Morocco signs a 38 Million Military Agreement with American Company

Rabat – Morocco has signed an agreement with an American military company called Raytheon Co., McKinney for $ 38 million. The agreement provides that Morocco will receive 200 thermal receiver units.The agreement has been authorized by the Cooperation Agency, Security and Defense in the United States, the only authorized agency to agree to such deals, according to U.S Department of Defense.“Raytheon Co., McKinney, located in Texas, was awarded a $38,157,300 firm-fixed-price foreign military sales contract (to Morocco) for 200 thermal receiver units” underlined the same source. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and Morocco should receive the units at an estimated completion date of August 27, 2017.Raytheon Company, with sales of $23 billion in 2014 and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cyber security markets throughout the world.With a history of innovation spanning 93 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cyber security and a broad range of mission support servicesRaytheon has already produced AIM-9X Block II Missiles for Morocco and other Arab countries for a total of $227 Million. read more

Morocco Honduras to Strengthen Diplomatic Ties Increase Cooperation

Rabat – Representatives of Morocco and Honduras have reaffirmed their increasing readiness to strengthen diplomatic ties and further cooperation on a wide range of common issues.The two delegations met yesterday in Brasilia at the inauguration of Brazil’s newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro.Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, who led the Moroccan delegation, spoke about the “common interests” of the Moroccan and Honduran people. El Othmani particularly highlighted the South-South impetus of Morocco’s diplomatic efforts, suggesting that increased dialogue between Global South countries is a key element in collectively facing global challenges. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez noted Morocco’s increased visibility on the global stage, especially on issues of migration and security. He said such issues are global concerns and require more collaboration on bilateral and multilateral levels.Read Also: El Othmani Joins Pompeo, Latin American Leaders at Brazil InaugurationIn recent years, Morocco has extended its diplomatic outreach, particularly in Africa and the Americas, often in a bid to garner more diplomatic support for its Western Sahara position.The government of Honduras, a supporter of Morocco’s position, reiterated its stance in the Brasilia meeting. President Hernandez called for further ties between Rabat and Tegucigalpa, saying that his country stands with Morocco on the question of territorial integrity. He said Morocco “can count on the friendship and the support of Honduras.”The two officials stressed the need to accelerate bilateral cooperation on agriculture, tourism, and renewable energies. El Othmani extended an official invitation to the Honduran government to send a delegation to attend the Meknes International Agriculture Fair (SIAM) to be held later this year. In response, Honduras invited Morocco to be an observer state in the Central American Integration System (SICA), the region’s eight-member political and economic organization. read more

UN envoy urges end to Israeli flights over Southern Lebanon

The call by Staffan de Mistura followed five recorded Israeli air violations of the so-called Blue Line on Sunday. Those incidents involved two jets and four drones. “The United Nations has on numerous occasions called upon the Israeli authorities to cease these overflights of the Blue Line and Lebanese airspace, which run contrary to efforts to maintain stability,” Mr. de Mistura said in a statement issued in Beirut.He repeated his call to all parties to refrain from any violation of the Blue Line in accordance with their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions. read more

UN electoral team starts work in Lebanon for 29 May vote

The Director of the UN’s Electoral Assistance Division, Carina Perelli, met Acting Foreign Minister Elias Murr and Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa and discussed not only the preparations for deployment, but also the possibility of providing other technical help for the 29 May elections.The expertise of the UN was at the disposition of the Lebanese authorities, said Ms. Perelli, who is scheduled to remain in the country until 18 May, meeting people active in Lebanese politics and civil society, as well as representatives of international organizations.The UN will not observe the elections itself, but will field a team during the balloting to coordinate and support international observers sent by other countries and organizations. read more

Chad UN agency opens a third camp for refugees from Central African

A continuing flow of people fleeing fighting in northern Central African Republic (CAR) between unidentified armed men and the military have forced the United Nations refugee agency to open a third camp in Chad to accommodate the new arrivals whose number has swelled to 12,500 since June.On Wednesday, the first convoy of 200 of some 12,500 refugees who had been temporarily housed at the Amboko refugee site, were transferred to the new settlement near Goré, the main city in southern Chad, Ron Redmond, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told the press in Geneva today.While Amboko was initially intended for 20,000 refugees who fled CAR in 2003, it is now “overburdened” with a total population exceeding 26,000 people, he said.“The recent arrivals were also occupying land reserved for agricultural activities by the existing camp population to help them become more self-reliant and reduce their dependence on humanitarian assistance, as prospects for voluntary repatriation are currently slim,” he added.The new site can accommodate 18,000 refugees as well as offer space for agricultural activities. Over the next couple of months, all the post-June arrivals will be progressively transferred to the new site, with three convoys a week carrying a total of about 1,000-1,200 refugees. There have been no recent reports of fresh arrivals from CAR, but according to local authorities, a further 3,500 refugees are reported to be staying in villages near the country’s border with Chad.UNHCR is assisting more than 43,000 CAR refugees in southern Chad who had fled instability at various periods, as well as more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 refugee camps in the east. read more

International efforts towards Middle East peace must be matched by steps on

“Shaping a credible political horizon through reviving engagement between the parties with intensified international and regional support is essential to advancing this goal,” Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council today. In his briefing, the Mr. Mladenov highlighted that the recent increase in rockets fires from Gaza towards Israel was a worrying development and said that such potentially lethal provocations are unnecessary, dangerous and risk devastating escalation. At the same, he also called on Israel to do more to improve the daily lives of the Palestinians and said that introduction of polices that increase Palestinian civil authority, support Palestinian development and preserve the prospect of a two-state solution, in line with the recommendations of the Middle East Quartet, remained essential. He also spoke of the general situation over the past few months as well as detailed specific instances that had the potential to escalate the situation. There had been a marked increase in statements, announcements and decisions related to construction and expansion, he continued. Israel made two major announcements for a total of 5,500 housing units in settlements in Area C of the occupied West Bank, he said. Within three weeks, some 3,000 housing units had advanced through the planning process and more than 240 units had reached the final approval stage. Eighty per cent of the 4,000 settlement moves in the last three months were concentrated in and around major Israeli population centres close to the 1967 line, while some 20 per cent were in outlying locations deep inside the occupied West Bank. “While the [Security Council] called upon both parties to refrain from acts of provocation, incitement, and inflammatory rhetoric, such actions continued during the reporting period,” he noted. Turning to tangible actions that can help progress the peace process, the UN Special Coordinator underlined that it is essential that international efforts are accompanied by significant steps taken on the ground by the parties, to create an environment conducive to peace. “The United Nations will continue to call on and work with the parties and all interested stakeholders to find a just, sustainable and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the relevant Security Council resolutions,” he concluded. read more

Bus and coach market holds firm in first six months of 2014

Bus and coach market steady in June with a 0.3% rise; year-to-date volumes remain up 3.4%.Purpose-built sector made gains in the month with a 19.1% rise, leaving the year down just 6.3%.Converted bus market fell 16.8% in June, but year-to-date remains positive, up 13.5%.“The bus and coach market has reached the halfway point in the year with volumes up 3.4%, following a steady 0.3% growth in June,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “The purpose-built sector recovered from a subdued May with a 19.1% rise, and although the converted bus market fell 16.8% in the month, year-to-date registrations have grown 13.5%. With overall volumes up 11.1% for the last 12 months, the signs remain encouraging for the second half of 2014.”UK bus and coach registrations: 2014 and % change on 2013 Click through to download the June 2014 bus and coach registrations news release and data tables.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

UK car market experiences longest ever period of growth

Figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the UK new car market has grown for a 36th consecutive month – a record growth period. In February, traditionally one of the quietest months of the year ahead of a number plate change in March, the market grew 12.0% year-on-year with 76,958 new cars registered, achieving a year-to-date rise of 8.3%. Fleet buyers drove this increase with registrations up 19.9% in February, while the private market saw an increase of 3.4%.The UK car market’s sustained expansion is the longest ever seen, beating the previous record of 26 months set in the late 1980s. The number of new cars registered has risen every month since March 2012, as the UK continues to bounce back from the recession and consumer demand has been driven by exciting new products and attractive finance deals.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Three years of continuous growth in the new car market is remarkable and reflects the strong upturn in the confidence of UK car buyers since the recession.“Registrations of fleet and business cars have outpaced the private market in February, reflecting the increased business confidence across the UK. With most fleet car buyers on a three-year replacement cycle, many of those cars purchased at the beginning of the current growth period are now due for replacement. Over the course of 2015, however, we are expecting a more stable market to emerge given there has already been an extended period of consistent growth.” Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) New car market grew 12.0% in February with 76,958 cars registered.36th consecutive month of growth marks UK’s first three straight years of increases.Fleet buyers drive demand with registrations up 19.9%. Since March 2012, the rolling volume of the UK new car market has grown by more than 540,000 units.More than one in three of the past 36 months of growth has seen a double-digit percentage increase.March 2014 saw the largest volume increase in the period with 70,018 more cars registered year-on-year. Click through to download the February 2015 new car registrations news release, data table and image. read more

Ohio State enters its bye week going up after 497 win over

Ohio State redshirt junior receiver Michael Thomas (3) shakes off Rutgers redshirt freshman cornerback Isaiah Wharton (11) during OSU’s 49-7 win on Oct. 24.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorIt would be hard for the Ohio State football team to script a better way to begin its lone bye week of the 2015 season.Its first eight weeks of the season had been littered with lackluster outings, despite emerging victorious in every outing.But now, a nearly unblemished performance against Rutgers on Saturday in Piscataway, New Jersey, presides as the backdrop for the Buckeyes as their Week 9 rest gets underway.“It’s definitely what we’ve been waiting for,” junior running back Ezekiel Elliott said following the win. “Coach (Urban) Meyer has been talking about cracking the rock, kind of playing at the potential that we should be playing at.”The Buckeyes, who maintained their No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll and picked up 11 new first-place votes, did not just crack the rock: They broke it to bits.OSU controlled the game from the opening whistle until the clock showed 00:00, blasting the Scarlet Knights 49-7 behind the arm and legs of newly minted starting quarterback J.T. Barrett. The redshirt sophomore threw for 223 yards and three scores while tacking on two more touchdowns and 101 yards on the ground. Elliott added 142 rushing yards and two scores to go along with redshirt junior wide receiver Michael Thomas, who hauled in five passes for 103 yards and a dazzling 55-yard touchdown catch-and-run.The defense dominated, holding Rutgers to just 293 yards, its fewest number of yards gained all season long. The “Silver Bullets” nearly tossed a shutout had it not been for a 10-play, 90-yard touchdown drive with all second-string players on the turf. Even with the garbage time score, the defense looked like the stifling unit it was against Hawaii and Western Michigan.“I think this performance tonight showed not only what our offense is supposed to do but what our whole team is supposed to do,” senior left tackle and captain Taylor Decker said after Saturday’s win. “(I) felt like it was a really complete game.”Stringing together a complete game had eluded OSU up to Saturday’s kickoff. Whether it be the quarterback carousel and a soft run defense or the bevy of turnovers and penalties, something was always missing for the Scarlet and Gray. That trend, however, appears to have been reversed against the Scarlet Knights.The Buckeyes found their guy behind center in Barrett, whose performance led to him being named co-offensive player of the week in the Big Ten, and limited Rutgers to just 104 yards on the ground. The turnovers and penalty woes went by the wayside, too.OSU had just one turnover — an opening-drive fumble from Barrett after he accidentally collided with Thomas as the Buckeyes were nearing the red zone. But “the most impressive thing,” Meyer said, was that OSU was not penalized once during the 60 minutes of action.“That’s definitely a big step for us because if you look at all the games up to here, we had a lot of penalties, a lot of false starts … all that,” Elliott said. “Playing a clean game is great. Those penalties and turnovers kind of hurt our momentum, so when we are able to have our momentum and a roll, it’s a freight train.”Now, the freight train that is the Buckeyes is heading smoothly down the tracks, full of momentum, looking like the team that steamrolled everything in its way during the final games of 2014.“It’s that time of the year where teams either go up or they go down, and we needed to start going up,” redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “It gives us a great feeling to get our bodies and minds right going into the bye weekend.”With no game on the docket, OSU will take advantage of a light practice schedule to get players back to full strength, as games against Big Ten heavyweights Minnesota, Michigan State and  Michigan loom on the horizon. Last season, OSU had two open weeks — the first was on Sept. 20, just three games into the year, while the second was on Oct. 11. But in 2015, the Buckeyes have played in eight straight weeks, which begins to take a toll. “It’s huge,” Decker said of the bye week, noting that starters have played a majority of the reps in most games. “There are some guys dinged up, just some little things here and there. Those just start to add up on you, a bunch of little things.” When the Buckeyes return, closer to full strength, they know the meat of the schedule awaits. But before the more competitive conference clashes begin, OSU will just savor its time off, especially knowing the team turned in its most complete performance of the season. “It will be nice just to get a little rest, get a little time away, just to kind of take a deep breath and then come back locked and loaded ready to go,” Decker said.  OSU is scheduled to resume action on Nov. 7 at Ohio Stadium against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. read more

The Glencore IPO two positive iron ore studies from Aquila Olympic Dam

first_imgThere is a huge amount of news in the iron ore space in the latest issue of International Mining Project News. Prefeasibility news comes from Zenith Minerals (Mount Alexander), Mindax’s Mt Forrest, and two Aquila Resources projects (Hardey in Australia and Meletse in South Africa). Bellzone Mining’s Kalia in Guinea is at the feasibility stage as are Cazaly’s  Parker Range and Ferrum Crescent’s Moonlight, and there is concrete development news from Tara Minerals’ Tania iron ore property in Mexico and the FerrAus Pilbara Project in Western Australia. Northland Resources announced a positive update to the DFS on its 100%-owned Kaunisvaara project and in the same country, Dannemora is making progress re-opening its mine in east central Sweden. Prior to closing in 1992, the mine had been in operation since the 15th Century. Atlas Iron is expanding  Iron Mining Group, a diversified global iron ore company, has launched its iron ore trading subsidiary under the name, IMG Iron Ore Trading. Then there is Sundance Resources and Legend Mining for access co-operation with regards to usage of rail and port infrastructure as part of the Mbalam project.On May 13: BHP Billiton released the final Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the expansion of its Olympic Dam operation in South Australia. Recent years annual copper production has averaged about 180,000 t, with 4,000 t of uranium oxide, 80,000 oz of gold and 800,000 oz of silver. The proposed expansion is centred on the creation of a new open pit mine that would initially operate simultaneously with the existing underground mine and lift ore production six-fold.On consecutive days, May 12 and 13, Aquila Resources announced positive results from the prefeasibility study (PFS) of the development of the Hardey iron ore deposit in Western Australia and then its Meletse iron ore deposit, part of the Thabazimbi Iron Ore Project in South Africa.Quadra FNX Mining is forming a JV with Sumitomo Metal Mining to develop the worldclass Sierra Gorda copper–molybdenum project in Chile. Production from current sulphide reserves will average: 483 Mlb/y of copper, 25 Mlb/y of molybdenum and 64,000 oz/y of gold over a 20 year mine life.Vale has opened its first nickel operation in Brazil. Onça Puma, in Ourilândia do Norte, southeast Pará. It is one of the largest ferronickel production plants in the world. The project, which covers the municipalities of Ourilândia do Norte, Tucumã and Parauapebas, has an annual production capacity of 220,000 t of ferronickel, containing 53,000  t of nickel.Lynas Corp has started feeding ore into the Mount Weld concentration plant occurred. This is a significant milestone. Lynas owns the richest known deposit of RREs (Lanthanides), in the world at Mount Weld, near Laverton in Western Australia.Glencore has confirmed the price of its bumper $11 billion market debut at £5.30, in the middle of its initial range, a level it hopes will secure a strong performance on debut. At that price  the world’s largest diversified commodities trader and owner of many mining interests will be worth £36.7 billion pounds ($59.31 billion). “Glencore’s offer has seen substantial interest from investors around the world and was significantly oversubscribed throughout the price range providing Glencore with a high quality, diverse and geographically spread investor base,” Glencore’s Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said. With a 10% over allotment option likely to take the total size of Glencore’s offering to $11 billion, it is set to be London’s largest-ever listing, overtaking Russia’s Rosneft, which raised $10.6 billion in 2006.All this and much, much more in the May 6 issue of International Mining Project News….To receive the full 60+ page report, subscriptions to this service can be registered and paid for on-line (SUBSCRIBE TO IM PROJECT NEWS BUTTON), or contact emma@im-mining.com for a free trial copy.last_img read more

Online grocery shopping comes to recipe app Innit

first_img 0 Tags See It CNET Smart Home Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Boost Mobile Tags Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. See All Read Google Home Hub review Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X 7 HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) $210 at Best Buy Chris Monroe/CNET Sarah Tew/CNET $999 DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Smart Home Mobile Apps Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Sarah Tew/CNET KitchenAid, Cuisinart and all the new small appliances for 2019 Sprint $520 at HP Electrolux GE Bosch,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Turo Read the AirPods review $299 at Amazon Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) CNET Smart Home Sarah Tew/CNET Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) $59 at eBay Post a comment Comments Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house See It Sarah Tew/CNET Best Buy Amazon Turo: Save $30 on any car rental $999 See It See it Aug 31 • The best coffee grinders you can buy right now See at Amazon Innit’s recipe app now includes shoppable ingredients. Innit Recipe and smart cooking app Innit is expanding to add grocery ordering and delivery to its platform. In the Innit app, you can find meal recommendations, filter by dietary preferences, watch how-to videos as you cook and send instructions like oven temperatures to Wi-Fi-enabled ovens from brands like Electrolux, Bosch and GE.The new update completes the entire meal planning process. Find a meal from Innit’s library of recommendations, customize it for things like dietary restrictions or serving amounts, then order the ingredients for delivery or pick up.When you select the recipe you’d like to cook, select “Shop Now” and Innit automatically creates a grocery list from the recipe’s ingredients. You can create a meal plan with multiple recipes, as well. There are options to customize the grocery list, add or remove items and compare costs across retailers before purchasing.Adding grocery shopping isn’t the only update Innit has made this year. In January, Innit announced compatibility with Google Assistant-enabled smart displays.Innit’s shoppable ingredients function works with popular US retailers including HEB, Instacart, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts, Target, Walmart Grocery and Wegmans. The team at Innit say the shoppable update will roll out to European markets throughout 2019. Rylo Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) 25 Photos Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Read Lenovo Smart Clock review • reading • Online grocery shopping comes to recipe app Innit Apple iPhone XS Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected See at Turo Angela Lang/CNET Share your voice $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express Share your voice Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) $999 JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Read DJI Osmo Action preview DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. The Cheapskate Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR $999 I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) $6 at Tidal $155 at Google Express TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Read the Rylo camera preview $60 at Best Buylast_img read more

Budget passed leaving scope for plundering

first_imgRuhul Kabir RizviTerming the Tk 4 trillion national budget for FY 2017-18 a reactionary one, BNP on Thursday said the budget was passed in parliament creating a scope for ruling party men to indulge in widespread plundering, reports UNB.Speaking at a press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi also said the government’s decision to suspend the new VAT law with 15 per cent uniform rate of value added tax for next two years has sent out an indication for an obnoxious future.”The budget that was passed today (Thursday) is an anti-people and bizarre one which will badly affect the living standard, increase inflation and impeded human development process. It’s a budget to pick people’s pocket. We strongly condemn the reactionary budget,” he said.Earlier in the day, the parliament passed the budget with a growth target of 7.4 per cent, expecting to open up a new horizon for Bangladesh through some initiatives ahead of the next general election.Rizvi said the budget was passed with a huge deficit only to loot public money. “Most of the allocated money for development sector in the budget will be plundered by ruling party men.”He also said the poor will be hit hard by the new budget as excessive load of tax has been imposed on them. “The huge deficit which was shown in the budget will be impossible to manage.”The BNP leader also described the 7.4 per cent growth rate as imaginary and unrealistic. “In one sentence we can say the budget with a huge deficit is imaginary one, and it has been formulated to deceive people.”He also feared that the government will put the financial sector into extreme chaos by collecting huge amount of money form it to fulfil the budget deficit.last_img read more

Texas House Committee Probes Pretext Stops And Profiling

first_img DPS dashcam video Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015. Credit: Texas DPSAfter the uproar over a state trooper’s treatment of Sandra Bland during a traffic stop in July 2015, a newspaper analysis of traffic stop and search data found that African-American and Hispanic motorists are searched more often when stopped. House County Affairs Committee Chairman Garnet Coleman of Houston says pretext stops are like “stop and frisk” in a car. “Because you know, as Chris Rock said, ‘I was born a suspect.’ And you know what he was talking about! He’s saying, you know, ‘now I’m a suspect wherever I go!’” Representative Coleman takes issue with DPS Director Steve McCraw’s assertion that these statistics are skewed because there’s been a trooper surge at the border. “That does not take away the fact that there’s a disparity in what happens to someone who’s black when they’re stopped by a trooper. Now, c’mon man! I know you went to school, I know you understand statistics. Don’t tell me that particular circumstance is skewing all the numbers in the state of Texas for black people.” (McCraw:) “Cherry-picking data sets to support a narrative is not productive. You have to look at all the evidence.” (Coleman:) “Sir, that’s what you’re doing. That’s what your department has done over the last so many years, that you cherry pick data in such a way that it actually obfuscated the reality.” But McCraw agrees racial profiling is unproductive. “What helps us to mitigate racial profiling in the Department of Public Safety clearly is focusing on a different type of profiling, and that’s behavior.” Representative Coleman says he was disrespected by a law enforcement officer during a 2015 traffic stop for speeding. But police say the video shows an encounter much different than what the lawmaker described. X Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /01:29 Share last_img read more

New Step Forward For University Of Houston College Of Medicine

first_imgUniversity of HoustonThe Health 2 building serves as the temporary home to UH’s College of Medicine.The process to create the University of Houston’s College of Medicine keeps advancing, this time with an important step in the Texas Legislature.The Texas House of Representatives on Monday approved the formal recognition of the college in the state’s Education Code through the passage of House Bill 826. The House had previously approved an allocation of $20 million for the medical school, an amount that’s critical to the college’s startup cost.The House’s formal recognition is important because the Education Code authorizes public university systems in Texas to approve curricula and operational protocols for medical schools. It also makes medical schools eligible for related state funding.Legislators acknowledged the shortage of primary care physicians throughout Texas, the unmet need for access to care in under-served communities, and UH’s agreement to increase residency slots to train new doctors. Texas ranks 47th in the U.S. in primary care physician-to-population ratio.Last year, UH finalized an agreement with HCA Houston Healthcare to create nearly 400 residency slots over the next seven years.The medical school hopes to admit its first class of students in Fall 2020, pending accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved UH’s medical doctor degree last fall. Sharelast_img read more

How to upgrade to a new Linux Mint version

first_imgHow to upgrade to a new Linux Mint version by Martin Brinkmann on December 26, 2016 in Linux – Last Update: January 04, 2018 – 35 commentsThe following guide provides you with instructions on how to upgrade a device running Linux Mint to the latest version of the Linux distribution.The main present that I handed out during Christmas was a shiny new laptop for my girlfriend. The device came without operating system, and I made the decision to install Linux Mint on the device and not Windows.I installed Linux Mint 17.3 on the device, wrapped it up nicely, only to read a day later that Linux Mint 18 has been released.So, the first thing I did after she unwrapped her present was to take it away from here to install the latest version of the Linux distribution on the device.How to upgrade to a new Linux Mint versionThere are two main methods to upgrade Linux Mint to a new version. The recommended way, or playing it safe, is to use a new liveDVD to install the new version on the device. This involves backing up all data and software on the device prior to the upgrade, and restoring the backed up data afterwards.You can read about this method on the official Linux Mint Community site.What I did was upgrade directly from the running system instead. It is still recommended that you back up your data before you proceed. I had no need for a back up as there was no data on the device other than a couple of changes I made to it after installation of Linux Mint.Backup Linux MintTo back up, select Menu > Administration > Backup Tool. Note that you can also type Backup Tool and select it this way. This works even if the language of the Linux Mint installation is not English.Select Backup files in the next step, and configure the process.Select your home directory as the source. You may need to click on “other” to select it.Select a destination directory for the backup. It is recommended to use an external storage device, or a second hard drive for it.Click on advanced options afterwards. You may want to add a description for the backup, and modify the settings there as you see fit. It is usually not required though as everything is set up just fine. You may save a bit of storage space if you select an archive format under output.Select Forward to proceed.You may exclude files from being backed up on the next screen. This depends largely on how you are using your computer. You may want to exclude the download folder for instance, or any other folder that you don’t require that is under the home directory.Select forward again.The backup tool displays all parameters of the back up job on the final screen.Click apply.To back up the installed software, open the backup tool again.This time however you need to select “backup software selection” on the first page that opens.Select a destination for the backup job in the next step.The program displays the list of software installed by you or an admin. You can select some or all of the programs.The Linux Mint upgradeThe first thing you may want to do is check the current version of Linux Mint. To do so, select menu and type “version”, and select System Information.If you prefer Terminal, open a prompt and type cat /etc/linuxmint/info.Step 1: Using the Update ManagerThe Linux Mint Upgrade Tool works only if Linux Mint 17.3 is installed on the device. If you are still on Linux Mint 17.0, 17.1 or 17.2, or even an older version, you need to run the Update Manager first.Also, please note that the KDE edition of Linux Mint cannot be upgraded this way. If you run KDE, you need to download the live version and run the installer using it.Select menu, type update manager, and then the result from the listing.Select refresh first (the program may ask you about your updating preference, simply click ok to get to the main interface).Apply all updates.Check Edit at the top to see if you get an option to upgrade to the latest “same” version of Linux Mint. So, if you are on Linux Mint 17.1 for instance, see if you get the option to upgrade to Linux Mint 17.3 there.If you see the option there, select it (e.g. Edit > Upgrade to Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa).follow the instructions.Step 2: Upgrade Linux Mint to a new versionThe following commands are all run from a Terminal window:Select Menu, type terminal, and select the result.First, you need to install the Linux Mint Upgrade Tool. Run the command apt install mintupgrade.Then, you may want to run an upgrade check, or a simulation of the upgrade, to make sure it will run without issues. The command for that is mintupgrade check.Once you are satisfied with the result, type mintupgrade download to download the packages require to upgrade to the latest version of Mint.Then, once they have been downloaded, run mintupgrade upgrade to perform the upgrade. Please note that this will take a while to complete.And that is all it takes.Closing WordsThis method of upgrading to the latest version of Linux Mint is not as fast as installing the new version using a live copy of Linux Mint. I do prefer it though, as I don’t have to prepare a USB device first (or burn the new copy of the distribution to DVD), before I can get started.SummaryArticle NameHow to upgrade to a new Linux Mint versionDescriptionThe following guide provides you with instructions on how to upgrade a device running Linux Mint to the latest version of the Linux distribution.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

What causes gut microbiome changes in astronauts

first_img GenomeWeb, 2010 Shimadzu USA Manufacturing Obtains ISO 13485 Certification GenomeWeb, 2013 We recommend Privacy policy GenomeWeb, 2013 GenomeWeb, 2013 France Funds $17M Cancer Profiling, Biomarker Effort Jefferson Medical Wins $3M MicroRNA Grant Google Analytics settings CAP Accredits CardioDxs Laboratory I consent to the use of Google Analytics and related cookies across the TrendMD network (widget, website, blog). Learn more Yes No BioNano Genomics Raises $10M in Private Financing GenomeWeb, 2013 A new analytical tool developed by researchers at Northwestern University has been used to reveal the effect of spaceflight on bacteria in the gut microbiome. The research suggests distinct microbiome changes caused by spaceflight are most likely caused by microgravity, and not radiation, diet or other factors previously hypothesized.“If we are going to send humans to Mars or on long missions to the Moon, it is essential to understand the effects of long-term exposure of the space environment on us – and on the trillions of bacteria traveling with us,” explains Fred Turek, co-author on the new study.Prior research has indicated spaceflight causes significant changes to the diversity of bacteria in the gut microbiome. This has been verified in mice delivered to the International Space Station (ISS), and in astronaut Scott Kelly who spent nearly a year in space.Exactly what was causing these microbiome changes has not been entirely clear. In the case of astronaut Scott Kelly, whose microbiome could be directly compared to that of his Earth-bound identical twin brother, it has been hypothesized these changes were simply due to the specific dietary conditions of astronauts.To try and get a clearer understanding of what was underpinning these microbiome changes, the Northwestern researchers developed a new method called STARMAPS (Similarity Test for Accordant and Reproducible Microbiome Abundance Patterns).“There wasn’t a statistical approach for doing this work,” says Martha Vitaterna, lead researchers on the new study. “The tools didn’t exist, so we invented them. It’s a classic case of how necessity is the mother of invention.”The new study crunched a load of data from several NASA rodent studies following groups of mice sent to the ISS, alongside matched control groups kept under similar conditions on Earth. The control mice kept on Earth were carefully housed in conditions identical to their space-bound counterparts, with matching diets, habitats, temperature and humidity levels.The researchers are clear to note in the study that the primary differences between the groups of animals were, “the acceleration and vibration during launch as well as microgravity and cosmic radiation during spaceflight.”The effects of the launch on the animals cannot be excluded, say the researchers, however, it is estimated that this impact could not account for all the microbiome differences seen between the two animal cohorts. Radiation is often considered to be a factor at play here, but the new study could effectively rule that out by comparing spaceflight data to specific studies done on mice exposed to similar space-type radiation on Earth.“Radiation definitely has an effect on the gut microbiome,” says Vitaterna. “But those effects do not look like what we saw in spaceflight.”The current hypothesis to explain these differences in gut microbiome composition is that they are fundamentally caused by specific environmental factors found in space. Microgravity in particular is cited as the most likely primary factor at play.Comparing the animal data to the microbiome samples taken from Scott Kelly while on the ISS, the researchers found distinct similarities between the groups. This suggests these microbial changes are indeed caused by spaceflight.“Some of the high-level changes are similar,” says Peng Jiang, first author on the new study. “We saw the ratios of the same major types of bacteria change in the same direction and a slight increase in overall diversity. That is consistent.”So how does microgravity directly alter a person’s microbiome? The study speculates a number of potential mechanisms could be at play, from lowered fluid shear dynamics to altered digesta movement, but Vitaterna does note these gut bacteria changes may be underpinned by stress responses in an organism.Further work will inevitably be needed to better understand the effects spaceflight has on the microbiome, but the results may not only help our future astronauts stay healthy on long spaceflights – any method developed to help mitigate the stress of space environments could help us here on Earth, too.“Understanding the factors that can reduce this kind of microbiome change would be useful information to have – for offsetting the effects of stress on Earth,” says Vitaterna. “Understanding what genetic factors contribute to differences in bacterial strains will be useful for developing countermeasures that can protect your microbiome during stressful periods.”The new study has been published in the journal Microbiome.Source: Northwestern Now Powered by GenomeWeb, 2013 Agilent, Florida International Developing Screening Methods for Designer Drugslast_img read more

And the Verdict is

first_imgWill there be another recession? According to Sharga, yes, due to natural cycles in the economy. He predicts that it’s not inevitable in 2018—maybe 2019. And if that were the case, the industry wouldn’t see a spike in foreclosures until 2020 or 2021. Rick Sharga, EVP of Ten-X, held a live webinar on Tuesday to discuss his 2017 mid-year housing update and his views on whether or not the mortgage finance industry is on track for another housing bubble. Editor’s Note: all included graphs were used during the live presentation. Sharga began by examining the various factors that play a role in the housing market. First, he talked about the gross domestic product, which currently sits at 2.6 percent. He mentions President Trump calls for a GDP growth sitting somewhere between 4 and 5 percent, which Sharga says, “isn’t close to realistic.After touching on GDP, he discussed the unemployment rate, which currently sits at 4.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.Sharga contends that unemployment under 5 percent suggests that those who would be looking for jobs already have fulltime employment, as usually, the housing market reacts opposite to the unemployment figure—if unemployment is down, home sales should be up, and vice versa. Sharga attributes that to the fact wage rates haven’t kept up with rising home prices. In addition, he says that many people are choosing other nontraditional employment routes, such as Uber and AirBnb. in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News August 22, 2017 543 Views Share He does say, however, that inventory is improving from a 20 year low that was seen between 2012 and 2013. Housing starts are sitting at a projected 1.5 million, which is right where they should be.Another reason he explains why inventory is so tight is the fact that, even though there are still many people whose homes are underwater, virtually every avenue to attract delinquencies are down. Fewer homeowners are in a position of negative equity and foreclosure starts are as low as they were since 2005.center_img Ten-X 2017-08-22 Joey Pizzolato And Sharga’s conclusion? The economy is improving—homeownership rates are on the rise, albeit slowly, and the current market isn’t in the territory of another housing bubble. And the Verdict is? Inventory restrictions are also stifling home sales. He attributes this fact to a lower-than-average number of existing home sales, which should sit at six months. New home construction is also well below what it historically should be. See the charts they referenced below.last_img read more

Nevada officials reach out to Dbacks on potential

first_img Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Should Williams fully recover from his injury there is little doubt he’ll be an impact player, and if Wells falters or has injury issues there is a chance the former Virginia Tech star could find himself getting the bulk of the team’s carries. But whether it’s Wells or Williams toting the rock, the Cardinals are entering the season with arguably the best stable of running backs they’ve had since moving to the desert. And that, if all goes according to plan, could lead to big things.“We’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle, it’s just a matter of putting them in the right places and seeing how it all unfolds,” Wells said.Arizona Sports’ Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report The Arizona Cardinals are entering the 2012 season with question marks surrounding a few positions on the offensive side of the ball.Will the quarterbacks play well? Can the offensive line protect the quarterbacks? Will someone emerge as a true threat opposite Larry Fitzgerald?We don’t know yet.What we do know, however, is that few are questioning the team’s running backs, at least when it comes to ability. Both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams enter the season with great expectations, provided each can stay healthy and on the field.“I definitely think it will be a strength, without a doubt,” Wells said of the running backs. “With all of us healthy I think we’re all pretty good running backs, so I think we’re all capable of producing.”Wells did exactly that last season, his first as a full-time starter, by rushing for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games. It was an effort that would have many believing the 24-year-old is primed to take another step forward, but offseason knee surgery put a bit of a damper on expectations for the former Ohio State Buckeye. But if expectations are a bit low for Wells they are soaring even higher for Ryan Williams. A second-year pro, Williams missed all of last season after tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee in a preseason game. He’s come back strong this season, looking good all throughout training camp and through preseason action. He’s ready to go in games that count for the first time in his career.“To be able to have a positive return, having my mind set on just continuing to work hard so I can continue to be healthy,” Williams said. “I want to be the most successful person to come out of this injury, so I’m going to continue to do what I’ve got to do to do that.” Top Stories D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Comments   Share   last_img read more

MPs want stolen Sisi gift to remain as part of police probe

first_imgMPs on Thursday raised questions about the authorities’ handling of a stolen ancient Egyptian artefact, which they claim was illicitly unearthed in Cyprus whereas the transport ministry states the object was looted from Egypt.The issue of the item’s provenance has somehow dovetailed into the upcoming visit to Cyprus of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.That is because President Nicos Anastasiades, in a gesture of good neighbourly relations, intends to present the artefact as a gift to al-Sisi.MPs insist the Antiquities Department must immediately return the artefact to the police. On Thursday, the House watchdog committee asked the Attorney-general to intervene in the matter.They want the Attorney-general to instruct Antiquities to give back the artefact, as it is the subject of an ongoing police investigation and therefore constitutes an evidentiary item.Asked what action he would take, attorney-general Costas Clerides told the Cyprus Mail late on Thursday that he had yet to officially receive the MPs’ request.He would examine the request once he received it.The object in question is a vessel dated to the 13th century BC depicting Ramses II of the 19th dynasty of Egypt.Lawmakers say the police probe must be completed first before the artefact can be cleared to be given to President Anastasiades.But in a statement, the transport ministry said that, following a request for information by Cypriot police to Interpol, it was determined that the object had been illicitly exported from Egypt after illegal excavations at a burial site there.Since Egypt has filed a formal request for the artefact’s repatriation, the item is to be delivered to the Egyptian president during his visit to Cyprus, the statement added.The ministry added that allegations to the effect the artefact was dug up from an ancient burial site in Cyprus are “vague and unsubstantiated.”But in parliament on Thursday, opposition MPs insisted the artefact was unearthed on the island, not Egypt.And they raised the question of how the item came to be in the possession of Antiquities since it is designated as evidence in an ongoing police probe.From the transport ministry’s perspective, this is now a shut case. Moreover, going by the ministry’s account, the police investigation was prompted by the Egyptians’ request to have it returned.By contrast, MPs say the case is still very much open and that it rather is the result of reports filed to the police by locals who claim the artefact was unearthed in Paphos.The bizarre story goes back to October 2016, when a Greek Cypriot man contacted Antiquities and requested an export permit for the artefact.At the time, he did not bring the item with him, but provided photos of it. The man claimed the object was part of a private collection of his, and that he bought it from a woman for €350 in 1986.Up to this point, the facts of the case are agreed.But MPs contend that around the same timeframe, a number of people filed a report with Paphos police claiming the item was in fact stolen from a field in Kouklia, Paphos.According to information given to MPs, among the people reporting this to police was the man who cultivated the plot from where the artefact was allegedly illegally excavated. Police then initiated an investigation.It is based on this, the MPs say, that Antiquities then denied the Greek Cypriot’s request for an export permit and asked him to hand over the artefact.The man was hard to reach after that.In March 2017, meanwhile, Egyptian authorities got involved claiming the item had been smuggled out of their country.But according to what was heard in committee on Thursday, the Egyptians have so far failed to provide convincing evidence of the artefact’s provenance.On October 17, police announced that, acting on a tip, they located the object in Larnaca.This was right after two unsuccessful searches of the residence and business premises of the Greek Cypriot man suspected of having the item in his possession. The second search had taken place on October 12.On October 13 – the very next day – the Greek Cypriot showed up at Antiquities with a bag containing pot fragments.He claimed this was the item in question and that it was accidentally broken in the meantime.But according to MPs a subsequent examination showed he was not telling the truth, as the fragments did not match the photos he had previously provided authorities.Four days later, the actual artefact turned up after police found it in a location in Larnaca.It was handed to the Antiquities Department, which held onto it, despite the fact it was the subject of a police investigation, said Citizens Alliance MP Anna Theologou.“Authorities today were unable to provide us satisfactory answers to a host of questions, such as whether the Greek Cypriot has been charged or not,” she told the Mail.The holes in the story prompted some lawmakers to claim a police cover-up, with justice minister Ionas Nicolaou vehemently denying the allegations.Asked by the Mail how President Anastasiades might then request an item known to be evidence in a police probe, Theologou surmised that perhaps the president does not have the full facts.“It’s odd that the artefact magically turns up at about the same time that it becomes known the president would like to gift it to al-Sisi,” she remarked.The Egyptian leader and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be here on Tuesday attending the fifth trilateral summit of heads of state of Egypt, Greece and Cyprus.In a statement on Thursday, the police said the file on the investigation would be forwarded to the attorney-general’s office.“It is stressed that, where investigations into antiquities are concerned, and depending on the circumstances, the evidence is photographed and handed over to the Department of Antiquities,” the statement added.In August last year, Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos raised a storm when he claimed that staff at the Antiquities Department were stealing and selling artefacts from the basements of museums. The department denied the allegations and demanded that Phedonos back up his claims with evidence.Phedonos later made similar claims, suggesting that collectors and state officials from Limassol were also involved in cases of selling archaeological artefacts.You May LikeSolar SolutionsCalifornia – New Program Giving Solar Panels to Homeowners With Electricity Bills Over $100/mthSolar SolutionsUndoLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoRefinance24x7California: 7 Surprising Discounts Seniors Only Get If They AskRefinance24x7Undo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Transparency International ditches Cypriot branch in money laundering spat

first_imgBy Stelios OrphanidesThe non-governmental organisation (NGO) Transparency International has denied official membership status to its Cypriot branch due to fundamental disagreements regarding anti-money laundering work, prompting anger from members in Cyprus.“The affiliation of Transparency International Cyprus was ended in August,” said Stan Cutzach, member of the ethics and governance committee of Transparency International in an emailed statement.Cutzach, who was commenting in response to an emailed inquiry from the Cyprus Business Mail, said that the global anti-corruption watchdog could clarify questions early this year with its Cypriot branch or “chapter” related to the use of the logo and brand.Two former members of the board of directors of Transparency International Cyprus, former chairwoman Maria Kramvia Kapardi and former vice chairman Marios Skandalis said they were dismayed over the Berlin-based organisation’s decision, and questioned the NGO’s motives that led to it.“Our priority was not money laundering but corruption,” said Kapardi who also teaches accounting at the Limassol-based Cyprus University of Technology, better known as Tepak. “The ultimate goal of Transparency International is not tackling money laundering by fighting corruption. They were obsessed in demonstrating that Cyprus did nothing in the money laundering area”.Kapardi added that Transparency International had ignored the work the Cypriot branch had accomplished and added that the decision was guided by “ulterior motives”.Similarly, Skandalis, who is now chairman of the Cyprus Integrity Forum, a successor organisation of Transparency International Cyprus, said “unfounded obsession with money laundering and vague perceptions as to conflict of interest” and a German attempt to discredit Cyprus were behind the Berlin-based NGO’s decision not to offer the Cypriot branch an official status as a chapter.“When they told us in writing that they cannot give us the official status of ‘chapter’ because of the above reasons we requested to talk to them and even visit them in Berlin to clarify what exactly they meant, but there was a complete absence of response from their side,” he added. “At the same time and after serious discussion at our board we decided that probably it was not right for us to be associated with such an association which lacked practical transparency”.Skandalis is head of the anti-money laundering compliance department of Bank of Cyprus, the largest lender on the island. In June, he was elected chairman of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC), a body tasked with supervising the anti-money laundering compliance of accountants, who together with law offices often act as customer introducers for banks.In 2016, Bank of Cyprus said that it had ditched nine in ten of its former introducers and terminated relations with 1,871 customers, citing compliance reasons.“It was as if they were hiding,” to avoid giving an explanation for their decision, Skandalis continued. “Our legal advisor’s position was that this absence of communication and not getting the right to support our position, violated our basic human rights”.The Bank of Cyprus chief compliance officer said the parent NGO also asked the Cyprus chapter to look into the island’s controversial citizenship-by-investment scheme, which allows foreign investors to acquire a Cypriot passport within months by investing as little as €2m, which led to an inflow of around €5bn in foreign investment in recent years mainly into real estate.“And we said that this issue needs complete transparency and that it should constitute a by-product of the real economy of Cyprus,” he continued.“But what more was it expected from Transparency International Cyprus to say? To say that it is an illegal sector of the economy? Well it is not, it is a sector that applies in all EU economies including Germany”.The parent NGO ignored the Cypriot branch’s contribution in modernising Cypriot law in the area of the financing of political parties and the protection of whistleblowers, he added. It also ignored the findings of the financial transparency index, a survey which showed that Germany was the 7th least transparent economy among 112 jurisdictions. Cyprus was the 24th least transparent.“So here we have country number 7 accusing country number 24 for lack of transparency,” Skandalis continued. “I am not saying that it is Germany behind all these unfounded and unfair allegations, but all these things are really very strange. Why isn’t Transparency International Germany being questioned and probably disaccredited?”Cyprus which in 2012 requested an international bailout, paid a heavy price five years ago when Germany declined to make funds available to support Cypriot banks citing their use by Russian oligarchs.The island made headlines at the beginning of the millennium when it emerged that former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic laundered illicit funds through the Cypriot banking system. As recently as last year, Hermitage Capital founder Bill Browder said that Cyprus had done little to investigate the theft of $230m (€183m) in stolen funds uncovered by lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in Russia a decade ago.A year ago, Transparency International said that Cyprus disclosed the most complete set of anti-money laundering data among 12 analysed countries including Germany, the US, the UK and France.“So, we decided to continue our struggle alone, as the Cyprus Integrity Forum with the same values and objectives as before, but without having to do with Transparency International secretariat in Berlin anymore,” the Bank of Cyprus compliance officer said. “We wanted to see more honesty, transparency and fruitful communication in our relationship to with the secretariat. However, we realised that ‘transparency’ is a principle and a virtue of those who want to pursue it and not the ownership of anyone”.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more