MEG Energy to waive rights plan in takeover fight with Husky Energy

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first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:HSE, TSX:MEG)The Canadian Press CALGARY — MEG Energy Corp. says it will waive its shareholder rights plan in its fight against a hostile takeover offer by Husky Energy Inc.However, the company says it continues to unanimously recommend shareholders reject Husky’s cash-and-share offer .MEG noted that since Husky announced its intention to make its offer on Sept. 30, Husky’s share price has fallen more than 30 per cent, eroding the value of the offer.The takeover was worth about $3.3 billion when proposed in September but has fallen to less than $2.5 billion because of deterioration in Husky’s share price.Earlier this week, a CIBC oil and gas analyst said the recent deterioration in crude oil prices makes it unlikely that a better offer will emerge to force Husky to sweeten its hostile bid.Husky has said that it has received all necessary regulatory approvals for the takeover of MEG and is now waiting for shareholders’ response to its offer which expires in mid-January.last_img read more

Amitabh Bachchan Emraan Hashmi to share screen in mystery thriller

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first_imgMumbai: Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi are teaming up for a mystery thriller, which is set to be released on February 21, 2020. It is the first collaboration between Bachchan and Hashmi. The currently-untitled film will be helmed by writer-director Rumi Jaffrey. “A film is a collaborative effort and when you have one of the best actors in front of the camera and a veteran producer behind the lens supporting you and leading all creative efforts, then making the film is a fantastic experience,” Jaffery said in a statement. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka The movie is produced by Anand Pandit Motion Pictures and Saraswati Entertainment Private Limited. Producer Anand Pandit said he is looking forward to the project with the two stars. “My friendship with Mr Bachchan goes back a long way. I have not met any other actor who matches his skill and commitment. It is an honour to be a part of creating a film with him, and I have always admired Emraan’s body of work, so am looking forward to seeing him onscreen with the legend for the first time,” Pandit said. The film, set to go on floors from May 10, also stars Annu Kapoor.last_img read more

Morocco Worrying Spike in Vegetable Prices Before Ramadan

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Rabat – The consumer price index (CPI) for March shows an increase of over 12 percent for Moroccan vegetable prices, amid concerns that vegetables prices will continue to rise as Ramadan approaches, a time when further increases are usually expected.Like several other food products, fruits and vegetables have significantly increased over the last two months.According to the recent note on the consumer price index data report released by the High Commission for Planning, the CPI rose up to 1 percent during the month of March 2016, compared to the previous month. The CPI went up as a result of the 2 percent increase in the index for food products and 0.1 percent of non-food products.The same source said that the concern over increases in food staples between February and March 2016, focused predominately on vegetables, which rose 12.2 percent. Fish and seafood increased by 3.0 percent, fruits 2.1 percent, milk, cheese and eggs 1.4 percent, and meat by 0.2 percent. However, prices of oils and fats fell by 0.4 percent during that same period.For non-food products, the increase mainly concerned the price of fuel, which went up by 2.0 percent despite the decline of oil prices. Actually, a barrel of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil most recently traded at $50.14, after briefly dipping below $50 per barrel.Compared to the same month of the previous year, the consumer price index recorded an increase of 1.8 percent.The most noticeable hike in vegetable prices was in onions.Onions in Morocco are normally sold for one to two dirhams per kilogram. Over the past few months however, their prices significantly increased to 14 dirhams per kilo.The government justified the high price of onions due to hindered domestic agricultural output this year caused by delayed and almost absent rainfall.To combat the rising price of onions, the government has started importing a “large” amount of onions from outside the country, the first time it has done so in the history of Morocco.Edited by Robert Allen read more

Maldives opposition to campaign in Sri Lanka

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MDP has appealed on all Maldivian residents living in Sri Lanka to participate in the event.While the main ruling party’s campaign activities are blowing full steam ahead, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is seen to be joining the weekend activities held in outlying islands. Main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has announced that they will be hosting a parliamentary campaign event in Sri Lanka, Raajje.m reported.As part of the preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections in April, the party launched their Agenda 19 campaign slogan. The event will be held at 7pm on 13th March (Wednesday) at the Shahran Banquet Hall, in Kalubowila. Several Maldives Government ministers will be joining the event along with former President and MDP leader, Mohamed Nasheed. As such, last weekend the President and ex-President Nasheed travelled to Addu City to launch the campaign events of their candidates in the many districts of the city.President Solih is scheduled to visit three atolls this weekend as well. He will be travelling to Vaavu, Lhaviyani and Noonu atolls. read more

Côte dIvoire top UN envoy sees narrow window for progress

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“There is definitely a change in the atmospherics of Côte d’Ivoire,” Pierre Schori, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative to the country, told journalists after briefing the Security Council.“After the crisis of January when they attacked us and chased out humanitarian agencies from the western part of the country, there is a new spirit there,” he affirmed, referring to the mob violence that destroyed, looted and otherwise besieged UN offices for four days in Abidjan, the commercial centre, and other towns.He said the new atmosphere had occurred because of new agreements – on disarmament and the preparation of elections – reached in the capital of Yamoussoukro between the Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, President Laurent Gbagbo and other leaders, as well as the strong engagement of the international community and the African Union and the strong stance of the UN operation in the country (UNOCI).He warned, however, that the new spirit would not last long without progress and the cooperation of all involved. “The window of opportunity is there now, but it is a very narrow window and time is running fast,” he cautioned, saying that any delay in the election process would break the October deadline for the polls.“There must be a willingness of Ivorian politicians to fulfil what they’ve signed onto and the determination of the international community to contain and castigate any spoilers” he added, emphasizing that the international community stands ready to against such adversaries with sanctions.In his latest report to the Security Council, Secretary-General Annan said that despite the progress since January, a “rapid deterioration of the security situation” could not be ruled out and he again appealed to the 15-member Council to “give positive consideration” to his recommendations to reinforce UNOCI by almost 4,000 extra troops and police, as proposed in his report of 3 January and a letter sent last month.Today, Mr. Schori confirmed the need for those reinforcements, pointing out that Côte d’Ivoire has 18 million people, a large territory and 30,000 election sites to be guarded. UNOCI would do its best with whatever reinforcements are provided, whether it is the full 4,000 or only half, he said, adding: “But zero is one option and that of course is much worse.”The Security Council established UNOCI in 2004 to assist the Ivorian parties in implementing a peace agreement they signed in January of that year, ending a north-south civil war that began with a failed coup against President Gbagbo. It currently guards the so-called Zone of Confidence separating the Government-ruled south and rebel-held north.Mr. Annan’s requested increase in personnel would constitute a marked expansion of UNOCI, which presently has a strength of almost 7,600 uniformed personnel. read more

Muskrat Falls cost update hinges on loan guarantee armslength report premier

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – New cost estimates for the Muskrat Falls hydro megaproject won’t be made public until a federal loan guarantee is final and an arm’s-length report is complete, says Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale.New price projections for the proposed development that will top $6.2 billion were expected in mid-July.But Dunderdale told reporters Wednesday that those figures are now bound for closed-door meetings with negotiators working out the last details of a promised federal loan guarantee.After that, Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) will use the latest cost estimates to assess the plan to harness power from Labrador’s Lower Churchill River and send it to Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia using subsea cables.The Manitoba analysis along with reports on wind and natural gas options will then be released to the public and opposition parties before a week-long debate in the legislature on whether Muskrat Falls should go ahead.The timeline?“I expect all of that to be in play before the month of October is done,” Dunderdale said.“I’m hopeful,” she later added. “We need to get this loan guarantee business done so that MHI can complete its report, that I can get it in a timely fashion to the people of the province and the opposition parties so they’ve got some time to see what’s in it and do some further analysis. And then we’ll go to the house.”Opposition New Democrats, who’ve said they’ll need about three weeks to review Muskrat Falls reports, cast doubt on that schedule.And other critics raised questions about the format of the debate.The 2041 Group, a collection of lawyers and Muskrat Falls skeptics of all political stripes, called Wednesday for a fully informed process that will include expert witnesses who can be questioned in the legislature.Liberal Leader Dwight Ball has requested similar terms.But Dunderdale said Wednesday she wants the debate to follow the template for the 2002 special debate on the Voisey’s Bay mining project. It did not include questioning of witnesses and was the format preferred by the Liberal government of the day, she noted.Members of the 2041 Group say Muskrat Falls, unlike Voisey’s Bay, is a high-risk prospect and that the province should consider incremental projects or other options to meet power needs.“It’s particularly troubling that in the case of Muskrat Falls, the proponent and the government are one and the same,” said Dennis Browne, a St. John’s lawyer, former consumer advocate and co-founder of the 2041 Group.Browne said the Dunderdale government and its Crown corporation, Nalcor Energy, have shrugged off reports from both the Public Utilities Board and a joint federal-provincial environmental review panel that Muskrat Falls has not been proven to be a least-cost or even necessary option.Dunderdale said opposition members will have all the updated information needed to ask informed questions.“There has been no other project in the history of this province that’s ever gotten this kind of scrutiny,” she said. “Ever.”The 2041 Group name refers to the year that the province’s contentious Upper Churchill power deal with Quebec comes to an end. The 1969 agreement to ship power from Labrador to Quebec for sale did not reflect rising energy values and has reaped about $20 billion in profits for Quebec, versus $1 billion for Newfoundland and Labrador.The federal loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls was first promised back in March 2011 when Dunderdale appeared alongside Stephen Harper as he campaigned for re-election as prime minister.Related talks have dragged on ever since.“Sometimes when you get negotiators at a table for a certain length of time it requires a push from above to get negotiations concluded,” Dunderdale said Wednesday.She said a 40-minute meeting Monday with Harper in Ottawa was “frank and open” and that he reaffirmed his support for the loan guarantee. The long wait for confirmation has been fodder for Dunderdale’s political rivals who’ve accused her of muting criticism on a range of federal-provincial issues while negotiations continue. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Muskrat Falls cost update hinges on loan guarantee, arm’s-length report: premier by Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press Posted Sep 26, 2012 5:34 pm MDT read more

Loonie gains TSX declines amid soaring oil prices crude at highest level

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Loonie gains, TSX declines amid soaring oil prices; crude at highest level in 2016 by The Canadian Press Posted Dec 12, 2016 5:59 am MDT Last Updated Dec 12, 2016 at 3:58 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – Canada’s largest stock market declined Monday while the loonie gained, as oil prices soared to their highest level in nearly a year and a half amid optimism about a surprise weekend deal by non-OPEC members.The January crude oil contract gained $1.33 to settle at US$52.83 a barrel, a record price for this year. The last time crude was at this level was on July 14, 2015 when it hit US$53.04 a barrel.On Saturday, Russia and 10 other nations agreed to scale back production by 558,000 barrels a day for six months, following a Nov. 30 decision by OPEC members to decrease supply by 1.2 million barrels a day over the same time period.Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist with Edward Jones, says that although OPEC and non-OPEC members want the same goal of higher oil prices, it’s not a sure thing that they’ll stick to their quotas.“This is only half the story. The next leg is the execution of these freezes of cuts, which might not be as seamless as the deal looks like on paper,” he said from St. Louis.But their mere agreement to participate shows how desperate they are to get prices to a more profitable level, he noted.In mid-2014, a barrel of oil hovered around the US$100 mark, dropping to below US$30 at the start of this year.The Canadian dollar, which often trades in tandem with crude, gained 0.27 of a U.S. cent at 76.14 cents US.The spike wasn’t enough to lift Canada’s largest stock market, as the S&P/TSX composite index fell 24.50 points at 15,287.70, weighed by losses from the industrials sector.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 39.58 points at 19,796.43 to a record high. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 slipped 2.57 points at 2,256.96 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 31.96 points to 5,412.54.Fehr said the rally in equity markets have been “relentless” in the past several weeks, and investors should not be surprised if a pullback is coming.“It’s reasonable to expect that there is going to be pauses along the way,” he said.“Investors should expect to see a little more volatility as we turn the page into 2017. This bull market is very much in tact, but it’s not going to be a steady march higher as we’ve seen since the U.S. election.”In other commodities, January natural gas contracts dropped 24 cents at $3.51 per mmBTU, February gold contracts gained $3.90 at US$1,165.80 an ounce and March copper contracts fell three cents at US$2.62 a pound.Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter. read more

Sibling love Hill joins brother in Columbus

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Ohio State basketball is betting on the fact spectators will be seeing a lot of the Hills this season.  No, not the brain-numbing, MTV reality show featuring Lauren Conrad and her catty band, but rather the sibling duo of P.J. Hill, a guard on the men’s basketball team, and his sister Tayler, a newcomer to the OSU women’s basketball team.There are undeniable similarities between the two. Both play guard and took the number four for their jerseys.P.J. Hill has long been a favorite of Buckeye fans. The 6-feet 1 inches guard has made a name for himself by coming off the bench and instantly raising the team’s intensity level with a key steal or assist. This year, Hill is being counted on this season to expand his role.“Last year, a lot of teams got away with not guarding me,” he said. “I took that personally, like ‘you can’t shoot, you’re not effective on offense, you’re not a threat.’ So I took that stuff personally. When I get in the games, I’m going to step up and knock those shots down with confidence. I’m going to be an impact player. I’m going to be a threat on both ends of the court.”While senior Hill enters the final act of his career with the OSU men’s basketball team, freshman Tayler Hill begins hers with the women’s team.Tayler Hill comes to the Buckeyes as one of the most decorated players in Minnesota basketball history. She is Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer in high school basketball, boys and girls, and was selected as a 2009 McDonald’s All American. While leading her team to a state high school championship, she averaged 31.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.7 steals per game. She finished her high school playing career with 3,894 points. She joins a deep, veteran women’s basketball team that has already established leadership. “If Coach [Jim] Foster wants me on the floor, that’s where I’m going to be at,” Hill said. “If he needs me on the bench cheering my team on, then that’s what I’m going to do.”Rather than be daunted by the prospect of becoming another cog in the machine, as opposed to its centerpiece, she is embracing the positives that come with it.“I’m excited,” she said. “There were times when games got tough in high school when I had to have the ball in my hands at all times. I can rely on other players on this team, I can pass and screen away.”The pride Tayler has for her older brother shines through when she speaks of him. His non-traditional path to the OSU basketball team, which saw him transfer before his sophomore year from tiny Midland College, is a lesson to her in persistence.“My brother is my role model,” she said. “Seeing him work every day and keeping the faith that he has, I know that if he can do it, than I can too. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”There’s a double meaning in that statement. Although the particulars of P.J.’s role in helping bring Tayler to OSU are unclear, his influence is not.“He was a big factor in this because my brother and I are best friends,” Tayler said. “Knowing I can count on him when things get hard was a really big deal for me.”Foster was guarded in his praise of Tayler Hill.  “She’s talented and she can go up and down the floor,” Foster said. “When you’ve scored 4,000 points in your high school career, how many times have you been on the floor with players better than you?”But her freshman status does not necessarily exclude her from cracking the starting lineup in her first year, as evidenced by the playing time given to Jantel Lavender and Sammy Prahalis in their freshmen campaigns.“If you’re a great player or have the potential to be a great player, room is made for them because they earn it,” Foster said. “We’ll find out.”When asked about P.J.’s role in recruiting Tayler to OSU, Foster was glib.“I would say that he’s not disappointed that his sister’s here,” he said.Junior center Jantel Lavender, the team’s leader on the floor, likes what she sees in Tayler.“She’s a great shooter, she’s a great passer, she’s a great leader and she works extremely hard all the time,” Lavender said of Hill. “Those are the attributes that you need.” read more

Football Keandre Jones to transfer from Ohio State

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Ohio State junior linebacker Keandre Jones (16) tackles Tulane’s offense during the first half of the game against Tulane on Sept. 22. Ohio State won 49-6. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorFormer four-star linebacker Keandre Jones is transferring from Ohio State, the program confirmed Tuesday. Ohio State has not confirmed Jones’ destination, but reports say that the linebacker will transfer to Maryland. An Olney, Maryland native, Jones played in 32 games with Ohio State primarily on special teams and never started a game at linebacker. He recorded 29 total tackles with a tackle for loss: a sack against Tulane on Sept. 22. Ohio State will have sophomore Baron Browning, sophomore Pete Werner, junior Malik Harrison and redshirt sophomore Tuf Borland returning at linebacker. Freshmen linebackers K’Vaughan Pope, Dallas Gant and Teradja Mitchell will fight for playing time in the middle of the defense as well. read more

Grenfell Tower refurbishment used cheaper cladding and tenants accused builders of shoddy

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first_imgWater is sprayed by fire fighters on to the burning 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower Credit: Jack Taylor Getty Images  Exposed pipes in flats at Grenfell Tower  A demonstrator holds a banner outside Kensington Town Hall  Flame-retardant cladding could have been fitted to Grenfell Tower for just £5,000 extra, it emerged yesterday, as Kensington and Chelsea council was accused of carrying out a cut-price regeneration project.The contract to improve insulation and replace heating and water systems in the block was supposed to be carried out by building firm Leadbitter, but the contractor said it could not do the work for less than £11.27 million, £1.6 million above the council’s budget.The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation – which maintained the council’s housing stock – put the contract back out to tender and Rydon said they could carry out for £8.7 million, 22 per cent less than Leadbitter’s original estimation, even though the plans did not change.But throughout the regeneration work, residents at Grenfell complained about slapdash workmanship, posting images of exposed pipes laid across resident’s carpets and voicing concerns that boilers had been fitted in the middle of hallways, near to fuse boxes. The Local Government Association said councils across the country were carrying out ‘urgent reviews’ of their high rises with local fire services.Lord Porter, chair of the LGA said: “Fire risk assessments and the construction of buildings are being reviewed and double checks are being made to ensure remedial work recommended under previous assessments have been carried out. Councils are also working closely with tenants to review and offer fire safety advice.”But Dr Kostas Tsavdaridis, Associate Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of Leeds said builders often put appearance before safety.“There is a trend nowadays where architects and designers use decorative materials to make buildings more interesting and aesthetically pleasing,” he said.“Although theoretically they are fire resistant, in most cases they are high-temperature resistant instead of fire resistant. But even if they are, smoke and fire will spread through the joints and connections.”The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea declined to comment. Fires still burning inside Grenfell  An investigation by Construction Enquirer found that 20 high rise blocks in London have been fitted with the Grenfell cladding system, including including five towers in the Chalcot Estate in North London where work was carried out by Rydon and Harley Facades.Rydon said it had met “all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.But London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that tower block residents were ‘terrified that the same thing could happen to them.”Sharna Leuschner, 21, who lived opposite Grenfell Tower described how pieces of burning cladding flew towards her building.”It was coming onto our balconies, they could have caught light as well. It was terrifying,” she said.Today it emerged that in 2016 the London Fire Brigade had asked the council to check all tower blocks to make sure self closing systems on fire doors were working, following an arson at Adair Tower in October 2015. Yet no fire safety inspections had been carried out on the block after 2015.   Fires still burning inside Grenfell  Nick Paget-Brown, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said there was not a ‘collective view’ among residents in favour of sprinklers.He told BBC Newsnight: “We are now talking retrospectively after the most enormous tragedy, but many residents felt that we needed to get on with the installation of new hot water systems, new boilers and that trying to retrofit more would delay the building and that sprinklers aren’t the answer.”However the Grenfell Action Group said it had continually warned the council about fire safety problems in the block.Even before the work began, the group complained to the council that it seemed the contract had been ‘awarded to the cheapest bidder regardless of the quality of works and the consequences to residents.’After the building work was completed in June 2016, nine out of 10 tenants said they were dissatisfied with the way the improvements works had been carried out, while 68 per cent said they had been lied to, threatened, pressured or harassed by the tenant management organisation. Water is sprayed by fire fighters on to the burning 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower  Tottenham MP David Lammy whose friend Khadija Saye died in the blaze, said: “You can’t contract out everything to the private sector. The private sector do some wonderful things, but they have for profit motives, they cut corners.“We’ve all been up to those tower blocks,  they exist right across the country.  Where are the fire extinguishers on every corridor? Where are the hoses? Are the fire doors really working? Where are the sprinklers?”According to the British Sprinkler Association it would have added just 2 per cent of the overall cost to add sprinklers throughout the building. In 2013 the government wrote to every local authority to encourage them to retrofit sprinkler systems in older tower blocks following the Camberwell fire in which six people died.But only 100 older tower blocks in Britain have been retrofitted with sprinklers since 2013 and around 4,000 still have not. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. They accused workmen of ‘cutting corners’ and warned that damage to their flats had not been repaired while rubbish was allowed to pile up in communal corridors, blocking emergency exits.Relations with Rydon broke down so completely that Grenfell residents pinned up posters to their doors warning workmen not to enter their homes.Today Omnis Exteriors said it had been asked to supply cheaper cladding to installer Harley Facades which did not meet strict fire-retardant specifications.The safer sheets were just £2 a square metre more expensive meaning that for an extra £5,000 the building could have been encased in a material which may have resisted the fire for longer. The cut-price version is banned from use in the US and Germany for tall buildings. A demonstrator holds a banner outside Kensington Town Hall Credit:Reuters  Grenfell Tower on fire Credit:Natalie Oxford AFP Grenfell Tower on fire  Exposed pipes in flats at Grenfell Tower last_img read more

More on Minnovare and Northern Star Production Optimiser trial

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first_imgMore details have emerged of the results Northern Star Resources achieved by implementing Minnovare’s Production Optimiser technology over a two-month period at one of its Kalgoorlie gold operations.A newly released case study, co-authored with Northern Star Resources, showed the Production Optimiser technology not only increased drilled metres by 17% at the operation, it also helped deliver the highest average stope recovery in the life of the operation.If maintained over a full year’s production, that represents an additional 5,000 oz and A$8.4 million ($6.1 million) additional revenue – equivalent to a 3.5% increase in forecast stope turnover, according to Northern Star Mining Services General Manager, Rob Parsons.The two-month trial saw the Production Optimiser implemented at one of the Kalgoorlie operation in April 2018, with three long-hole production rigs running.Parsons said: “The collaboration with Minnovare initially stemmed from the observation that too much time was being spent re-drilling holes (due to inaccuracy). The other problem we identified was the difference between the drill rig’s onboard inclinometers, and what was actually being drilled. It was most visible looking at the final stope pick up – the actual shape didn’t line up with what you had designed. So, we were doing extra work just to validate where things really were.”Minnovare’s Production Optimiser system combines advanced hardware and software that enhances the speed, accuracy and reliability of long-hole production drilling. This leads to improved stope productivity and, ultimately, increased profitability, Minnovare says.The system can be retrofitted to any make or model of drill rig and works independently of the rig’s onboard systems.Parsons said: “We achieved, on average, 100 additional drill metres per day in the two months immediately after implementing the new technology, thanks to reduced rig setup time and re-drills. That’s roughly a 17% increase in drilled metres. During the same period, we reduced average blast-hole deviation (from planned toe-point) by 75%.“In terms of stope ore recovery, those two months combined were the highest average for the life of the operation. The increased drill rate and stope ore-recovery equates to an approximate 3.5% reduction in stope turnover time.”Minnovare Managing Director, Callum McCracken said: “Minnovare worked closely with Northern Star from day one to successfully implement the Production Optimiser on site. As the drillers and engineers continued to use the system they’ve seen further gains in drilled metres and a continuation of the improved recovery rate. That’s thanks to optimal blasts and a faster stope turnover, which is a direct consequence of greater drilling accuracy, speed and reliability.”Since the trial has taken place, Minnovare and Northern Star have signed a technology collaboration agreement to develop and implement Minnovare technology across NSR’s Western Australia operations.last_img read more

Heres how to make a submission to the mother and baby homes

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first_imgA headstone for a baby who died at the Bessborough mother and baby home in Blackrock, Cork in the mid-1990’s. Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall IrelandA NEW EMAIL address for submissions on the terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation into mother and baby homes has been launched.Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan announced this morning that anyone who wishes to make a submission should contact motherandbabyhomes@dcya.gov.ie.Flanagan said that submissions could relate to the institutions or locations that should be considered for inclusion or the general matters that the commission should examine. The Government is anxious to have the Commission of Investigation established before the Dáil recess and has set a tight deadline. I am urging those who wish to make submissions to act without delay in availing of this opportunity to inform the considerations now underway.The Minister will meet with a number of advocacy groups and members of other political parties in the coming weeks to discuss the terms of reference.Flanagan said that the cross-departmental review committee tasked with examining the issue will report to the government before the end of this month.He had previously confirmed that the scope of the investigation will go beyond the home operated by the Sisters of Bon Secours in Tuam, Co Galway – the site of a mass grave where almost 800 babies are thought to be buried.The inquiry will deal with other mother and baby homes, including Bethany Home. Flanagan has stated that county homes will not be included however, to avoid “a bottomless quagmire of investigation”.Counselling servicesA number of services have been made available to people affected by the issues raised. Those seeking information on the support services can contact the HSE National Information Line on 1850 24 1850 from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.People can also talk to trained counsellors through Connect, a free out-of-hours support line from 6 pm to 10 pm. The service is normally only available from Wednesday to Sunday, but will expand to a seven-day service until the end of July.The number is 1800 477 477 in Republic of Ireland and 00800 477 477 77 in Northern Ireland and the UK.Connect Manager Theresa Merrigan said: “As a service that supports people who were affected by traumatic experiences in Industrial Schools, the Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes we anticipate extra need at this time.”The National Counselling Service is also available to assist those affected.People seeing adoption and tracing information have been advised to contact Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) or the Adoption Authority of Ireland.Read: Multiple government departments to deal with ‘deeply disturbing revelations’ of child burialsRead: Bethany Home, where 222 children died, to be included in mother and baby home investigationlast_img read more

ASA Urges EPA Support of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment

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first_imgASA reiterated support for pollinator health and the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments to soybean farmers in comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week.EPA released an analysis in October, contending that neonicotinoid seed treatments do not contribute to improving soybean yield; however, ASA has heard from farmers, especially in the northern and mid-south growing regions, that growers are seeing benefits from the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments.“ASA cannot support efforts to restrict or ban neonicotinoid seed treatment products,” ASA states in the comments.  “Such efforts would unquestionably lead to additional and more costly input applications than the more limited use of seed treatment products.”The comments also underscored that soybean producers use neonicotinoid seed treatments where they are needed and effective, and don’t use them where they are not. That approach to the use of crop protection products should be rewarded, not penalized.“Farmers who use seed treatments for soybean seed note that the withdrawal of registration for neonicotinoids would harm the sustainability of those who genuinely need this tool,” ASA states. “Seed treatments both protect the soybeans from insects in the soil after planting as well as protecting the seedlings as they emerge. A below-ground insect infestation has no rescue options except replanting, and in the northern growing regions, replanting is not often an option. And farmers in the south report that since the advent of seed treatments, their need to apply a foliar insecticide on seedlings to 3rd tri-foliate soybeans is eliminated.”ASA pointed to reports of falling oilseed production in Europe, attributed to the EU’s restriction on the use of three neonicotinoids: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam, citing reports of many farmers having to plow up their autumn-sown crops after failing to keep flea beetle attacks at bay.ASA urged EPA not allow political pressure to lead to restrictions on crop protection tools.“As farmers, we recognize our responsibility to stewardship,” ASA said in comments. “We are engaged with other stakeholders in educating farmers about seed treatment stewardship, and we are committed to promoting USDA’s programs to promote and protect pollinator health and habitat to our farmer members. We urge EPA to maintain its commitment to science in evaluating crop protection tools.”After an extension of the comment period, Friday, Jan.  23, 2015 is the deadline for comments to be submitted on EPA’s “Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production” document. Comments can be submitted here. Supporting documents and the Federal Register notice are at here.ASA continues to urge those farmers with direct, tangible success stories regarding the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments to submit those examples to EPA.  Late last year, ASA also submitted comments to the related “Pollinator Health Task Force.” Those comments are available here.Click here to read the entire letter.last_img read more

Government to Invest ₹5 Lakh Crore on Road Construction Over 5 Years

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first_imgReiterating the Narendra Modi government’s focus on infrastructure, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that almost ₹5 lakh crore would be invested in road development over the next five years. The NDA government has set a target to build 30 kms of road per day in two years from now, said Gadkari, inaugurating the eighth Rubber Expo and Tyre show.The ministry has reportedly set for itself an ambitious target of awarding contracts for 40,000 kms of national highway in its bid to improve infrastructure across the country.The government will facilitate and provide ample support to the industry, including reduced interest rate on loans to make the public-private partnership (PPP) execute more projects, said the minister.Later in the day, addressing the International Road Federation conference, Gadkari noted that while the government focuses on improving mobility by building more roads, it is also determined to lower the number of deaths as a result of road accidents.Quoting statistics, Gadkari explained that five lakh road accidents take place in a year with about 1.5 lakh people losing their lives. He also said that the government has decided to provide 50% financial assistance to one million-plus cities, so that research and study on how to make roads safe can be undertaken, reported The Times of India.On the proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill, Gadkari noted that the current law is being overhauled to make road journey safe and also to simplify procedures for securing driving licence and road permits.last_img read more

An American by lifestyle did Meghan Markle keep Royal staff on toes

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first_imgMeghan MarkleGetty ImagesMeghan Markle’s demands from her staff may be getting out of hand. And apparently, their patience may also be wearing thin. Reportedly Meghan Markle texted a list of “instructions’ to Royal staff as early as 5:30 am every morning, a Royal expert has revealed.It is no secret that Meghan Markle has experienced an unusually high turnover from her staff, which is not a good sign for a Royal. Meghan Markle may be an early riser ready to seize the day, but the point of being an early riser is that you seize the ay yourself, not expect your staff to do it for you. Now the staff of the Royal Palace should be ready and vigilant to cater to the needs of the family at all hours of the day and night, but barraging them with early morning texts every day could be seen as troublesome for the staff that has to cater to not just Meghan.Maybe Meghan Markle, as a new Royal is just enthusiastic about her duties for the day, but her eagerness could be mistaken for a demanding nature.  Meghan MarkleGetty ImagesAccording to a Royal expert, Meghan Markle’s “barrage” of early-morning texts might be why. Ms. Pearson said: “Meghan gets up early 5 o’ clock in the morning often.” She reportedly gets on the treadmill early in the morning and starts texting her team members about things for the day.Meghan Markle is a former Hollywood star, and an early day at the gym and an early start is not unheard of, especially when you have to meet the press multiple times during a day. But apparently, Royal staff members were certainly not expecting to start getting a barrage of text message instructions at 5.30 every morning, and took great umbrage and offence at that. Meghan Markle is expected to give birth this month and the Royal couple is expected to move to Frogmore Cottage after the arrival of their baby.last_img read more

British Pubcasters Demand Prominent Placement on UK Set Tops Consoles Smart TVs

British Pubcasters Demand Prominent Placement on UK Set Tops Consoles Smart TVs

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first_imgNoting that a third of British households have an Amazon or Netflix subscription and over three-quarters have a smart TV, Mahon said viewer choice on digital platforms and devices is being driven by “commercial, paid-for relationships.”“Many of the providers of these streaming sticks or set-top boxes also provide their own content offerings, which of course come front and center,” she said. “This is all unregulated with no proviso for PSB at all.”The issue for Channel 4 and the BBC is that, while the manner in which content is presented on traditional electronic program guides is regulated, the same is not true for newer digital services.Mahon told the parliamentary event that the problem is acute in terms of news, where content from untrustworthy sources can be prioritized above that from the likes of the BBC, Channel 4 or Sky. “That could have huge ramifications for our democracy if left unchecked,” she said. “We need to think through carefully who are approved and verified news providers in these environments, with PSB chief amongst them, given our duties for quality, research and impartiality.”There is increasing friction between the traditional broadcasters and new entrants. The BBC, commercial broadcaster ITV, and satcaster Sky have all railed against the FAANGs, which are making bold plays in content and programming that are not subject to the same regulation. At the same time, however, the streamers are also proving valuable co-production partners for British broadcasters and keen buyers of programming from their sales arms.The incumbents have put aside their usual battles with each other to fight the FAANGs, along the lines of the adage that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” The commercial arms of the BBC and ITV have already teamed up on the BritBox SVOD service, and there is talk of a U.K. streaming service from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and NBCUniversal as the traditional players grapple with the new landscape.The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and network operator Arqiva also said Monday that they would sink another £125 million ($141 million) into the free-to-air digital platform Freeview. The investment will fund a new mobile app and voice search among other updates. Digital U.K. operates Freeview, and in the funding announcement made note of recent Ofcom findings that “highlighted challenges created by new players such as Netflix and Amazon, calling for more industry collaboration to maintain the prominence of PSB.” Tensions between Britain’s pubcasters and digital and tech giants intensified Monday as the BBC and Channel 4 demanded that their content get better positioning on smart TVs and connected devices. Channel 4 chief Alex Mahon said that, together with the BBC, she would call on the British government to ensure that all relevant devices sold in the U.K. give the public-service broadcasters a prominent position on the first page of their user interface.Mahon told Variety in May of her concern over the placement of public-service broadcasting, or PSB, content on new platforms and devices. On Monday, she spoke on the matter at an event in Parliament. BBC director general Tony Hall, who has been vocal in warning of the threat he feels that FAANGs pose to homegrown content, also spoke. He said the current rules are “from another age” and called for “protected PSB prominence on the first page for any significant device.” ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15center_img Popular on Variety last_img read more

Berkeley robot uses tiny spiny toes to climb cloth

Berkeley robot uses tiny spiny toes to climb cloth

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first_img Citation: Berkeley robot uses tiny, spiny toes to climb cloth (2011, October 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-10-berkeley-robot-tiny-spiny-toes.html The lab’s creation, CLASH, is the newest member of its robotic creatures, and this one moves vertically up cloth. Ten centimeters long, the 15-gram CLASH moves up cloth fast in an insect-like scurrying motion. The motor in CLASH powers the legs and drives its swift gait frequency. According to the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab site, the robotic device “is capable of climbing a loose cloth surface at 15 cm per second using a simple passive claw mechanism and a coupled in-plane leg drive system.”Each leg is connected to the single motor through a series of linkages. A point of design interest about CLASH is centered on the gripping and climbing technique the team devised, where tiny spikes on the robit’s feet grip into loose fabric and let the bot climb. The electronics and battery are configured into the tail of the robot, which adds balance. The CLASH newcomer belongs to the lab’s family of “Ambulating Robots.” They make a case for the value of legged systems rather than wheeled systems. Key performance advantages in legged systems is because the feet are not continually in contact with the ground, which makes legged robots better able to cross challenging terrain, they note. Perhaps the most interesting advantage, say the researchers, is in dynamic behavior seen in nature. “Many legged animals exhibit dynamically, self-stabilizing behavior. That is, the passive mechanical properties of the systems are tuned to naturally reject disturbances which might otherwise cause unstable behavior in the system.”Last month the Berkeley team of P. Birkmeyer, A. G. Gillies, and R. S. Fearing presented “CLASH: Climbing Vertical Loose Cloth” at IROS 2011 (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in San Francisco.The lab’s work on CLASH is not done yet. According to a report in IEEE Spectrum, they want to get CLASH to crawl horizontally, and they want CLASH to turn. (PhysOrg.com) — Scientists working in robotics know that nature holds the best ideas for making robots that can perform with speed, agility, and efficiency. At University of California, Berkeley, the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab is at the forefront of mimicking nature. Its lab mission is “to harness features of animal manipulation, locomotion, sensing, actuation, mechanics, dynamics, and control strategies,” in its work with small lightweight millirobots. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Explore further Can MRI drive a medical robot? 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.last_img read more

Study suggests multiple instances of interbreeding between Neanderthal and early humans

Study suggests multiple instances of interbreeding between Neanderthal and early humans

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first_img 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. Citation: Study suggests multiple instances of inter-breeding between Neanderthal and early humans (2018, November 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-multiple-instances-inter-breeding-neanderthal-early.html A pair of researchers at Temple University has found evidence that suggests Neanderthals mated and produced offspring with anatomically modern humans multiple times—not just once, as has been suggested by prior research. In their paper published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, Fernando Villanea and Joshua Schraiber describe their genetic analysis of East Asian and European people and how they compared to people from other places. Fabrizio Mafessoni with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology offers a News and Views piece on the work done by the pair in the same journal issue. More information: Fabrizio Mafessoni. Encounters with archaic hominins, Nature Ecology & Evolution (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0729-6Fernando A. Villanea et al. Multiple episodes of interbreeding between Neanderthal and modern humans, Nature Ecology & Evolution (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0735-8 Explore further Modern humans inherited viral defenses from Neanderthalscenter_img Journal information: Nature Ecology & Evolution Comparison of Modern Human and Neanderthal skulls from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Credit: DrMikeBaxter/Wikipedia In recent years, scientists have discovered that early humans moving out of Africa encountered Neanderthals living in parts of what is now Europe and Eastern Asia. In comparing Neanderthal DNA with modern humans, researchers have found that there was a least one pairing that led to offspring, which is reflected in the DNA of humans—approximately 2 percent of the DNA in non-African humans today is Neanderthal. In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence that suggests there was more than one such encounter. Their findings make logical sense, considering that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals coexisted for approximately 30,000 years. Recent research by other groups had suggested that multiple offspring-producing unions had occurred—some people in East Asia, for example, were found to have up to 20 percent more Neanderthal DNA than people of strictly European descent. In this new effort, the researchers took a more stringent look to find out once and for all if there had been multiple pairings or just one. They pulled and analyzed data from the 1000 Genomes Project, measuring the amount of Neanderthal DNA in genetic material from volunteers. The first step was separating the data between people of European and Asian ancestry. Doing so suggested that both groups had evidence of early multiple mating events. The researchers then studied the rates of the two groups by creating simulations showing outcomes of differing numbers of mating events between the two groups. Data from the simulations was then fed into a machine-learning algorithm that showed DNA percentage patterns based on the number of cross-breeding events that had occurred.The researchers concluded that the most likely scenario was that there were multiple instances of cross-breeding between early humans in both East Asia and Europe with Neanderthals. © 2018 Science X Networklast_img read more

Tech Startups That Are Strengthening RealWorld Security

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first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. May 14, 2013 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global You’ve probably heard the old adage that crime doesn’t pay. But during recessions and other times of financial uncertainty, crimes like robbery and auto theft after become more common.But there is one legitimate way to cash in on criminal activity: by fighting it. Whether through hearing, seeing or saying something, these three cutting edge security startups are plying emerging technologies to make the world a safer place — and make an honest buck while they’re at it.Hear something: VictrioIdentity thieves are getting bolder all the time, creating the need for increased security measures to keep them at bay. It used to be that if criminals got hold of someone’s personal information, they would fill out credit card applications or open false bank accounts. But these days, they even get on the phone and try to impersonate their victims.To fight such fraudulent behavior, Mountain View, Calif.-based Victrio works with companies to authenticate callers’ identities by using their “voiceprint” — a combination of factors such as their voice biometrics, signal characteristics and metadata. An extremely competitive field, voice-authenticated security has attracted the interest of major players like Nuance [http://www.nuance.com], whose speech-recognition solutions power everything from apps to ads, as well as many smaller innovators.Victrio’s solution works in the background, sending confidence scores to call center representatives in real time. That prompts them to ask more security questions if in doubt, or continue with business as usual if the voice profile matches. Victrio offers volume-based pricing on a per call basis.The company sets itself apart from its competition with its global fraud database, a proprietary collection of voiceprints that spans crooks targeting the banking, healthcare and government fields. The idea is that fraudsters don’t discriminate when it comes to the type of companies they exploit, so neither should Victrio’s protection.Related: Cyber Security a Growing Issue for Small BusinessSee something: CamiologIn the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, surveillance cameras provided crucial information to help catch the alleged perpetrators and became more popular than at any time since the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. Over the previous decade, however, security cameras had plenty of critics, citing privacy concerns as they proliferated.Now, San Mateo, Calif.-based Camiolog stands to see a lot more business, as companies large and small look to ramp up video security with lightweight, easy-to-deploy solutions.Founded in 2011 and bootstrapped by former Google Maps director Carter Maslan, Camiolog offers full-service, 24-hour video surveillance solutions for as little as 55 cents per day, with such features as cloud storage, smart alerts and search included as standard with the service. Selling compatible cameras (including indoor/outdoor Wi-Fi and night vision models), storing video and analyzing footage to detect activity, the company provides a comprehensive package for keeping watch over property.Third-party cameras also work nicely with the service, so long as they can be connected to an internet router. That requirement allows Camiolog videos to be stored in the cloud, improving security in case of fire. They can be viewed using any web browser or free iOS and Android apps.The company’s bring-your-own-device approach and pay-per-day rates position it well in a crowded competitive marketplace full of tech giants like Logitech, Philips and Netgear.Related: 5 Easy-to-Use Tools to Make Business Email More SecureSay something: ElertsIronically, people carry their cellphones on them at all times in case of emergencies, but when disasters go down, so too can mobile carrier service. Looking to patch these communications breakdowns, Braintree, Mass.-based Elerts offers emergency response software for smartphones that specifically target transit systems, healthcare companies, colleges and utility providers.Founded in 2010, the company specializes in developing customized emergency smartphone products for outside organizations, such as the citizen reporting apps it made for Atlanta’s MARTA and Boston’s MBTA transit systems. It also offers several free apps to the general public. The apps pull data from several places, including government disaster sources, fellow app users and social networks, sending emergency responders everything from geo-tagged photos to mapped evacuation routes.Pricing for Elerts’ hosted security services is based on the size of the client. The mass transit solutions range from $20,000 to $95,000 per year. The hospital and campus apps’ prices depend on the size of the group served, running approximately $12 per person per year.The emergency mass communications space is heating up, with competitors like AtHoc, Rave Mobile Safety and Blackboard all vying for contracts with universities and government agencies. But Elerts’ social integration helps set this startup apart.Coincidentally, on the day of the Boston Marathon, Elerts’ chief architect happened to be near the bombing site and was able to put the company’s app to a real world test. As confusion mounted, people made an overwhelming number of calls and texts, flooding carriers’ voice and SMS networks. But the wireless data line remained functional, allowing services like Elerts to cut through the confusion and deliver information as it developed.Related: Cutting Edge Ways to Combat Employee Theft Register Now »last_img read more

New constitution gives Haitians abroad more rights

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first_img Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – A new constitution that takes effect Tuesday gives 2 million Haitians living abroad more rights in their homeland, including the ability to run for some posts in government.The amendments were approved last year but Haitian President Michel Martelly blocked them at the time because of unspecified errors.The new constitution also paves the way for new Senate elections that would give Martelly a chance to bolster his now-tiny bloc of supporters in the legislature. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes He fired the nine members of a provisional electoral council by decree in December but the new constitution enables him to form a permanent electoral panel.Martelly signed the amended constitution into law Tuesday at the National Palace as diplomats and lawmakers looked on.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more