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first_imgMalacañang open to creating Taal Commission LATEST STORIES The contract extension followed the Rockets’ trade for nine-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul late last month, giving Harden another superstar to help chase Houston’s first title since the Rockets won two in a row in 1994-95.There have been questions about how the two will fit together in Houston after Harden had the finest season of his career while playing point guard in first-year coach Mike D’Antoni’s system. But Harden isn’t worried about that.“I don’t think anybody’s ever seen anything like this before,” he said. “Two guys that can create and facilitate and just do things with the ball that nobody’s done from the one position and the shooting guard position. So it’s going to be fun. I’m excited to be a part of it.”Harden finished second in MVP voting last season behind Russell Westbrook after ranking second in the league with 29.1 points per game and first with 11.2 assists. He had 64 double-doubles last year after combining for just 67 in the first seven seasons of his career, and notched 22 triple-doubles after getting just nine total before last season.“I’ve coached a lot of people and watched a lot of games and the stuff that he did day in and day out was incredible,” D’Antoni said. “Now I’m just so excited that he’s going to be here for a long time.”ADVERTISEMENT LIVE: Sinulog 2020 Grand Parade Houston Rockets’ James Harden yells after a Oklahoma City Thunder turnover during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 16, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)HOUSTON — James Harden never wants to leave Houston and is intent on bringing another NBA title to the city the Californian now considers home.And the Rockets are doing everything possible to make sure the Beard gets exactly what he wants.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Berchelt retains WBC title against proud Miura The clearest evidence of that came a week ago when they signed him to the biggest contract in league history: a four-year, “supermax” extension that guarantees $228 million over the next six seasons.“I know where I want to retire ultimately and I know where I want to win a championship,” Harden said Saturday. “Everything is going to happen in Houston and that’s the reason I’m here forever.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’Since orchestrating the trade that brought Harden to Houston from Oklahoma City in 2012, general manager Daryl Morey has known he had a cornerstone player to build a team around. To him, shelling out that much money to keep the 27-year-old off the free agent market until the 2022-23 season was a no-brainer.“Some of our decisions are hard. This one’s easy,” Morey said. “We’d do more if we could. This was the most they allow us to do.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Harden’s brilliant season ended with a thud when the Rockets were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in a 39-point loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals. Harden didn’t attempt a shot until halfway through the second quarter of the blowout and finished with 10 points to tie a season low.That loss still weighs on Harden, who shouldered the blame for the defeat in the hours after the game.“For sure it motivates me,” he said. “Of course it wasn’t how we wanted it to end … but that’s what life is about. You get tested and you go through certain things where things don’t happen your way … you have to sit back, look at how you can be better and go out there and just be better at it. And if you fail, do it again.”Harden is excited about his new deal and humbled to have signed the richest contract in NBA history. However, he insists that all those zeros in his bank account will be hollow if he doesn’t take the Rockets to the next level.“Money is cool … but it doesn’t really mean anything without holding that championship up,” Harden said. “So that’s what we’re working toward. That’s why I’m in the gym every single day and I won’t stop until I get it.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson IT happens: Facebook sorry for Xi Jinping’s name mistranslation MOST READ Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ Missile-capable frigate BRP Jose Rizal inches closer to entering PH Navy’s fleet 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respitelast_img read more

first_imgGamer: LeBron appearing on cover of NBA 2K video game Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Lacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? LATEST STORIES MOST READ Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons filmcenter_img Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours In this undated image released by the Ben Lecomte group A.K.K The Longest Swim, Ben Lecomte adjusts his suit during swimming practices in Los Angeles, California. Lecomte set off Tuesday from Japan in an attempt to become the first person to swim across the Pacific ocean with San Francisco as his final destination. (Ben Lecomte group A.K.K The Longest Swim via AP)TOKYO (AP) — Professional distance swimmer Ben Lecomte set off from Japan to San Francisco on Tuesday in an attempt to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean.Spokesman Alexandre Borreil said Lecomte left at 8 a.m. on Tuesday from Choshi, Japan, which is northeast of Tokyo in neighboring Chiba prefecture. He is expected to swim eight hours daily on a journey that could take six to eight months and will cover about 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations “For the moment we know he left and everything went well,” Borreil said.Organizers say Lecomte completed a similar swim across the Atlantic in 1998.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownHe’s doing this swim to raise awareness about the health of the world’s oceans and the threat of pollution.Scientific teams accompanying Lecomte will collect more than 1,000 water samples and study plastic pollution, mammal migration and the effect of extreme endurance events on the human body. Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina View commentslast_img read more

first_imgLATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil New cycling prospects emerge in trials MOST READ Substitute Jovin Bedic prepares to fire the game-drawing goal against Thailand. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/LAGARDERE SPORTSBACOLOD CITY—In terms of performances, the Philippines has been a mixed bag in its first two matches in the AFF Suzuki Cup, that’s why the expectations were tempered as the slick-passing and clinical Thailand side rolled into Panaad Stadium on Wednesday night.The Azkals responded to doubts about their title credentials with their finest performance yet in the tournament, dominating possession and creating majority of the chances in a 1-1 stalemate with the two-time defending champion Thais at the soft and soggy pitch.ADVERTISEMENT Thailand plays Singapore on Sunday in Bangkok, but the Philippines’ fate is in its hands as a draw or victory against Indonesia in Jakarta will send the Azkals to the next round.There was plenty of positivity and an air of confidence from the squad as it left Bacolod en route to the Indonesian capital.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“I think that was the best performance that we had in this tournament even if it was a draw,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “Our performance was better than the wins against Singapore and Timor Leste.”Excellent performance Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? “It’s an excellent team performance,” said assistant coach Chris Greatwich. “The boys dominated the game from start to finish and we deserved more than just a point. Full credit goes to the players for putting in such a good performance—their attitude has been first class.”The Azkals tracked back every time they lost possession, won 50-50 battles and showed they could operate in tight spaces inside the box with Stephan Schrock a constant threat on the flanks.More importantly, the Azkals may have found the balance of getting their shape and organization spot-on when they didn’t have the ball while not exposing themselves defensively when they’re creating great chances—something that they lacked against Timor Leste.The entry of Alvaro Silva in the backline proved key in stabilizing a wobbly defense, while Jovin Bedic emerged as an additional attacking option as the team goes further in the tournament with a performance highlighted by his bizarre goal in the 81st minute.“As a Filipino player, you dream of scoring for the Philippines,” said Bedic. “Thailand is the favorite team in the tournament. It was a big game. I’m proud of what our team was able to achieve tonight. The whole team was working hard but with Thailand ahead, we knew it was going to be difficult. But coach told me to prepare so I just grabbed the opportunity.”ADVERTISEMENT Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Greatwich said Bedic’s performance typified what the squad was all about in terms of its development the past few months.“He (Bedic) has been excellent in training and typifies the superb application of the whole squad,” said Greatwich. “The culmination of all his hard work in this camp (and throughout the season) came to the fore last night.”Need more workThe Azkals still have to work on their finishing inside the box as Phil Younghusband, Daisuke Sato and Patrick Reichelt all spurned superb chances. But they have laid down a marker for the rest of the teams in the tournament: When they are in their game, they can topple any team—even the defending champions.The Azkals came into the match looking to end a 46-year winless spell against the Thais. And even if they failed in that bid, the team’s battling performance was enough to impress coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.“First of all I think we played very well 90 minutes,” said Eriksson. “We were the better team out there. A draw is OK but we could have won the game. I think we did very well against a good team.”“If we play like this we should qualify for the semifinals,” added Eriksson. “I think this is a very good performance for us.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award View commentslast_img read more

first_imgA medical team attached to one of China’s health institutions, Yancheng Third People’s Hospital, on Friday visited the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).Members of the team touring the Linden Hospital ComplexThey met with the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Farouk Riyasat, as well as doctors, department heads, and other health officials in an effort to have an understanding of the environment in which doctors attached to the LHC are living and working. The team also conducted a comprehensive tour of the various departments of the hospital.Leading the Chinese team of professionals was Vice President of the Chinese hospital, Dr Tan Junyuan, who was accompanied by Director of Health Reform and Development, Department of Yancheng Health and Fitness Commission, Dr Tang Xiaojun; and Vice Director of Administrative Office of the hospital, Dr Wu Lihua. The LHC presently hosts a medical team which originated from the Chinese hospital.The LHC CEO, at an official welcoming ceremony hosted at the hospital, expressed gratitude to the team for its continued support over the past 20 years.During the tour of the Linden hospital, Public Relations Officer (PRO) Toshanna Allicock noted that the LHC is pleased to host the team of medical professionals, and she pointed to various collaborations over the years.“In addition to sending a team of doctors every year, we also receive donations in the millions of dollars at the end of each year, and we have benefited greatly from those donations. One of the greatest contributions of the Chinese Medical Team is that they have allowed us to do laparoscopic surgery, and they’re the only set of doctors at this hospital who do laparoscopic surgery. So, because of them, we’re able to offer that surgery to the people of Region 10.“This is one of the few hospitals in Guyana that (do) laparoscopic surgeries,” Allicock noted.She said the Chinese doctors attached to the LHC who are consultants also continuously train the local hospital staff.Presently, the LHC is benefiting from the work of the 14th Chinese Medical Brigade to Guyana. The 15th brigade is expected to soon replace this one.last_img read more

first_imgAG 2015 Report…as NICIL collects B from GUYOIL but hoards half from TreasuryThe Ministry of the Presidency utilised millions of dollars in revenues it earned from the Guyana LotteryAuditor General Deodat SharmaFund for the building the D’Urban Park, Georgetown, without Parliamentary approval; and the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) collected $2 billion on behalf of Government but only turned over half that amount to the Treasury.These were among some of the pertinent findings of the Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, as he audited the accounts for the first year of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government.Sharma’s 2015 report was made public on Thursday by Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland, when the House emerged from its annual two-month recess.According to Sharma’s findings, the Guyana Government earns 24 per cent of the proceeds from the Guyana Lottery Company but this money is paid into an account controlled by the Ministry of the Presidency and spent with the approval of Cabinet.Sharma in his report noted that at the beginning of 2015, that account held some $1.4 billion and it received an additional $421 million in 2015.D’Urban ParkThe Auditor General said following checks on the accounts, it was found that while Government transferred $1 billion of that money to the consolidated fund in 2015, it held onto just over half a billion dollars to remain under the control of the Ministry of the Presidency and it spent $305 million on various activities.According to a breakdown of the expenditure provided by the Auditor General, $36.5 million went towards the rehabilitation of D’Urban Park; $63.7 million went towards Mashramani celebrations; while another $51 million was utilised for ‘music’.Other activities funded by the Ministry of the Presidency using the Lotto proceeds related to Emancipation, Amerindian Heritage and Carifesta, among other celebrations.The Auditor General did observe in his 2015 audit that, “cash book and payment vouchers for 2015 to verify the details of the amounts spent were not presented for audit and the Deputy Accountant General explained that these were with the Forensic Auditor and had not been returned up to the time of the audit.”Monies from the Lotto Fund held by the Ministry of the Presidency has for years attracted the ire of the now Government since it was always adamant that all of the earnings constituted revenues of the state and should all be deposited into the treasury to be spent with parliamentary approval.This did not obtain.It was pointed out by Auditor General Sharma that while the Finance Ministry has budgeted for lottery receipts, expenditure continues to be met without Parliamentary approval.Sharma has since expressed his opinion that in this regard, the expenditure from the proceeds of the National Lottery should be accounted for by having a Supplementary Estimate passed in the national assembly and recorded in the Public Accounts.NICIL hoardsMeanwhile, the Auditor General found also that NICIL – another of the state-owned institutions, which the APNU/AFC has in the past criticised as a slush fund – continues to function in a manner where it retains significant bulks of its proceeds.This state of affairs has since been adversely reflected on the national accounts since a shortfall of $1 billion from NICIL represented more than half of what was supposed to be collected by Government as part of its revenues on dividends from non-financial institutions.According to the 2015 Audit Report, an amount of just over $1 billion was reflected as dividends from non-financial institutions, as received from NICIL for the Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL) for 2015 as an interim payment.It was found after an examination of the financial statements for GUYOIL that in 2015 just over $2 billion was in fact handed over to NICIL which in turned over only half of that amount to the Treasury.Missing US$5MThe missing US$5 million that was supposed to be paid to NICIL by a Chinese-based company for shares held in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company was also flagged by the Auditor General.According to Sharma, NICIL was the registered holder of 4,125 shares representing 20 per cent of the holdings in GT&T but this was sold in November 2012.“On November 8, 2012 upon signing of the agreement, an amount of $4.9 billion was transferred to NICIL… the Balance of US$5 million remaining should have been paid by the company within two years. At the time of reporting, no payment was made with respect to the outstanding balance.”Sharma reported that with respect to the audits of NICIL as an entity, the audit for 2014 is still being finalised.With regards to the company’s consolidated financial statements, “these have been completed and reports issued up to the year 2006.”last_img read more

first_imgBusinesses in the North West are failing or struggling to get off the ground due to rising insurance costs, a local TD has said.Deputy Marc MacSharry has warned that high premiums are proving to be a barrier to entry for new businesses and are costing jobs in the region.A Fianna Fáil motion was debated in the Dáil this week on the developing crisis facing businesses, sporting clubs and community organisations across the country as a result of the cost of employer and public liability insurance. Deputy Mac Sharry commented, “Small and medium sized businesses have been the strength behind rural Ireland. In counties Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and South Donegal we are reliant on local businesses in our communities.“However, the lack of action from the government to stem the rising tide of insurance costs are seeing many businesses go under and this is preventing new businesses from starting up.”Mr MacSharry hit out at the government’s lack of solutions.The Sligo-Leitrim TD said: “It is now nine months since the completion of the final report of the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC). The PIC confirmed that the level of damages for soft-tissue (whiplash) injuries in Ireland runs at a multiple of 4.4 times to that of our nearest neighbours England and Wales. “There has been no movement on its central recommendation – the establishment of a Judicial Council which would compile guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injury.“Similarly, we are over two years on from the recommendation to establish a dedicated insurance fraud unit within An Garda Síochána and again there has been no movement on this. Fraudulent and exaggerated claims are a significant problem in my view and this problem needs to be tackled.“There appears to be no political will from government to take substantial action on reducing insurance costs. The government needs to understand that failure to tackle the insurance crisis facing certain sectors is costing jobs in the north west region,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.New businesses in North West ‘crippled’ by insurance costs was last modified: March 14th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Deputy Marc MacSharryfianna failinsurancelast_img read more

first_imgThe Earagail Arts Festival team would like to thank everyone who came out and supported us for another year.We would also like to take the time now to thank our principal funders the Arts Council of Ireland, Failte Ireland and Donegal County Council, we would also like to thank all our additional funders, sponsors, production partners and our fantastic friends and patrons. It has been another great year for the Earagail Arts Festival with sell-out performances across the programme and some really special new work created by artists from across Donegal.Festival Director, Paul Brown commented: “The reaction to the Earagail Arts Festival programme this year has been the most positive yet, with 120 amazing shows performed by over 800 artists and participants from across the globe.“The whole team, including all our volunteers have worked extremely hard with much less resources to deliver another festival that reached out to so many people across County Donegal and beyond. We’re especially proud of those artists who call Donegal home –musicians, actors, writers, poets, visual artists, who performed, crafted and celebrated new work that was on a par with anything internationally.“They delivered the 23rd festival to spellbinding audiences and with their art made us all feel that little bit prouder of who we are. “I believe in that in the age of twitter and Facebook, festival is not only a celebration of who we are culturally but offers the real-life opportunity for us to connect face to face. I’d like to thank everyone who came out to support events and joined in this year.”The festival now looks to next year and beyond as the 25th anniversary in 2013 looms large. Keep an eye out on developments by signing up to the festival newsletter at www.eaf.ieThe Earagail Arts Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Donegal County Council and presented in association with Fáilte Ireland.EndsTHE EARAGAIL ARTS FESTIVAL – ALREADY LOOKING TO NEXT YEAR! was last modified: August 3rd, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Earagail Arts Festivallast_img read more

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “I think (voters) really want it over with so they’re waiting for Wednesday,” said Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at California State University, Sacramento. “There will be a sense of relief … from watching all the relentless negative ads.” The measures before voters Tuesday include: Proposition 73: This would require parents to be notified 48 hours before an underage daughter has an abortion, though parents’ consent would not be required. It would allow exceptions for medical emergencies or a court order obtained by the minor. Proponents say parents should have the right to be informed of a child’s activities, especially when it involves a medical procedure. They say children should be encouraged to communicate with their parents, and they hope the measure would reduce risky sexual activity among teens. Opponents say it could result in health consequences to girls who face abuse at home or who would seek illegal abortions rather than tell their parents. They are also concerned that language in the proposition would set a new precedent for limiting the procedure in California and would hamper stem-cell research. bold!Proposition 74: This Schwarzenegger measure would change state law on teacher tenure, increasing the time it takes for public school teachers to gain permanent status from two years to five years. The governor argues it is necessary to give school administrators more power to dismiss low-performing teachers, ensuring quality education in public schools. Opponents say the governor is looking to punish teachers, who have been among his most vocal opponents, and the measure would do nothing to fix failing, underfunded schools. bold!Proposition 75: What supporters call the “paycheck protection” measure would require public employee unions to seek written permission every year from their members before using dues for political purposes. Currently, union members can opt not to have their dues go to politics, but that often results in a reduction in membership status and privileges. The measure was written by anti-tax activist Lew Uhler and later adopted by Schwarzenegger, who argues that the unions are too powerful in California and that average union members should have a greater say in whether their money is spent for political purposes. Union leaders against the measure say it is an effort to diminish their power, and they say members already have the ability to opt out of political contributions. bold!Proposition 76: What the governor calls the “live within our means” measure would make numerous changes to the state budgeting process. It would restrict growth in spending to the average of the previous three years’ growth. It also would rework the state’s Proposition 98 education-funding guarantee so money “borrowed” from education does not have to be repaid, but it prohibits borrowing from special funds or local governments. It also would give the governor new powers to make budget cuts in times of fiscal emergency. The governor says the measure is needed to get the state’s budget under control and to prevent sharp fluctuations, such as the ones that have led to the current deficit. Opponents say it gives the governor too much power and makes it easier for the state to shortchange education funding. bold!Proposition 77: The governor’s redistricting measure would create a new process to draw boundary lines for congressional, state legislative and Board of Equalization seats. The lines would be drawn by a panel of three retired judges, chosen at random from names nominated by legislative leaders and then submitted to voters for approval. Now the Legislature itself draws the lines, leading Proposition 77 supporters to say politicians currently pick their voters, rather than the other way around. Critics of the measure concede the current process needs reform, but they say Proposition 77 goes about it the wrong way. For example, they argue the judges on the panel will likely be older, white men – not a representative sample of the state’s diverse voters. bold!Proposition 78: This is a drug-discount measure proposed by the pharmaceutical industry that would provide discounts to seniors and uninsured Californians earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, roughly $58,000 or less for a family of four. There would be a $15 application fee, and participation by the drug industry would be voluntary. bold!Proposition 79: This competing drug-discount measure is proposed by consumer groups and would offer discounts to people at 400 percent of the poverty level, about $77,000 a year for a family of four. There would be a $10 application fee, and participation by the drug companies could be leveraged by a state threat to stop buying drugs from firms that don’t take part. The industry argues that Proposition 78 is more practical and that Proposition 79 would never be approved by federal regulators because of the 400 percent threshold. The consumer groups behind Proposition 79 say their measure is better because it has an enforcement mechanism to get the drug companies to participate, and it helps more people and provides steeper discounts. If both measures win more than 50 percent of the votes, only the one with the most votes will become law. bold!Proposition 80: The Utility Reform Network, a consumer advocate group, wrote this measure to regulate the deregulated energy market in an effort to avoid the rolling blackouts and other problems experienced in recent years. It would put the industry under control of the California Public Utilities Commission, put restrictions on customers’ ability to switch electric providers, and increase requirements on development of renewable energy sources. Supporters say the measure addresses some of the problems caused by deregulation that led to the state’s energy crisis. Opponents, including the state PUC and energy providers, say it would restrict consumer choice, lead to higher prices and cause another crisis. Harrison Sheppard, (916)446-6723 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Intense, expensive campaigns will come to a head Tuesday when voters decide a flurry of ballot measures on topics ranging from abortion to energy-market regulation. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for the special election in an effort to speed his reform agenda into law, although only four of the eight measures – Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77 – are part of his campaign. More than $200 million has been spent on all of the campaigns for the eight statewide measures on the ballot, with the biggest sources of campaign cash coming from the pharmaceutical industry and the state’s employee unions. While Tuesday’s voting will end the uncertainty over the fate of the measures, analysts say it also will bring some relief to voters who have been inundated with advertisements, mailers and phone calls. last_img read more

first_imgA chipmunk-size mammal with Popeye-like forearms and beaver-like teeth resembling an armadillo?  That’s how the discoverers are describing the fossil they named Fruitafossor, a small mammal found near Fruita, Colorado and reported in Science.1  They think it dug burrows and ate termites.  Of special interest were the open-root teeth like those of the beaver.  Lead researcher Zhe-Xi Luo told National Geographic News, “These peculiar teeth in an otherwise very primitive Jurassic mammal were puzzling, as these teeth weren’t supposed to appear until much later, when the armadillos evolved 50 million years ago, and again still later in form of the African aardvark.”    They claim this lineage was unrelated to later burrowing and gnawing mammals.  It went extinct, without leaving the instructions for their specialized teeth and claws for the latecomers, who had to figure it out all over from scratch.  MSNBC echoed this explanation without question: “The discovery shows that anteaters, armadillos and other creatures that dig up insects evolved their specialized abilities several times during the history of the world,” it regurgitates.  “This is known as convergent evolution.”1Zhe-Xi Luo and John R. Wible, “A Late Jurassic Digging Mammal and Early Mammalian Diversification,” Science, Vol 308, Issue 5718, 103-107 , 1 April 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1108875].Science reporters can be such toadies.  They accept whatever a Darwin Party priest croaks like it is the message of the gods, and just dish it out sans jargon for the masses but with all the baloney left in.  Why don’t they ever grill the priesthood with hard questions like they do with politicians?  A skeleton was found in Colorado of an extinct small mammal.  That’s it.  The rest of the tale about 150 million years and convergent evolution is all made up.  Suppose students turned this trick on their teachers.  How did all three of you come up with nearly identical term papers, she asks?  Your explanation: convergent Googlution.  Good luck on your report card.    The Darwin Party gets away with this trick because nobody calls them on the carpet for it and calls it what it is: baloney.  What do you mean, these teeth “weren’t supposed to appear” for another 100 million years?  Has Tinkerbell forgotten her script?  (See 03/11/2005 commentary.)  Did you count how many zaps from her mutation wand were required for the first open-root teeth to be functional?  Gnaw.  You can bet it took a lot – not just for the tooth shape, but for the enamel, the root, the fit to the jaw, and the software to use them.  How many Fruitafossors had to die of starvation before they got it right?  Where are all the transitional forms?  Can “specialized abilities” just “evolve” without that being equivalent to a miracle?  If you can’t begin to explain the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth by evolution, then don’t expect us to believe this particular set of miracles happened three times by convergent evolution, whatever that is.  The rest of us are sick and tired of this charade and can’t take it any more.  Join the Society for Pulling Back the Curtain from the Wizards of Ostentation.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_img19 June 2015South Africa’s first digital currency incubator and hub is up and running in the form of BitHub, headquartered at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock, Cape Town.A cross section of traders, consumers, tech geeks and bitcoin enthusiasts were at the launch. Together they created an atmosphere of optimism and excitement at the potential of digital currency across all levels of commerce and tech.Speaking at the event, Joshin Raghubar, the chairman of the Bandwidth Barn, said: “We are entering into a new age in banking and finance and are in need of a platform and community for innovation within this space. BitHub aims to amplify the community of development in digital currency, and this launch event, focusing on the payment space of digital currency, forms a great segway to greater innovation within digital currency.”Financial technologyIan Merrington, the chief executive of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (Citi), added: “We’ve been looking at the fintech space for a while, and the recent Bitcoin Conference lit a spark that we are excited to take further. Here is a platform that has potential for disruptive innovation that can solve Africa-specific needs, serve the unbanked, and also play a transformative role.”The formal banking sector was showing a keen interest in the digital currency and innovation space.“That’s why BitHub’s launch is timeous and vital,” he said. “Now there is a place to gather, to learn, to innovate; a community where digital currency entrepreneurs and developers can meet, swap ideas and solve problems. Citi is geared to help unblock constraints, backed by a business-friendly local government.Learn how bitcoin works:Legislation“We recognise that there are several challenges to overcome. Legislation around fintech needs to change, educating consumers and merchants on the philosophy and principles of digital currency, and an immature infrastructure, to name a few.“But there are also amazing opportunities; big banking is starting to invest in fintech development, we can unleash the Western Cape as a frontrunner in the development of fintech, and create awareness and positive discussion around the social impact offered by this technology through its open protocol.”Roslyn Lavers, the business development manager at PayFast, the payments processing service for South African websites, spoke about trends merchants such as Takealot, which accepted bitcoin, were experiencing.“In July 2014, PayFast’s decision to allow buyers to accept payment with bitcoin was largely exploratory, but we have been surprised by how much it is actually being used. The first week we saw payments totalling R50 000, and since then a steady trade value has been maintained.“Now we have in excess of 30 000 merchants that have bitcoin enabled, with the current trend being tech merchants embracing the bitcoin payments, and coffee and beer merchants following close behind.”Early adoptersHowever, it was still early days for bitcoin use in South Africa. “Early adopters are using this, and are using it consistently, which is a good sign, and has exceeded our expectations.”Francois Paul, a developer from BitX, a global bitcoin wallet, exchange and merchant service, explained why bitcoin was better than traditional payment methods.“Bitcoin allows for free flow of value, without a trust element in the equation,” he said. “It is a digital asset that cannot be copied, that has no counterparty risk and no charge back – it is not reversible. So the potential for fraud and scams is eliminated. It is borderless, fast, cheap and easy, and once people realise how easy it is to use, and the saving on transactional fees, consumer demand will spark a merchant response.”In South Africa, Landmark Computers was the first seller to accept bitcoin. Its chief executive, Andrew van der Nest said there was no risk and the network was incredibly safe.“We have had no issues with bitcoin as a merchant; the money is guaranteed in our account and cannot be reversed. Plus we love how ownership, control and responsibility are now absolutely in the hands of the end user, where traditionally it is the bank or merchant’s responsibility. Times are changing and we are changing with it.”Regarding education and legislation, Enrico Calandro from Research ICT Africa called on governments to become involved. “Digital currencies benefit the people, especially the poor, due to the low fees synonymous with virtual currency, and the ease of access thanks to smart phones.”Developers soughtIn closing, Merrington called on developers and entrepreneurs to participate in the growth of the technology. “We want to create a stronger community by collaborating with established players and incubating and supporting new ideas in this space.”BitHub will host regular workshops and events on digital currency and fintech innovation.Citi was established in 1998 to develop Cape Town and the region as a global technology cluster and hub for innovation that is a significant contributor to economic growth. It has become a blueprint for industry and public sector collaboration models for sector development.The Bandwidth Barn, a Citi operated initiative, has been recognised as Africa’s leading and most established incubator and accelerator. It also offers shared office space for entrepreneurs.Source: BitHublast_img read more