A retired officer of the Bangladesh Air Force has advised India, specifically Assam, to shift focus from the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to creating a climate of confidence and capitalising on connectivity through Bangladesh.“Assam was one of the richest Indian states at the time of India’s partition; today it is one of the poorest. The State is virtually cut-off from mainland India, and is thereby deprived of much needed investment. Assam could improve its investment climate by using Bangladesh’s rivers, roads, rails and air links,” Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury, a retired Air Commodore, wrote in the Dhaka-based Daily Star.The only beneficiaries of the NRC issue, he said, are those who are against friendly relations between India and Bangladesh. Communal forces in India and Bangladesh are exploiting the situation, waiting for an opportune moment to strike, he felt, advising Dhaka to protest “this game of finger-pointing without substantive evidence”.Mr .Choudhury suggested that the Sheikh Hasina government should increase vigilance along the 4,096 km border with India. “The aim should be to check for the possible illegal entry of Indian citizens into Bangladesh. Let us hope that good sense prevails in the BJP leadership and they do not dent a friendly Indo-Bangladesh relationship that has been constructed with due diligence over the last decade,” he said.The opinion attains significance in view of a dip in ties with neighbours such as Maldives and Nepal besides Pakistan.According to Mr. Choudhury, many in Bangladesh took as “empty rhetoric aimed at Hindu voters” the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 election campaign against illegal trespassers from Bangladesh, as well as BJP president Amit Shah’s assertion in 2016 that his government would push out Muslims while allowing Hindu migrants from Bangaldesh to settle in India.“However, when BJP came to power in Assam, they restarted the long-stalled NRC process. A part of the draft NRC was released on the midnight of December 31, 2017, and subsequently on July 30, 2018, the full draft of the NRC was released. It appeared that out of about 35 million who had submitted papers for citizenship registration in Assam, over 4 million were rejected,” he said.It can be presumed that the bulk of these so-called “illegal trespassers from Bangladesh” who could not prove their Indian citizenship are poor Muslim farmers who had settled in the Brahmaputra valley in Assam many generations ago, Mr Choudhury said.Although India has clarified there is a provision for the NRC-excluded to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, seeking justice from the Indian apex court would remain a far cry for an ordinary individual who is likely to be herded to a deportation camp, he said.“With BJP using the NRC process as an election trump card, we cannot ignore the worst-case scenario of a human onslaught on our border by evicted Muslims from Assam, he warned as Bangladesh can “no longer ignore the jingoistic threats coming out of mid and high-level BJP politicians, many of whom see the migrant population as having links to various Islamist terror organisations”.Where do these people then go, except crowd along the Indo-Bangladesh border, he asked.
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd fullback Dalot slams AZ Alkmaar pitchby Freddie Taylor21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United full back Diogo Dalot was less than impressed with the state of the pitch against AZ Alkmaar.United had to endure a poor quality artificial turf in their Europa League group stages game on Thursday.They emerged with a 0-0 draw, and Dalot spoke about the condition of the pitch after the game.”It’s a lot easier for them because they’re used to playing on these types of pitches,” Dalot told MUTV.”We’re Man United though and we need to be ready for any challenge and we don’t use that as an excuse but it is of course a difficulty that we need to get through.”I think we did OK today and we defended well and we kept the clean sheet and that’s important.”We trained well yesterday on this pitch. Today we tried to do our best and we did a good job and we created chances as well.”If we’d have scored some more goals as well… but like I said, at the end we need to keep the positives, look to what we did bad and improve that.”
Story Highlights Shadee says the experience has sharpened her skills in communication and team-building and helped to boost her confidence. Of particular benefit was the empowerment and voluntarism session. Beneficiaries of the National Youth Services’ (NYS) Graduate Work Experience Programme (GWEP) have given the initiative good reviews following a six-month pilot.The pilot, undertaken from February to August, exposed new tertiary-level graduates to the world of work, through placement in the NYS offices.The programme is designed to provide work experience for graduates aged 17 to 24 years and address the long standing problem of graduates not being selected by employers, because of their lack of work experience. Shadee Grant, one of the interns, who participated in the pilot project, tells JIS News that it was an opportunity to get valuable work experience and to give back to society.A recent graduate of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), she assisted with the promotion, planning and co-ordination of the NYS Summer Employment Programme.“It was eye-opening to know that it takes so much effort to co-ordinate a programme that is so important and has been around for so many years,” she says, noting that every day there was a new task to fulfil.Shadee says the experience has sharpened her skills in communication and team-building and helped to boost her confidence.“You have to be a very hardworking person, dedicated, you have to be very flexible and be able to do more than one tasks simultaneously,” she points out, when asked how she managed on the job.Though she had to make some sacrifices, including relocating from her home in St. Ann to Kingston, Shadee tells JIS News that she would gladly encourage other young people to participate in the programme, noting that “it would help them to make one step further into the world of work.”“I would advise any person that is interested in participating in the programme to give it a try. With the right mindset and the right work attitude it would be beneficial to them,” she notes.Shadee, who has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work, is looking for a job and says she is willing to work outside her area of expertise or wherever job opportunity is available. “I would take it as another stepping stone. You can use any opportunity presented to you and make whatever you want of it,” she says.She says she will also be exploring several business ideas with the intention of starting her own operation.Cecilia Samuels, who also participated in the GWEP pilot, tells JIS News that she learnt of the programme while completing an undergraduate degree at the University of the West Indies (UWI).She says that of particular benefit was the empowerment and voluntarism session, which exposed her to resume writing, voluntarism and entrepreneurship. She informs that the interns learnt the importance of creating their own businesses as well as “to see themselves as a business and to develop the professional you.”“You would never think of yourself as a business, and your education and genuine experience as an investment, so the things we learnt while there are going to make us much better individuals when we go out there to another organisation,” she says.Cecilia is currently pursuing a Masters in Applied Psychology, specialising in youth development, at UWI. After completing her studies, Miss Samuels is planning to work in youth development.With the successful completion of the pilot, the NYS, on Monday (November 18), rolled out the full GWEP, with the first batch of 30 interns assigned to organisations in the parishes of Clarendon, St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas and Portland.Executive Director of the NYS, Melvin Smith, says that the agency has identified placements for 200 graduates. “The first 30 will begin between November and the end of December. We will engage about 100, while the remainder will be engaged during the last quarter of the fiscal year,” he informs.“We are now matching to ensure that we can identify appropriate graduates for the various positions available for graduates in the various parishes. That has been our current challenge,” he tells JIS News.Explaining the process of recruiting persons for the work experience programme, Mr. Smith informs that the NYS approaches the placement departments and divisions of universities to assist in identifying graduates, who have no experience and have not yet found jobs.“We go to the various colleges and universities to obtain the graduates and we reach out to corporate Jamaica asking for partnerships, or persons, who have opportunities in their organisations that would accommodate graduate trainees to partner with us so that we can have appropriate placements,” he says.“We also reach out to organisations through our parent Ministry (Youth and Culture) and our Minister Hon. Lisa Hanna, who has been very instrumental in identifying organisations and corporations that have an interest,” he continues.Asked how business entities stand to benefit from the programme, Mr. Smith says they will profit from the meaningful work undertaken by the young people while not having to be involved in their recruitment process, which he says, is sometimes very costly.“Typically, recruitment is a very high cost endeavour for organisations and also high risk, because they spend money and time to recruit persons and then they put them on probation and some work out and some don’t,” he points out.Secondly, he states that entities are not compelled to pay the graduates even though a number of partners have indicated that they will assist with either the stipend or by supplementing the stipend. Each GWEP trainee receives a stipend from the NYS to offset the cost of transportation and meals.“They get a highly motivated graduate, who wants to work without having to go through all the complexities, time and financial costs of initial acquisition and they now can have these persons assist them with various functions,” Mr. Smith stresses.He invites businesses that are interested in participating in the programme to contact the Programme Director at the NYS, Omar Newell, at email: email@example.com or visit the agency’s website www.nysjamaica.org. The pilot, undertaken from February to August, exposed new tertiary-level graduates to the world of work.
APTN National NewsThis year marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II taking of the throne.To commemorate the occasion, Canada will be giving 60,000 Canadians the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.Gov.-Gen. David Johnston presented some of the medals at a ceremony in Ottawa. Prime Minister Stephen Harper also attended.Roberta Jamieson, CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and Clem Chartier, president of the Metis National Council, were among those receiving the honour.The medals are presented in recognition of their dedication to their Queen and Country.
OSU then-redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) during a game against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Photo Credit: Lantern file photoFor the second straight season, the Ohio State football team has reached the Fiesta Bowl. Although the introduction of the College Football Playoff format in 2014 brought more prominence to the game played in the University of Phoenix Stadium, the Buckeyes have been appearing in the Fiesta Bowl since 1980.“One of the great bowl experiences I’ve ever been a part of I believe three other times,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said earlier this month. “It’s great to be here.”OSU (11-1) is ranked at No. 3 in the playoff, and has appeared in eight different Fiesta Bowls, while Clemson (12-1) has never made an appearance. With two teams that have a mutual respect for one another, and two squads that have incredible talent on both sides of the ball, the 45th edition of the Fiesta Bowl should be one for the ages.With playoff implications on the line, neither team will be willing to give an inch. The Buckeyes have been to the desert on multiple occasions, and have a 5-3 record throughout the program’s history.Here is a look back at the successes and failures of the Buckeyes in Glendale, Arizona.1980Penn State – 31Ohio State – 19With the 10th anniversary of the Fiesta Bowl came the second straight bowl appearance for the Buckeyes since Earle Bruce took over coaching duties in Columbus. Bruce, who had led the Buckeyes to a 11-1 season in his first year, earned a 9-2 mark to go to the Fiesta Bowl.After holding a 19-10 lead in the first half, running back Curt Warner from Penn State helped the Nittany Lions rack up 351 rush yards as a team, and slowly put the game away. Outscoring OSU 21-0 in the second half, Penn State earned its second Fiesta Bowl victory.1984Ohio State – 28Pittsburgh – 23Another 9-2 season for Bruce and the Buckeyes led them back to the Fiesta Bowl, this time against Pittsburgh. Led by quarterback Mike Tomczak and running back Keith Byars, both future NFL talents, the Buckeyes were able to bring home a 28-23 win.On the last drive of the game, Tomczak drove his team down the field in the final two-and-a-half minutes, tossing a 39-yard score in the closing moments for the win. The Buckeyes had picked up their first ever Fiesta Bowl win, and given Bruce his third straight bowl win with OSU.2003Ohio State – 31Miami (Fla.) – 24After being away for nearly 20 years, OSU returned to the Fiesta Bowl on the grandest stage of them all. OSU coach Jim Tressel, in just his second year at the helm, had led an underdog Buckeyes team to a perfect 13-0 record in the 2002 season. However, a Miami Hurricanes team stood in the way of the Buckeyes, with the likes of future NFL players Willis McGahee, Kellen Winslow Jr., Ken Dorsey, Andrew Johnson, Jonathan Vilma and the late Sean Taylor. Most felt OSU did not have a chance to even come close to winning.The Buckeyes forced five Hurricanes’ turnovers, and benefitted from four rushing touchdowns split evenly between running back Maurice Clarett and quarterback Craig Krenzel. An injury to McGahee slowed the Miami offensive attack, and OSU denied a late Dorsey pass in the endzone for the program’s seventh national championship.2004Ohio State – 34Kansas State – 28A year removed from a national championship win, the Buckeyes returned to the desert to square off against Kansas State. After falling to Wisconsin and Michigan, OSU was denied a second straight championship bid, but would have to put up quite a fight against a scrappy Wildcats team.Krenzel, eager to prove his worth as a potential NFL quarterback, struggled to find consistency throughout the year, throwing for just 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2003. However, in Arizona, Buckeyes fans were treated to a four touchdown performance by the eventual Chicago Bears draft pick.The Buckeyes were outgained on offense, and struggled to limit Kansas State quarterback Eli Roberson, even though OSU did not allow a passing touchdown. Roberson picked up a pair of scores on the ground, while Darren Sproles and Ayo Saba each had a rushing touchdown.OSU recovered an onside kick attempt and chewed the clock before stopping a late Roberson pass to earn the win and its second straight Fiesta Bowl win.2006Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (10) buys some time and eludes Indiana’s Keith Burrus (97) in the second quarter of a football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006 at the Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won the contest, 44-3.Credit: Courtesy of MCTOhio State – 34Notre Dame – 20Two losses in the 2005 season before reaching the midway point of the year kept the Buckeyes from national championship contention. Even after dropping closely contested games to Texas and Penn State, OSU rebounded with three wins over top 25 opponents in six games. Led by veteran quarterback Troy Smith, the Buckeyes proved why OSU was a potential national champion in 2005 against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes kept Fighting Irish quarterback Brady Quinn from the endzone, and limited Notre Dame to just 62 total rushing yards on the day.Smith threw for 342 yards and a pair of scores, one of which went 56 yards to Ted Ginn Jr., who finished the day with 167 yards receiving. An impressive athlete with a plethora of skills, Ginn Jr. also ran in a score from 68 yards out.OSU running back Antonio Pittman added his own score on a 60-yard scamper to seal the deal for the Buckeyes with under two minutes to go in the game.2007Florida – 41Ohio State – 14Before he was coaching for the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer’s name was not a popular one in Columbus following the 2006 season. After OSU went a perfect 12-0 that year, the Buckeyes ran into a brick wall that was the Florida Gators in the 2007 national championship.Smith had a Heisman year at the helm of OSU’s offense, while James Laurinaitis was continuing the trend of beastly linebackers produced in Columbus. A seven point favorite coming into the contest, OSU had a quick 7-0 lead after Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.However, an injury to the Buckeyes’ top receiver and returner stagnated Tressel’s offense, resulting in just 82 total yards for OSU, An offense that failed to move the ball, mixed with a defense that forced zero turnovers and gave up 370 yards was a recipe for disaster in the desert.Florida quarterback Chris Leak throw for a score, while Deshawn Wynn and Percy Harvin each ran in for a score. Tim Tebow, and eventual Heisman Trophy winner under Meyer, ran for his own touchdown late and tossed a one-yard touchdown pass.OSU trailed 34-14 at halftime, and did not score in the second half.2010Texas – 24Ohio State – 21Future NFL quarterback Colt McCoy was at the helm for the Longhorns in 2009, and had led Texas to an outstanding season. However, an early season loss to No. 6 Texas Tech ruined McCoy and company’s chances of reaching a national championship.Texas, a preseason top 10 pick in the coaches poll, came into the 2010 Fiesta Bowl as a 10-point favorite.Terrelle Pryor, who earned the starting job earlier in the year, was a freshman phenom, expected to take OSU to great heights. But, against Texas, Pryor only gained 144 total yards, and scored just once on a gadget play that saw him catching his first of two career touchdown receptions.OSU fell 24-21 after McCoy connected with Quan Cosby with under a minute left, and the Buckeyes finished the year 10-3.2016Ohio State – 44Notre Dame – 28After an improbably national championship in 2014, OSU was looking for a repeat performance. However, after playing throughout the season in lackluster fashion for a team many coaches and fans felt was one of the best in the nation, the Buckeyes dropped their second to last game against the Michigan State Spartans. A 42-13 drubbing of Michigan in the following week was not enough to sway the playoff committee, and OSU found themselves in the Fiesta Bowl. Out for vengeance, the Buckeyes picked apart an overmatched Fighting Irish team.Ezekiel Elliott ran rampant over the Notre Dame defense, picking up four touchdowns on 149 yards rushing. Then-redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett picked up 211 yards and a score through the air, and the OSU defense grab two turnovers en route to a 44-28 victory.
Bookseller and newsstand provider Barnes and Noble had a strong first quarter with its digital content, sales in that channel quadrupled. Though digital sales have had some tenacious growth, sales at retail decreased by more than $25.7 million or 3 percent. “Our strategy of growing market share in the exploding digital content business while maximizing cash flow and EBITDA from our retail operations is paying off,” Lynch says in a news release. “We plan to continue investing in the significant growth areas of our business, and in fiscal 2012, we expect to see leverage as our digital sales growth is projected to exceed the growth of investment spend. The return on investment is expected to increase in future years, as readers purchase increasing amounts of digital content on the platform we have built.” The NOOK business increased 140 percent in the first quarter to $277 million.Though the company’s EBITDA did improve by 23 percent in the first quarter of 2012 it still represented a negative figure—EBITDA went from -$30.7 million in July 2010 to -$23.5 million in July 2011.For the first quarter, the company reported a consolidated net loss of $57 million. Total sales for fiscal first quarter 2012 were up 2 percent to $1.4 billion and sales through the company’s website, BN.com, saw a 37 percent increase to $198 million. The business says a strong demand for its digital eReading devices—the NOOK, NOOK Color and the NOOK Simple Touch Reader—have had a high demand and helped the company’s overall success for the quarter.Barnes and Noble retail sales went from 28.8 percent of the company’s gross margin to 29.5 percent. Barnes and Noble website sales went from 3.7 percent of the company’s gross margin up to 27.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Gross profit from Barnes and Noble’s website went from $5.3 million in the first quarter last year to $41.5 million.“Our NOOK eReaders and applications continue to be cited as the finest digital reading products on the market, with the new NOOK SimpleTouch Reader recently rated a the best eReader,” says Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch, according to a news release. “The company is encouraged by the progress achieved against our strategy and believes in our plan to continue to appropriately invest in the massive digital opportunity, while delivering strong earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) growth this year.”
Data collection and marketing activation are changing in fundamental ways and publishers need to keep up if they want their clients’ (and their own audience development) efforts to stay relevant. Data is everywhere, and that makes it hard to tell what really matters. But through testing and trials, connecting previously unrelated information—things like recent local events or weather—can yield valuable insights on your targets’ behavior. 3. Not so irrelevant anymore 1. “We’re living in an omnichannel world” Since the beginning of this industry, data had always been static—it was reflective of only one point in time. Now, it’s dynamic. “Why use age, income or gender to predict who’s going to buy a car when you can see from their phone that they’re on the way to the dealership?” asked Charlie Stryker of Venture Development Center. Campaign effectiveness can skyrocket with targeting that granular. Themes like personalization, cross-device marketing and, of course, getting the right talent to execute against the influx of information available, were discussed on stage at Merit Direct’s 2015 Co-Op Marketing and Interactive Conference this week. 4. Think now, not then It sounds simple, but companies can get locked into marketing with the terminology they’re using in their own meetings. A product development team has different touchpoints than an audience. The philosophy extends to subsets of your audience as well. Executives will use a different language than managers or technical staff. Marketers should be always be striving to tailor their messaging to their targets. And that goes beyond avoiding “Dear Current Resident.” Personalization means adjusting the offer and product, as well. Be careful that Susie doesn’t get a message addressed to Stephen though—your data better be correct. 5. Use the right words Glenn Westrick of Personnel Concepts uttered that particular phrase, but almost every speaker on the roster made a similar observation. Taking advantage of the multiple touchpoints available to marketers isn’t a bonus anymore—it’s a mandate. 2. Personalize, customize, individualize
The Nintendo 3DS launched without a must-have title. The closest thing to one, and the best game on the system so far, is Super Street Fighter IV 3D, but that’s a port of a very good game from other consoles. If you are looking for a 3DS-only game, and one with some history for Nintendo fans, then the default title to get is Pilotwings Resort. This is a call back to one of the most notable SNES games and one that appeared again on the Nintendo 64, with the “resort” theme being borrowed from the popular Wii Sports Resort/Wii Fii so Wii gamers would find something familiar.AdChoices广告Pilotwings is still a game that is all about the mastery of aircraft. In the main game you have to pass a number of increasingly difficult tests in order to get higher grade licences. Alternatively, in Free Flight mode you fly around Wuhu Island and try to pick up all the collectibles scattered about. So the setting is limited to the somewhat small, but surprisingly diverse, resort island and then a few different aircraft (mainly a propeller plane, a rocket belt, and a hang glider, but there are some surprises later on). You fly around popping balloons, steering through hoops, and doing similar things to demonstrate your proficiency with a given flying method.The game is good, simple fun and it accomplishes its primary goal: acting as a showcase for the 3DS. Pilotwings is a handsome game and the 3D effects work well as you fly around the island, through trees, under bridges, and around mountainsides. The game is colorful, light-hearted, technically proficient, easy to pickup, and it plays well in short bursts… it really is everything a portable game (especially a 3DS/DS game) should be.The problem with Pilotwings Resort is that the game isn’t that much fun. There is at least 90 minutes of fun in it. You learn the aircraft, get a feel for the controls, navigate the island, and finally explore the game’s modes, but after those the game quickly starts to run out of fun. The trials get harder with each license level and the collectibles tougher to find as you explore the island more, but as you keep playing the game feels that much more limited. It feels like you are just doing more of the same, which you basically are. In some ways you can enjoy the flying and be happy just improving your skill with each aircraft, but this isn’t a deep simulator where that is a satisfying experience. Rather it’s a fun, simple game, sort of like Mario Kart, but without the racing or the versus play.Pilotwings Resort isn’t a bad game, there just isn’t a whole lot there. There are a few modes (but they are basically all the same) and a few different aircraft (but not enough) so the end result is a mediocre game. It looks nice, the 3D works well, and, from a technical standpoint, it’s very well done, but after the first hour or two, there isn’t much reason to play aside from burning a few minutes and doing slightly better in a stage than you did last time. Some people might get hooked in by the difficulty of the later stages but just as many will be turned off, preferring the timed free flying or perfecting runs on easier levels.Pilotwings Resort is a good way to learn about the 3DS and what it can do, so play it at a kiosk or on your friends’ 3DS and save the money until better games come out.
As the world prepares for cleaner sources of energy, India is ready to reduce its reliance on coal and other forms of non-renewable energy, on the condition that developed nations provide the necessary aid. The process to avoid fossil fuels that create harmful emissions has already begun. Government authorities also told media that developed nations have been approached for financial and technical support. They further added that there are a few deals already in place. However, they will have to wait for these deals to fructify to begin the process of adopting renewable clean energy. Authorities also made it clear that wind and solar energy were now on their priority list. The government has decided to not allot further funds towards the expansion of coal usage but rather redirect them on creating renewable energy. India’s key negotiator, Ajay Mathur, spoke at the United Nations Climate conference confirming the above points. He accorded that India would focus on wind and solar energy and that coal would only be a backup in case there is a requirement of more energy resources. Ajay Mathur later briefed the media on the possibility of getting more funds to develop the necessary technology. He spoke of global warming being an alarming issue. Meanwhile, a lot of developed nations are showing interest in helping developing nations achieve this target. However, the interest appears superficial, as there are no real commitments from any nation regarding the same. At the Paris conference, countries debated and discussed pressing issues such as global warming, the minimum limit set up for the same and a clear timeline to achieve those targets. India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had earlier spoken to the media, saying that India posed no obstacles and would commit to doing its bit. Hence, it would be safe to say, India does not live under the illusion that climate change is a myth. India is one of the worst affected countries when it comes to climate change. In fact, India has taken greater initiatives than the US to reduce carbon emissions.Countries across the globe have committed to creating a new international climate agreement by the conclusion of the Paris Conference. The attempt by the more affluent nations to embrace an agenda for climate change ignores the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CDR) that was evolved at the 1992 Rio conference and 2005 Kyoto conference. This principle states that, it was recognised that stupendous rise in carbon emissions had been the result of 150 years of industrialisation by the West. The logic was that greater responsibility lay with the West to clean up the mess they created. However, the process to achieve this great goal still looks rather distant without any firm commitment from any developed nation.
Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has primarily approved the report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Bengal stating that less than 30 percent of the total booths in the state are ‘sensitive’, thereby ruling out the demand of BJP that all 78,000 booths in the state should be declared so.As per reports of the CEO’s office, 18,461 booths in the state have been identified as vulnerable, which is around 25 percent of the total number of booths. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseAccording to sources in the EC, South 24-Parganas, with 2,357 vulnerable pockets, is the most sensitive district in the state. Eight other districts including North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Malda, East Midnapore, North Dinajpur, Birbhum, West Burdwan and Kolkata are also under the scanner of the Election Commission. “This will be reviewed and the final deployment of Central Forces will be made on the basis of vulnerability,” said a senior official in the CEO’s office. Moreover, the Election Commission’s preliminary report to the expenditure observers has also revealed that there are no ‘expenditure sensitive’ constituencies in Bengal. The report assumes significance as the EC has identified more than 110 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country as “expenditure sensitive” or prone to influence through money in the Lok Sabha elections. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAccording to the report, all parliamentary constituencies in Tamil Nadu and over half of the seats in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka and Telangana have been identified as “expenditure sensitive”. 116 of 175 Assembly constituencies and 16 of 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra Pradesh are expenditure sensitive. A number of Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, Bihar, Karnataka and two LS seats in Jharkhand are under EC watch. A good number of constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana will also be closely monitored by the Election Commission. Sources in the CEO’s office stated that Bengal doesn’t have a history of exorbitant expenses in the election. In the last two major elections- the Lok Sabha election in 2014 and the Assembly polls in 2016, there was hardly any major seizure after the MCC (Model Code of Conduct) came into force. In the 2016 Assembly elections, the seizure was a little over Rs 7 crore, of which Rs 4 crore was released after verification. In Kolkata, the seizure was around Rs 5 lakh but the entire money was returned after verification. “There was a seizure of Rs 3 crore in absolute terms, which is very low considering the vastness of Bengal. The expense per constituency was also within limit and over 90 percent candidates submitted their return after the election. There was no case of bribery or illegal money transaction and so the state has been designated as non-expenditure sensitive,” the source maintained. It may be mentioned that expenditure sensitivity is determined by the past history of a constituency. The Commissioner of Police or the Superintendent of the district identifies a constituency as ‘expenditure sensitive’, meaning that it is prone to high expenditure and corrupt practices. The local administration, in consultation with the expenditure observer, also looks into the literacy, economic development or the number of complaints during the last election. On the basis of the report, the commission makes special arrangement for these constituencies.
60 Comments Share GLENDALE, Ariz. — It wasn’t exactly déjà vu, but man, did what we saw Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium feel familiar.The Arizona Cardinals started quickly, sputtered in the middle and folded late in a 28-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in front of 65,102 fans and an audience of millions on Monday Night Football.Carson Palmer led the Cardinals (1-2) to a score on their first drive — an efficient eight-play, 82-yard jaunt that ended in a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown. In a half they thoroughly dominated, the Cardinals went to the locker room at halftime tied 7-7.Missed opportunity.The teams traded scores in the third quarter. Prescott hit Dez Bryant on a 15-yard touchdown on which the receiver dragged a gaggle of Arizona defenders over the goal line to give the Cowboys their first lead. Five minutes and 18 seconds later, Palmer delivered his second picturesque touchdown pass of the game, this one to Larry Fitzgerald from 15 yards out to tie the game at 14-14.Then the familiar theme of allowing touchdowns in the fourth quarter — as happened in the Cardinals’ season-opening loss to Detroit — popped up again. Prescott hit Brice Butler, who beat cornerback Justin Bethel, on a 37-yard strike with 11:52 to play.Dawson connected on a 37-yard field goal to pull the Cardinals to within four at 21-17, but the Prescott-to-Butler connection struck again on a 53-yard pass that set up Elliott’s 8-yard touchdown to ice the game for Dallas with just under five minutes to play.Another familiar issue was present all night — Arizona’s inability to protect Palmer or open up holes for backs in the running game. Palmer was sacked six times — three alone by DeMarcus Lawrence, who feasted on the right side of the Cardinals’ offensive line manned by guard Evan Boehm and Veldheer. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Palmer, who posted impressive statistics nonetheless (29-of-48 for 322 yards and two TDs), pinned much of the blame on himself.“A couple of times, I didn’t get the ball out early or get the ball out fast,” he said. “That is a front you want to get the ball out fast on. You don’t want to be in situations where you are just holding it and holding it.“There was a number of times where I got to the third and fourth read and they did a great job. There were also times that I just held on to it too long.”Yes, there were a couple of times Palmer was culpable, but he can’t continue to a) take the physical punishment he endured Monday and b) cover for a patchwork, ineffective line.“Block better,” a direct Bruce Arians said after the game when asked what the line needs to do to improve. When asked if that was possible, he was direct again.“There ain’t nobody else in there, we’ve only got seven guys that are healthy so they’re the only ones who could play.”The Cardinals played without guard Mike Iupati and tackle D.J. Humphries and lost guard Alex Boone late in the contest with an injury. Daniel Munyer finished up at left guard for Boone. If Iupati, Humphries and Boone are unable to go Sunday against San Francisco, Munyer would likely become the Cardinals’ eighth different starting lineman in four games. Arizona’s defense forced a Dallas three-and-out and then methodically moved down the field again. On 3rd-and-5 from the Dallas 10-yard line, Palmer hooked up with Brown again, except this one wouldn’t count. A holding penalty on right tackle Jared Veldheer wiped out the play, and the Cardinals had to settle for a field goal attempt from Phil Dawson.What should have been a 36-yard consolation prize turned into a big pile of nothing as Dawson missed wide right — his third miss in as many weeks and a match of his total of misses from last season.Missed opportunity.The Cowboys (2-1) went three-and-out again and Dallas punter Chris Jones uncorked a 29-yard punt that gave the Cardinals possession at their own 44. They didn’t do anything with it.In fact, Arizona would manage only 19 yards in its next four possessions. You couldn’t expect Dallas to dilly-dally all night long offensively, and it didn’t.On a 3rd-and-1 from the Cowboys’ own 15-yard line, a blitzing Tyrann Mathieu missed a tackle on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who escaped and uncorked a 30-yard run. The drive ultimately led to nothing on the scoreboard but woke the dormant Dallas offense up. They’d get on the scoreboard with 1:16 to go in the first half on an acrobatic running touchdown from quarterback Dak Prescott. That’s not exactly a recipe for success. – / 32 Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) looks at Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence after being sacked during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo
Swiss telco and IPTV provider Sunrise Telecom has named Libor Voncina as its new CEO. Voncina replaces Oliver Steil, who is leaving to pursue new opportunities.Voncina, 49, was previously head of mobile services at KPN Group Belgium and has also worked at Telekom Slovenia.
US satcaster Dish Network is petitioning media regulator the Federal Communications Commission to stop the Comcast’s planned takeover of pay TV rival Time Warner Cable.Dish itself it the subject of a rumoured multi-billion dollar merger with US telco AT&T, but claims its rivals would create “irreparable harm to competition and consumers” should the FCC greenlight the proposed US$45.2 billion deal.There would be three major “choke” points created by the merger, Dish argued. First of all, the enlarged groupwould be able to “impose anti-competitive data caps” on cable TV providers and OTT services such as Dish’s own platform and Netflix.This could be achieved by exempting Comcast/TWC content from the caps and restricting rival’s speeds so that consumers choose Comcast/TWC streaming products.Netflix is already locked in a heated battle with the US’s internet service providers over the speeds they provide for its popular service, claiming they “choke” streaming speeds. It is now paying for faster broadband access.Secondly, Dish sais OTT services and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) would also face having Comcast-TWC foreclose access to NBCUniversal programming in order to drive up prices.Furthermore, Dish said the merged group would be able to “coerce third-party content owners and programmers to withhold online rights from online video platforms, thereby stifling a crucial source of competition and innovation in the video industry”.“The rapid rise of broadband-powered online video services has been great for consumers,” Dish’s petition stated. “In many ways, we are in the Golden Age of video, but this Golden Age risks being cut short by the proposed transaction.”
“Da boyz” can paint any chart picture they want…and the dumb-as-posts T.A. analysts gobble it all up.Well, it was pretty much the same, old same old on Wednesday as it was on Monday and Tuesday…down in early Far East trading…rallying once lunch time was over in Hong Kong…with a not-for-profit seller then showing up between the noon London silver fix and the Comex open in New York.This time the gold price was allowed to rise until around the London p.m. fix at 10:00 a.m. in New York. Gold then got sold down about ten bucks by 10:45 Eastern. Then at 12:30 the price attempted to rally strongly, only to get hammered flat by a not-for-profit seller beginning just minutes before 1:00 p.m. in New York…and by the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading…”da boyz” had the gold price back to almost unchanged from Tuesday.The high price tick of the day that came just minutes before 1:00 p.m. was quoted at $1,724.80 spot over at Kitco.Gold closed at $1,711.60 spot…up $1.20 on the day. Volume was pretty decent at around 166,000 contracts net…and I’d guess that JPMorgan Chase et al did what they had to do to kill the price on the heels of the news from the FOMC meeting. If you think that the noon rally in gold might have been short covering, you obviously haven’t been reading this column long enough to know better.It was pretty much the same story in silver, except the big rally around 12:30 Eastern time looked more like a NASA space launch…and JPMorgan et al really had to work overtime to put that fire out. The high tick in silver was $33.92 spot…so silver had another intraday move of over a buck.By the close, JPMorgan Chase had peeled 47 cents off the high of the day…and silver closed at $33.45 spot…up only 45 cents. Volume was a very chunky 46,500 contracts.The dollar index opened at 80.03…and then, like on Tuesday, hung in there until shortly after trading began in London…and then headed slowly south until around 7:30 a.m. in New York. The tiny rally that began there, touched the 80.00 mark a couple of times…and then fell off the proverbial cliff starting at 12 o’clock noon Eastern right on the button, with the bottom [around 79.77] coming shortly before 1:00 p.m. From that point it rallied a bit into the close…and finished the Thursday trading session at 79.89…down 14 basis points from Tuesday’s close.None of this currency action explains the price action of either gold or silver between the 10:00 a.m. Eastern time London p.m. gold fix…and the rally that began at 12:30 p.m. If you have an explanation other than price management, I’d love to hear it.The gold shares gapped up…and stayed up…and the HUI finished up 2.56%…but was up well over 3 percent at one point. The price action in the stocks appeared to be quite independent of the actual price action of gold itself…as the charts for each don’t even remotely resemble each other.The silver equities had a very decent time of it as well…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed up a robust 2.43%. Nick now has his Intraday Silver 7 chart up and running…hopefully permanently…and from now on, I’ll be posting it on weekdays…and both charts in Saturdays’ column.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 225 gold and 169 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Friday. And it was all the “usual suspects” as issuers and stoppers…JPMorgan Chase, Bank of Nova Scotia…and HSBC USA. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV…and the U.S. Mint reported that they sold 4,000 ounces of gold eagles.Over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank for the period ending on December 10th…the reported that their gold ETF added 6,367 troy ounces…and their silver ETF showed a decline of 35,141 troy ounces.It was a quiet day over at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday, as they reported receiving only 2,000 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 30,690 ounces out the door. The activity isn’t worth a look.Here’s a Christmas card that Nick Laird sent me late yesterday afternoon…and as you can tell, he spends way too much time in the bush. But, having said that, I know that his holidays wishes are sincere…and I thank him on your behalf for all the great charts that have graced this column all year long.I have the usual number of stories for a weekday…and I hope you have the time to at least skim the parts of each one that I’ve cut and paste below.Clearly, I was not surprised with the massive commercial gold short covering [shown in last Friday’s COT Report – Ed] as this is the manner by which gold prices are determined. The commercials lure the technical funds in by allowing prices to rise and selling short as the tech funds buy…and at a time pre-determined by the commercials, they then rig prices lower to induce tech fund selling so that the commercials can buy back their shorted contracts at a profit. Means, method and opportunity. I would say that only the CFTC can’t seem to see this, but even that is not possible any longer. The CFTC can see it for sure; they just look the other way, to their everlasting shame. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…08 December 2012I don’t have a thing to add to what I’ve already said about the gold and silver price action at the top of this column. JPMorgan Chase are fully in charge here…and they can and will do whatever they want until they can’t do it any more. While they’re raping the precious metals industry…no one within it is going to raise a finger to stop them…not the World Gold Council, the Silver Institute…or the mining companies you own shares in…and by their very silence, they are all complicit in this whole sordid affair.If you look at the RSI indicators on the gold and silver charts, they’re in neutral territory…which means that prices could go either way. But as I’ve stated many times over the last few years, “da boyz” can paint any chart picture they want…and the dumb-as-posts T.A. analysts gobble it all up like it’s the gospel. Well, it ain’t.I note that the not-for-profit sellers showed up in the thinly-traded Far East market during their Thursday morning…and all four precious metals were dealt with in the usual manner by the high-frequency traders…with special attention paid to gold, silver and platinum. The bullion banks are market neutral in palladium…but it got hit as well. If they would make themselves market neutral in gold and silver…gold would have a large 4-digit price…and silver would have a 3-digit price that would make your eyes water.And as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:05 a.m. Eastern time, the prices of all four precious metals have stabilized at their new lows. As is to be expected, volumes were immense for this time of day…over 45,000 contracts in gold…and 12,000+ contracts in silver. Well over half of that volume occurred before lunch time in Hong Kong on their Thursday. It’s obvious that there was big liquidation by the tech funds…as these engineered price declines forced them to puke up their long positions and allowed JPMorgan et al to cover shorts…or go long themselves. The dollar index is trading sideways just below the 80.00 mark.I have no idea what “da boyz” have in store for us as the trading day moves into the New York session…but I’m less than impressed by what I see at the moment…and I must admit that I’m looking forward to the Comex price action with some fear and trepidation. As I’ve said many times in the past, you must be emotionally prepared for anything…but don’t forget to buy the dips.See you on Friday. Sponsor Advertisement Great Panther Silver Limited, (TSX: GPR NYSE.A: GPL)headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is a profitable primary silver producer operating two 100% owned mines in Mexico. Over 94% of revenues are derived from unhedged precious metals production with approximately 74% generated from silver sales and 20% from gold. Since entering production in the first quarter of 2006, the Company has seen five consecutive annual increases in revenues and provides strong leverage to future rises in precious metals prices. The Company has also been growing its resource and reserve base at both 100% owned operations. A new resource/reserve estimate is expected for the Guanajuato Mine Complex and the San Ignacio Project in the second quarter of 2012 and a new resource/reserve estimate for the Topia Mines during the third quarter of 2012. Great Panther continues to replace mined ounces, grow resources and reserves at both operations, and is targeting a 10 year mine live at each.For more information, please visit the website or contact Rhonda Bennetto, VP Corporate Communications, toll free at 1-888-355-1766 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the second time in three years, life expectancy in the U.S. has ticked downward. In three reports issued Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out a series of statistics that revealed some troubling trend lines — including rapidly increasing rates of death from drug overdoses and suicide.CDC Director Robert Redfield described the data as “troubling.””Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the Nation’s overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable,” he said in a statement released Thursday.Redfield tied the drop in overall life expectancy, which averaged 78.6 years in 2017, a decrease of 0.1 from the year before, to the rise in deaths from overdose and suicide.More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year alone, according to the CDC. That number marks a nearly 10 percent increase from 2016 and the highest ever in the United States for a single year. By comparison, only about 17,000 people died of overdoses in 1999, the earliest year for which the CDC offered data Thursday.Recently, that rise has been partly driven by the opioid epidemic and a sharp uptick in the number of deaths involving synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl — a stunning 45 percent leap in the span of a single year, from 2016 to 2017.”It’s striking to see that there are more people who died of overdose in 2017 than at the peak of the HIV epidemic or the highest rates of traffic fatalities that we’ve seen in this country,” Kathryn McHugh of Harvard Medical School tells NPR’s Richard Harris.At the same time, suicide rates have also steadily increased, according to the CDC, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. — and the second most common cause of death for people ages 10 to 34. That age range dovetails with the data on drug use, which showed people age 25 to 54 dying at higher rates than their older counterparts.In other words, younger adults have largely been hit hardest by these trends.”We’re seeing the drop in life expectancy not because we’re hitting a cap [for lifespans of] people in their 80s. We’re seeing a drop in life expectancy because people are dying in their 20s [and] 30s,” McHugh said.Now, the reports released by the CDC did not offer only bad news. The data also reflect a declining rate of people dying of cancer, down 2.1 percent from 2016 to 2017.But in general, says William Dietz of George Washington University, the main themes of the reports are “very disturbing” — partly because deaths from overdoses and suicides are likely linked. Both may be caused by social shifts in the U.S. that have caused people to become “less connected to each other in communities,” he tells Harris.”There are some data to suggest that that’s led to a sense of hopelessness, which in turn could lead to an increase in rates of suicide and certainly addictive behaviors.”McHugh, too, sees a link between these two increasingly prevalent causes of death.”There has been an assumption at times that overdoses fit into one of two categories: they’re intentional or they’re unintentional,” she says. She notes that many people may have suicidal thoughts prior to an overdose or that others may take their lives to escape addiction. “There’s a tremendous amount of overlap between the two that isn’t talked about nearly enough.”Ultimately, she makes a similar point as the CDC director does: These are causes of death that should be preventable. And while efforts to combat the opioid epidemic “are starting to stem the tide,” she says, “we need to be doing much more.””It’s not enough to just try to keep this rate from escalating,” McHugh adds. “We need to start to see this rate going down.” CDC report on life expectancy CDC report on drug overdoses CDC report on suicides Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Football’s Premier League will break a pledge that all of its stadiums would be accessible to disabled football fans by next August, despite its clubs spending more than a billion pounds on player transfers this summer.The Premier League, the governing body for the top 20 club sides in England and Wales, delivered a high-profile pledge last year that every one of its members would meet strict access standards by August 2017.But peers heard last week that seven Premier League clubs were set to break the pledge to meet standards laid out in guidance 12 years ago in The Accessible Stadia Guide (ASG).ASG includes guidelines on car parking, accessible information, the minimum number of wheelchair spaces for spectators, location of viewing areas for disabled supporters, and staff training.And today (Thursday), the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) revealed that the Premier League had acknowledged in meetings that many clubs would miss the August deadline.Lord [Chris] Holmes, EHRC’s disability commissioner and himself a retired Paralympian, said: “All clubs agreed to make the minimum recommended improvements for disabled fans over two years.“We are now at half-time, and for many teams, the performance is simply unacceptable.“Football teams are legally obliged under the Equality Act to ensure disabled fans are not disadvantaged.“Where it is found that little or no progress has been made toward improving accessibility, we will consider using all our strong legal powers to ensure compliance; all options are on the table.“We will be writing to each club to ensure they do not go back on their commitment given last year, and we will be receiving a report every six months from the Premier League on progress being made.”He added: “The English Premier League is the richest league in the world; in a year when club signings are reaching stratospheric levels, Premiership clubs simply cannot continue to leave disabled fans by the sidelines.”Joyce Cook, chair of the disabled supporters’ charity Level Playing Field, said there had been improvements by some clubs.She said: “Just like last season on the pitch, champions Leicester City are leading the way, while many other teams such as Manchester United have shown clear commitment towards reaching the ASG standards of accessibility by next year.”But she told Disability News Service (DNS): “It is quite simply time for Premier League clubs to do the right thing by its disabled fans.“You made us a promise and we are now counting on you to stay true to your words.“All we want is the right to follow the game we love – surely that is not too much to ask of some of the richest clubs in the world.”The Premier League’s promise to act on access – following a series of embarrassing media reports into the discrimination faced by disabled supporters – was welcomed last year as a “huge achievement” by the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson.The Premier League also promised to deliver a progress report to the government by July this year.But Home Office minister Baroness Williams admitted last week that the government was “disappointed” by the progress report it had now received from the Premier League and would be asking for “a far more detailed report, giving a club-by-club breakdown”.Tomlinson, who has since been sacked, had promised that the government would publish the report.This week, nearly two months after the report was sent to his successor, Penny Mordaunt, the Department for Work and Pensions said it did not yet have a publication date and “can’t yet comment on the contents”.The Labour peer Lord Faulkner, LPF vice-president, has led parliamentary efforts to improve access to sporting events.He said he had been told that the progress report “says very little and contains no detail about the real progress at each club”.He told fellow peers last week: “The excuses being put forward by clubs as to why they will not meet this are, frankly, unacceptable.”He was particularly critical of three Premier League clubs: Liverpool, Watford and Crystal Palace.Last weekend, Liverpool opened its new main stand, which it says is “one of the largest all seater single stands in European football” and features “premium facilities for fans inside the stand”.But Lord Faulkner said the club “seems far more interested in providing general hospitality places than in installing sufficient disabled fans’ seats to comply with football’s own minimum standards”.He said Watford “seems to be removing disabled fans’ seats at a time when we should be seeing an increase”, while Crystal Palace “believes that it needs only to come up with a plan by August 2017”, rather than comply with the access guidelines.He said: “It is more than 20 years since the introduction of [the Disability Discrimination Act]: it is law that they are required to provide that accommodation, and it is disgraceful that they have not done so.”And he said it was “clear that the Premier League appears to have no intention to penalise or sanction clubs that do not meet the pledge”.Cook said today that some of the most “shocking” concerns were around the availability of wheelchair-accessible seating at West Ham United, even though the club has this season moved into the stadium which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, and athletics, at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was widely-praised at the time for its access.She added: “With the Paralympic Games taking place currently in Rio, how can we talk of the positive legacy of London 2012 for disabled people in the UK when even the Olympic Stadium will no longer be fully accessible? It truly beggars belief.”A Premier League spokesman told DNS that the report it sent to the government “gave a general progress update without naming individual clubs”.He said: “We are not currently able to say what the situation will be in 11 months’ time.“Clubs are aware of the commitments they made and are working hard to improve disabled access in a variety of ways.“Clubs are working hard to improve their disabled access provisions at stadia and will continue to do so in the coming months and years.”When asked whether the Premier League would punish clubs that did not meet the pledge, he said: “We are not able to second guess what the position will be in August 2017.“Each club’s situation will be carefully considered at that time.”A spokesman for Watford said: “Watford Football Club is very confident in its ability to be fully compliant with the Accessible Stadia Guide by August 2017.“The club has worked and continues to work very hard to ensure that its stadium facilities can be enjoyed by all supporters visiting Vicarage Road.“We are fully focused upon delivering our part of the Premier League’s public commitment.”A Crystal Palace spokeswoman said: “Crystal Palace Football Club are fully aware of their obligations to meet the requirements of the Accessible Stadia Guide (ASG) and the deadline of August 2017. “The club has met with architects, is working diligently on all aspects of the ASG and will continue to do so over the coming months. “We have recently appointed a disability liaison officer who is maintaining regular contact with [the club’s disabled supporters’ association] and Level Playing Field and will work closely with them on this matter.”West Ham United and Liverpool had not commented by 11am today (15 September).15 September 2016
Struggling high street businesses need to “wake up” to the need to communicate with disabled people and their potential £200 billion spending power, according to the founder of an accessibility information website.Dr Gregory Burke told Disability News Service that he still sees many of the same physical access barriers in high streets that he faced as a wheelchair-user when he launched DisabledGo 18 years ago, and that he believes disabled people’s quality of life has probably fallen during that time.In the two decades since he launched the business, it has grown to the point where it has 60 employees and is used by more than 1.5 million people each year to plan a visit or trip by checking detailed accessibility information on venues such as cafes, hospitals and cinemas throughout the UK.Burke (pictured) was speaking this week as DisabledGo launched a new website and mobile phone app and announced that it was changing its name to AccessAble*.In a survey released to mark the launch, 99 per cent of the disabled people and carers questioned said it was important to know about accessibility before visiting somewhere new, while almost as many (98 per cent) said they would search for accessibility information in advance.But only 14 per cent of people said they found the access information they were looking for and 80 per cent said they found the information they did track down to be inaccurate.Burke says he was still shocked by how little attention businesses paid to providing good access information about their services.He says: “What frustrates me the most is that businesses are resistant to communicating with a market worth £200 billion a year.“With high streets struggling, you would think most businesses would want to tap into that.“Businesses need to wake up. The disability market has always been here, but businesses need to wake up to it.”Burke started DisabledGo in 2000 after spending several years in hospital, rehabilitation and respite after a severe case of encephalitis as a teenager.He says it was only when he emerged after his rehabilitation that he realised that he was disabled. “Trying to access anywhere was fraught with difficulty and frustration.“I’m a pretty confident guy but I found that my social ambit was shrinking, was getting smaller and smaller and I wasn’t going out anywhere where I hadn’t been before because I couldn’t trust what the access was like.“If I did try somewhere new and it didn’t work out, which almost invariably it didn’t, that experience would eat in at me and eat at my confidence, and I was becoming more and more a hostage in my own home.”It was these experiences that motivated him to start DisabledGo.For the first couple of years, he travelled the country, listening to disabled people as part of a national consultation exercise, “asking why we were not more visible in society and in education and why we weren’t down the pub more.”What he was told was that society was generally inaccessible, but that there were many places that were accessible to some disabled people, if those disabled people could only find out about them.Burke says that listening to disabled people in this way has been at the core of DisabledGo’s success, with local steering groups set up whenever it produces an area guide “so local people can feed into what we’re doing all the time”.Nine years ago, he decided DisabledGo had reached a position where it was “very strong, very robust”, with multi-year contracts with a number of large businesses and organisations and an annual turnover of £2 million, and so he decided “to become a barrister and see if I can help people in a different way”.After just three years’ training, he was called to the bar and stepped down as chief executive of DisabledGo.He is now head of employment and discrimination at Seven Bedford Row, a leading barristers’ chambers in London.If he had one request of government, he says, it would be to set up an inspectorate to ensure businesses comply with the Equality Act.He says: “The Equality Act is a fantastic piece of legislation – most disabled people don’t realise how powerful it is – but if you have less favourable treatment from a service or a venue you have to bring your own civil claim and that’s exhausting and expensive and time-consuming and can be frightening, although it shouldn’t be frightening at all.“Most people are put off by it, so the government should recognise that just as we have a health and safety inspectorate, hygiene inspectorates and things like that, we should have an access inspectorate too.”Burke believes that disabled people’s “quality of life index” would “show a downward trend” 18 years on from the launch of DisabledGo, following years of cuts to state support and media reporting of “benefit cheats”, which he believes has had “a hugely detrimental impact on how society views disabled people”.He says: “To taint disabled people with the brush of a cheat or a scrounger is just plain wrong.”The AccessAble survey found that less than two-fifths (37 per cent) of the 845 disabled people and carers questioned thought that public attitudes to disability and access had improved in the last five years.But one thing that has changed disabled people’s lives for the better since 2000 is technology, he says, which had “always been a friend to disabled people”.He hopes that AccessAble’s new app will help disabled people who find that acquiring an impairment “can often feel like the death of spontaneity”.The website has always helped disabled people plan their journey before they left home, but the app will tell the user where the nearest accessible venues are when they are already out and about.Burke, who still owns AccessAble, hopes his team will double its reach to three million users a year by 2020.“We need to commit to changing a situation where disabled people and carers are being excluded from everyday life and recognise that access begins online,” he says.“Everyone’s accessibility needs are different. Providing trusted accessibility information should be seen as an integral part of providing a great customer experience.”*AccessAble is a DNS subscriber A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
Citation: Miami’s airport wants to read your face. You might be happy about that (2018, March 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-miami-airport-happy.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Miami International Airport hopes that using new technology that is already familiar to millions of smartphone users could reduce some of the bother.MIA celebrated its newly renovated Concourse E federal inspection facility for international travelers. One of its main features: passport screening via facial recognition technology to verify travelers’ identities by matching them to the documents they present.”While other airports and airlines are partnering with (U.S.) Customs and Border Protection to test biometric exit screening for departing flights, MIA has the first facility fully dedicated to biometric entry screening for international arrivals,” said Greg Chin, communications director for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.A pilot program at MIA began in November. That was a few months after JetBlue, with help from U.S. Customs, experimented with the technology in June for flights from Boston to Aruba. Delta also experimented with facial recognition at the baggage drop location at Minneapolis-St. Paul.During the pilot program, cameras in the boarding area capture travelers’ faces, which were scanned against the Customs database to locate a matching passport, visa or immigration photo.Singapore’s Changi Airport opened its new 21-gate Terminal 4 in October and it, too, uses the modern technology. In a November article in Travel Weekly, Sean Farrell, head of the biometrics team for the travel technology company SITA, said interest in the use of facial recognition at airports has grown globally.MIA said its new technology-driven facility in Concourse E has been able to screen as many as 10 passengers per minute. The airport also offers passport clearance via Global Entry kiosks and is one of 24 airports and one cruise port (Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale) that now accepts the Mobile Passport Control app.At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which featured officials from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department and new aviation director Lester Sola, MIA also touted other aspects of its refurbished Concourse E to help reduce congestion at the busy airport. The new federal inspection facility reduces walking distance for Concourse E and F passengers who previously only had access to the Concourse D passport hall. Credit: Petr Kratochvil/public domain ©2018 Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. JetBlue, Delta will test biometric boarding passes Face it, going through airport security is a vital, but time-consuming pain in the you-know-where.
Amazon employees start their shifts passing through turnstiles and a sign reminding them what they can’t bring with them as they report for work alongside robots. Cell phones, belts, keys, and loose change must be stored away in one of hundreds of lockers by the break area at the West Deptford fulfillment center. Inside, 7.75-inch-tall robots that can carry up to 1,250 pounds and have no resemblance to the humanoid robots of science fiction help them do their jobs.The robots—effectively shelves on wheels—zip around at 5 feet per second inside a large cage on the second and third floors of a warehouse the size of almost 30 football fields.While Amazon hires tens of thousands of people in the process to staff warehouses like the one opened in September in Gloucester County, the Seattle-based company is also embracing automation and deploying robots to do work once done by humans. Critics and labor advocates worry that automation could replace human workers and that the machinery-rich Amazon warehouses are an unsafe working environment.”It’s not humans vs. machines at all,” Tye Brady, the chief technologist at Amazon Robotics, told the BBC this month. “It’s humans and machines working together to achieve a task.”Amazon has grown rapidly, from 20,700 employees in 2008 to 647,500 full-time and part-time employees last year. In West Deptford, the company said it has more than 1,500 full-time employees and uses more than 3,000 robots.Amazon’s net sales increased 31% last year to $232.9 billion and its net income more than tripled to $10.1 billion.”Despite these vast resources,” a report from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health states, “there is little evidence the company has made a significant effort to address worker complaints about stress, overwork, and other conditions which can lead to illness, injuries and even fatalities.”Six workers have died at U.S. Amazon facilities or operations since November 2018, and 13 workers overall have died since 2013, according to the report.Amazon insists that its facilities are safe and that increasing automation does not mean it will hire fewer people.A 2017 report from McKinsey Global Institute estimated that automation could displace up to 800 million people globally by 2030, even as it acknowledged that automation can create jobs. Explore further Citation: How humans and robots work side-by-side in Amazon fulfillment centers (2019, June 19) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-humans-robots-side-by-side-amazon-fulfillment.html ©2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. ‘Little race cars’Items from Amazon or vendors make their way into the West Deptford facility on a conveyor belt and travel to the second floor where “stowers,” like Lisa Bailey, 51, of Camden County, work.She stands outside the cage of robots and scans products ranging from Amazon Fire Sticks to pretzels to Ziploc bags. The robot carrying a shelf full of cubbies waits patiently as Bailey fills it. Other robots are moving around behind it, traveling close to each other, but never colliding. Once Bailey finishes, the robot whisks the shelf away.”They look like little race cars,” Bailey said on Friday inside the air-conditioned facility.In the second-floor station next to Bailey, David Grieco, 45, of Lafayette Hill, is a “picker.” He follows instructions on a computer screen while removing items from the moving shelf, now paused in front of his work station. He scans items and places them in yellow plastic containers on a conveyor belt.Those containers travel down to the ground floor, where Tyleira Thompson, 22, of Sicklerville, “a packer,” puts the items into the cardboard boxes that will arrive on a customer’s doorstep.After taping them shut, Thompson places the cardboard boxes on another conveyor belt that takes them under a machine that sticks on the shipping labels before they go out into the loading zone, where trucks are filled for deliveries throughout the Northeast.In cities like Houston, Salt Lake City, Tampa, Fla., and Sacramento, Calif., employees are doing the same work alongside robots.The general manager of the West Deptford site, Roberto Miller, said the robots do monotonous tasks so employees can have more engaging jobs. While a human may have needed to lift heavy boxes before, now a large robotic arm does that work and the employee may work as a machine operator.The West Deptford site is Amazon’s fourth robotic fulfillment center in New Jersey, the company said. Amazon launched its operations in the state in 2012 and now employs more than 17,500 full-time statewide.Amazon has been in Pennsylvania since 2008 and said it has more than 10,000 full-time employees across the state.Amazon continues to hire, and has more than 150 openings in New Jersey, the company said.Amazon has a $15-an-hour minimum wage for U.S. employees. Full-time employees also receive health, vision, and dental, a 401(k) with a 50% match up to 4% of the employee’s income, Amazon stock options, and up to 20 paid weeks of maternity and family leave, and a program that allows employees to share that paid leave with their spouse or partner.Working conditionsWarehouse operators can boost the local economy by providing good-paying jobs with benefits, but Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, the co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said Amazon is not one of those companies.Goldstein-Gelb, whose organization promotes safe and healthy working conditions, pointed to the group’s most recent “Dirty Dozen,” report on companies that put their employees at risk.For the second year in a row, Amazon made the list. Machinery killed two employees at an Amazon warehouse in Carlisle, Pa., three years apart, and another employee at a warehouse in Avenel, N.J., in 2013.In December, an “automated machine” inside Amazon’s facility in Robbinsville Township, N.J., hit a 9-ounce aerosol can of bear repellent, sending “strong fumes” into the air, Amazon said at the time. Two dozen workers at the Mercer County facility went to the hospital.”Amazon’s automated robots put humans in life-threatening danger today,” Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said in a statement after the incident. “This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers.”Amazon says it is committed to providing a safe work environment. The company also takes suggestions from warehouse employees and will make changes.On the way to the break room, West Deptford employees pass a board with thought bubbles under the words voices in action. The changes spurred by employee recommendations are handwritten on the board and range from efficiency suggestions to workplace culture.”We heard you wanted cup holders for the tote tanks and we had them installed,” one reads.At the end of a shift, employees clock out and, as they exit the lobby, pass through one of four metal detectors. Credit: CC0 Public Domain 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. Amazon offers to help employees start delivery business