The dictum on desertification

first_imgThe United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) is Rio’s Stepchild, we said. Why? Because it was a neglected and frankly unwanted agreement, signed by the world at the Rio Conference in 1992. It was agreed because African and other developing countries wanted it. It was a sop — give them the crumbs of an agreement, which the rich world did not understand or believe in. In Rio, climate change was the top agenda. Next came the issue of biodiversity conservation — a resource largely surviving in the countries of the South, which need to be conserved and access secured. Then there was the issue of forests — a convention was proposed and staunchly opposed by the developing countries who said that it would infringe on their national resources. In all this acrimony, the desertification convention was born. Also Read – A special kind of bondToday, close to 30 years later; now when the world is beginning to see the deadly impacts of climate change; now when it is still losing the war against the extinction of species and is faced with the dire prospects of catastrophic changes, this forgotten, this neglected convention, must shed its stepchild image. It is the global agreement that will make or break our present and future. The fact is that management of our natural resources, particularly land and water — what this convention is concerned about — is at huge risk today; our own mismanagement is being exacerbated by weird weather events, which is making millions more vulnerable and more marginalised. Also Read – Insider threat managementBut there is another side as well. If we can improve our management of land and water, we can shave off the worst impacts of climate change. We can build wealth for the poorest and improve livelihoods. And, by doing this, we mitigate greenhouse gases (GHG) — growing trees that can sequester carbon dioxide; improving soil health that captures carbon dioxide, and most importantly, changing practices of agriculture and diets is reducing emissions of GHG. So, this convention needs to be moved from the stepchild to the parent. Why do I say this? Sample what is happening in terms of extreme rain events in vast parts of the world — developing and developed; rich and poor; urban and rural. In India, this monsoon, the rain has been a curse, not the boon that it always is. It has come down in torrents — regions have received 1,000-3,000 per cent excess rain; that is over the average of a day. It has meant that rain submerged vast lands; destroyed homes and livelihoods. But what is worse is that flood becomes a drought within no time. This is because the heavy rain cannot be captured; cannot be recharged; and so, there is drought at the time of the flood. Each of these now, not-so-natural calamities, takes away the development dividend that governments work so hard to secure. Houses and other personal belongings are washed away; roads and infrastructure destroyed and all then has to be rebuilt. It is also clear that flood or drought is not just about climate change or changing weather patterns. The fact is drought is about the mismanagement of water resources; where not enough rain is being recharged or water is used inefficiently and inequitably. Flood is about the sheer inability to plan for drainage; for our lack of concern to protect the forests on watersheds or the near-criminal act of building and destroying the flood plains. Then there is also the fact that global temperatures are increasing; intense heat events are being seen in many parts of the world. There is more heat and dust everywhere. In the South Asian subcontinent, temperatures have spiked to unimaginable levels. High temperature means less moisture on the ground; more dust and more desertification. It creates the conditions for a dust bowl — winds of over 130 kilometres per hour — over what is called storm winds of 90-100 km/hour sweep away and make a destructive force. In 2018, over 500 people died in northern Indian states from dust storms. Again, this is the double whammy – high temperatures are only adding to the already heat and water-stressed lands. Lack of green cover increases desertification conditions; over-withdrawal of groundwater; and, poor irrigation practices degrade land over time. Then there is the over-intensification of land, largely because of the way we are doing agriculture. A report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2019 rightly indicted the modern agricultural practices for being over-chemicalised and over-industrialised and so adding to GHG emissions. The report has also called for changes in diets, which will make us tread lightly on the earth. Our food and our climate change footprint are now connected. Therefore, this desertification convention, signed so unwillingly in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio, is now relevant more than ever. There is also another critical change. At the Rio Summit, northern countries asked what this issue had to do with them. Desertification was not a global issue and so, why should there be an international agreement at all. In Rio, African nations, who argued for this convention, had drawn important linkages to how the price of their commodity was dropping, forcing them to discount their land and this, in turn, was adding to desertification and land degradation. Today, there should be no doubt that desertification is a global issue — it requires cooperation between nations. The fact is that we are only just beginning to see the impacts of climate change. These will become more deadly as temperatures continue to spiral and this spiral gets out of hand. It is also clear that today the poor in the world are the victims of this “human-made” disaster — local or global. The rich do not die in sandstorms. The rich do not lose their livelihoods when the next cyclonic system hits. But the fact is that this weird weather portends what awaits us. The change is not linear — it is not predictable. It will come as a shock and we will not be prepared for it — the rich in the developing world or the developed world. Climate change at the end will be an equaliser — it will impact all. It is also clear that one impact of this corrosive change — increasing numbers of disasters because of growing intensity and frequency of weird and abnormal weather will make poor, poorer. Their impoverishment and marginalisation will add to their desperation to move away from their lands and to seek alternative livelihoods. Their only choice will be to migrate — move to the city; move to another country. The double jeopardy, as I have called it, will add to the already-volatile situation of boat people and walls and migrant counting, which is making our world insecure and violent. This is the cycle of destructive change that we must fight. Desertification is then about our globalised world; inter-connected and inter-dependent. This is where the opportunity exists. This convention is not about desertification. It is about fighting desertification. The fact is that every way — in which we choose to fight desertification or land degradation or water scarcity — we will improve livelihoods and end up mitigating climate change. The land and water agenda is at the core of fighting climate change. It is at the core of building local economies to improve the wellbeing of people. To fight poverty. To win the war against human survival. This is what CCD is about. Now, let’s push for global leadership that can drive this change. (The author is Director General of Centre for Science and Environment and the Editor of Down To Earth magazine. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Survey Factory activity in New York state remains solid

first_imgWASHINGTON – Factory activity in New York was strong this month after reaching a three-year high in August.The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Friday that its Empire State manufacturing index dipped to 24.4 in September, a level that still points to a brisk pace of growth for factories. The August reading of 25.2 had been the highest since September 2014.New orders, shipments and hiring all increased this month. Manufacturers were also investing more in their plants and were confident that business would keep improving over the next six months.The index measures sentiment among firms in New York State. It is closely followed by economists because it provides an early read on factory output nationwide. Manufacturing has enjoyed a period of steady growth after slumping for parts of 2015 and 2016.Manufacturers have steadily hired this summer. They added 36,000 factory jobs in August, 26,000 in July and 21,000 in June.last_img read more

City fields closed until further notice

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has decided to close sports fields in local parks until further notice.The closing of the fields is due to the excessive rainfall that has hit the city since last night. Youth soccer, as well as minor baseball, will be cancelled because of this.The City’s Communications Coordinator Ryan Harvey explained that the fields will likely stay closed until they are safe to play on. The city will send out an update once they decide to reopen the fields.last_img read more

Italian central bank chief takes populists to task

MILAN — The head of Italy’s central bank has issued strong warnings against some of the populist government’s economic prescriptions.Ignazio Visco’s annual address in Rome on Friday coincides with a deadline from the EU Commission for Italy to explain why it is lagging in debt reduction.Visco said raising the public deficit, as sought by vice-premier Matteo Salvini, could prove counterproductive if public finances deteriorate and private sector spending contracts. He also called for economic stimulation programs, saying that the lagging economy in the south cannot only be addressed with monetary transfers, a reference to the 5-Star Movement’s basic salary program.Visco said “holding Europe responsible for our troubles is a mistake,” adding that “it diverts attention from the real issues.”The Associated Press read more

Security Council committee releases list of Liberian officials subject to travel ban

The Committee took the step in accordance with a 7 March resolution of the Security Council, which stipulated that all countries “shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of senior members of the Government of Liberia and its armed forces and their spouses.” The ban also covered any other individuals providing financial and military support to armed rebel groups in countries neighbouring Liberia, in particular the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone.The Committee said the list would be updated regularly. read more

Security Council approves interim arrangements UN role in Iraq lifts sanctions

The United Nations Security Council today adopted a new resolution on Iraq granting wide interim governing powers to the United States and its coalition partners, including a role for a UN Special Representative working with this provisional authority, and lifting sanctions imposed almost 13 years ago following the invasion of Kuwait.The resolution, co-sponsored by the US, United Kingdom and Spain, also allows for full resumption of oil sales in order to restore economic activity for reconstruction, sets up a government infrastructure under the new US-controlled Authority, and calls on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint a Special Representative.Its adoption, by 14 votes to 0, with Syria not participating, contrasted with the deep divisions among the 15-member body in the run-up to the US-led war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Then, the same three co-sponsors decided not to submit to a vote a draft resolution effectively allowing the use of force in the face of a threatened veto, and possible failure even to muster the nine votes required for passage.Today’s resolution includes among the UN Special Representative’s duties “working intensively with the Authority, the people of Iraq, and others concerned to advance efforts to restore and establish national and local institutions for representative governance, including by working together to facilitate a process leading to an internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq.”Mr. Annan is also to appoint a representative to an International Advisory and Monitoring Board which will audit a Development Fund for Iraq, a trust fund into which oil and other revenues will be paid, to be disbursed at the discretion of the provisional Authority for humanitarian and economic reconstruction and other costs.No specific time limit is imposed on the Authority and its concomitant arrangements other than that they will continue until an “internationally recognized, representative [Iraqi] government” has been established to succeed the Authority.Mr. Annan said earlier this week he would move “very quickly” to appoint the Special Representative as soon as the Council passed the resolution and that the envoy would take up the job as soon as was practicable.The text also allows for a Council review in 12 months time in answer to demands by some members that there should be a new vote after a year. The new clause does not call for a new vote but states: “[the Council] decides to review the implementation of this resolution within twelve months of adoption and to consider further steps that might be necessary.”On the issue of weapons inspections, the Council underlined its intention “to revisit the mandates of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).”In addition, the resolution extends for another six months Mr. Annan’s authority to run the UN Oil-for-Food programme, under which Baghdad was allowed to use oil sales to buy the food and humanitarian supplies on which 60 per cent of Iraqis depended as their sole source of sustenance, before finally terminating it.The extension allows the Secretary-General to prioritize shipments for billions of dollars of already signed contracts in the humanitarian pipeline before handing all remaining activities of the programme to the provisional Authority.The Executive Director of the Oil-for-Food programme, Benon Sevan, welcomed the adoption of resolution 1483, saying that the lifting of sanctions represented long-awaited relief for the Iraqi people.“Iraq is blessed with natural and human resources, not the least of those being oil and a well-educated and extraordinarily resilient population and an extremely competent cadre of industrial managers and experts capable of driving the economy forward,” he said in a statement released late Thursday afternoon. “If peace and security prevail, their formidable capacity and ingenuity will be unshackled by today’s resolution.” Listen to UN Radio report read more

Sudan UN expands aid to conflictravaged Blue Nile state after first delivery

The first round of distributions consisted of two-month food rations for about 12,000 people in Geissan and 39,000 in Kurmuk, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced today.It plans to reach people in six localities before the rainy season begins in May but it still needs some $20 million to secure 17,000 metric tons of food for the response. In what it called a “major breakthrough,” WFP last week announced that the first UN food rations reached conflict-affected people in Blue Nile state since 2011, when the isolated rural area near the South Sudan border was cut off by insecurity and movement restrictions imposed by the Government.“While we continue to strive for access to all areas, this is still a major breakthrough which will enable us to assist those who continue to be displaced by the conflict or those who have decided to return to their homes and are in dire need of food assistance,” WFP Country Director Adnan Khan said at the time. Fighting between the Sudanese armed forces and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) broke out in the state after neighbouring South Sudan seceded under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a decades-long civil war. The fighting in Blue Nile displaced and then isolated tens of thousands of people. read more

Developing alternative explosives blasting without NOx hazard

first_imgIn Australia, CRCMining is developing cutting-edge blasting solutions to eliminate the serious hazard of post blast nitrogen oxide fumes (NOx) from coal overburden blasting. This will significantly reduce risk of workplace, health, safety and environmental issues. Post blast nitrogen oxide fumes (NOx) from coal overburden blasting appears to be an industry-wide problem that occurs in a variety of geological conditions and with the use of a variety of bulk ammonium nitrate (AN) based explosive products. Nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide are toxic gases and can cause serious health risks to personnel exposed, and can also adversely affect the environment in several ways.Increased government and media scrutiny of post blast fume generation and risk control has had a direct impact on the industry’s license to operate. However, research and development into mining explosives since the introduction of ammonium nitrate and emulsions has been at a stand-still for more than 60 years, CRCMining says.A way to replace AN is a step-change which could offer different alternatives and possibilities to mining companies, particularly with regards to procurement and security of supply.As part of CRCMining’s research roadmap to deliver outcomes that solve industry grand challenges in surface and underground mining, the Centre in partnership with the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering of the University of Queensland, is developing ground-breaking solutions that could potentially eliminate the NOx hazard.The current project aims to develop an explosive formulation that will match the rock breakage requirements of soft and saturated ground conditions, and also substitutes the use of AN as the main oxidising agent, which will completely eliminate the potential of NOx fumes.Project leader Dr Italo Onederra explains, “This is a very exciting project as it focuses on the elimination of the NOx hazard by applying scientific principles rather than procedural methods, which are prone to variability.”“Preliminary detonation test results recently published at an international conference are very encouraging. If the explosive delivers the expected outcomes, there is no doubt that Australia will be at the forefront of mining explosives’ innovation,” said Onederra.Future benefits may also include the elimination of the potential risk of AN discharge into groundwater systems. There will also be potential improvements in overall community safety associated with manufacturing and transportation processes. The development process will also incorporate the use of sustainable and renewable fuel sources into the testing program.ACARP is currently funding the first stage of development of this project, led by Onederra and Miguel Araos. CRCMining is seeking potential mining partners to launch the next stage of the project and secure trial sites.last_img read more

HP TouchPad Go 7inch exists images posted online

first_imgFew gadgets have generated as much discussion as the HP TouchPad this summer. Once thought to have the potential to seriously challenge the iPad, the TouchPad saw its brief retail run cut short by HP — who then slashed its price to a ridiculous $99 and promptly burned through remaining stock like a pile of kerosene-soaked rags.Prior to the fire sale, it was known that additional models beyond the 16GB and 32GB TouchPads (that some of our Geek readers were lucky enough to buy before they disappeared) were in the pipe. There was a 64GB white model with a 1.5GHz processor, a 3G variant, and a 7-inch model called the HP TouchPad Go (previously codenamed Opal).The latter has now made an appearance on the Web, thanks to a forum user who claims to have had one for nearly three months. His reported specs match what earlier rumors and an FCC filing had described: a 1.5GHz processor, 16GB of internal storage, and a 1024×768 display. Unlike the larger version, the TouchPad Go was also fitted with a rear-facing camera — a logical addition, since it’s much more comfortable to snap photos with a device its size than with a 10-inch slate that weighs around 26 ounces.The TouchPad Go was supposedly due to go on sale in August, but HP pulled the pin before that ever happened. Obviously a few of the 7-inch tablets made their way into the wild, however, so there’s still an outside chance the company might have some to sell off when it has that final round of TouchPad units ready to go. And who knows? With the 10-inch 16GB TouchPad going for $99, maybe they’d blow the little guys out at $79. Hey, a guy can dream, right?In the event that the TouchPad Go never surfaces, at least you can console yourself somewhat knowing that Android tablet prices are on the slide — and that 7 and 8-inch models are becoming more common.More at This Is My Nextlast_img read more

Batista announces retirement from WWE; Thanks fans following WrestleMania 35

first_img Google+ Triple H Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles WWE Clash of Champions Results – 9/15/19 (Rollins vs. Strowman, Kingston vs. Orton) Live Podcast: Reviewing and discussing WWE Clash of Champions from Charlotte Wrestleview Live #65: Reviewing and discussing WWE Clash of Champions from Charlotte Top 3: Comic-Con Moments Dave Bautista Announces His Retirement From WWE WhatsApp Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles Dave Bautistacenter_img Batista And Triple H Will Fight For Their Careers Batista has announced his retirement from the WWE.Following his match against Triple H at WrestleMania 35, Batista announced on his social media channels that he was retiring from sports entertainment.Batista signed with the WWE in 2000 and gained popularity after forming Evolution alongside Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton. videosPowered by AnyClipDave Bautista Announces His Retirement From WWEVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:40/Current Time 0:06Loaded: 100.00%0:07Remaining Time -0:34 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Pinterest Now Playing Up Next Roy Nemer RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Now Playing Up Next Dave Bautista Reportedly Backstage At WWE Raw Facebook Dave Bautista retires from WWE and explains why he wants to face Triple H Now Playing Up Next Twitterlast_img read more

England must be aggressive and brave – Kane

first_imgEngland captain Harry Kane has urged his teammates to be both “aggressive and brave” ahead of the upcoming World CupThe Tottenham forward acknowledged that England have been too cautious in past tournaments and so, therefore, have been unable to properly display their true potential due to their rather excessive focus on playing it safe.While the Three Lions have fallen short in the major tournaments over the years, Kane is anticipating a change in routine for the current squad.“There will be tough moments, and ups and downs. Sometimes going into a big tournament is about not losing and being passive but, for us, it’s about playing attacking football,” he told Sky Sports.“We are aiming to win the first game, then to target the second, and take that attitude to the World Cup.”Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.Since making his England debut at senior level in 2015, Kane has since gone on to score 13 goals in 24 appearances.However, he failed to find the back of the net in Euro 2016 as England were shockingly eliminated by Iceland in the Round of 16 stage.“Personally, that (scoring) record is something I want to change, and hopefully will this summer,” said Kane.Gareth Southgate’s side will begin their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on Monday next week.last_img read more

Antonio backs Sterling following racist abuse

first_imgWest Ham winger Michail Antonio has come out in support of Raheem Sterling and described the City forward as “brave” for his stand against racism.Sterling was the target of an alleged racial abuse on Saturday during City’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea and Antonio who have had a similar experience is supporting the England international for his stand on the issue of racism in football.“I experienced it when I was younger. I was like 10 or 11. A kid called me a monkey,” Antonio told Sky Sports.“I’ve not experienced it as a professional footballer myself, but it’s just one of those things where it happens. It’s just how it gets dealt with.norwich city, manchester city, premier leagueReport: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“To be honest, I think he’s a very brave man.“He’s showing facts and I honestly believe he’s done the right thing.“You can blame one person, but putting it out there and showing it’s not just one person that’s doing it, he’s saying the media, if we can stop it being in the papers, if we can stop it from the source, that’s how it ends.”last_img read more

ASA Celebrates National Ag Day 2016

first_imgThe American Soybean Association (ASA) is proud to join its colleagues and the entire agriculture industry as we celebrate National Agriculture Day.The ASA Board of Directors is in Washington, D.C. this week for its annual spring meeting and will participate in various ceremonies to commemorate.Each day out in their fields, farmers work to provide the food, fiber and fuel for our communities. When they meet with lawmakers on The Hill, they’re taking steps to advance agriculture for the future. Today that work is in the spotlight, but it’s important to remember throughout the year.“It’s vital for every American to learn about what farmers do,” said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, Del. “It’s important that as growers, we always help shine the light on our work and the role agriculture plays in our everyday life and the economy. We should keep sharing our stories, answering questions, incorporating and fighting for new technology every day to continue to advance agriculture to feed our growing families, nation and world.”The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) started National Ag Day in 1973 to spread awareness and support the industry.last_img read more

Strong start to Golden Week with Macau visitor numbers up 184

first_img Load More RelatedPosts Galaxy offers first glimpse of new Galaxy Macau convention center ahead of 2021 launch Macau GGR tumbles 8.6% in August Macau has enjoyed a strong start to Golden Week with the number of arrivals growing by 18.4% year-on-year to 131,971 on the opening day, according to figures from the Public Security Police Force.That figure includes a 35.5% increase in arrivals from mainland China to 111,643, representing almost 85% of the total. JW Marriott at Galaxy Macau named venue and Galaxy Entertainment Group named Venue Sponsor for 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 Black Tie Gala Dinner Not surprisingly, 83,713 of the total arrivals into Macau on Monday came via the border gate, with another 19,032 entering via the Cotai checkpoint. Another 21,721 arrived by sea at one of the city’s two ferry terminals, while 7,470 flew into Macau International Airport.Golden Week officially began on China’s National Day on Monday and runs for seven days through until this Sunday 7 October.last_img read more

WATCH Womans car plunges off 7th floor of parking garage

first_imgWater-filled barriers have been put in place as temporary safeguards on all the floors while the property owner files an extension to redesign the whole cable system.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AUSTIN, TX (WSVN) — Newly-released video shows the moment a car plummeted from the seventh floor of a parking garage and landed upside down.Austin Police released surveillance footage of the incident from July 13 in a downtown parking garage.Fox 7 reports that three different surveillance cameras captured the incident. One angle shows an SUV backing out on the ground floor, then pauses by the garage entrance, only to be hit in the back by the woman’s falling car.William Burch, the driver of the SUV, moved his vehicle away from the fallen car before he and other witnesses rushed to rescue the woman stuck inside.“She was upside down. They had to pull her out from her seat belt and her head was bloody and they pulled her off to the side under the awning,” Burch said. “I rushed back over here and called my wife to let her know I was okay.”The woman said she hit the wrong pedal, causing her vehicle to break through the cable wiring on the seventh floor. Paramedics called her injuries non-life threatening.According to Fox 7, city code enforcement is working with the building’s owners and engineers to bring the garage’s cable system into compliance. last_img read more

Big Earth Publishing Acquires Telluride Magazine

first_imgIn February, Big Earth—which primarily publishes books—acquired Women’s Adventure, the first in its newly-formed magazine publishing division. Neenah, Wisconsin-based Big Earth Publishing has acquired Telluride magazine and its accompanying Telluride Visitors Guide. M.C. Alcamo & Co. represented Telluride in the deal. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.Telluride is the flagship magazine of southwest Colorado publisher Telluride Publishing, and features health, environmental and sports content about the Colorado mountain town. The 25-year-old, twice-yearly magazine has an annual circulation of 70,000. In addition to the magazine and travel guide, Telluride Publishing produces a number of custom products. Telluride owner and publisher John Arnold will join Big Earth’s leadership team as part of the deal.last_img read more

Porn star files suit against Trump

first_imgThis combination of file pictures created on 14 February 2018 shows US president Donald Trump speaking during a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress on infrastructure in the Cabinet Room of the White House on 14 February 14, 2018 in Washington, DC; and adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels as she hosts a Super Bowl party at Sapphire Las Vegas Gentlemen`s Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 4 February 2018. AFPThe lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels said Wednesday that she had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump and wants to nullify a “hush agreement” so the public can decide “who’s telling the truth.”Los Angeles lawyer Michael Avenatti filed a lawsuit on behalf of Daniels on Tuesday seeking to toss out the confidential settlement she signed just days before the November 2016 election.Avenatti made the rounds of the morning talk shows on Wednesday to explain the legal move by Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.Asked on NBC’s “Today” show if Daniels had a sexual relationship with Trump, Avenatti immediately replied “Yes.”“She believes it’s important that the public learn the truth about what happened,” he said. “I think it’s time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who’s telling the truth.”White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the allegations at the daily press briefing and noted that Trump has denied them.“The president has denied the allegations against him,” Sanders told reporters.“The president has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true,” Sanders said. “Anything beyond that I would refer you to the president’s outside counsel.”As part of the lawsuit filed with a California court seeking to declare the non-disclosure agreement null and void, Avenatti released a copy of the settlement.It shows that Daniels received a $130,000 payment from a company known as Essential Consultants LLC in return for her silence.Peggy Peterson and David DennisonUsing the pseudonyms Peggy Peterson and David Dennison, Daniels and Trump were to sign the agreement, along with Essential Consultants.But Trump never signed it, providing the basis for Avenatti’s attempt to have it thrown out and release Daniels from her obligations.“It’s our position that the entire agreement is null and void because he did not sign it,” the lawyer told the “Today” show.He said Daniels would return the $130,000 if need be.“I think she may have to and she’s prepared to do that,” Avenatti said.The lawsuit alleges that Daniels began an “intimate relationship” with Trump in the summer of 2006 and that it continued well into 2007.After Trump won the Republican Party nomination for president in 2016, Daniels sought to share details of their relationship with the media, it said.Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen “aggressively” sought to “silence Ms Clifford as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth, thus helping to ensure he won the presidential election,” the document says.On October 28, 2016 — two weeks before the November 8 presidential election-Daniels and Essential Consultants signed the confidential settlement agreement but not Trump.Cohen claimed last month he had paid Daniels $130,000 from his personal funds but declined to explain why he made the payment or if Trump was aware of it.Avenatti said Wednesday he was convinced Trump was aware of the payment.“There’s no question the president knew about it at the time,” he said.“The idea that an attorney would go off on his own without his client’s knowledge and engage in this type of negotiation and enter into this type of agreement quite honestly I think is ludicrous,” he said.Cohen’s comments came after the watchdog group Common Cause filed a federal complaint in January arguing that the payout may have violated campaign finance rules.last_img

Baker and Democrats Call Out Trump for Personal Investment in FBI Headquarters

first_imgBy Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, mgreen@afro.comAs Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker approaches the end of his second term, he shared his extreme disappointment in the decision to not move the FBI headquarters to Prince George’s County- one of Baker’s major projects during his time as County Executive.“I think this was a loss for the state,” Baker said according to The Prince George’s Sentinel.Greenbelt and Landover were two of the three locations in the running for the new FBI headquarters; yet the Trump administration announced in July 2017 that the move would now be canceled, stating it would be cheaper to renovate and build over the current dilapidated property at the Hoover building.The Hoover building is the current location of the FBI headquarters and a block away from the Trump Hotel, which is said to be the reason why President Donald Trump wanted to keep the site there. (Courtesy Photo)However, The Prince George’s Sentinel reported that leaked emails and meetings with the General Services Administration (GSA) proved that the president’s decision to scrap the relocation of the FBI rooted from personal concerns.The Hoover building is a block from the District’s Trump Hotel, causing Democratic leaders to accuse the president’s involvement in the FBI’s rebuilding as a personal investment.  Initially the plan was to sell the Hoover building as a means of offsetting rebuilding and relocation costs, yet selling it to a competitor could hurt the Trump Hotel.“I did not have a high opinion of [President Donald Trump] anyway, but I would have never thought that he would base any personal decision based on his businesses and essentially, denied a safe work environment for the men and women that put their lives on the line,” Baker said according to The Sentinel. “I thought that would never happen, so it went from not having a high opinion of him to going extremely low.”“The president and his administration have employed faulty and misleading reasoning to keep the FBI in its current location and have displayed an alarming lack of transparency and accountability with Congress,” Congressman Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) said.  “These new documents solidify my original suspicion that President Trump is politicizing this critical national security project to disrupt the men and women of the FBI – an agency he has long attacked – and protect his bottom line.”According to emails released on Nov. 2 from the House Oversight Committee, the decision to keep the FBI in Washington, D.C. would not be beneficial, as it would house less employees and cost more than the $3.6 billion proposed to build in Prince George’s County.Baker considered the relocation of the FBI headquarters his “No. 2” project, right behind the successful construction of University of Maryland Medical Center, due to open in 2021.  The County Executive devoted a great deal into the bid for getting the FBI in Prince George’s County- investing more than $60 million and over 20 trips to the GSA offices in D.C.“Not only have resources and money been wasted, but more importantly, we are no closer to providing the American people the increased security and safety they desperately need from a consolidated and high security campus,” Baker said, according to a February 2018 AFRO report.Beyond a great boasting tool for the county, Prince George’s would have seen great economic development, according to Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Economic Development David Iannucci.“It would have been a truly historic, transformative, economical and development win for Prince George’s County,” Iannucci said, according to The Sentinel.Now Baker encourages his successor, Angela Alsobrooks, to continue pursuing the project, which at the moment is at a standstill.“My advice to her would be to push hard and weigh on our federal partners to make sure they go forward with their plans to force the president’s hand,” Baker said according to The Sentinel. “They have to have a new consolidated FBI building, and Prince George’s County should be in position to be competitive for that.”last_img read more

Researchers create most tangled interlocked molecule ever

first_imgThe 12 component (6 × ligand 1; 6 × Fe2+) assembly of the intermediate hexameric circular helicate [Fe616](PF6)12 and the synthesis of the +31#+31#+31 composite knot 2 and 937 link 3. Credit: Nature Chemistry (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41557-018-0124-6 Chemistry researchers create self-tying knotted molecules in the lab More information: Liang Zhang et al. Stereoselective synthesis of a composite knot with nine crossings, Nature Chemistry (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41557-018-0124-6AbstractThe simultaneous synthesis of a molecular nine-crossing composite knot that contains three trefoil tangles of the same handedness and a 937973 link (a type of cyclic [3]catenane topologically constrained to always have at least three twists within the links) is reported. Both compounds contain high degrees of topological writhe (w = 9), a structural feature of supercoiled DNA. The entwined products are generated from the cyclization of a hexameric Fe(II) circular helicate by ring-closing olefin metathesis, with the mixture of topological isomers formed as a result of different ligand connectivity patterns. The metal-coordinated composite knot was isolated by crystallization, the topology unambiguously proven by tandem mass spectrometry, with X-ray crystallography confirming that the 324-atom loop crosses itself nine times with matching handedness (all Δ or all Λ) at every metal centre within each molecule. Controlling the connectivity of the ligand end groups on circular metal helicate scaffolds provides an effective synthetic strategy for the stereoselective synthesis of composite knots and other complex molecular topologies. Tying molecules into knots is a relatively new field—scientists have only been doing it for a decade. It is also unique because thus far there are very few if any practical applications for most such knots. Still, some chemists find the work intriguing, so they continue to create new and ever more complicated knots. In this new effort, the team at UM has built on prior work that led to the creation of molecules shaped like the Star of David and one that was deemed by Guinness as the world’s tightest—by creating one in the shape of a three-trefoil tangle.While the name might sound complicated, the three-trefoil tangle is actually quite simple—creating one with a shoelace, for example, can be done by a child. But using a single 324 atom molecular strand molecule to do it takes some work. The group accomplished this feat by starting with six strands, each with an alkene group at its tips—and groups of three bipyridyls in the middle. They then manipulated the ligands to wrap around six iron ions to hold them in place. They finished by using a catalyst to connect the alkenes with a metathesis reaction to remove the iron. The result was a knot with nine crossings. As part of their work, the researchers also created a granny knot by connecting three figure-eight knots together.The researchers acknowledge that neither of their knots has any practical use at this time, but note that historically, new kinds of knots have been created to suit particular demands. Rock climbers, for example, use knots that are very different from sailors. This suggests that now that chemists know that knots can be made, they might find applications that can benefit from them. They also suggest that learning how to tie molecules in knots can help scientists understand how natural ones occur, such as those in viruses. Journal information: Nature Chemistry © 2018 Phys.orgcenter_img Citation: Researchers create most tangled interlocked molecule ever (2018, September 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from A team of researchers at the University of Manchester has created the most tangled interlocked molecule ever. In their paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry, the group describes creating the knot and their hope that such knots will one day become useful. Edward Fenlon with Franklin & Marshall College offers a News and Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. 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.last_img read more

FastForwarding Hollywood in 2017

first_imgHollywood summer releases have offered a sweet salty ride as of now with the release of disasters like Baywatch and XXX: Return of the Xandar cage and at the same time it has made us groove to the tunes of Peter Quill’s mixtape in Guardians of Galaxy Vol 2. This Dichotomy of success seems to prevail as the Friday release ‘The mummy’ was panned down by the critics while Wonder woman continues to amuse the audience and critics alike, skyrocketing it towards commercial and critical success. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAfter experiencing the dark and broody world of Logan and diving into the psyched world of M Night Shyamalan’s Split, the movie buffs might be struck with complacency with the onset of numerous mediocre films right now. However, Hollywood has already started offering a bit of what might turn out to be a treasure trove of cinematic bliss.Following the release of The Mummy, the month of June still has a few more anticipated flicks to offer such as the fifth instalment of the Transformers series, The Last Knight, which ups the ante with a war between the humans and the transformers. During the uncalled absence of Optimus prime from earth, Mark Walberg reprising his role as Cade Yeager teams up with an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) to save the world. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveOther notable mention for the month is Edgar Wright’s star studded crime thriller Baby Driver with Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal standing tall as the supporting cast. The third instalment of fan favourite animated series, Despicable me 3 will be the cherry on top with an army of minions ready to follow Gru (Steve Carell) on a mission to stop 80’s child star Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) from achieving world domination. Adding to the delight on the animation front, Lightning McQueen and all the beloved talking cars will return in Disney-Pixar’s Cars 3D as well. While the onset of monsoon is expected in the early July back home, Hollywood is all set to rain down at us with some expected blockbusters. Tom Holland’s reprisal of his role as the Wall-crawler in Spider-Man: Homecoming after his outing in last year’s Captain America: Civil War is going to treat the marvel enthusiasts with the adventures of the teenage superhero. Under the tutelage of Tony Stark a.k.a Iron Man, he is expected to learn the value of humble beginnings for a superhero.On the other hand, War for the planet of Apes sets up an epic end to the series as it pits the enhanced talking apes against an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson) in an unrestrained conflict. The Primate Leader Caser gives up on the shared value for humanity after his kind suffers unimaginable loss, leading to a clash which would decide the fate of both the species. Talking about ambitious sci-fi space movies, Luc Besson’s, Valerian has set up the hype and is going to fight it out with Christopher Nolan’s war movie, Dunkirk. Being one of the most ambitious project by Nolan, Dunkirk portrays the harrowing experience of the allied troops in the 1940’s before they were safely evacuated from the beaches.August being the month of highest birth rate in the US has its fair share of cinematic births this year as it strikes from the beginning with the adaptation of the Stephen king’s celebrated literary work, The Dark Tower. The titular character of the last gunslinger Roland Deschain in the movie is graced by Edris Alba’s acting and the antagonist of the storyline, the man in black is brought to life on screen by Academy Award winning actor Matthew Mcconaughey. The month doesn’t end without its fair share of horror and comedy with the release of Anabelle: Creation and The Hitman’s Bodyguard, starring Ryan Reynolds.At the moment when it feels like that cinephiles would be satiated with the offerings of Tinsel town, the month of September and October will flood the gates of leisure with another set of promising projects including the likes of IT, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The lego Ninjango Movie, The Blade Runner 2049 and Saw: Legacy. With the release of IT, this year would be blessed with the second adaptation of a Stephen King classic wherein the evil clown pennywise strikes horror among the neighbourhood kids with the backdrop of children disappearances in the town of Derry.’All is well that ends well’ is an adage which the Movie-makers are conforming with the slated movies in November and December. Millennials are expected to go berserk at the year end with two major superhero ensemble offerings from DC and Marvel. In Thor: Ragnarok, the Norse god will be seen saving his home world and Asgardian culture against the all-powerful Hela, with Hulk and Doctor Strange playing major role in the storyline. While the world has seen two live-action Avengers movie in the recent past, cine-goers would experience the DC’s version of superhero team-up movie, appropriately titled, Justice League for the first time wherein Batman and wonder woman recruit a group of superheroes to face a greater threat following the events of BvS: Dawn of Justice. With the superhero frenzy floating around, adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic, Murder on the Orient Express is expected to provide the much needed gravity. Putting an end to the overwhelming experience, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle would gush in the nostalgia setting up the perfect farewell for the year 2017.last_img read more