Frequent inbreeding may have caused skeletal abnormalities in early humans

first_img Erik Trinkaus Early humans faced countless challenges as they fanned out of Africa: icy conditions, saber-tooth cats, and, according to a new study of ancient skeletons, an unusually high number of birth defects, both debilitating and relatively inconsequential. It’s unclear why such abnormalities seem to be so common, but scientists say one strong possibility is rampant inbreeding among small hunter-gatherer groups.“This paper represents a valuable compilation,” says Vincenzo Formicola, an anthropologist at the University of Pisa in Italy who wasn’t involved in the new work. “Many cases reported in the list were unknown to me and, I assume, to many people working in the field.”Many human fossils from the Pleistocene (roughly 2.5 million B.C.E. to 9700 B.C.E.) have unusual features. For example, femur bones with abnormal bowing have been found from China to the Czech Republic. The skull of a toddler found in the Qafzeh cave in Israel had a swollen braincase consistent with hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid floods the skull. 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But Erik Trinkaus, a paleoanthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, noticed a pattern: These skeletal deformations seemed to be suspiciously common in the fossil record.So Trinkaus did the math. He assembled data on 66 individuals with skeletal abnormalities mostly dating to the past 200,000 years. The fossils, most from young adults, were found in sites scattered throughout the Middle East and Eurasia and represent several different species of Homo. Trinkaus then researched how common their conditions are in modern human populations.He found that about two-thirds of the ancient abnormalities occur in less than 1% of modern humans. Another dozen or so didn’t match any known modern developmental disorder. Trinkaus ran the odds that archaeologists would have uncovered so many ancient abnormalities by chance, and he found that it would have been a “truly, vanishingly small probability.” That suggests, he reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that early humans faced some cultural or environmental pressure that led to so many deformities.One possibility, previously proposed by other researchers: Ancient people with skeletal deformities might have been seen as shamans and given careful burials, making their bodies more likely to be preserved and later found. Another: Pregnant mothers didn’t get enough of the right nutrients, leading to more skeletal disorders. But Trinkaus notes that, whereas some skeletal disorders like rickets affect the whole body, many skeletons were found with deformities on only one side of the body. He also says many fossils in his analysis show no evidence of special rites.However, several bodies show abnormalities consistent with known genetic mutations, and multiple individuals from at least one site exhibited several different conditions, suggesting the people might be related. It’s thought that most human populations at the time were small and isolated, Trinkaus says. In those conditions, inbreeding can lead to widespread harmful genetic mutations.Evidence of low genetic diversity among Pleistocene humans based on ancient DNA analysis also supports this hypothesis, says Hallie Buckley, a bioarchaeologist at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. “Of all the arguments put forward … this seems the most likely explanation.”Further analysis of ancient DNA at these sites might confirm inbreeding, but prepping samples for such investigations often means destroying them. “Ancient DNA has become increasingly viewed as a ‘magic bullet’ to shoot at any question about past human populations, but that may not always be justified,” Buckley says.Siân Halcrow, Buckley’s colleague at the University of Otago, says that although she appreciates Trinkaus’s thorough cataloging, his paper has several weaknesses, most notably in its estimates of how common these abnormalities are in modern people—and how common they used to be. It would be better to compare the ancient rates to later populations in prehistory or early historic populations, she says, but unfortunately those data don’t exist.No matter the cause, many of the deformities would have been debilitating. The fact that so many survived past childhood suggests early humans must have offered each other social support and medical knowhow, Trinkaus says. For example, although hydrocephaly is rarely a death sentence thanks to modern treatment, it can easily be fatal if left untreated. “The Qefzeh child with hydrocephaly lived until about 3 or 4 years old. When you consider it lived 100,000 years ago, that’s pretty amazing.” By Michael PriceNov. 5, 2018 , 3:05 PM These bowed femurs were found (top to bottom) in China’s Tianyuan cave, Russia’s Sunghir burial site, and the Czech Republic’s Dolní Vĕstonice site. Frequent inbreeding may have caused skeletal abnormalities in early humanslast_img read more

Cricketer Sandeep Patil set to make his debut in films opposite Poonam Dhillon

first_imgSeth in a scene from A Map of The World: Rave reviewsThe blockbuster Atten-borough film Gandhi seems to have proved a windfall for quite a few members of the cast apart from Sir Richard himself. The latest to hit the big time after Ben Kingsley is the man who played,Seth in a scene from A Map of The World: Rave reviewsThe blockbuster Atten-borough film Gandhi seems to have proved a windfall for quite a few members of the cast apart from Sir Richard himself. The latest to hit the big time after Ben Kingsley is the man who played Jawaharlal Nehru in the film, Roshan Seth. Seth is earning rave reviews for his performance as Victor Mehta, a westernised Indian novelist, in A Map of the World currently drawing full houses at London’s National Theatre. Seth, who plays the lead role in the play, was picked for the part over other established performers like Shashi Kapoor and Naseeruddin Shah and British drama critics have hailed his performance almost un-animously. This is the first time in the history of British theatre that an Indian has got the central role in a London play.For Seth, the recognition is a belated one. After graduating from the London Academy of Drama, he struggled along on the fringes of the theatre world without really making an impression. He finally left in 1977, because, as he says: “I was disappointed and disillusioned with my work. Things just didn’t add up and the breaks never led anywhere.” But five years later, the actor in him resurfaced and Gandhi was the result. As he says now: “There was no good reason for not going back to acting and so, here I am.”Patil: Glamorous debut”It’s not quite cricket,” cried the chorus when Test star Sandeep Patil announced that he was unavailable for the coming tour of the West Indies. The tongues, last fortnight, began wagging even faster when close on the heels of Patil’s announcement came the news that the handsome, well-built cricketer was making his debut in films opposite Poonam Dhillon in a movie called Kabhi Ajnabi The (I was once a stranger). Patil, of course, is hardly a stranger to the world of glamour. Shortly after his sporting career took off he cut a long-playing disco record which seems to have sunk without leaving much of a trace. But his foray into the film world has triggered off the rumour mills with accusations being made that he had refused the West Indies tour because of better financial pickings in moviedom.Last week, Patil was forced to issue a denial that he had opted out of the tour because of the film contract. “I am prepared to go to the West Indies as a replacement for any batsman if I am invited,” he said, adding that he would definitely be available for the World Cup to be held later this year in England. But after his nonavailability in the West Indies, it is doubtful if he really has much of a choice. He had a pretty lean trot in the just-concluded Pakistan series and a thigh injury did not help matters either. At the moment he might find facing a camera easier than facing Malcolm Marshal or any of the other West Indian pacers.advertisementRajneesh followers in New Delhi: Protest by proxyGood Gurus never die. Neither do they fade away. Two years after he packed his bags and his Rolls Royces and sought greener pastures in the wilds of Oregon, USA, the self-styled Bhagwan Rajneesh was back in India, in spirit if not in flesh. Last fortnight, New Delhi once again witnessed the once-familiar saffron on its streets as 5,000 of the controversial guru’s disciples marched through the streets to the US Embassy where they handed over a memorandum demanding that their “Bhagwan” be permitted to stay in the US and given a permanent visa.The demonstration followed reports that the Bhagwan and his followers would not be given permanent domicile in the US following a series of controversial events in the sprawling new Rajneesh Ashram in Oregon. Scoffed one of the Delhi demonstrators: “The decision is inspired by political fear and religious prejudices.”last_img read more

Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton becomes first back-to-back winner in 2017, takes championship lead

first_imgMercedes’ Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday with a dominant drive and went clear at the top of the Formula One world championship for the first time in the year.The triple champion, who started the race from a record 69th career pole position, led Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas to a runaway one-two finish in front of the massed ranks of red-shirted Ferrari fans.BREAKING: @LewisHamilton wins at Monza to take the lead in the drivers’ championship #ItalianGP ???? #F1 pic.twitter.com/Sk2ikB1dlh- Formula 1 (@F1) September 3, 2017?? Silver liningA day to remember for @MercedesAMGF1 at Monza #ItalianGP ???? #F1 pic.twitter.com/V19zYnTO2L- Formula 1 (@F1) September 3, 2017Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had led the standings since he won the Australian season-opener in March, finished third and 36.3 seconds behind the winner.Hamilton is now three points clear of the German, with seven races remaining.UPDATED DRIVER STANDINGS ???@LewisHamilton is now leading the championship for the first time this season! #ItalianGP ???? #F1 pic.twitter.com/KantdrUHhx- Formula 1 (@F1) September 3, 2017Hamilton had won the Belgian Grand Prix on August 27 to mark his 200th Formula One race and had reduced Vettel’s championship lead to just seven points.With the win in Italy, Hamilton has won back-to-back races, becoming the first to do so this year.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

World class football academy in Manipur under consideration: Rathore

first_imgNew Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today said his ministry is actively considering setting up a world class football academy in Manipur in collaboration with the state government.Rathore said this while interacting with a group of students from Manipur aged between 11 and 16 years who are currently on a National Integration Tour organised by Assam Rifles.The minister noted the remarkable presence of eight players from Manipur in the Indian squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup and asked the students to prepare hard in the sport of their choice so that they can participate in future editions of Khelo India School Games.”A group of 20 students along with their teachers from Chandel district of Manipur here called on Minister of State (I/C) of Youth Affairs & sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore. Col. Rathore asked the students about their hobbies, studies and their interest in sports,” a release from the ministry said. “He (Rathore) said his ministry is actively considering for setting up a world class football academy in collaboration with the state government in Manipur,” the release added.Manipur has been the football factory of the country for some time with players from the state making up the bulk of the national age group sides. A few years back, several players from Manipur were in the senior national team though the number has gone down recently. All the clubs in the I-League and Indian Super League has many players from the state. PTI PDS SSC SSC SSC -advertisementlast_img read more

What to Look for in the EPA’s Forthcoming Standards on Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles

first_imgThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are working to finalize rules for light-duty vehicles that could significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.These rules, which could be released this week, will establish new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2017 through 2025. Light-duty vehicles represent a significant portion of U.S. greenhouse gases, accounting for approximately 17 percent of U.S. emissions. If the forthcoming rules resemble the proposed standards published by EPA and NHTSA last November, they will be an important step forward in protecting the environment and shielding consumers from higher gas prices.Highlights from the Proposed RulesThe proposed rules would establish an emissions standard of 144 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile for passenger cars and 203 grams of CO2 per mile for trucks. If vehicles meet the standards entirely through fuel economy improvements, cars will achieve 61 miles per gallon (mpg), while trucks will achieve 43 mpg 1. If cars and trucks attain these standards, vehicles sold in 2025 will consume roughly half the fuel as vehicles sold in 2008 (27 mpg), emitting about half the greenhouse gases.According to EPA estimates, the proposed standards would reduce CO2 emissions by 2 billion metric tons over the lifetimes of light-duty vehicles sold between model years 2017 and 2025. The U.S. Energy Information Administration found that the proposed standards would reduce CO2 emissions by almost 200 million metric tons in 2035 (Figure 1). Based on WRI’s preliminary analysis, if EPA’s proposed improvement rate were to continue past model year 2025, total emissions from passenger cars and trucks in 2035 would be slightly more than half their current levels. This progress in reducing emissions would come even though population and travel miles are expected to increase.Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States Using Existing Federal Authorities and State Action. In 2025, NHTSA establishes a Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standard of 56 mpg for cars and 40.3 mpg for trucks (they estimate that this will result in a fleet-wide average of 49.6 mpg). However, CAFE standards do not include efficiency improvements from air conditioning systems, or reductions in high global warming potential refrigerants from air conditioning systems. For this reason the GHG emissions standards drive GHG benefits above and beyond the CAFE standards. ↩︎ A More Sustainable Road Ahead?New standards for cars and light trucks present an opportunity for NHTSA and EPA to help drive the nation towards a more sustainable future. But the standards have yet to be finalized—the EPA and NHTSA’s finalized rules could be different from the proposal, for better or for worse. We’ll be watching to see how the agencies proceed. With America’s greenhouse gas emissions still well above the levels needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, comprehensive light-duty vehicle rules could offer significant benefits to the environment, people, and the economy. WRI included vehicle emissions standards as part of its 2010 report, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States Using Existing Federal Authorities and State Action, which will be updated later this year. The updated report will include a full analysis of the impact the finalized light-vehicle rules—as well as other actions by the Administration—will have on America’s greenhouse gas emissions.Proposed Rules Received Broad SupportAuto manufacturers, labor unions, and environmental organizations have all voiced support for the proposed standards. During a public hearing in early 2012, Sue Cischke, a Vice President of Ford Motor Corporation, said that the current regulatory framework enables manufacturers to confidently plan and invest in the future, and that the proposed standards “are aggressive, but so are the demands from our consumers for greater fuel efficiency.” Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers International Union, said that the proposed rules “are good for the auto industry and its workers, good for the broader economy, good for the environment, and good for our national security… The drive to bringing innovative fuel-saving technologies to market is transforming the auto industry in the United States in creating good jobs in the research labs to the factory floor.” Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, stated that “These standards show we can take real steps to roll back climate changes.”Benefits to ConsumersNew standards are important for consumers as well as for the environment. The proposed standards would save motorists money by reducing the amount of fuel needed daily in America. According to the EPA, the proposed rules will save 600 million barrels of oil in 2030 and 4 billion barrels over the lifetimes of the light-duty vehicles sold in model years 2017 through 2025. The net savings is more gasoline than the United States consumed in all of 2011 (3.2 billion barrels). EPA estimates that vehicles sold in 2025 will cost about $2,000 more on average, but will consume between $5,200 and $6,600 less gasoline over vehicles’ lifetimes.New Fuel Standards—At Home and AbroadThe proposed standards require a significant improvement on vehicles sold today, which on average get 33 mpg. But the proposed standards have safeguards to ensure that the EPA and NHTSA are not pushing too far, too fast. The proposed rules allow the agencies to adjust the standards through a transparent process in case vehicle improvement happens more slowly – or more quickly – than expected.And America won’t be alone in pushing next-generation vehicles forward. Japan has enacted a target that would get roughly the same level of improvement (55.1 mpg) by 2020 as the NHTSA and EPA proposal would achieve by 2025. Meanwhile, the European Union has enacted a target equivalent to 64.8 mpg in 2020 (Figure 2).for Climate and Energy Solutionslast_img read more

a month agoMan Utd chief Woodward declares commitment to ‘Ole’ and long-term plan

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd chief Woodward declares commitment to ‘Ole’ and long-term planby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward says they’re focused on building for the long-term.As the United chief announced record annual revenues of £621.7million today, he insisted everyone understands the plan.He said, “We and our global fanbase demand success and winning trophies – that target and standard has never changed. The progress on the business side underpins the football operation.”Much progress has been made on the academy, recruitment department and the training ground, and behind the scenes, so this isn’t always apparent.”These investments we have made and our commitment to Ole in March provide the building blocks for success.”We are wholly confident this approach will deliver, but it is important to be patient as we build for the future.Woodward even credited his staff for not getting distracted by the transfer rumours circulated around Old Trafford.The 47-year-old noted: “We won’t be influenced by short terms distractions.”The club was linked with hundreds of players, but despite this our recruitment department was able to approach the window in focused and disciplined way.”Danny James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire joined a strong squad and we also renewed contracts for players like Marcus Rashford and David De Gea. We are optimistic for the future.”The sale and loaning of players allowed the manager to involve more young players, providing a firm foundation and culture ready for building next trophy winning squad.”Much speculation is focused on recruitment and it is area we’ve evolved. The players signed demonstrate this approach is right.”The root of the club is youth-led attacking football, and it is the right way forward. Everyone from the manager, players and board remains resolute in the desire to get Manchester United to the top of English football.”We will continue to make the necessary investment to make this happen.” last_img read more

Times Russia report is virtual treason Trump says

first_imgWashington: US President Donald Trump on Saturday accused The New York Times of “a virtual act of treason,” after it reported the US is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid. Current and former government officials have described the classified deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s power grid and other targets, the Times reported. The action is intended partly as a warning but also to leave the US poised to conduct cyberstrikes in the event of a major conflict between the US and Russia, the newspaper said. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: London Trump tweeted that the accusations were “NOT TRUE,” calling the media “corrupt” and repeating accusations that journalists are “the enemy of the people.” “Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” he wrote. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.” The Times report came after an investigation by US special counsel Robert Mueller of alleged hacking by Russia’s GRU intelligence agency and social media manipulation by Russia’s Internet Research Agency to benefit Trump’s election campaign. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador Mueller detailed a disturbing number of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia ahead of the 2016 poll. Trump claimed the report cleared him of wrongdoing. On the question of obstruction of justice, the report did not conclude Trump committed a crime, but Mueller wrote that “it also does not exonerate him.” In its Saturday report, the Times described “broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.” The Times also cited National Security Council officials as saying they had no security concerns about the newspaper’s reporting on the digital incursions, perhaps indicating that some of the intrusions were meant to be noticed by the Russians. The New York Times, Washington Post and other publications have issued numerous investigative reports into Trump and his administration, with probes also under way by Congressional committees. In February the publisher of the Times, A.G. Sulzberger, said Trump’s attacks on the press were “reckless” and “dangerous” and threatened to encourage violence against journalists. “America’s founders believed that a free press was essential to democracy because it is the foundation of an informed, engaged citizenry,” he said in a statement.last_img read more

Laughter is not Medicine Study

first_imgEl Jaddida – A new scholarly review conducted by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) affirms the various risks of laughter on people.“Laughter is Medicine” has been around for a long time until researches carried by the BMJ unveiled the hidden drawbacks of laughter.According to the same study, laughter may cause jaws to dislocate, hernia to pop out, asthma attacks, headaches, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm), ribs to break if laughter is fierce and urinary tract problems when laughter is suppressed. However, despite the erstwhile drawbacks, doctors do not deny the advantages of laughter.For instance, it can reduce anger, anxiety and stress.It can also reduce cardiovascular tension, blood glucose concentration and risk of myocardial infarction.In short, before you decide to put a frown on your face, a nice smile is the best gift to give people around you. Smile and the world will smile back to you.last_img read more

Business Highlights

___Trade impasse: Trump pledges $16B to farmers; markets slumpWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump rolled out another $16 billion in aid for farmers hurt by his trade policies, and financial markets shook Thursday on the growing realization that the U.S. and China are far from settling a bitter, year-long trade dispute. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that the first of three payments is likely to be made in July or August and suggested that the U.S. and China were unlikely to have settled their differences by then. The latest bailout comes atop $11 billion in aid Trump provided farmers last year.___China has more weapons in US tariff war – but do they work?BEIJING (AP) — China has an array of options for retaliating for Washington’s latest tariff hike in the two countries’ escalating trade battle. Beijing could limit exports of rare earths or disrupt operations of American companies in China. But those steps all carry economic and political costs. And there is no guarantee they would work.___US stocks skid on worries of prolonged trade standoffNEW YORK (AP) — Heightened worries that the U.S. and China are headed for a long standoff in their costly trade dispute put investors in a selling mood Thursday. Stocks ended sharply lower on Wall Street in a broad sell-off that handed the benchmark S&P 500 index its third straight weekly loss and had the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 400 points until late afternoon. Traders sought safety in the bond market, pulling the yield on the 10-year Treasury to its the lowest level in more than a year.___Facebook: Fake account removal doubles in 6 months to 3BSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook says it removed more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March. That’s twice as many as the previous six months. But more fake accounts are still slipping through the cracks. Even as Facebook’s detection tools get better, so do the efforts by the creators of these fake accounts.___Bank CEO pleads not guilty in bid to get Trump postNEW YORK (AP) — A banker charged in New York with issuing loans to win a role in President Donald Trump’s administration has pleaded not guilty. Stephen Calk entered the plea during an appearance in Manhattan federal court Thursday. Prosecutors say he was CEO of Chicago’s The Federal Savings Bank when he approved $16 million in loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. They say he wanted a senior administration post in return.___FAA meets with international regulators over Boeing 737 MaxFORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — U.S. aviation regulators are meeting with counterparts from more than 30 countries to discuss how they’ll determine when the troubled Boeing 737 Max can resume flying. The plane has been grounded since the second of 2 crashes that together killed 346 people. Among those attending the meeting in Texas are aviation officials from Indonesia and Ethiopia, where the crashes occurred.___Dressbarn expects to have all its stores shut in early 2020NEW YORK (AP) — Dressbarn says it expects to have all its 650 stores closed in the first half of 2020. The women’s clothing chain had announced it was shutting all its stores earlier this week but did not give a timeline for the closures. On Thursday, Dressbarn’s parent company Ascena Retail Group said in a regulatory filing that the closures would be completed in the first half of next year. The company also says that it couldn’t yet determine how much the closures would cost.___Senate passes bill meant to combat robocallsWASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that aims to combat the illegal robocalls torturing Americans. Though the measure wouldn’t eliminate all unwanted calls, it would give regulators more tools to go after scammers. It would also push phone companies to adopt new technology to combat fake phone numbers popping up on caller ID.___NASA’s first-of-kind tests look to manage drone in citiesRENO, Nev. (AP) — NASA has launched the final stage of a four-year effort to develop a national traffic management system for drones, testing them in cities for the first time beyond the operator’s line of sight. Multiple drones took to the air at the same time above downtown Reno this week in a series of simulations testing emerging technology that someday will be used to manage hundreds of thousands of small unmanned commercial aircraft.___Number of US homes on the market rose in 1Q as sales slowedWASHINGTON (AP) — Homebuyers in some of the biggest U.S. cities are seeing a pickup in the number of homes for sale, especially in the most affordable segment of the market. The inventory of homes in the bottom third of the market by price rose 3.5% in the first quarter, the most in at least six years. Still, the rise in home listings in many metropolitan areas is mainly due to properties sitting on the market longer at prices fewer people can afford.___The S&P 500 index fell 34.03 points, or 1.2%, to 2,822.24. The Dow lost 286.14 points, or 1.1%, to 25,490.47. The Nasdaq composite dropped 122.56 points, or 1.6%, to 7,628.28. The Russell 200 index of small company stocks gave up 30.25 points, or 2%, to 1,501.38.The Associated Press read more

UN demining official warns of budget gap if no new donors come

After benefiting from a surge in funding following the fall of the Taliban at the end of 2001 and consequently clearing over half the minefields in Afghanistan, the United Nations Mine Action Programme for the country (MAPA) is currently projecting a funding shortfall in 2006, one of its officials said today. “If no new donor commitments are made, we will be forced to reduce the number of demining teams employed in the field,” John Flanagan, Deputy Director of the United Nations Mine Action service, said at a press conference in Kabul.Mr. Flanagan said that the shortfall would come at a critical time for demining in the country, since responsibility for the programme is being shifted to a mine action agency being created within the national Government. MAPA has already cleared more than 1 billion square metres of land since 1990. Around a further 716 million square metres of land remain to be cleared, according to estimates. Almost 329,000 anti-personnel mines, more than 18,000 anti-tank mines and nearly 7 million items of unexploded ordnance have been destroyed, Mr. Flanagan said. In addition, a nationwide survey of contaminated land in Afghanistan has been completed, and the number of highly-impacted communities has been cut by almost half since the initial data was collected through a combination of clearance, marking and mine risk education.“We hope that our donors will allow us to hand over a mine action programme that has enough sufficient financial resources to meet its many important targets in the future and one of those is an Afghanistan free of the threat of mines by 2013,” Mr. Flanagan concluded. read more

Grooveshark cofounder discovered dead at Gainesville home cause of death under investigation

by The Associated Press Posted Jul 20, 2015 2:16 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A co-founder of the defunct music streaming service Grooveshark has been found dead at his Florida home.Gainesville police report that 28-year-old Josh Greenberg appears to have died sometime Sunday.Greenberg’s girlfriend had just returned from a trip to Orlando that evening when she reportedly found him deceased in bed. She said she had last seen him Saturday morning and spoke to him on the phone around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.Police say the cause of death wasn’t immediately apparent. Spokesman Ben Tobias says investigators have no evidence that Greenberg’s death was the result of foul play or suicide.Greenberg was an undergraduate student at the University of Florida in 2006 when he and two classmates founded Grooveshark. The service shut down in April as part of a settlement with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. Grooveshark co-founder discovered dead at Gainesville home; cause of death under investigation read more

Football JT Barrett wants one team to believe in him

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett is honored on the field for Senior Day. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorINDIANAPOLIS — For four years, J.T. Barrett was the man. The Ohio State football team followed the quarterback everywhere he went and the city hung on his every word.Now as he prepares to take a shot in the NFL, everything has flipped. A crop of 15 to 20 reporters circled around the podium on which Barrett spoke, but the attention paled in comparison to the media circus three podiums away encapsulating former USC quarterback Sam Darnold, the player who led the team which Barrett beat in his final collegiate game.When asked whether if it felt weird to not be the center of attention, he took a long look over his right shoulder at the throng of journalists surrounding Darnold, then simply said, “Nah, I’m good.”He no longer must worry about the spotlight he could never seem to avoid at Ohio State.Despite setting the all-time Big Ten records for total offensive yards (12,697) and touchdown passes (104), holding 34 school records and becoming the first three-time team captain in program history, Barrett might not have a spot in the NFL. Teams have plenty of questions about his arm strength, pocket presence and ability to play in a professional offensive system.But Barrett said he does not pay much attention to draft experts or their projections. Instead, he is focused on finding a team willing to prove its belief in the quarterback by selecting him in the NFL draft.“I feel like if you’re going in the first round or you’re going in the seventh round, I think at the end of the day, that’s what you want,” Barrett said Friday at the NFL combine. “So you need one opportunity to showcase who you are as a football player and as a person. Like I said, I just need one opportunity, one team to believe in me and go show them who I am.”Given Barrett’s experience as a four-year starter, there should not be many questions about his strengths and weaknesses. Scouts and general managers can watch 44 starts and an Ohio State-record 38 wins.In those victories, Barrett often found success behind center when utilizing his vision and power in the run game, and he hopes to translate that pocket mobility to the NFL.“Strengths are being able to extend the plays, have the ability to run the ball, not just standing in the pocket like a light post,” Barrett said. “I’m going to move around, be able to make throws on the run. Elevate the game of the people around me.”Some have questioned whether he will switch positions at the professional level. Barrett said no team has asked him to play another position, saying “it’s all been about quarterback.”Instead, he has been working at quarterback in Orlando, Florida, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to prepare for the combine and the draft. Barrett has worked heavily to increase his footwork and timing.“When you look at great you look at great throws, you first starting off with footwork,” he said. “You talk about somebody’s arm, but at first, you have to have your feet in place to make those throws, so I’m working on that constantly.”Barrett will be the latest in a long line of former Ohio State quarterbacks — including recent  Buckeye signal-callers Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller and Troy Smith — to head to the NFL. He said he talks to Jones every couple days and saw Miller once in Columbus. Barrett said the NFL veterans told him to be himself and to enjoy the process rather than let it stress him out. That becomes key if Barrett slides further than he anticipates.Less stress comes with being a low-round pick. But with that comes a greater doubt.This year, though, Barrett dealt with hordes of skeptics who favored Dwayne Haskins replacing him. He has faced these questions many times before. They don’t bother him.“How much faith do I have in myself? Uh, I have have some confidence,” Barrett said with a smile. “I think, I don’t know, I’m not the type to voice it. I want to showcase it on the field. So with that, that’s what I plan to do. I think I did a good job preparing and trying to be ready for this moment. I have confidence in myself.”Barrett’s physical tools might never match those of the quarterback who he peeked at over his right shoulder, but that confidence and his leadership have a chance to place him on an NFL 53-man roster. read more

Bird known as the Messi of pigeons sells for record €125m

first_img Short URL By Órla Ryan 28 Comments Mar 19th 2019, 3:35 PM https://jrnl.ie/4550035 Armando Source: PIPAA RACING PIGEON has been sold for a record price of more than €1.25 million.The bird, Belgian’s best long-distance racer of all time, is called Armando and has been described as the Lionel Messi of the pigeon-racing world.He was sold for €1,252,000 to a Chinese buyer via an online auction about one hour after he was put on the market.Armando had been expected to break the previous record of €376,000, paid for a pigeon called Nadine in November 2018, but not by such a wide margin.A spokesperson for auction house Pigeon Paradise (Pipa) said it was “clear that Armando would be the most expensive pigeon ever sold in an online auction, however no one expected that the magical cap of a million euros would be pulverised”.Pipa did not say who had bought the pigeon, but according to the Belgian news agency Belga it was a Chinese buyer who will likely use Armando to breed other champions.Describing Armando, Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, founder and chief executive of Pipa, said: ”In football terms you have Messi and Ronaldo – it’s that level.” Armando was just one of more than 100 birds put up for auction by respected Belgian breeder Joel Verschoot.The bird has retired from racing, but buyers were interested in his breeding potential. Some of his offspring were sold for five-figure sums in the same auction. Verschoot’s stable of pigeons is based in Ingelmunster in west Belgium, and the online auction has been open for several weeks. As of Sunday, the family had sold 178 pigeons for around €2 million.Children and grandchildren Homing pigeons are raced by releasing them, sometimes hundreds of kilometres from home, with the first one back home winning the race.Racing them is a tradition in countries such as Belgium, Britain, France and the Netherlands, although it has been going into decline in recent years. However, interest in Asia is increasing.Eugene Fitzgerald, President of The Irish Homing Union, told RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland China and Taiwan are the “two big up and coming” countries in terms of pigeon racing.Speaking about its popularity, Fitzgerald said: “Very few sports you can do in your own back garden, racing pigeons is one of them.”Fitzgerald said Armando was sold for such a high price as his children and grandchildren will also be “worth a lot of money”, noting: “After a while the fella who bought him could have 40 or 50 direct children and maybe 100 or 200 grandchildren.”Contains reporting from © AFP 2019   Bird known as ‘the Messi of pigeons’ sells for record €1.25m Armando had been expected to break the previous record of €376,000, but not by such a margin. Share288 Tweet Email6 20,165 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Tuesday 19 Mar 2019, 3:35 PMlast_img read more

Broward school district bans clown costumes on campuses

first_imgFORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Broward County Public Schools are not clowning around this Halloween season.The district has banned students from wearing clown costumes or masks on campus. The Sun-Sentinel reported on Friday that a robocall from the district alerted parents that the attire was forbidden due to safety concerns.The announcement comes amid a recent trend of scary clown sightings online and across the nation. Though most of them have proven to be hoaxes, county officials said they’re taking this measure as a precaution.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

Runcie School district will not allow Broward teachers to carry guns

first_imgFORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – In a robocall to parents, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie addressed recently passed state legislation allowing teachers to carry firearms.Runcie said that, despite lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation on Wednesday, the district would not allow more classroom teachers to carry guns.“We do not want to create a psychological impact on our children knowing their teachers have guns, nor create stress on our teachers as they deal with more non-instructional duties,” he said in the recording.Runcie argued that arming faculty members will make schools less safe.“Arming teachers will create an unsafe environment, and many in law enforcement agree,” he said. “We do not believe arming teachers is the best way to make our schools safe.”The legislation was passed more than a year after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland led to efforts to make school campuses safer.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Lyfts CEO On the Future Driverless Cars and Ridesharing

first_imgMarch 26, 2015 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 2 min read Transportation’s future was a hot topic at SXSW this year, with companies announcing plans for cars that flew and ones that drive themselves across the country. In his keynote, Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green spoke about the how technologies like those might change everything from how we travel to ridesharing itself. Here are some of his insights on the future.Everyone will drive less…Although driverless cars won’t immediately change Lyft’s current model, he acknowledges that the industry is about to undergo massive changes. “We will see the current technology rapidly improve and evolve so people have to intervene [with their driving] less and less,” he said.Lyft drivers might disappear.Green acknowledged technology’s impact on ridesharing could be massive. All Lyft drivers would lose their jobs, for instance, but they wouldn’t be alone. “If you look back [150 years ago], 80% of the economy was employed in agriculture. Economies shift.” He believes the change will be gradual enough for the population to adjust, with the new technology creating new jobs to replace those rendered obsolete. He says he hopes Lyft could help make the shift as positive as possible.Related: SXSW: Self-Driving Audi to Make First Coast-to-Coast U.S. DriveThe concept of ‘driving’ will transformGreen says he doesn’t see most people will own a self-driving car, but they’ll certainly ride in them. “When [cars are] fully autonomous, the majority of people will hit a button on an app and request a self-driving car to take them wherever they want to go.” At the proper scale, he explains, this system could be far cheaper and more convenient that traditional car ownership.Related: Mercedes’ Self-Driving Car Says Hello to San FranciscoCities will adjust and transformJust as cars changed the face of cities in the 20th century, self-driving cars will change them in the 21st. He explains that Los Angeles currently dedicates 50% of its space to automobiles, with four parking spaces for every one car. With ride-sharing dominating the transportation industry, city infrastructure could rely less on parking lots and extra lanes. Says Green, “That will lead to the most radical reinventing of cities that we see in our lifetime.”Related: Apple Studies Self-Driving Car, Auto Industry Source Sayslast_img read more

Your Technology Initiative Failed Heres 8 Reasons Why

first_img It’s one of the most frustrating things in business — you spend months planning a technology initiative, but it never gets implemented. These non-starters not only can bruise egos, they can cost organizations untold expense, damage trust in those championing projects and hurt the ability to complete other projects. Here are eight reasons why it happens:1. Unclear goals.If your whole team understands the underlying goals of a project, they are more likely to make decisions in alignment with what you’re trying to accomplish. As you add team members, make sure they’re on board in a way that not only tells them what to do, but also provides the “why.”2. No buy-in.Different parts of an organization have different reporting lines and goals. To get buy-in from other teams, look for ways that your project can be beneficial to other groups within your organization. The political capital you could end up walking away with can be huge.Related: How to Build Incredible, Game-Changing Technology Fast (and Right)3. Conflicting initiatives.Sometimes these goals are complementary and sometimes they are at odds. To keep your initiatives from falling into a political abyss, involve others in the planning phases. And as your projects mature, look for ways to keep communication flowing, trying to keep conflicts at a minimum. After all, conflicts often mean overlapping costs, so this should help keep your costs in check as well.4. Costs.Cost is a huge concern in most every organization these days. To make sure your initiatives stay within an appropriate cost structure, have a target Return On Investment (ROI) for each. A realistic ROI is often the most important aspect of a project. The ROI isn’t vaguely to “make more profits.” Instead, ROI should be represented in clear, concise and quantifiable metrics, well communicated throughout the organization, not just the stakeholders on your team.Related: 2 Lessons You Can Learn From Entrepreneurial Failure5. Bad tactics.No matter how good your strategy, your initiative may fail because of tactical execution issues. Often, when the proverbial rubber meets the road, the tactics might be incomplete, in the wrong order, based on bad assumptions or just end up being bad ideas. I find the best way to protect from poor tactics is to use peer review to identify potential problems.6. The technology is the wrong fit.Sometimes technology is too new or buggy or simply doesn’t meet the goals of the initiative. The best way to make sure your software is the right fit is to solicit as much feedback as possible. For example, if you are implementing new Customer Relationship Management software and haven’t discussed the project with sales teams then how can you be sure that the CRM is the right fit for the organization?7. Bad project management.Depending on the scale of a project, a good project manager will reign in many of the most critical aspects of a project, communicating change with key stakeholders. Before you start a project, decide how the project will be managed and setup milestones and a communication plan early.8. Communication.Your team needs to be clear about all the things: underlying goals, project plans, who the key stakeholders are, who’s funding the project, what to do when going over budget and anything else important. This isn’t a repeat of the previous items, it’s to emphasize that if people don’t know about each aspect of the project they cannot successfully implement it.Related: Technology You Bought But Won’t Learn to Use Is Money WastedWhile I’ve focused here on technology, nearly all these reasons and strategies are applicable to any new initiative being implemented across an organization. What challenges have you encountered with your new initiatives? August 31, 2016 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read Register Now »last_img read more

Too weird for Wall Street Broadcoms value drops after purchasing CA Technologies

first_imgThe tech world has spent the last 24 hours or so pretty confused at semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom’s purchase software company CA Technologies. The deal, which Broadcom sealed with $18.9 billion in cash, was, according to the company, a way of adding to its portfolio “mission critical technology businesses.” However, it seems the deal was just a little too left-field. Yesterday (Thursday 12 July), Broadcom’s shares dropped 13.8%. This equates to a drop of $14.5 billion. Why did Broadcom purchase CA Technologies? This is the question that everyone seems to be asking. Ostensibly, the move is really about consolidating and driving Broadcom’s position in the tech space forward. However, as The Register pointed out, a quarterly review between executives in June made no mention of an acquisition. It certainly didn’t mention CA Technologies. Speaking to Bloomberg, Cody Acree said “It’s the lack of obvious connection between the two businesses. What does Broadcom know about improving CA’s efficiencies?” However, there may be some method in Broadcom’s apparent madness, even if investors don’t see it. Broadcom’s business in semiconductors – Silicon chips – is more unstable than the type of software solutions offered by CA Technologies. The semiconductor market depends a lot on fluctuations in the consumer gadget market. However, even if this makes sense to the Broadcom excecutives, communicating this strategy would surely be absolutely essential. Surprising feints might look good in the long run but they can spook investors. A tale of two markets: consumer tech and software solutions It will take some time to see if Broadcom’s move actually does work out. But it demonstrates the vast difference between the consumer and B2B markets in technology. It doesn’t seem outrageous to suggest that at the very least Broadcom feels anxious about the volatility of its core market at the moment; its acquisition of CA Technologies might be the insurance policy it has been searching for.last_img read more

Dock workers protest closes Caribbean ports

first_imgTwo unrelated street protests took place on Thursday. In the first, beginning at 9 a.m., union members and dock workers closed all access to the Caribbean docks of Moín and Limón in protest over a concession granted to Dutch company APM Terminals for the building of a new dock. According to union leaders, the dock’s entrances will remain closed until 4 or 5 p.m. on Thursday.The concession, worth an estimated $992 million, grants APM Terminals a 33-year contract to build and operate a new port, called the Moín Container Terminal.Union leaders last year tried to halt the concession, but an administrative court last August decided in favor of the project and the Dutch firm.Also on Thursday, another protest was held by residents from various cantons of the province of Alajuela, including Palmares, Naranjo, San Ramón, Grecia, Zarcero, Naranjo, Atenas, Sarchí, Poás, and Belén in Heredia and Esparza in Puntarenas.Residents in a group called the Foro de Occidente (Western Forum) joined motorcyclists and students in marching at 9 a.m. on the main streets of the cantons.Protesters are demanding the government renovate a highway connecting the capital with San Ramón by using public funds, after a concession with Brazilian firm OAS was cancelled last month by President Laura Chinchilla.Residents were outraged that the Brazilian company would have charged $8 in round-trip tolls for 30 years for transit on the 58-kilometer stretch of highway. The two-lane highway already exists – toll-free – and improvements would include only repaving, modernization and limited four-lane expansion. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Olympics Rio chief pledges to fix water pollution

first_imgRelated posts:Olympic official: Brazil’s preparations for 2016 ‘the worst I have experienced’ Transport chaos, World Cup security fears hit Brazil Why I decided to attend the World Cup despite the controversy DEA agents open Rio de Janeiro office LONDON, U.K. — The president of the organizing committee for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro vowed on Tuesday to address concerns about water pollution at a sailing venue.Two competitors had to be hospitalized following a recent test regatta at Rio’s picturesque Guanabara Bay, while other events have been disrupted by floating debris such as rubbish and dead animals.Sailing’s governing body, the International Sailing Federation, has expressed concerns about water quality at the site, but Carlos Nuzman said he would take steps to address the matter.“The water quality is one of the points of attention,” Nuzman told journalists during a press briefing in central London. “I assure you that the health and well-being of the athletes is our priority.”He added: “Other Olympic cities had problems with their water and fixed them before the Olympics, and Rio will do the same. This is a serious matter and we’ll do our best to protect people’s health.“A cleaner Guanabara will be one of the main legacies of the games. I have no doubts that we will do the sailing competition in Guanabara.”Last week, German sailor Erik Heil revealed that he had to undergo an operation on a serious skin infection after competing in the Olympic test regatta at Guanabara.“I have never in my life had a leg infection,” he wrote in a Sailing Team Germany blog. “I assume that I got it from the test regatta.”Heil blamed wastewater flowing from a nearby hospital.South Korean windsurfer Wonwoo Cho also had to be hospitalized after falling ill, while reports said that numerous other athletes had also complained of feeling unwell.Meanwhile, Nuzman declared that Brazil’s recession would not have an impact on preparations for the Olympics, saying: “Rio is on the way without a problem.”He also expressed hope that Brazil’s football team would bounce back from the humiliation of their 7-1 loss to Germany in last year’s World Cup semi-finals on home soil by taking gold in the men’s football competition.“It will be very important to win the gold medal in football,” he said. “Our football needs this.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more