OCR in Charge of Ananda Alert

first_imgThe Ananda Alert programme is now officially under the purview of the Ministry of Youth and Culture.This was disclosed by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, as he responded to questions posed by Member of Parliament for West Kingston, Desmond McKenzie on Tuesday (Jan. 15), in the House of Representatives.He informed the Lower House that Cabinet approved the transfer of Ananda Alert from the Local Government Ministry to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR).“The programme, although well intentioned, was never properly staffed or properly structured in the first place. One officer was assigned to it; in fact, it was put in the Public Relations Department and there was no budgetary allocation for the programme. This thing as a serious matter, about missing children, and it has implications for the reputation of Jamaica in terms of human trafficking. It is a programme, which must be properly resourced and taken seriously,” Mr. Arscott said.In his comments, Mr. McKenzie, said he wanted the assurance that the programme will operate effectively under the Ministry of Youth and Culture.“All the requisite skills set reside with the Ministry of Youth and Culture to be able to deal with this properly,” Mr. Arscott stated.He said the Local Government Ministry will continue to assist and will help to located missing persons through the Social Development Commission (SDC).The Ananda Alert is a nationwide system designed to ensure a speedy and safe recovery of a child in the unfortunate event that he/she is missing or abducted.The system involves the mobilization of stakeholders into getting the message of a missing child into the public domain the moment the matter is reported to the police.The aim is to create a rapid response from law enforcement and communities to help bring the matter to public attention with the aim of increasing the chances of a safe recovery and return to family, guardian and/or place of safety.last_img read more

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BAHAMAS Minister of Tourism Has Meeting with Executives of Paradise Island Promotion

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, February 25, 2018 – Nassau – Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar (centre) met with members of the Paradise Island Promotion Board at the Ocean Club Boardroom, February 19, 2018.Board Members, pictured from left: John Conway, Interim Chairman (Ocean Club, A Four Season Resort Bahamas}; George Myers, Chairman Emeritus (Bay View Suites, Paradise Island); Audrey Oswell, President & Managing Director, Atlantis Paradise Island; Minister D’Aguilar; William Naughton, Vice-Chairman/Paradise Island (Comfort Suites Paradise Island); Graeme Davis, Vice-Chairman/Cable Beach (Baha Mar Resort); and Fred Lounsberry, Chief Executive Officer.(BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

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WilmingtonTewksbury Chamber Of Commerce Helps Raise Funds For NuPath By Networking With

first_imgWOBURN, MA — The Woburn Business Association, Reading/North Reading Chamber, Wilmington/Tewksbury and Stoneham Chambers recently gathered at Boston Appliance for a Young Professionals networking event. Host and President, Christian Jason graciously entertained over 70 guests in their impressive showroom with a Food Network chef, networking Bingo and amazing raffle prizes.In addition to enjoying a great night of networking, attendees also supported a great cause. NuPath is a Woburn-based non-profit human services agency that helps adults with disabilities lead fulfilling lives in their communities. One of the services that NuPath provides is job training and support. Boston Appliance as well as many other businesses in the area have hired through NuPath and found engaged and enthusiastic employees. Attendees donated $400 to support the important work of NuPath.(NOTE: The above announcement and photo is from the Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington-Tewksbury Chamber Of Commerce Invites Local Business Owners To Woburn Networking EventIn “Business”Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber Of Commerce To Co-Host ‘Women In Business’ Event On July 22In “Business”Massachusetts Lottery Eyeing Wilmington As Location For New Regional OfficeIn “Business”last_img read more

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Google Assistant now speaks 27 languages

first_img See it 7 Photos The first 5 things to do with a new Google Home speaker Apple Google Pixel Buds 2 CNET may get a commission from retail offers. An Interpreter mode on phones has the potential to make the experience even more natural and free-ranging, enabling the discussion to take more spontaneous twists and turns.   That’s the dream. But, of course, there’s reality. And reality hasn’t always been kind to Google when it comes to next-gen translation efforts. Two years ago when Google unveiled its Pixel Buds wireless headphones, it also announced a live translation feature. The tool worked fine in demos, but didn’t impress reviewers. CNET editor David Carnoy said in his review that “the best thing about Google’s Pixel Buds is their case.” If Google brings Interpreter mode to phones, it won’t be the first company to create a translation device. Developers including Dosmono and China’s Sogou already make them. But if Google’s version can pull off all the nuances of live translation, it could help scale the technology immensely: After all, almost nine out of every 10 smartphones shipped in the world run Google’s Android software. “Android’s scale is really interesting because it’s distributed in places where so many people speak multiple languages,” said Vincent Lacey, a product manager for the Assistant. “You can see that unlocks a lot of opportunities.”    CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show. CES schedule: It’s six days of jam-packed events. Here’s what to expect. I don’t speak German. But at the concierge desk at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, I’m shooting the breeze with Phillip Klimke, a Google partnerships manager who’s speaking nothing but German at the moment. Our translator? Google Assistant.   It’s the latest trick for the Assistant, the search giant’s digital helper software that’s akin to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. On Tuesday at CES, the world’s largest technology show, Google unveiled the Assistant’s Interpreter mode, which aims to serve as a go-between for people who don’t speak the same language. Google is piloting the feature now at concierge desks at Caesars Palace (which is why we’re here for the demo), the Dream Downtown in New York City and the Hyatt in San Francisco. The feature will be available first in smart displays with the Google Assistant built in. That includes Google’s own Home Hub, a smart home device announced in October with a screen that shows you things like recipes and news updates. It also includes smart displays made by Google’s partners, including Lenovo, JBL and LG.  But Google wants to eventually bring it to other devices, including smartphones. Here’s how it works: Say, “Hey Google, be my Thai interpreter.” You’ll hear a beep and the Assistant will tell you to start speaking. After you say your next sentence in English, you’ll hear another beep, then the software recites the sentence in Thai. The translated text is also displayed on the screen. The tool works in 27 languages, including Spanish, Czech, Hindi and Vietnamese. “It’s very futuristic,” said Manuel Bronstein, vice president of product for the Assistant. “Our core focus is to make a product that can understand everything you say, can hear you, can convert those intents into actions and help you fulfill them.” Google is piloting the Assistant’s new Interpreter mode feature at the Caesars Palace concierge desk. James Martin/CNET The Assistant’s Interpreter mode is like using the Google translate app, but it’s meant to streamline the back and forth and make it feel more natural. The tool worked without a hitch during a demo Google planned with a Caesars Palace concierge. But when we tried it ourselves, there were some stumbles. Sometimes you can get lost in the sequence of beeps because you’ll want to rush into an answer, which throws off the timing of the software. Google said it’s still trying to figure out the best rhythm of conversations. I ask Klimke how he’s doing and what he likes to do in Vegas. I ask him who his favorite basketball player is. The Assistant spits out the questions in German. He replies, in German, that his favorite player is Dirk Nowitzki (naturally). The timing hitch aside, the Assistant handled all the translation questions from the CNET team pretty well: Where is the nearest bathroom? Does what happens in Vegas really stay in Vegas? Where can I find the best Elvis impersonator? You know, the important stuff.   CES or bust The new translation tool is the centerpiece announcement in Google’s elaborate showing at CES, the largest trade show in the world. For the second straight year, the search giant is going over the top in a town already known for over-the-top spectacles. In 2019, Google’s outdone itself: Its presence at CES is three times larger than last year. A massive banner reading “Hey Google” hangs over the main entrance of the Las Vegas Convention Center, as if it has the venue’s naming rights. Google also set up an expansive playground and interactive ride in the parking lot outside the conference halls to showcase how the Assistant works with everything from TVs to washing machines. CES and Las Vegas are now the front lines in the war between Google and Amazon over smart home supremacy, and Google is still playing catch-up. Amazon’s Echo devices, powered by its popular Alexa software, dominate the smart speaker industry with 73 percent of the market. Google’s Home devices come in second with 24 percent, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, though the research firm notes that Google is “making strides.” Now playing: Watch this: Even though Duplex remains controversial, it’s those kinds of projects that could set Google’s Assistant apart from its rivals. And that includes projects like Interpreter mode. A live translation tool, especially on the smartphones almost everyone now carries around with them, has profound implications on how we interact with each other. I know it firsthand, from an extreme situation. In 2016, CNET sent a team to Greece to write about what impact, if any, technology was having on the global refugee crisis. When Syrians left home, they traveled first to Turkey, then the Greek isle of Lesvos, the nearest gateway to Europe. As we visited refugee camps, we met migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco and several other places. Many spoke English, but many did not. When they didn’t, we passed our smartphones back and forth using Google Translate to communicate, like a digital talking stick. One memorable conversation I had was with a then-15-year-old Syrian boy I met in Athens. He spoke sparse English, but from our app-assistant chat I was able to learn that he arrived in Greece on a boat with 15 other families, that he plays a card game called Trex to pass the time, and that he loves to sing. His plan was to be the next Justin Bieber. 3:59 $159 Best Buy CES 2019 CNET Smart Home Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Review • Pixel Buds review: Wireless headphones for a niche audience Share your voice Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 See It Sep 1 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Last week, Amazon announced that more than 100 million Alexa devices have been sold. Not to be outdone, Google on Monday said the Assistant, first released in 2016, is expected to be built into on 1 billion devices by the end of the month, up from 500 million last May. While the chasm between Google and Amazon seems huge, the figures don’t really tell us a lot about how much people actually want the Google Assistant in their homes, since Android phones now already come with the software installed by default. To gain ground in smart home devices, the company on Tuesday also unveiled Google Assistant Connect, a platform that lets third-party hardware makers more easily integrate the Assistant into their gadgets. Now device makers will be able to use tools provided by Google in their products that pairs with a nearby Google Home. The tech acts as a bridge, sending the Home’s smarts to the outside devices. bed-sidetable-marble-white-weatherGoogle and Lenovo showed off a smart alarm clock. Lenovo Because all the computing is done by the Home device, the data stays with Google, Bronstein said. The company said it’s still figuring out what terms it will have set up with device makes. Those decisions will be important as Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies face intense scrutiny not only for their own data collection practices, but for their abilities to keep that data safe from outsiders. Google also highlighted the range of what Assistant-enabled devices could be. The company on Tuesday announced an $80 smart clock made by Lenovo, a smaller version of the Home Hub that’s meant to look unobtrusive on a nightstand. It’s similar to the Amazon Echo Spot, which the e-commerce giant announced two years ago. Other new Assistant devices include a car phone adapter made by Anker Roav that plugs into a cigarette lighter and a Whirlpool KitchenAid smart display. “They are going to use this show as a demonstration of strength in diversity,” said Brian Solis, an analyst at the Altimeter Group. “Devices are only going to become more connected.” Potentially profound The biggest challenge for Google’s Assistant may be getting everyone to stop comparing it to Amazon’s Alexa. That’s easier said than done, given the comparisons are merited: You can use both to control your thermostat or lock your door. But even though it wants to own the home automation market, Google is working to lure consumers to the Assistant by proving it can do more that just tell you the day’s headlines. So Google is banking on its 20 years of experience as the world’s most advanced search engine, as well as its position as an artificial intelligence powerhouse, to build an assistant that aims to be more intelligent than the competition. “At the beginning, it’s going to be basic things like, ‘Hey Google, play music,’ and ‘Turn on this light,'” Bronstein said. “But as you see with translation and so forth, I think the complexity of the tasks the Assistant is going to be able to handle will increase. And it’s going to help you do things you weren’t able to do before.” Those things include having a robot make a phone call on your behalf. That’s what Google did in May with new Assistant technology called Duplex that ended up generating as much controversy as buzz for CEO Sundar Pichai. Duplex is a jaw-dropping, realistic-sounding AI that mimics human speech. The software uses verbal tics like “uh” and “um,” and pauses while talking, as if thinking of what it’s going to say next, even though its responses are preprogrammed. The point of Duplex is to enable the Google Assistant to make restaurant reservations and hair appointments for you. But almost immediately, industry watchers, AI ethicists and consumers were worried about the software’s ability to deceive the people it was talking to. Google later said it would build in disclosures that those calls were automated. It’s going to help you do things you weren’t able to do before. Manuel Bronstein, vice president of product for the Assistant $159 Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Lenovo Smart Clock tailors Google Assistant for your nightstand See All Tags reading • Google Assistant adds interpreter mode as war with Amazon Alexa heats up Comments Mentioned Above Google Pixel Buds (Just Black) • Smart Home Mobile Google Assistant Amazon Google Lenovo LG Apple Alphabet Inc. Whirlpoollast_img read more

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Nirav Modis payback time Conman sent to UKs worst jail with crowded

first_imgActivists of the youth wing of India’s main opposition Congress party burn a cut-out with an image of billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi.reutersHow the mighty have fallen! Just a few days ago, Nirav Modi was seen calmly strolling on the streets of London sporting a handle-bar moustache and a jacket by Ostrich Hide, said to cost “at least £10,000.” And now, in a turn of events, the fugitive diamantaire is housed in a south-west London jail, which is far from his life of luxury and is, in fact, one of the most crowded prisons in England.Modi was arrested by uniformed officers on March 19, when he had visited a Metro Bank branch in London to open a new account. He was produced before District Judge Marie Mallon on Wednesday, March 20, and during the proceedings, Mallon said that she wasn’t willing to grant Modi bail due to the “high value amount” involved in the case and over the belief that he would “fail to surrender” before the court in case he was set free, reported the Hindu Business Line.Hence, Modi was refused bail and has been remanded to custody at the HMP Wandsworth prison until March 29, and the prison is probably what the diamantaire’s nightmares are made of. While the 48-year-old was said to be living in an upscale three-bedroom £8 million apartment at the Centre Point, a luxury skyscraper, off Tottenham Court Road, he now has Jabir Moti, Dawood Ibrahim’s henchman, as an inmate.Exclusive: Telegraph journalists tracked down Nirav Modi, the billionaire diamond tycoon who is a suspect for the biggest banking fraud in India’s historyhttps://t.co/PpsjGeFEsy pic.twitter.com/v3dN5NotzQ— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 8, 2019 The jail is known to house a high number of prisoners — about 1,428 men — due to which even a small cell is shared between at least two inmates. “There were too many prisoners, many with drug-related or mental health issues, and with not enough to do,” noted the inspection report, according to the Press Trust of India.While the UK Justice Department has said that the prison, built in 1851, has been renovated and refurbished since 1989 with better in-cell sanitation, privacy screens for cells and even in-cell electricity, it is evidently not a place Modi is accustomed to. Prisoners here are said to be enduring long hours of confinement and even a lack of basic privacy with poorly screened lavatories.”Cells designed for one prisoner were occupied by two, with poorly screened lavatories and the prisoners confined in them for far too long each day…In common with many other prisons of this type, prisoners at Wandsworth had far too little time out of their cells,” the report added.The fugitive businessman may be in jail now, but he seems to have had quite a few plans to leave London too in case of an emergency. In the last 15 months, he had applied for a citizenship of Vanuatu, an island nation near Australia, sought a permanent residence in Singapore and even discussed the idea of seeking shelter in a third country with top UK law firms, reported the Times of India.Some reports even suggest that Modi was planning to get a plastic surgery to change his appearance and avoid arrest.On the other hand, his uncle Mehul Choksi, also involved in the PNB scam, applied for a citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017. And when an Interpol notice was issued against him, Choksi filed representations with the international police body alleging that this was all a part of a “politically motivated probe.”last_img read more

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India Inc to spend Rs 20000 crore on advertising this festive season

first_imgIndia Inc. is expected to spend a whopping Rs. 20,000 crore on advertising, marketing and promotion in the four-month festive season that is underway, clocking an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year.The highest likely increase in marketing expenditure of about 10 percent makes consumer durable companies the largest spenders.”We expect a good festive season this year with a growth of 12 percent over the last year. The sectors which advertise for tier-II, tier-III cities such as two-wheelers, consumer durables and others are expected to spend. The estimate spend during the four months from September to December is Rs 20,000 crore,” Ashish Bhasin, CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, was quoted saying by the Economic Times.The festival season starting with Ganesh Chaturthi and Onam in September and peaking through Diwali to Christmas contributes to 40 percent of annual sales of various consumer products ranging from phones and clothes to vehicles and jewellery. Media planners chalked up the positive consumer sentiments to good monsoon and higher salaries and pensions with the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission recommendations.However, some media planners said that they are uncertain about consumer spending.”The quarter with festive season will definitely be better than other quarters, but whether it will cover the deficit of the rest of the year is a question,” Anita Nayyar, CEO India and South Asia at Havas Media, said. E-commerce bluesSimilar questions are also being thrown regarding spending by e-commerce companies. Spending by e-commerce retailers, some of the biggest advertisers during the previous two festive seasons, dropped to Rs. 394 crore in the first half of 2016 from Rs. 629 crore in the first half of 2015, according to the 2016 Mid-Year Advertising Report by Madison World, the company that buys media for Snapdeal and ITC, among others.Even though the report said advertisers in India will increase spending by about 13 percent to Rs. 49,812 crore in 2016, Sam Balsara, chairman of Madison World, suggests that sluggishness in spending by e-commerce will be met by handset makers, automobiles and FMCG companies and Reliance Jio Infocomm, the new mobile phone operator.”The worry is not how much the big three e-commerce companies will spend as much as the 50 others who have packed up. Jio is the new kid on the block and will also spend heavily,” Balsara said.Funding for e-commerce companies has reduced and several smaller platforms do not have enough money to spend on advertising. But big online retail platforms — Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal — are expected to run aggressive campaigns. Snapdeal recently announced a budget of Rs. 200 crore for advertising during the festive season.”The larger players are expected to spend heavily during the festive season. But there will be fewer advertisers in the e-commerce category as compared to the last festive season,” Bhasin of Dentsu said.”While television and print both see an uptake in demand during the festive months, it is skewed slightly towards the print media. Sectors such as e-commerce, handset makers and automobiles bank heavily on print, increasing the demand by up to 25-30 percent as against the regular months,” Mallikarjun Das, Group CEO of Starcom India, said.last_img read more

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SGX brokers struggle to survive as trading volumes fall sharply

first_imgBrokers on Singapore Exchange (SGX) are finding it tough to survive amid falling trading volumes, reflected in the SGX’s drop in revenues and profit for the first quarter, the results of which were declared last week. The inability for traders to recover costs amid low trading activity has even prompted some of them to quit the business altogether.”It is just not worth it. My clients are not interested to trade. Business hasn’t been worse in the past 20 years and I have been through several market crises. Better to call it a day,” an SGX stockbroker told a columnist working for Singapore’s The Straits Times.Another stockbroker rued the S$1-billion threshold that is crucial to recovering costs and making money at the SGX. “Any time when the daily volume falls below $1 billion, I lose money because I can’t cover my fixed costs like rental and salaries for backroom staff. And hitting $1 billion in stock market turnover is now becoming the exception rather than the rule,” he told the columnist.The situation in Singapore is in sharp contrast to Indian stock markets that are witnessing a boom in initial public offerings (IPOs) and listings, in addition to a thriving debt market. Fundraising via IPOs crossed $2.9 billion early this month with more in the pipeline, taking the money raised via public issue to a six-year high.The Singapore Exchange (SGX) posted a 16 percent fall in net profit to S$83 million for the first quarter in FY2017, year-on-year, reflecting lower levels of market activity. The 16-year-old stock exchange had reported a net profit of S$93 million in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.Revenues dropped 13 percent to S$190.8 million from S$219.6 million in the year-ago period, while operating profit came 17 percent lower at S$97.2 million.”Our first quarter performance this year reflects lower levels of market activities, compared with a more volatile market a year earlier,” SGX CEO Loh Boon Chye said in a statement and warned of low trading volumes ahead.”Participants reacting and adjusting to slowing global economic growth, political uncertainties and implications of Brexit on the European economy could result in a period of relatively subdued trading volumes,” he added.last_img read more

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Vodafone and Idea initiate talks on deal closure discussions revolve around losses

first_imgA rickshaw puller speaks on his mobile phone as he waits for customers in front of advertisement billboards belonging to telecom companies in Kolkata February 3, 2014.REUTERS/Rupak De ChowdhuriVodafone India and Idea Cellular have started talks on the closing adjustments of the merger deal between the two telecom companies. The merger deal is expected to be completed by March 2018.According to a source close to the matter, the discussion of the merger deal mainly revolves around how to work on Idea’s losses incurred since the announcement of the deal in March and how to fund them, Business Standard reported.”In any merger, it may not be in the interest of shareholders of one company if the other is merged with higher-than-projected losses after a year of delay. The closing adjustments in any merger deal will have provisions to make up for any higher-than-projected losses,” said a banker.Hurt by sturdy competition given by the new entrant Reliance Jio, Idea’s consolidated losses had surged to Rs 1,107 crore for the September quarter from Rs 328 crore for the three months ended on March 31, 2017.In March, Vodafone and Idea had agreed to merge in an attempt to create India’s largest telecom operator. However, a fierce price war triggered by Reliance Jio might also wipe out the intended benefits of the deal.According to a Bloomberg report, the revenue of the combined entity declined 12 percent in the year to September. Its earnings before interest, tax and depreciation and amortisation plunged 31 percent during the period that coincides with Reliance Jio’s first year of services. A customer selects his number of Reliance Jio Infocomm 4G mobile services in Mumbai on September 6, 2016.INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty ImagesIndustry experts project that the numbers could worsen in the coming quarters after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have also cut interconnect usage charges paid for cross-network calls by more than half to 6 paise a minute in October.However, the companies are expected to save Rs 14,000 crore annually from the fourth year of completing the merger deal.Further, both the firms have also recently announced the sale of their standalone towers to American Tower Corporation (ATC) for Rs 7,850 crore that will enable them to strengthen their balance sheet.last_img read more

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RAB arrests yaba trader in Sylhet

first_imgMembers of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in a drive arrested an alleged drug dealer along with 306 pieces of Yaba tablets from Kadamtoli area in Dakhshin Surma upazila of Sylhet on Friday, reports news agency UNB. The arrestee was identified as Md Shahed Ali, 22, son of late Suruj Ali, a resident of Moskapur village in Golapganj upazila. Moin Uddin Chowdhury, senior assistant superintendent and also senior assistant director (Media) of RAB-9, said that on secret information, a team of RAB conducted the drive in the area around 4:00pm and arrested Shahed along with the Yaba tablets worth Tk 100,000. Later, the arrestee was handed over to Dakhshin Surma Police Station.last_img read more

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Sylhet jolted by mild tremor

first_imgA mild earthquake jolted different parts of Sylhet on Monday morning, reports UNB.The 4.9 magnitude earthquake was felt around 10:53am.The epicentre of the earthquake was Gowhati in Assam, India, said Mahmudul Hasan Sohel, a meteorologist of Sylhet met office.last_img

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Deadliest California blaze claims 6 more lives

first_imgMessages are shown on a bulletin board at The Neighborhood Church in Chico, Calif., on Tuesday, 13 November 2018. Photo: APThe authorities have reported six more fatalities from a blaze in Northern California, bringing the total number of fatalities so far to 48 in the deadliest wildfire in state history.The announcement came Tuesday after authorities ramped up the search for more victims buried in rubble left by the blaze that incinerated the town of Paradise.Many friends and relatives of those living in the fire zone say they haven’t heard from loved ones. Some went to shelters looking for them.More than 5,000 firefighters are still battling the blaze that charred 195 square miles (505 square kilometres) since it started Thursday.The fire has destroyed about 7,700 homes and displaced 52,000 people.The statewide death toll from wildfires over the past week in California has reached 50.The president of a utility accused by some residents of starting a deadly wildfire in Northern California says there was a power outage about 15 minutes before the flames were reported.Landowner Betsy Ann Cowley says Pacific Gas & Electric notified her the day before the blaze that crews needed to come onto her property because the utility’s wires were sparking.Asked if sparks from a transmission line ignited the fire, PG&E President Geisha Williams told the Chico Enterprise-Record on Tuesday that “it’s too soon to tell.”Williams says the outage was at 6:15 a.m. Thursday and later an aerial patrol spotted damage around the transmission lines. She says the company sent a report to state agencies.She says the sparks are one of several “options” investigators are reviewing.Some victims sued PG&E on Tuesday, alleging it failed to maintain its infrastructure.Victims of California’s most destructive wildfire have filed a lawsuit accusing Pacific Gas & Electric Co. of causing the massive blaze.The suit filed Tuesday in state court in California accuses the utility of failing to maintain its infrastructure and properly inspect and manage its power transmission lines.The utility’s president said earlier the company doesn’t know what caused the fire, but is cooperating with the investigation by state agencies.An email to PG&E about the lawsuit was not immediately returned.PG&E told state regulators last week that it experienced a problem with a transmission line in the area of the fire just before the blaze erupted.A landowner near where the blaze began said PG&E notified her the day before the wildfire that crews needed to come onto her property because some wires were sparking.Authorities doing the somber work of identifying the victims of California’s deadliest wildfire are drawing on leading-edge DNA technology. But experts say older scientific techniques and deduction could also come into play.With the death toll from the Northern California blaze topping 40 and expected to rise, officials said they were setting up a rapid DNA-analysis system, among other steps.Rapid DNA is a term for portable devices that can identify someone’s genetic material in a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks.But more traditional methods, such as examining dental records, are often a first step. Partially, that’s because victims might have had dental X-rays but not personal DNA profiles. Other medical records — of bone fractures, prosthetics or implants, for instance — also can be helpful.As a huge wildfire burns in Southern California, residents who stayed behind in coastal communities cut off by road closures are getting supplies by boat.Gas, food, baby wipes and horse pellets are among the items brought ashore Tuesday in the Paradise Cove area of Malibu.Large boats arrived from Redondo Beach, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) to the south. Supplies were unloaded onto smaller boats and even surf boards. Some residents donned wet suits and swam ashore with cases of water and beer.The fire northwest of Los Angeles has charred 150 square miles (388 square kilometers) of brush and timber, but containment has increased to 35 percent. More than 400 structures have been destroyed.Some Malibu residents are being allowed to return Wednesday afternoon, but tens of thousands of people remain under evacuation orders.People are coming to shelters in Northern California in search of loved ones and neighbors who are missing after a deadly fire tore through the town of Paradise.Greg Gibson searched a shelter in Chico on Tuesday for information about his missing neighbors. He doesn’t know if they tried to leave or not but says the fire exploded so quickly that if they hesitated, they would have had trouble.It’s not clear how many people are unaccounted for in the fire that ignited last week. At least 42 people are dead.Harold Taylor says he barely made it out of his house alive Thursday morning. The 72-year-old Vietnam veteran who walks with a cane says he tried to convince his neighbor to get in his car with him, but the neighbor declined. He doesn’t know what happened to his friend.A fire official says crews have made “a lot of progress” in preventing a deadly Northern California from reaching Oroville, a town of 19,000 people.California forestry and fire protection operations department chief Josh Bischof said Tuesday that firefighters on foot and in bulldozers are working south of the town of Paradise. It was levelled by the blaze that started last Thursday.Officials had worried strong winds could spread the wildfire toward Oroville and the Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest. Firefighters on Monday cleared brush and sprayed water on vegetation near the dam.Bischof says “we’re feeling a lot better about this area.”More than 5,000 firefighters are battling the fire that killed at least 42 people in Paradise and nearby communities.The daughter of one of three named victims from the Northern California wildfire says that Ernie Foss Jr. was a musician and former San Francisco resident who shared his love of music with others.A search and rescue workers search for human remains at a burned out trailer park from the Camp fire, Tuesday, 13 November 2018, in Paradise, Calif. Photo: APAngela Loo told KTVU-TV on Sunday that the family is devastated by the death of her father, one of at least 42 people killed by the fire.She says Foss moved to the town of Paradise eight years ago because of the San Francisco Bay Area’s high cost of living.Loo says he taught music from their home near the city’s famous Haight Street and turned their living room into a studio.KTVU reports Foss and his dog, Bernice, were found outside their home on a street where several other victims were also found.Foss had advanced lymphedema and could not walk.The Butte County sheriff’s office listed his age as 65, but records show he was 63.The son of a man who died in the Northern California wildfire says his father will be buried next to his wife in a cemetery in the small town where he died.The Butte County sheriff’s office identified 77-year-old Carl Wiley of Magalia as one of at least 42 who died in the fire.Magalia and the neighbouring town of Paradise were devastated by the fire.James Wiley says his father was a tire recapper for Michelin and described him as a stoic figure.The elder Wiley will share a headstone with his wife, Mary Lee. She died of cancer nearly three decades ago.Authorities say destruction from Southern California’s huge wildfire will be significantly higher than the 435 structures already counted as destroyed.Los Angeles county fire chief Daryl Osby said at a press conference Tuesday that authorities are assessing damage from the 150-square-mile (388-square-kilometer) Woolsey Fire. Personnel are checking many canyon areas by foot, which will take several days.Authorities say risk from the fire has dropped significantly, with people going home to many areas that were evacuated when the blaze broke out last Thursday.Planes and helicopters are attacking a huge flare-up in a mountain wilderness area on the Ventura County side of the fire.Ventura county fire chief Mark Lorenzen says winds are pushing those flames away from nearby communities and he’s confident they’re safe.Forecasters say rain could fall next week, raising concerns about mudflows.Authorities have identified only a fraction of the dozens of victims of a wildfire that has decimated a Northern California town.Jesus Fernandez, a 48-year-old Concow resident nicknamed “Zeus,” and his beloved dog “King” had been missing since the fire broke out Thursday.Family friend Myrna Pascua told The Sacramento Bee that Fernandez’s son was informed Monday that his father was found pinned between two cars.The wildfire that largely wiped out the town of Paradise has left at least 42 dead and destroyed thousands of homes and other buildings.President Donald Trump says there are more victims of the California wildfires “than anybody would ever even think possible.”Trump thanked firefighters, first responders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for doing their jobs with “courage in the face of very grave dangers.”Dozens of people have died, thousands of homes have been destroyed and thousands of people have been evacuated and in the wildfires scorching both ends of the state.Trump spoke about the fires Tuesday at the beginning of a White House ceremony about the Hindu festival of lights.US interior secretary Ryan Zinke says he’s cancelled a planned trip to Asia at the direction of the White House and will instead travel to California to support efforts to contain the deadly wildfires scorching large areas of the state.Zinke said Tuesday he will visit the Northern California fire that wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 42 people. He will travel later to Southern California, where another fire is burning that has killed two people.Zinke says he plans to meet with California Gov Jerry Brown to offer the administration’s support.The move comes after president Donald Trump — Zinke’s boss — on Saturday blamed poor “forest management” for making California’s fires so big, deadly and costly.About 200 people who fled their homes following the most destructive wildfire in California history have packed into a Northern California church where counsellors, chaplains and nursing students from Chico State University were available to help.The Neighbourhood Church in Chico was one of more than a half-dozen facilities helping house people displaced by the blaze, which has killed at least 42 people.James Woods is a director at the church and said Tuesday it will stay open “as long as it’s needed.”Volunteers are cooking three meals a day, and there is a large bulletin board with information about missing people.Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth lost their home in the deadly wildfire blazing California but are donating $500,000 to The Malibu Foundation through Cyrus’ charity, The Happy Hippie Foundation.A representative for Cyrus says Tuesday in statement to The Associated Press that the couple’s “community and state are very special to them and they want to give back to the place that has created so many beautiful memories for themselves and others.”Cyrus and Hemsworth’s home was in Malibu and burned by the big Southern California wildfire that killed two people.The statement says they “are very grateful to be safe along with their animals.”The statement says the donation “will be used for those in financial need, emergency relief assistance, community rebuilding, wildfire prevention and climate change resilience.”California regulators say initial testing has found no elevated levels of radiation or hazardous compounds after Southern California’s huge wildfire burned near a former nuclear test site in hills to the northwest of Los Angeles.The state’s toxic substance control department says its staff went to the site known as the Santa Susana Field Laboratory on Saturday and found that facilities that previously handled radioactive and hazardous materials were not affected by the fire.The organization Physicians for Social Responsibility said in statement Monday that it was likely that smoke and ash from the fire spread radiological and chemical contamination that was in soil and vegetation.But the state agency says its measurements on the site and in the surrounding community found no radiation levels above background levels and no elevated levels of hazardous compounds other than those normally present after a wildfire.The site was used for decades for testing rocket engines and nuclear energy research. One of its nuclear reactors had a partial meltdown in 1959. Battles over decontamination efforts have gone on for years, with neighbours blaming illnesses on the site.Fire crews battling a Northern California blaze that levelled a town and killed at least 42 people made gains overnight and prevented the blaze from advancing toward a town of 19,000 people.California’s forestry and fire protection department said Tuesday that firefighters held containment lines to slow the wildfire’s advance toward Oroville.Officials say more than 5,000 firefighters are battling the blaze that destroyed the town of Paradise and has charred 195 square miles (505 square kilometres) since it started Thursday. The blaze is 30 per cent contained.Milder winds of up to 25 mph (40 kph) are expected in the area Tuesday. But fire behaviour specialist at Cal Fire Jonathan Pangburn says the there’s plenty of bone dry vegetation ready to burn “really fast and hot.”The wildfire has destroyed more than 6,400 homes and displaced 52,000 people.Firefighters are working to extend containment lines around the vast area burned by a Southern California wildfire.The work to eliminate the threat from the so-called Woolsey Fire on Tuesday was happening as winds continue to cause high fire threats from metropolitan Los Angeles to San Diego County.Authorities have allowed more people to return home but several entire communities, including Malibu, remain under mandatory evacuation orders.The latest estimates show the fire spread over more than 146 square miles (378 square kilometres). The fire area is expected to be fully contained by Thursday.Authorities have said two people were killed in the fire and at least 435 buildings were destroyed.More than a dozen coroner search and recovery teams looked for human remains from a Northern California wildfire that killed at least 42 people, making it the deadliest in state history. Anxious relatives are visiting shelters and calling police hoping to find loved ones alive.Lisa Jordan drove 600 miles (1,000 kilometres) from Yakima, Washington, to search for her uncle, Nick Clark, and his wife, Anne Clark, of Paradise, California. Anne Clark suffers from multiple sclerosis and is unable to walk. No one knows if they were able to evacuate, or even if their house still exists, she said.Lisa Jordan says she’s staying hopeful and adds: “Until the final word comes, you keep fighting against it.”Butte county Sheriff Kory Honea updated the confirmed fatality number Monday night.The figure that is almost certain to spike following the blaze that last week destroyed Paradise, a town of 27,000 about 180 miles (290 kilometres) northeast of San Francisco.Authorities were bringing in two mobile morgue units and requesting 150 search and rescue personnel. Officials were unsure of the exact number of missing.last_img read more

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Baltimores Lenora Nail Colors Promotes Vegan Products

first_imgLenora BarbourBorn and raised in Baltimore City, Lenora Barbour began her creative enterprise following a traumatic event.After she learned her mother would have to undergo major surgery followed by long-term therapy, Barbour decided it was time for a change. She founded Lenora Nails after spending years in a boring 9-to-5 job.Barbour saw there was no nail polish line being created in Baltimore and knew that this was one way she could exercise her creative muscles.“I always liked nail polish,” said Barbour in an interview with the AFRO. “I always polished my nails.”Lenora Nails boasts quirky names like “Sweet Peaches” and “Maryland Collection.” Her mother came up with “Sweet Peaches” since she has a peach tree in her yard. The “Maryland Collection” consists of three colors that all reference her home state: “Inner Harbor Nights,” “Purple Pride” and “Ocean City.”The most important part of Barbour’s nail line is its advertised non-toxic and healthy qualities. Lenora Nail Colors are “5-free,” which means they are free of five dangerous toxins like formaldehyde that have been found in other nail polish brands, according to the website. The vegan products are also animal cruelty-free.The collection is already sold in several locations in Maryland, as well as online.Barbour is currently completing a program at Maryland Beauty Academy to become a certified nail technician. Once certified Barbour wants to give pampering treatments to senior citizens with chronic conditions and those who aren’t able to beautify themselves. “When I was in nail tech school we had a lot of elderly clients, so I really connected with them,” said Barbour, adding that she already offers those services to her mother. “I do my mom’s nails since she’s almost 70.”For more information on Lenora Nail Colors, visit: www.lenoranailcolors.com.last_img read more

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Study shows differences in brain activity of humans and macaques engaged in

first_img Pictured are the increases (orange-yellow) and decreases (blue) of neural activity in the brains of humans and macaques while performing the same attention task as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this study, the researchers found that the attention networks in humans fundamentally differ from those of macaques in three ways: the networks contain more areas, more information is shared between brain hemispheres, and humans possess an entire attention control network that is missing from macaques. The results suggest that the attention network has evolved to support uniquely human cognitive functions. Credit: Image courtesy of Gaurav Patel/New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Medical Center 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. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Barbary macaques. Credit: Wikipedia/Flickr/Karyn Sig At least two regions of the brain decide what we perceive As part of the experiment, one assumption has been that the macaque brain is likely very similar to the brain early humans had when the last common ancestors of the two species branched off in different directions. This means that the team was free to suggest that the differences they saw in the brain scans, likely indicate evolutionary changes that have occurred to our brains over the past 25 million years. Explore furthercenter_img © 2015 Phys.org In trying to better understand how it is the human brain works, scientists sometimes use macaques as stand-ins—that is because sometimes the experiments conducted cannot be performed on humans. One problem with this approach is that it is still not clear just how alike the brains of humans and macaques actually are. To learn more, the group conducted experiments that looked into which parts of the brain are active in both species engaged in the same task.The experiments consisted of putting eight human beings and two macaques in an fMRI machine while they engaged in the same task and watching which parts of the brain lit up. The task consisted of staring at a single point on a computer screen while objects were displayed near the single point and pressing a button when a certain image appeared. All the volunteers were trained on the task prior to being put into the fMRI machine.In analyzing the results the researchers discovered that the temporoparietal junction was much more active in the humans—they also noted that some other areas of the brain were more active as well. Furthermore, they discovered that there was more communication going on between the two brain hemispheres. In looking at all the differences taken together, the researchers conclude that humans have a more advanced attention control network, which they note, makes sense, because we humans need to filter information more than macaques—the monkeys, presumably, must be able to react to dangerous situations much more quickly than us. (Phys.org)—A group of researchers with affiliations to several institutions in the U.S. has identified some of the ways the human brain differs in the way it focuses on a task as compared to macaques. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers detail experiments they carried out with both humans and macaques using fMRI scans. Citation: Study shows differences in brain activity of humans and macaques engaged in the same task (2015, July 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-07-differences-brain-humans-macaques-engaged.html More information: Functional evolution of new and expanded attention networks in humans, Gaurav H. Patel, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1420395112AbstractMacaques are often used as a model system for invasive investigations of the neural substrates of cognition. However, 25 million years of evolution separate humans and macaques from their last common ancestor, and this has likely substantially impacted the function of the cortical networks underlying cognitive processes, such as attention. We examined the homology of frontoparietal networks underlying attention by comparing functional MRI data from macaques and humans performing the same visual search task. Although there are broad similarities, we found fundamental differences between the species. First, humans have more dorsal attention network areas than macaques, indicating that in the course of evolution the human attention system has expanded compared with macaques. Second, potentially homologous areas in the dorsal attention network have markedly different biases toward representing the contralateral hemifield, indicating that the underlying neural architecture of these areas may differ in the most basic of properties, such as receptive field distribution. Third, despite clear evidence of the temporoparietal junction node of the ventral attention network in humans as elicited by this visual search task, we did not find functional evidence of a temporoparietal junction in macaques. None of these differences were the result of differences in training, experimental power, or anatomical variability between the two species. The results of this study indicate that macaque data should be applied to human models of cognition cautiously, and demonstrate how evolution may shape cortical networks.last_img read more

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Sediment study of African lake may help explain huge number of related

first_img © 2015 Phys.org Explore further 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. Drilling site in nearly 2000’ of water on Lake Malawi. Drill cores at this location penetrated more than 1250’ below the bottom of the lake. Credit: Jason Agnich, University of Minnesota Duluth. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Phys.org)—A team of researchers affiliated with several universities in the U.S. has conducted a drilling study of Lake Malawi in South-East Africa and suggest their findings may help explain the large number of cichlid species that call the lake their home. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their drilling expedition, what the sediment samples showed and why they believe their findings may help explain the unusual number of related fish species.center_img Study shows evolution does not always mean more diversification Citation: Sediment study of African lake may help explain huge number of related fish species (2015, December 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-12-sediment-african-lake-huge-fish.html More information: Continuous 1.3-million-year record of East African hydroclimate, and implications for patterns of evolution and biodiversity, Robert P. Lyons, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1512864112AbstractThe transport of moisture in the tropics is a critical process for the global energy budget and on geologic timescales, has markedly influenced continental landscapes, migratory pathways, and biological evolution. Here we present a continuous, first-of-its-kind 1.3-My record of continental hydroclimate and lake-level variability derived from drill core data from Lake Malawi, East Africa (9–15° S). Over the Quaternary, we observe dramatic shifts in effective moisture, resulting in large-scale changes in one of the world’s largest lakes and most diverse freshwater ecosystems. Results show evidence for 24 lake level drops of more than 200 m during the Late Quaternary, including 15 lowstands when water levels were more than 400 m lower than modern. A dramatic shift is observed at the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT), consistent with far-field climate forcing, which separates vastly different hydroclimate regimes before and after ∼800,000 years ago. Before 800 ka, lake levels were lower, indicating a climate drier than today, and water levels changed frequently. Following the MPT high-amplitude lake level variations dominate the record. From 800 to 100 ka, a deep, often overfilled lake occupied the basin, indicating a wetter climate, but these highstands were interrupted by prolonged intervals of extreme drought. Periods of high lake level are observed during times of high eccentricity. The extreme hydroclimate variability exerted a profound influence on the Lake Malawi endemic cichlid fish species flock; the geographically extensive habitat reconfiguration provided novel ecological opportunities, enabling new populations to differentiate rapidly to distinct species. Scientists have debated amongst themselves the possible reasons for such a large number of cichlid species in one lake—over a 1000, which is more than any other lake. Possible ideas have included unknown environmental factors or biological tendencies of the cichlid in general. In this new effort, the researchers suggest it might have been because lake levels changed so dramatically over the years.To learn more, the researchers traveled to the lake and conducted drilling operations, collecting sediment samples that revealed lake level changes over the past 1.3 million years. In looking at the data, the team found that that there were approximately 24 dry periods where the lake level dropped at least 650 feet and multiple periods where excessive moisture caused the lake to overflow into the surrounding area. There was also a big change that occurred approximately 800,000 years ago where the climate shifted from one that was mostly dry, to one that was much wetter. They noted that during some of the low level periods the lake likely broke into several pieces.The researchers suggest that such dramatic fluctuations in lake levels could account for the huge number of cichlid species, a dominant fish that would have had to be able to change quickly to adapt to new conditions—lower lake levels, for example, would have meant the water would have been a lot saltier with dramatically different pH levels, and if the lake broke up for long periods of time it would have led to isolation of some species.If the theory by the team is correct, it still does not explain, as they acknowledge, how it was that so many of the species that developed managed to survive till today. That answer will likely take a genetic study.last_img read more

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