible given the exploits in the first phase but definitely contentious in public view.
Lucknow: Asian Games gold medallist triple jumper Arpinder Singh won the gold but failed to touch the World Championships qualifying mark on the second day of 59th National Inter-State Athletics Championships here on Wednesday. Arpinder managed the season’s best jump of 16.83m, 12cm short of World Championship qualifying standard of 16.95m under hot and humid conditions at the PAC Stadium here. Karnataka’s U Karthik and Tamil Nadu’s Mohammed Salahuddin took the silver and bronze respectively with jumps of 16.0m and 16.79m. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe 26-year-old Arpinder, who has a personal best of 17.17m (of 2014), will have another shot at World Championships qualification in the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi on September 5. None of the Indians could come close to the qualifying marks of the World Championships to be held in Doha from September 28 to October 6. Balakumar Nithin and Alex Antony won the men’s 200m and 400m gold respectively in the absence of top runners. Having won the sprint double in the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune earlier this year, Nithin’s winning time of 20.91 seconds here was the third-best on the list among Indians over the 200m this year. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterOnly Arokia Rajiv and Muhammed Anas Yahiya both 400m specialists — have run faster in 200m than the bespectacled sprinter from Tamil Nadu. The 200m qualifying time for the World Championships is 20.40. Kerala runner Alex, who first gave glimpses of his potential with a 46.66 second run in the Indian Grand Prix V in Patiala earlier this month, improved his personal best with a 46.17 second effort. It’s creditable that he won a race that included runners of the caliber of Ayyasamy Dharun (400m hurdles national record holder) and Tamilarasan Santhosh. Dharun and Santhosh finished fifth and seventh while Haryana’s Harsh Baljeet Singh and Karnataka’s Sachin Roby took the silver and bronze respectively by finishing inside 47 seconds. Kunhu Mohammed, who has been part of the Indian 4x400m relay team, was unable to go past the semifinal run in the morning, clocking 47.69 to finish third in his heats. Iranian Mahdi Pirjahan won the men’s 400m hurdles in new meet record time of 49.33 seconds. The Athletics Federation of India had invited some foreign athletes for the meet. P U Chithra won the women’s 800m in her personal best time of 2:02.96 while Mohammed Afsal pocketed the gold in men’s 800m in the absence of Manjit Singh and Jinson Johnson with the year’s best by an Indian, clocking 1:48.35. The Results (all finals): Men: 200m: 1. Balakumar Nithin (Tamil Nadu) 20.91 seconds; 2. Akshay Nain (Delhi) 21.39; 3. Abhinav Panwar (Delhi) 21.47. 400m: 1. Alex A Antony (Kerala) 46.17 seconds; 2. Harsh Baljeet Singh (Haryana) 46.64; 3. Sachin Roby (Karnataka) 46.96. 800m: 1. Mohammed Afsal (Kerala) 1:48.35; 2. Mujamil Ameer (Tamil Nadu) 1:49.03; 3. Ankit (Haryana) 1:49.95. 400m Hurdles: 1. Mahdi Pirjahan (Iran) 49.33 seconds; 2. Jagdeesh Chandra (Karnataka) 50.85; 3. Jithin Paul (Kerala) 50,92. Triple Jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (Punjab) 16.83m; 2. Karthik U (Karnataka) 16.80; 3. Salahuddin Mohammed (Tamil Nadu) 16.79. Shot put: 1. Inderjeet Singh (Haryana) 19.73m; 2. Jasdeep Dhillon (Punjab) 17.77; 3. Shakti Rathore (Rajasthan) 17.20.
It is not unusual to spot a supermodel on the Champs-Élysées, but this is not Paris. It is a busy market street with the same name in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. And supermodel and activist Naomi Campbell is here for a different reason than fashion.Naomi Campbell participates in a finger painting class with 4-year-old Yara at Save the Children’s Sunshine KindergartenCredit/Copyright: Save the Children/Jordi MatasShe is here to understand and witness first-hand the work Save the Children is doing with child refugees, who make up nearly 50 percent of the 80,000 refugees in the camp.Campbell’s visit comes ahead of the six-year mark of the Syrian conflict on Mar. 15, which has now raged on longer than World War II. Her trip is part of a new partnership between Save the Children and Campbell’s charitable foundation, Fashion for Relief, which has been involved in raising money to help with several humanitarian situations over the last decade. The foundation was founded in 2005 to aid Hurricane Katrina victims and has since hosted events across the world to raise vital funds for Haiti in 2010, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief in 2011 and the Ebola crisis in 2016. This year’s event will be held in Cannes in May and all proceeds will go towards Save the Children and its Syria Crisis Appeal.“It was a humbling experience,” said Campbell of visiting Za’atari. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I traveled out there, but I came away full of hope for their future and with a renewed admiration for the positive spirit of humanity. That’s not to say we didn’t meet people who had been through terrible ordeals, it was just so impressive how well they were handling the situation. Save the Children’s team was fantastic, and all the work they are doing on the ground is really incredible. Everybody commits so much time and energy to making these people’s lives better.”During Campbell’s trip, she visited a Save the Children-supported kindergarten where she saw children taking part in singing and dancing sessions. Playing music helps familiarize the children with loud noises – like the bombings and airstrikes they have experienced – in the hopes that they become less afraid and better able to cope with these deafening sounds.One of the refugee children Campbell met with is Yara, 4, who wears a Mickey Mouse knit hat and happily finger paints with the supermodel. She stopped talking for two years because of the trauma she suffered living through the Syrian war. Now enrolled in Save the Children’s Sunshine Kindergarten and Early Learning Center, Yara is growing in confidence and has begun speaking again.Campbell saw adolescents training in vocational skills as well, from barbering and hairdressing to tailoring and jewelry-making. This prepares the teenagers for working life once they turn 18 years of age. Campbell also spent time with 13-year-old Nida who lost her uncle to the war and had to flee Damascus when her local school was bombed. She talked of regularly witnessing dead bodies on the way to school.Despite the challenging circumstances, Campbell was inspired by the resilience and strength of the children and families she met. Their positivity, aspirations and hopes for the future seem undented in the face of everything they have been through.The six-year mark of the Syrian conflict coincides with the publication of Invisible Wounds, a major research project by Save the Children, which found widespread evidence of ‘toxic stress’ and mental health issues among children still living inside Syria. For the Invisible Wounds report, Save the Children and its Syrian partners interviewed more than 450 children, adolescents and adults inside Syria in the largest study of its kind conducted during the course of the conflict. It found that children are living in an almost constant state of fear, terrified by shelling, airstrikes and ongoing violence, with devastating psychological consequences.For more information on Save the Children’s work on the Syrian crisis, go here. To donate to Save the Children’s Syrian Relief Fund, please visit Savethechildren.org/Syria or text SYRIA to 20222 donate $25.
AUSTIN, Texas — More than 40 state attorneys general have announced a $1.5 million settlement with The Neiman Marcus Group LLC over a data breach the Dallas-based retailer disclosed in January 2014.The breach exposed customer credit card data at 77 Neiman Marcus stores nationwide. Over a three-month period in 2013, about 370,000 Neiman Marcus credit cards were accessed by unknown third parties unlawfully, and at least 9,200 were used fraudulently.Under terms of the settlement announced Tuesday, Neiman Marcus agrees to maintain reasonable procedures to protect customers’ personal data and obtain an information security assessment and report from a third-party professional.The settlement involves 43 states and the District of Columbia.The Associated Press
“I am confident that the interest and aspiration of the population to see a peaceful resolution of the crisis will continue to guide all stakeholders,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Y. J. Choi said in a message. “I am equally confident that the Ivorian people will not tolerate any act of violence disrupting the electoral process.”Tomorrow’s campaign opening is the final step before the presidential elections, originally slated for 2005 but after repeated delays now scheduled for 31 October, followed by a second round on 28 November if there is no clear winner. The UN peacekeeping force in Côte d’Ivoire, known as UNOCI, has already flown in hundreds of additional soldiers to reinforce its 8,650 troops already there. The mission was set up in 2004 to monitor a ceasefire and to help bring stability, including holding elections, to end the split of the world’s largest coca producer into a Government-controlled south and a rebel-held north. UNOCI has also been distributing voter and identity cards in both the north and south and providing other logistical and technical assistance. Mr. Choi today reiterated UN readiness to continue providing “support to the Ivorian people and their leaders with a view to achieving lasting peace in their country.” 14 October 2010On the eve of the start of the electoral campaign in Côte d’Ivoire, the top United Nations official there today called on all sides to avoid any violent disruption of the long-delayed process to end the division of the West African country caused by civil war in 2002.
16 February 2011The top United Nations human rights official in Nepal today called on the Government to arrest the four army officers suspected to have carried out the torture and killing of a 15-year-old girl, stressing the need to end impunity for a crime that was committed seven years ago. Maina Sunuwar was killed in the Birendra Peace Operations in central Nepal on 17 February 2004. In September 2007, Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered that the case be investigated, and the following year, criminal charges were filed and arrest warrants issued for four accused Nepal Army personnel. The warrants have yet to be executed.Jyoti Sanghera, the Head of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal), urged the Government to enforce the court order against the four accused army personnel. “For the past five years, OHCHR has been one voice among many calling for justice in the case of Maina Sunuwar,” she stated in a news release issued in Kathmandu.The Supreme Court and the Kavre District Court have issued rulings and the Office of the Attorney General has filed charges “but justice is yet to be realised,” she noted.“Upholding the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law by fully complying with court orders is an essential principle of a democracy. Continuing to ignore court orders perpetuates impunity in Nepal and sets a negative precedent regarding all human rights cases.”
From physician pay to nurses’ duties and the role of hospitals, Alberta’s entire health system needs a complete overhaul, according to the MacKinnon panel.In a frank conclusion, the panel wrote Alberta has “no choice but to bring spending on health in line with (other) provinces in order to balance the budget.”“There are no quick fixes to curb increasing costs in health care. The system needs a major transformation,” it wrote.The panel, headed by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, was tasked with examining the state of Alberta’s finances and proposing solutions to what Finance Minister Travis Toews deems a “spending problem.”Health care comprised four of the panel’s 26 recommendations, perhaps not a surprise considering the sector eats up 42 per cent of Alberta’s operating budget.The solution, according to the panel? Restrain health care spending while finding other ways to deliver services.More MacKinnon ReportPanel recommends sweeping reformsAll 26 of the panel’s recommendations‘Public service currently lacks a reform culture’Public service must ‘participate in the government’s restraint plan’Panel recommends cities, towns shoulder more building costsLink K-12, university funding to performance, not enrolment, panel suggestsPrivate clinics recommendedThe panel urged Alberta to look beyond its borders, engaging doctors, nurses and other health practitioners to establish a system with shorter wait times for surgeries and treatment.It also said the health system funding should better reflect the situation in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, which spend between $800 and $1,000 less per-capita.NDP acting leader Sarah Hoffman slammed the comparisons with other jurisdictions.“I was the health minister when I looked at those other jurisdictions … B.C. spends less on drugs, that’s true. They do that because they don’t have a seniors drug plan,” Hoffman told reporters in Edmonton.“Saskatchewan spends less because they privatized a number of things and have two lineups — one for those who pay out of pocket and one for everybody else.”University of Calgary economist Ron Kneebone said the comparisons are fair game.“When it comes to health care and education, Alberta’s pretty comparable to other provinces about the need but we spend a whole lot more, and I think that’s fair game to make those comparisons,” he said in an interview.To help rein in costs, the panel recommended private or non-profits deliver day procedures and other services, rather than relying on hospitals. That alternative delivery model should extend beyond health, the report noted, though the panel didn’t expand on what other services should go to the private sector.Mike Parker, president of Health Sciences Association of Alberta, the union of health-care professionals, said he’s concerned by a shift towards privatization.“We’ve been watching this across the country … where they are defunding our public sector work and offering up privatization that appears to have, on the surface, some kind of a cheaper model,” he said in an interview.“But let me tell you something — syringes still cost the same whether you’re public or private. It’s the attack on the workers you’re seeing here directly.”Despite a good chunk of ink devoted to the ballooning costs of hospitals, the panel didn’t go so far as to recommend closures, as happened to 52 rural facilities in Saskatchewan in the 1990s when MacKinnnon was finance minister of that province.She said Alberta’s health-care system is spending more money for poorer results compared to other jurisdictions.“You have to make those changes — fewer hospitals, more clinics, fewer doctors, more nurse practitioners, using private clinics,” she said at a Tuesday news conference in Calgary.The recommendations were not just about making change — the panel wants an independent organization to review the results and report back.The report’s focus on health echoed Premier Jason Kenney’s message during the election, in which he repeatedly pointed to the system as a sector ripe for change, and more private options as the road his government will take in Alberta.“We were clear during our election campaign that we were not going to reduce spending in education or health care, but in fact look for efficiencies, look for alternative ways of delivering service,” said Toews during the news conference.‘Consider legislative options’ for doctor payAlong with a shake-up of how health care is provided, the panel wants to see changes around doctor compensation. As the second-highest expense in health care, the report suggested incentives for physicians to switch to an alternative payment plan.The physician compensation agreement between the province and Alberta Medical Association should be re-negotiated, the panel recommended. If that fails, it urged the government to “consider its legislative options” around doctor payment.It also urged the government to widen the scope of practice for health-care practitioners, including licensed practical nurses (LPNs).“Significant savings can be achieved without affecting the quality of health care if Alberta follows the example of Ontario and allows LPNs and nurse practitioners to perform duties consistent with their scope of practice,” it wrote.With files from Clare Clancy and Sammy Hudesegraney@postmedia.comtwitter.com/EmmaLGraney
VICTORIA – British Columbia’s government is staking its re-election on a nearly $1 billion cut in medical service premiums, a small business tax reduction and carefully targeted spending increases on education, health and child welfare in a 2017-18 budget that projects a fifth consecutive surplus.Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Tuesday the government will move to eliminate unpopular medical service plan premiums, starting with a 50-per-cent cut next year that will see a family earning up to $120,000 annually saving up to $900 in 2018.Last week, the government announced it was in the financial position to pay back British Columbians after years of penny pinching, and de Jong says it identified the medical premiums as having the greatest impact for families.“The instrument, mechanism we have chosen is MSP premiums,” said de Jong. “We are instituting a dramatic cut in premiums as part of a strategy to ultimately eliminate them.”John Horgan, leader of B.C.’s Opposition New Democrats, said the Liberals mocked the NDP for proposed changes to the plan to ease the burden of constant premium rate hikes.“They laughed at us and they’ve doubled it and they are going to reduce it by half next January,” he said. “That’s a government that over promised and will always under deliver.”Prior to the budget, the right-leaning Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation and left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives called on the government to axe the MSP completely, calling it unfair.“A significant number of British Columbians remain very troubled by the fact we have this charge, this MSP premium, that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the country,” de Jong said.The premium brings about $2.5 billion in annual revenues. The cut, effective Jan. 1, 2018, reduces that amount by about $1 billion, de Jong said.“We’re tickled pink,” said Jordan Bateman of the B.C. taxpayers’ federation. “This is the only tax in B.C. that kept going up year after year, 40 per cent over six years.”Economist Iglika Ivanova of the centre for policy alternatives said she’s concerned the government gave up almost $1 billion in revenues by cutting the premium. The government could have explored tax increases for corporations and high-income earners to recover the revenue, she said.De Jong did not side step the importance the budget will play in the May 9 election. The Liberals have been in power since 2001.“In a few short months, British Columbians will convene an electoral shareholders’ meeting to consider not just the merits of this budget, but the progress we have made as a province,” he said in his speech to the legislature.Horgan said the budget is the government’s attempt to make voters forget about 16 years of fee and rate hikes and education and social welfare budget cuts.The 2017-18 budget also cuts the small business income tax rate to two per cent from 2.5 per cent and eliminates the provincial sales tax on electricity for business by 2019-20.The $50.2-billion budget forecasts a surplus of $295 million, down from the $1.5-billion surplus forecast for the current fiscal year ending March 31.The budget includes spending increases in areas where the government has weathered political controversy: education, housing and child welfare.De Jong said the Children and Family Development Ministry will receive a budget boost of $287 million over three years to support children, youth and their families. He said $120 million will go toward child welfare issues for indigenous children.Grand Chief Ed John recently called for more supports for indigenous families in a report to the government. The suicide of a Metis teen who spent his last days alone in a hotel while in government care also prompted calls for child welfare reforms.“This is a start,” said Bernard Richard, B.C.’s representative for children and youth. “There are very many vulnerable children out there who require help immediately.”The $287 million is part of $796 million in programs for families and children in need, de Jong said.He said the budget also moves to address last year’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling that requires the government to address shortages in teachers and classroom assistants.The budget includes $320 million over three years to work towards a final agreement with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation on class size and the number of children with special needs in classrooms. The teachers’ union has said it could cost up to $300 million annually to address the court decision.The total increase in the education budget is $740 million.De Jong said the budget raises the threshold from $475,000 to $500,000 on a program to help first-time homebuyers with the property transfer tax. The increased threshold saves first-time buyers up to $8,000.He said the Ministry of Health will get a budget increase of $4.2 billion over three years, which includes $100 million to fund youth mental health and substance abuse issues.De Jong said B.C. is leading Canada in job creation and is expected to challenge Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba for the top performing provincial economy. The government is forecasting economic growth to hit 2.1 per cent in 2017.While many Canadian governments fight deficits, B.C. is posting surpluses.“Our balance sheet is the envy of the nation,” de Jong said. “Our economic performance is the envy of the nation.” Broad tax breaks, targeted spending increases in B.C. pre-election budget by Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 21, 2017 2:59 pm MDT Last Updated Feb 22, 2017 at 7:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Premier Christy Clark looks on as B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong waits to deliver a balanced budget for a fifth year in a row at Legislative Assembly in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Skeldon Hospital (NCN image)The X-ray and ultrasound machines at the Skeldon Hospital have been grounded while several air conditioning units are not operable at that medical facility for the past two months.This is according to Director of Regional Health Services Jevaughn Stephen in response to questions posted by Councillors at the Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting held recently.Stephen said an electrical problem has affected the smooth functioning of the Skeldon Hospital.According to him, the Skeldon Hospital in the past received power from the Skeldon Skeldon Sugar Estate to power its heavy-duty equipment but since the closure of the estate this is no longer possible.“We had to take off some of the services because the building use to get power from GuySuCo (Guyana Sugar Corporation) and we are no longer getting power from GuySuCo. We did an assessment and decided to put it on GPL [Guyana Power and Light] grid. That is what is taking the time,” the director said.“If we connect the equipment to the grid presently we will be running a serious risk. Every day we keep calling GPL.”The hospital has since been transferring its emergency patients to the New Amsterdam hospital situated 50 miles away.Regional Chairman David Armogan in response said more urgency needs to be paid to the situation. He said in the interim a generator could be rented to power the heavy-duty equipment. The chairman said he has been receiving many reports from persons who went to the Hospital and could not be treated because the X-Ray machine was not working. Many others had to be sent to other facilities because doctors could not get an ultrasound.Armogan noted that the situation must be addressed with a great degree of urgency. He has promised the Regional Administration’s intervention to see whether it will get GPL to give the application from the Hospital to be hooked up to its grid, priority. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedThousands turn out, chant ‘no sellout, no closure’ at Skeldon’s sugar protestJune 6, 2017In “latest news”Skeldon Hospital without telephone serviceJanuary 4, 2019In “Health”Sugar workers protest “closure” of EstatesFebruary 10, 2017In “latest news”
THE WEATHER STATION at Dublin Airport reported its coldest spring since 1951, while Casement Aerodrome had its coldest spring in 47 years, Met Éireann’s seasonal reports revealed today.A majority of Ireland’s remaining stations reported their coldest spring in between 15 and 34 years, making it one of the chilliest on record.All three months of the season reported below average temperatures, with March reporting the coldest conditions.As we all remained in our winter coats and boots, the highest maximum temperature of 15.0°C at Valentia Observatory on 29 May, was its lowest spring maximum since 1940. Most other stations reported their lowest maxima in at least eight to 34 years.Not only was it cold, but it was dull and windy too.Sunshine totals were below average everywhere except Shannon Airport. Most areas of the country experienced their greyest spring in seven to 14 years. Cork was blessed with the sunniest day on 23 May though, enjoying 14.6 hours of sunshine.Winds were higher than normal during the three months, with above average windspeeds recorded in most parts during March and April, and in parts of the south during May. Windspeeds were the highest in five to 27 years across the country, with the season’s highest gust of 65 knots (120 km/h) at Mace head on 15 April.The only silver lining was in the rainfall totals, which were below average for the season in parts of the midlands, west and southeast. There were still some pretty wet days though – between 26 to 53 wet days to be exact.Cork Airport’s station actually reported its wettest spring since 2005 and its wettest Spring day since 2003 on 21 March. More than 41mm of rain fell that day.May: still coldMet Éireann’s report on weather patterns in May also highlighted the cold we’ve been experiencing. Almost all stations across the country reported that it was the coldest May since 1996 (17 years).Monthly mean maximum temperatures were well below average especially in the west and northwest, with most parts reporting their lowest values in 17 to 34 years.There will be ‘unbroken sunshine’ in many areas of Ireland today
Tune In As Brad Pitt Speaks With NASA Astronaut on ISSNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend I wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow has any beauty tips for wiping egg off her face.The actress, singer, and food writer made headlines last week when her lifestyle company Goop promoted wearables that claim to use “NASA space suit material” to “rebalance the energy frequency in our bodies.”Body Vibes stickers—available online in packs of 10 ($60), 12 ($64), or 24 ($120)—are worn on the skin, near your heart, to promote relaxation, relieve pain, alleviate stress, stimulate productivity, increase strength, improve sleep quality, and neutralize a hangover.“Body Vibes stickers (made with the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronaut’s vitals during wear) come pre-programmed to an ideal frequency, allowing them to target imbalances,” the Goop website said, as reported by Gizmodo.Except, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency does not use conductive carbon material for spacesuits.“Wow. What a load of BS this is,” Mark Shelhamer, former chief scientist at NASA‘s human research division, told Gizmodo.Cosmonauts’ suits, an agency representative explained, are made from synthetic polymers, spandex, and other components—none of which are carbon. Besides, even if they were lined with the element, it would be used to strengthen the suit, not monitor a wearer’s vital signs.Body Vibes stickers promote a healthy lifestyle (via Goop)“Not only is the whole premise like snake oil, the logic doesn’t even hold up,” Shelhamer said. “If they promote healing, why do they leave marks on the skin when they are removed?”Goop and Body Vibes have since scrubbed all references to NASA from their sites.“We apologize to NASA, Goop, our customers and our fans for this communication error. We never intended to mislead anyone,” a Body Vibes spokeswoman told Geek in an email. “We have learned that our engineer was misinformed by a distributor about the material in question.“We regret not doing our due diligence before including a distributor’s information in the story of our product,” she continued. “However, the origins of the material do not [in] anyway impact the efficacy of our product. Body Vibes remains committed to offering a holistic lifestyle tool, and we stand by the quality and effectiveness of our product.”Neither Goop nor NASA immediately responded to a request for comment.Paltrow’s weekly lifestyle newsletter launched in 2008, encouraging readers to “nourish the inner aspect”—whatever that means. The email service later expanded into a full-blown website, which pedals advice like inserting golf-ball-sized jade eggs into women’s vaginas.So, you know, take these Body Vibes stickers with a cleansing grain of salt.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target
The Internazionale Milan coach is not happy after fan racially abused Kalidou Koulibaly on Wednesday’s matchOn Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Napoli, Internazionale Milan fans racially abused Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly.And for Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, enough is enough.“I condemn [what happened] with no ifs and buts,” Spalletti was quoted by RTÉ Sport.Lukaku backed to beat Ronaldo in Serie A scoring charts Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Former Inter Milan star Andy van der Meyde is confident Romelu Lukaku will outscore Cristiano Ronaldo in this season’s Serie A.“It’s the moment to say ‘enough’ to hatred in football, ‘enough’ to racism and any form of discrimination in the stadium.”“‘Enough’ to those who celebrate the Heysel or Superga disasters,” he added.“‘Enough’ to jeering a coach or a player for 90 minutes … ‘enough’ to hatred in football in general. That is the main thing.”“It’s very disappointing not to play in front of our own crowd but, if it’s the price we have to pay to win this battle, we’ll do it willingly,” he said about an Italian Lega Serie A punishment.
Majority of Indian stock indices fell during closing hours on Friday due to disappointment over the lack of details in the federal budget.The Sensex recorded its biggest weekly loss in over two-and-half-years, falling by 1.37 percent or 348.40 points, settling down at 25024.35 points. NSE Nifty fell by 1.4 percent or 108.15 points, settling at 7459.60 points, which recorded its biggest weekly loss since March 2013.”The NSE index still looks over stretched, with some technical patterns such as ‘double top’ advocating a potential move to the 7250-7300 range from its 7459.60 close on Friday,” a trader told Reuters.The loss among Indian stock indices was attributed to the fall among US stocks because of bad performances of Europe’s Portugal Stock Exchange market. The benchmark PSI 20 recorded its biggest seven-day drop since August 2011.Among Indian stock indices, only BSE IT, FMCG and Healthcare stocks surged by the end of closing hours on Friday. IT stocks gained 131.01 points at 9379.25 points, FMCG stocks recorded 6915.65 points with a profit of 34.95 points and Healthcare stocks surged by 126.90 points at 11729.06 points. The remaining were recorded in Red.”Near-term valuations were looking stretched. Now, perspective would be drawn from what will happen from the budget speech and in global markets,” Reuters quoted Aneesh Srivastava, chief investment officer at IDBI Federal Life Insurance.”Also, revenue growth estimates of the government in the budget look tad optimistic given the economy is yet to recover,” he added.However, the surge in BSE IT sector was dominated by Infosys as it announced its profits in its second quarter till 30 June.Among the losers, BSE Capital Goods topped the list with a loss of 754.97 points, which was followed by BSE Banking that plunged 455.55 points and BSE Oil & Gas that fell 302.85 points respectively.Additionally, among the 30 listed companies in Sensex, only 9 closed higher and among 50 listed companies in Nifty only 12 closed with profits.
Avengers: Endgame posterTwitterAvengers Endgame movie was released in April but without a post-credit scene. But from now onwards, the sequel to Infinity War will also have a post-credit scene just like its predecessors.Marvel Cinematic Universe has a trend of putting a mid-credit and a post-credit scene in their superhero movies. Everything, however, changed when in the recently released Avengers: Endgame movie, we got to see nothing of that sort. We did hear a sound effect, that suggested a tribute to Iron Man but now after a couple of weeks of its release, Marvel has finally added a post-credit scene to the #1 movie of this generation.Marvel has finally decided to add a post-credit scene to the already released Avengers Endgame. But there are chances that you might have already seen it. As per reports, the recently added post-credit scene of Avengers Endgame movie is the second trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home.In the recently released trailer of Spider-Man: Far From Home, we learned how Peter Parker is in grief after the demise of Tony Stark / Iron Man. He has a pressure on his head that he has to replace the Iron Man and become the superhero Tony always wanted him to be but at the same time, there are reports that Tony Stark will be back in Spider-Man: Far From Home movie.Although adding a full-length trailer to a Marvel movie as a post-credit scene is something which has not seen in the past but this makes complete sense. Fans will be wanting to know more about Peter Parker’s life before they will go and watch the movie in the theatres. Moreover, fans of Avengers and Tony Stark deserved something emotional after the funeral sequence in the recently released MCU movie.MCU’s post-credit scenes always showed to the fans what is going to come next but when we did not get to see a scene after Endgame, fans were worried as to what to expect from these superheroes. But after almost a month, we finally know where to go from here on.Avengers Endgame movie was released on April 26, and so far it has grossed over $2 billion at the box-office collection. Whereas, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: Far From Home is scheduled to release on July 2.
The Lord Baltimore Masquerade Ball is on October 28th. Door open at 7 p.m and the band starts at 8 p.m. Guests are encouraged to come in carnival masks and gothic/romance-era garb. A seasonally flavored prix fixe dinner will be served and a 10-piece band will play classic dancing tunes throughout the evening. At 10:00 pm, the Masquerade After Dark Party will begin in the ballroom for late-night dancing and, at 11:30 pm, the party will move up to the hotel’s LB Skybar for a gourmet breakfast buffet featuring cocktails and crowd favorites like chicken & waffles and bacon-wrapped tater tots. To make a reservation, guests can contact Sophia at smartyn@lordbaltimorehotel or #410-659-5257, or book a table through Eventbrite. For general information on the Lord Baltimore Hotel, please visit www.lordbaltimorehotel.com.
Two weeks from today on February 20 Sony is holding a PlayStation meeting. Over the years these meetings have always been used to show off new hardware including the PS2, PS3, and PS Vita %displayPrice% at %seller% . So come February 20 we expect Sony to roll out the PlayStation 4, at least, some form of it.The chances of seeing actual hardware at the meeting have increased on news that there may be a couple of next gen games also on show. The first is a brand new game from Guerilla Games. We don’t know what that game is, but would anyone bet against it being a new FPS? Showing off Killzone 4 running on the PS4 certainly wouldn’t do Sony any harm.The other game comes from Evolution Studios, best known for creating the MotorStorm series of racing games, and before that several WRC games. Apparently, the studio has hired a number of developers from Bizarre Creations (Project Gotham Racing, Blur), which publisher Activision shut down in early 2011, and Studio Liverpool (F1, Wipeout). With the new talent on board, Evolution has set about creating a brand new racing game for Sony, which it hopes will develop into a series just like Gran Turismo or Forza.If true, having both a racing game and FPS to demonstrate running on the PlayStation 4 hardware bodes very well for Sony and gamers alike. If Sony can launch the PS4 later this year with a couple of AAA titles like this, it will certainly help with sales of the new console, especially if Microsoft launches the next Xbox at a similar time and has a new Halo game ready for it.
Travelling has changed a lot over the decade and definitely the world has become a smaller place. The Indian corporate traveller has seen a major growth over the years and with its upsurge, the demand for better facilities and a better travel experience is on the rise. Along with comfort and exquisite service, travellers also look out for a convenient environment, where they can relax and unwind, enjoy a good WiFi service to stay connected always and of course good food to satisfy the palate. Plaza Premium lounge, the world’s largest independent airport lounge network, is the perfect solution to all the hassles at the airports for providing a space with top-notch services and facilities for travellers at major international airports. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfComfortable seating, enticing food and beverage selection, showers with amenities, private resting suites, VIP rooms, recharging stations, Wi-Fi, computer workstations are but a few of the services offered to enhance the airport experience. In addition, Plaza Premium Lounge also has Spa facilities that offer massage treatments tailored specifically to tackle travel ailments and fatigue, as well as speedy nail and salon services for a groom on the go. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe lounge, has also come up with an exciting winter special menu containing a wide array of dishes serving healthy food loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and immune-boosting powers, for people travelling in the chilling weather.The new menu offers seasonally inspired dishes, thoughtfully prepared by Executive Chef Ankit Mangla and his team of culinary experts using only fresh seasonal vegetables like carrots, radish, yams, garlic, spinach, mustard leaves, goose berries, oranges and guava. A lot of protein rich foods such as paneer, ghee, butter, cheese and khoya are also used. The menu also has some healthy items made of whole grains like millet and corn and whole spices with anti-microbial properties.Some exciting dishes include Pasta with assorted winter vegetables, Mushroom and spinach lasagna, Falafel with assorted winter vegetables, Methi murgh masala, Gajar mutter gobhi masala, Corn spinach and mushroom fondue, Vegetable cannelloni, Thai veg green curry, Ratatouille, assorted vegetables in Sichuan sauce, Murgh saagwala to name a few. Guests may also enjoy variety of salads and dessert options such as Gajar ka halwa, Gulkand phirni, Carrot olive mint salad, Banana and honey french toast etc. These new menu items are sure to impress and please any palate with a fusion of flavors. Moreover, Plaza Premium Lounge has tie ups with Visa, Master Card and Amex. Different customers are liable to different discounts and offers. When the person swipes in his/her card, the system model is already fed in the computers which allows the person at the counter to see and validate the customer of the different deals, offers and discounts that the card avails him/her.
In this Monsoon season Ustad Nishat Khan of the Seniya Gharana, with the tunes of Malhar, soaked the mind of the audience and forced them to stuck. Ustad Nishat Khan was presenting himself in the program ‘The Music of the monsoon – the magic of Malhar’ centered on Monsoon season in the fifth ‘Purnima Concert’ organized by Indira Gandhi National Center for Art (IGNCA). Youth Tabla player Ustad Amjad Khan was giving him accompaniment on tabla.IGNCA has been organizing music concert every month on the occasion of ‘Purnima’ (full moon), which was started by the singing program of Bombay Jayshree on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. Manjusha atil, Pandit Ronu Majumdar, Jayanti Kumaresh, Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, Artists like Pandit Sugata Nag, Samarjit Kumarasen have also given their musical presentations. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfUstad Nishat Khan during his presentation said, “I look forward to this season so that I can play Malhar during this season. I am thankful to IGNCA as they called me for sitar playing in this program centered on monsoon and malhar.” In his presentation, Ustad Nishat Khan spelled the audience for about an hour. At the end, he concluded the event by raag bhatiyali.In the beginning of the program, well-known art critic Shailza Khanna enlightened the audience about ‘The Music of the monsoon – the magic of Malhar’. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”Today this festival is centered on the Malhar raga played in the rainy season. The period of rainy season stays only for 40-45 days. In this way, it is also the best time to play the songs like Malhar.”On behalf of the Center Member secretary Dr Sachchidanand Joshi honored Ustad Nishat Khan and Ustad Amjad Khan.In addition to the young artists as well as the list of senior artists and artists of the country, the list also had prominent names like Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Ind u Sharma, Adnan Khan, Dr. Shyam Rastogi.
Disable WebUSB and WebBluetooth in Google Chrome by Martin Brinkmann on January 25, 2019 in Google Chrome – 9 commentsWeb browsers support an increasing number of APIs and features, and there does not seem to be an end in sight to that.Recent additions to Google Chrome, the WebUSB and WebBluetooth APIs, allow sites to interact with devices connected to the device the browser is run on.While there are certainly cases where this may be useful, it is sometimes the case that the introduction of new features has unforeseen consequences.In the case of WebUSB and WebBluetooth, it is opening the doors for sophisticated phishing attacks that could bypass hardware-based two-factor authentication devices such as some Yubikey devices.Security researchers demonstrated recently that the WebUSB functionality of the Google Chrome web browser can be used to interact with two-factor authentication devices directly and not Google Chrome’s API (U2F) designed for that purpose.The attack bypasses any protection that two-factor authentication devices offer that are susceptible. Devices need to support protocols for connecting to a browser other than through U2F for the attack to work and users need to interact with the phishing site for the attack to be carried out successfully.Chrome displays a prompt when a site tries to use WebUSB or WebBluetooth. The user needs to allow the request, and type or paste the account’s username and password in designated forms on the site.While that puts a barrier in place, one that requires user interaction before it can be carried out, it still does highlight that new features may open up new possibilities for abuse.Users need to pay attention to permission dialogs that the browser displays to them. Attack sites could be designed in a way to provide users with reassurance that such permission prompts are necessary for functionality. While it is unclear how many users would fall for that, especially those using hardware two-factor authentication devices, it is almost certain that some would.The two open source browser extensions Disable WebUSB and Disable WebBluetooth address the issue directly; they block the APIs in the browser so that they may not be abused. It should be clear that these extensions will block any interaction with these APIs; it does not distinguish between good and bad requests.If you never use WebUSB or WebBluetooth, you may want to consider installing the extensions for that extra bit of security. The extensions run silently in the background and block any attempt to use the WebUSB or WebBluetooth API.Now You: Do you disable certain browser features?SummaryArticle NameDisable WebUSB and WebBluetooth in Google ChromeDescriptionFind out how to disable the WebUSB and WebBluetooth APIs in the Google Chrome web browser to block websites from making use of the APIs.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisement
[embedded content]Apple would probably rather skip the references to Bendgate. It’s not like anyone’s walking around with an iPad Pro in their pocket, right?That may be true, but it’s still alarming to see just how fragile the newly released iPad Pro actually is. YouTuber JerryRigEverything put the tablet through a multi-part stress test, including the damning bend test, and he was left with a mangled wreck of an Apple device.This is a great video to check out if you’re mulling a new tablet purchase. While, yes, the iPad Pro is hardly pocket-sized, it’s very easy to imagine things getting bendy if someone were to accidentally sit on one.This is also a fun show if you’re a fan of watching pricey new technology get systematically, violently torn apart in the name of science. By Adam Rosenberg2018-11-17 21:41:56 UTC