Train crews reject Canadian Pacific Railway oneyear contract extension

first_imgCALGARY – Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (TSX:CP) says it’s disappointed but not deterred that train crews voted to reject a one-year contract renewal.CP Rail said it’s meeting with leaders of the union representing rail workers on Thursday to discuss the results of the vote in which a majority of members rejected the proposed extension.“We look forward to working with the union membership to better understand this result and to discuss next steps,” said CEO Keith Creel.“We remain optimistic that we can come to a mutually beneficial agreement.”A memo posted by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said that of the 1,725 members who voted on the contract renewal, 1,158 said no to the proposal.The union represents approximately 3,000 Canadian conductors and engineers at CP Rail.“The TCRC is assessing the entire situation and consistent with the Labour Code will be contacting CP to begin the bargaining process,” said Teamsters president Douglas Finnson.last_img read more

Jet pilots threaten to stop flying from Apr 1

first_imgMumbai: The umbrella body of the domestic pilots of the nearly crippled Jet Airways Tuesday threatened to stop flying from April 1, if the resolution plan is delayed and salary dues are not cleared by the end of this month.The decision was taken at the annual meeting of Jet Airways domestic pilots body National Aviators Guild after a meeting here lasting for over 90 minutes. The guild, which came into being almost a decade ago, represents around 1,000 domestic pilots at the airline. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”If there is no proper clarity on the resolution process and salary payments, by March 31, we will stop flying from April 1,” the guild said. Having failed to get any assurance from the management on salaries, the guild last week had written to Union labour minister Santosh Gangwar, seeking his intervention. Meanwhile, as Jet Airways, one of India’s largest airlines, hurtled towards bankruptcy, the government on Tuesday called an emergency meeting with its management. The cash-strapped carrier is struggling to make payments to its creditors and has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights as it fights competition, a weak rupee and rising fuel costs. The maintenance engineers’ union of the airline Tuesday wrote to the aviation regulator DGCA that they are owed three months of salary and flight safety “is at risk”. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayCivil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted Tuesday morning that he had asked for a compliance report from Jet and the aviation watchdog, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) immediately. Prabhu also said he had asked for an emergency meeting on the issues such as the grounding of aircraft, advance bookings, cancellations and refunds. There are reports that the government has asked central banks to bail out Jet Airways for the moment to prevent the airline from going bankrupt. “It is a dynamic situation and there may be further attrition in coming weeks,” the aviation regulator said in a statement. Asserting that it is ensuring that all aircraft in the fleet are maintained in accordance with the approved maintenance programme, DGCA said it is “continuously monitoring the overall situation and based on the same, will take appropriate steps by the end of the month, if needed.” Earlier Tuesday, the airline said it had grounded four more planes and would delay paying interest on maturing debt in a fresh sign of deepening liquidity crisis engulfing the carrier.last_img read more

Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton for President

By Bryn Miller,Rabat – On Tuesday morning, Senator Bernie Sanders formally endorsed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and urged his supporters to back her campaign.Taking the stage next to Secretary Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire, Sanders thanked the millions of Americans that had voted for him and supported his campaign. “I am proud of the campaign we ran,” the Senator said. “Our campaign won the primaries and caucuses in 22 states, and when the roll call at the Democratic National Convention is announced, it will show that we won almost 1900 delegates… But it is not enough to win the nomination. Secretary Clinton goes into the convention with 389 more pledged delegates than we have and a lot more super delegates. She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she is the next president of the United States.”Sanders noted the critical importance of this election for both America and the world, asserting that Clinton is “far and away the best candidate” to address the crises the United States faces.Although Sanders had previously stated  that he would vote for Secretary Clinton in November, he had not yet formally endorsed her. After the primaries ended and it became clear that Secretary Clinton would become the nominee, Sanders used his remaining leverage to influence the party platform. However, after a progressive draft  of the platform was released on July 1, there was little reason to withhold his endorsement.Sanders’ endorsement is a crucial step towards unifying the Democratic party as the Democratic National Convention and general election draw nearer. read more

Preliminary report says Ethiopia crew followed Boeing rules

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The preliminary report of the data from the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed last month states that the flight crew performed all procedures from Boeing but could not control the jet.Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges made the announcement at a press conference Thursday citing data from the doomed plane’s recorders.The Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed on March 10 shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board. It was the second crash of a 737 Max within five months, following a Lion Air crash in Indonesia.Following the Ethiopian disaster, the Max jets have been grounded worldwide pending a software fix that Boeing is rolling out, which must still receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators.The Associated Press read more

UN endeavours to ensure that children have a say in climate change

Some 100 heads of State and government are gathering at UN Headquarters in New York today for a meeting on global warming convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hopes that the event will generate political momentum towards ‘sealing the deal’ in the Danish capital in December on an ambitious agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.“But the issue of children is very easily overlooked,” according to Ken Maskall, a special advisor for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Texts being negotiated by nations, he said, include “scant reference to children.”Characterizing climate change as an issue of “intergenerational justice,” which exacerbates already existing problems such as poverty, inequity and degraded environments, he emphasized that “if we’re failing to act, we’re doing harm and infringing upon the rights of future generations.”According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children bear a disproportionate burden of disease caused by environmental factors, exacerbated by social and economic conditions such as conflict, poverty and malnutrition. Although they account for only 10 per cent of the global population, children under the age of five are victims of over 40 per cent of serious health risks resulting from environmental hazards, WHO said. Diarrhoeal diseases also claim almost 2 million children’s lives yearly, with most cases related to environmental conditions, such as contaminated water and inadequate conditions.Global warming poses health risks – triggering catastrophic weather events, affecting food and water supplies, increasing air pollution and leading to the emergence of new infectious disease outbreaks – and will likely have the greatest impact on developing nations, which are the least able to cope and respond, according to the agency.UN experts, however, point to health indicators as only one benchmark of measuring global warming’s impact on children.“You have to look at the cumulative impact of climate change, which sets off a chain of reactions,” including aggravating poverty and malnutrition, said Maaike Jansen, who works as a Programme Officer for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).These, in turn, she said, could potentially interfere with a child’s mental development and educational achievements, leaving lasting effects.Mitigation measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions are vital, Ms. Jansen pointed out. Equally crucial are adaptation strategies, ranging from improving disaster risk reduction activities, such as teaching children how to swim, improved water management and creating drought-resistant crops.An end to “development as usual” is necessary to tackle climate change, said Lucy Stone, Climate Change Project Manager for UNICEF in the United Kingdom.“All development now will have to factor in how to adapt to the changing climate” by erecting homes away from flood zones and hurricane-proofing buildings, among other measures, as well as how to move towards a low-carbon society, where renewable forms of energy replace fossil fuels as the main sources of energy, she noted.World leaders are discussing the future of the war against global warming today and nations are gearing up towards Copenhagen, but children hold the “moral card” in the climate debate since they are the ones who will live with the decisions made now, Ms. Stone underscored.Behavioural change can only be brought about by children, Mr. Maskall said, stressing the value of empowering kids and of environmental education targeted for young people. “Children want to be taken seriously, and there is a new generation of young activists using all available media technology and increasingly are going to play a more forceful role in changing direction of debate,” he predicted.UN agencies, including UNICEF, UNEP and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), are supporting an initiative called Unite for Climate, which seeks to heighten youth actions in finding solutions to global warming.That scheme aims to swell the number of children involved in the fighting climate change, as well as bring together various climate campaigns from around the world.Last month, the largest-ever youth climate change conference, organized by UNEP, was held in the Republic of Korea, with the 800 young participants pledging to plough ahead with efforts to ensure that global warming remains an international priority.During the week-long Tunza International Youth Conference on Climate Change, young people agreed on regional action plans calling for, among other measures, reaching out to other environmental groups, educating others about the upcoming Copenhagen conference and utilizing social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to spread the message. “There are a lot of indigenous cultures that are losing, because nobody wants to hear what we want to say, what we know about mother earth, and it is frustrating for us because we have so many things to share and the world doesn’t listen to us,” said Yaiguili Alvarado Garcia from the Kuna indigenous group in Panama. “There are many things we asked the governments to do and we know it is hard, but we want to work with them. We just want to make a better place for the children, for the animals and plants. It is about time we stop thinking just for us and think also for other beings that cannot speak for themselves. It is time to stop being selfish,” she added. 22 September 2009As negotiations for a new climate change agreement to be reached in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the end of the year enter their final stretch, the United Nations is continuing its push to ensure that the voices and needs of children – among the most vulnerable to global warming – are not ignored. read more

Brock nursing team enters Alzheimer Society walk

A group of future nurses from Brock is entering a team in the Alzheimer Society of Niagara Walk for Memories this weekend.Under the banner of “Brock’s Future Nurses,” the team is led by student Michelle Richardson. Fourth-year student Samantha Micsinszki is participating, as is Lynn McCleary, associate professor of Nursing.The walk is an annual event to raise money for programs at the Alzheimer Society of Niagara. The walk will be Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Pen Centre.Click here to sponsor the Brock team.

Environment the focus of market fair on campus

Gardening, beekeeping and renewable energy will be among the many topics highlighted during an event on campus Saturday, Oct. 28.The Let’s Learn Together Market Fair, taking place at Pond Inlet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will bring together experts and community leaders to discuss waste management, water conservation and other environment-related concepts and activities.The free family-friendly market fair is hosted by the Niagara Farm Project, in conjunction with Brock Student Life and Community Experience, Healthy Kids Niagara, Textile Waste Diversion and Social Enterprise Niagara.Various community organizations will have booths set up to provide information and will be running a series of workshops throughout the afternoon.Participants are encouraged to bring seeds to be include in the Niagara Wide Seed Library, as well as healthy nonperishable food items to support Niagara Farm Project’s food drive and low-cost food program.Gently-used clothing donations will also be accepted for a clothing drive organized by Textile Waste Diversion.For more information, visit the Let’s Learn Together Market Fair Facebook page. read more

Sir Isaac Brocks birthday celebration Thursday

PRE-SEASON BASKETBALL GAMEThe Brock men’s basketball team will be hosting St. Francis Xavier from Nova Scotia for their first pre-season game at 7 p.m. in Bob Davis gym. Tickets are available at the door. Let’s show the east coast that the Badgers are the best fans in Canada.Top 5 facts about Major-General Sir Isaac Brock:He was born on October 6, 1768 on the Island of Guernsey, one of Britain’s channel islands.Brock University offers an annual Brock Guernsey Undergraduate Scholarship to a resident of Guernsey, commemorating Isaac Brock’s place of birth.He is remembered for his distinctive British red coat and white trousers.Most of the portraits of Isaac Brock are artists’ impressions. Only two are known to be authentic, or done during his lifetime.Before passing in the War of 1812, he was reported to have told his comrades ‘Surgite!’, Latin for ‘push on’ – the motto for Brock University. A grand celebration fit for the hero of Upper Canada.Brock University invites all members of the community to join in celebrating Major-General Sir Isaac Brock’s 247th birthday on Oct. 6.The second-annual event kicks off at 12:30 p.m. in front of the statue with free cupcakes, lawn games, live music and performances and the singing of Happy Birthday.Miniature paper models of Sir Isaac BrockMiniature paper models of Sir Isaac Brock himself will also be given away.The party doesn’t stop there, as more events are being hosted on-campus to turn the birthday party into a day-long celebration.RED DAYFaculty, staff and students are encouraged to wear red Thursday in honour of Brock’s big day.SOCIAL MEDIAShare your Brock statue selfies and use the hashtag #Surgite on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. read more

Ohio State baseball swept at home by Illinois

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins (1) delivers a pitch against Illinois on May 2, 2015. OSU lost, 6-5.Credit: Elliot Gilfix / For The LanternWhile the No. 25 Ohio State baseball team is enjoying its best season in several years, a weekend visit from the No. 7 Illinois Fighting Illini stood as a harsh reminder of who the class of the Big Ten is.Illinois (40-6-1, 16-1) won its 19th, 20th and 21st consecutive games with a weekend sweep of the Buckeyes (31-13, 12-6) at Bill Davis Stadium.OSU, looking to salvage the series with a win on Sunday, knocked in a run in each of the first two innings to grab an early 2-0 lead. However, that would be all they would muster off of one of the nation’s top pitching staffs.The Buckeyes were shut out by the Illini the rest of the way, and Illinois scored one in the third and two in the fourth to grab a 3-2 lead. It would remain that way until the top of the sixth, when Illinois blew it open with a three-run inning.A throwing error by OSU senior left-hander Ryan Riga put Illinois up by two runs, and a two-run single made it 6-2, which stood as the final score.Riga, who came into the game second on OSU’s staff in earned-run average, was hit hard to the tune of six runs, nine hits and three walks in six innings. He dropped to 5-3 on the year with the loss.Saturday’s contest was a back-and-forth affair in which the Buckeyes came up just a little short.OSU, just as they would the following afternoon, jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings, scoring a run in each of the first two frames. The score remained that way until the fifth inning, when Illinois took advantage of two OSU errors to grab a 3-2 lead.The Buckeyes would answer immediately, as just two batters into the bottom of the frame, the game was tied.Sophomore outfielder Troy Montgomery scored freshman outfielder Tre’ Gantt from first with a double. Montgomery then came in on a two-out RBI single by sophomore outfielder Ronnie Dawson to put the Buckeyes back ahead.Just like the Illini lead, however, that would prove to be short-lived.A three-run top of the sixth put Illinois up 6-4 and chased OSU sophomore right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins from the game.While the Buckeyes would add a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it a one-run game, they ran into the nearly impenetrable force that is Illinois preseason second-team All-American, junior left-hander Tyler Jay.Jay, who is second in the nation with a 0.73 ERA, worked 2.1 innings, allowing just one hit for his ninth save of the season to preserve the 6-5 victory.Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the man who is just a tick behind Jay at third in the nation in ERA also resides in Champaign.Junior left-hander Kevin Duchene actually raised his 0.74 season ERA with an eight-inning, three-hit, one-run domination of OSU in Friday night’s series opener.The Buckeyes fell behind 4-0 after two innings, as OSU sophomore left-hander Tanner Tully was ineffective against the Illinois bats.Tully, the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, surrendered eight earned runs in five innings.The Illini outhit OSU 13-4 and featured four hitters with multi-hit performances.OSU’s bullpen was a highlight of the weekend for the home team, as five Buckeye relievers combined for 10.2 shutout innings in the three games, allowing just six hits.Over 2,000 fans were in attendance at Bill Davis Stadium for each of the three weekend contests, OSU’s three largest home crowds of the season.The Buckeyes will look to get back on the winning side with a pair of nonconference in-state matchups. They are set to travel to Oxford, Ohio, to take on Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday before heading south to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats the following night. Both games are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. read more

Knotweed The unstoppable scourge of British gardens

first_imgThe Reverend Grenville Fisher stands at the graveyard at Mynyddbach Chapel, which has recently been treated for Japanese knotweed Knotweed engulfs a public footpath in SwanseaCredit:Mark Griffiths The only thing it has to  do is grow, which it does, up to four inches a day in summer Her husband, Bill, a butcher, 69, discovered knotweed on a piece of land he owned near their home in Stourbridge, West Midlands, earlier this year. ‘He’d had the land for 30 years and then it [knotweed] just suddenly appeared. He didn’t recognise it immediately. But then he went on the internet.  ‘Bill’s biggest worry was the financial aspect,’ she continues. ‘That if the knotweed encroached on neighbouring land, he would be liable. Towards the end he was desperate. He thought we’d have nothing left.’An alarming invasionThe couple had raised four children (now aged between 20 and 30) and had bought their house in the 1990s. On February 13 this year, he went to work. Later that day, he was found at home having attempted suicide. He died the following day in hospital. It’s likely the suicide was an expression of a deeper problem. Helen says her  husband had ‘occasionally’ suffered from depression before. But she is convinced the precipitating event was the knotweed. ‘Bill was a very strong character. But this was something he couldn’t cope with.This was something he didn’t have an answer to. He couldn’t sleep. He could hardly eat. He just spiralled downwards.’ Japanese knotweed first arrived in Britain in a box of 40 Chinese and Japanese plants delivered to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, west London, on August 9, 1850. ‘Plant number 34’ was a simple shrub with reddish, hollow canes and heart-shaped leaves on a bowing stem. Fallopia japonica was disseminated throughout the UK by the fashion for ‘wild’ gardens – a departure from the Victorian craze for regimented carpet bedding.  There are two methods of killing knotweed: poison (it can take five years of repeated applications, costs around £2,000, and shoots can still rise from a plant you thought you’d killed years earlier); and digging it out completely. This means excavating to a depth of at least two metres and taking the resulting earth to a  specially designated landfill. The remaining soil may have to be lined with a heavy-duty plastic membrane.This can cost upwards of £10,000, even for a domestic property. A source of excitement in recent years has been biological control – using natural enemies to keep knotweed in check. The key was to find an insect that only fed on knotweed and didn’t attack any of the UK’s native plant species. Dr Shaw and his team at Cabi tested nine insects and whittled it down to one – the psyllid  . Releases have been made annually since  2010. But the bug, a sap-sucker, has not adjusted well to the UK. ‘It has got all the characteristics of a successful agent: it lasts a long time; it  produces hundreds of eggs; but it’s not taking off and we don’t know why,’ Shaw explains. ‘It might be because it’s been 140 years under a Japanese summer and then it’s suddenly thrown out in Berkshire in the spring.’ The plan is to collect new stock from Japan. ‘Quite often these things lose their mojo when they’re in the lab,’ he says. Shaw is also investigating a second control agent: a leaf-spot fungus. In the meantime, knotweed professionals worry about an impending  cataclysm that will result in unimaginable amounts of knotweed, possibly in our own lifetime. Fallopia japonica (a female plant) has already cross-bred with her cousin, the less intrusive giant knotweed. ‘You can get all sorts of hybrids back-crossing with Japanese knotweed and  the danger is that we will eventually end up with male Japanese knotweed,’ explains Brian Taylor, who runs The Knotweed Company, a firm specialising in knotweed eradication, based in Daventry, Northamptonshire. The weed’s seeds, which are currently barren,  would, effectively, be switched on.   In 1823, Philip Franz von Siebold, a Bavarian doctor and ethnologist, was appointed  doctor-in-residence for a community of Dutch traders based in Dejima, a man-made island in the harbour of Nagasaki, in Japan. At this time Japan was a closed country with wide-ranging restrictions on the activities of foreigners (for example, learning to read  and write Japanese was against the law). But Siebold’s medical skill won him influential  contacts and he was granted unprecedented access to the country.For the next five years, Siebold, with a commercial objective, secretly collected specimens (plants, animals, objects).  On September 18, 1828, as he prepared to sail for Europe with 89 crates of illicit goods, a storm forced the ship aground. Siebold hid  the precious specimens in false-bottomed flower boxes.  The ship sailed but Siebold was detained, interrogated and later banished  from Japan for life.  He moved to Antwerp, in Belgium, and then to the Netherlands, where he tracked down  his scattered collection.In 1842, he opened  a nursery in Leiden and began to market his collection of ‘exotic’ plants across Europe. And so it was that in 1850 he sent an unsolicited package to Kew Gardens. At the time of Siebold’s death in 1866, his nursery boasted 1,000 different species and varieties of plants. When FW Burbidge and  P Barr, two well-known English horticulturalists, visited the nursery in 1883, they found a neglected jungle, overrun by just one plant: Japanese knotweed.  Some would go a bit further and put a bit of diesel on it. They’d say, “Whatever I do, it just comes back.”’ Three years ago, he decided to investigate. ‘Some of the infestations had reached the point where the tenants were unable to enjoy their gardens,’ he reveals. One garden was two-thirds knotweed. In 2013, Sawyer decided he needed to  spearhead what he describes as a ‘strategic approach’ and ask his board for funding.  I wonder how difficult it was to get money  for what some might say is just a weed. ‘They’d gone beyond that. They know it’s the dark force,’ he replies.  He asked for £90,000 and got £15,000 a year, for a five-year programme of repeated applications of herbicide in 25 properties.  ‘What worries me is we’re just tinkering at the margins,’ he admits. ‘Knotweed will develop. We’ve seen how it spreads and it’s very aggressive. We don’t have the budget to deal with the entire estate. We are treating 25 properties. Next year I know there will be 35, and the year after there will be 45. We can probably add 10 every year.It’s almost like trying to resist gravity. It has taken over the valleys.  It’s not a battle that we are ever going to win.  ‘In the quiet hours of the morning when I can’t sleep and I think of all the roofs leaking, all the central heating I need to put in, I’m  now thinking about knotweed and how we have got properties that back on to council-owned land and private land. We are trying to do our bit, but unless every landowner is prepared to do theirs, it’s no good. And we have very little control over private landowners, and almost no working relationship with the  council because they say they are almost  skint. Meanwhile I am just watching this vast army advance towards us.’ Knotweed leaves absorb the summer sun Credit:Mark Griffiths Taylor goes on to present compelling evidence of knotweed’s growing immunity to  herbicides, which is another worry. Taylor  is interesting to listen to, if unbelievably  alarming. ‘If we’re to get evolution and resistance, what could we do?’ he asks. ‘We are  literally just looking at excavation as a  control measure.’  I meet Sean Hathaway, an agile, fleece- wearing man, in mid-August – when the knotweed is starting to produce frilly, white blossomy flowers. ‘One of its few benefits – if it has any – is bees love it,’ he says.The battle continuesHathaway works for Swansea council and is known locally as the ‘knotweed officer’, owing to his 20-year battle with the plant.  Swansea, Wales’s second city, has for decades now been beset by knotweed. Its history of copper mining and processing, combined with widespread redevelopment in the 1960s and 1970s, when derelict factories were turned into enterprise parks and shopping centres, is, Hathaway suspects, behind the apparently unstoppable infestation. Officially, Swansea has around 250 acres of knotweed. But the last survey was done back in 1998. He describes the battle against knotweed  as ‘stable’. Every year he poisons a few thousand square metres, every year it takes hold elsewhere. He takes me on a tour of knotweed sites. This includes a very considerable hillside, rising from the site of an old quarry, not far from the city centre, which is so uniformly green it’s hard to tell from a distance what is knotweed and what is not. Close-up I realise it is all knotweed. Knotweed leaves absorb the summer sun Denise Rees in the graveyard at Caersalem Chapel,Swansea:  she struggles to find the graves of her parents because of the knotweed infestationCredit:Mark Griffiths The potential cost of trying to eradicate the plant in Britain has been estimated at more than £1.25 billioncenter_img Knotweed engulfs a public footpath in Swansea It’s almost like trying to resist gravity. It has taken over the valleys.  It’s not a battle that we are ever going to win Denise Rees in the graveyard at Caersalem Chapel,Swansea:  she struggles to find the graves of her parents because of the knotweed infestation In the mid-1800s, when Japanese knotweed was a ‘new’ exotic species just becoming available here, gardeners were urged to consider its benefits. It was reliable, hardy and had ‘great vigour’. It was fodder for cattle (untrue), a reliable screen for the outdoor privy; its underground stems or rhizomes were an effective means of stabilising sand dunes and, especially versatile, its canes could be used to make matches. ‘A capital plant for the small town garden,’ wrote John Wood, who went on to open a nursery in Leeds.Today, Japanese knotweed is Britain’s most destructive invasive plant, costing around £166 million a year to clear and control. It cracks through roads, undermines buildings, eats up property values. It is deeply disgruntling to wildlife: insects can’t feed off it; birds rarely build nests in it. But the animal it most clearly affects is us.  Birmingham couple Nasreen and Sajid Akhtar claimed recently that they were unable to sell their home, after an infestation of Japanese knotweed in a neighbour’s garden. Despite 20 viewings with three estate agents, they could not to find a buyer.It was only when they tried to remortgage the terraced house – and were turned down – that they learnt the reason why. The weed was threatening the foundations of their property, meaning that no bank would lend against it. The couple were now ‘in limbo’, according to Nasreen. ‘It is putting my future and my children’s future on hold and it is totally out of control.’ ‘It does seem trivial but for some people it has become a big worry,’ says Helen Jones, 60. ‘It’s choked everything else,’ he says, explaining the harm that would have come to the shrubs and grasses. ‘It is impressive,’ admits Hathaway, who, like many who make a living killing or studying Fallopia japonica, is simultaneously horrified and awed by its power.  The council received its first knotweed  complaint in 1970. But since 2012, mortgage lenders have started rejecting loans outright if knotweed is found on a property (even an infestation on a neighbouring property can be enough to put them off). Liz Wakeman, a project manager from Bristol, had a great-aunt who lived in Swansea. ‘She was bedridden with quite severe dementia and about 18 months ago, it got to the stage where we had no option but to get her into a nursing home. So we decided to sell her house to raise money for her care,’ she explains. The estate agent went to value the property.  ‘He called me,’ Wakeman recalls, ‘and said, “You’ve got a massive problem.”’ After enlightening her about the knotweed, the estate agent estimated the value of the house – not £100,000 or so, as Wakeman had anticipated, but £45,000. ‘Unfortunately, I don’t think people understand the impact not only on property prices but also on what it’s doing to their property. When we got Environet [a firm specialising in the eradication of Japanese knotweed] to do the first treatment and they cut it back, we saw the extent of the damage: there was a wall at the bottom of my great-aunt’s garden and the knotweed had literally pulled it over.’  After treatment (costing £10,000) the house sold for £73,000. Wakeman’s great-aunt died while the sale was going through. ‘Some of the neighbours have got it up to their back door and they don’t seem to care,’ she says. The Reverend Grenville Fisher stands at the graveyard at Mynyddbach Chapel, which has recently been treated for Japanese knotweed Credit:Mark Griffiths Half a mile away, on Llangyfelach Road, is Caersalem Newydd Baptist Chapel. Denise Rees, 75, has been a member of the church since she was a child and she swears  knotweed has been in the churchyard for as long. ‘As children we used to go up there, cut off a piece and use the tube as a pea-shooter,’ she says. ‘Many years ago, when we had more members, the youngsters used to go up and try to clear it. But they never got rid of it. And now it’s just got worse and worse.’  The knotweed is so advanced it has smashed up gravestones and tipped them over, like a violent intruder.For the past two years, the  congregation of 40 has funded a professional knotweed killer out of the collection money. But the cost – £700 so far – only covers the lower end of work. ‘My parents are buried right at the top and my grandmother’s grave is next door,’ says Rees. ‘We try to keep it clear, so we can visit. My husband sprays it with Roundup [the systemic herbicide], but it’s awful.’   Thirty or so miles north-east of Swansea is the valley town of Merthyr Tydfil, once a centre of iron production and now one of the 10 most deprived areas in Wales.Mark Sawyer works for  Merthyr Valley Homes, the social-housing company, and is responsible for 4,200 houses and flats  in the area.   He’d been receiving knotweed complaints for some years, but, initially, placed the blame on the tenants. ‘When a tenant says, “I’ve got weeds in my garden,” you tend to think, well cut them back then. Or look after your garden, because we don’t provide that service. We do roofs, kitchens, bathrooms.  ‘And the tenants would say, “Well I have been cutting it back.” The only thing it has to  do is grow, which it does, up to four inches a day in summer.  The other problem is the ease with which it spreads – not by seed, the plant is infertile. It reproduces by regenerating its rhizomes, which creep out horizontally deep underground, and sends up shoots. And even a tiny bit of rhizome (just 0.7g, the size of a fingernail) can generate a new infestation. ‘We are a small island with a lot of people and we move soil around a lot – to build roads, develop brownfield sites – and that is how it spreads,’ points out Dr Richard Shaw, regional coordinator for invasive species, at the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (Cabi), an intergovernmental research organisation. ‘The main issue is redistribution through human intervention. ‘It’s definitely spreading and the spread is exponential,’ he continues. It is also a problem across Europe and America, but is more extreme in Britain.   The potential cost of trying to eradicate the plant in Britain has been estimated at more than £1.25 billion (just clearing it from the 10 acres of the Olympic Park for the London Olympics in 2012, cost more than £70 million). Last year, George Eustice, an environment minister, said there were ‘no plans to attempt a national eradication’ because of the cost. Combatting the enemy‘Our strategy is really focused on trying to stop the next Japanese knotweed from getting into the country and from spreading,’ says Olaf Booy, technical coordinator of the Non-Native Species Secretariat, a team based within the Animal and Plant Health Agency, which works on behalf of the Government. ‘But the Government is investing in a bio-control agent [more about this later] and has been helping to fund local groups that are dealing with Japanese knotweed,’ he adds. Defra (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) spent £1.5 million on such groups from 2011 to 2015. It is currently employing a Local Action Groups coordinator to assist with  funding bids.  ‘We ought not to forget the quick growing ways of the great Japan Knotweeds growing fast and tall,’ wrote Gertrude Jekyll, the influential horticulturalist, in a 1900 edition of Home and Garden. Jekyll thought it was an excellent flanking plant for a woodland walk. And when, inevitably, the weed breached the garden walls, and began to run amok in someone else’s garden, break into someone else’s drains, qualifications began to creep in. Japanese knotweed, warned William Robinson, the Victorian gardener, in 1898, ‘…springs up everywhere’.Nevertheless, it was sold as a fashionable exotic until the 1930s.  It was first spotted growing in the wild in Maesteg, a small town in south Wales. Japanese knotweed, noted John Storrie, a curator at Cardiff Museum, in The Flora of Cardiff (1886),  was ‘very abundant on the cinder tips’ near the town. It has since colonised just about every corner of the British Isles (with hotspots in London, Wales, Cornwall and the West Country), growing in all sorts of places plants are not supposed to grow: sandy, salty beaches; heavy asphalt; swamps and marshes. The source of its almost supernatural resilience lies in its native habitat – it was dug up from volcanic fumeroles, outcrops of volcanic ash, near Nagasaki, where it thrived amid lava and poisonous gases owing to an extensive network of underground stems (rhizomes) that sucked up the limited nutrients available.  But in Japan it has enemies, specifically 186 bugs and about 40 fungi. Here, it luxuriates in being predator-free. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Duke of Edinburgh voluntarily surrenders driving licence as police pass on crash

The following day, he attended the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn for closer examination, with palace aides saying he had “no injuries of concern” despite reports of him bleeding.The Duke later wrote to the driver and passenger of the other car, telling Emma Fairweather, who broke her wrist: “I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident at the Babingley cross-roads. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “I have been across that crossing any number of times and I know very well the amount of traffic that uses that main road.”It was a bright sunny day and at about three in the afternoon, the sun was low over the Wash. “In other words, the sun was shining low over the main road. In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming from the Dersingham direction, but I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences.“I was somewhat shaken after the accident, but I was greatly relieved that none of you were seriously injured. “As a crowd was beginning to gather, I was advised to return to Sandringham House by a local Police Officer. I have since learned that you suffered a broken arm. I am deeply sorry about this injury.“I wish you a speedy recovery from a very distressing experience.” Emma Fairweather, who was injured in a car crash involving the Duke of Edinburgh  The Duke at the scene of the crash on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate last monthCredit: George Glass Emma Fairweather, who was injured in a car crash involving the Duke of Edinburgh Credit:PA A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “Norfolk Police can confirm that the 97 year old driver of the Land Rover involved in the collision at Sandringham on Thursday 17 January 2019 has today voluntarily surrendered his licence to officers.“We will follow the standard procedure and return the licence to the DVLA.“The investigation file for the collision has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration.” The Duke at the scene of the crash on the Queen's Sandringham Estate last month The Duke of Edinburgh has given up driving as police passed their file on his crash near the Sandringham estate to prosecutors, it emerged on Saturday.Buckingham Palace announced that the 97-year-old duke voluntarily surrendered his driving licence after “careful consideration”.It comes almost a month after he was involved in a crash on a crossroads near the Queen’s Norfolk estate in which his Land Rover was overturned.The collision left the female passenger of a Kia Carens with a broken wrist, while a woman driver and nine-month-old baby boy escaped unharmed from their smoke-filled car.Norfolk Police have been investigating the crash for three weeks, interviewing witnesses to decide whether it was in the public interest to bring about a prosecution. On Saturday the force said it had sent the file onto the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). A CPS spokesperson added: “We review each file carefully before a decision is  made and will take this development into account.”The Duke has already appeared to accept responsibility for the accident, saying in a letter to having been dazzled by the sun.On Saturday, Buckingham Palace said: “After careful consideration The Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence.”At the time of the crash, legal experts said that if he surrendered his licence, the Duke would not be required to appear in court. It is a marked change of heart from the Duke’s original reaction to the crash, which saw him take delivery of a replacement Land Rover the day after the crash and drive it out on the roads around Sandringham without a seatbelt.The accident, on January 17, saw the Duke pulled out of his car through the sunroof after it “tumbled” across the A149 and ended on its side. read more

New Firefox download manager appears in UX build

first_imgIt’s been known for a while that Mozilla wanted to overhaul the Firefox download manager. The current implementation hasn’t changed much since the arrival of Firefox 3, and many of the browser’s other core UI bits (like the add-on manager) have already been re-tooled. And so with Mozilla’s sights set squarely on delivering a more unified UX throughout Firefox, the first cut at a new download manager has been pushed to bleeding-edge Firefox builds.As it was shown in early mockups, the new download manager rests on the Firefox tab strip. It’s movable, of course. Just right-click the toolbar, choose customize, and drag the download arrow as you would any other toolbar icon. When you first launch Firefox, however, the download icon won’t appear — even if you have active downloads the resume after start-up. The old hotkey is still wired, however, so you can tap control + j (command + j on a Mac) to call up the panel and force the icon to be displayed.If the icon is hidden and you start downloading a new file, it’ll appear on your toolbar. Immediately to the right you’ll see a very rough estimate of the time until completion (with multiple downloads, the longest time remaining is used). The drop-down only retains history for the current browsing session. If you quit Firefox and re-launch later, you’ll need to head to the downloads history page to check out previous transfers. While the pause icon has disappeared from the right side of each download’s progress bar, you can still right-click to put individual transfers on hold.There’s still no timeline listed on the Incontent Page Design project outline, but if the overhaul is slated for the current UX build we won’t see the new download manager until the arrival of Firefox 9 early next year.Download at Mozilla Nightlieslast_img read more

Décharges électriques sur le volcan Eyjafjöll des images dune rare violence

first_imgDécharges électriques sur le volcan Eyjafjöll : des images d’une rare violenceIslande – Des images exceptionnelles du volcan Eyjafjöll ont été prises lors de son éruption. On y observe des éclairs traverser le panache volcanique.Ce phénomène serait dû à la présence de charges électriques, transportées avec les débris et les cendres expulsés par le volcan. Il a généralement lieu lors des plus fortes éruptions volcaniques ou lorsque l’éruption atteint son paroxysme. Seules les éruptions de volcans explosifs (ou volcans gris) lui donnent naissance, les volcans effusifs (ou rouges) n’émettant pas de débris mais de la lave. À lire aussiLe Kilimandjaro, un volcan dormant caché dans la plus haute montagne d’AfriqueCes éclairs ressemblent beaucoup à ceux issus des orages. Ils comportent plusieurs branches et durent une fraction de seconde. Ils peuvent s’avérer dangereux : lors de l’éruption du mont Saint Helens en 1980, les éclairs volcaniques avaient déclenché des incendies dans les forêts proches.Depuis plusieurs jours, l’éruption du volcan Eyjafjöll entraîne une paralysie des transports aériens, les débris issus des explosions volcaniques pouvant s’insérer dans les réacteurs des avions et provoquer des accidents dramatiques.Pour voir les images : 20 avril 2010 à 13:33 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Eau potable des cactus pour la purifier

first_imgEau potable : des cactus pour la purifierÉtats-Unis – Alors que 20 % de la population n’a aujourd’hui toujours pas accès à l’eau potable, des chercheurs américains ont étudié la façon dont un cactus, le figuier de Barbarie, élimine les impuretés et une très grande partie des bactéries de l’eau. Originaire du Mexique, ce cactus utilisé dans les pays en voie de développement pour faire office de clôture pour le bétail, pousse en Amérique latine, en Afrique et au Moyen-Orient.À lire aussiContemplez en accéléré la fantastique floraison de ces cactusComme le souligne Norma Alcantar, chercheur à l’université de Floride du Sud, les Mexicains utilisaient déjà cette plante au XIXe siècle pour purifier l’eau. Il s’agit aujourd’hui pour les scientifiques de comprendre le mécanisme développé par le cactus afin de pouvoir l’utiliser à grande échelle. Ils ont plongé le mucilage, la substance de la gomme du cactus qui confère à la plante son pouvoir de floculation (une étape fondamentale du traitement primaire de l’eau, ndlr), dans une eau contaminée par des sédiments et des bactéries. Les sédiments, et une grande partie des bactéries se sont alors agglomérés entre eux, tombant au fond du récipient.Le mucilage du figuier de Barbarie ne permet pas d’éliminer toutes les bactéries et polluants que peut contenir le liquide, mais il améliore considérablement la qualité des eaux de boisson et pourrait faciliter l’accès à l’eau potable.22.000 personnes meurent chaque jour de ce manque d’accès à l’eau potable, qui touche 20% de la population mondiale. Si certaines vérifications doivent encore être faites, et notamment l’évaluation du coût des ressources nécessaires à une culture à grande échelle des figuiers de Barbarie, ce cactus apparaît comme un moyen durable et peu coûteux de résoudre l’un des problèmes majeurs des pays en voie de développement.Le 9 mai 2010 à 11:54 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Les mères obèses auraient davantage de risque davoir un enfant autiste

first_imgLes mères obèses auraient davantage de risque d’avoir un enfant autisteSelon une étude américaine publiée lundi, les mères obèses ou souffrant de diabète durant la grossesse seraient plus susceptibles de donner naissance à un enfant autiste ou rencontrant des retards de développement. Ce sont des résultats “porteurs de sérieuses préoccupations en termes de santé publique” que viennent de révéler des chercheurs américains dans la revue Pediatrics. En effet, le mois dernier, les autorités sanitaires américaines ont révélé que le nombre de cas d’autisme diagnostiqués chez les enfants américains avait augmenté de 23% de 2006 à 2008, pour s’établir à un sur 88 en moyenne. Or, l’étude dévoilée hier suggère que les futures mères obèses ou souffrant de diabète durant la grossesse auraient davantage de risque de donner naissance à un enfant autiste ou rencontrant des retards de développement.À lire aussiDengue : symptômes, traitement, prévention, où en est-on ?Pour arriver à cette conclusion, les chercheurs ont examiné 1.004 couples mère-enfant issus d’horizons socio-économiques les plus divers en Californie à l’ouest des Etats-Unis. Parmi ceux-ci, environ la moitié des enfants étaient autistes, 172 étaient atteints de troubles du développement et 315 étaient considérés comme normaux. Selon les résultats révélés, plus de 20% des mères ayant un enfant autiste ou atteint d’un retard de développement étaient obèses pendant la grossesse. Tandis que 14% des mères ayant eu des enfants normaux étaient obèses lors de la grossesse. Les scientifiques ont ainsi établi qu’il était 67% plus probable qu’une mère obèse mette au monde un enfant autiste qu’une femme au poids considéré comme normal. Elle était aussi deux fois plus susceptible d’avoir un enfant atteint d’un trouble quelconque du développement qu’une mère au poids normal et qui ne souffre pas de diabète. Si l’étude atteste donc d’une nette corrélation entre l’état de santé de la mère et l’autisme, les chercheurs ne disent pas pour autant que l’obésité ou le diabète sont à l’origine des problèmes psychologiques de l’enfant. Le lien entre l’état de santé de la mère et “les problèmes de développement neurologiques de l’enfant est préoccupant et pourrait avoir des répercussions en termes de santé publique”, souligne Paula Krakowiak, de l’Université de Californie, dans l’étude relayée par l’AFP. En guise d’hypothèse, les chercheurs estiment que les problèmes rencontrés par le foetus lors de son développement pourraient être engendrés par une trop longue exposition à de forts taux d’insuline absorbés par la mère diabétique, qui nécessite une plus grande quantité d’oxygène et pourrait ainsi restreindre l’accès de l’enfant à naître à ce même oxygèneLe 10 avril 2012 à 18:59 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Skype bientôt intégré au navigateur

first_imgSkype bientôt intégré au navigateurLe service de visiophonie appartenant à Microsoft devrait bientôt être installable sur son navigateur Web grâce à un plugin tournant sous Java et HTML 5.Microsoft veut concurrencer le service Hangout de Google + en rendant Skype accessible plus facilement. Pour cela, la firme de Redmond, qui a acheté le service de visiophonie pour 8,5 milliards de dollars en mai dernier, devrait lancer le développement de plugins afin d’embarquer Skype directement dans les navigateurs Web. Ces plugins devront être réalisés en HTML5 et Java, c’est-à-dire compatible avec la dernière version d’Internet Explorer présente sur Windows 8, explique Le Journal du Net. À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?En plus de son rachat par Microsoft, Skype a passé un accord avec Facebook permettant aux utilisateurs du réseau social de bénéficier de la visiophonie mais n’a pas réellement développé d’autres innovations depuis. L’arrivée directe sur un navigateur Web peut donc être perçu comme le premier effet de ces associations entre géants de l’Internet. Le 20 avril 2012 à 09:45 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Northeast 10th Avenue bridge opening ceremony set

first_imgThe public is invited to join the festivities and commemorate the opening of a new bridge, which will carry traffic on Northeast 10th Avenue over Whipple Creek south of the fairgrounds.The event starts at 1 p.m. Dec. 18 and will feature remarks from local and state officials, a ribbon-cutting and light treats.The county public works department said bridge construction started in spring 2017, and the bridge is expected to open to traffic in late 2018 or early 2019.People can access the site by driving north on Northeast 10th Avenue from Northeast 139th Street or by driving south on Northeast Delfel Road from Northeast 179th Street. Parking will be along Northeast 10th Avenue on either side of the bridge.The county says it’ll hold the event rain or shine, and encouraged any guests to dress accordingly.last_img read more

Week In Review 211215

first_imgFriday 2/15Audio PlayerFriday-0215.mp3VmFriday-0215.mp300:00RPdDistrict Urges Parents To Get Involved In The Budget Process, Borough Could Lose $15 Million From Proposed Changes To Petroleum Property Tax, 2019-2020 ADF&G Draw Hunt Winners Announced Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The KSRM News Department compiled some of the top stories from this past week. Thursday 2/14Audio PlayerJennifer-Thursday-0214.mp3VmJennifer-Thursday-0214.mp300:00RPdA Speaker Of The House Has Been Elected, Kenai Early Run King Salmon Restricted To Catch And Release, Kasilof River Early-Run King Salmon Restricted To Hatchery Kings Monday 2/11Audio PlayerMONDAY-21119.mp3VmMONDAY-21119.mp300:00RPdSome Alaska Lawmakers Say New Ethics Rules Are Too Limiting, Two Arrested Following Vehicle Pursuit On The Sterling Highwaycenter_img Wednesday 2/13Audio PlayerJennifer-Wednesday-0213.mp3VmJennifer-Wednesday-0213.mp300:00RPdGovernor Dunleavy Says This Is The Year To Fix The Budget, State Announces Major Closures At Wildwood Correctional Complex, KPBSD Hiring Superintendent Of Schools Tuesday 2/12Audio PlayerJennifer-Tuesday-0212.mp3VmJennifer-Tuesday-0212.mp300:00RPdFebruary 28 “Current Target Date” For AK LNG Draft, Cities Work To Make Sense Of New Online Sales Tax, First Lady Opens Nominations For Volunteer Of The Yearlast_img read more

The Magazine Medic Newsweek

first_imgOccasionally we are presented with a patient that is half dead. Newsweek is that kind of patient, only worse. It was once fully-meaning, officially-pronounced dead. Unfortunately, the high-profile weekly has experienced end-of-life crises repeatedly in recent years; each time it was revived by well-meaning caregivers hoping for a miracle. It is no secret that earlier this decade Newsweek hung on basically as an intubated, catheterized and badly con- fused patient, challenged by the onset of rapidly changing conditions in the newsmagazine category. Ultimately, those conditions overwhelmed it. Its last editor, Tina Brown, relied on Barry Diller’s generosity to prop up a Newsweek that seemed to exhibit progressively magnified evidence of editorial schizophrenia. It was sad to observe.When the cold, dead body was purchased this year (presumably for the cost of a tall latte) by a couple of young fellows with only a few years of media experience, we worried. What kind of morbidly grotesque medical experiment did these owners have in mind for reanimating a brand whose heart had already been removed?First thing, they announced that Newsweek would henceforth be a digital brand. The print magazine would be a collateral piece of business, a luxury product for those who prefer their news on paper that smells of Upper East Side. Customers are paying $7.99 for the privilege. Most of the same content, and more, is available at, free.Surprisingly, the relaunched book is a smart, smooth read, its stories largely uncluttered by advertising. Not entirely a good thing, though, unless you’re publishing hardbound fiction. Still, what we have in the latest iteration of Newsweek is something like The Atlantic, if The Atlantic was produced by Apple Inc. Mostly, it’s a col- lection of cleanly presented essays. Up front and in back there are some faint reminders of the robust Newsweek that once gave Time a run for the money-“Conventional Wisdom Watch,” takes on pop culture, and so on. But alas, the patient appears depleted when compared to its youthful scrappiness.WHAT WE PRESCRIBEThe now-defunct print edition of U.S. News & World Report for a time ran page after page of letters to the editor. Cost-effective, yes, but overkill. Newsweek is doing the same thing with its big FOB pictures. Too much of a good thing is not always good.A major BOB section is called “New World.” We ask: What is this, exactly? Seems to be a catch-all for whatever doesn’t neatly fit elsewhere. Editorially convenient, but this kind of bin is probably better suited to a scrolling website.The culture section, called “Downtime,” is not with- out merit. However, we’d suggest introducing a few sidebars to break the succession of long prose pieces.Re-introduce “My Turn,” a (low-cost) signature section that for years set Newsweek apart from its competitors.MEDIC’S NOTENewsweek is more focused than it was under Tina Brown, but time, and readers, have moved on. The Patient: NewsweekAge: 81 years
Vitals: Weak
Prognosis: Downward spirallast_img read more