Todays Weather Forecast

Posted On Sep 17 2019 by

first_imgWINDS:      NORTHEAST TO EAST AT 10 TO 15 KNOTS OVER OPEN WATERS.  The Luxury of Grace Bay in Down Town Provo Related Items:#magneticmedianews Forecast high, 81°; overnight low 68° Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp ALERT # 2 ON POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE NINE ISSUED BY THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 AT 9 PM EDTcenter_img Electricity Cost of Service Study among the big agenda items at September 11 Cabinet meeting Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, Bahamas, February 21, 2017 – GENERAL SITUATION: HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS ACROSS THE ISLANDS TODAY WITH PLEASANT CONDITIONS.WEATHER for TODAY, MOSTLY SUNNY AND WARM WITH THE SLIGHT CHANCE OF A BRIEF SHOWER. SEAS:    2 TO 4 FEET OVER THE OCEAN. Recommended for youlast_img read more


NASA wants your help bringing back pieces of a potentially hazardous asteroid

Posted On Sep 10 2019 by

first_imgOriginally published May 23.  Comment NASA’s on a mission to collect space dirt from a potentially… Tags NASA Space 12 Photos All that’s needed to hang out on the asteroid is a mapping app, a screen large enough to clearly see images of the asteroid’s surface and a mouse or trackpad that can make precise marks. 5:24 Explore asteroid Ryugu with Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft An interactive tutorial explains how to get around the CosmoQuest app circling craters, measuring boulders and erasing mistakes. CosmoQuest, a project run out of the Planetary Science Institute that supports citizen science initiatives, offers additional user assistance through an online community where mappers can share tips and high-fives and ask questions. CosmoQuest also shares guidance through livestreaming sessions on Twitch. The original design for capturing a piece of the space rock was based on locating a hazard-free zone with a 160-foot (25-meter) radius on Bennu’s surface. However, because of the unexpectedly rocky terrain, the team is yet to identify such a site.The volunteer asteroid mapping is straightforward work that involves dragging and dropping, an eye for detail and a bit of perseverance. When I signed up Wednesday night at about 9 p.m. PT, more than 70 “Bennu Mappers” were online scouring the asteroid’s surface. The Bennu mapping campaign continues through July 10.asteroidAn easy-to-follow tutorial helps Bennu Mappers get going. Screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET Bennu measures about 1,600 feet (500 meters), only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building, and is considered potentially hazardous. “There’s a very small chance that it will impact Earth in the next century,” Burns has said. Which means you probably don’t need to get out your helmet just yet.In its first five months communing with Bennu, Osiris-Rex has already discovered trapped water and determined that Bennu is between 100 million and a billion years old, making it significantly more mature than predicted. But the mission’s coup de theatre, the sample grab, won’t take place until 2020. That’s when the spacecraft’s fancy robotic arm will reach out and tag the asteroid’s surface with its Touch-And-Go Sample Arm Mechanism, or Tagsam.While touching the rock, the arm will blow a burst of nitrogen gas to loosen up bits of debris that will be then be brought back to Earth when the spacecraft returns in September 2023.The asteroid may contain unaltered material from the beginning of our solar system. The hope is that Bennu’s cargo will yield insights into astronomical processes and resources in near-Earth space and improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.  Share your voice A view of asteroid Bennu’s surface itaken by the PolyCam camera on NASA’s Osiris-Rex on March 21 from a distance of 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers).  NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona Before NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft can reach out and grab a piece of asteroid Bennu, it needs to find a safe spot on the space rock’s surface. And for that, NASA wants your help. Osiris-Rex, which arrived at Bennu on Dec. 3, 2018, aims to become the first US spacecraft to return a sample from an asteroid to Earth. Japan’s Hayabusa mission brought back asteroid particles in 2010, with another asteroid-wrangling mission out of Japan under way this year.Since the NASA craft arrived at Bennu, the team has discovered an extremely rocky terrain that threatens the vehicle’s safety. So NASA is asking volunteers to develop a hazard map by measuring Bennu’s boulders and mapping its rocks and craters via a web interface. “Bennu has surprised us with an abundance of boulders,” Rich Burns, Osiris-Rex project manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. “We ask for citizen scientists’ help to evaluate this rugged terrain so that we can keep our spacecraft safe during sample collection operations.” 1 Now playing: Watch this: Sci-Tech Being Bennu Visit to Bennu reveals rubble trouble and seeds of life Osiris-Rex finds water in its first week at asteroid Bennu Spacecraft drops into orbit around asteroid Bennulast_img read more


Charter School Contracts Renewed With HISD

Posted On Sep 2 2019 by

first_imgiStock.comEarlier this year, a local charter school sparked so much controversy at the Houston school board, a scuffle led to two women arrested at the meeting. Now the board has decided to continue doing business with that charter group.Energized for Excellence was the charter school that the Houston school board briefly considered giving temporary control of several struggling schools. That plan was dropped after public outcry.But Energized for Excellence, along with seven other charter schools, will get their contracts renewed with the Houston school district. Together, the contracts are worth about fifty six million dollars. Some parents urged the board to take a closer look. Shana Holverson questioned their low enrollment of children with disabilities.“These campuses have reported an average of two percent of their students as recognized as needing special ed services. Remember that the national average is 13 percent,” said Holverson.Some trustees maintained it would be unfair to families if the schools had to close over the summer. Sharelast_img read more


Baltimore Souls to the Polls Sunday in Baltimore

Posted On Sep 1 2019 by

first_imgSen. Verna Jones-Rodwell, chair and members of the Baltimore City State Senate Delegation along with local Inter-Faith leaders, announced the “Souls to the Polls mobilization Movement,” Oct. 23, at Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore.Sunday, Oct. 26 has been designated as “Souls to the Polls” Sunday, when early voting for the 2014 General Election will occur from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to mobilizing the faith community, faith leaders from across the City in a concentrated effort will encourage their congregants to vote early and make them aware of early voting polling locations. “We are in the final leg of this election season and everyone must exercise their right to vote,” Sen. Jones- Rodwell said.Eligible voters may participate in early voting throughout the Baltimore Metropolitan Region. For more information, contact Poetri Deal at 410-841-3612  or Verna. Jones.District@senate.state.md.us.last_img read more


Can marital status alter physical activity levels

Posted On Aug 31 2019 by

first_imgLondon: While a divorce or a new relationship brings many changes in a person’s life, a new study shows an association with reduced physical activity levels.The findings showed that men who divorced and women who found a new partner reduced their physical exercises. The total number of non-exercise steps was reduced for men who divorced, whereas for women who found a new spouse, the total steps decreased significantly when compared to women married throughout. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAccording to the researchers, it is difficult to provide a single explanatory factor about the effects of changes in marital status on physical activity. “It seems that the changes in relationships affect the physical activity of men and women differently,” said Kasper Salin, postdoctoral researcher from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland. For the study, published in the Journal of Public Health, the team included 1,051 participants aged between 34 and 49. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThey also investigated the relationship between socioeconomic position and changes in physical activity. They found that among the men and women with the highest socioeconomic status, the number of aerobic steps increased significantly over the four years. Here, aerobic steps refers to steps taken during activities that last for at least 10 minutes without interruption at a pace of 60 or more steps per minute. “The rise in the number of steps focused on the highest social classes, especially in aerobic steps,” says Salin. “From the point of view of maintaining fitness, it is important to add aerobic steps.”last_img read more


In the Know

Posted On Aug 30 2019 by

first_img 14 min read EXPAND Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. April 1, 2007 Marketplace ResearchOne thing differentiating eBay businesses that grow from those that don’t is the owners’ levels of eBay market knowledge. Marketplace data and software tools from eBay and third parties can help businesses on eBay research their markets to improve results. eBay’s own Marketplace Research is a recent introduction that provides consolidated metrics on up to 90 days of completed items and allows for sophisticated analysis. It is offered in three tiers: Fast Pass for the casual user; Basic for those who want to handle variables such as starting price ranges and number of successful sales; and Pro, which allows for research by related keywords, among other advanced features.Third-party provider Terapeak, which uses data licensed from eBay, lets sellers and buyers look back through extended time periods to find price trends on specific products through completed listings, along with other sophisticated research tools.DeepAnalysis market research software from HammerTap can do a number of powerful analyses, such as studying how starting prices compare to bids. You can also use it to figure out the best categories for your items by looking at the number of bids or selling prices for similar items.Andale’s Research tools help eBay sellers find the success rate and average selling price of any item and identify the price most likely to increase sales volume. Services can be purchased a la carte.Seller CentralIf you want to build your business, you should become familiar with Seller Central. It’s the mother lode for tips, tools, information and other resources for eBay sellers.Seller Central is organized into convenient sections. Best Practices presents time-tested approaches for selling on eBay. Its recommendations are based on the techniques used by eBay’s most successful sellers. Advanced Selling is for those who are ready to go beyond the basics. Category Tips directs you to specific resources arranged by category to help you fine-tune your approach to fit your category.The “In Demand” section in Category Tips is especially helpful. It lists the top 10 items in your category and the top 10 buyer search words.What’s Hot gives you a look at the items and categories that are popular and also provides you with a preview of eBay’s merchandising calendar so you’ll know about upcoming promotions in time to prepare for them. News & Updates gives you a link to sign up for the PowerUp newsletter, a monthly e-mail with the insider’s view of new selling features, promotions and tools.Part of the What’s Hot section of Seller Central is the “Hot Categories Report,” a monthly listing of categories that meet specific criteria for month-to-month growth in bids and conversion rates. Find out which categories are Super Hot, boasting a 35-percentage-point or more spread between bid growth rate and listing growth, to identify your most promising categories. Get more on the “Hot Categories Report.”The latest addition to this genre of buying analysis is eBay Pop!. Find the latest “Movers & Shakers” as well as the most popular items in several eBay categories. For more details, check out www.ebay.com/ebaypop.What does that leave? The catchall “Resources” link takes you to a page listing scores of tools and links on topics such as deciding what to sell and eBay’s Giving Works charity program.What Buyers WantYou can find out what buyers are looking for by using several eBay resources for sellers who want to build their businesses on eBay. Reviews & Guides is a tool buyers can use to decide what to buy and a way for sellers to look inside buyers’ minds. The “Reviews” section contains eBay user-written comments and ratings for specific products, such as books and CDs. The “Guides” section consists of handbooks written by experts, collectors and other members to give you insight into topics ranging from collectible dolls to caring for antiques. Learn more about Reviews & Guides at http://reviews.ebay.com.You can browse the Want It Now listings to see exactly what buyers are looking for, in their own words. Buyers can create Want It Now posts to share what they want to purchase with millions of sellers, including you. Learn more about this free service at http://pages.ebay.com/wantitnow.Picture ManagereBay’s Picture Manager is a fully integrated service to help you post pictures for your listings. With Picture Manager, you save time by tapping into all your pictures from the “Sell Your Item” form or My eBay. You won’t have to leave eBay to change, add or remove pictures. You won’t have to upload pictures for each individual listing, and you can add multiple pictures to any listing for one flat fee.You can transfer all the pictures you already have on eBay to Picture Manager with a single click. Once you do so, Picture Manager gives you a single place to host all your pictures for About Me and eBay Stores as well as listings. Security tools allow you to add your User ID to your pictures as a watermark. Picture Manager is priced at several levels, from $9.99 a month for 50MB to $24.99 a month for 1GB. Featured Store sellers get discounted rates, and Anchor Store sellers can subscribe to Picture Manager at any level for no fee. Get more information about Picture Manager and its features at http://pages.ebay.com/picture_manager. Register Now » BUILD Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Shopping Comparison SitesDid you know that more than half of online shoppers use a shopping comparison site to make their buying decisions? And the comparison site they use most is Shopping.com, a part of eBay since August 2005. Shopping.com is a place shoppers can go to compare prices, availability and shipping costs from thousands of vendors in a single location. When shoppers make their selections, they’re directed to the chosen vendor to complete their purchase. Using shopping comparison sites effectively is an excellent way to expand an offline business on eBay. You can join the merchants listed on Shopping.com, including some of the world’s largest stores as well as many smaller vendors, by providing the site with a listing of your products in a format specified by the service. Shopping.com will create your list for a fee, but there is no fee if you create the list yourself. Enroll, and Shopping.com gives you directions for uploading your list to the website. After that, you pay only when shoppers click on your product listing to go to your buying page from Shopping.com’s search results. For more detailed information, including pricing, visit www.shopping.com.PayPal Merchant ToolsUsing PayPal Merchant tools is the preferred way to pay and be paid for online transactions. This eBay-owned service gives you the ability to cost-effectively handle credit and debit cards as well as bank transfers and PayPal account balances. Your customers don’t need to have a PayPal account to pay you, and there are four service levels to meet the specific needs of your business. PayPal Website Payments Standard lets you start accepting payments immediately without delays for approval. You don’t need to have a shopping cart or make an annual commitment, and there are no monthly fees or charges for startup or cancellation of the standard service. However, there are transaction fees.PayPal Website Payments Pro gives U.S.-based merchants the features of merchant accounts without the same high costs. PayPal Website Payments Pro costs $20 a month in addition to transaction fees. PayPal Email Payments lets you get paid quickly by e-mail. It’s fast and easy to set up–just 10 minutes, and you don’t even need to have a website. You can send out e-mail invoices and receive payments through PayPal. Customers don’t need their own PayPal account to send funds to your account–they can do so when they receive your e-mailed invoice.Each of these three PayPal service levels has the option (either with a paid upgrade, by application and approval, or through the “Virtual Terminal” feature, respectively) of accepting credit or debit card payments directly on the site as well as by phone, fax, mail or in person.PayPal as an Additional Payment Option is a way for merchants who already have a merchant account to add PayPal and give customers another way to pay. Get more details about PayPal Merchant tools at www.paypal.com.Merchant eCommerce Solutions CenterEstablished offline businesses looking to expand to eBay can get an all-points introduction to the world of eBay Stores at the Merchant eCommerce Solutions Center. With a single click, you can pull up a matrix comparing eBay’s e-commerce solutions, including selling on eBay with an eBay Store, selling online with a ProStores web store and selling on eBay without an eBay Store.Additional links take you to articles on e-commerce and other eBay merchant resources, including PayPal. If you have slow-moving inventory you want to get rid of or a local presence you’d like to expand worldwide, or you simply want to explore the potential of eBay to drive online shoppers to your business, the Merchant eCommerce Solutions Center should be your first stop.The site also gives you a link to a list of Certified Business consultants that can help you get started. Learn more about the Merchant eCommerce Solutions Center by visiting www.ebay.com/merchantsolutions. eBay Certified ProviderseBay Certified Providers are eBay-qualified experts with proven tools and techniques to help sellers. Certified Providers have highly sophisticated offerings for expert sellers–and easy-to-use services and solutions for people just starting their businesses on eBay.Service providers give nontechnical help with listing strategies, template design and similar matters. Solution providers can help with software and technical services, such as custom software development, listing management software and integrating your business with the eBay platform. These experts provide assistance with marketplace strategy, merchandising design, customer support, managing inventory or transactions, and more.As Was is an example of a Certified Provider. This service, provided by an experienced eBay seller, can help you launch your business on eBay with custom templates, logo design, strategies for sales and marketing, vendor recommendations, operations management and more. For details, visit www.aswas.com.Receller is also a Certified Provider, and it makes listing an item on eBay as simple as snapping a picture with your camera phone. You photograph an item, send it to Receller, and a listing coach calls you back to take the information for your listing. This service is a boon to new eBay sellers because their coaches apply eBay selling best practices to help you get the best results from your listing. Learn more at www.receller.com.For more on Certified Providers and to find the right one for you, visit http://solutions.ebay.com and look for the Certified Provider logo.Education Specialists are another type of eBay-qualified expert specializing in teaching others to use eBay. The more than 1,000 Education Specialists across the country are all trained by eBay and use the official eBay University curriculum to teach you how to sell. Learn more about the Education Specialist Program or find a class in your area at www.ebay.com/esp.Digital Photo TipsPictures are vital to creating effective listings–the better your pictures, the better your listings will work. Start with the right camera. The large files created by many high-resolution digital cameras are too bulky to upload easily and use in listings; small 72 dpi images are fine.One solution is to use one of two Casio cameras (priced at $300 and $400) with the “eBay Best Shot Mode.” This feature automatically reduces the size of the picture and overall file size. If your camera doesn’t do this, you will often need to resize your photo and perhaps change the quality to medium or so to make it easier to load in your listing. If you’re listing small items, you’ll need the ability to use a macro lens for close-ups; consider placing a small object or ruler next to the item to indicate size. Focus carefully–soft-focus pictures look fuzzy and unappealing. If you don’t have natural lighting, choose a camera that has an external flash for better lighting. Control over white balance also helps you photograph in light other than daylight. The best background is white seamless paper, available from professional camera shops. Finally, you’ll want a camera that’s easy to connect to your computer for uploading images.Sell Your ItemThe “Sell Your Item” form is the eBay seller’s gateway to the 222 million registered eBay members. The newest version of the form features a simplified listing process with fewer pages and fields, cutting down on the time it takes to create a listing. You enter all your details on one page, and you can review it before completing the listing. You can also customize the form to hide options you don’t use, showing only the ones you do use.You can create colorful, attractive item descriptions with twice as many fonts as the form’s previous version and more than 120 different colors. The new form also supports the Firefox browser. There is a “category suggestions” feature that gives you advice on listing your item in the best category for maximum exposure. Other additions are dynamic help and personalized tips, which automatically provide guidance and best practices as you make your way through the form. The new form also offers a listing preview section that lets you see in advance what your listing will look like when potential buyers see it. Finally, there are reusable listing templates to make it easier to list additional items. Learn more about the new “Sell Your Item” form at http://pages.ebay.com/syi/newform.What Would You Sell?Before you can sell on eBay, you need to have something to sell. The good news is, you probably already do. What Would You Sell? is an eBay feature that helps you identify items you own that you could sell on eBay. It also helps you see how similar items have fared, decide whether to sell yours and get help listing them.Here’s how it works: What Would You Sell? displays mock-ups of rooms in a typical house, such as bedrooms, a living room, etc. Clicking on one of these rooms takes you to the appropriate mock-up. When you click on one of the items in the picture–a painting on the living room wall, for example–a window will pop up with information about similar items on eBay; for instance, art sells on eBay every 14 seconds. Clicking a link in the window takes you to recently completed listings in that category.A link on the “What Would You Sell?” page takes you directly to a “Sell Your Item” form so you can instantly begin the process of turning your unwanted items into cash. If you need selling tips, another link takes you to Seller Central. Learn more about What Would You Sell? at http://pages.ebay.com/sellercentral/whatwouldyousell/what_to_sell_house.html.Shipping CenterFulfillment is a vital part of eBay selling, and the Shipping Center is your eBay tool for handling logistics cost- and time-effectively. The shipping tools available here let you do things such as include a flat shipping rate in your listings or use the eBay Shipping Calculator so buyers can use their own ZIP codes to figure out their shipping cost.When it comes time to ship a customer’s purchase, the Shipping Center helps you buy and print labels for both domestic and international UPS and U.S. Postal Service shipments. You can also use the Shipping Center to request a pickup from UPS or USPS, saving you time and gas money on a trip to either drop-off location. Finally, you can track shipments using My eBay or PayPal’s “Account Overview” feature.Links from the Shipping Center take you to sources for shipping supplies on eBay, a helpful video to save you time on shipping and eBay’s Freight Resource Center, where you will find tools to calculate shipping rates and arrange shipment for items over 150 pounds.eBay charges no fees for Shipping Center services, and you can pay carriers for the cost of shipping and insurance through PayPal. Learn more about the Shipping Center at www.ebay.com/shipping. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more


İbrahim Eren Ibrahim Eren has been named as the n

Posted On Aug 7 2019 by

first_imgİbrahim ErenIbrahim Eren has been named as the new director-general of national broadcaster the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT).Eren joined TRT as depute director in 2013, and was responsible for the launch of international news channel TRT World the following year.He previously worked a as a representative for Turkuvaz Media Group’s ATV in the UK before becoming director-general of ATV Europe and deputy director of ATV in 2010, where he oversaw the restructuring of the channel and streamlined in-house production.Eren is also the chairman of the executive board of  Turkish audience research outfit TIAK, a director of International Emmy and a member of the board of directors at Turk Telekom.last_img


Nigeria has 37 billion barrels of crude oil reserv

Posted On Aug 4 2019 by

first_imgNigeria has 37 billion barrels of crude oil reserve and is Africa’s largest oil producer. The country also boasts 187 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, the ninth-largest reserve in the world. Nigeria has all the right geology for oil and gas. But geology isn’t everything. The best geology in the world can still be a terrible place to put your money if other risks threaten to steal all of a project’s profits and potential – and country risk can pose precisely that threat. Think about it this way. In considering any business venture, you need to know several key parameters, such as how much it will cost to establish the operation, how much you will produce, and what percentage of your profits the government will take. In Nigeria, you cannot calculate any of these metrics with confidence because the rules are so complex and corrupt. Now a new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), being debated in Nigeria’s parliament after some 15 years in the works, is supposed to change all of that. The new PIB is intended to clarify, codify, and clean up an industry where corruption and uncertainty are killing investment interest. Unfortunately, the new PIB is just as bad as the 13 separate rules it is set to replace. It would solidify a structure that operates on bribery and favors and it would take so much profit from producers that the effort would no longer be worth the risk. It would scare away the oil and gas investors that it is supposed to attract, and in doing so would doom Nigeria’s troubled energy sector to continue on its current downhill trajectory. I want to talk about Nigeria today not just to scare investors away from one particular country, but to remind us all that country risk can easily make or break a project. No matter how fantastic the geology or how large the reserve, if the government of the day is corrupt, desperate for income or popularity, straight-up greedy, or any combination thereof, best just walk away with your money. If you invest in a country with that kind of government, you might as well have just handed your dollars to the government on a golden platter. And if you don’t know how much risk a country bears, best to find out from an energy investment team that travels the world to assess country risk firsthand. Setting the Stage: Nigeria’s Oil Nightmare Nigeria officially produces 2.7 million barrels of oil a day, but no one has any confidence in that number. Oil is stolen at a shocking rate in the country, so figures from traders on Nigeria’s saleable oil show output well below that government figure. More generally, information about Africa’s biggest oil industry is an opaque myriad of numbers, and no one knows which ones are accurate. Experts say Nigeria could easily measure how much oil it produces but it chooses not to… because if there were an authoritative figure, the truly horrifying scope of corruption would be exposed. Mismanagement, theft, and corruption cost the industry billions of dollars a year. Heavy government subsidies for petrol add another $16 billion to the annual tab. In addition the country’s four refineries work far below capacity, forcing Nigeria to import most of its fuel. A new report, commissioned after the country erupted in protests in January when the government tried to reduce fuel subsidies, states oil-theft volumes have climbed to the astonishing level of 250,000 barrels a day, or 10% of production. Some months as much as 400,000 barrels are stolen every day. Even more shocking: 40% of refined petroleum products – either refined in Nigeria or imported – that are moved through state-owned pipelines are lost to theft and sabotage. Small-scale pilfering has been endemic in Nigeria since the late 1990s, but now more sophisticated thieves are stealing directly from export terminals, tank farms, refinery tanks, and ports. The stolen oil is worth some $6 billion annually. Of course, writing a sweeping new bill to regulate an industry rife with corruption and vested interests is not easy. That’s why the PIB has been in the works for more than a decade. Five years ago the bill made it to Nigeria’s Parliament, but disagreements between the administration, oil majors, and lawmakers stymied its passage. With almost no regulatory or fiscal certainty on the table, Nigeria has become a dangerous place for Big Oil to do business. While they wait for that certainty, oil majors have held off on many billions of dollars in investment – one expert estimates the industry lost $28 billion in investments in 2011 alone. As a result, oil output is about the same as it was a decade ago, and only three exploratory wells were drilling in 2011, down from more than 20 in 2005. The government has not held a licensing round for five years. Nigeria’s New Oil and Gas Bill The Nigerian government says its main goals in developing new regulations for its oil sector are to clean up a corrupt industry, clarify a confusing sector, and encourage new investment. Unfortunately, the PIB accomplishes none of those goals. I won’t embark on a full dissection of the bill. What I will do is point out the most glaring of problems – starting with the fact that the PIB would give a few select politicians huge powers within the sector. Here’s a good example: the president would have the power to grant licenses and leases without a competitive process – or any kind of process, for that matter. This leaves the door wide open for everyone to continue practicing the political favoritism and corruption that has crippled the industry in the past. The president would also have the power to set special tax rates for any projects he deems as strategic to the nation. Imagine if Romney or Obama were given this power… Alongside a president who can hand out licenses as he pleases and siphon funds from any project he deems strategic, the Minister of Petroleum is granted draconian powers to determine rentals and royalties. There are two huge problems with this. First, giving immense powers to individuals only encourages bribery and corruption. Second, companies thinking of developing a new project have no certainty around their rental and royalty payments if the minister creates her own arrangement for each project. Well, that’s a slight overstatement. Companies would know the minimum level of government take from new projects – and it’s too high. Executives from a wide range of Big Oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, have said publicly that the tax terms outlined in the PIB render offshore oil and gas projects unviable. Exxon is the second-biggest offshore operator in the country, and it says it will not invest any more in deepwater projects if the PIB is passed. Part of the problem is that oil companies demand better fiscal terms to operate in places like Nigeria, to compensate for the extra risks posed by piracy, kidnappings, theft, and corruption. Instead of providing that kind of financial incentive, the PIB absolves oil companies of any responsibility for environmental damage caused by sabotage… which would mean that no one is accountable for such damage. The environment will continue to be destroyed, and the sabotage will continue. More than half of Nigeria’s 160 million people earn less than $2 a day. From that perspective, rampant pipeline sabotage and bunkering in the Delta region are understandable: the Nigerians who commit these acts are helping themselves to a portion of their country’s resources. The only way to ease this kind of activity is to truly share profits with local communities. To that end, the PIB would create a Petroleum Host Communities Fund. Producers would have to give 10% of their after-tax profits to this fund – disbursements that would be credited against other payments to the government to not increase overall government take – and the funds thus generated from onshore and shallow water offshore production would be distributed to affected communities. It sounds great… but unfortunately, just like so many other parts of the PIB, the Host Communities Fund is a great idea that is structured so as to invite political interference. The PIB does not define how the funds will be distributed, putting another lever in the hands of the president and his ministers. Communities would be pitted against each other in a race for favor with the government, and the president could easily use this race for favor to achieve his own ends within the Delta. Also left in the hands of government: a whole whack of oil-related assets. International advisors had pushed for a PIB that incorporated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and then partially privatized it, following the example of Brazil’s Petrobras. Doing so would require the company to be managed like any other international oil company, with minimal political interference. Instead, the PIB would break the NNPC into three entities and privatize only two. The management company left in government hands would contain major oil assets and revenue streams that would remain subject to heavy political interference. And I mean heavy. The NNPC currently controls every aspect of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, from exploration and production to refining and pipelines, and it will continue to do so if the PIB is passed. But this is a company that is regularly listed as one of the most closed oil companies in the world. In fact, a joint report from Transparency International and the Revenue Watch Institute judged the NNPC to have the worst record of 44 national and international companies examined. Audits and examinations regularly produce descriptions like “accountable to no one” and “a slush fund for the government.” The PIB is a failure on almost every front. Oil companies considering Nigeria are looking at the PIB and walking away. Nigeria – home to the eleventh-largest oil reserves and ninth-largest gas reserves in the world – will continue to see its production pinched between declining investment, greedy government take, and massive theft. The decimated environment of the Niger Delta will see no savior, and the people who live there will continue to live in grinding poverty while corruption and theft steal billions every year. It’s a tragedy for Nigeria and a warning for oil investors. The warning is one I repeat regularly: never underestimate country risk. Greedy governments and corrupt politicians can and will take every cent of profit from oil and gas projects in their lands, leaving companies bankrupt and investors robbed. Nigeria is by no means the only country pinching its oil sector. Venezuela and Argentina are also robbing their energy producers to buy popular affection, along with a raft of other nations. However, there’s a silver lining. Every time a country screws up its oil sector, the Big Pinch tightens: there is a bit less oil available to feed an oil-hungry world and a bit more pressure on exporters to earn even more from each barrel that is available. The result? Oil prices that have nowhere to go but up. Anyone who understands the risks and makes the right investments will be able to ride those prices to huge returns. However, country risk is hard to assess from afar. That’s why my ground team travels the world, from Albania to Iraq, Africa to Asia, going wherever a prospective energy story takes us to understand the situation firsthand and separate fact from fiction. It would be impossible for every investor to assess every prospective investment in person – which is why we do it for you. If you are an interested and active energy investor, consider a subscription to my flagship newsletter, Casey Energy Report, and travel with us on the journey to find the best investments in the global energy sector. Additional Links and Reads US Poised to Become World’s Top Oil Producer; May Soon Overtake Saudi Arabia (Huffington Post) What a headline! Using data from the US Energy Information Administration, the reporter behind this article suggests that surging US oil output could push the US past Saudi Arabia and into top spot in the global oil-production rankings within a few years. Citibank also provides some data, predicting that US production could reach 13 to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, making North America the “new Middle East.” Why the US Is Not the New Saudi Arabia (Christian Science Monitor) If this headline seems a direct rebuttal of the article above – that’s because it is. This writer challenges the article, saying that anyone who “actually examined figures available from the US Energy Information Administration website carefully instead of simply parroting oil industry sycophants” would have ended up with a headline more like: Marginal gains in US oil production mean continuing high prices and imports for Americans. The writer explains that there are several ways to define oil supply, and the one used to suggest that US is catching Saudi Arabia in oil production includes natural-gas plant liquids and biofuels, making for a very misleading conclusion. Europe Left Behind as Shale Shock Drives America’s Industrial Resurgence (Telegraph) The wonders of US shale gas continue to amaze. Fresh evidence daily suggests that swaths of the American industry are gaining a massive and lasting advantage in energy costs over global rivals – and those advantages are demolishing assumptions about US economic decline. Oil Firmer at US$110 as Sandy Shuts US Refineries (National Post) Hurricane Sandy is providing a clear reminder of the vulnerabilities of offshore oil production to weather. Predicted to be the largest storm ever to hit the North American mainland, Sandy is prompting refineries to close and oil analysts to reduce consumption estimates in the face of canceled flights, a dearth of commuters, and an all but shut-down road transportation sector.last_img read more


DZIF scientists reveal problems with available diagnostics for Zika and chikungunya virus

Posted On Jul 18 2019 by

first_img Source:http://www.dzif.de/en/news_media_centre/news_press_releases/view/detail/artikel/zika_and_chikungunya_viruses_diagnostic_pitfalls/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 18 2019Millions of people have contracted Zika and chikungunya virus infections since the outbreaks that have been striking Latin America since 2013. Particularly Zika-related malformations in newborns warrant reliable diagnostics. DZIF scientists from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin demonstrate the problems with the currently available diagnostics, particularly for Zika virus detection, and develop combined testing methods that have higher reliability.”False positive results can have fatal consequences,” emphasizes Prof Felix Drexler, who heads the Virus Epidemiology group at the Charité and has been working on developing detection methods for viruses at the DZIF for years. A particular cause for concern for the people affected is an increase in the number of cases of brain malformations in newborns (microcephaly), for which a link with Zika virus infection has meanwhile been confirmed. Can a pregnant woman complete her pregnancy or does she perhaps have an undiagnosed Zika virus infec-tion? The increase of illegal abortions in Latin America during the Zika outbreak highlights the dramatic consequences of unreliable diagnoses.We need reliable laboratory diagnostics, particularly in outbreak regions like Brazil. “However, this is certainly not the case at the moment,” explains Drexler. “Our study in that region has shown that correct antibody diagnostics for Zika were successful in only half of the patients at best”. The results for chikungunya virus confirmation are much better. This virus is also widespread in Latin America and can cause symptoms similar to those of Zika infections but presumably does not cause malformations. Here, antibody diagnostics are indeed reliable, the researchers say.Molecular detection methods: requirements and realityAcute infections are predominantly confirmed by detecting viral genomes in blood and urine. However, this method can only be used about one week after presentation of the first symptoms. Subsequently, infections can solely be confirmed by detecting the antibodies against the virus produced by the infected individual. However, vaccinations and infections with similar viruses hamper precise antibody detection. In a study conducted in Brazil, Drexler and his team investigated the requirements for and the reality of this together with scientists from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro.The studyPatients with confirmed Zika or chikungunya virus infections were included in the study. The scientists took follow-up samples in a period of up to 90 days after the acute infection. They applied and combined different methods for molecular and antibody detection.The resultsFor both viruses, molecular detection by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed low virus concentrations, even just a week after the presentation of symptoms. In Zika virus infections, the virus concentration is already so low in the first week that particularly sensitive testing is required and combined antibody testing should be done.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairImmunotesting for the antibodies showed severe shortfalls. “We were able to see that the sensitivity of a frequently used immunotest for antibodies in acute Zika infection was only about 30%.” However, the scientists were able to increase this sensitivity by using Immunoglobulin A (IgA) as a marker instead of the usual Im-munoglobulin M (IgM). The results for chikungunya testing were unambiguous and the people affected could consequently rely on the diagnosis.The reliability problem”We can see very clearly that a combination of several testing procedures must be used to obtain precise Zika virus test results, particularly in tropical regions where people contract infections with many viruses that are related to each other,” Drexler concludes. However, the researchers still need larger studies with more patients in order to develop the best testing methods. The scientific data from this and following studies will enable the translation into routinely applicable tools to be developed by companies. According to Drexler, it is not only about giving pregnant women and couples more reliability. Both the implementation of public health preventive measures and conducting further research are also dependent on reliable risk estimations.BackgroundResearch teams led by Felix Drexler and Christian Drosten, formally University Hospital Bonn, now Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, have developed novel Zika virus tests as well as a standard test for the MERS coronavirus (MERS for Mid-dle East Respiratory Syndrome), which is being used globally. At the DZIF, they are very well equipped for emerging virus diagnostics. The Zika diagnostics project in Brazil was brought underway by the DZIF in order to appropriately tackle the danger of emerging infections.Zika and chikungunya viruses Zika viruses are usually transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, but can also be trans-mitted sexually. Symptoms of Zika virus infection include rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis and sometimes fever. However, these symptoms are described as mild in comparison to other tropical diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus can cause foetal malformations of the brain during pregnancy. Chikungunya viruses are also transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and cause symptoms similar to Zika virus infections. They therefore also cause fever and joint pain, which can be very severe and persist for months after the infection.last_img read more


Facebook revamps privacy tools as tighter EU rules draw near

Posted On Jul 18 2019 by

Cox said that while the changes are “in line with the principle of GDPR,” there’s also a “bunch of stuff that goes above and beyond that.”Facebook also said it will propose updates to its terms of service in the coming weeks and update its privacy policy, but gave no further details. This undated product image provided by Facebook shows a redesign of Facebook’s privacy tools. Facebook announced the redesign on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers on users. But the company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings. (Facebook via AP) Facebook is giving its privacy tools a makeover as it reels from criticisms over its data practices and faces tighter European regulations in the coming months. This undated product image provided by Facebook shows a redesign of Facebook’s privacy tools. Facebook announced the redesign on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers on users. But the company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings. (Facebook via AP) This undated product image provided by Facebook shows a redesign of Facebook’s privacy tools. Facebook announced the redesign on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers on users. But the company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings. (Facebook via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, called the new settings “the first of many steps” the company is taking to address privacy concerns. Facebook has been working on the changes in preparation for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which were approved two years ago and take effect May 25. The rules are designed to make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data. They apply to any company that collects data on EU residents, no matter where it is based.To comply with this, Facebook is adding a section called “access your information,” a secure way for users to manage data they’ve shared with the company, including status updates, comments and things they have searched for. That’s where people can go to delete information or download a copy. While this download was already possible, it took some time to figure out how to do it. Cox said the changes let people browse through their information in detail, without having to download it. For example, users will now be able to look up a post from a specific date in the past. Facebook also said it plans to update its privacy policy and terms of service in the coming weeks, but gave no further details.The company has tried over the years to simplify its privacy settings, yet the controls remain hard to find and use for many people. For example, Facebook announced in 2009 that it was consolidating six privacy pages and more than 30 settings on to a single privacy page.Yet mobile users still had to go to nearly 20 different places to access all of their privacy controls. Now, Facebook says they will be accessible from a single place. Facebook says it is also adding “clearer explanations” about how its privacy controls work. Citation: Facebook revamps privacy tools as tighter EU rules draw near (2018, March 28) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-facebook-revamps-privacy-tools-tighter.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers on users. But the company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings. Facebook says it also wants to give users a simpler way to access and download the data it collects on them.Wednesday’s announcement follows revelations that a Trump-affiliated consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, got data on millions of Facebook users. That included information on friends of people who had downloaded a psychological quiz app, even though those friends hadn’t given explicit consent to sharing. In addition, Facebook is also facing widespread criticism for collecting years of contact names, telephone numbers and call and text histories from Android users. The company has not said exactly what it used such data for or why it needed it. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission said it is investigating Facebook over its privacy practices.Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, said in a blog post that most of the privacy updates have been in the works for “some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance.” Firefox maker Mozilla to stop Facebook advertising because of data scandal In this March 26, 2018 photo, a man poses for photos in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences pages in San Francisco. Facebook is giving its privacy tools a makeover as it reels from criticisms over its data practices and faces tighter European regulations in the coming months. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Explore further read more


Three things we can all learn from people who dont use smartphones

Posted On Jul 18 2019 by

first_img Explore further Poll: Teens say social media makes them feel better Our participants shared a deep belief in, and attachment to, a different way of socialising that’s focused on expression, touching, talking and being in the same space, physically. For them, this helped to maintain a feeling of human bonding and connection. And while this slower, deeper acknowledgement of others was especially valued by our participants, they also thought it might be valuable to society more broadly. Given the angst-ridden nature of frenetic social networking, we could all benefit from slowing down and taking stock more often. For many people today, the sense of being “always-on” is generating a desire to achieve greater balance and disengage from the things that are causing them stress. For our participants, who didn’t use smartphones and social media, time with others was associated with a sense of calm and purpose in life.2. Switching off is not missing outOur participants questioned what exactly is “social” about social media: what constitutes communication, and what do we get from the way that social stuff is measured on online platforms – whether that’s friendship, support or social contact. Rather than having hundreds of “friends”, they would always choose to see people face to face and nurture relationships that would support them through the tough times. Taking the opportunity to switch off may, at first, cause some anxiety. But the trick is to realise that switching off is not the same as missing out. When you first switch off, you may spend more time in your own company. But from these moments may come a realisation of how exhausting it is to sustain online connections, and indeed how superficial it is to be locked in endless exchanges of trivial information. Those who chose to disconnect are neither sad nor excluded. Freed from the screen, they escaped from the overwhelming flows of information and tasks. Their deep sense of connection with the world, and their loved ones, was clear to see. 3. Being, rather than doingMany of those who switched off enjoyed new-found vitality, because they found time to connect with the world in the here and now. This is crucial to helping us reset and relax, so that we are prepared for more stressful times. Time spent scrolling through content may feel as though it makes light demands on body and mind. But the visual interference from a bright screen is far from relaxing. You are much less likely to have restful sleep if you share a bed with your smartphone, or surf to sleep. As mindfulness is becoming more popular, its core ideas are often coopted by technology. On Instagram, for example, successful influencers show off their yoga skills and promote spiritual disciplines. Fitness trackers, health data and yoga apps consistently rank among the top apps downloaded by smartphone users. Our disconnected group told us that we should be more critical of our use of apps and start leaving our phone behind. If mindfulness is a state of being focusing on the present – channelling thoughts, feelings and sensations as they flow through us – then what use is a screen? Constant connection paradoxically results in less free time, and periods when we are able to think without interruption give precious refuge from the demands of daily life.These disconnected people did not switch off to be “anti-social”. They did so to take charge of when and where they connected with people. They may well be part of a vanguard, leading to new ways of being happier, more rested and, yes, more social. Ten years from now, we might look back at the emergence of social media as a part of humanity’s growing-up – a time that created social divisions, anxiety and restlessness and which damaged the health and well-being of many. Until then, maybe it’s best to put our smartphones down – or at least switch them off a little more often. The Pew Research Centre recently reported that about a quarter of US adults say they are “almost constantly” online. Stress, addiction, depression and anxiety seem unsurprising consequences of using social platforms often specifically designed to keep us repeating the same actions over and over again. Even so, many would find the prospect of living offline worrisome, or simply impossible. That’s why we undertook a small study with 50 people who may seem nothing less than social outcasts in today’s screen saturated environment. None of our participants used social media or had a mobile phone, and most even refused to email. We wanted to understand why these people had decided to switch off, and how they managed it. But rather than seeking quick fixes for overuse, we explored the principles and values that drove our participants to live the way they do. Much has already been written about how we can switch off – but that won’t achieve much, unless we really feel the benefits. Here’s what our respondents said they’d learned, from living their social lives offline. 1. Spending time with othersPart of the problem with social networking platforms is that we don’t just use them for communicating – they also promote a particular way of being connected to and supportive of those around us. These interactions are channelled through the platform to create data, which is ultimately fed back to data brokers and marketers. Citation: Three things we can all learn from people who don’t use smartphones or social media (2018, September 19) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-people-dont-smartphones-social-media.html ‘Someone likes me.’ Credit: Shutterstock.center_img This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Many of us spend hours every day tethered to our devices, pawing at the screen to see if it will deliver a few more likes or emails, monitoring the world and honing our online presence. Social networking platforms such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are supposed to make us feel more connected. Yet our reliance on technology to “see” the social world around us can be a heavy burden. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Provided by The Conversationlast_img read more


Green Lords track intrigues skippers ahead of Sundays final

Posted On Jul 16 2019 by

first_img Related News LONDON (Reuters) – A green tinge on the Lord’s track intrigued New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and his England counterpart Eoin Morgan on Saturday, although both shied away from making bold predictions for Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final.The pitch sported a healthy green cover, although it looked dry underneath before being put under cover.”Perhaps encouraging to seam bowlers on both sides,” Williamson told reporters before the team’s practice session.”But we don’t know what the wicket has in store. There’s still a bit of time between now and the start of play and I haven’t had a close look at it just yet.” Cricket 07 Jul 2019 Formidable India in New Zealand’s path to second straight final Related News New Zealand demonstrated their ability to defend below-par totals in their low-scoring semi-final clash against India’s formidable batting lineup.Bowlers Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson have shown tremendous ability to adjust to conditions, often combining to cover up New Zealand’s batting frailties.”Usually, it’s a fairly fair surface here but I think at the same time one that guys need to adapt quickly to, like any other surface that we have seen in the World Cup,” Williamson said.”We have done it on a number of occasions but we will have to be good at doing that tomorrow.”Asked if teams would be better off trying to make the most of the first 10 overs of Powerplay, Williamson said: “It is impossible to say at this point in time because we just don’t know what the surface has in store and what a good total is for the team batting first or the team bowling first.”Pundits had predicted a high-scoring tournament and teams even indulged in talk of breaching the 500-run mark but England’s 397-6 against Afghanistan remains this World Cup’s highest score.In the four matches of the tournament at Lord’s, twice the 300-mark was breached, both times by Pakistan, though bowlers have largely dominated the tournament.”New Zealand have done it brilliantly and Lord’s isn’t ever a high-scoring ground. So I’d say tomorrow isn’t going to be a high-scoring ground, so it will be a bit of a battle,” Morgan said.The England captain, however, felt the green cover on the pitch was thinner than it appeared.”From afar, it looks greener than it is. There isn’t a lot of grass on the wicket. So it probably exaggerates how it will look.”If the sun comes out for a few hours, it will look different in a few hours. It’ll go whiter and burn it off.”Asked if he would call it a bowl-first kind of pitch, the home captain said: “Depends on how hard the wicket gets.” (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in London; editing by Toby Davis)center_img Cricket 03 Jul 2019 Bairstow ton as England crush New Zealand to storm into semis Cricket 09 Jun 2019 Williamson half-century sets up comfortable New Zealand win {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more