BC failed to reduce wildfire risk despite warning communities say

first_imgVANCOUVER – The fire in Logan Lake started like so many others in British Columbia’s worst wildfire season on record — a smouldering campfire, not fully extinguished, sparked flames that spread across the forest floor.But unlike other blazes that have grown catastrophically, engulfing homes, forests and farmland, the Logan Lake fire in June was kept to a half-hectare. The reason, a local official says, is because the town has conducted extensive wildfire mitigation, in spite of a provincial system he describes as under-funded, burdensome and unfair.“Had (the fire) been in that area when we did not mitigate that area, we would’ve had a severe fire on our hands,” said Fire Chief Dan Leighton. “That’s proof that the work we’re doing will work.”In the wake of the 2003 wildfire crisis, which destroyed more than 300 homes and businesses, the British Columbia government asked former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon to conduct a thorough review. In his report, Firestorm 2003, he warned that unless action was taken to reduce fuels such as seedlings, shrubs and wood debris in forests near communities, there would be more severe wildfires.The province launched the strategic wildfire prevention initiative, a program that provides funding to communities for fuel treatment. To date, the province has provided $78 million to the initiative, a fraction of the amount spent battling blazes or preparing for earthquakes, and less than seven per cent of high-risk land has been treated.This summer, the wildfire season surpassed 2003, burning 10,600 square kilometres of land and forcing 45,000 people from their homes. The bill is $400 million and rising. The devastation has left community leaders and experts saying the province could have done more to reduce the risk.“The amount of fuel management to protect communities was minuscule relative to the scale of the challenge,” said Bob Simpson, Quesnel mayor and a former NDP forestry critic in the legislature.The province estimates about 13,470 square kilometres of forest are at high risk of wildfires spreading into communities. The figure is considered rough, provincial-level data and must be verified on the ground, but it’s the best estimate available. Some 923 square kilometres have undergone fuel treatment — or just under seven per cent.John Rustad, the forests minister prior to the B.C. Liberal government’s defeat in July after 16 years in power, said the government worked seriously with communities to reduce fuel loads. The province expanded the community forest program, which allows towns to harvest nearby timberlands and make them more fire-resistant, he said.Unfortunately, the mountain pine beetle epidemic has led to fuel buildup even in places where work was done a decade ago, he said, adding treatment is costly and must be done continuously.“Could we have spent more? Obviously, hindsight is 20/20,” he said. “But when you look at the fires that came in toward Cache Creek or Ashcroft, I don’t think there would have been any strategy possible to prevent that kind of an interface (fire) and those kinds of damages.”Madeline Maley, executive director of the B.C. Wildfire Service, said managing wildfire risk is a shared responsibility and the province counts on local governments and homeowners to meet the standards of a program called FireSmart.The Forest Practices Board estimated in 2015 that the average cost of treating a hectare of land was $10,000, although some experts put the figure at $5,000. That means the lowest cost of treating 13,470 square kilometres would be $6.7 billion. The board said the cost per hectare could be reduced through increased competition and incentives.In Logan Lake, careful removal of so-called ladder fuels, including tall grasses, shrubs and branches, is what kept the wildfire in June from growing upward and becoming what’s known as a crown fire, which leaps from treetop to treetop and is much harder to contain.But Leighton, the fire chief, said his frustrations with the strategic wildfire initiative are growing. Communities are required to do the work at considerable cost before being reimbursed, he said, adding it can take up to a year to receive funds.Then there’s the fact that the land they are treating is Crown land surrounding the municipality, but the province only pays for 75 per cent of the planning and 90 per cent of the treatment, he said.“The province should be paying 100 per cent,” said Leighton.Paul Taylor, a spokesman for the Union of B.C. Municipalities, said if the up-front cost is prohibitive for communities, they can ask to submit regular claims to receive payments throughout the process.The B.C. government created a forest enhancement society last year that has received $235 million for activities including wildfire risk reduction, bringing the total spent on mitigation, when combined with the strategic wildfire initiative, to $313 million.In contrast, it has spent billions preparing for a major earthquake — a worthy use of funds, but one expert wonders why wildfires have not been made an equal priority.“Here we are with wildfires with severe consequences,” said Lori Daniels, an associate professor of forest and conservation sciences at the University of British Columbia.And unlike a major earthquake, she said, “It’s not if it’s going to happen in our lifetime. It happens every summer in our lifetime.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.last_img read more

Pak appoints its envoy to India as new foreign secretary

first_imgIslamabad: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood has been appointed as the country’s new foreign secretary, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Sunday. Qureshi, while talking to reporters in Multan, said that the decision to appoint Mahmood as foreign secretary had been made following discussions with Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Sohail Mahmood is being appointed as new foreign secretary,” he said. Incumbent Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua will retire on April 16. It was so far not clear who will replace Mahmood in India. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Qureshi said that he talked with Mahmood on the telephone on Saturday and congratulated him over his new appointment. “He is a seasoned diplomat Even now, after the Pulwama incident took place, he came to the headquarters for consultations and I benefited from his experience,” Qureshi said, describing the deadly terror attack on CRPF soldiers as “incident”. Mahmood was appointed as high commissioner to India in August 2017. He was serving as ambassador to Turkey when sent to India. He previously also served at Washington and New York in addition to other posting in his long career. Qureshi also thanked Janjua for her services. “She always handled things with courage, bravery, clarity, and with a smile,” he said.last_img read more

Algeria’s Bouteflika nominated for 4th term: party

first_imgALGIERS- Algeria’s 76-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was on Saturday designated his party’s candidate in the 2014 presidential election, his National Liberation Front (FLN) said. Bouteflika, in power since 1999, had been largely unseen for months because of health problems before he presided over a cabinet meeting on September 29 for the first time this year.Since 2005 he has been honorary president of the FLN, which has 208 seats in the 462-seat national assembly. “The central committee has chosen the president of the party, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to be the FLN candidate in the next presidential election,” said a party statement issued after a meeting in the capital.“The choice was a natural one given the positive assessment” of his three terms as Algerian head of state, FLN head Amar Saidani said in a speech at Saturday’s meeting.Bouteflika returned home in July after nearly three months in France recovering from a mini-stroke, and critics have said his health concerns should rule out extending his time in office.But the president’s allies had indicated they would back him should he seek re-election next year.One of the few remaining veterans of the war of independence against France, Bouteflika came to power after helping to end the country’s civil war in the 1990s.But in addition to health concerns in recent years, his rule has also been dogged by corruption scandals implicating members of his inner circle.last_img read more

The Unique Atmosphere of Eid Al Fitr in Morocco

By Soukaina LahlouRabat – Around the Muslim world, Islamic celebrations are the most anticipated days of the hijri year.This fact holds particularly true for Eid Al Fitr, the day marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Morocco, food is quite peculiar on that day. It has a prominent role in the celebration of the special occasion.Near the end of Ramadan, many Moroccan families start getting busy in the preparation of sweets, cookies, and pastries. Others choose to buy them ready-made from local bakeries.The most important point is that they need to be on the table, because certain types of food are quite central to Moroccan culture.After Eid prayers, families receive their neighbors, relatives and friends with complete Moroccan hospitality by offering green mint tea, an indispensable element, before and after eating.It’s Moroccan etiquette to welcome guests and express generosity with tea cups followed by a variety of traditional Moroccan sweets.The following dishes are among the common choices to be prepared for an Eid lunch or dinner: couscous dishes, lamb dishes, lamb or beef with prunes, chicken with preserved lemons, and olives. read more

Apple’s news subscription service a mixed bag for publishers

NEW YORK — Apple is launching what some have called a “Netflix for news” — a $10-a-month subscription service that offers access to hundreds of magazines and a handful of newspapers.But most major U.S. news publishers aren’t participating.Readers get access to articles from over 300 magazines, a smattering of digital sites and some newspapers. Human editors will select stories for the app, and Apple says it will protect peoples’ privacy.Many big-name magazines are on board, hoping Apple brings them new paid readers.But Apple’s large cut of revenue — reportedly a 50-50 split — and the loss of a direct relationship with readers may not be appealing to many media companies, especially those that are successfully expanding their own digital readership.Tali Arbel, The Associated Press read more

Stock markets close higher as loonie slides on oil price strength in

TORONTO — North American stock markets closed higher as lower oil prices and strong U.S. earnings results weighed on the Canadian dollar.The loonie closed at 76.07 cents US, dropping 0.35 of a U.S. cent from Thursday’s close. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX index rose 34.83 points to 14,600.66.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 53.62 points to 18,570.85, the broader S&P 500 composite index gained 9.86 points at 2,175.03 and the Nasdaq composite added 26.26 points at 5,100.16.In commodities, the September crude contract fell 56 cents at US$44.19 per barrel and September natural gas was up eight cents at US$2.74 per mmBTU.The August gold contract dropped $7.60 to US$1,323.40 an ounce and September copper contracts fell two cents to US$2.24 a pound. read more

Last day to make RRSP contributions

by News Staff Posted Mar 1, 2013 5:30 am MDT It’s RRSP contribution deadline day, Friday — the last chance to put away some savings and get a tax break for 2012.According to a new survey, nearly two-thirds of Canadians polled say they have made or plan to make a contribution to their RRSP by Friday’s deadline, but with fewer dollars than last year.The Bank of Montreal found that 63 per cent of Canadians have contributed or will contribute by the deadline, up from 38 per cent last year.But the average RRSP contribution amount was $3,544, down $1,100 from 2012, said the poll released on Friday.The survey found that a sense of responsibility was the top motivator for making a contribution this year to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, with 51 per saying it was the right thing to do.Only about one in three Canadians have an employer pension plan, he added.The survey found that 43 per cent who anticipated getting money back from an RRSP tax refund plan on saving or investing it.The survey also found that 36 per cent plan to use the refund to pay their bills; 19 per cent would use it for home renovations or household items; 15 per cent would pay down their mortgage while another 15 per cent would travel or purchase leisure items.While the deadline is Friday at midnight to make an RRSP contribution, Canadians should be aware when their financial institutions close if they’re going to do it in person.The online survey was conducted by market research firm Pollara with a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25. Last day to make RRSP contributions AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Crude rises above US97 a barrel as cold snap boosts demand for

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Jan 23, 2014 4:25 pm MDT The price of oil rose for the fourth consecutive day Thursday to above US$97 per barrel as an ongoing cold spell in parts of the U.S. boosted demand for heating oil.West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery rose 59 cents to close at US$97.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 69 cents to close at US$107.58 in London.Natural gas futures rose again, adding four cents to close at $4.73 per 1,000 cubic feet, as temperatures in many parts of the U.S. Northeast remained well below freezing and forecasts called for continued cold over the next week, boosting anticipated heating demand.Natural gas futures are up 18 per cent over the past two weeks, to their highest level since July 2011. In some regions, natural gas has skyrocketed to record prices of more than $100 per 1,000 cubic feet on the spot market.The deep chill blanketing much of the central and eastern U.S. is also reducing stocks of heating oil as homeowners crank up the thermostat and electric utilities burn it to avoid paying for natural gas.That, in turn is leading to higher crude prices as traders anticipate that refineries will need to process more crude to meet heating oil demand.“The weather factor is becoming an increasingly important driver,” wrote energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch in a report Thursday.In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline fell 1.5 cents to close at US$2.662 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres) and heating oil rose one cent to close at US$2.991 a gallon.(TSX:ECA), (TSX:IMO), (TSX:SU), (TSX:HSE), (NYSE:BP), (NYSE:COP), (NYSE:XOM), (NYSE:CVX), (TSX:CNQ), (TSX:TLM), (TSX:COS), (TSX:CVE) Crude rises above US$97 a barrel as cold snap boosts demand for heating oil read more

Fighting cultural extinction traditional dances and crafts added to UN list of

Botswanan pottery-making, Indonesian handicrafts, traditional Kyrgyz carpet-threading, and the music and dance of Uganda’s Busoga people are the new elements added today to the United Nations-endorsed list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage – part of the world body’s ongoing efforts to preserve endangered practices from fading into extinction.The four traditions were inscribed on the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, after being chosen by a committee that is meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris this week.According to UNESCO, the importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but “rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.” The agency adds that as older generations pass away and younger generations adapt to a more globalized and modern world, ancient traditions – and the know-how necessary to maintain them – often vanish from the collective memory of a people, their only trace left in anthologies and history books. The earthenware pottery-making skills of Botswana’s Kgatleng District, for instance, is at risk of extinction due to the decreasing number of master potters, low prices for finished goods and the increasing use of mass-produced containers. Similarly, the woven bags created by Indonesia’s Papua people face stiff competition from industrially manufactured bags. In Kyrgyzstan, the traditional art of felt carpet-making is also at risk of disappearing as the communal enterprise, frequently led by women in rural and mountain communities, laments a diminishing number of practitioners and a lack of governmental safeguarding. And Bigwala, the traditional song and dance of Uganda’s Busoga Kingdom, also faces a threat to its survival with only four older masters with the skills for performing still remaining. To be inscribed by the committee, elements must comply with a series of criteria, including contributing to spreading the knowledge of intangible cultural heritage and promoting awareness of its importance.The List was inaugurated in November 2008 in accordance with UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which seeks to protect the world’s oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, craftsmanship and knowledge of nature. Before its current session ends on Friday, the committee is expected to evaluate another two nominations – from China and Mexico – for possible inclusion on the intangible heritage list. read more

Man due in court in Belfast over firearm possession

first_imgA MAN IS due in court in Belfast later today charged with possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.The 43-year-old will appear at Belfast Magistrates Court this morning charged with two counts of possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances, possessing ammunition in suspicious circumstances and dishonestly using electricity.The incident is related to a search in the Kings Way area of Newtownabbey in Co Antrim by detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigating incidents connected to the recent riots in the North over the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.A 24-year-old man and 45-year-old woman who were also arrested in connection with that search have been released on bail pending further inquiries by detectives in the North.VIDEO: Arson attack on home of loyalist Willie FrazerTimeline: How the flags drama unfolded in Northern Irelandlast_img read more

Man builds lightningshooting Tesla Gun lives to tell the tale

first_imgSome people read about some awesome but imaginary thing and leave it at that. Others want to make it a reality. Anyone that has ever fantasized about a working lightsaber can relate to one young man’s interest in the Tesla Gun depicted in the fabulous graphic novel The Five Fists of Science. The difference? He actually built it.The final working Tesla Gun is a portable spark gap Tesla coil that is powered by an 18V drill battery. Most of the Tesla coils you’ve seen are probably of the spark gap variety. These contraptions consist of a power source, conductive coil, and capacitor. Basically, this means the the Tesla Gun shoots lightning, and it isn’t even that expensive to build.The housing was made from aluminum using a Nerf gun as a mold. The mold was imperfect, so some milling was needed to smooth out the rough edges. The high-voltage switch in a spark gap coil needs to be a good insulator, but very durable. The switch will be dealing with thousands of volts and some excess heat every time it’s activated. For this project, porcelain was chosen.The electrical system is composed of the aforementioned drill battery along with a flyback transformer that steps the 18V to around 20,000V. A bank of capacitors stores the charge that is then used to strobe the coil itself. The primary and secondary coils are made of ABS plastic wrapped with copper wire, and are used to direct the charge outward through an aluminum toroid (the “barrel” of the gun).This isn’t a simple weekend project by any means. You have to know what you’re doing in order not to kill yourself — did I mention it shoots lightning? Kudos to this fellow for pulling it off. I am suitably impressed.via HackerFriendlylast_img read more

Did you fall in love in a Greek cinema of the 50s

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram ABC’s Radio National has a new radio documentary series called The History Listen. They are preparing a feature on the history of Greek cinema in Australia, mainly the period of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Peter Yiannoudes, John Tatoulis, and esteemed media academic Deb Verhoeven will be sharing their knowledge on the subject, while the documentary will also include interviews with contemporary Greek Australian filmmakers who were influenced by that era. As cinemas were a huge part of social life in the 50s and 60s, particularly in Melbourne, and many people met and fell in love within them, the producers are reaching out to the wider Greek Australian community to include this perspective. The interviews will be in English.If you or someone you know met their love at the movies contact ABC’s Earshot producer Miyuki Jokiranta on (03) 8646 1654, 0448 727 388 or email jokiranta.miyuki@abc.net.au The History Listen is broadcast weekly on Tuesdays at 11.00 am, and repeated on Sundays at 1.30 pm.last_img read more

Passing Out Parade Pop New Entry 52

first_img Recommended for you Related Items:Royal Bahamas Defence Force Recovery Of Stolen Vessel From Atlantis Marina Haitian Migrants Apprehended Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppCoral Harbour Base, 27 Apr 2015 – The Press is invited to cover the graduation Ceremony for 108 recruits of New Entry 52, scheduled for Friday 8th May 2015 at Coral Harbour Base at 10:00 a.m. On this occasion, the Minister of National Security, the Honourable Bernard Nottage will inspect the passing out parade and deliver the keynote address.New Entry 52, commenced their recruit training exercise on 10th January 2015, and together they have completed seventeen (17) weeks of vigorous basic military training.The programme covered a curriculum of Sixteen (16) disciplines that included professional subjects such as navigation, seamanship, small arms, first aid, fire fighting and communications, hand to hand combat and character development. The rigorous ‘Swedish’ physical fitness training programme and swimming comprised the bulk of the fitness regiment.Your continued support of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is appreciated. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Defence Force Makes History With Public Service Awardlast_img read more

Appointment of new Chief Executive Ho Iatseng brings promise of greater engagement

first_imgAnd although the result was a formality – Ho was the sole candidate to replace Fernando Chui Sai On – it should be an encouraging one for the city’s six concessionaires whose casino licenses all expire in 2022.“With his business background, this can be an advantage for more engagement with the private sector, particularly the integrated resorts who have business and operational challenges to deliver on daily,” explained Glenn McCartney, Associate Professor of International Integrated Resort Management at the University of Macau.“I see potential here for this engagement. Greater equitable collaboration between the public and IR industry will certainly benefit and is something I have mentioned over the years. More listening, discussion and consultations between one another so that future policies have more buy-in.”Ho’s business expertise stems from the family firm, Ho Tin Industries, a lighting and electronics manufacturer of which he served as Managing Director.He is also seen as someone who ticks all the political boxes, having been born in Macau before studying in mainland China and serving as a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.As such, he has the trust of Beijing to continue its push for greater diversification in Macau but “can bring a fresh perspective and approach to old challenges – some which persist in Macau’s tourism and casino development,” according to McCartney.“Some have mentioned that Mr Ho’s business background will mean a focus on outcomes rather than the processes. This can certainly be an advantage for the development of tourism and The Cotai Strip.”Ho’s credentials in that respect will be tested almost immediately with operators anxiously awaiting details of the re-tendering process for casino licenses.“Key to re-tendering will be stability – ensuring that the process is introduced and managed to be the least disruptive as possible,” McCartney said.“I believe these would be the expectations of government bodies, be it Macau or Beijing, as well as the business community and Macau’s community. There will be several factors to consider during the re-tendering process and afterwards.“Casinos need to continue to operate and the re-tendering offers a rare opportunity to integrate policy and direction that presents a climate for greater diversification.” Load More New Chief Executive vows to protect Macau’s gaming and tourism industry from harm RelatedPosts Huawei Japan joins Kansai Economic Federation with eye on World Expo 2025 and Osaka IR The business background of Macau’s new Chief Executive, Ho Iat-seng, will be welcomed by the city’s casino operators as an opportunity for greater collaboration, according to industry experts.Ho Iat-seng, the 62-year-old former President of the Executive Assembly, was officially elected to be Macau’s next Chief Executive by the 400-strong Election Committee on Sunday, with his five-year term to begin once he is sworn in on 20 December. Japan to conduct nationwide prefectural survey to confirm IR intentionslast_img read more

BSE closes points 1605 down on April 7

first_imgNew Delhi, April 7 (ANI): Trading at the Bombay Stock Exchange today closed 16.05 points down to stand at 22,343.45. At the National Stock Exchange the Nifty closed up 0.70 points up to stand at6, 695.05. Suzlon Energy and Strides Arco were among the top gainers of Group A with an increase of 12.40% and 8.02% along with Jaiprakash Associates and GMR Infrastructure with an increase of 5.40% and 5.38% respectively, while the top losers of Group A include Jindal Steel and Future Retail with a decrease of 5.93% and 5.46% along with Prestige Estates and Crompton Greaves with a decrease of 4.90% and 3.72% at the close of the markets. The Auto sector is down 13.96 points at 13,264.91 while the banking sector is down 56.91 points at 14,305.35 and the realty sector is down 20.89 points at 1,505.71. The Indian currency is down 0.17% at Rs 60.19 per dollar.last_img read more

Mayor chased for banner without Bangabandhus portrait

first_imgMap of MymensinghRuling Awami League activists chased the local mayor for not having Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s portrait on the banner during Victory Day celebrations in Muktagachha upazila of Mymensingh on Saturday.The incident took place at a flag hoisting ceremony and children’s parade to commemorate Victory Day at the Muktagachha pourashava square.Muktagachha municipal mayor Mohammed Shahidul Islam, a former general secretary of the upazila BNP, was elected on a BNP ticket.There was a Victory Day banner on the stage, but the banner had no picture of Bangabandhu. This caught the attention of the local Awami League leaders and activists.They demanded to know why he hadn’t used the picture of Bangabandhu, leading to an altercation and at one point the irate AL men attacked the mayor.He later took refuge in his office. The plastic chairs at the venue were damaged during the ruckus.After the incident, a number of local AL leaders, including former mayor Abdul Hai, held a press conference at the Muktagachha press club.They said that when they had asked why he hadn’t used Bangabandhu’s portrait on the banner, Shahidul Islam had replied that if Bangabandhu’s portrait was used, then Ziaur Rahman’s portraits would have to be used too.”Former mayor Abdul Hai told Prothom Alo, “The present mayor insulted Bangabandhu when asked why the portrait hadn’t been used. This angered the local Awami League activists and they went on a rampage, but I brought things under control.”In response, Shahidul Islam told Prothom Alo, “Every year Muktagachha pourashava celebrates Victory Day and Bangabandhu’s portrait is never on the banner. Even when Abdul Hai was the mayor, there was no portrait of Bangabandhu on the banner. After I became mayor, I just copied the banner used by the previous mayor, without Bangabandhu’s picture. This year suddenly they used the excuse of Bangabandhu’s picture being absent to confront me. I had to go back to my office. I did not insult Bangabandhu.”last_img read more

Recent Deadly Attacks Mean Tight Security For NYC New Years

first_imgPhoto via FlickrPolice are promising a bigger security detail than ever before in Times Square for this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which will cap off a year that saw a number of deadly attacks, including a vehicle rampage at the very spot where revelers will ring in 2018.In addition to its usual army of snipers, bag-inspecting officers and metal detectors, the department this year is relying on help from a growing corps of “vapor wake” dogs, which are trained to sniff out trace amounts of explosive particles that trail behind someone carrying a bomb.All 125 parking garages in the vicinity of Times Square will be emptied in advance of the celebration and sealed off, so no one has a chance to sneak in a car bomb, police said.Detectives already have been assigned to all of the dozens of high-rise hotels in the area, with the aim of preventing the type of attack that happened in Las Vegas in October, when a gunman firing from a casino hotel killed dozens of people at an outdoor concert below. Police wouldn’t discuss whether guests at area hotels would be screened in advance of the celebration, but Police Commissioner James O’Neill said officers already are working with hotel security.“This is going to be one of the most well-policed, best-protected events at one of the safest venues in the entire world,” O’Neill said.The extra precautions follow two recent terrorist attacks in the city. A man detonated a bomb in the city’s subway system on Dec. 11, injuring only himself. On Halloween, an Islamic State-inspired attacker drove down a bicycle path, killing eight people before he wrecked his truck and was shot by police.Times Square itself was targeted in May by a man, said by police to be high on drugs, who drove through crowds of pedestrians for more than three blocks, killing an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan. The speeding vehicle was eventually stopped by one of the squat metal barriers that have been installed around the square’s pedestrian plazas.Those attacks were reminders that New York City’s massive security apparatus can only do so much, but city officials insisted they will be able to keep people safe on New Year’s Eve.“The fact is, they will absolutely be safe,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.The police department doesn’t reveal the strength of its security force for the event, but it gave some details about the operation at a news conference Thursday. Share Officers will have help from roughly 1,000 security cameras installed in and around Times Square.An area roughly 22 city blocks long and three long blocks wide will be sealed off from both vehicle and pedestrian traffic with cement blocks, sand-filled garbage trucks and other vehicles blocking the streets leading into the area.Partygoers entering that secure zone will be screened at a dozen access points where they will encounter metal detectors, the vapor wake dogs and officers with portable radiation detectors. Large backpacks are not allowed. All small bags will be searched.From there, people go through a second round of security screening when they enter spectator pens where they are essentially confined for the night. People who leave the pens aren’t allowed to re-enter — so no bathroom breaks.Those who make it through will get to see live performances from Andy Grammer, Nick Jonas and Mariah Carey. A cascade of confetti and fireworks will ring in the new year when the Waterford Crystal ball drops.In addition to the officers at the scene, dozens of analysts will be combing Islamic State propaganda and deciphering data.Police also will be out in force at Coney Island, where live music and fireworks were expected to draw large crowds, and at a midnight event for runners in Central Park.“The takeaway from our preparations is this: People will be safe, and they should feel safe, too,” O’Neill said. “Because the NYPD and our partners are well-prepared.”last_img read more

Maryland Hispanic Business Conference

first_imgThe 14th annual Maryland Hispanic Business Conference is on September 8 in Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd. Bethesda, MD 20852. The conference provides tools, strategies and resources to better support Hispanic and minority businesses. For more information call (301) 947-6619 or visit www.mdhbc.com.last_img

Qantas to continue flying over Iraq

first_imgQantas has reassured passengers it is still safe to fly over conflict-ridden Iraq and is not intending to re-route, despite the airline’s alliance partner Emirates’ decision to avoid the route for fear of missile threats.In a statement released by Qantas, the airline said it regularly reviews its flight paths and makes necessary adjustments when and where needed and refused to divert its two daily A380 services, The Australian reported.Qantas states there is no suggestion that flying over Iraq is unsafe for commercial passenger airlines, especially at the cruising attitude that most airlines, including Qantas, maintain and says it will continue to monitor the situation with safety its top priority.Qantas says its average flight level over the Iraqi airspace is around 38,000 feet to 41,000 feet.However, in a report by the Daily Telegraph, Qantas pilots are said to be worried they could potentially be hit by a missile, despite flying at the stated altitude, and the refusal to divert is because its too expensive, costing up to AUD $22,000 in fuel each way.Qantas says it will review any broader recommendations for mitigating risks associated with flying over areas of conflict at the International Civil Aviation Organisation meeting in Montreal on Tuesday, where it will be represented by the International Air Transport Association.Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovichlast_img read more

Home Prices March Upwards

first_img Home prices continued to rise according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices for March 2018 that were released by S&P Dow Jones Indices on Tuesday. The data on the U.S. National Home Price NSA Index covered by these indices indicated that nationally, home prices reported a 6.5 percent annual gain in March, remaining unchanged over the gains reported in February 2018. The 20-City Composite Index also remained unchanged and posted a 6.8 percent gain year over year. The 10-City Composite Index grew from 6.4 percent in February 2018 to 6.5 percent in March.The year-over-year gains on the 20-City Composite were led by Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco with double-digit increases. According to the index, while Seattle reported a year-over-year price increase of 13 percent, Las Vegas, and San Francisco reported price gains of 12.4 percent and 11.3 percent respectively. The report found 12 of the 20 cities reported “greater price increases in the year ending March 2018, versus February 2018.”“While Seattle has been the city with the largest gains for 19 months, the ranking among other cities varies,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Las Vegas and San Francisco saw the second and third largest annual gains of 12.4 percent and 11.3 percent. A year ago, they ranked tenth and sixteenth. Any doubts that real, or inflation-adjusted, home prices are climbing rapidly are eliminated by considering Chicago; the city reported the lowest 12-month gain among all cities in the index of 2.8 percent, almost a percentage point ahead of the inflation rate.”Even though Seattle showed the highest price increase during the month, the gains are widespread according to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com. “All 20 cities saw price gains with the smallest in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland,” Hale said. “Despite the trend of rising prices, a look at preliminary realtor.com May housing data shows that listing price growth slowed in May. This could signal slower growth in home sales prices in the months ahead—a good turn of events for buyers.”Be that as it may, buyers will still have to contend with low housing supply this summer, which has also contributed to the growth in home prices. “Rising home prices continued in March amid strong economic conditions for would-be home buyers; unemployment remained low and job growth steady,” said Cheryl Young, Senior Economist at Trulia. “These strong consumer fundamentals drove demand as peak home buying season ramped up. Robust demand paired with abysmally low inventory contributed to surging home prices.” Young also pointed out to rising mortgage rates that could make this summer a tough season for potential homebuyers. “As if increasing home prices weren’t enough—beleaguered would-be homebuyers faced mortgage rates hitting four-year highs.”Blitzer agreed though he pointed out that compared to the price gains of the last housing boom in the 2000s things were much calmer. “ Months-supply, which combines inventory levels and sales, is currently at 3.8 months, lower than the levels of the 1990s, before the housing boom and bust,” he said. “Until inventories increase faster than sales, or the economy slows significantly, home prices are likely to continue rising.” Share Home Prices March Upwards May 29, 2018 706 Views center_img Demand Gains homes HOUSING Housing Boom HPI Prices Realtor.com S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index Supply Trulia 2018-05-29 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newslast_img read more