A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… Disabled people and their organisations have reacted to Boris Johnson becoming the new prime minister with alarm and scepticism, but also an appeal for “honest engagement”.Johnson (pictured) has already concerned many opponents – both within his party and among opposition parties – by filling key ministerial posts with Brexit-supporters and right-wingers such as Dominic Raab as foreign secretary and Priti Patel as home secretary.And although Johnson mentioned the need to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all” in his first speech as prime minister yesterday (Wednesday), he mentioned only older people – like many ministers and other politicians before him – and ignored working-age disabled people, even though about half of local authority spending on social care is on working-age adults.Johnson said he had “a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve”, but there will be a suspicion that this is merely the much-delayed adult social care green paper promised by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.Hancock, who has kept his post under the new prime minister, has already suggested that his green paper is unlikely to include a definitive plan for how to reform adult social care funding, but instead will simply “bring together the debate… behind a direction of travel where we can make progress”.Alan Benson, chair of Transport for All, the user-led charity which campaigns on accessible transport in London, said that during Johnson’s time as mayor of London “he not only failed to engage with disabled people and their organisations but he dismantled the structures that were already existing.“This sets a worrying precedent. We hope that a similar pattern is not now seen across government.”He said that Theresa May and London mayor Sadiq Khan had been “at odds” during May’s time as prime minister, resulting in “huge budget cuts” for Transport for London and “an unwillingness to devolve rail services”.Benson said: “This has hit London’s travellers hard and particularly impacted disabled and older people.”He warned that the relationship between Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan was even worse than that between May and the mayor, “so we can only see the situation deteriorating”.Baroness [Sal] Brinton, president of the Liberal Democrats, said Johnson’s record on equality – particularly around race – was “not encouraging”.She said: “The problem is he is just unthinking and the worry is that, particularly with disability, we may have the legislation but we don’t have the culture.“I would hope he will demonstrate a genuine delivery of the Equality Act to make disabled people’s lives better, but I am not holding my breath.“My worry is he is more concerned about a snappy message than he is about the underlying issues. He has to prove himself to the disabled community.”The crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell said she hoped Johnson would build on one of the “few positive moves” made by Theresa May, in the last weeks of her premiership, to set up a new strategic, cross-government disability unit in the Cabinet Office.She said: “This is an opportunity for him to engage honestly and realistically with disabled people on building a society inclusive of all people.“Better engagement with all sectors of society and parliament is something that he did mention in his acceptance speech – let’s hope he is serious about the ‘everyone’!”Sue Bott, head of policy and research for Disability Rights UK, raised concerns about the impact of a potential no deal Brexit under Johnson.She said: “Given the stated commitment of Boris Johnson to take the UK out of the European Union (EU) on 31 October with or without a deal, we are very concerned that the rights disabled people currently enjoy as members of the EU will continue post-Brexit, particularly given the impossibility of passing the necessary legislation on time.”There is already frustration with Johnson from The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE), after he told a journalist during his leadership campaign that he wanted to increase the number of free special schools.Simone Aspis, ALLFIE’s policy and campaigns coordinator, said he had also ignored a letter from ALLFIE during the campaign that asked how he would implement the recommendations to the UK made by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2017, when it called for a “coherent strategy” on “increasing and improving inclusive education”.Aspis said: “We understand Boris Johnson is looking to fund more special schools.“This is a clear violation of disabled people’s human rights, and non-engagement with disabled people’s organisations like ALLFIE is not a good start.”There was particular anger and frustration with the new prime minister from disabled people’s anti-cuts groups, which have been fighting Tory-led austerity policies for nearly a decade.Bob Ellard, of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said, before yesterday’s ministerial appointments were announced: “He’s a Tory and whoever he makes work and pensions secretary, chancellor and minister for disabled people will be Tories.“Since 2010 not one single Tory has done or said anything that benefits disabled people and that ain’t going to change now. The cruelty and the harm it creates is set to continue.”Michelle Maher, from WOWcampaign, said she believed a Boris Johnson government would see the UK become a “vassal state” to Donald Trump’s United States and would “wave goodbye to the NHS, which for sick and disabled people is our lifeline as no one will insure us”.She said: “Nowhere in the discourse are disabled children, adults and their carers.“We are completely ‘othered’ now by 10 years of austerity and hate speech aimed at us. This will only get worse for us, as a far-right Tory ideology takes hold.”John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said: “As humanitarians, of course we welcome his statement at the steps of Number 10 this afternoon that his government will try to do more for animal welfare.“As for the human catastrophe that has befallen disabled people under successive Tory prime ministers since 2010 – absolutely nothing.”McArdle also raised concerns about Johnson’s comments about mental health, in an article earlier this month, in which he claimed that the only way to really treat depression was through the “cure” of work.McArdle said: “Disabled people will now, and with good cause, be living in fear of what rash decisions this entirely unpredictable prime minister may take next with regard to mental health and social policy.”Rick Burgess, from Manchester DPAC, said: “Considering Boris Johnson’s voting record on social security and his total disinterest in disability rights indicates this will be a continuation of Tory disablism along with more hostile policies for all minority groups.“Only regime change through a general election will end this era of abrogation of rights, immiseration, and death.”Brian Hilton, digital campaigns officer for Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, said: “We have a new prime minister but it appears no new ideas.“Brexit is set to dominate the political agenda for the foreseeable future, all of which distracts from the ongoing problems facing disabled people.”He called for a “clear timescale” for the publication of the social care green paper and a consultation which “actively engages with and listens to disabled people”.He said: “We also need Boris Johnson to signal that his government is going to tackle the devastating effects that universal credit is having on disabled people and their families.“It is no good tinkering around the edges with this failed endeavour, it needs replacing.”Fran Springfield, co-chair of Disability Labour, raised concerns about the NHS, and said that “Boris Johnson’s obsession with leaving the EU, with or without a deal, is a disaster for disabled people and everyone who uses the NHS”, and warning of the impact on the supply of vital drugs, appliances such as stoma bags, nutritional feeds, and on recruitment.last_img read more

Club First Team Match SAINTS TV

first_imgHolbrook also paid credit to the “cracking” atmosphere the Saints fans created in the win over Warrington last Friday and believes Saints have another big task ahead this coming week.“The support was brilliant last Friday. It was a cracking atmosphere down at Warrington with both sets of fans really passionate and it was great to see. It’s another massive challenge for us Friday to travel up to Hull FC who are sitting third, so it doesn’t get any easier.“Hull FC were in red hot form up until their derby defeat and they have got some key troops back and that’s what makes them such a dangerous side. They have good halves, strong outside backs and a big forward pack so it’s going to be a really tough game up there on Friday.“[They have] Albert Kelly, Jake Connor, Mark Sneyd and Jamie Shaul at the back and they have some really key play makers that are very good players and the rest of the sides pretty strong as well.”There was also an update on the injured Aaron Smith who Holbrook revealed has been ‘struggling’ this week and is a doubt for Friday night’s clash in Hull.“Aaron Smith’s struggling, he’s still really sore there so we’ll have to see how he goes over the next couple of days. If he doesn’t play there Bentos [James Bentley] will play. I think did a really good job for us. He came on after three minutes and played the majority of the game at hooker so he’s a really versatile player and it worked out well for him on Friday.”You can grab your tickets for Friday night’s clash as well as our derby clash with Wigan Warriors at the Totally Wicked Stadium in a ‘Bad Friday’ repeat online here by calling 01744 455052 or by visiting the Ticket OfYou cfice at the Totally Wicked Stadium.last_img read more

New Hanover Co deputies arrest man for attempted firstdegree murder

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County man is facing attempted murder charges after he allegedly shot another person in the mouth and arm over the weekend.New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arrested Juan Sanchez Rebodello for attempted first-degree murder. Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to 222 Flemington Road Lot #7 at approximately 3:00 p.m Sunday in reference to a reported shooting. When deputies arrived, they found Manuel DeJesus Silva-Bonilla, with a gunshot wound to the mouth and another to the upper left arm.- Advertisement – Manuel was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery. Detectives immediately began their investigation tracking down the suspect.The Pender County Sheriff’s Office arrested Juan Sanchez Rebodello Monday on attempted first-degree murder. Pender County Deputies noticed a vehicle traveling on Union Chapel Road matching the description of the suspect and conducted a traffic stop detaining Rebodello for New Hanover County.Rebodello is in the New Hanover County Detention Facility is under a $800,500 bond.last_img read more

Historic Wilmington bungalow to become seafood restaurant

first_img The couple began looking for spaces in February. When they heard about the house through the Historic Wilmington Foundation, they knew it was perfect for their planned downtown eatery.“We’ve been working in Austin and Denver recently and have fallen in love with some of the reused spaces and we just really loved it,” Walker said. “We really wanted something that would stand out.”Walker says they plan to open the restaurant by mid summer 2019. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Big changes are coming for a historic home in Wilmington and they look to be tasty! It’s all thanks to one couple and the Historic Wilmington Foundation.The 120-year-old house is moving from Bladen Street to 4th and Swann streets where husband and wife Matt Walker and Jennifer Concklin plan to transform it into a southern seafood restaurant.- Advertisement – last_img read more

DA clears Pender deputies after man injured during traffic stop

first_imgAccording to a news release from the District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, 59-year-old Wayne Corbett was indicted on numerous charges stemming from a March 14 traffic stop in Pender County.- Advertisement – Wayne Corbett (Photo: Pender County Sheriff’s Office) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — No law enforcement officers will be charged after an Atkinson man was injured during an encounter with Pender County sheriff’s deputies earlier this year. Corbett was stopped for a vehicle registration violation, and during that traffic stop he tried to run from the deputies, according to the sheriff’s office. When the deputies reportedly tried to catch Corbett he physically resisted and assaulted two deputies.“The conduct of several Pender County Sheriff’s deputies in relation to these injuries was investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation at the joint request of my office and Sheriff Alan Cutler,” District Attorney Ben David wrote in a news release. “In reviewing the accounts from several civilian witnesses, my office has determined that the injuries that Corbett suffered were a result of his assaultive conduct and non-compliance with officer commands. With the information my office has received to date, no law enforcement officer will be charged in this incident.”Corbett is charged with assault on a government official/employee, resisting a public officer, felony possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of marijuana and canceled/revoked tag.Related Article: NC school closes after senior prank causes thousands in damagesHis next court date is June 24.last_img read more

African Startups FastTracked By Microsofts Second Round Of Innovation Grants

first_imgAdvertisement Microsoft Corp. on 1st Oct. announced seven new African startups to receive funding, technical support and mentorship to fast-track their growth and provide a roadmap to highlight Africa’s ‘future growth pole’. The announcement was made at the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council meeting in Nairobi and is the second round of grants to be issued under the 4Afrika innovation grant programme, following the five startups selected at the beginning of 2014.One of the goals of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is to accelerate African innovation, ensuring that entrepreneurs continue to grow their businesses and solutions. In turn, they will create jobs, encourage skills development and grow the continent’s knowledge economy. “The world is looking for the next growth pole and Africa is positioned to be exactly that. As investors assess industries and sectors to fund, there is a keen interest in exploring the future multinational companies that will come out of Africa. These are the startups and SMEs of today, which we aim to help grow to their full potential through smart financing,” says Fernando de Sousa, General Manager of Africa Initiatives at Microsoft.Each innovation grant winner will receive financial endowment and access to Microsoft platforms. Microsoft will also provide each startup with one-on-one mentorship. “It is critical to provide individualised support over and above funding. All startups have different needs, speeds at which they scale and unique market challenges that require tailored, individualised support,” adds Fernando de Sousa. – Advertisement – In addition, to ensure the scalability of these startups, Microsoft will also connect grant winners with relevant partners to enable them commercialize their solutions.The following startups have been selected: Ukall (Kenya) – Ukall is an ICT company that automates business processes, allowing companies and businesses to run more efficiently. Their mobile application ‘Akida’ addresses the challenges of staff attendance verification.Cojengo (East Africa) – Based on the Swahili word ‘Kujenga’, Cojengo creates mobile and cloud solutions that address animal and human health issues. Their ‘VetAfrica’ app helps farmers diagnose livestock disease and share disease surveillance data.MobiPay (Kenya) – MobiPay facilitates commerce and trade through mobile devices in the SME, agricultural and remittance sectors. Their AgriLife solution helps farmers access market opportunities, receive financing and get information on how best to grow, manage and market.iTaxi (Morocco) – iTaxi is a mobile application that lets users book, track and rate taxis within Morocco. The app uses geo-location technology, allowing users to send their location and transport details to available taxi drivers in the area and track their progress.AfNov (Rwanda) – AfNov is a software development company. Their mobile application ‘Ikaye y’umudugudu’ allows users to report their community challenges and conflicts to government. In addition, users can track development and progress within government institutions, ensuring accountability and enhanced development.BookNow (Kenya) – BookNow is a mobile system that allows Kenyan’s to buy bus tickets online, providing secure mobile money and card payment options and enabling customers to avoid long.MMINDZS (Uganda) – MMINDZS is a leader in the development and exploitation of technology and technology-driven processes for African business.“The Microsoft 4Afrika initiative gives startups like BookNow access to smart capital, helping startup businesses to grow without needing to relinquish control of their company or seek expensive capital,” says Francis Gesora, co-founder of BookNow. “This helps us improve our competitive factor and achieve our scaling targets faster.”Craig Taylor, CEO of Cojengo adds: “The innovation grant puts Cojengo in a very strong position for the future. It helps us continue to deliver innovative solutions that address global challenges.Through Microsoft’s partnerships with accelerators and innovation hubs – including 88mph and AfriLabs, a pan-Africa hub network which launched a new Microsoft sponsored ‘Collaboration Challenge’ at DEMO Africa last week – it has been able to nurture local innovators and identify top solutions. The seven solutions were selected based on their uniqueness and scalability among other factors. “We’re supporting startups that have developed their solutions beyond the idea stage. They are either in the process of acquiring their first batch of clients or well under way in expanding their existing portfolio of clients,” says Fernando de Sousa. “All startups have created solutions that are addressing key sectors fuelling growth across the continent.” Ends-last_img read more

Ugandas USD 100 million Fibre Optic Project Halted by President

first_imgAdvertisement Uganda’s President Museveni has ordered Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to block an imminent approval of an additional loan to a Chinese firm implementing government’s fibre optic cable project.Mr Museveni made the directive after finally reading the Auditor General’s letter which shows that the project cost had been inflated and poorly procured.In April 2012, Mr Museveni asked Auditor General John Muwanga to conduct an audit of the project being implemented by Huawei Technologies with a loan from Exim Bank of China, following queries about the cost and quality of work done. – Advertisement – Mr Muwanga contracted international consultancy firm Ernst & Young to do the audit and reported back to the President. But Mr Museveni said he had not seen the report until one-and-a-half years later.The Auditor General’s report shows that during the implementation of the first two phases, the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and the Electronic Government Infrastructure (EGI) projects, “the approximate loss or amount of money or savings that could have been made if better advised is $41.9m (about Shs116b).”From consultations with different telecoms and reviewing of the bills of quantities for the project, Mr Muwanga said he reached an inevitable conclusion that “the project price was grossly inflated.”“There was a lot of unnecessary equipment that was deployed to different transmission stations, some of which is still not being used to-date. We also noted that the cost of fibre per kilometre was significantly higher than that for many of the local operators in Uganda based on the review of the bills of quantities, some of whom have also had Huawei Technologies implementing their optic fibre cable projects,” the Auditor General observed in his report.Linking the region The project, by weaning the government off using the satellite link for telephones and other forms of data transmission, were supposed to reduce related costs for the government by half.The project is part of an East African Community terrestrial fibre optic cable covering 15,600km, which is supposed to link all the five EAC countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, to the rest of the world through the under-sea cable in Mombasa.The project was to be implemented in four phases, three of which were to be financed by a $106m (about Shs293.5b) loan from China.Phase one seeks to link all government departments and agencies whereas the second phase would link Uganda to Kenya in the east and South Sudan to the north.The third phase would connect to the border with Rwanda.The Auditor General recommended that different players, including Huawei Technologies, rectify faults identified by an earlier forensic audit by National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) before proceeding to the next phase.Museveni pulls plug on loan After finally reading the Auditor General’s letter, Mr Museveni wrote to Dr Rugunda the same day, instructing him to act promptly.“Apparently, the Auditor General wrote back to me on June 20, 2013, but I only saw the letter today [December 5, 2014] pointing out that the project was overpriced by $41m (about Shs116b),” he wrote.“I have now received complaints that Exim Bank of China is approving another $9m (about Shs24.9b) for this company even before the other rectifications are done. Call the minister of ICT, Attorney General and others to sort out all this. Let your experts read the Auditor General’s report and recommend corrective measures,” Museveni instructed Rugunda.When contacted, Dr Rugunda, who headed the ICT ministry at some point as the project was being implemented, only said: “Government is addressing the issues and the fibre optic project is on course.”Attorney General Peter Nyombi said upon receiving instructions to look into the matter, he asked for a copy of the Auditor General’s report, which he said his team would study and advise accordingly.Auditor General’s findings The Auditor General noted in his report that the procurement process was not done effectively and the initiation and conceptualisation of the project was not properly undertaken. He further noted that the use of single sourcing for a project of this magnitude and complexity denied government the benefit of competition.In the report he also said many weaknesses were identified with the way and manner in which the process was done, many of which he said resulted from the initial processes of planning and requirements identification not being properly undertaken. The project inception, he further noted could not be handled by a ministry [ICT] which was in a formative stage.Mr Aggrey Awori, the former ICT minister, said he learnt after he had taken on the ministry that Huawei Technologies was single sourced because preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in 2007 could not allow time for competitive bidding.He said, however, this could not have been an excuse for the concerned officials to inflate the cost of the project.BackgroundIn 2006 government acquired a loan of $106m ((about Shs293.5b) from China to build a 2,11km optical fibre cable for the National Backbone Infrastructure, the laying of the optical fibre to link all government offices and the supply and installation of communication equipment to enable transmission of voice, data and conferencing services.The project was to be completed in four phases over a period of 27 months and the loan was to cover only three of these phases. The project commenced on October 11, 2006 and was scheduled for completion on March 10, 2010, but by the time the Auditor General did the review mid-2013, only the first phase had been completed, with phase two nearing completion.The President in April 2012 asked the Auditor General to probe queries about quality of cables used, and the cost and quality of works undertaken thus far, for which purpose the Auditor General contradicted the international consulting firm Ernst and Young.Tit bits The contractors. The Shs300b project was contracted to Huawei Technologies through the Ministry of ICT and NITA-U. Completion. The project, which commenced on October 11, 2006 had been scheduled for completion on March 10, 2010, however, eight years later the project is just in its second phase.[Source: Daily Monitor]last_img read more

Prison Break series coming back next year

first_imgAdvertisement Prison Break, which is one of the most pirated series is coming back to our screen, together with its stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.This has been confirmed by Fox bosses Dana Walden and Gary Newman saying it has been rebooted and refreshed with executive producer Paul Scheuring at the helm.Miller and Purcell will be reprising their roles as expert prison breaker Michael Scofield and his brother Lincoln Burrows. – Advertisement – It is going to be a 10-episode series and has been described as ‘a bit of a sequel’ that will pick up with Miller and Purcell’s characters several years after the events of Prison Break: The Final Break.Despite fans knowing that Michael was killed off in The Final Break, Fox are finding away around that – by ignoring it entirely.Walden has also revealed that ‘some of the iconic characters’ will be back too.[Via]last_img read more

YouTube Was Supposed To Be A Video Dating Site

first_imgImage Credit: kqed Advertisement ​It’s an emporium of music videos, movie and series Trailers, study videos, home made clips and so much more , but YouTube was almost something very different way back then. When YouTube was launched in 2005, the site had totally different aims other than just uploading music videos or movie trailers or filming yourself playing with your pets, the site was officially made for “dating.”That’s not exactly what comes to mind when you think of the world’s largest video site, which welcomes a billion visitors a month. But that’s how the video-sharing website, that Google Inc. bought in 2006 for 1.65 billion USD (5 Trillion UGX), got its start, said co-founder Steve Chen.According to Co-Founder Steve Chen, YouTube was designed  in a way a single person had to make a video introducing themselves and saying what they were looking for. – Advertisement – Despite offering to pay women 20 USD (67,440 UGX) to upload videos of themselves to YouTube, nobody had uploaded a single video after 5 days, forcing Chen and his other Co-Founders Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim, had to come up with a different strategy. The Guardian reports.“We always thought there was something with video there, but what would be the actual practical application?” Chen said during a film and music conference in Austin, Texas. “We thought dating would be the obvious choice.”The matchmaking element, though short-lived, was perhaps always in the cards. Chen said the founders registered the domain name YouTube on February 14, more than a decade ago.“OK, forget the dating aspect, let’s just open it up to any video,” said Chen at South by Southwest (SXSW). YouTube’s first official video was Karim’s Me At The Zoo. Eighteen seconds of elephants, and the rest is history – including a $1.65bn acquisition by Google in 2006.last_img read more

Qualcomm Technologies Announced Snapdragon 821 a Success

first_imgSnapdragon-821 made official. Advertisement Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 has been a leader in the mobile industry with over 115 premium smartphones and tablet device deployments, supporting the latest in cutting-edge mobile applications, and helping create more immersive user experiences while also being deployed in new and innovative ways, like supporting safer driving and navigation in cars.“One of the main reasons the 820 processor has been so successful in so many designs is because it introduced multiple new technologies, all tightly integrated and power optimized, designed to bring user experience innovation to the mobile industry.”Earlier this week, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. announced, Snapdragon 821 a success. – Advertisement – Snapdragon 821 is engineered to deliver faster speed, improved power savings, and greater application performance, ensuring all the 821 powered devices keep pace with the growing performance demands of users to deliver the unmatched user experiences the Snapdragon 800 tier is known for.The processor is also engineered to deliver a 10% performance increase over the 820 with the Qualcomm Kryo quad-core CPU, reaching speeds up to 2.4GHz.The Snapdragon 820 currently powers some of the most advanced, feature rich smartphones today, including the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, Xiaomi Mi5, LG G5, HTC 10, LeEco LeMax 2, and Sony Xperia X to name a few.And because the Snapdragon 820 helped improve the user experience for mobile imaging, virtual reality (VR), battery life, and connectivity speed all the updates we’ve included in Snapdragon 821 will help keep devices powered by Snapdragon 800 premium-tier processors at the top of people’s shopping lists into the foreseeable future.last_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Wednesday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Wednesday 8 JanuaryRACING12.10 DoncasterMinella Friend 5/2 > 2/11.10 DoncasterSir Pitt 5/2 > 15/82.35 LingfieldUp Tipp 5/2 > 6/45.40 KemptonRosies Prospects 11/4 > 15/86.40 KemptonWelsh Sunrise 3/1 > 2/1What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img

STAR PREVIEW Fulham v Newcastle

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he new Championship season blasts into life tonight with the opener between hot title favourites Newcastle and Fulham at Craven Cottage.A nice 500 mile+ round trip for the Toon Army on a Friday night.Newcastle’s fall from grace last season hasn’t impacted season ticket sales – far from it, they’ve sold more this season than last and go into the new campaign with high hopes, Benitez still as manager, some promising new signings including Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie BUT … does it all REALLY add translate to a 7/4 chance to win the Championship?I know they bounced straight back when they last dropped out of the top flight and the fans will demand nothing less but, cliches aside, the Championship remains a damn tough division and there surely have to be better 7/4 chances around?It will be a new look Fulham side too tonight after a disappointing campaign last season which saw them finish 20th in the table, just 11 points off the drop zone.Centre-back Tomas Kalas and forward Sone Aluko are among seven signings set for their debuts.Fulham v Newcastle UnitedChampionship19:45 Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports 1 HDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)Mar 2014 PREMIER LEAGUE Fulham 1-0 NewcastleAug 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE Newcastle 1-0 FulhamApr 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE Newcastle 1-0 FulhamDec 2012 PREMIER LEAGUE Fulham 2-1 NewcastleJan 2012 PREMIER LEAGUE Fulham 5-2 NewcastleAug 2011 PREMIER LEAGUE Newcastle 2-1 FulhamFeb 2011 PREMIER LEAGUE Fulham 1-0 NewcastleNov 2010 PREMIER LEAGUE Newcastle 0-0 FulhamMay 2009 PREMIER LEAGUE Newcastle 0-1 FulhamNov 2008 PREMIER LEAGUE Fulham 2-1 NewcastleWhilst it’s a marathon, not a sprint Newcastle are very much a ‘momentum’ side and will need to get off to a flyer to justify their cramped odds.  I think they’ll try and make a significant statement tonight.Only around evens to win, I prefer the Newcastle HT / FT option which is a bit more interesting at 9/4 with Star Sports.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK NEWCASTLE / NEWCASTLE 12 points at 9/4 with Star SportsPROFIT/LOSS SINCE EUROS: +79.50 pointsBET NOW WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

Sticky ends start synthetic collagen growth

first_imgShareEditor’s note: Links to images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.edu‘Sticky’ ends start synthetic collagen growth Rice University chemists advance understanding, control of collagen formation HOUSTON – (Oct. 27, 2014) – Rice University researchers have delivered a scientific one-two punch with a pair of papers that detail how synthetic collagen fibers self-assemble via their sticky ends.Collagen is the most common protein in mammals, a major component of bone and the fibrous tissues that support cells and hold organs together. Discovering its secrets may lead to better synthetic collagen for tissue engineering and cosmetic and reconstructive medicine.The Rice lab of Jeffrey Hartgerink has been studying synthetic collagen for a decade, teasing out the details of how it starts as three distinct peptides that twist into characteristic triple helices. His group has already developed collagens for use as clotting agents or as scaffolding in regenerative medicine.The two papers in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the first published in May and the second this month, show precisely how mimetic peptides developed at Rice may be aligned to form helices with sticky ends that allow them to aggregate into fibers or gels.“We proposed in a Nature Chemistry paper (in 2011) that peptides self-assemble in an offset fashion that creates sticky ends,” Hartgerink said. “And those sticky ends can then propagate. But even in the review of that paper, the mechanism took a fair amount of flak because there had been no reports in the literature that a collagen system could, in fact, create this offset.”It has taken several years and these two papers to prove the critics wrong, he said.Collagen forms from helical arrangements of three protein chains, also called peptides. The chains, like all proteins, consist of amino acid like glycine and proline (two primary components of collagen) arranged in a certain order. Scientists like Hartgerink design custom nanoscale chains by carefully arranging the amino acids and their positive and negative charges.In the right order, the charged amino acids crosslink into what Hartgerink calls axial salt bridges, non-covalent bonds that hold the helices together with the help of stabilizing hydrogen bonds. “Most of the work we’ve done on collagen has been to define those axial charged pairs and then utilize them to do different things,” he said.The ends of these helices can be blunt or sticky, Hartgerink said, depending on how the chains are staggered, or offset. An offset of one amino acid is blunt and not sticky at all. The greater the offset, the stickier it becomes.The first of the new papers by Hartgerink, graduate students Abihishek Jalan and Katherine Jochim demonstrated the self-assembly of standalone, sticky-ended triple helices with offsets of four amino acids. They allowed the researchers to obtain details of the structure through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).“We chose to use a really short offset because as soon as we make it a little bit bigger, it becomes stickier and fibers start forming,” Hartgerink said. “As soon as you have a fiber, NMR doesn’t work any more. But NMR is the go-to analytical tool, and in this case we were able to show at a molecular level that the offset takes place.”For the second paper with graduate student Biplab Sarkar and former graduate student Lesley O’Leary, “We did the reverse of that and synthesized a series of peptides with large sticky ends that drive fiber assembly,” Hartgerink said.The researchers made two classes of synthetic collagen peptides with the same chemical components but different arrangements and showed those with extensive sticky ends quickly self-assembled into fibers. Those with misaligned sequences either formed amorphous aggregates or remained separated in solution.“We chose to satisfy the critics by breaking our work into two studies. One was to demonstrate at the molecular level that these charged pairs are powerful and can drive this kind of offset, which hadn’t been demonstrated before, and that the resulting helices are potentially sticky,” he said. “Then, in the second study, we made them actually sticky and showed that when you use charged pairs properly, you get fibers. And when you don’t, you don’t get fibers.”Understanding the fine details of collagen assembly presents the possibility of synthetic collagens for specific functions, Hartgerink said. “A number of biomaterials use natural collagen, and there are advantages to replacing them with synthetic collagens,” he said. “One of the main advantages is that we move away from health and regulatory problems associated with using animal sources.”He said synthetic collagen may also help answer important questions about its natural counterpart. “Collagen is an incredibly important central player in tissue behavior, but even some of the very basic ideas about collagen structure have eluded scientists for decades,” he said. “One of the things we’re pursuing now is generating libraries of collagen mimetic peptides to test them against known collagen-binding proteins and proteases, proteins that cut up collagen.“I think the difficulty in understanding the mechanism is illustrated by the fact that it took two whole papers just to outline it,” Hartgerink said. “But these mechanistic studies will allow us to push the science forward and do more practical things.”The National Science Foundation and the Robert A. Welch Foundation supported the research.-30-Read the abstract for “Rational Design of a Non-canonical ‘Sticky-Ended’ Collagen Triple Helix”: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja5001246Read the abstract for “Self-Assembly of Fiber-Forming Collagen Mimetic Peptides Controlled by Triple-Helical Nucleation”: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja504377s Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Hartgerink Research Group: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~jdh/publist.htmlRice Department of Bioengineering: http://bioe.rice.edu2011 Nature Chemistry paper: http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v3/n10/full/nchem.1123.htmlImages for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2014/10/1027_COLLAGEN-1-WEB.jpgA Rice University lab has discovered that synthetic peptides are more likely to self-assemble into collagen fibers and gels if the ends are left “sticky,” with extended strands that allow more triple helices to attach. The lab experimented with both “sticky” and “blunt” helices to show how collagen, the most abundant protein in mammals, might self-assemble into fibrous tissues and bone. (Credit: Jeffrey Hartgerink/Rice University) AddThiscenter_img http://news.rice.edu/files/2014/10/1027_COLLAGEN-2-WEB.jpgRice University graduate student Katherine Jochim, left, and chemist Jeffrey Hartgerink demonstrated the self-assembly of standalone, sticky-ended triple helices that form collagen, the most common protein in mammals. The Hartgerink lab’s discoveries could lead to better synthetic materials for medical applications. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here.last_img read more

Rice experts to testify on property tax at Texas Senate hearing in

first_imgAddThis ShareMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduRice experts to testify on property tax at Texas Senate hearing in Houston area HOUSTON — (Nov. 27, 2018) — Tax experts Jennifer Rabb and John Diamond from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy will provide testimony and take questions before the Texas Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform at 10 a.m. Nov. 28 at Lone Star College-Montgomery Campus in Conroe.The committee is studying whether property taxes – especially those that pay for operating and maintaining schools — can be replaced with revenue from sales taxes or other consumption taxes. It will also evaluate whether some local property taxes are more likely to lend themselves to such a tax swap, study the economic effects of a swap, identify a target property tax rate and evaluate how to reach that target with a consumption tax.The committee will also evaluate calculations of effective tax rates and rollback tax rates, then identify what changes could produce a better rollback process. The committee also plans to evaluate whether the current rollback election trigger serves modern objectives.Appraisal review boards (ARBs) will also come under the committee’s scrutiny. It will study whether board members have sufficient training and expertise on appraisal standards, law, ethics, and meeting procedures. It will also determine whether ARB operations are sufficiently independent of central appraisal districts and taxing units and whether ARBs and chief appraisers should be elected.Rabb, who is the director and fellow of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth and previously served as a tax policy advisor in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, will testify about the usefulness of the effective tax rate as a red flag for property tax increases. The effective tax rate was added to state law in 1978 and 1979 as a tool to inform taxpayers of proposed property tax increases, but whether it has lived up to expectations is questionable. Her testimony will explore whether the effective tax rate is so technical it is impractical, and whether taxpayers today even know about it. She will make recommendations for a more meaningful benchmark for tax increases that can be communicated in ways that were not possible when the effective tax rate was added.Diamond, who is the Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly Fellow in Public Finance, will discuss the feasibility of replacing the school maintenance and operations (M&O) portion of the property tax with sales tax or other consumption tax revenue, and to quantify the short-term and long-term economic effects of such a tax swap. In addition, he will discuss the change in the sales tax rate that is needed to replace the school M&O portion of the property tax.For more information on the committee, visit its website.For more information on Rabb or Diamond or to schedule an interview, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6327 or david@rice.edu.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.This news release can be found online at www.news.rice.edu.Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.last_img read more

Cornell Johnson LGBT Community Helping Students Succeed

first_img RelatedReaching Out MBA: 19 Years of LGBTQ SupportGetting accepted into graduate business school is no easy feat. With all of the preperation, applications, campus visits, and soul searching necessary, it’s nice when you have a helping hand. If you’re a member of the LGBT community, Reaching Out MBA could be just the hand you’re looking for. What…July 7, 2016In “Featured Home”10 Best LGBT-Friendly MBA ProgramsIt used to be that business school was for young straight white men, just as their older counterparts ran businesses. Thankfully, the reality has been changing for a while. Now, most top MBA programs welcome 30 percent women and almost 50 percent international students. Just as exciting, as the world…September 19, 2016In “Advice”Rutgers Group Provides Career Resources and Support To LGBT CommunityA new group at Rutgers’ Business School Newark/New Brunswick, RBS Pride, aims to provide support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) MBA students. The club aims to extend Rutgers’ well-established support networks for LGBT students to the business school, which does not currently have a LGBT organization. Rutgers has…October 21, 2013In “Featured Region” regions: New York City Cornell’s Johnson School of Management recently highlighted several of its LGBT student organizations and fellowships that actively challenge attitudes in the workplace and help LGBT MBAs feel more supported.The article cites a 2013 Deloitte and Kenji Yoshino study entitled Uncovering Talent, which finds that 83 percent of LGBT employees covered their identities at work, a practice that “decreases employees’ loyalty and commitment to their organization.” Compare this figure to “79 percent of blacks, 66 percent of women, 63 percent of Hispanics, and 45 percent of white heterosexual men.”“LGBT employees may feel conflicted if they have to lead double lives in fear of being passed over for a job promotion or fired for being who they are. Today, employers in 28 states can terminate workers for self-identifying as LGBT,” explained Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Fellow Brian Tsui, MBA ’18. “People on the outside wonder about your status, and the LGBT person, whether out or not, can be constantly managing their image and behaviors,” adds Ryan Armstrong, MBA ’17.Photo via Cornell JohnsonIn addition to the Out for Business student group, Johnson offers two fellowships in conjunction with ROMBA, a 20-year-old organization that helps students “find sincerely welcoming communities.”“ROMBA was originally meant to build a stronger network of LGBT peers who would go into well-paid, high-powered jobs, and be able to look after each other as a network,” says ROMBA executive director Matt Kidd.ROMBA promotes LGBT business school leadership and “provides information about the LGBT status of business schools worldwide, application and job prep and guidance, and conferences and treks to help students find environments that are right for them.””I’ve had many doors open because I had an introduction from someone within the LGBT community,” said ROMBA Fellow Sara Johnson, MBA ’18.Tsui adds, “I found the courage to be proud and vocal after finding support at the annual ROMBA conference. LGBT alumni from MBA programs proved to me that I could be successful in my career and authentic at the same time.”You can read more about the student organizations at Cornell’s SC Johnson Graduate School of Management here. About the AuthorJonathan PfefferJonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.View more posts by Jonathan Pfeffer center_img Cornell Johnson LGBT Community Helping Students Succeed Last Updated Jan 29, 2018 by Jonathan PfefferFacebookTwitterLinkedinemail last_img read more

US Economic Growth Slowed to 19 Percent Rate in Fourth Quarter

first_img US Share US Economic Growth Slowed to 1.9 Percent Rate in Fourth Quarter By The Associated Press January 27, 2017 Updated: January 27, 2017  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share this articlecenter_img WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy lost momentum in the final three months of 2016, closing out a year in which growth turned in the weakest performance in five years.The gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 percent in the October-December period, a slowdown from 3.5 percent growth in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday. GDP, the broadest measure of economic health, was held back by a jump in the trade deficit.For 2016, the economy grew 1.6 percent. It was the worst showing since 2011 and down from 2.6 percent growth in 2015.President Donald Trump has set a goal of doubling growth through an ambitious stimulus program featuring tax cuts, deregulation and higher infrastructure spending.Private economists believe sustained annual growth rates of 4 percent will be a high hurdle to achieve given underlying trends such as slow growth in the labor market and weak productivity. However, many analysts have been boosting their forecasts believing that Trump will succeed in getting at least a portion of his program approved by a Republican-led Congress.For the fourth quarter, the biggest factor contributing to the slowdown was a widening in the trade deficit. Exports, which had been temporarily bolstered by a surge in sales of soybeans to Latin America, retreated in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, imports surged. Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said the slowdown in fourth quarter growth was not a cause for concern since the third and fourth quarter performances were heavily influenced by a temporary swing in exports.Related CoveragePress Secretary Says Trump Seeks 20 Percent Tax on Mexican Imports“We would be wary of reading too much into the slowdown in GDP growth … because the temporary spike in soybean exports boosted” the third quarter and subtracted from the fourth quarter, he said.Trade cut 1.7 percentage point from growth in the fourth quarter after adding 0.9 percentage point to growth in the third quarter. A higher trade deficit subtracts from economic growth because it means more production is being supplied from abroad.Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic growth, slowed to still-solid growth of 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter from a 3 percent gain in the third quarter. But business investment spending accelerated in the fourth quarter, rising at a 2.4 percent rate, the best showing in more than a year. That’s a hopeful sign that a prolonged slowdown in investment spending, reflecting in part big cuts by energy companies, is coming to an end.Residential construction, which had been falling for two quarters, rebounded in the fourth quarter, rising at an annual rate of 10.2 percent while government spending grew at a 1.2 percent rate as strength in state and local activity offset a drop in activity at the federal level.President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Governor Mike Pence (L) visit the Carrier air conditioning and heating company in Indianapolis, Indiana on Dec. 1, 2016.(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images) President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Governor Mike Pence (L) visit the Carrier air conditioning and heating company in Indianapolis, Indiana on Dec. 1, 2016.(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)Rebuilding of business stockpiles added 1 percentage point to growth in the fourth quarter. The cutbacks in business investment along with efforts by companies to reduce an overhang of unwanted inventories were major reasons growth slowed in 2016.Economists are forecasting a better performance in 2017, with many raising their forecasts to incorporate the potential impact of Trump’s stimulus program. They believe that the prolonged reduction in stockpiles has run its course and business spending on new plants and equipment will begin to rebound.Economists at the International Monetary Fund last week boosted their outlook for U.S. GDP to 2.3 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2018, saying the increase reflected expectations that Trump’s economic program of tax cuts, regulatory relief and higher infrastructure had boosted growth prospects.Related CoverageGOP Leaders: Bill to Build Wall Will Cost up to $15 BillionDow Hits 20,000 for First Time EverSome private economists are even more optimistic. Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC, said he had pushed his outlook up to growth of 2.4 percent in 2017 and 2.7 percent in 2018.Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at California State’s Martin Smith School of Business, said there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment about Trump’s program since the new administration has yet to put forward its plan for Congress to consider.“At the moment, we don’t know the size, the scale and the timing of the Trump program,” Sohn said. “But it is very possible that we will get a significant boost to economic growth in the second half of next year if Trump is successful getting his program through Congress.”Sohn predicted growth rates could jump to 3.5 to 4 percent. GDP growth has averaged a lackluster 2.1 percent in the 7½ years since the recession ended, a point that Trump repeatedly brought up during the campaign. (David McNew/Getty Images) Show Discussionlast_img read more

Russian Lawyer Tied to Democrats Lynch and DNCLinked Trump Dossier Company

Share US Share this article Russian Lawyer Tied to Democrats, Lynch, and DNC-Linked Trump Dossier Company By Joshua Philipp, The Epoch Times July 14, 2017 Updated: July 15, 2017 Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in Moscow on Nov. 8, 2016. (YURY MARTYANOV/AFP/Getty Images) The case of the Moscow attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. on June 9, 2016, has grown from odd to bizarre. What began as a New York Times story pushing the narrative of Trump-Russia ties has instead revealed a web of Democrat connections with the Russian lawyer at the center of the controversy.The New York Times published a story on July 10 claiming that Donald Trump Jr. communicated with a “Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer” by email who offered opposition research on Hillary Clinton.The lawyer was Veselnitskaya, who denies any connection to the Kremlin, and the Russian government also denies the claim.A fuller picture came out not long after, when Trump Jr. tweeted the email exchanges himself, and detailed the meeting on June 9, 2016. He said in a statement “I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet … The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official.”Here’s my statement and the full email chain pic.twitter.com/x050r5n5LQ— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017It also soon turned out that Trump Jr. was misled on the content of the intended meeting. Rather than provide opposition research, as the email exchanges claimed, Veselnitskaya only discussed adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act, and as Trump Jr. noted “To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue.” The adoption policy was related to the Russian ban on adoptions of Russian children by Americans, which was done in retaliation for the U.S. enactment of the Magnitsky Act that blacklisted Russians engaged in human rights violations.Rod Goldstone, a publicist for a Russian pop singer whose emails to Trump Jr.  had set up the meeting,  was present at the 20-minute-long meeting with Veselnitskaya.  Trump Jr. quoted Goldstone’s description of it as “the most inane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.”Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law Professor Emeritus, told Fox News that even if Veselnitskaya had provided Trump Jr. with opposition research, it would not constitute a crime. “It becomes a crime only if Donald Trump Jr. had said to the Russians, look, we want opposition research, why don’t you hack the Democratic National Committee and get it? Obviously he didn’t do that.”“The Trump campaign had a right to use negative research, just as the Clinton campaign had a right to use negative research,” he stated.President Donald Trump responded to the issue during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on July 13. He said that Trump Jr. “took a meeting with a lawyer from Russia. It lasted for a very short period, and nothing came of the meeting … Honestly I think the press made a very big deal over something that really a lot of people would do.”Trump noted, however, that the story behind Veselnitskaya may show something deeper. At the time of her visit, Veselnitskaya’s visa was expired, and she was granted a special immigration parole to enter the United States by the Obama administration’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch.“I was surprised to hear that, so she was here because of Lynch,” Trump said.The Hill reported that the special immigration parole that Lynch granted to Veselnitskaya is something rarely given. She had been turned down for a U.S. visa, but was given the special parole “for the limited purpose of helping a company owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, her client, defend itself against a Justice Department asset forfeiture case in federal court in New York City.”This bypassed the “normal visa process and gave a type of extraordinary permission to enter the country called immigration parole,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni explained to the judge during a hearing on Jan. 6, 2016, according to The Hill; and “That’s a discretionary act that the statute allows the attorney general to do in extraordinary circumstances.”It notes she appeared to be in the United States to lobby to repeal the Magnitsky Act, but also cited unnamed sources close to the efforts to rename the Magnitsky Act who described Veselnitskaya as a “mysterious and shadowy figure,” and stated “they were confused as to whether she had an official role in the lobbying campaign, although she was present for several meetings.”“Natalia didn’t speak a word of English,” said one source, according to The Hill. “Don’t let anyone tell you this was a sophisticated lobbying effort. It was the least professional campaign I’ve ever seen. If she’s the cream of the Moscow intelligence community then we have nothing to worry about.”Senate judiciary committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote an open letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on June 12, questioning how the Russian attorney was allowed to enter the United States.“According to her sworn declaration, former Russian prosecutor Natalia Veselnitskaya was denied a U.S. visa to travel to the United States from Russia to participate in litigation. Although she was subsequently granted immigration parole to make the trip, her parole was set to expire on January 7, 2016,” he stated in a press release.Given that her meeting with Trump Jr. was in June—several months after even her parole was set to expire—Grassley is now seeking information on how Veselnitskaya  “may have been able to stay in the United States until June,” and is requesting information on “any visa applications, visas held, or visa application denials relating to Veselnitskaya and any documentation relating to the conditions of her parole into the United States.”The plot has only thickened. The Gateway Pundit published an exclusive story on July 13 noting that Veselnitskaya’s chaperone in Washington was a top Hillary supporter, and a Democrat, Ronald Dellums, the former mayor of Oakland, California, and a thirteen term member of the U.S. House of Representatives.It notes also that “Dellums is only one of a notable team of partisan Democrats Veselnitskaya hired in Washington DC to defeat the Magnitsky Act.” Veselnitskaya was also sitting right behind Obama’s Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing just five days after her meeting with Trump Jr.Related CoverageRussia Considers Retaliation for US SanctionsVeselnitskaya herself appears to have been opposed to Donald Trump. She has images of herself on social media attending anti-Trump protests, and just four days before her meeting with Trump Jr. she posted an anti-Trump article on her Facebook page—raising doubts again over whether her intentions were really to provide the Trump team with evidence against Clinton.Veselnitskaya also has ties to Fusion GPS, the opposition research company hired by the DNC to assemble the heavily-debunked dossier on Trump, which was subsequently spread throughout the media, Washington political circles, and the U.S. intelligence community—and that may have played a key role in giving former President Barack Obama an excuse to launch the investigations into Trump.Related CoverageTrump Defends Son After Russia Meeting Emails DisclosedGrassley noted this odd circle of connections in a March 31 press release. It states, “according to a complaint filed with the Justice Department, Fusion GPS, which was also involved in the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, was involved in the pro-Russia campaign to kill the Global Magnitsky Act around the same time.”In other words, while Fusion GPS was building its Trump-Russia dossier, it also had ties to Russia, itself. In addition, Christophe Steele, who compiled the dossier, claimed to have sources for it in Russian intelligence.Related CoverageEric Trump Shows Brotherly Love for Donald Trump Jr. After Russia Emails ReleaseVeselnitskaya, meanwhile, worked for Prevezon Holdings. Grassley noted that in 2013 the Justice Department opened a case to seize Russian-owned Prevezon Holdings’s U.S. assests, which it used to purchase real estate in New York. In response, “Prevezon Holdings and the Kremlin launched a campaign to undermine the Magnitsky Act and discredit Magnitsky’s claims of corruption.”While Veselnitskaya was lobbying to undermine and repeal the Magnitsky Act, Grassley notes that Fusion GPS and others “were involved in the pro-Russia campaign in 2016, which involved lobbying congressional staffers to attempt to undermine the Justice Department’s account of Magnitsky’s death and the crime he uncovered, repeal the Magnitsky Act itself, and delay efforts to expand it to countries beyond Russia.”Grassley notes that despite their work, lobbying for Russian interests, “neither Fusion GPS nor Akhmetshin are registered as foreign agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).” Follow Joshua on Twitter: @JoshJPhilipp  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Show Discussion read more

New Confederate Monument Unveiled in Alabama

first_img New Confederate Monument Unveiled in Alabama By NTD Television August 28, 2017 Updated: August 28, 2017 US While other Confederate statues and monuments are forcefully being taken down across the United States, one state is unveiling a new one. In Alabama, over 500 people showed up to see the reveal of the monument titled “Unknown Alabama Confederate Soldiers” at the Confederate Veterans Memorial Park on private land, NBC reported. The land was located in the town of Brantley. On the tombstone monument the quote “Mother, I have been found. I am home” is written. In honor of the reveal, five cannons were fired, WVTM reported.Children of Confederate Veterans also attended the ceremony, along with civil war period re-enactors.  The Confederate battle flag flies at the South Carolina state house grounds July 8, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images) Share  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share this article The owner and developer of the private site, David Coggins said he did have some concerns about the timing of the unveiling, in wake of the Charlottesville rallies protesting the removal of Confederate statues honoring generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. “There are people who are opposed to what we do,” Coggins told NBC affiliate WSFA. But he said the timing of the new monument was only a coincidence and that “our intentions are good.”“This was planned several months ago,” Coggins told WSFA. “Matter of fact, the monument was ordered last year, and it’s taken this long to get it in the ground and ready to unveil.”Despite people’s negative impressions of Confederate supporters, who are often labelled as supporting racism, Coggins insisted that the monuments have nothing to do with race. “There’s nothing racist about us,” he told WSFA. “We’re not white supremacists.“As a matter of fact, we have members in our organization who are black,” he said. “We have Hispanic members. We have Native American members. We have members from all over and all nationalities, and they shouldn’t be concerned about any sign of offense here from us, because we honor all of those veterans.”The owner said he plans to add more monuments as well.While other states such as New York and Los Angeles have been tearing down Confederate monuments, Alabama has also taken steps in a similar fashion—just this month, Birmingham Mayor William Bell blocked a century-old Confederate moment from view using a large wood wall in Linn Park, NBC reported. A monument to volunteers of the Army of the Republic stands next to a confederate monument covered up by the mayor of Birmingham in Linn Park August 18, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Hal Yeager/Getty Images) A monument to volunteers of the Army of the Republic stands next to a confederate monument covered up by the mayor of Birmingham in Linn Park August 18, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Hal Yeager/Getty Images)From NTD.tv Show Discussionlast_img read more

NY Times Moves Journalist to New York After She Kept DOJ Probe

first_img Share Show Discussion NY Times Moves Journalist to New York After She Kept DOJ Probe Secret from the Paper By Holly Kellum July 4, 2018 Updated: July 4, 2018 The sign on the west side of the New York Times building in Manhattan on April 28, 2016 in New York. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images) The New York Times announced on July 3 that it will be moving one of its Washington journalists to New York, after she kept quiet about communications later seized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of a probe into leaks of classified information to the press.Times reporter Ali Watkins, 26, didn’t tell The New York Times for almost four months that the DOJ had alerted her that it had obtained some of her email and phone records as part of an investigation into leaks by a former security staffer, James Wolfe, 57.In a memo to colleagues, Executive Editor Dean Baquet also said the paper didn’t look fondly on a romantic relationship Watkins had had with Wolfe, who was the director of security for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which she was covering.Watkins started a relationship with Wolfe in October 2013, when she was a 22-year-old undergrad at Temple University covering the intelligence committee as an intern at the Washington-based McClatchy Newspapers. Their relationship lasted three years, spanning her tenure at publications like The Huffington Post, Politico, and Buzzfeed News, but ended before she joined the Times, she told the publication.Wolfe was arrested and indicted last month for lying to the FBI about leaks he made to the press. As director of security, Wolfe had access to confidential information that the indictment alleges he leaked to at least four reporters. While Watkins wasn’t named in the indictment, The New York Times has said she was one of the four, although she denies ever using Wolfe as a source.Wolfe was interviewed in October and December last year, but the indictment was sealed until June 7. Shortly after the indictment was made public, the newspaper announced it was investigating Watkins’s reporting, after she came clean about the DOJ’s access to her private communications. It also said it was investigating how her relationship with Wolfe might have affected her reporting.“We are troubled by Ali’s conduct, particularly while she was employed by other news organizations. For a reporter to have an intimate relationship with someone he or she covers is unacceptable,” Baquet said in his memo, adding that it goes against the paper’s standards.He acknowledged that she had disclosed her former relationship to the newspaper, but he said it was not given the attention it warranted. Going forward, Baquet said, “we also intend to tighten our job candidate screening process to ensure that significant questions make their way to the newsroom leadership for full discussion—which did not happen in this case.”Watkins said she stopped dating Wolfe before she started working at The New York Times (although friends said she dated another staff member at the intelligence committee afterward) and that she disclosed the relationship to her editors at other publications to varying degrees. In none of her other jobs was she assigned to another beat.In his memo, Baquet said that no one had “challenged the accuracy of her reporting” and thus he had decided to give Watkins a second chance because he believed that “the Times must be a humane place that can allow for second chances.” Her new beat in New York has not yet been announced, but Baquet said she would be “closely supervised” by a senior mentor there.“I respect and understand the Times’s review and agree that I should have handled aspects of my past relationships and disclosures differently,” Watkins wrote in a statement to the newspaper. “I sincerely regret putting the Times in a difficult position and am very grateful for the support I’ve received from my editors and colleagues here. I also appreciate the review’s conclusion that my reporting has been fact-based and accurate.”While she may have kept her job, this is likely not the end of the story.Wolfe has pleaded not guilty to three counts of making false statements to a government agency. If he goes to trial, Watkins may be called on to testify. Follow Holly on Twitter: @HollyGailK center_img US News Share this article  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   last_img read more

Court Orders Halt to Download of Designs for 3D Printable Guns

first_imgAn AR-15 receiver created from a 3-D printer. (Courtesy of Defense Distributed via Reuters) Court Orders Halt to Download of Designs for 3-D Printable Guns By Holly Kellum August 1, 2018 Updated: August 3, 2018 Share this article  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Show Discussion By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, https://t.co/ZEOYuTOs4a is going dark.— Cody R. Wilson (@Radomysisky) August 1, 2018 US News center_img Share Defense Distributed owner Cody Wilson first uploaded blueprints for a 3-D printable pistol he called “The Liberator” in 2013, along with nine other component parts. He got a letter from the State Department asking him to remove the files while it reviewed whether they complied with federal arms export laws. In essence, the State Department regarded publishing the gun designs as a potential weapons export. In 2015, Wilson sued the State Department on First, Second, and Fifth Amendment grounds. He was joined in the lawsuit by the pro-gun Second Amendment League.After years of the case winding through the courts, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment league put forward a settlement proposal that the DOS accepted in an out-of-court deal in June. Cody Wilson. (Courtesy of Defense Distributed via Reuters)Eight states and the District of Colombia are part of the lawsuit that led to the temporary suspension of the settlement. Twenty-one state attorneys general have joined in a letter asking the State Department to reverse the settlement, among other demands.At issue is the ease of access people with expensive printers would have to guns. With the guns having no serial numbers for tracing them and no background checks required to make them, gun control advocates are worried about who will get their hands on them. The attorneys general argue that the distribution of the files violates their state gun control laws. “In addition to helping arm terrorists and transnational criminals, the settlement and proposed rules would provide another path to gun ownership for people who are prohibited by federal and state law from possessing firearms,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.However, the cat may be out of the bag, and likely has been for a while.There were reportedly thousands of downloads of the files when Wilson posted them in 2013, and as recently as July 27, he reportedly posted design files for AR-15-style rifles that have also been downloaded thousands of times.“The files are in the public domain. You cannot take them back. You can adjust your politics to this reality. You will not ask me to adjust mine,” Wilson said in an interview with CBS. An AR-15 created from a 3-D printer. (Courtesy of Defense Distributed via Reuters)State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert echoed Wilson’s sentiment on July 31 when asked about the State Department’s decision to settle, which included payments of almost $40,000 to the plaintiffs.“At least since the year 2013, these CAD files, these Computer Assisted Design files, have been available online. They’ve been legal for U.S. citizens to download these CAD designs for quite some time now,” she said. The Epoch Times could not reach Wilson or the Second Amendment Foundation for comment.Changing RulesSince about 2010, the State Department has been working with the Department of Defense and the Commerce Department to update its list, formulated in the 1970s, of weapons that it bans for export under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). An AR-15 receiver created from a 3-D printer. (Courtesy of Defense Distributed via Reuters)Currently, pistols are on the list.Under the proposed changes to ITAR, weapons like pistols that are available to American citizens would be taken out of the State Department’s purview and put under that of the Commerce Department. The difference is pertinent to Wilson’s case, as the Commerce Department is more concerned with intellectual property than national security.In defending the State Department’s settlement, Nauert said the real issue that politicians and law enforcement officials have been protesting is a domestic and not a State Department issue. Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert holds a press briefing at the Department of State in Washington on July 31, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)“I think ultimately what this gets down to is a domestic case where it’s a domestic gun control issue that needs to be addressed, not just by Congress but by law enforcement,” she said. “I imagine there will be many conversations held here at the federal level… about the next steps.”President Trump weighed in on the debate, saying in a tweet on July 31 that he is reviewing laws on the issue.  “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” he wrote. His deputy press secretary, Hogan Gidley, told reporters later in response to questions about the president’s tweet that the president cares about the safety of Americans and “considers this his highest responsibility.”“In the United States, it is currently illegal to own or make a wholly plastic gun of any kind—including those made on a 3D printer,” he said on July 31. “The administration supports this nearly two-decade-old law. We will continue to look at all options available to us to do what is necessary to protect Americans, while also supporting the First and Second amendments.”UndetectableThe other issue critics have raised about the distribution of 3-D-printed guns is that they are “undetectable,” meaning they cannot be picked up by a metal detector.While the majority of the gun is plastic, a small portion of it is metal.The National Rifle Association (NRA) hasn’t taken a stance on the issue, but said in a statement that these guns are only legal because they are detectable.“Undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years,” the pro-gun lobby group said in a statement. “Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm.”Pro-gun advocates have argued that these weapons are not going to become ubiquitous overnight because of the high cost of printers required to manufacture them. That doesn’t seem to reassure opponents of such weapons, who point out that the if the guns get in the hands of just one bad actor, they could potentially be deadly.The other issue opponents see with the guns is that people can get them without background checks and they don’t have serial numbers, meaning they cannot be tracked.Dave Workman, a senior editor for monthly magazine TheGunMag, owned by the Second Amendment Foundation, argues that criminals don’t obey gun laws as it is, and that if someone is bent on getting a gun for illicit means, background checks and serial numbers are not going to stop them.“What criminal is going to spend a whole bunch of money to buy a machine to print a 3-D gun that fires a single shot when they could actually go out and steal one, even from a police officer, that fires multiple shots and isn’t going to cost him any money,” he said in a phone interview. “We’re talking about pure economics here.”After the judge’s order, Wilson agreed to take the CAD files down till September.A previous version of this article misstated the publication frequency of the magazine TheGunMag. The magazine is a monthly print publication. The Epoch Times regrets the error.  Follow Holly on Twitter: @HollyGailK I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018 A federal judge has prevented a Texas-based not-for-profit company from re-releasing designs for a 3-D printable pistol after a heated debate over the effects such a release would have on public security.The owner of the company, Defense Distributed, said in a tweet that his website, Defcad.com, is “going dark” after the Washington state-based judge ordered him to take down the files on July 31.last_img read more