Why South Africa’s Karoo is a palaeontological wonderland

first_imgSouth Africa’s Karoo region provides not only a historical record of biological change over a period of Earth’s history but also a means to test theories of evolutionary processes over long stretches of time.A typical landscape in the Karoo semi-desert region of South Africa. (Image: Media Club South Africa)• Newly found ape-man lived alongside Lucy, 3 million years ago• South African scientists track the sun’s storms• Cape bones add new chapter to human history • Bloggers take a trip back to humanity’s origins • South African research funding fourth-highest in the worldBruce Rubidge and Mike Day, University of the WitwatersrandSouth Africa’s Karoo region has been in the headlines in recent years because of the prospect of a controversial fracking programme to exploit its potential shale gas resources. But, to palaeontologists, the Karoo Supergroup’s rocks hold the key to understanding the early evolutionary history of the major groups of land vertebrates – including tortoises, mammals and dinosaurs.More than 200-million years ago, South Africa formed part of the southern hinterland of Pangaea, the great single supercontinent, which was inhabited by a diverse flora and fauna.In only a few places, where conditions were conducive to their fossilisation, can palaeontologists catch a glimpse of these ancient ecosystems. The Karoo is one such place.A representation of the ancient supercontinent of Pangaea, showing modern country borders. Some 200-million years ago, South Africa formed part of of the southern hinterland of this great continent. Click image for a larger view. (Image: Massimo Pietrobon) Why it’s such a special placeAbout 265-million years ago, the Beaufort Group of rocks within the Karoo sequence was beginning to be deposited by rivers draining into the shrinking inland Ecca Sea. As these rivers filled the basin with sediment they entombed the remains of land animals that lived around them. The youngest Beaufort rocks are around 240-million years old.Today, more than 30 000 fossils of vertebrate animals from the Beaufort are to be found in museum collections across the world. The Beaufort was followed by the Molteno and Elliot formations. The Elliot formation is made up of a succession of red rocks that records some of the earliest dinosaur communities.The area plays a crucial role in revealing the distant origin of mammals, tortoises and dinosaurs. It also covers two great extinction events, the end-Permian (252-million years ago) and the end-Triassic (200-million years ago).Because of its continuity of deposition, the Karoo provides not only a historical record of biological change over this period of Earth’s history, but also a means to test theories of evolutionary processes over long periods of time.Map showing the formations of the Karoo Supergroup. Click image for a larger view.The 400 000-square-kilometre area is internationally noted for its record of fossil therapsid “mammal-like” reptiles. These chart anatomical changes on the path to mammals from their early tetrapod forebears.The Beaufort Group has also yielded the oldest recorded fossil ancestor of living turtles and tortoises – the small, lizard-like Eunotosaurus. The younger Elliot Formation preserves a record of early dinosaurs that could help palaeontologists understand the rise of the giant sauropod dinosaurs of the Jurassic Period.Physiology and behaviourMany studies are still being done on the identification of new species from the Karoo. But a lot of current research is also focused on the relationship between the extinct animals and their environments.The story of the therapsid’s burrow is a good example of how insights are being gained on the behaviour of prehistoric animals. Roger Smith was the first palaeontologist to recognise therapsid vertebrate burrows in the Karoo. He described helical burrows, which he attributed to a small species of dicynodont (two-dog tooth) therapsid called Diictodon. In the fossil record, burrows are preserved not as hollows, but as the plug of sediment that filled them.X-ray tomography at a facility in France was recently used to scan one of these burrows. This showed that it was home not only to its maker – the meerkat-sized therapsid Thrinaxodon – but also to the early amphibian Broomistega. Further research revealed that the Thrinaxodon was probably hibernating, which was why it tolerated the intruding amphibian which was using the burrow to convalesce while suffering from broken ribs.Partners forever, the amphibian Broomistega and mammal fore-runner Thrinaxodon preserved in a fossil burrow. Click image for a larger view.Studying how fossil bones are preserved – a discipline known as taphonomy – can provide similarly rich insights. For example, it has been suggested that changes in preservation style between skeletons in the latest Permian Period (about 253-million years ago) to those in the earliest Triassic Period (about 252-million years ago) can be attributed to changes in climate. The region developed from being seasonally dry floodplains with high water tables to predominantly dry floodplains.Because of the abundance of fossil tetrapods in the rocks of the Karoo Supergroup, they have been used to divide the rock succession into fossil zones, called biozones. This has enabled the biozones to be correlated with equivalent sequences elsewhere in the world and forms the basis of reconstructing global patterns of diversity.Understanding the sequence of events is crucial for testing hypotheses of evolutionary processes. It is an area of research being pursued for both the Permian and Triassic periods.The big wipe-outsThe end-Permian mass extinction, the greatest, was responsible for the elimination of 90% of species living in the sea and 70% of species living on land. Roger Smith’s work on Karoo fossil vertebrates shows this extinction to have lasted some 300 000 years, terminating at the Permian-Triassic boundary 252-million years ago. It was followed by a lesser extinction pulse approximately 160 000 years later in the Early Triassic.Our current work is focusing on the more obscure Guadalupian extinction which occurred 8-million to 10-million years before the end-Permian. This is recognised from marine sequences. For the first, time empirical evidence for this event on land is being discovered from the Karoo fossil record.What’s next?These are exciting times for palaeontologists. Technological and scientific developments have opened up new vistas for their work.A comprehensive database of all the Karoo fossil vertebrate collections in South Africa has been built. This is the first database of Permian-Jurassic continental vertebrates. It is available to scientists globally, an invaluable tool for biogeographic and biostratigraphic studies.Better dating techniques are opening up the possibility of working out rates of evolution in fossil tetrapod lineages. High-resolution scanning techniques are also enabling palaeoscientists to explore areas which were previously inaccessible, or at least not without damaging the fossils.There are a myriad questions that remain unanswered. Were the early mammal ancestors of the Karoo warm-blooded? What can the Karoo tell us about the reaction of terrestrial ecosystems to mass extinction events? How can the Karoo’s shifting ecological make-up shine a light on evolutionary tempo? These are questions we can now attempt to answer.Bruce Rubidge is Director, Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences at University of the Witwatersrand.Mike Day is Postdoctoral Fellow at Organisational Unit:Evolutionary Studies Institute at University of the Witwatersrand.This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

DDoS Attacks Take Down Mastercard and Visa Websites, “Payback” for Their Stance on WikiLeaks

first_imgMastercard’s website was down for several hours this morning, and now it appears as though Visa’s is offline as well, as these sites have become the targets of ongoing DDoS attacks.And so the infowar rages on today with these latest shots apparently fired by Anonymous, a vigilante group of hacktivists loosely affiliated with the message board 4chan. Anonymous has been fighting an ongoing crusade dubbed Operation Payback for the last several months. Using distributed denial of services attacks, this group has managed to knock off-line a number of pro-copyright websites, belonging to the likes of the U.S. Trademark Office and musician Gene Simmons. But following the latest series of events surrounding the Wikileaks saga, Anonymous has offered its resources in the service of “payback” against some of the companies that have recently blocked WikiLeaks’ financial resources. PayPal was offline briefly on Monday, as was the website for the Swiss bank that recently froze Julian Assange’s assets there. Today, Mastercard and Visa, both of which have announced that they will block donations to WikiLeaks, were the target. Tags:#news#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… “While we don’t have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks,” a statement on the Anonymous website reads, “we fight for the same reasons. We want transparency and we counter censorship. The attempts to silence WikiLeaks are long strides closer to a world where we can not say what we think and are unable to express our opinions and ideas.”Certainly taking out your political opposition’s websites hardly makes you look like the most ardent defender of all free speech, only some of it. But in further twists in this story of finances, censorship, and free expression, it appears that Datacell, an Icelandic IT company that was processing payments for WikiLeaks’ donations now says it is investigating legal actions it can take since the credit card companies have interfered with its rights to do business. Stay tuned, as this battle seems far from over. Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market audrey watterslast_img read more

Valverde hails unbelievable Messi after 400th La Liga goal

first_imgBarcelona manager Ernesto Valverde believes Lionel Messi’s incredible statistics speak for themselves after he scored his 400th La Liga goalIn just 435 league games, Messi registered his 400th goal as Barcelona cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over SD Eibar on Sunday with Luis Suarez netting the other two goals.“I think the figures speak for themselves,” Valverde told the club website.“We don’t know if anyone will ever get close to those statistics but he is unbelievable.”The victory at Camp Nou enabled Barcelona to maintain their lead in La Liga to five points from second-place Atletico Madrid after 19 games.Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.“We have finished the first half of the season,” continued Valverde.“We wanted to maintain the advantage we had over the teams that are chasing us and we have done that.“The game was a tough one, like all the games against Eibar. They always put you under pressure high up the field.“At the end of the day we were able to get around that and we are happy because we have reached the halfway point of the league season top of the table, after having some tricky moments so far.”The Catalan giants will next face Levante in the second leg of their last-16 Copa del Rey tie on Thursday, where they hope to overturn their 2-1 deficit at home.last_img read more

Finest exponents of theatre

first_imgThe theatre fraternity came together on Friday night for a red-carpet awards gala at the 12th Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) Festival. Curated by the Mahindra Group and Teamwork Arts, the week-long extravaganza came to an end as the best from the world of theatre were awarded the META at The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mansingh Road.The annual awards, which recognise excellence in theatre nationally, celebrate the intrinsic diversity and rich cultural traditions of India. The META is India’s most comprehensive award and a premier honour for the theatre fraternity, awarding on-stage and off-stage talent across 14 award categories, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfLike every year, this year’s short-list of META was diverse and showcased the best of Indian theatre. For a week, the festival staged 10 nominated plays that revolved around motifs ranging from mythology and caste to complex love stories and human emotions. The line-up featuring plays in English as well as several Indian Languages including Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, etc., received an overwhelming response from the audience as the shows ran to packed houses. The Jury for META 2017 comprised theatre stalwarts Dolly Thakore, Mahesh Dattani, Sachin Khedekar, Seema Biswas, Avijit Dutt and Maya Krishna Rao. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveWhile ‘Mahabharata’ bagged the award for Best Production along with Best Director and Best Choreography, ‘I Don’t Like It As You Like It’, won Best Ensemble, Best Stage Design and Best Actor in Supporting Role (Female), and ‘Elephant in the Room’ won Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female), Best Costume Design and Best Light Design, giving them three awards each. The award for Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male) was jointly presented to Anirban Bhattacharya (Awddyo Shesh Rajani) and Rajendra Panchal (Katha Sukavi Suryamall Ki). Noted theatre veteran, Arun Kakade was conferred the META Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian theatre. He got a standing ovation as he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. He said, “I am so happy that META has been promoting Indian theatre for the last 12 years. There is diverse variety in the plays that come here. I have staged my plays here thrice before, but at the age of 86, I wasn’t expecting any award really. I am thankful to the META Festival organisers for this prestigious honour.”Hosted by Prateik Babbar and Shilpa Shukla, the scintillating awards night saw several luminaries, including Manoj Bajpayee, Sushma Seth, M.K Raina, Sachin Khedekar, Bubbles Sabharwal, Dadi Pudumjee, Vinod Nagpal, Sanjana Kapoor, Nicholas Idier and Jim Hollington. Performances by the band Samarpan, Harpreet, Neil Madhav and Rachna Yadav further enlivened the proceedings.Veterans from theatre, cinema, music, and dance presented the coveted awards to the ecstatic awardees and noted personalities like Manoj Bajpayee, Meera and Muzaffar Ali, Aditi Mangaldas and Seema Biswas were among those who gave away awards.Commenting on the awards, Jay Shah, Head, Cultural Outreach, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd said, “The 12th META has concluded with all the drama, fanfare and applause it deserves. The 10 best productions from across India vied for the top honours in the nation’s capital. While awards were presented to just a few, each META participant has been a winner. The Mahindra Group too feels a great sense of victory for being able to establish a platform that defines excellence in Indian Theatre. A proud moment for us all!”last_img read more

Hackers Threaten to Leak Ashley Madisons 37 Million Clients

first_img Enroll Now for Free 2 min read This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. This story originally appeared on Reuters July 20, 2015 Hackers claim to have personal details of more than 37 million cheating spouses on dating website Ashley Madison and have threatened to release nude photos and sexual fantasies of the site’s clients unless it is shut down, blog KrebsOnSecurity reported.Ashley Madison’s Canadian parent, Avid Life Media, confirmed the breach on its systems and said it had since secured its site and was working with law enforcement agencies to try to trace those behind the attack.The hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, leaked snippets of the compromised data online and warned they would release customers’ real names, profiles, nude photos, credit card details and “secret sexual fantasies” unless their demands were met, Krebs said.Avid Life did not disclose what information was stolen.The hackers demanded the closure of another of Avid Life Media’s sites, sugar-daddy site “Established Men”, but did not target the company’s “CougarLife” site, which caters for women members looking for “a young stud”.Ashley Madison, which uses the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”, has been planning to raise up to $200 million through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.”We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information,” Avid Life said, adding that the hackers left behind posts and images on the website detailing their demands. The unauthorized posts have since been removed.The breach comes about two months after dating site Adult FriendFinder was compromised. That site has an estimated 64 million members.The Impact Team, in a screengrab showing on the Krebs blog, say it had taken over Avid Media systems including customer databases, source code, financial records and emails.”Shutting down AM (Ashley Madison) and EM (Established Men) will cost you, but non-compliance will cost you more,” the hackers said.They said users who had paid a fee to Avid Life to have their personal data permanently deleted had been lied to and the company had retained records, including credit card information.(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rodney Joyce) Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Nowlast_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

Texas rounds up the troops in Toronto to share the latest product

first_img Posted by Share TORONTO — Here’s what we know about Texans after yesterday’s media breakfast in Toronto: they’re serious about their wine, they’re proud of their cities, and they love and welcome all Canadians.Representatives from Texas Tourism and its travel partners hosted members of the media at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel on Thursday morning to share with them the latest news from the state’s top destinations. According to Rosalyn Hunter, Director of Communications for Texas Tourism in Canada, Vox International, who emceed the event, now is the perfect time to promote Texas, when the low loonie has caused many Canadian travellers to rein in their budgets.“We all know about the low loonie but we want Canadians to know that a lot of attractions are free in Texas, making for an affordable holiday,” she said.Hunter also noted that Canada is the state’s #2 international market, with 453,000 Canadians visiting in 2015. Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec are its biggest provincial markets, while the average length of stay among tourists is 10.5 nights.Canadian numbers are expected to see an uptick this year courtesy of Air Canada’s new nonstop routes to Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. Daily year-round service between Vancouver and Dallas-Fort Worth launched on Feb. 5, while daily service between Toronto and San Antonio will kick off May 1. Following shortly after will be daily service between Montreal and Dallas-Forth Worth starting May 26.Calling it “a big deal”, Hunter was quick to point out the significance of Air Canada’s connectivity, for both Canadians and Texans. In fact, according to Sana Keller of Pulse Travel Marketing, the Canadian representative for the San Antonio CVB, the city of San Antonio is investing $100,000 to promote Air Canada’s new flight with a two-day promotional event at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto on April 29 and 30, complete with Texan chefs, music and authentic park rangers.And though the new routes are specific to only San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, the good news about Texas is that its major cities are easily within driving distance. This allows visitors to customize a multi-city getaway or, as Hunter noted, even a quick weekend trip. And going by what we learned at breakfast yesterday, Canadians will want to see as much as possible in a state that’s just so fun.For example, did you know that Texas is home to over 750 golf courses? Or that it’s the fifth largest wine producing state in the United States – and also the fourth largest in terms of wine consumption? The state boasts 181 wineries, not to mention 80+ craft breweries. And if you haven’t already heard, no one throws a party quite like like Texans, as evident by the annual State Fair of Texas (Sept. 29-Oct. 22), Mardi Gras (Feb. 2-13, 2018), Fiesta San Antonio (April 19-29) and South by Southwest (March 9-18).More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemHere’s what else we learned from Texas’ destination partners:LUBBOCK:• Lubbock has been named 2016’s #1 Western City, with a population of 250,000• It’s located one hour away from DFW and is known as the “Hub City’ due to its close proximity to five major highways and Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport• It’s the birthplace of Buddy Holly and home to the Buddy Holly Center• 80% of Texas’ wine grapes are grown in Lubbock County & the surrounding area• It’s an affordable destination, with an average hotel stay of just US$88/night and many free attractions• It boasts 2,300 events each year, including ‘First Friday Art Trail’, a free self-guided public art tour that takes place every monthMCCALLEN:• McCallen is located three hours south of San Antonio• This ‘birding’ paradise is located directly in the migratory path of birds (spring and fall are the best times to go)• It’s home to the largest single-floor library in the United States• A new Performing Arts Centre just opened last November• It was once designated as the least expensive city to live in the U.S.GRAPEVINE:• Ideally situated between Dallas and Fort Worth• It takes just five minutes to drive from DFW airport to downtown Grapevine• Home to 150 grape varieties, it hosts ‘GrapeFest’, the largest Wine Festival in southern United States• It’s state-certified as the Christmas Capital of Texas, with 1,400 Christmas events taking place in 40 days• Stand Rock Hospitality has plans to open a US$330 million, 1,020-room resort with indoor and outdoor waterparks, mini-golf, rock climbing, a spa and meeting space (construction to begin mid-2017)• Embassy Suites DFW Airport North has broken ground on a $13 million renovation of its lobby, atrium, Starbucks and all meeting rooms, with guestrooms to followFORT WORTH:• The city has launched a new ad campaign that includes Canadian at-par hotel pricing from April-December, a special Canadian package at the Omni Fort Worth hotel, free daytime admission to Billy Bob’s Texas in July and discounted attraction tickets• The Chisholm Trail route, which was used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads, celebrates its 150th anniversary this year• Fort Worth is home to the only Michelangelo in the Americas, which is currently displayed at the Kimbell Museum• New Hotels in 2017-2018 include: Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel (fall 2017), Aloft (2017), Fairfield Inn & Suites (2017), Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel (2018), and Courtyard Marriott (February 2017)• The Stockyards National Historic District has announced a $175 million development plan that will include additional shops, restaurants and hotelsMore news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaGALVESTON ISLAND:• Located just 30 minutes by car from Houston• Last fall, the island completed an $18 million beach makeover featuring upgraded recreational space• The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid, one of Galveston’s most popular attractions, is in the process of a $39 million renovation to be unveiled in May 2017• The new MASSIV ride at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, which was unveiled last June, is the world’s tallest water coaster• Galveston is home to the fourth busiest cruise port in the United States, with cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and DisneyHOUSTON:• Houston is America’s fourth largest city with a population of 2.5 million• The biggest news coming out of Houston is the new pedestrian-friendly Avenida Houston, featuring art installations, restaurants and the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis Houston• The Houston CityPASS includes discounted rates to five attractions, including Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo or Museum of Fine Arts, and Children’s Museum of Houston or Kemah Boardwalk• The best-selling Broadway production ‘Hamilton’ is coming to Houston next April• 11 out of 18 museums in the walkable Museum District are freeSAN ANTONIO:• San Antonio celebrates its 300th anniversary this year with a checklist of events, which can be found at www.celebrate2018.com• Hotel Emma, the city’s newest addition to its esteemed Pearl complex, opened in November 2015 with 146 rooms and a culinary concierge• The 33-acre San Antonio Botanical Garden is adding eight acres this spring, which will include a Family Adventure Garden and Culinary Garden• The Doseum children’s museum is now open, featuring hands-on activities for children up to age 10• Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible splash park, will open this spring and will boast a River Boat Adventure ride and five water play areas• Six Flags Fiesta Texas celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a new ride called Thunder RapidsFor more information on travel to Texas, go to TravelTexas.com. Texas rounds up the troops in Toronto to share the latest product news Friday, March 24, 2017 center_img Tags: Texas Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Heise invites mother of Kelsey Smith to testify before House committee on

first_img17Feb Heise invites mother of Kelsey Smith to testify before House committee on Kelsey’s Law State Rep. Kurt Heise and the House Criminal Justice Committee today heard testimony from Missy Smith, the mother of Kelsey Smith, on the importance of allowing police to use a person’s cell phone location in certain emergency situations.House Bill 4006, sponsored by Heise, requires wireless telecommunication providers to disclose a user’s location to police in emergency situations where there is a serious risk of death or bodily harm.“The story of Kelsey Smith is a tragic one,” said Heise, chair of the committee. “We must do everything we can to make sure every Michigan resident is safe, which is possible if we put in place procedures that allow police to respond quickly to save those who are in need of protection.”Missy Smith gave testimony about the horrific story of her daughter’s 2007 death, where Kelsey was kidnapped, raped, sodomized and murdered. During her testimony, she stressed the importance of allowing police to access cell phone locations, noting that if the police had access to Kelsey’s cell phone location she may still be alive today.“In emergency situations, every minute matters,” said Heise, R-Plymouth Township. “We have a duty to make sure that stories like Kelsey’s never happen again. Kelsey’s Law gives our police officers the necessary tools to respond quickly, which can be the difference between life and death.”Heise also said that in order to protect an individual’s privacy and to combat abuse, the bill requires an officer to seek a court order to continue using or requesting pings after 48 hours.HB 4006 unanimously passed the committee and now heads to the House floor.### Categories: Newslast_img read more

Jana Bennett Dirk Hoogstras time with History is

first_imgJana BennettDirk Hoogstra’s time with History is over, with Jana Bennett taking over the general manager post at the US cable channel.Hoogstra is credited with some of History’s biggest recent hits including scripted miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, but the channel has suffered significant dips over the past two years.Hoogstra becomes the latest high-ranking executive to leave A+E Networks since Paul Buccieri became president of History and A&E.Former BBC Worldwide channels chief Bennett replaces Hoogsta, becoming its new GM, and will also hold the president title along with Buccieri, to whom she will report.She joined A+E in 2013 to oversee the rebranding of Bio to female-skewed FYI, which has since seen double-digit growth, and was also in charge of movie channel LMN. FYI and LMN will now need a new chief, with A+E beginning a search.“I have long been a fan of Jana’s work, particularly with what she’s done with FYI and LMN,” said Buccieri. “Her vast experience in all genres of programming, marketing, distribution and digital is unparalleled and I’m very much looking forward to working with her at History.”A+E president and CEO Nancy Dubuc said Bennett had “joined our company with the mandate to take our networks into new and exciting places and what she’s done with FYI in such a short amount of time is remarkable”.Hoogstra, meanwhile, will return to independent producing. “We thank Dirk for his many contributions to History,” said Buccieri, who joined A+E this January from ITV Studios Global Entertainment. “He was the force behind some of the network’s greatest successes that helped propel History to become one of entertainment’s top brands.”Hoogstra’s exit comes after that of David McKillop, whose role at the top of A&E was handed to Rob Sharenow. McKillop has since formed Propagate Content with former National Geographic Channels president Howard T. Owens.Further to that, both A&E and History got new programming bosses soon after Buccieri’s arrival, with Elaine Frontain Bryant and Elaine Frontain Bryant taking on new responsibilities.last_img read more