NAFTA Why Trumps trade pick is moving slowly to confirmation

first_imgWASHINGTON, United States of America – The start of the NAFTA renegotiation process is working through a final hurdle in the U.S. Senate — one imposed by a famous member of President Donald Trump’s own party, in a symbolic example of the free-trade rift between the past and present of the GOP.The party leadership began closure proceedings late Tuesday to force a vote on the confirmation of Trump’s trade czar. That means a few more days of debate, followed by Robert Lighthizer’s likely confirmation, which would let him start preparing for negotiations later this year with Canada and Mexico.One reason it didn’t happen sooner: unanimous consent was denied by John McCain.The Republican icon and onetime presidential nominee dismissed suggestions he’s been nursing a grudge. Lighthizer wrote a mildly critical newspaper column in 2008 that said McCain’s support of free trade didn’t prove he was conservative.Rather, McCain said, it’s a matter of principle. He said he has been asking questions, and awaiting answers from Lighthizer, about free trade, an issue central to the Republican party orthodoxy in the pre-Trump era.“It has a lot to do with whether a trade representative is for free trade or not. Or whether they want to be further isolationists and destroy our economy,” McCain said Tuesday on Capitol Hill.“I’m not saying I’m opposing him. I want answers to the questions. That’s what senators do. That’s the right of a senator. It’s normal. It’s what we do every day.”The administration desperately hopes to get moving on NAFTA. Once Lighthizer is confirmed, it could file its 90-day notice before starting negotiations. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he hopes Lighthizer gets confirmed as early as this week.Ross said there’s mounting time pressure. With the Mexican election approaching and the U.S. midterm elections shortly thereafter, both the Mexican and American administrations have said they want a deal by early 2018.Failure to seal an agreement by then could delay things to 2019.“The Senate has been slow-walking the confirmation of Bob Lighthizer,” Ross told a conference at the State Department. “We will seek a far more aggressive meeting schedule (on NAFTA this fall) than has been the norm thus far.”He repeated his frequently stated position that he’s willing to negotiate a bilateral or trilateral deal, and isn’t particularly wedded to either approach.Lighthizer’s confirmation should be a fait accompli, once it’s up for a vote. Many Democrats sound ready to support him. The progressive, trade-skeptical Sherrod Brown of Ohio said he’s spoken to Lighthizer four times since his confirmation hearing, really likes him, and can’t understand what’s taking so long.“I think he’s one of the best — maybe the best — single Trump nominee so far,” Brown said. While Democrats had earlier held up the nomination over a procedural issue, Sen. Claire McCaskill said it’s Republicans delaying now: “They’re having trouble on their side of the aisle. It’s not us.”This bizarre role-reversal reflects the fact that, in U.S. politics, attitudes to trade don’t follow neat partisan lines.And whatever lines existed are shifting in the Trump era, according to a new poll.A survey conducted in the runup to the renegotiations of NAFTA finds majority support for the agreement in all three countries involved. The Pew Research survey finds that of those who took part in the poll, 76 per cent of Canadian respondents, 60 per cent of Mexicans and 51 per cent of Americans supported NAFTA.But there’s turbulence under the surface of U.S. public opinion.The poll suggests a massive gap in partisan attitudes, with only 30 per cent of respondents who voted Republican supporting NAFTA compared with 68 per cent of Democrats. That’s the opposite of the partisan breakdown of a few years ago — and suggests a major Trump effect.Republicans are suddenly the more trade-skeptical party, in keeping with Trump’s attitude and shifting away from the views of Senate Republicans — like McCain.The veteran senator finished the day with a forceful defence of NAFTA.In a panel discussion at the U.S. State Department, he shared memories of its 1992 signing, describing a moving speech by Brian Mulroney and a celebration with Mexico’s president. He said it has benefited all countries, now supports 200,000 jobs in his home state of Arizona, and has given the U.S. a great gift: a more stable southern neighbour, with a growing middle class.“I’m sorry I get so passionate about it,” McCain said. “I happen to believe in free trade.”last_img read more

Nuclearwaste bunker decision to likely to fall to next federal government

first_imgTORONTO — The much-delayed and politically fraught decision on a proposed multibillion-dollar nuclear-waste storage bunker near Lake Huron now appears certain to fall to Canada’s next government.Environment Minister Catherine McKenna paused the process in August 2017 — the latest in a string of delays for the deep geologic repository — to ensure buy-in from Indigenous people in the area. However, members of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation have made it clear they are in no rush to give Ontario Power Generation their blessing for the proposed facility.“Both parties have committed to getting toward a decision, ideally this year, but there’s a lot of work to make sure that happens,” Randall Kahgee, a lawyer and lead adviser to the First Nations on the file, said in an interview.During community meetings in recent months, a basic “Nuclear 101” was offered. The result, Kahgee said, is that people have begun asking pointed questions about the project that Ontario’s publicly owned utility will have to answer.About two dozen sessions are planned for the coming months to allow Ontario Power Generation to explain why it believes the repository is the best way to go. A “period of reflection” will follow those sessions leading to a community decision, perhaps by the end of this year, Kahgee said.A key step is to decide how Saugeen Ojibway Nation gets to express its collective will, who in the community gets to have a say, and when. That includes deciding the role of young people, who must ultimately help implement whatever decision the community makes.McKenna had no comment but the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency called it important that Ontario Power Generation has the flexibility to engage with Indigenous peoples.“Any decision that is made will be based on science and Indigenous knowledge,” said agency spokeswoman Lucille Jamault.Currently estimated to cost a total of $2.4 billion over a planned 50-year operational cycle, the project calls for a bunker to be built at the Bruce nuclear power plant near Kincardine, Ont. Hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of low and intermediate radioactive waste — not spent fuel bundles but still toxic for centuries — would be buried 680 metres deep rather than stored above ground at the site as now happens.Politicians and scores of communities in Canada and the United States have denounced the project as an eco disaster in the making given its proximity to Lake Huron. The utility insists exhaustive science shows a repository in stable and impermeable rock would be perfectly safe for centuries.An environmental review panel gave its OK in May 2015 but the then-Conservative government punted final approval until after the last election, and its successor Liberal government — which emphasized reconciliation with Indigenous peoples — has repeatedly delayed making a decision.Kahgee said the community knows a new federal government after this October’s vote might approve the project over any Indigenous objections.“That’s always the concern and that concern has been expressed by our community members,” Kahgee said. “You see how different governments have treated Indigenous issues.”Regardless of any legal hurdles the government might face if it ignores the First Nations, Kahgee said the community is confident Ontario Power Generation has committed itself to respecting their views.Ontario Power Generation spokesman Fred Kuntz affirmed that commitment.“We will not build the DGR at the Bruce site without SON’s support,” Kuntz said. “If the decision is a no, we would have to look for alternative measures.”One thing is certain: Both Ontario Power Generation and Indigenous people see a long-term solution for dealing with nuclear waste as a priority.“The worst scenario … is that the community rejects the DGR and everyone goes away and then we’re done,” Kahgee said. “This dialogue, this relationship, is going to have to continue for many, many, many years. That reality doesn’t change.”Saugeen Ojibway Nation comprises about 5,000 members of the Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, many of whom live out of the area.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

City seeking resident feedback on facility fees and charges

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John is asking for feedback from residents on updating the bylaw that designates the price of fees and charges collected for the use of City facilities, including the Pomeroy Sport Centre, North Peace Leisure Pool, and Surerus and Kin Park sports fields.Communications Coordinator Ryan Harvey explained that the City typically updates the Community Services Fees and Charges bylaw every five years, with the current bylaw having been adopted on March 10, 2014.He said that the current schedule of fees and charges for activities such as ice and meeting room rentals will expire at the end of next August, and the City wants to get residents’ thoughts on the current fee schedule, and any ideas from residents on what to include in the next bylaw update. Harvey explained that the City uses a benefit-based approach to its fee schedule, with programs that have a larger benefit to the community as a whole getting a larger subsidy.“Potentially, a private birthday party or a private company function would pay more for that service because it doesn’t benefit a wide population.”The City has included a survey on its Let’s Talk public engagement website, along with the fee schedules from Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie so that residents can compare charges with neighbouring municipalities.Harvey said that the public engagement on the fees and charges will be wrapping up this fall, with staff taking that feedback into account when presenting the bylaw update to Council next spring.The public engagement campaign can be found here: read more

MaraLago chef says harassment complaint cost him his job

A pastry chef is suing President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, saying he was laid off in retaliation for trying to stop managers from sexually harassing women in the kitchen.Former executive pastry chef Graham Randall alleges he was laid off from the club in Palm Beach about six months after he complained that two top managers were sending lewd texts and engaging in other offensive behaviour toward two women pastry chefs. The lawsuit seeks more than $15,000 in lost wages and damages.The Trump Organization called the lawsuit “ridiculous.”Randall says the club told him he was losing his job because business was down after charities had cancelled events. He says business is fine as evidenced by all the foreign workers hired there on special visas.Bernard Condon, The Associated Press read more

Active public policy crucial for future of communications – UN conference

24 April 2009To extend the benefits of the ‘Information Society’ to all, public policy in rapidly-evolving telecommunications technology must be shaped now, participants at a United Nations forum said today. To extend the benefits of the ‘Information Society’ to all, public policy in rapidly-evolving telecommunications technology must be shaped now, participants at a United Nations forum said today.Policies for interconnectivity, capacity-building and security are needed to boost the public good that could arise from next-generation networks (NGN) and advanced broadband access, according to the outcome of the Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF-09), which closed in Lisbon, Portugal, today.The Forum, sponsored by the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU), discussed policy and regulatory issues associated with the rapid advancement of information and communication technologies (ICT).At the meeting’s close, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré noted that growing challenges are reshaping the telecommunications industry. “The Forum comes at a pivotal time that will define the future direction of ICTs,” he said. “The Strategic Dialogue at the start of this Forum acknowledged the vital role of ICTs in leading the world out of crisis and kickstarting economic growth and recovery,” he added. “Now there is widespread recognition that ICTs will play a vital role in powering economic growth and creating jobs.”During the three-day meeting, many speakers proposed that a ‘Digital Marshall Plan’ should extend broadband access to every corner of the planet, a call that was first made at the ITU Connect Africa Summit in Kigali in October 2007.In its outcome document, the Forum agreed that it was crucial for ITU to continue to coordinate Internet-related public policy issues.Participants also agreed that ITU should study the management of Internet resources, international Internet interconnection – particularly the areas of tariffs and accessibility – and help create a multilingual Internet to facilitate the diversity of online participation. Governments around the world should also be assisted to carry out their policy and regulatory roles, according to the Forum’s outcome.At the close of the meeting, five Magalhães laptop computers, designed and produced in Portugal, were awarded to young people who were judged to have brought “a new vision to ICT development,” according to ITU. The award winners are: Zhassoulan Bayekeyev of Kazakhstan, Carlos Andrés Gomez Ruiz of Colombia, Samuel Hector Morgan of Jamaica, Eunice Lionnelle Sana-Aniamnossou of Benin and William Benjamin Towne of the United States.Over 880 representatives of 126 Member States – including 40 ministers – attended the Forum, along with representatives of the private sector, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). read more

UN agency calls for global daylong fast as symbol of war on

11 November 2009The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called for a day-long, global hunger strike in solidarity with the planet’s one billion people who do not have enough to eat, ahead of next week’s World Summit on Food Security. “I shall personally begin a 24-hour fast on Saturday morning,” FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf told a press conference in Rome. “We are suggesting that everyone in the world who wants to show solidarity with the one hungry billion people on this planet go on hunger strike next Saturday or Sunday.”Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open the three-day summit in the Italian capital on 16 November, when immediate action will be sought to build momentum to end the scourge of hunger and malnutrition. Heads of State and government from FAO’s 192 members have been invited to attend. “Given the close inter-relationship between food security and climate change, the Secretary-General will engage world leaders to advance both agendas together,” spokesperson Marie Okabe told a news briefing in New York. Mr. Diouf said that despite all the promises made, concrete action on hunger has been lacking. “In the absence of strong measures another global food crisis cannot be excluded,” he warned. He also launched an online anti-hunger petition,, where visitors are asked to sign the petition if they agree that 1 billion people living in chronic hunger is unacceptable. Everyone is encouraged to use Twitter or other social media tools to spread the word about the initiative. “I would urge as many people as possible to sign our petition,” he said. “Each click will serve as another reason, in addition to the billion we already have, for ending hunger. Each click will also serve as a goad to world leaders to ‘walk the talk.’” During his stay in Rome, Mr. Ban will visit the headquarters of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), where he will participate in a commemoration for the staff recently killed in the attack against the WFP office in Pakistan. He will also meet with the staff of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the FAO. read more

Sri Lankas Ambassador to Qatar comes under fire in Parliament

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti said that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must take immediate action to address the issue.He said that Liyanage represents Sri Lanka in Qatar and so his actions will harm the image of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Qatar A S P Liyanage came under fire in Parliament today with some Parliamentarians calling him a mad man who was ruining Sri Lanka’s image overseas.Liyanage was slammed for getting involved in the operations of the Stafford Sri Lankan School in Doha. “His role is to bring investments to Sri Lanka. How much has he brought? He has not brought any investments to Sri Lanka,” Pathirana said.Pathirana said that Liyanage must be recalled and he must be investigated for some allegations against him. The Deputy Minister said that Liyanage was a real joke and is not fit to be an Ambassador for Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana told Parliament that Liyanage had no right to get involved in the affairs of a school. read more

Facebook boss Nicola Mendelsohn reveals she has incurable cancer

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. When she was diagnosed in November 2016 she was fit and had not been feeling tired or unwell, but had noticed a lump on her groin which she discussed with a GP who referred her to a gynaecologist, who in turn sent her for a scan. It showed she had “tumours up and down my body” but, as it was a Friday afternoon, the tests she needed to tell her more could not be done until the Monday.  “I had a horrible two days trying to process it. It was worse that I didn’t find out all in one go. I couldn’t stop crying that weekend, grieving for the life I’d had before,” she wrote in the Sunday Times magazine.Further scans and biopsies showed she had follicular lymphoma,  a cancer she had never even heard of. When she and her husband Jonathan, the Labour Peer,  sat their four children – aged between 13 and 20 – down and explained her condition her youngest, Zac, asked: “Are you going to die?””That’s always the thought that comes into your head when you hear the word “cancer”,” she wrote. ” It is not a conversation I could ever have imagined having with them, not even in my worst nightmares, until it hit me in the face. It was the hardest moment of my life.” Lord Mendelsohn, who last month lost his place on the Labour front bench after attending the all-male Presidents Club dinner, has been  “amazing, my absolute rock”, she said.  It is the most common type of slow grown Non-Hodgkin lymphomas, but is usually found in men over 65.  Sixty percent of people with lymphomas live for more than 10 years, but for a woman in her 40s “it doesn’t feel acceptable”, Lady Mendelsohn said. She decided to watch and wait as there is no change in life expectancy depending on when treatment starts and now has regular scans and blood tests. If the tumours are growing she will begin chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  “My decision might well have been different if there were a cure for follicular lymphoma, but as it stands in 2018, there is none,” she said.  It is not “high-profile” and therefore doesn’t receive the same level of research funding as other cancers, she said, and therefore she is trying to raise awareness and investment in the search for a cure.   She has already been looking to Facebook for support and has joined and helped to grow the group Living with Follicular Lymphoma, which now has 3,500 members who support each other.  She wrote: “It is the largest collection of patients living with follicular lymphoma that has existed. Lately we’ve attracted a number of medical researchers and doctors.  Facebook Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn Facebook Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa Nicola MendelsohnCredit:PA The head of Facebook in Europe has revealed that she has incurable cancer in the hope that she can raise awareness of the disease and prompt research into a cure. Mother-of-four Nicola Mendelsohn, 46, was diagnosed with  follicular lymphoma more than a year ago and has decided not to “watch and wait” rather than treat her tumours with chemotherapy.  Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa has joined forces with other sufferers on the social network to raise the profile of the common but little known about cancer and in the process she said it has “stopped all of us feeling alone with this disease”.  Revealing her diagnosis for the first time, she wrote on the social network: “I often talk about how people can seize their own destiny, so it’s tough to be reminded that there are things you can’t control.  “Just over a year ago I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma – a slow developing cancer of the white blood cells that’s not rare and that has no cure. It is quite an unknown disease which is why I’ve decided to raise awareness by telling my story in the hope of driving research and a better understanding of it.”  She says that the diagnosis has not changed her as she has always been an optimist who if anything is “even more grateful” for what she has been given.  “They’ve told us they see people share things in the group that they might not ask their doctor or a family member. They have benefited from reading patients’ insights and perspectives on the side effects of treatments.”She has created a logo to unify support and has hosted Q&As with world leading experts to open up new channels of communication. Those in the groups are now planning off-line meet ups, showing that the two worlds can merge, and one user was even offered a home with another sufferer when he feared his house would be destroyed by Hurricane Irma. last_img read more

Businessman Inderjeet Beharry dies

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedElectrical Engineer shot dead in Prashad NagarOctober 19, 2014In “Crime”Beharry onboard with Youth Basketball GuyanaApril 6, 2014In “Sports”Four charged with murder of Delhi Street EngineerOctober 24, 2014In “Crime” File: Businessman Inderjeet Beharry of the Edward B Beharry Group of Companies Limited receiving a national award from President David Granger in 2016Guyanese business tycoon, Inderjeet ‘Indi’ Beharry, CCH, passed away this morning (February 15, 2019). He was in his 70s at the time of his death.Mr Beharry of the Beharry Group of Companies, has been one of the most important  and abled businessmen in Guyana and was outstanding in the fields of manufacturing, finance and insurance and other areas of entrepreneurship.He was an acquired philantrophist. He leaves to mourn his wife and three children. read more

Taoiseach visiting Silicon Valley San Francisco and Seattle as US trip continues

first_imgTHE ST PATRICK’S Day programme of Taoiseach Enda Kenny has moved to the west coast of America.Following yesterday’s meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden in Washington DC, Kenny will visit the states of California and Washington over the next two days.Following a 7.30am breakfast meeting with members of the Global Irish Network, the Taoiseach is set to visit the office of Yahoo and McAfee in Silicon Valley.The visit comes on the same day as the two companies announced 260 new jobs in Dublin and Cork.After meeting with Enterprise Ireland client companies in Palo Alto, he is then set to head to the Irish Cultural Centre in San Francisco for a reception.Yesterday, the Taoiseach met with film director Steven Spielberg, with a view to increasing the number of big budget Hollywood movies made in Ireland.SeattleTomorrow sees Kenny in Seattle, Washington, where he will meet Irish Business Network Seattle, as well as representatives from community groups.He will also meet the Irish company, Surewash.Read: US Vice President Joe Biden to visit Ireland >last_img read more

Dropbox implements major redesign

first_imgIn Dropbox‘s own words, the redesign just implemented for their web interface has been “turned up to 11.” If you visit the site today you will be in for a surprise as a major overhaul of the interface has taken place.The purpose of the redesign is to simplify the interface and put more focus on the actual content in your Dropbox. This has mainly been achieved with the introduction of a new multi-tool toolbar at the top of the page that auto-adjusts its options based on what you are currently doing. It has been coupled with a new right click menu with common options mirrored from the toolbar. As for interacting with files directly, the checkboxes have gone and been replaced with simple click selection. Multiple files can be selected and dragged, and there’s now an option to use keyboard shortcuts, which is a welcome addition for those of you working on a laptop without a mouse.The Dropbox team have taken a leaf out of Google’s book when it comes to search. Type anything in the new search box and your file and folder lists updates to cut down the option on-the-fly. It’s surprisingly quick.Finally, media access has been greatly improved. Images and video now have thumbnail previews, and a new photo viewer allows easy access to full screen shots. Dropbox say this is just the first stage in the update process. Now they have a new interface in place we can hopefully expect to see some new features in the coming months. I’d also like to see the storage allowances rise for each tear.Read more at The Dropbox Bloglast_img read more

Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90

first_img 78,167 Views 183 Comments Short URL Nov 26th 2016, 6:10 AM By Christine Bohan Source: AP/Press Association ImagesFIDEL CASTRO, WHO led Cuba for almost 50 years, has died at the age of 90.The news of his death was confirmed this morning by his brother, current president Raul Castro, on Cuban television.“The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening,” the president said in his televised address.Raul Castro, who took power after his older brother was hospitalised in 2006, said that the revolutionary leader’s remains will be cremated early today, “in compliance with his expressed will”.Raul Castro made the announcement just after 5am Irish time (midnight Cuban time).One of the leading world figures in the second half of the 20th century, Fidel Castro had outsized influence given the size of his small Caribbean island.He was said to have survived countless US assassination attempts.In one of his last public appearances, Castro had called on his successors to keep his ideas alive.During his time, El Comandante, as he was known in Cuba, proved to be a divisive figure who exercised huge control over the Caribbean island.He implemented major economic and social changes in Cuba, which remains one of the few socialist regimes left in the world after the fall of the USSR. Cubans benefited from free education and healthcare and low poverty rates, making Castro a generally popular leader.However his dictatorial style of government and suppression of any kind of opposition began to wear thin among the citizens, years after the same such policies had ended in other socialist countries. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesCuba was also repeatedly criticised for its human rights breaches under Castro, and thousands of Cubans have fled from the country.The socialist revolutionary assumed power in 1959 after he and a group of followers overthrew sitting US-backed president Fulgencio Batista.Castro served as prime minister from 1959 to 1976 and as president from 1976 until 2008 when he stood down to allow his brother Raúl to take over as leader.BackgroundFidel Castro was born on 13 August 1926 in rural Cuba and was the son of a successful landowner. He was educated by Jesuit priests and studied law at the University of Havana.Throughout his time in education, he gradually became disillusioned with how Cuba was run and the grinding poverty experienced by so many of his fellow citizens. He had been planning to run for election in 1952 when the government was overthrown by General Fulgencio Batista.The new regime radicalised the young Castro, who began to focus on armed revolution rather than change through the ballot box. He tried to lead an uprising against Batista with his brother Raúl in 1953, but the rebellion failed, and Castro was sentenced to 15 years in jail. center_img Share2933 Tweet Email2 Saturday 26 Nov 2016, 6:10 AM Castro pictured in 1957 Source: AP/Press Association ImagesAfter being released early under an amnesty two years later, he fled to Mexico in 1955 where he met Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, a young Argentine who shared his views on socialist revolution, and the two built up a guerilla force.In 1956, they travelled to Cuba with their group of insurgents and began a guerilla war against the government which lasted for the next two years. In 1958, Batista fled the country and early in 1959, Fidel Castro was sworn in as leader.In chargeOnce in charge, Castro brought radical communist reforms to Cuba. The economy  was nationalised and he promised to defend the rights of the poor and give the land back to the people. Castro addresses the UN General Assembly in September 1960 Source: AP/Press Association ImagesCastro also focused on raising living standards for the poorest people. Under the Batista regima, half of children in Cuba did not go to school. A decade after Castro took over, the UN declared that Cuba had the highest primary and secondary school enrolment in Latin America.However, with the Cold War at its height, the US was predictably unhappy about a socialist country being located right on its doorstep. Washington imposed economic sanctions on Cuba from 1960, which were to last for more than 50 years.In April 1961, the CIA backed an invasion by Cuban exiles into the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, which was a massive and public failure. Many of the exiles were either killed or captured.Just months later, US planes discovered Soviet missiles were on their way to be stored in Cuba, and the prospect of all-out nuclear war became a real threat. The US and the Soviet Union came as close as they have ever come to all-out war in the Cuban Missile Crisis, before both sides backed down. Castro with Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev in 1964 Source: Photas/Tass/Press Association ImagesTensions between the US and Cuba remained high throughout Castro’s tenure, and he survived numerous CIA plots and attempts to assassinate him over the years. As well as trying bombs and snipers, less conventional plots included an exploding cigar and a fungus-filled diving suit.For three decades, the Soviet Union continued to pour money into Cuba, buying the bulk of the island’s sugar harvest. The collapse of the USSR was disastrous for the Cuban economy, which was still suffering under the American blockade. Food supplies dropped and the country’s economy struggled throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesCritics said that this exposed how Castro’s dictatorship could not independently support a strong economy; supporters claimed that the social policies had been hugely advantageous for Cubans, with a 98% literacy rate, infant mortality rates which compare favourably with western nations, and good medical care for all.Recent yearsThe end to Castro’s reign began in July 2006 when he underwent emergency intestinal surgery. He officially handed over power to Raúl two years later, having scarcely been seen in public since.In the years since, some of the country’s strict rules have eased. Small SMEs are allowed, Cubans have been permitted to buy houses, private farmers have been given more autonomy to grow and sell their produce, and some political prisoners have been freed. Castro with then-Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in 2001. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesCastro lived to see the historic shift in relations between Cuba and the United States announced in December 2014 when Barack Obama said that the long-time foes were to restore diplomatic relations after five decades.Obama visited Cuba in March 2016, becoming the first US leader to visit the country in almost 90 years. In a speech, he called on Cubans to forget the history of hostility between the two countries and to move towards a more normalised relationship.Castro is survived by his second wife, Dalia Soto del Valle, and their five children, as well as his six children from his first marriage.With AFPExplainer: What’s the new deal between the US and Cuba?Read: It’s the dreaded ‘R’ word: A recount has officially been requested in Wisconsin Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90 The revolutionary leader shaped Cuba for more than 50 years. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

ASA CEO Censky Welcomes Appointment of Veneman as Agriculture Secretary

first_imgFollowing President-elect George W. Bush’s announcement today, Stephen L. Censky, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Soybean Association (ASA), a trade group representing thousands of farmers, said, “I think Ann Veneman is a great choice for Secretary of Agriculture. Clearly, Ann knows agriculture very well. She has spent her whole career in agriculture working for farmers and ranchers both at the Department of Agriculture, as well as Commissioner of Agriculture in California.”Censky, who worked with Veneman at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) before he joined ASA, said he worked with her when she was Deputy Undersecretary of what is now Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, and when she was Deputy Secretary of the entire Agriculture Department.”Ann brings vision and strength in many areas, including international trade,” Censky said. “She really knows the importance of trade, and I think she will exercise real leadership in helping U.S. agriculture open up more markets, including the development of science-based rules governing international trade.”Ann knows that a key to agricultural and farmer prosperity is expanding demand overseas, knocking down trade barriers, and preventing trade barriers from disrupting our exports. So Ann is going to be extremely effective, and I think the soybean industry is going to be extremely well served.”With 96 percent of the world’s population living outside the United States, international trade is particularly important to soybean producers because nearly half the value of the U.S. soybean crop is exported as whole soybeans, or as soybean meal and soybean oil. The value of 1999 U.S. soybean exports was nearly $7.4 billion.”Another area where I think the American Soybean Association will be well served with Ann Veneman as Secretary of Agriculture is in the area of the environment,” Censky said. “Ann clearly is a strong proponent of the environment and environmental conservation, and recognizes the strong environmental ethic farmers hold. Ann brings a strong practical and realistic approach to environmental stewardship that will help farmers better protect the environment while still allowing farmers to farm profitably.”Ann brings a wealth of experience in dealing with science and nutrition issues, and marketing opportunities,” Censky said. She’s a great choice for Secretary of Agriculture because she will serve all of agriculture, including the soybean industry, extremely well.”last_img read more

Avengers Endgames new pic has fans calling out a possible Professor Hulk

first_imgAnd plenty of other fans are posting comparison shots highlighting this idea. Do you think we’re getting Professor Hulk in #AvengersEndgame? @ChrisKillian does and that’s what we’re talking about on today’s #GetUp!— (@ComicBook) February 8, 2019 Tags 1- AoU2- Ragnarok3- AIW4- #AvengersEndgame This is a strong indication of the appearance of the Professor Hulk version. Banner and Hulk cooperating after the Thanos smackdown(Also, hi Clint!)— OG (@floatingboat) February 8, 2019 Calling it: Bruce Banner and Hulk are finally going to merge into one, becoming Professor Hulk in #AvengersEndgame… It would be a cool way of concluding Banner’s arc in the MCU— Jason Mickey (@JMickey97) February 8, 2019 The Hulk The Avengers TV and Movies Share your voice 61 Photos Now playing: Watch this: What do you think about a possible Professor Hulk? Or what other Avengers: Endgame theories are you hoping for? Talk about them in the comments below.Avengers: Endgame comes to theaters on April 26.center_img 2:09 Avengers: Endgame — Everything you need to know And another fan declares that it very well could be poetic for Hulk and Banner to find a compromise, especially since Avengers: infinity War spent a lot of time focusing in on Banner’s inability to swap to the Hulk during battles. 0 @MarkRuffalo Aww He Is Professor Hulk 😍😍😍😍 & His Face Is Close Enough To Bruce 😍😍😍😍 #AvengersEndGame— Pranav (@pranav1490) February 8, 2019 Hulk in Avengers: Endgame looks a bit more like Bruce Banner. The purported Avengers: Endgame photo revealed Thursday has Marvel fans thinking that Professor Hulk might be making his debut in the film.Several reactions to the photo on Thursday focus on how the Hulk appears to have a slightly different face than his appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, one that seems to resemble a green Bruce Banner. Further emboldening this idea is the character of Professor Hulk, who is essentially a merged version of both Bruce Banner and his Hulk identity. Previously, Hulk and Banner didn’t share the same consciousness, with Banner noting in previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films that he’s not aware of what the Hulk does when the big green guy takes’s Chris Killian highlights this in a speculation video the website posted on Friday. Post a comment So … I’m not imagining this right? The Hulk looks drastically different between Ragnarok and End Game. Is this what happens when Bruce and the Hulk find “peace” with eachother?? #Avengers #AvengersEndgame— Jacob’s Quest (@v_jvee) February 8, 2019 Ahead of Avengers: Endgame, we visited the S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit in Vegaslast_img read more

Super sharksize asteroid comes within striking distance of satellites

first_img Tags Share your voice NASA wants to save the Earth from asteroids (with a giant… They’re out there. Theodore R. Kareta It’s not exactly an apex predator, but an asteroid was spotted prowling the depths of space Thursday at the same distance from Earth as some satellites.  The space rock measures up to 7 meters (23 feet) across, making it about the size of a large truck, van or “Deep Blue,” believed to be the largest shark on record. Asteroid 2019 JH7 was first spotted by astronomers on Tuesday as it approached our planetary neighborhood. It passed by us two days later at a distance of around 45,000 miles (72,500 kilometers), around the same altitude where some satellites (like the Magnetospheric Multiscale quartet) orbit Earth. 4:55 2 Space Now playing: Watch this: Sci-Tech 2019 JH7, which made the fifth-closest observed flyby of an asteroid so far this year, poses about as much of a risk to humans as Deep Blue appears to threaten the divers in the above video. While 45,000 miles is close in cosmic terms, it’s still a safe flyby distance. Even if the asteroid had collided with our atmosphere, it’s likely that most of it would have burned up before ever making it to the ground. So just keep on swimming, earthlings, all is well in space and, apparently, alongside Deep Blue. Commentslast_img read more

Series of gas blasts in Boston kills 1 injures 12

first_imgA building burns after explosions in Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States on 13 September 2018. Photo: ReutersDozens of explosions, apparently triggered by a natural gas pipeline rupture, rocked three communities near Boston on Thursday, killing at least one, injuring dozens and prompting the evacuation of hundreds, officials said.The blasts left scores of homes and other buildings demolished or engulfed in flames as fire fighters from some 50 departments scurried for hours from one blaze to another and utility crews rushed to shut off gas and electricity in the area to prevent further ignitions.Police drove up and down streets with bullhorns telling residents to immediately vacate their homes.Fire investigators suspected “over-pressurisation of a gas main” belonging to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts led to the series of explosions and fires, Andover fire chief Michael Mansfield said at a news conference.Columbia Gas, a unit of NiSource Inc, had announced earlier in the day that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions occurred. But it was not immediately known whether any work was being done in those communities at the time.“Columbia Gas is investigating what happened on its system today,” NiSource spokesman Ken Stammen said.The US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said it was dispatching a team to support the state’s emergency response efforts.The former head of that agency, Brigham McCown, called the series of gas explosions “unprecedented, at least in recent memory.”“I can’t think of a series of natural gas-related incidents like this,” McCown, who led PHMSA under then-president George W Bush, told Reuters by telephone. “We have had similar issues on a much smaller scale.”He said the National Transportation Safety Board was also sending a team headed by its chairman, Robert Sumwalt, to investigate the disaster.Live TV images showed firefighters battling blazes in the former mill towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, about 25 miles (40 km) north of the Massachusetts capital.The streets were darkened after nightfall as power was cut off to the area as a precaution.Overwhelming EventAt least three people, including one fire fighter, were hurt in Andover, the town said in a statement. Six people were being treated at Lawrence General Hospital, spokeswoman Jill McDonald Halsey said. It was not immediately clear if any of those being treated at that hospital were from Andover.The Boston affiliate of CBS News reported that two of the six patients at Lawrence hospital were in critical condition.“This has been an overwhelming event,” Mansfield told reporters, saying that fire companies responding to blazes were putting one house fire out only to discover another house on fire as they finished their work. “This event is not over tonight. This event will probably go on.”Massachusetts State Police said a total of 70 fires, explosions or investigations of gas odor had been reported. Some 50 fire departments responded to the emergency, said John McArdle, fire chief of Plaistow, New Hampshire, which sent a tower ladder and engine crew to the scene.North Andover resident Laurie Williams, 55, said she drove home from work to find police and fire vehicles blocking streets near her home, and learned that three buildings nearby were on fire.“It was very scary,” Williams told Reuters by telephone, describing smoke visible to her on the skyline. “My first thought was this is a gas explosion.”State police urged residents served by Columbia Gas to evacuate their homes. Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said residents in the southern part of his city had been asked to leave their homes whether or not they were Columbia Gas customers, due to planned power cuts.Gas utilities have come under heightened scrutiny in recent years for an aging network of pipelines that critics say are not being properly inspected and maintained, posing a growing risk to public safety.Friday’s conflagrations came six years after Columbia Gas accepted blame for a gas explosion in Springfield, Massachusetts, that injured 17 people and caused an estimated $1.3 million in property damageThat occurred when a Columbia Gas technician called to investigate a gas odor at a nightclub accidentally punctured a line, the state Department of Public Utilities said in a report.last_img read more

Watch Octopus Fights Vlogger Who Tries to Eat It Alive

first_img Alligators Spotted ‘Swimming’ in Road, Climbing Fences in FloridaBaby Dugong That Became Internet Star Dies After Ingesting Plastic Stay on target An octopus got sweet eight-legged revenge on a vlogger who tried to eat it alive — live on camera.The live streamer known as “seaside girl Little Seven” loves to eat seafood and shares videos on Kuaishou, a Chinese platform, The New York Post reported. However, her attempt to eat this squirmy cephalopod went horribly wrong when it decided to latch onto her face and stay there.Video footage shows the woman smiling as she’s about to devour the octopus. But, the octopus pulled an Arya Stark, said “not today,” and attached its tentacles to her skin. As she tries to remove the creature, it manages to grasp onto her eye, and clearly, this octopus was not going to have a lunch or dinner fate. The woman was struggling to set herself free, and cried in agony in the process.After a bloody showdown with the eight-legged animal, she said, “I’ll eat it in the next video,” according to Metro. Once she removed the octopus, it left a slight cut on her cheek, which she pointed out in the clip.Social media users were amused and said she deserved the mini-attack: “She deserves it,” one social media user wrote. “She tried to eat the octopus and the octopus tried to eat her too.” Another user commented, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”More on the 84-Year-Old Man Known As the ‘Octopus Whisperer’Girl Accidentally Brings Home Deadly Blue-Ringed OctopusRarely Seen ‘Ghostly’ Dumbo Octopus Caught on Cameralast_img read more

Microsoft announces 499 Xbox One Elite Bundle with hybrid hard drive

first_imgLast week Phil Spencer made it clear that we should not expect a new, smaller Xbox One to launch in 2015. However, he never said we wouldn’t be getting a new (not smaller) Xbox One in time for the holidays. And that’s exactly what we are getting in the form of the Xbox One Elite Bundle.Major Nelson has posted details of the new machine, which will cost $499 and be available starting November 3. Should we expect Xbox One sales to dry up between now and then? Probably, as the updated package is certainly worth waiting for.The new bundle will include an Xbox One fitted with a 1TB hybrid drive. That means a combination of standard hard drive with a small amount of solid state flash memory. The end result being load times that are greatly improved and the time from energy saving mode to playing a game being cut by 20%.If that’s not enough to tempt a purchase, Microsoft has also decided to ship the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller in the box. This is the much improved controller that is fully-customizable, including hair trigger locks, interchangeable paddles, and an Xbox accessories app so you can tweak it to your tastes. On its own this controller costs $149.99.The existing 1TB Xbox One costs $399, meaning this new Elite version wouldn’t be worth the extra $100 for the hybrid hard drive alone. However, the inclusion of the Elite controller actually makes it a good value proposition if you intended to pick up the controller separately anyway.For existing Xbox One owners who have no intention of buying the console again, Microsoft is going to tempt you with a new controller purchase instead. The Xbox One Special Edition White Wireless Controller would win a longest name competition, sports a white, gold, and black color scheme, has improved grip texture, and costs $64.99 exclusively from GameStop.This controller is just a standard Xbox controller that has the recent modifications Microsoft carried out, including a separate 3.5mm headphone jack next to the expansion port.The hybrid hard drive could make a big difference to the load times for games on the Xbox One. I’m sure Microsoft will demonstrate that in the run up to launch as well as using it in advertising to differentiate itself from the PS4. Unfortunately, by not launching until November I suspect Xbox One sales are going to suffer during September.last_img read more

Light detector system finds light pollution makes skies 20 times brighter in

first_img Citation: Light detector system finds light pollution makes skies 20 times brighter in some areas (2016, October 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Geographical distribution of the detectors of the Galician Night Sky Brightness Monitoring Network, located at 14 MeteoGalicia weather stations. Credit: Robert Simmon/NASA 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. City moths avoid the light (—A physicist in Spain has found that artificial light systems can make the skies above cities more than 20 times as bright as natural areas. Salvador Bará, with Universidade de Santiago de Compostela has written a paper detailing sky measurements made with a sensor network set up around the northwest portion of the Iberian Peninsula highlighting just how much brighter parts of the world have become at night and has uploaded it to the open access site Royal Society Open Science. Journal information: Royal Society Open Sciencecenter_img Explore further The problem of light pollution is still so new that scientists still do not know the extent of the problems it may be causing, either for us humans or plants and animals. Eager to learn more about the amount of light pollution emitted around parts of his home country, Bará and associates put up 14 light detectors in automated weather stations around parts of the peninsula covering urban, rural and suburban areas. The detectors took readings once every minute, which were published automatically to a publicly available website. Bará defined two metrics using the data from the sensors—significant magnitude (for clear nights) and moonlight modulation factor (to account for the amount of light reflected from the moon back to Earth).In analyzing the data, Bará found that the night sky in urban areas was typically 14 to 23 times brighter than in a natural environment. He also found light levels seven to eight times brighter in periurban areas (those on the outskirts of urban areas) and 1.6 to 2.5 times brighter in transition regions (between urban and suburban areas and rural areas) and 0.8 to 1.6 times brighter in rural or mountainous areas. He noted that the presence of clouds had a strong impact on the amount of light in the sky reaching amplification factors as high as 25.He also notes that the night sky brightness typically attributed to moonlight was easily visible in rural and transition areas, but was barely noticeable in urban areas. He also points out that much of the artificial light that is generated encroaches on areas not meant to be lit, which represents not only waste, but possible problems for plants and animals attempting to exist at a distance. © 2016 More information: Salvador Bará. Anthropogenic disruption of the night sky darkness in urban and rural areas, Royal Society Open Science (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160541AbstractThe growing emissions of artificial light to the atmosphere are producing, among other effects, a significant increase of the night sky brightness (NSB) above its expected natural values. A permanent sensor network has been deployed in Galicia (northwest of Iberian peninsula) to monitor the anthropogenic disruption of the night sky darkness in a countrywide area. The network is composed of 14 detectors integrated in automated weather stations of MeteoGalicia, the Galician public meteorological agency. Zenithal NSB readings are taken every minute and the results are openly available in real time for researchers, interested stakeholders and the public at large through a dedicated website. The measurements allow one to assess the extent of the loss of the natural night in urban, periurban, transition and dark rural sites, as well as its daily and monthly time courses. Two metrics are introduced here to characterize the disruption of the night darkness across the year: the significant magnitude (m1/3) and the moonlight modulation factor (γ). The significant magnitude shows that in clear and moonless nights the zenithal night sky in the analysed urban settings is typically 14–23 times brighter than expected from a nominal natural dark sky. This factor lies in the range 7–8 in periurban sites, 1.6–2.5 in transition regions and 0.8–1.6 in rural and mountain dark sky places. The presence of clouds in urban areas strongly enhances the amount of scattered light, easily reaching amplification factors in excess of 25, in comparison with the light scattered in the same places under clear sky conditions. The periodic NSB modulation due to the Moon, still clearly visible in transition and rural places, is barely notable at periurban locations and is practically lost at urban sites.last_img read more

New laser technique improves neutron yield

first_img Citation: New laser technique improves neutron yield (2017, April 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2017 (—A team of researchers from several institutions in China has developed a new way to produce neutrons that they claim improves on conventional methods by a factor of 100. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the team describes the new method and the results they obtained when testing it. Small-scale nuclear fusion may be a new energy source More information: G. Ren et al. Neutron Generation by Laser-Driven Spherically Convergent Plasma Fusion, Physical Review Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.165001ABSTRACTWe investigate a new laser-driven spherically convergent plasma fusion scheme (SCPF) that can produce thermonuclear neutrons stably and efficiently. In the SCPF scheme, laser beams of nanosecond pulse duration and 1014–1015 W/cm2 intensity uniformly irradiate the fuel layer lined inside a spherical hohlraum. The fuel layer is ablated and heated to expand inwards. Eventually, the hot fuel plasmas converge, collide, merge, and stagnate at the central region, converting most of their kinetic energy to internal energy, forming a thermonuclear fusion fireball. With the assumptions of steady ablation and adiabatic expansion, we theoretically predict the neutron yield Yn to be related to the laser energy EL, the hohlraum radius Rh, and the pulse duration τ through a scaling law of Yn ∝ (EL/Rh1.2τ0.2)2.5. We have done experiments at the ShengGuangIII-prototype facility to demonstrate the principle of the SCPF scheme. Some important implications are discussed. 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.center_img Neutrons are used for a variety of purposes, including academic pursuits and real-world applications such as underground mineral resource location. For that reason, scientists continue to look for new and better sources. Currently, in one approach, lasers are fired at hydrogen isotope clusters, which causes them to be ionized and to collide, resulting in fusion reactions that release neutrons. Unfortunately, this approach and others are not very efficient. In this new effort, the researchers have taken a new approach to using lasers to produce neutrons—applying the force from the inside rather than the outside.In the new method, a laser is used to heat a deuterium capsule, which fuses deuterium nuclei pairs, resulting in neutron emissions. The method is a form of inertial confinement fusion, but the instability inherent in other techniques has been improved by using what the team terms “spherically convergent plasma fusion.” In this method, the researchers used a spherical capsule covered with a thin layer of gold; the capsule had an inside coating of polystyrene containing an amount of deuterium. The researchers then cut tiny holes in the coating and fired lasers through them, allowing the beams to strike inside the capsule, instigating a fusion reaction and emittance of neutrons. The team used 2 ns 6.3 kJ laser pulses to test their method, and report that they were able to produce approximately 1 billion neutrons for each pulse, which they claim is approximately 100 times better than other methods.The team also suggest that if the target used were deuterium and tritium, it might be possible to boost output by a factor of 1000. They further suggest it might be possible to scale up their method to produce even greater amounts of the subatomic particles. Journal information: Physical Review Letters Explore further Credit: G. Ren/IAPCM and J. Yan/LFRC via Physicslast_img read more