Money, it turns out, doesn’t necessarily burn a hole in our pockets. Researchers have found that, on the day Americans get paid, they’re little more likely to spend that cash than on any other day of the week—at least if it’s on items like food and coffee. The finding suggests that tax rebates and other cash infusions may not boost the economy, as most people would probably save the windfall for a rainy day.Researchers disagree about what people do with extra cash, says economist Matthew Shapiro of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. “If the standard economic theory is right,” he says, “most individuals will save almost all of a payment.” Some studies suggest, however, that people are not this rational, but obtaining data is not easy.So Shapiro and colleagues turned to a computer and cellphone program called Check that lets users record all the money they spend. For 300 days, the researchers tracked a random sample of about 23,000 anonymous U.S.-based users who received regular payroll or Social Security payments. At first glance, the data suggested that people spend money as soon as they get it. 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When the team removed recurring identical payments from the analysis, it found a much lower, but still significant, postpayment peak, with people spending about 40% more after income arrived. The researchers say that even this amount could have been an overestimate, as they might have missed some recurring payments like metered utility bills that can vary from month to month.So Shapiro and colleagues picked out a single type of spending that’s easily influenced by the perception of disposable income: cash shelled out for fast food and coffee. Here, most people’s spending barely increased after a payment, the team reports online today in Science.Still, not everyone followed this pattern. Individuals with less cash in their bank accounts increased their spending more after receiving a payment than did folks with more money in the bank. Sometimes, these people simply received less money, leaving them less able to build up reserves. Other people were simply more carefree with their money and therefore tended to spend it as soon as they got it. “Surprisingly, there are a lot of well-to-do individuals who run their credit balances up to the limit and live paycheck to paycheck—even if it’s a large paycheck,” Shapiro says.The finding could help governments better stimulate the economy. If they could find ways to target tax rebates to people who have little cash in reserve, for example, the payments might stimulate spending more effectively, Shapiro says.Jonathan Parker, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, is impressed by the researchers’ innovative use of a novel data source. “By using administrative data,” he says, “they’re able to get much more precise measurements than surveys generally provide, and a much larger sample of individuals.” Still, the volunteers are not perfectly representative of the U.S. population, he notes. For example, the researchers openly acknowledge that men use Check more than women do and are thus presumably overrepresented in their sample. The effects of this disparity are unclear, but if women were better, on average, at managing their finances than men are, it would distort the findings.
Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco said his side were worthy losers after Porto secured top spot in Group D of the Champions League with a 3-1 win.Both Porto and Schalke were already certain of their places in the knockout stage heading into Wednesday’s encounter, but the Primeira Liga leaders knew a victory would be enough to claim pole position and, in theory, an easier tie in the round of 16.Goals from Eder Militao, Jesus Corona and Moussa Marega proved the difference, with Nabil Bentaleb’s penalty a mere consolation. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! And Tedesco, whose side were unbeaten in the opening four fixtures, acknowledged Schalke’s display was not up to scratch.”We definitely deserved to lose,” Tedesco told reporters.”The first half wasn’t that bad – we only let them have two shots on goal.”We didn’t start the second half well enough and were suitably punished by our strong opponents.”They pressed us well at the start of the game, which made it very difficult for us. We were missing that cutting edge up front too.”Ralf Fahrmann had to be at his best to deny Porto in the first half, but he was finally beaten when Militao headed home in the 52nd minute, with Corona soon making it two.Bentaleb’s spot-kick handed Schalke an unlikely lifeline, only for Marega to wrap up the points in stoppage time.Last 16 confirmedGroup D winnersPorto #UCL pic.twitter.com/fOqLNV9xtY — UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 28, 2018 Like Tedesco, Sergio Conceicao now has the luxury of being able to rest his star men in the final group game, but Porto’s coach wants his side to maintain their high standards.”We played a fantastic second half. We could have scored two or three more goals,” he told a news conference.”But even now when we think it’s okay, it’s not. We have to be alert all the time, it’s in these positive moments that we let ourselves relax a little and I do not like it.”We need to improve.”Porto close out group play on December 11 against Galatasaray while Schalke will finish up the same day against Lokomotiv Moscow.
Simona Halep established her credentials to become the newest French Open champion with a blistering 6-1, 6-1 victory over Carla Suarez-Navarro to reach the quarter-finals on Monday.With no former champions left in the field, pregnant Serena Williams watching from the sidelines and Maria Sharapova not invited to compete, third seed Halep has a golden opportunity to break into the grand slam winners’ circle.Monday’s evidence suggested the Romanian may be ready for it.”I was expecting a tough game against a very good claycourt player,” Halep said. “But I managed to push her back.”I played a good game.”There could be no arguments from any observers or from Suarez Navarro who appeared stunned at the outcome.Before this clash there had been little to suggest it would be so one-sided. Halep led their head-to-head record, but only by 6-5.Ss soon as the match began, however, its complexion became quickly apparent. Halep settled faster and raced into a 5-0 lead before Suarez Navarro could register on the scoreboard.The Spaniard finally held her serve for 5-1 when Halep made a rare forehand error to end a 15-stroke rally, but the Romanian put that blip behind her to seal the set with a backhand pass a game later.There are few players who strike the ball more crisply that Suarez Navarro, especially on the backhand side where she usually unfurls a big top-spin shot.But whether it was the swirling wind which snapped the flags lining the roof of the showcourt, or Halep’s varied pace, the Spaniard repeatedly struggled to find her range.advertisementThe one high point for Suarez Navarro was when she broke back for 1-1 in the second set, but it was all downhill from there.Her timing had gone, then her footwork. At one point she was forced to lunge forward to strike a backhand and accordingly popped it into the net, her foot positioning all wrong.Halep was toying with her now, switching things up, throwing in drop-shots followed by lobs. Suarez Navarro scampered around court to no effect, while many in the crowd shifted uncomfortably in their seats.On the stroke of the hour Suarez Navarro was put out of her misery, having made 41 errors.As the two kissed at the net, Halep kindly patted her opponent on the back, and the Spaniard could hardly wait to get out of there.The 21st seed gathered her racket bag and, after a quick wave to the crowd, left the arena while Halep took the plaudits and plotted her course.Next she will meet either Croatian qualifier Petra Martic or fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.
NEW YORK — The NBA’s first international Finals may be a coup for Canada, but decidedly not for ABC.Viewership for the first two games of the series between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors was down sharply from last year’s finals — 28 percent for the first game and 29 percent for the second, the Nielsen company said.While LeBron James fans may point to the star’s absence, geography likely accounts for most of the drop. Toronto’s television audience is not included in the Nielsen ratings, since it’s out of the U.S. Missing one team’s fan base is a huge hurdle for ABC.It’s Golden State’s fifth straight appearance in the finals, while Toronto is there for the first time.The most hopeful sign for ABC is that the teams split the first two games, raising the possibility of a long series. Viewership traditionally increases with competitive series.The surest sign that summer is near is the return of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which was the top non-sports program of the week.Behind the basketball, ABC won the week in prime time, averaging 5.4 million viewers. NBC had 3.92 million, nipping CBS and its average of 3.91 million. Fox had 2 million viewers, ION Television had 1.4 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 650,000.Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.24 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.48 million, HGTV had 1.29 million, USA had 1.14 million and Hallmark had 1.12 million.ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.1 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.3 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.3 million.For the week of May 27-June 2, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NBA Finals Game 2: Golden State at Toronto, ABC, 13.89 million; NBA Finals Game 1: Golden State at Toronto, ABC, 13.38 million; “NBA Finals Post-Game” (Sunday), ABC, 9.89 million; “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 9.75 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.01 million; “NCIS” (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 6.14 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 6.03 million; “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 5.86 million; “NCIS” (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 5.58 million; “Songland,” NBC, 5.51 million.By: David Bauder, AP Media WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
A Brief History of Bubble Tea and the Best Flavors to Try Editors’ Recommendations 16 Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now Do you honestly know what vermouth is? Feel free to admit it if you don’t. Any cocktail aficionado worth his or her salt enjoys at least one drink that features vermouth as a key ingredient, but few people under the age of 35 really know what that means. To many, it’s just some kind of drink or liquor or wine or whatever from a bygone age—you know, Frank Sinatra and martinis and all that.Well, as we have already pointed out, vermouths are making a comeback. Winemakers across the country are starting to make specialty and small batch vermouths that are highly drinkable on their own as well as components of high-end cocktails. Vermouths have a long history and tradition, and they’re well worth learning about.We received our education from Christopher Tracy, head winemaker and partner at Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton, Long Island. In 2001, after a varied career as a food writer, sommelier and chef in the New York culinary scene, Christopher started making wines at Channing Daughters. Then in 2004, he began to develop the winery’s own signature vermouths.Vermouth has been around since the 17th century where it was served mainly as a European aperitif. However, by the turn of the 20th century, it was a hugely popular drink in New York City. Vermouth is a fortified white wine. As Tracy explained to us, winemakers create a low-alcohol white wine and then add grape brandy, which raises the alcohol level to 16, 17 or 18 percent alcohol. Then, the wine is steeped in different aromatics and botanicals—basically assorted roots, vegetables, spices and flowers—and bottled.Over the past year or two, Tracy has noticed restaurants (mainly Spanish, but certainly in others too) beginning to serve and pour vermouth by the glass. New York hot spots like Roberta’s in Brooklyn are incorporating Channing Daughters vermouth into their very own cocktail recipes. In fact, famed mixologist Jim Meehan, has included Channing Daughters vermouth into his Third Marini, which is prominently placed on the cocktail menu in the brand new Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport.At Channing Daughters, Tracy makes five different Vervino Vermouth variations. Each is flavored with 40 different botanicals, 20-30 of which are unique to a specific variation. By drinking his vermouths, Tracy wants his patrons to have the feeling of “walking through the seasons.” Variation 1 is supposed to give off the seasonal effect of spring, so the wine is steeped with parsley, rosemary, fennel, sage and rose among other aromatics and botanicals. Variations 2 and 3 should give the drinker a taste of summer, so chili peppers, beets, arugula and blueberries are among the flavors. Variations 4 and 5 will bring to mind late summer and fall.When it comes to vermouth, there’s not one specific taste or trait to look for. As Tracy says, “It’s all about balance. Balance of alcohol, the length the flavors last in your mouth.” For new and seasoned vermouth drinkers alike, he recommends trying the wine by itself, chilled in a glass. From there, you can move on to a fuerta—vermouth poured over ice with a twist. Then you can try a few simple concoctions: vermouth and lemonade, vermouth and tonic, a reverse martini (4-5 parts vermouth and 1 part gin or vodka). The point is these vermouths are complex and with an abundance of flavors that should be on full display.The vermouth trend is gaining steam. Why don’t you get in on the ground floor? Pick up a bottle of Channing Daughters and see exactly why this age-old drink is coming into fashion once again. Save Your Eyes from the Scourge of the Screens with the Best Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses for Men Helpful Wine Terminology So You Sound Like You Know What You’re Talking About 5 Classic Whiskey Cocktails You Should Know How to Make
School leaders from Jamaica and eight other countries across the globe will converge in Kingston from March 7 to 8 for the third International Conference on Educational Leadership and Management.The two-day event, under the theme ‘Educational Leadership for Social Justice: Policy, Practice, Community’, will be held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.It is being organised by Educational Administration and Leadership-Jamaica (IEAL-J) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), the Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI), National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) and the Catholic College of Mandeville.Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Dr. Carmel Roofe, who is Head of the Scientific Review Committee for the conference, told JIS News that the event “will be two days of rich information-sharing”. She said the event is targeting school leaders at all levels, classroom teachers, parents, policymakers, academics and members of civil society. “Everyone is encouraged to come out and participate in this conference,” she noted.Dr. Roofe told JIS News that this year’s focus is on leadership for social justice “in terms of how should we lead to ensure equal opportunity for all, how should we lead to ensure fairness”.“We will examine polices that surround the processes that we engage in and the ways in which we actively involve the wider community, not just those who are within the schools themselves or within the education system,” she noted.She said that there will also be a number of sessions on curriculum leadership, where discussion will be focused on the National Standards Curriculum. Education officers from the Ministry will also share research they have undertaken, during a special session called ‘Ignite’.Head teachers from the United Kingdom (UK) will collaborate with local principals to share their expertise and best practices on leadership in a special session called ‘PrinMeet’.Keynote speakers over the two days are Professor of Administration and Leadership in Education, Brock University, Canada, Denise E. Armstrong; Programme Manager, Human Resource Development, CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Laurette S.M. Bristol; Professor of Education Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University, NewYork, Professor Mark Anthony Gooden; Professor of Educational Leadership and Management, University of Huddersfield, UK, Paul W. Miller. There will also be presentations from specialists in the area of educational leadership from the School of Education at UWI, University of Technology (UTech), and local teachers’ colleges.The two-day conference will include participants from Kenya, Germany, Greece, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Canada, the UK, and the United States of America.For further information on registration and fees persons may visit: www.iealj.org, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 876-831-3204. The two-day event, under the theme ‘Educational Leadership for Social Justice: Policy, Practice, Community’, will be held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. It is being organised by Educational Administration and Leadership-Jamaica (IEAL-J) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), the Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI), National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) and the Catholic College of Mandeville. School leaders from Jamaica and eight other countries across the globe will converge in Kingston from March 7 to 8 for the third International Conference on Educational Leadership and Management. Story Highlights
Premier Darrell Dexter offered his condolences today, July 8, onthe death of political scientist, author and distinguishedscholar, Peter Aucoin. Mr. Aucoin, from Halifax, passed away July 7 at the age of 67. “Nova Scotia, and Canada, has lost one of its most respected all-round political scientists of this generation,” said Premier Dexter. “Dr. Aucoin made his mark as a great teacher, researcher and advisor for all levels of government. “His work as research director on the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing in particular inspired a generation of scholars and helped shape electoral law and campaign finance legislation right across the county and the Commonwealth. He will be sorely missed.” For more than 40 years Mr. Aucoin served on the faculty at Dalhousie University in a number of roles, including director of the School of Public Administration and chair of the Department of Political Science. In 1999, the Nova Scotia Region of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada awarded Mr. Aucoin with the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Administration. The same group later awarded him the Governor General’s Vanier Medal for distinctive leadership and accomplishment in Canadian public service. Mr. Aucoin received Dalhousie’s Alumni Award for excellence in teaching in 2006 and that same year was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
VICTORIA – The advocate for seniors in British Columbia says costs for both renters and homeowners are going up while home and community supports are failing to meet demands.Isobel Mackenzie released her annual report Thursday saying increased costs and lack of services could drive up the number of seniors moving into residential care.Mackenzie said up to 15 per cent of seniors already in care could be living independently if they had proper supports.Seniors who rent are at greatest risk because they have the lowest median income of any group over age 25 and unlike the rest of the population, face challenges with fixed incomes, she said.“Seniors’ income only rise by the rate of inflation,” she said, referring to Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan. “Private pensions can rise at the rate of inflation, sometimes they don’t rise at all, and those who are living off investment incomes will see fluctuations.”While income remains relatively stagnant, the report says rent for a one-bedroom apartment has gone up by an average of 6.7 per cent in B.C.Mackenzie said “extraordinary pressures” on rents in the last five to six years have also made seniors less attractive tenants to landlords.“Ten years ago landlords wanted to keep seniors as their renters because they were good tenants and they were guaranteed their rents and landlords weren’t necessarily increasing their rent every year,” she said.Today, landlords make more money if they rent to new tenants, she said during a conference call.Mackenzie has again recommended the government help seniors stay in their homes by increasing the elderly renters’ subsidy cap.She said she wants to see the province build more rental units in rural communities where stock is inadequate.More than 80 per cent of seniors own their homes, but the report found they are also feeling the effects of rising costs.The report says the number of homeowners who applied for property tax deferment this year nearly doubled to 10,775.Property taxes and utilities have increased significantly, making the deferment program an attractive option for homeowners, Mackenzie said.The proportion of seniors in B.C. is growing, now making up 18.4 per cent of the population compared with only 17.9 per cent last year.While there are many home care and community programs to support those living independently, Mackenzie said the number of services for seniors aren’t keeping pace with the growth in population.—By Linda Givetash in Vancouver.
More than one year after rescuers swam from home to home in a low-income neighbourhood devastated by flooding in Grand Forks, B.C., some residents say they were rattled to learn the property buyouts they’ve been waiting for will be based on post-disaster values.It’s one of several steps in the community’s recovery process that could be replicated elsewhere as climate change brings more extreme weather.Dave Soroka, a 65-year-old musician who lives on the flood plain, says it’s the latest bad news in what has been a difficult year.“We all understood that was possible but with the optimism that was being thrown at us, that line ‘We’ve got your backs,’ it all sounded good,” he said.Soroka and his wife own two properties in North Ruckle that were assessed before the flood at a combined $270,000 and after at $150,000. They are pensioners who had paid off their mortgages but may now go into debt to buy a new home.They have organized a neighbourhood meeting to discuss options but Soroka said he can’t afford a lawyer on his own.“We’re not rich people down here on the flood plain, we’re low-income folk,” he said.Recovery efforts in Grand Forks have been somewhat slow moving, in part because the situation is unprecedented. It’s the first community of its size in B.C. to experience flooding on this scale in decades and has become the test site for recovery efforts that could be duplicated in other places given the extreme weather brought on by climate change.“This is the first circumstance like this that the province had dealt with in recent history,” said Dave Peterson, assistant deputy minister for B.C.’s office of recovery, planning and disaster risk reduction.With that background, it makes sense that the top question on a city webpage dedicated to frequently asked questions about the recovery plan is: “Why don’t you know what you’re doing?”Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor said part of the community has been thrown into a “panic” over the news.Joint funding for “disaster mitigation and adaptation” was announced on June 26, with about $20 million coming from Ottawa, $29 million from B.C., and $3 million from the city.The money will support the purchase of properties to restore the North Ruckle neighbourhood to a natural flood plain, the reinforcement of about 1,300 metres of river bank and the construction of a new retention pond.The city estimates the project will make the homes of more than 800 residents safer during spring thaws and reduce the number of residents who go without essential services during flooding by almost half.The buyouts won’t be based on property damage but instead on whether a home is on the land needed for structural and flood mitigation work.About 100 properties are affected and offers will be made on a case by case basis.The city advocated for pre-flood buyouts, but the best it could get from the provincial and federal funding streams was based on post-flood, the mayor said. “It’s really difficult for me to rationalize why the federal and provincial governments have taken this decision when you know that there are some examples in Manitoba, I think, and Quebec where the post-flood value was not used and they used a pre-flood value,” Taylor said.Infrastructure Canada, which provided Ottawa’s portion of funding, said in a statement that it’s not involved in determining the values. It did not answer questions in time for deadline about why communities in other provinces have received funding based on pre-disaster evaluations.Federal help for disaster relief kicks in once costs surpass what lower levels of government could reasonably be expected to cover on their own.Public Safety Canada said in May that provinces and territories have asked for about $137.9 million to help cover costs related to 10 floods.Peterson said the province followed Ottawa’s lead when it determined funding support for buyouts would be based on pre-flood values, but added that focusing on property assessments doesn’t tell the whole story.Creating equitable support for residents is complicated when some were insured and received disaster relief funding and others didn’t, some also already invested in property improvements after the flood.Housing is also only one piece of the recovery strategy that involves fortifying the city and landscape against future extreme events. The escalating consequences of natural disasters is “new ground” for all levels of government, Peterson said.“It’s difficult enough to find what’s the right answer at the community level on how to move forward, and that is much more true when you move to each individuals’ case,” he said.Graham Watt, the city’s flood recovery manager, said he reached out to other jurisdictions to learn how they’ve dealt with disasters since there’s little institutional memory in B.C.New Brunswick flood victims were eligible for a payout based on pre-flood property value assessments.In Alberta, Calgary offered voluntary buyouts while High River focused on land reclamation to build dikes and other infrastructure, he said.“We’ve got to do a lot more in all the jurisdictions within the province to look at how housing recovery fits into a disaster framework,” Watt said.“I feel like we’re not prepared from a policy perspective to fully deal with this, we’re still a work in progress. I’m hoping we can learn from our experience and others across Canada to improve it in the future.”Although the city of about 4,000 is limited by a small tax base, council has asked staff to come up with creative ways to offer “in kind” support to those in need, Taylor said, adding that North Ruckle is one of its poorest neighbourhoods.“It’s us trying to find ways of using city resources and power — we don’t have a lot — to do something about the people who are most dramatically affected by the loss,” Taylor said.Case workers have been assigned to each home and those residents are the city’s top priority before it moves to build dikes or other recovery efforts, he added.“The anxiety level is only going to decrease once we sit down and deal with those people on a case by case basis,” he said.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
16 April 2009Several ships carrying United Nations emergency relief supplies bound for Somalia have become the latest victims of piracy off the Horn of Africa, prompting the World Food Programme (WFP) to express concern that millions of people in the strife-torn region could go hungry. If the Sea Horse vessel, hijacked on 14 April heading for India to load up with over 7,000 tons of food meant for Somalia, is not quickly released or replaced by another ship, WFP fears that the suffering already inflicted on Somalis will be compounded. The agency noted that last week’s attack on the Maersk Alabama – briefly sequestered en route to Mombasa, Kenya, while carrying aid for several organisations, including WFP – marked a turning point, as European Union naval escorts had kept WFP shipments secure since they began in November 2007.WFP stressed that the Kenyan port, which received more than 500,000 tons of WFP food in 2008, is essential to its operations in Somalia and elsewhere in Eastern and Central Africa. If food assistance cannot arrive through Mombasa before being re-routed to Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, southern Sudan and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), millions of people will go hungry and the already high malnutrition rates will continue to climb, according to agency.In another incident on Tuesday, the WFP-chartered Liberty Sun came under attack from pirates, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, who managed to escape before United States naval assistance could arrive.The Liberty Sun had unloaded WFP food assistance in Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, before it was attacked en route to Mombasa, loaded with 27,000 tons of WFP maize meal, corn soya blend, wheat flour, yellow peas and lentils.As 90 per cent of WFP food aid for Somalia arrives by sea, piracy has long been a concern for WFP, which saw three of its ships hijacked or attacked in 2007. Some 300 hostages and 17 vessels are currently held by a small group who are only interested in maximizing their illegal profits, Special Representative of Secretary-General for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said on Tuesday.
In a message to the Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development in the Danube-Carpathia Region, being held in Bucharest, Mr. Annan pointed out that the Danube River — the second longest in Europe — provides a livelihood for tens of millions of people in the region.”Agriculture, fishing, power generation, manufacturing, tourism and recreation are all directly or indirectly dependent on the river’s health, yet that health faces grave threats from industrial and chemical toxins, municipal waste, agro-chemical run-off and other harmful substances and unsustainable activities,” he warned.The Secretary-General also pointed to some encouraging signs, including the entry-into-force of the Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Danube River. “Such cooperation will be increasingly important as the economic and political integration of Europe intensifies,” he said, pledging the UN’s support for riparian States in their efforts to implement multilateral agreements, harmonize policies and address challenges facing the region.The Secretary-General also expressed hope that the current meeting would help build momentum towards next year’s World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will convene in Johannesburg to review progress since the 1992 UN Conference on the Environment and Development. The Secretary-General’s message was delivered on his behalf by Danuta Hübner, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe.
iOS (and other mobile operating systems for that matter) work very well with GPS. Photographs can be geotagged, nearby points of interest can be found, directions can be given, and so on. Part of the reason these devices work so well with location-based services is that they have GPS built right in–all the iPhone’s after the original have it and so does the 3G iPad/iPad 2. So what’s the point of an accessory GPS receiver for iOS devices?For fans of GPS (anything from casual mappers to vacationers) there a few reasons why an external receiver makes sense. The most logical is that not all the iOS devices have GPS built in–aside from the original (2G) iPhone, there are the WiFi iPads, and then all the iPod touch models. These work perfectly well with GPS, they just lack the on-board hardware.AdChoices广告Another reason to add GPS to your iDevice is that the internal receiver, like most internal receivers, isn’t that great. External ones might suck down more power, but they are typically more accurate and more consistent.A final reason, and admittedly a niche case, is when you are traveling internationally with your iPhone. If you keep your smartphone in airplane mode the internal GPS will not work, despite the fact that GPS transmissions aren’t part of your data plan. (GPS can’t be an airplane mode exception, like WiFi.)The Bad Elf receiver is a tiny device (about 1-inch by 1-inch) with a 30-pin connection on one side and Micro USB on the other. It plugs into your iDevice, just like your charger. When iOS sees it built-in logic recognizes the Bad Elf’s GPS signal as being more accurate then that of the on-board chip. The USB port is used for charging the phone/tablet/media player while GPS is active (the Elf is small but relatively power-hungry). Finally there is an LED indicator that tells the user when a signal is being acquired and when it’s locked on.It’s crucial that the receiver be compatible with all your favorite GPS apps. The good news is that the Bad Elf is–they have a long list of them on their site. The top picks like MotionX GPS, TomTom, Navigon, Magellan, RunKeeper, GeoCaching, and Nike+ are all there.The Bad Elf works rather well. With its MTK chipset the receiver more consistent than the iPhone 4’s GPS, but the real benefit is that it can add GPS to my WiFi iPad 2. Sure, at $99 I probably should have purcahsed the 3G model (a $129 upgrade) but this way I can remove the receiver and use it with other products, plus I can use GPS in airplane mode. If I really want to geek out, I can also add an in extension cable and place the Bad Elf a few feet away from my device.There are some issues with the Bad Elf, but they are relatively minor. First there is the price. At $99 this isn’t exactly an impulse purchase, unless you have something special planned for it. Battery life is an issues as well, because if the device isn’t plugged in via USB you’ll drain your battery in a matter of hours. In other words, an iPhone 4 will not get through a full day of GPS usage and I managed to use about 50% of my battery life in 4-5 hours. GPS lock time is a bit slow on the Bad Elf, but it’s usually under a minute from a cold start so it’s barely worth mentioning.Then you have the logistics, which are an unavoidable complication. Here is a scenario: you want to add GPS to your iPad. The Bad Elf will do that, but without a data connection you won’t be able to grab maps in real-time. That means you’ll need to preload maps, which requires an application that works with cached maps. Popular ones like OffMaps and MotionX GPS do this, but you’ll have to make sure you get maps that have sufficient detail and then make sure you cache them before going out. They can range from dozens to hundreds of megabytes so you’ll want a steady WiFi connection. You can record a GPS track without a map, but this won’t be helpful if you want to use the location data for navigation purposes.The Bad Elf with an iPad or iPod touch is great combination. There are some issues that have to be worked around, but if you are using the Bad Elf simply for getting a GPS signal it does a great job. There are complications, like battery life and caching maps, but those both can be worked around. Do keep in mind that the Bad Elf is Apple approved (it even has its own app) while some similar devices require jailbreaking to work.
Stay on target LEGO bricks have proven themselves more than a simple children’s toy.But can the plastic pieces provoke a major shift in industrial manufacturing?Autodesk thinks so. Which is why the software company has been working on Brickbot—a project aimed at redefining how customers engage and collaborate with robots.The system—a couple of android arms with cameras and sensors—doesn’t look like anything groundbreaking. But it’s what’s inside that counts.A team of San Francisco-based researchers, led by Mike Haley and Yotto Koga, created neural networks that allow the machines to process and respond to data to accomplish an assigned task.“The dirty little secret about industrial robots today is that they’re pretty dumb,” Autodesk wrote last month, promoting an article by Fast Company. “Change one variable on the assembly line and everything goes to hell.”Brickbot, however, “can evaluate components (in this case, LEGOs), make decisions on the fly, and put them together in a flexible, responsive way.”What sounds like child’s play (because, well, it is)—sorting through piles of bricks, selecting appropriate parts, correctly assembling and stacking—is actually an achievement in the field of robotics.“The programming process is incredibly tedious, complicated, and frequently error-prone,” an Autodesk blog post said. “If it takes nine months to program your robot to perform a single task, you’re not going to change the design of your product or introduce new technology into your factory—it would simply take too much time and money.“Machine learning could change all of that.”Imagine the possibilities if Brickbot’s automated assembly technology were scaled up for use in factories and on construction sites. “By starting with plastic bricks, we’ve been able to keep the project manageable while still having the freedom to experiment from the design stage all the way to a finished product,” according to Koga, a software architect with a Ph.D. in robotics.“Now we’re close to taking the next step,” he said, tipping a partnership with manufacturing and construction customers “to see how the Brickbot technology can be applied in the real world.” Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Ryan Giggs has expressed his confidence that Garth Bale is capable of filling the gap which Cristiano Ronaldo has left after his move to Juventus.The manager of Wales has said this following Bale’s two-time scoring for Real Madrid in the club’s first two manages, which has brought victory for Madrid’s new boss Julen Lopetegui.Ronaldo’s move to Juventus has opened up an expectation about who will fill up his place, both in scoring and the threat he always posed for the club’s opponents. Real Madrid is known to have an on their target Neymar and Eden Hazard, with a large budget to support their bidding.However, Gigg’s hope on Bale is not dampened. “When someone like Cristiano leaves there is always going to be a spotlight on who is going to replace him goal-wise and threat-wise,” Gigg said, according to Sky Sports.Ryan Giggs vows not to be “stupid” with Gareth Bale Andrew Smyth – September 8, 2019 Wales boss Ryan Giggs promises to not take any “stupid” risks over Gareth Bale’s fitness ahead of Monday’s friendly against Belarus.“It’s a massive void to fill but Gareth has the experience now of being at the club for a long time. Every year there is pressure on him and he has handled it brilliantly.“It’s a bit different this year because Cristiano has left and there will be more focus on the players who are going to replace the goals.“But Gareth has shown his qualities in big games and that he can handle anything that is thrown at him.”Giggs is confident that Bale can achieve the replacement even with the injuries that have been plaguing his career. Bale is Wale’s all-time leading scorer, beating Ian Rush’s record earlier this year.
As reported by multiple sources this week, the major obstacle holding up a meeting of the 41 farm bill conferees is a last-minute dispute over the bill’s dairy provisions, including a dairy supply control program in the Senate’s version of the bill, which lost by a more than two-to-one margin on the House floor in June. Following a meeting of the four principals today, the chances of a meeting later in the week appeared increasingly unlikely, leaving Conferees with only four days to finish the bill next week. Congress will be out the week of the 20th, before returning at the end of the month.Other details previously reported remain in the package, including allowing producers to keep their current crop acreage bases or to reallocate total base among the average of crops planted in 2009-2012 on a one-time basis. Producers would have a one-time choice between the PLC and ARC programs.
Chandigarh: The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana met here on Friday to discuss greater coordination in the battle against drugs, and agreed to hold an inter-state meeting of all the northern states in this regard on July 25. “Besides Haryana and Punjab, the chief ministers of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Delhi, as well as the Governor Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi Lieutenant Governor and Chandigarh Administrator are expected to join the second inter-state meeting on drugs,” an official spokesperson said. Also Read – Dehydrated elephant being given treatment Advertise With Us The first meeting was held in April last year. The northern states had then decided to set up a centralized secretariat at Panchkula (Haryana) with nodal officers from each state to be deputed there for intelligence and information sharing. The states had also agreed on a more proactive campaign to fight drugs on a joint platform, with faster sharing of information on drug trends, cases registered and persons identified or arrested. Also Read – CBI carrying out surprise checks at 150 government departments Advertise With Us Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, after today’s meeting with Khattar, said, “Our government is committed to the total elimination of drugs, which were being smuggled into Punjab from across the borders, not just from Pakistan but also from within the country, especially Kashmir.” Earlier, Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar had welcomed Captain and presented him a copy of the Bhagavad Geeta along with a memento.
Despite Facebook’s long line of scandals and multiple parliamentary hearings, the company and its leadership have remained unscathed, with no consequences or impact on their performance. Once again, Facebook is under fresh investigations; this time from New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James. The Canadian and British Columbia privacy commissioners have also decided to take Facebook to Federal Court to seek an order to force the company to correct its deficient privacy practices. It remains to be seen if Facebook’s lucky streak would continue in light of these charges. NY Attorney General’s investigation over FB’s email harvesting scandal Yesterday, New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James opened an investigation into Facebook Inc.’s unauthorized collection of 1.5 million users’ email contacts without users’ permission. This incident, which was first reported on Business Insider, happened last month where Facebook’s email password verification process for new users asked users to hand over the password to their personal email account. According to the Business Insider report, “a pseudononymous security researcher e-sushi noticed that Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities, a move widely condemned by security experts.” Read Also: Facebook confessed another data breach; says it “unintentionally uploaded” 1.5 million email contacts without consent On March 21st, Facebook opened up about a major blunder of exposing millions of user passwords in a plain text, soon after Security journalist, Brian Krebs first reported about this issue. “We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users”, the company said in their press release. Recently, on April 18, Facebook updated the same post stating that not tens of thousands, but “millions” of Instagram passwords were exposed. “Reports indicate that Facebook proceeded to access those user’s contacts and upload all of those contacts to Facebook to be used for targeted advertising”, the Attorney General mentioned in the statement. She further mentions that “It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information.” “Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data. Facebook’s announcement that it harvested 1.5 million users’ email address books, potentially gaining access to contact information for hundreds of millions of individual consumers without their knowledge, is the latest demonstration that Facebook does not take seriously its role in protecting our personal information”, James adds. “Facebook said last week that it did not realize this collection was happening until earlier this month when it stopped offering email password verification as an option for people signing up to Facebook for the first time”, CNN Business reports. One of the users on HackerNews wrote, “I’m glad the attorney general is getting involved. We need to start charging Facebook execs for these flagrant privacy violations. They’re being fined 3 billion dollars for legal expenses relating to an FTC inquiry… and their stock price went up by 8%. The market just does not care; it’s time regulators and law enforcement started to.” To know more about this news in detail, read Attorney General James’ official press release. Canadian and British Columbia privacy commissioners to take Facebook to Federal Court Canada and British Columbia privacy commissioners Daniel Therrien and Michael McEvoy, uncovered major shortcomings in Facebook’s procedures in their investigation, published yesterday. This investigation was initiated after media reported that “Facebook had allowed an organization to use an app to access users’ personal information and that some of the data was then shared with other organizations, including Cambridge Analytica, which was involved in U.S. political campaigns”, the report mentions. The app, at one point, called “This is Your Digital Life,” encouraged users to complete a personality quiz. It collected information about users who installed the app as well as their Facebook “friends.” Some 300,000 Facebook users worldwide added the app, leading to the potential disclosure of the personal information of approximately 87 million others, including more than 600,000 Canadians. The investigation also revealed that Facebook violated federal and B.C. privacy laws in a number of respects. According to the investigation, “Facebook committed serious contraventions of Canadian privacy laws and failed to take responsibility for protecting the personal information of Canadians.” According to the press release, Facebook has disputed the findings and refused to implement the watchdogs’ recommendations. They have also refused to voluntarily submit to audits of its privacy policies and practices over the next five years. Following this, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) said it, therefore, plans to take Facebook to Federal Court to seek an order to force it the company to correct its deficient privacy practices. Daniel Therrien, the privacy commissioner of Canada, said, “Facebook’s refusal to act responsibly is deeply troubling given the vast amount of sensitive personal information users have entrusted to this company. Their privacy framework was empty, and their vague terms were so elastic that they were not meaningful for privacy protection.” He further added, “The stark contradiction between Facebook’s public promises to mend its ways on privacy and its refusal to address the serious problems we’ve identified – or even acknowledge that it broke the law – is extremely concerning. It is untenable that organizations are allowed to reject my office’s legal findings as mere opinions.” British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy said, “Facebook has spent more than a decade expressing contrition for its actions and avowing its commitment to people’s privacy. But when it comes to taking concrete actions needed to fix transgressions they demonstrate disregard.” The press release also mentions that “giving the federal Commissioner order-making powers would also ensure that his findings and remedial measures are binding on organizations that refuse to comply with the law”. To know more about the federal and B.C. privacy laws that FB violated, head over to the investigation report. Read Next Facebook AI introduces Aroma, a new code recommendation tool for developers Ahead of Indian elections, Facebook removes hundreds of assets spreading fake news and hate speech, but are they too late? Ahead of EU 2019 elections, Facebook expands its Ad Library to provide advertising transparency in all active ads
Pictured here in 1987, Costa Rica’s former President Oscar Arias was instrumental in negotiating a Central American peace deal that helped end the region’s bloody wars in the 1980s. The same year, Arias won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. He still quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. as an inspiration. Facebook Comments No related posts. OPINIONOn the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, it strikes me how little it is generally understood that the civil rights movement in the United States is mirrored by struggles for equality and democracy in Central America.And it’s not just the fight in Central America between good ol’ boys like John Hull, the Indiana farmer who aided the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Contras from his farm in northern Costa Rica, and 1960s activists like Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan, the husband and wife journalism team who devoted themselves during the ’80s to exposing Hull.Ever since the adventurous gray-eyed man of destiny William Walker tried to bring Central America into the U.S. union as slave states in the 1850s, events in Central America have been under the sway of politics in the southern United States.It should have come as no surprise that mercenary groups from places like Alabama, and with names like Civilian Military Assistance, were evident in abundance during the Contra era.Also, Costa Rican former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias’ calls for nonviolent political solutions to regional wars owed a debt to Martin Luther King Jr., whom Arias still quotes quite regularly.And just as King would have predicted, “the arch of the moral universe” that “bends towards justice” bent in favor of the peace process led by Arias.The Arias peace plan tapped into a current of history that transcended national boundaries and was helped along by the same historical flow that boycotted buses in Montgomery, was hosed and attacked by police dogs in Birmingham and blocked a bridge in Selma.Arias acted with the knowledge that his pacification plan would take root in a country that abolished its army in 1948 and where a sign outside the chambers of Congress quotes the first president of the republic, José María Castro Madriz, as saying, “The sword is the enemy of freedom – we should block it from power.”The powers that pursued an armed solution to the Central American conflict did so oblivious to the historical forces at work in the region.U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Lewis Tambs (1985-1986) – who resigned after 16 months at his post when reports surfaced that he had tried to influence Costa Rican officials to allow Contra arms shipments through Costa Rica – probably didn’t know, and surely wouldn’t have cared if he did, about the 30-year rivalry between three-time Costa Rican head of state José “Pepe” Figueres and the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, deposed in 1979 by Sandinista rebels.Costa Ricans still remember the annual Christmas bombardments of their territory in the 1950s by Somoza, which the dictator engaged in as much to chastise Figueres for his constant conspiring with Somoza foes as to help aid Figueres’ political rival, Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, exiled in Nicaragua. If, as Tambs later testified in the U.S. Congress’ Iran-Contra hearings, he was sent to Costa Rica primarily to establish a Contra “southern front,” he was sent on a fool’s errand.Despite their distaste for the Sandinistas, Costa Ricans would never have accepted a Somocista-led Contra presence.And the Iran-Contra scandal, which had the effect of focusing U.S. public attention on a Contra policy run amok in a relative policy-making backwater, proved that the U.S. people as a whole were, at the end of the day, not going to accept it either.The peace plan not only put an end to the region’s civil wars, but also laid out a framework for continued peaceful democratic development throughout the region.The hopes initially raised by the signing of the peace plan in Esquipulas, Guatemala, on Aug. 7, 1987, have been dashed in the short term by the rise of trans-regional drug gangs and continued high levels of violence and impunity in the region.But lately signs have pointed to life for the “Spirit of Esquipulas.”In Guatemala, the trial of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, and in El Salvador, renewed debate over post-war amnesty, show the stirrings of life in the will to bring the Esquipulas accords to their full fruition.If history is any guide, the great arch of the moral universe will continue to bend toward justice in Central America.
With Thursday’s parliament decision, Turkish leaders expanded their options for dealing with Syria but avoided a full-scale military confrontation, said Ayham Kamel, a Middle East analyst at the Eurasia Group in London.Some of Syria’s other neighbors, particularly Lebanon, have also shown restraint, in part to try to avoid inflaming sectarian divisions within their own countries that mirror the divides in the Syrian civil war.Many of those rising up against Assad are Sunni Muslims, while Syria’s ruling elite is dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Syria’s Christian and Kurdish minorities have largely been trying to stay out of the line of fire.Both Iraq and Lebanon have an ethnic and religious mix similar to Syria’s, and in Lebanon, sectarian tensions have been rising. Since May, repeated street clashes between pro- and anti-Assad groups in Lebanon’s majority Sunni port city of Tripoli have killed more than two dozen people.In a further complication, the pro-Assad Hezbollah militia, which is believed to be sending fighters to help the embattled Syrian regime, is a major political and military force in Lebanon.However, Lebanon’s major players have largely resisted the temptation to exploit the Syrian conflict for political gains at home, several analysts said. Comments Share Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project However, Iranian advisers are helping direct the Syrian regime’s battles, the defected Syrian prime minister said last month. This would put them just a frontier away from Israel at a time of increasingly ominous threats between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.Nerguizian, the Washington analyst, said Syrian conflict has set in motion sweeping changes that will transform the region.“At this rate, it is not going to look anything like the pattern we’ve seen in the past few decades, since the end of World War II,” he said.___Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, Barbara Surk in Beirut and Lauren E. Bohn in Jerusalem contributed reporting.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The fighting spirit of Syria’s Sunnis, meanwhile, has helped embolden a Sunni insurgency in Iraq that had been withering for years. If Assad is defeated and Syria joins a Sunni coalition in the region, Iraq might find itself seeking even closer ties with Iran.Turkey’s outspoken support for the Syrian rebels _ a policy it adopted in August 2011, after trying to reason with Assad first _ has coincided with a sharp rise in increasingly brazen attacks by the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, in southeastern Turkey.In August, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, said a number of those attacks were apparently carried out by Kurdish gunmen who infiltrated from Iran, a staunch Assad ally. A Turkish pro-government newspaper, Sabah, has claimed that Iranian intelligence has stopped providing Turkey with information about Kurdish rebel infiltrations.Assad has also used Syria’s Kurds as pawns against Turkey.After Turkey repeatedly raised the idea of internationally enforced safe zones in Syria in the spring, Syrian regime forces withdrew from several Kurdish towns on the border with Turkey over the summer. That granted them unprecedented autonomy, but also set them up as a buffer zone. Assad was telling Turkey: “‘You can intervene (in Syria), but you’re going to have to fight the PKK on the way to get there’,” said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies.Picking a side in Syria also seems to have ended a decade-long effort by majority Sunni Turkey to increase its regional influence by getting along with all players, including Iran.In Jordan, the biggest problem for now seems to be the strain put on the country’s meager resources by some 200,000 Syrian refugees who have flooded across the border.Israel has tried to stay on the sidelines, but last month sent a clear message that it’s prepared for all scenarios. In a snap military drill, it airlifted thousands of soldiers to the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in 1967, and carried out live fire drills there.Israel could face a serious threat to its security if Syrian territory near the Golan becomes a chaotic no-man’s land, said Giora Eiland, a former national security adviser in Israel. Last week, Syrian mortar shells fell near a Golan apple orchard, but Israel said it did not believe it was an intentional hit. Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, which ended in 1990, is still deeply etched in the collective memory, and there seems to be little appetite for another round.“I don’t think anyone in Lebanon, among the major political leaders, the major political factions, wants to support a sectarian war (at home),” said Michael Young, the opinion editor for Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.But Lebanon’s fragile coalition government may not be able to withstand a protracted conflict next door, and any miscalculation could ignite violence.“What the crisis is doing is eroding the resilience of the state,” said Emile Hokayam of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank. “Small security incidents may escalate just because of bad management.”For Iraq’s Shiite-led government, the Syrian civil war has made the job of balancing the demands of Baghdad’s main patrons, the U.S. and Iran, even more difficult.Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came under pressure from Washington to ban Iranian planes suspected of carrying weapons to Syria from using Iraqi airspace. Sticking to official neutrality on Syria, al-Maliki said he’d try, but that Iraq could at best perform spot checks. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top Stories Associated PressBEIRUT (AP) – Retaliatory Turkish artillery strikes deep into Syria have showed the speed with which the bloody civil war can entangle its neighbors and destabilize an already volatile region.Beyond the cross-border flare-up, the 18-month battle to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad has already deepened sectarian rifts in Lebanon and Iraq, raised tensions along the long quiet frontier with Israel and emboldened Kurdish separatists in Turkey. “There is not a single country bordering Syria that we can honestly say they are not facing a realistic threat to internal stability and national security,” said Aram Nerguizian of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.From the start, Syria’s conflict burst over its borders. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians sought refuge across the country’s borders with Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. Stray bullets and mortar rounds, sometimes with deadly result, have struck Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.But in a dramatic escalation on Thursday, Turkey fired back for the first time after an errant Syrian mortar shell killed five people in a Turkish border town Wednesday. Turkey shelled Syrian military targets, and Turkey’s parliament approved future retaliation under such circumstances.Turkey said it did not amount to a declaration of war, and Syria offered a rare apology _ a sign that both want to defuse tensions.Assad’s foes, including Turkey, have been unwilling to intervene directly in Syria, and the Damascus regime has tried to make sure it stays that way, avoiding major provocations that could inadvertently trigger foreign intervention. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society