Some baloney in assertion Canadas pension fund has highest ethical standards

first_imgOTTAWA – “We expect the CPPIB, like other Crown corporations, to live up to the highest standards of ethics and behaviour and that is, in fact, exactly what it is doing.” — Finance Minister Bill Morneau during question period Monday in the House of Commons.—The New Democrats challenged Morneau this week to weigh in on new ethical questions surrounding the investment portfolio of the arms-length Canada Pension Plan Investment Board — which manages hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Canadians’ retirement savings.NDP MP Charlie Angus pressed Morneau for his opinion on CPPIB’s holdings in a tobacco company, a military weapons manufacturer and firms that run private American prisons. The prison operators and their facilities are seen as beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s controversial detention of asylum seekers and, in some cases, their children.On Monday, Angus demanded Morneau explain whether he thought CPPIB’s investments in “cigarette companies and privatized prisons” met a “credible standard of corporate investment” for the CPP.Morneau replied that the pension manager, which oversees more than $366 billion of CPP’s net assets, lives up to the “highest standards of ethics and behaviour.”Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below).Morneau’s statement on its own earns a rating of “some baloney” — it’s mostly accurate but more information is required. Here’s why.THE FACTSCPPIB’s holdings in private U.S. prison operators CoreCivic Inc. and the GEO Group Inc. grew considerably between August 2017 and August 2018.Over that period, the number of GEO Group shares held by CPPIB increased nearly 13-fold to a value of US$4.2 million, while its shares of CoreCivic more than doubled to a value of US$1.76 million, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. CPPIB’s holdings in the prison companies were made public in a report last week by the Guardian newspaper.CoreCivic and GEO Group are expected to receive major business boosts because of the Trump administration’s approach to dealing with asylum seekers. The policy has led to the U.S. government’s highly contentious detention of parents and their children.Michel Leduc, CPPIB’s global head of public affairs and communications, said the shares in the two prison companies were acquired through an algorithm that captures more than 3,000 companies as a way to diversify the fund’s portfolio.“I want to be crystal clear about this: no CPPIB employee made a decision … to invest in those two companies,” he said in an interview, before noting that many mutual funds and pension plans in Canada likely contain shares in the prison firms as well.He added that CPPIB is an active manager in its major investments in areas like ports, electricity grids, toll roads and shopping centres. But the fund tends to be passive when it comes to its smaller holdings in publicly traded companies.Due to CPPIB’s size — it’s one of the 10 largest retirement funds in the world — the value of the prison company shares make up only 0.001 per cent of its total investments, he said.The organization, Leduc argued, takes pride in its very high standards when it comes to ethical, environmental and social considerations. CPPIB also follows a strict policy of only investing in businesses that would be lawful if they operated in Canada.“The CPP Investment Board is seen around the world as one of the most ethical institutional investors on the planet,” he said.After Morneau defended the CPPIB on Monday in the House of Commons, Angus criticized him the following day: “Could the finance minister explain what is it about privatized American prison camps that he thinks represents any kind of ethical investment standard?”In his response Tuesday, Morneau appeared to tone down his position on the matter.“All Canadian Crown corporations, all Canadian government institutions are expected to live up to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and corporate governance. That includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board,” Morneau said.“This is important. We monitor it. We stay on top of it.”WHAT THE EXPERTS SAYMany experts credit CPPIB for having a very strong model when it comes to responsible investing. But they argue it could go even further if it truly wanted to avoid making gains from certain types of businesses.Tim Nash, a financial planner and founder of Good Investing, questions whether the for-profit U.S. prisons comply fully with Canadian laws because of the related concerns around human rights.He recognizes CPPIB is the Canadian leader on sustainable investment policies. But he also argues it’s not the highest ranked globally.“In this specific case, I would argue there is a breach of those policies and that, in fact, they are not living up to those highest standards with the inclusion of these companies within the investment portfolio,” said Nash, who added the controversial nature of these prison operators — and the possibility of lawsuits — raises the risk level of the investment.“As far as I can tell when it comes to CPPIB’s specific investment policy, they should not be owning these companies.”He said CPPIB could easily adjust its approach to omit some types of companies — without sacrificing financial returns.Lisa Kramer, a University of Toronto finance professor, said so-called ESG investing principles, which are followed by CPPIB, are part of an emerging area that’s still not well defined. ESG stands for environmental, social and governance.“Socially responsible investing is often in the eye of the beholder depending on what principles one holds dear to her own heart,” said Kramer, an expert on behavioural finance.“It can be very difficult to adopt an investment strategy that makes everybody happy.”Tessa Hebb, a Carleton University expert on responsible investment, credits CPPIB for having a very good model of responsible investing.But Hebb stressed there’s a difference between responsible investing and ethical investing. Responsible investing makes a business case for investments and helps investors avoid riskier decisions.Ethical standards, on the other hand, are far more subjective, she said.“It’s interesting that Minister Morneau would use the term ethics,” Hebb said. “If he had said that they were one of the top responsible investors — absolutely.”THE VERDICTIn this case, Morneau said CPPIB is living up to the “highest standards of ethics and behaviour” as he responded to a question about its investments in U.S. prison companies.But while experts say CPPIB is viewed in many ways as a leader in responsible investing, they argue determining ethical standards depends on an individual’s views and can vary greatly.For that reason, Morneau’s statement rates “some” baloney.METHODOLOGYThe Baloney Meter is a project of The Canadian Press that examines the level of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Each claim is researched and assigned a rating based on the following scale:No baloney — the statement is completely accurateA little baloney — the statement is mostly accurate but more information is requiredSome baloney — the statement is partly accurate but important details are missingA lot of baloney — the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truthFull of baloney — the statement is completely inaccuratelast_img read more

UN emphasizes role of blue helmets in combating organized crime

27 August 2008Policing and law enforcement experts from around the world have gathered in Stockholm for today’s start of a two-day conference examining the threats posed by organized crime to United Nations peace operations. “Establishing fair and effective criminal justice systems is essential if the rule of law is to be established in countries affected by violent conflict, in particular in post-conflict situations where UN operations are established,” said Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, ahead of the meeting.He helped open the meeting of the fourth International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC), a group of law enforcement experts brought together by the Police Division of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).The gathering – organized by the UN, the Swedish National Police and the International Peace Institute – will delve into the impact of organized crime on peacekeeping and come up with measures to address the problem. Also taking part are experts from INTERPOL, the European Union, the World Bank, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.“A number of peacekeeping operations are on the front line in the international community’s attempt to combat organized crime in countries recovering from conflict,” said UN Police Adviser Andrew Hughes.Blue helmets have taken part in “gang-clearing” operations in Haiti, and acted against human trafficking and financial crimes in Kosovo, drug trafficking in Afghanistan, and the illicit arms trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).The UN Police Division is among the fastest-growing within the Organization, with the number of authorized police officers in its ranks swelling from just over 8,000 in January 2006 to nearly 17,000 in January of this year. Currently, over 12,000 UNPOL representing almost 100 nations are deployed in 19 UN peace operations. read more

Sounding alarm bells Ban calls for more aid to landlocked poor countries

2 October 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the international community to show the same generosity in helping the world’s 31 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) overcome their trade-hobbling isolation as it did last week when it pledged significant new funding to help poor States in general achieve development goals. “Today we are sounding alarm bells for the Almaty Programme of Action,” he told a High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly devoted to a mid-term review of the Programme, a 2003 plan setting out specific measures to compensate LLDCs for their geographical handicaps with improved market access and trade facilitation. Although LLDCs represent about 15 per cent of States, their share of world exports has remained well below 1 per cent, according to United Nations figures. Mr. Ban noted that the “alarm bells” he sounded last week at the Assembly’s High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the ambitious targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 to slash poverty, hunger, preventable illness and a host of other socio-economic ills, all by 2015, sparked an “unprecedented commitment” of as much as $16 billion.“I hope for a similarly hope-inspiring response,” he said. “Let us use the success of the High-Level Event on the MDGs as inspiration for this review.”It is vital that landlocked developing countries increase their volume of exports to meet the MDGs, yet the biggest obstacle to this is the very high cost of transport, in some cases exceeding 70 per cent of the export value, Mr. Ban told the opening session of the two-day meeting, calling for more vigorous international cooperation.Despite some encouraging progress since 2003 in improving transit transport policies, much more needs to be done in infrastructure development as roads and railways remain inadequate, and many ports use obsolete cargo handling equipment, he said. Integrated transport networks must be developed and customs operations modernized.Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto also said much more needed to be done to help the LLDCs. “Geographical realities coupled with critical infrastructure deficiencies, as well as cumbersome border crossing procedures, continue to pose daunting impediments to the external trade of landlocked developing countries,” he told the plenary.“Today, high trade transaction costs remain the single most important obstacle to the equitable and competitive access by landlocked countries to global markets.”Citing tangible progress, Cheick Sidi Diarra, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), told a news conference that official development aid (ODA) to LLDCs grew from $10.1 billion in 2000 to $16.1 billion in 2006. Direct investment more than tripled over the past five years from $3.9 billion to $14 billion.Regional and sub-regional cooperation was also one of the success stories, he said, citing the inter-Asian highway and the strengthening of airports in Africa. The World Bank reported that in 2007, landlocked countries spent an average of 49 days for their exports to reach a seaport, down from 57 days in 2006. The time spent for importing decreased to 56 from 72.But, he added: “It is increasingly recognized that high transportation costs constitute a more important barrier than tariffs.” read more

Earnings gains at UnitedHealth others drive US stocks broadly higher eBay and

by The Associated Press Posted Jul 18, 2013 12:00 pm MDT Earnings gains at UnitedHealth, others drive US stocks broadly higher; eBay and Intel lag AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – Solid earnings gains at major U.S. companies are driving stocks higher in midday trading on Wall Street.The advance put the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index back into record territory.The Dow was up 106 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 15,576 at noon (1600 GMT) Thursday. The gains were led by IBM and UnitedHealth.The S&P 500 was up 10 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 1,691.The Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 per cent, to 3,619. The technology-focused index was held back by declines in Intel and eBay, which reported disappointing results late Wednesday.Financial stocks were among the gainers. Morgan Stanley rose 5 per cent to $27.89 after reporting a surge in revenue from investment banking and wealth management. read more

How Netflix drama The Crown showed Prince Philip as a doting father

first_imgCameras were permitted to film the Queen, her husband and children, at thebreakfast table, at work, and enjoying a barbecue, giving the public an unprecedented and controversial insight into them as a “normal” family. 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. Matt Smith and Claire Foy in The Crown Matt Smith and Claire Foy in The CrownCredit:Alex Bailey/Netflix Queen Elizabeth Ii, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew & Prince Philip  With his family in 1965Credit: Cinetext / Allstar Collectioncenter_img Smith played the Duke as charming and handsome innovator, pushing the Queen into modernising the Royal family by televising her coronation.The Palace have never commented on the drama, with the Duke of Cambridge last month laughing as he told Radio 1 he been asked for his thoughts on it many times. The Duke himself has been the subject of numerous documentaries including the groundbreaking The Royal Family, aired in 1969 and showing the royals at home for the first time. The Duke continued to participate in on-camera interviews until the end of last year, when he undertook several brief interviews in an ITV documentary with Phillip Schofield to commemorate the 60th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh Award.A comically curmudgeonly final appearance saw the Duke wonder aloud about interviews: “How many more times have we got to do this?” Suzanne Mackie, producer, has said of the series: “I think Philip is someone who is often misunderstood or we only see one dimension to him, and yet theirs is a marriage that has survived.“[People will see he was] incredibly, surprisingly vital, progressive, modernising, energetic; a real alpha-male. Someone who was allegedly very very good at more or less everything he turned his hand to. Really athletic, capable and clever.”In particular, the drama showed his as a caring father to Prince Charles and Princess Anne, playing with them and in one scene worrying the “darling” children will miss their parents while they were away on overseas tour. The reputation of the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed something of a revamp in the last year, as big-budget Netflix drama put his life as a young man on screen.The series, starring Matt Smith as a young Prince Philip, tracked the early days of the Queen’s marriage, coronation and young family to critical acclaim.Producers said they hoped to show a new generation a different kind of consort, overturning the stereotypes to remind the public about his innovations, passion and role as doting father.last_img read more

Weir sees exponential growth in African pump rental business

first_imgAfter experiencing exponential growth since its launch in 2009, the concept store of Weir Minerals Africa’s pump rental business in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, relocated to a brand new 1,200 m2 purpose-built facility adjacent to the company’s Middelburg sales and service centre in Vaalbank. This central office manages pump rentals for customers throughout Africa and maintains a rental presence at Weir Minerals Africa branches in Rustenburg, Phalaborwa, Steelpoort, Mokapane, Wadeville and Zambia. There are currently plans on the table to expand rental fleets in these and other key industrial centres, as well as into Mozambique and Ghana.The new Middelburg premises include a wash bay, shot blasting area, spray booth and compressor section with provision for flammable liquids and gas cylinder storage areas. “Irrespective of the logistics of operating in Africa, Weir Minerals Africa has continued to roll out our strategy of being where our customers need us,” Ian Farquhar, Product Manager Dewatering at Weir Minerals Africa, says. “The rental concept has worked incredibly well and the growth of our rental business has been nothing short of phenomenal. We started out in 2009 with 12 pumps, about ZAR400,000 stock, one bakkie, one delivery vehicle and one diesel set. Within three months we had achieved the ZAR1 million milestone in our annual turnover and by 2010 we started turning over ZAR1 million every month – eventually exceeding ZAR3 million per month in turnover by the end of the first quarter of 2012. This beyond-expectation success can be attributed to the high level of customer service we deliver across the continent as well as to having the appropriate pump stock for customer applications, the ability to come up with solutions to specific customer problems, having the appropriate level of skills and our team’s willingness to go the extra mile in every respect when customers find themselves in crisis situations.”Weir Minerals Africa was the first company in the Weir Minerals Group to introduce a dedicated rental business and this model is already being replicated in other Weir Minerals geographies around the world. Today the rental operation runs a fleet of vehicles including a four ton truck, a 4X4 towing vehicle and six rental service vehicles. The rental fleet currently comprises some 300 units, including submersibles (ANZE, SHW, SJ and high head submersibles); “Water Spider” pontoons and other small pontoons; diesel driven self-primer low head and high head pumps (WSP, DWU, Multiflo CF’s, MF and ME, skid, trailer and pontoon mounted) as well as lighting plants, trolleys for the submersibles, Linatex, HDPE and lay flat hoses; and diaphragm pumps, as well as the associated labour. Rental pump stockholdings differ from region to region and are generally commensurate with customer requirements in each area. Farquhar stresses that pump rental is not a static type of business and stockholding is reviewed on an ongoing basis and developed in accordance with each market’s specific demands. For instance, the Middleburg rental fleet was recently boosted with the inclusion of diesel driven high lift units to meet a specific application.last_img read more

Une nouvelle carte des régions neuronales au cœur de la détection des

first_imgUne nouvelle carte des régions neuronales au cœur de la détection des goûtsDes chercheurs de l’Institut médical Howard Hughes aux Etats-Unis sont parvenus à réaliser une carte cérébrale représentant les différentes zones neuronales, chez les mammifères, répondant aux différents stimuli gustatifs : sucré, salé, aigre et umami.Au sein du cerveau, chaque goût est détecté par un ensemble unique de neurones qui réagissent au stimulus par une réponse spécifique. Cette observation, mise en évidence par l’équipe de chercheurs de l’Institut médical Howard Hughe, a permis de cartographier pour la première fois les régions au sein du cerveau des mammifères correspondant à quatre saveurs primaires (sucré, salé, aigre et umami). Les résultats de ces travaux conséquents, ont fait l’objet d’une publication dans la revue Science. À lire aussiCerveau, Alzheimer et nucléaire, les actus sciences que vous devez connaître ce 26 aoûtJusqu’à présent, la détection des goûts au sein du cerveau, était attribuée par les scientifiques à un regroupement assez vaste de neurones situées dans le cortex et impliquées dans le traitement de toutes les saveurs de façon générale. Partant de cette constatation, le groupe de chercheurs américains dirigé par Charles Zuker ont établi l’hypothèse d’une détection non pas générale, mais organisée en plusieurs régions spécifiques selon les stimuli gustatifs. Pour vérifier leur théorie, les scientifiques se sont appuyés sur des techniques d’imagerie sophistiquées. Leur protocole, employé sur des souris, a ainsi consisté à suivre de façon simultanée l’activité de grands groupes de cellules nerveuses au sein du cortex. L’observation s’est faite en appliquant tour à tour des gouttelettes des quatre saveurs sur la langue des rongeurs.De nouvelles études pour compléter le savoir sur la perception du goûtLes résultats de cette expérience, montrent effectivement quatre régions bien distinctes au sein du cortex que les chercheurs ont pris soin de cartographier. Après une telle performance Charles Zuker et ses collègues envisagent désormais de pousser encore plus loin leurs observations. “Nous étudions à présent comment le goût se combine avec d’autres entrées sensorielles telles que l’odeur, la texture, ou encore l’état interne – comme la faim ou l’attente par exemple – pour créer une chorégraphie complexe du goût, du souvenir des saveurs et du comportement alimentaire”, conclut Charles Zuker. Le 5 septembre 2011 à 13:29 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

YouTube Gaming Highlights New VR Videos

first_img PewDiePie Pulls $50,000 Pledge to Anti-Hate Group After Fan BacklashYouTube Fined $170M For Alleged Child Privacy Law Violation Stay on target In the world of video game streaming, Twitch may seem impossible to beat. But if any entity can do it, it’s probably the Google-powered, beef-filled, internet video behemoth known as YouTube.Alongside other initiatives like YouTube Red and YouTube Community, for over a year YouTube Gaming has been the platform’s attempt to leverage its sizable amount of gaming content. You can easily search for specific games or personalities and watch live or pre-recorded videos.Meanwhile, virtual reality continues to grow into an important part of the gaming landscape, so YouTube Gaming is trying to get a piece of that. The service recently highlighted its selection of gaming VR videos.YouTube’s been planning VR gaming content for a while. It was something we talked about when I met with the company last year. Many streamers are also pondering how exactly they want to use the technology. YouTube Gaming has been working with creators to develop a variety of videos that can be enjoyed in glorious virtual cyberspace. VR Minecraft Let’s Plays, 360-degree trailers inside the world of Clash of Clans, live-action VR Call of Duty shorts, World of Tanks documentaries, Red v Blue, and VR videos of League of Legends tournaments that put you right in the middle of the eSports action are all available. The lengthy playlist below is just a sample (obviously you’ll need to watch in VR for the full effect).The great thing about these VR YouTube Gaming videos is that you don’t need a pricey, hair-ruining gaming console/PC VR headset to enjoy them. Just pull them up on your phone and use Google Cardboard or Daydream. YouTube is as big as it is because it’s everywhere, not just on niche hardware for enthusiasts. This is why VR on mobile phones everyone already owns is probably the real way the technology will evolve.Just don’t expect to see a VR PewDiePie video anytime soon.last_img read more

ISIS reportedly claims responsibility for Ohio State University attack

first_img Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSVN) — ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibly for the stabbing attack at Ohio State University that injured 11 people.The group said that a 28-year-old Somali-born man identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan was involved in the stabbing and was indeed an ISIS soldier.Officials said he was inspired by ISIS in the Ohio State attack. He allegedly made Facebook postings on Monday that referenced Al-Qaeda, Yemen and ISIS.There is no indication, authorities said, that he made contact with the group, however. Evidence points to the ordeal as a lone wolf attack. Officials are going through his computer and cell phone as well as speaking with his family and associates.Artan was a student who recently transferred to Ohio State. He wrote in a Facebook post that he had grown “sick and tired of seeing fellow Muslims killed and tortured,” according to Federal Law Enforcement officials.Ohio State police officials shot Artan after he failed to obey orders to stop. The shooting killed him and ended the attack.Classes resumed Tuesday at the university. last_img read more

Sandbox VRs new Amber Sky 2088 is great scifi fun

first_img Video Games Comment 1 Do the robot! Sandbox VR Want to save the world as a robot hero alongside your friends? Sandbox VR’s new Amber Sky 2088 is here to make it happen.Working with your buddies in a team of four or six, you’re thrust into a world under attack by aliens as part of a robot squad out to save the planet from destruction. The 30-minute experience is mostly on rails, you’ll still get to roam around and blast aliens attacking from all directions.The game starts in New Hong Kong and has you escorting a package up the “Beanstalk” space elevator. You’re treated to an amazing view as you lift up to a sub-orbital station thanks to the game’s stunning graphics. And as the story progresses, you learn that the Beanstalk you’re on is the only one left.You play as either an attacker or defender. Attackers’ rifles have a special flamethrower secondary ability, while defenders get a shield to deflect attacks — they can toss it like Captain America to kill marauding alien monsters.screenshot-2019-01-22-at-16-43-02Defender robots can toss their shields like Captain America (and it’s super fun to do so). Sandbox VR Like other Sandbox VR games, the haptic vest helps add immersion, and lets you know when you’re being attacked. While you’re mostly standing on a platform in the game, you can move around that small space, helping your team fend off attacks from all directions (including above you). Other environment tricks include using fans to simulate explosion breezes, which helped sell the immersion.There are also epic boss fights that require you to dodge mega lasers or die in one hit. Some monsters attack with plasma orbs that defenders have to block, meanwhile attackers can use flamethrowers to burn eggs that hatch baby aliens. And, similar to the Alien movies, those hatched alien babies like to jump on your chest.img-3284VR games can be a ton of fun with a group of friends.  Aloysius Low/CNET Last time I played a Sandbox VR game, I killed the zombies of Deadwood Mansion alongside experienced gamers. This time around I brought newbies to see if they could do as well. Surprisingly, they did — but not without plenty of deaths. Fortunately you can revive a buddy by touching their shoulder.Still, my team had fun. That was a relief because I wasn’t sure how they’d take to VR, having never tried it before. But the session ended with big smiles and everyone wanted to try more games, so it appears that VR gaming has gained more converts.Sandbox VR’s rep told me that there are plans for more games coming this year, and they should rolling out to official Sandbox VR stores around the world, though franchises may not see the new game any time soon. If you’re keen, you can check out the Sandbox VR stores located around the world in Los Angeles, New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. A 30-minute session costs around S$32 (about $23, £20 or AU$35) per person.VR in 2019: Five years in, is it just a dream gathering dust?VR’s missing link: You likely haven’t bought a VR headset yet and it’s beginning to show. center_img Share your voice Tagslast_img read more

Stedman nine others face no election challenges

first_imgA fifth of Alaska legislators running for re-election this year face no opposition. That begs the question: Why, in such a politically active state, does anyone run unopposed.Listen nowSen. Bert Stedman reacts to testimony at a 2014 Senate Labor Committee meeting. The Sitka Republican is one of 10 lawmakers running unopposed this year. (Photo by Skip Gray, Gavel Alaska)One is Sitka Sen. Bert Stedman, who faces no contest – for the second time.It’s only July, but the race is pretty much over for Stedman. He has no opponent in the August Republican primary or the November general election.So, why does he think nobody’s running?“Well, I think I’d be a tough competitor. I’ve got a good background in Southeast and I think we’ve done a good job, at least I’d like to think that, representing a district with all its diverse viewpoints,” he said.“I just don’t think there’s a lot of excitement out there for wanting to be a member of the House or the Senate right now,” said his 2012 opponent, Sen. AlbertKookesh, an Angoon Democrat.And did he think about challenging Stedman again?Former Sen. Albert Kookesh was Bert Stedman’s last election opponent, in 2012. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News)“Absolutely not. I was in the House and the Senate when there was money. And I know what it’s like to be in the minority and not have any kind of influence. And it’s not something I want to do anymore,” he said.Stedman began his political career in Sitka, where he spent a combined dozen years on the assembly and planning commission. He first came to the Senate in 2003, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Frank Murkowski.Political analyst Christopher Clark, who’s worked as a journalist and a legislative aide, said Stedman is among incumbents able to run on their records.“I think the constituents are saying, ‘We’re happy with you guys and we like the work you’re doing.’ Especially when you’re Bert Stedman and you were Finance [Committee] co-chair for several years. And back at a time when we were wealthy, Bert Stedman brought the bacon home to Ketchikan, Sitka, Petersburg and people remember that,” he said.Two other state senators and seven state representatives also face no election challengers. That totals 10 of the 50 seats up for grabs this year. And the list doesn’t include one more lawmaker who only faces a declared write-in candidate.Clark said the reasons vary from district to district. But in most cases, unchallenged candidates follow the saying that all politics is local.“I think the one thing you’ll find in common that they all have … the ability to connect with their constituents, work with their constituents, listen to their constituents and make their constituents feel listened to and when constituents need help, help them,” he said.Stedman won his first legislative election in 2004, defeating a Ketchikan Democrat by about a 3-2 margin. He ran unopposed in 2008, and beat Kookesh almost 2-1 in 2012, after reapportionment put both in the same district.Despite the lack of opposition, he still plans to campaign for himself — and his allies.“I’ll be working to try to get a Republican agenda moved forward through the polls and supporting the two challengers for the House District seats,” he said.That’s because one of the representatives in the district is a Democrat, Sitka’s Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. The other, Daniel Ortiz, is independent who caucuses with Democrats.Stedman said his job is to be a centrist, though his personal politics are more to the right.“You’re elected to represent the people, not run off on ideological bandwagons, in my opinion,” he said.Democrat Kookesh said he liked working with Stedman – and he’s OK with his political agenda. Both pushed for hydropower development, ferry system improvements and a stable budget.“We served in the Senate together and we served in the majority. And we had almost the same kind of rationale and thinking and I don’t have any problems with his rationale or his thinking,” he said.In addition to Ketchikan, Sitka and Petersburg, Stedman’s district also includes Wrangell, Metlakatla, Craig, Klawock and Hoonah.last_img read more

AL irritated BNP comforted by Tarique leadership

first_img.Ruling Awami League and a few other quarters have reacted to the BNP’s decision of amending the party constituion and making party senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman acting chairman ahead and after BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s jailing in a graft case on 8 February.Ten days ahead of the verdict on the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, the principal opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party BNP submitted to the election commission the amended version of its constitution after revoking its section-7.The section said if a person is convicted as per 1972 presidential order, declared bankrupt, proved unbalanced, known as corrupt or notorious in society, he or she is disqualified from being member of the national council, the national executive committee, the standing committee or member of executive committee at any level. The person will also be disqualified from being nominated by the party to contest in the national elections.BNP leaders said the party had revoked the section-7 of its constitution working out a strategy to tackle the evolving situation in which its top leadership was implicated in what is called false cases.”The constitution of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party has been changed through discussion with the party’s senior leaders,” BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told Prothom Alo.He pointed out that the BNP leaders are being implicated in false cases and punished as well. “What could the party do [in such circumstances?” the BNP leader said about the plot to convict the party leaders.According to rules, a registered political party can amend its constitution after holding its council session and submit it to the EC. The EC has nothing to do if the party constitution is not conflicting with the Representation of People Order (RPO).However, the BNP side said nothing about whether any discussion was held for amendment of the party constitution. The BNP held the national council session two years ago.The AL camp and some others criticised the BNP’s move, calling it undemocratic.The AL, especially its general secreraty Obaidul Quader,  termed this step bizarre, and blasted the BNP for making Tarique Rahman acting chairman of the party despite being convicted in absentia in a corruption case. Quader alleged that the BNP amended the constitution “out of fear of cases”.Tarique Rahman was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the same graft case in which Khaleda Zia was awarded with five years of imprisonment.Secretary of Shujan or ‘Citizens for Good Governance’, Badiul Alam Majumdar told Prothom Alo that the BNP could have given the party responsibility to someone who is not convicted in any corruption case.About amendment of the party constitution, he said this indicates that the BNP is not willing to allow the party leadership to someone outside the Zia family.BNP leaders argue the party grassroots leaders and activists will not accept the party’s leadership from outside the Zia family.The BNP’s policymakers alleged that the government has planned to keep the family of Khaleda Zia out of politics. They said they had information that the government might try to split the BNP or establish alternate leadership, taking advantage of the situation.While scrapping section 7, the BNP leaders also kept in mind the the AL’s possible criticism that the BNP keeps someone convicted in corruption case at the helm of the party.The BNP leaders candidly said it was just obvious that BNP senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman would be picked for the position of acting chairman in absence of Khaleda Zia. Section-8 of the party constitution provides this scope.However, the BNP leaders did not make a direct reply as to whether the party constitution was amended through the council session held in 2016.Speaking to Prothom Alo, political scientist and former Dhaka University vice chancellor Emajuddin Ahamed said the imprisonment of Khaleda Zia is a conspiracy against the country’s stability and the next parliamentary polls.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has withdrawn 15 cases filed against her during the military-controlled government, he pointed out.”Attempt is made to push the leader, who once took position against minus-2 (a plot to exclude Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina from party leadership), out from politics,” he added.BNP leaders claimed that there is no discomfort in the party with the leadership of Tarique Rahman as acting chairman, who, they said, was talking to senior leaders over phone.BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said the BNP is completely comfortable with Tarique Rahman as the party’s acting chairman. “Why is the Awami League so uncomfortable with the BNP’s leadership?”last_img read more

Fallout 4 mod turns The Mysterious Stranger into Notorious BIG

first_imgThe Fallout 4 modding community never ceases to surprise me. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a new mod comes around that throws you for a loop. This latest mod is a great example of something coming out of left field. Over on NexusMods, a modder by the handle of gyashaa (with help from King Tobbe) has turned Fallout 4‘s The Mysterious Stranger into the rapper Notorious BIG. The mod is called The Mysterious BIG, and it is glorious.Just like in normal Fallout gameplay, if you have the Mysterious Stranger perk, the character will randomly show up to kill your enemies while you are in VATS. Instead of the Stranger, Biggie Smalls will show up to pop a cap instead. He ‘ wearing a white suit with a matching white triggerman hat. One of 20 different songs will play whenever the Mysterious BIG appears. You can see the mod in action below, just be aware that most of the songs are NSFW.Gyashaa says that he created this mod as a way to honor one of his favorite rappers. Biggie Smalls is one of the most famous and beloved rappers of all time so I’m sure fans of his who are also into Fallout 4 will also get a nice kick out of this creative mod. If you want to download the mod for yourself, make sure to follow this link. There, you’ll find instructions on how to safely install the mod on your PC so that you can enjoy having the Notorious BIG finish off your enemies in style.last_img read more

Quantum physicist explains 100K offer for proof scaledup quantum computing is impossible

first_imgScott Aaronson Citation: Quantum physicist explains $100K offer for proof scaled-up quantum computing is impossible (2012, February 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from ( — MIT researcher Scott Aaronson has certainly riled the physics community with his offer this past Friday, of $100,000 to anyone who can prove that scaled-up quantum computing is impossible. His original reason for doing so was, as he describes in his blog, due to adding his two cents to an argument between skeptic Gil Kalai and researcher Aram Harrow about assumptions regarding the Quantum Fault-Tolerance Theorem, on another blog, where he argued that refuting the idea of scalable quantum computing would amount to more than just taking apart the QFT Theorem; it would he suggested, mean coming up with a new version of physical reality. Then, because of the response he got from the blog owner, he felt compelled to defend his assertions in a rather bold and some might say, foolhardy way. Thus was born the $100,000 bet, or prize. Explore further Now, after some time has passed and many hundreds of comments posted, Aaronson has posted to IEEE Spectrum, about the deeper reasoning behind the prize offer.First he answers a query from IEEE’s Rachel Courtland, who wants to know why the possibility of a scaled up quantum computer has come up, and why does there need to be a prize about it?From his answer it appears it’s because, as a quantum physicist whose goal is to find a way to create a scaled up quantum computer, he gets an awful lot of comments on his blog questioning his career choice in light of the fact that there is no certainty that his goal is even achievable. Many of the posts have clearly irked him and he now in response, appears to be hoping that his daring those who throw stones from afar, will either pipe down, or simply go away. Or, perhaps, miraculously free him from his dream by proving that it’s an impossible one that will lead him and the rest of his colleagues to eventual embarrassment.It’s clear that Aaronson believes a means of building a true scaled up quantum computer will be found one day, and that the problem at this juncture, as Courtland points out, is more one of pouring additional resources into figuring out how to make it happen, rather than sitting around wondering if it’s possible. He points out that as everyone in the small community of quantum physicists knows, tiny quantum computers have already been built that can perform small, rather insignificant operations; hence the need for the “scalable” part of the prize. To win the money, someone would need to prove that what has been done so far, will never be done on a larger scale, i.e. building a quantum computer that can actually do useful stuff.It’s all a matter of decoherence he says, where the quantum parts of the computer must of necessity interact with those that are not. Thus, the issue is whether that one little problem can ever be overcome. He clearly thinks it can, while others think not. Aaronson just wants them to back up their reasoning with actual science.center_img Researchers conduct experimental implementation of quantum algorithm © 2011 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

PathSoftware and First American Mortgage Solutions Announce Integration

first_img PathSoftware, a cloud-based mortgage loan origination software (LOS) from CalyxSoftware, announced an integration with First American Mortgage Solutions’ FraudGuard, a risk management tool that increases the efficiency of application reviews to help mitigate risk and improve loan quality. The tool, called DirectConnect, leverages advanced analytics, reporting, defect trending and audit trails, drawing on public, private and proprietary data sources collected from over 28 million reviewed loans, according to the press release. The integration allows PathSoftware consumers to easily access FraudGuard without leaving the system to run automated decision support services that provide critical data insights. The implementation of DirectConnect allows residential lenders, including credit unions, to streamline operations and become more efficient through process and workflow automation, data aggregation and risk analysis. The integration also gives lenders the knowledge to originate compliant loans, which allows them to provide homebuyers with a faster loan approval and a better customer experience.Kevin Wall, President of First American Mortgage Solutions, expressed his enthusiasm surrounding the partnership. “We’re thrilled to be the first risk mitigation provider to integrate with the PathSoftware LOS,” he said. “FraudGuard is designed to improve loan quality, and the more we can do to give lenders the convenience and confidence to quickly produce higher quality loans, the better the experience and outcome for everyone, including consumers.” in Headlines, News, Technology January 12, 2017 541 Views PathSoftware and First American Mortgage Solutions Announce Integrationcenter_img CalyxSoftware Company News First American PathSoftware technology 2017-01-12 Staff Writer Sharelast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Spa Village Resort T

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali is a 31-room spa resort that offers tailor-made wellness programmes devoted to healing, rejuvenation, wellness and spirituality.Its latest programme, Return To Yourself: A Yoga & Wellness Retreat, available exclusively on the first Monday of every month, is crafted by a woman who has been travelling alone for years to provide solo female travellers or small groups with a safe and personalised experience in a nurturing environment.The recommended 4-day/3-night itinerary, with an option to extend should guests wish to immerse deeper into the experience, combines regular and speciality yoga classes, guided meditation sessions, spa treatments, excursions and activities to discover Bali, its people, culture, food and natural wonders while meeting new like-minded friends in an environment that supports one’s overall wellbeing.Facilitated by Savitri Talahatu, Wellness Director at Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali, the Return to Yourself retreat invites guests to experience a slower pace of life in a Balinese village. The retreat programme flow includes Hatha Yoga and speciality Kundalini Yoga sessions, guided meditations, a cycling and picnic excursion to Les Waterfall, wellness playshops, a purification ceremony at Ponjok Batu Temple, indulgent spa treatments, organic and wholefood cuisine, and other crafted experiences.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Luxury boutique Emporiu

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterLuxury boutique Emporium Hotel South Bank has unveiled its new rooftop bar and dining venue, The Terrace. The spectacular space is now open to the hotel’s guests and residents and will be open to the public from Wednesday 3 October 2018, 6.30am until late, seven days a week.The only publicly available rooftop bar in the South Bank precinct, The Terrace offers unparalleled, panoramic views across the Brisbane River to the city skyline and beyond. Located on the 21st floor of the hotel, it boasts a range of unique, custom-made design features that create a visually captivating, subtropical aesthetic.Design highlights include a fresh, light colour palette, multiple ‘green walls’, white back-lit onyx floor tiles with custom light mapping and a 13-metre white back-lit onyx bar. Lush landscaping completes the luxurious tropical atmosphere, with mature date palms that were craned onto the property. Accentuating the hotel’s superb location, The Terrace features floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto an expansive balcony. To make the most of Brisbane’s sensational weather, two retractable roofs offer full, partial or no exposure to the elements.Commenting on the new opening, Owner’s Representative, Charles Martin says: “There is absolutely nothing in Australia that compares to this. From the moment you arrive, you are completely captivated by the extraordinary view and design aesthetic. The Terrace is a phenomenal addition to the city’s lifestyle and tourism offering.”“This is ultimate subtropical urban luxe, usually only found in major international cities. We have capitalised on our unbeatable climate and location in the city’s premier lifestyle precinct and built a completely bespoke venue from floor to ceiling that is distinctly Emporium. Our guests and residents have been completely blown away by The Terrace and we are very confident that the public are going to be, too.”An extensive drinks menu provides something for all tastes, from classic and signature cocktails to a wide range of premium local and international wines and spirits. An all-day dining menu, created by Executive Chef Chris Norman, caters for breakfast through to substantial plates and late night snacks. Hotel guests can also order from both menus while lazing by the breathtaking 23-metre infinity edge pool that boasts the same sweeping city and river views.Commenting on his inspiration behind the menu, Chris says: “You only have to take one step into this incredible space to be immediately inspired, from the beautiful colour palette to the open-air ceiling and incredible views that reach all the way out to the sand dunes of Moreton Island. With this in mind, I have created a complimentary menu that showcases fresh, locally sourced produce and flavours with a particular emphasis on seafood, the absolute best Queensland has to offer.”Bookings for The Terrace are recommended.For further information visit back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

Perdikis wont deny getting allowance for driver he does not have

first_imgGreens MP Giorgos Perdikis did not deny on Tuesday claims that his party has been receiving a monthly state allowance for over a decade for a driver despite the fact he does not have one but which, he said, was approved by the cabinet for reasons of equality.The issue was raised by daily Alithia – owned by Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos – which reported on Tuesday that Perdikis has been receiving a monthly driver allowance since 2005 without actually having one.This, the daily said, came about “after Perdikis stubbornly refused to accept police protection and in return he had claimed by the then government – and won – this allowance, which in 2005 was CY£1,000 (around €1,700)”.This amount, the daily said, was reduced to around €1,000 the last few years due to the economic crisis, while the total amount the Greens received from the state over the years is around €150,000.The daily said that this was a scandal and “a sample of lack of political morality”.“It is a lie that I have received €150,000 from the government. This allowance was approved by the government in 2005 to be given to the Green Party for equality reasons because we did not have a driver or a guard like the other parties have for their leaders,” Perdikis told the Cyprus Mail.With this money, Perdikis said, “we employ a person at the party”.In his latest annual report, the auditor-general, as regards the monthly driver allowance, which is around €1,000, said that it was given to beneficiaries without them producing the documents proving the employment of a driver.As a recommendation, the auditor-general said that the allowance should be paid “after submission of evidence to confirm the employment in question and the cost of which must be equal to or more than the amount of the allowance”.“The auditor-general asked in 2015 – when he began audits into party finances – that we should register the details of the employee, and so we have,” Perdikis said.He added that his party would welcome a suggestion of Hasikos to the cabinet to abolish this allowance but also that the other party leaders receive for guards, as it would save the government a lot of money.Perdikis dismissed the article as an obvious attempt of Hasikos to hit back at him for the fact that he was the one that brought to the attention of the auditor-general the minister’s business activities – as the owner of various media outlets in relation with his capacity as oversight authority of state-run media – and had asked whether this constituted possible conflicts of interest.This led to the discovery by the Audit Office of a lease signed between Hasikos’ company and the civil aviation department for which the auditor-general has requested the opinion of the Incompatibility Committee.Hasikos argues that there is no conflict of interest and everything was done by the book and that the lease was signed before a law was passed on conflict of interests, while the auditor-general’s office insists that the law in question does not allow the submission of bids by an official, or a company the official participates in, as a shareholder or board member to sign a leasing, supply, or service, contract with the state.Perdikis, in a tweet, likened the article to “farts”.You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsThe Early Signs Of Heart Failure. Search Acute Heart Failure TreatmentHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsUndoFigLeaf Beta AppFigLeaf brings You 3 Easy Steps to Privacy on Your Terms…FigLeaf Beta AppUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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