After rocky road, U.S. Senate passes landmark chemical law overhaul

first_imgThese days in Congress, not even strong bipartisan support seems to guarantee a bill’s success. But the Republicans and Democrats who backed a U.S. Senate bill to overhaul the nation’s environmental safety law for industrial chemicals refused to give up. Overcoming a thicket of procedural barriers, they won a signature victory tonight as the Senate unanimously approved, on a voice vote, an overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).The vote puts Congress close to reforming one of the nation’s most maligned environmental laws for the first time in nearly 40 years. Both environmentalists and industry have assailed the TSCA, first passed in 1976, for being unwieldy and ineffective.The Senate bill now stands alongside a far narrower, but still strongly bipartisan bill already approved by the House of Representatives. Lawmakers must still resolve differences between the two measures, and send a final version to the president’s desk.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Despite the potentially challenging road ahead, backers of the Senate bill celebrated after the vote. “I think it will be looked back on as a major environmental accomplishment,” said Senator Tom Udall (D–NM), who cosponsored the bill, S. 697, along with Sen. David Vitter (R–LA).Under the current TSCA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can’t restrict a chemical’s use, or even request new toxicity data on it, without first proving that the chemical poses a certain level of risk. EPA also must factor in the potential costs of regulating a chemical in determining whether it is safe for use, and pick the “least burdensome” method of regulation.Under the new Senate bill, EPA would no longer have to satisfy these cost-related requirements, and would have more freedom to take chemicals off the market or order companies to generate new toxicity data. With tens of thousands of chemicals in commerce whose safety has never been reviewed, the bill would task EPA with first reviewing the safety of chemicals that the agency deems as a high priority, in the tens of chemicals at a time. EPA would have to give even more priority to chemicals that don’t break down easily in the environment, accumulate in the body, or are already known to be highly toxic.The House approved its TSCA bill, H.R. 2576, this past June on a nearly unanimous vote. S. 697, meanwhile, cleared a key Senate committee on a 15-5 bipartisan vote this past May, following a series of amendments designed to win over Democrats who worried that the bill favored industry interests and took too much power from state regulators. The bill has since undergone further tweaks designed to strengthen its bipartisan support.Rocky roadGetting S. 697 to a vote of the full Senate would prove difficult. One major obstacle became Sen. Richard Burr (R–NC), who put a “hold” on the bill, saying he would allow a vote only if the Senate acted on an unrelated bill to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides money for land purchases. The Senate eventually renewed the fund and Burr lifted his hold, but then Sen. Barbara Boxer (D–CA) vowed to block a vote. She has led the opposition to S. 697, which has drawn criticism from some environmental and public health groups. Boxer’s hold was based not on the bill’s substance, Jason Plautz of National Journal reported, but on her desire to see the two chambers of Congress work out the differences between their bills in public.Those concerns seem to have been addressed—though it wasn’t immediately clear what concessions were made to Boxer. In a statement after tonight’s vote, Boxer said “the bill has been vastly improved over the original bill, which in my opinion would have been harmful to our families, because it overrode our state laws and set up an ineffective and nonexistent way to regulate most toxic pollutants.”Boxer indicated that she would fight for further changes. She has long pushed for language that would explicitly ban asbestos, for instance. “I have been assured that as the House and Senate bills are merged into one, the voices of those who have been most deeply affected, including nurses, breast cancer survivors, asbestos victims, and children, will be heard,” Boxer said.With Boxer’s hold dropped, Sen. James Inhofe (R–OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, brought up the bill on the Senate floor tonight without any opposition. He and Udall called the vote a tribute to the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D–NJ), who was once the Senate’s most vocal champion of overhauling the TSCA. The current Senate bill—which bears Lautenberg’s name—has its roots in legislation that Lautenberg worked on with Vitter in the previous Congress. Even though S. 697 still isn’t law, “I think Frank Lautenberg’s legacy has been fulfilled,” Inhofe said.ReactionReaction to the vote was generally positive, although many groups said they would still seek changes in the final version.“Though improved, the legislation still has major problems,” said Andy Igrejas, director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of more than 450 groups, in a statement. “For example, it weakens EPA’s ability to intercept imported products, like most of the toys under your Christmas tree, when they contain a known toxic chemical. If reform is going to be credible, tricky, sneaky provisions like this will have to be removed.”The Senate bill “will help ensure that companies won’t have to negotiate an obstacle course of regulatory requirements to alert consumers to the presence of a chemical determined to be harmless,” said William Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, in a statement.“[I]t’s worth savoring the present moment, brought to all of us by a rare amalgam of political risk-taking and courage, willingness to seek common ground and compromise, dedication to one’s key principles while acknowledging the legitimacy of others’, and countless days, weeks and months of plain old hard work,” said Richard Denison, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, in a blog post.In a statement, Jessica Sandler, a vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal rights group, noted her group supported the bill because it “contains important language to reduce and replace the use of animals in painful chemical toxicity tests. By modernizing the way in which chemicals are tested, S. 697 will enable better regulation of dangerous chemicals, thus protecting both people and animals.”last_img read more

New chair of science board helps make NSF’s case to U.S. Congress

first_imgAs MIT’s vice president for research, Zuber is an experienced advocate for science. She is also comfortable in the spotlight. She has reached any number of “first woman to …” milestones, including principal investigator on a NASA planetary mission and head of an MIT science department. And although Zuber is not the first women to chair the board, NSF’s press release touts her as part of the first all-female leadership team at the agency, joining NSF Director France Córdova and the board’s new vice-chair, Diane Souvaine, a theoretical computer scientist and vice provost for research at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.“I’ve never realized I was first until after the fact,” Zuber told ScienceInsider. “This is not something I aspire to. And I long for the day when I’m not the first anymore.”Into battleZuber’s new job thrusts her squarely into the middle of the running battle between NSF and Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), chairman of the House of Representatives science committee. In addition to repeatedly ridiculing specific grants, Smith has championed legislation that would require NSF to certify that all of its research grants contribute to “the national interest.” Scientific leaders who oppose that provision view it as a mechanism for making ideology-driven decisions about what NSF should be funding, and Smith says it’s simply an attempt to ensure accountability.“My definition of science in the national interest is great science,” Zuber says. “Mediocre science is not in anyone’s interest. And the board is here to help NSF support the best science as determined by merit review.”Still, Zuber recognizes that the issue is not cut-and-dried. “There is a range of opinion about whether NSF was transparent enough,” she says. “NSF felt it was, but others thought it wasn’t doing enough. So the board decided that the best thing to do is talk about it, and not get defensive. And those conversations have led us to believe that there’s room for NSF to improve transparency.”Zuber says no legislator has turned down a request for a visit from a board member, and she has met personally with Smith. The meetings are no panacea, she concedes, but she thinks they have helped.“I hoped we’ve turned the corner,” Zuber says. “We’re trying to let legislators know what NSF has been doing, and hopefully they will express an appreciation for it. But even if they don’t think we’ve done enough, we want to be able to understand their concerns.”Of course, whether NSF is spending its money wisely is part of a larger debate about how much the federal government should invest in research. There’s an old saw about scientists always wanting more. And though Zuber doesn’t think research should be exempt from the current budget constraints, she believes that steady increases are warranted.“Everything is under scrutiny when budgets are tight,” she concedes. “But U.S. research and education are really what has kept this country at the forefront. It’s improved our quality of life and contributed markedly to our competitiveness. So I think that even in this environment, where flat is the new up, then research spending ought to still be up.” The new chair of the board that oversees the National Science Foundation (NSF) plans to continue the board’s stepped-up efforts to educate Congress on how NSF does its business.This month Maria Zuber, a planetary geophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, took over from Dan Arvizu as chair of the National Science Board. The presidentially appointed body has traditionally kept a low profile. But in 2014 Arvizu asked Zuber to design a bigger role for the board in response to criticism from Republican legislators that NSF was funding frivolous research.The board’s response has been face-to-face meetings with individual legislators that take place after the end of the board’s regular 2-day sessions at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Over the past 18 months Arvizu and Zuber have helped connect a small contingent of board members with a score of legislators from both parties. Zuber and Arvizu say each side has learned from the other.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

I am bowling exactly the way I want to: Irfan Pathan

first_imgHaving picked his third five-wicket haul in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season during Baroda’s match against Delhi at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Wednesday, left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan has put his case forward for a slot in the squad for India’s tour to Australia in the best possible manner.With Praveen Kumar ruled out of the Test series Down Under and a perennial question mark over Zaheer Khan’s fitness, Irfan has leapfrogged a few in the pecking order of fast bowlers. But the Baroda pacer is not looking too far ahead.”We play in domestic cricket and hope to play at the international level and that is my dream as well. Playing for India, if it happens, I will be the happiest. But I am only concentrating on playing for Baroda and not thinking of national selection,” Irfan said after the second day’s play.”I am bowling exactly the way I want. If I want to bowl a full ball, swing it, I am being able to. I am happy the way the ball is coming out of my hands,” he said.Explaining his mantra after being in and out of the Indian side, Irfan said he is looking to enjoy his game. “When I came into the Indian team, I was just enjoying the game. So that’s what I am doing now. Today, I was going for wickets. With us one bowler short (Firdaush Bhaja), there was responsibility on me to pick wickets,” he said.last_img read more

Negotiating Salary? Be Transparent & Know Your Needs

first_imgYou’ve been told that you are going to get the job offer.  You think to yourself, “I should be after the three weeks and the 15 interviews I have gone through.” But before the offer can be delivered the recruiter says that she just wants to get a few pieces of information so that they can make you a job offer that you can accept on the spot when the hiring manager calls tomorrow.“That sounds great,” you say.  “Almost there”, you think, “Just don’t let me blow this now.”The recruiter asks, “How much was your salary at your last job and what are you expecting in this position?”You freeze.  “Oh no, what do I say now?”  Your heart pounds so loud that you think they must be able to hear it on the other end of the phone. All of a sudden your conscience says to you loud and clear, “Tell it like it was, and tell the truth!”  But that other little guy on the other shoulder whispers in a voice that is only your own, “Inflate it by ten thousand dollars, they are only going to negotiate you down to where you were before anyway.”The pause seems like an eternity, until the recruiter says, “Are you still there?”This is the moment of truth and you will be forever judged by the recruiter by what you do at this moment.  Your choices are to tell the truth and take the chance that you are underselling yourself. Or to inflate, not tell the truth and if found out in a reference check, either don’t get the job after all, or have the recruiter always remember that you didn’t tell it like it was.Here’s what you need to know: you need to tell the truth. So many people don’t that the recruiter comes with the assumption that you are inflating the truth anyway.  How many times have I been told, “Well, I make XXX dollars a year, but I am up for an increase next month where I am expecting an increase of X%, which is the highest that we give at my level.”  I am consistently amazed at my timing to recruit people who are all one month away from their next pay increase.I am advocating today, here and now, that the truth and nothing but the truth, will win out every time.Secondly, I am advocating that transparent, needs-based salary negotiations are the way to go. Needs-based salary is another way of saying the monetary amount you need to make ends meet – if you end up taking a job that pays less than what you need, you will have a bigger problem coming soon. One thing we all can agree on is that we have baseline needs to satisfy the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy. Plus, you don’t really know what the company can afford as you don’t know if the job posting salary was a target, the top of the range or the bottom of the range.  (You can better be informed of course today more than ever by looking at the thousands of salary reports on Glassdoor.com).  But since there is still a bit of guessing going on, it’s best to lead with: “Here is what I need and why.”I once had a person who I was trying to hire who desperately wanted the job, but the fact of the matter was that the salary we could afford to offer was going to be ludicrous given that he and his wife would need to move their five kids from Texas to California and keep any semblance of their current lifestyle. He wanted the job so badly that he was considering buying a 2-bedroom home to start.  I don’t have kids but even I knew that 5 kids and two adults in two bedrooms were just not going to work.  After evaluating his needs together, we both came to the conclusion that this wasn’t a good move for him. However, on the other hand, there have been many a situation where I have moved the salary up to accommodate real needs that are unique and personal that I never would have known had the person not been open and honest about their situation.Bottom line is that there is always a bottom line and in this time of uncertainty, changing rules and shifting expectations, opening up “your books” and telling it like it is creates more of an opportunity for dialogue and finding more common ground than not.Try it. What do you really have to lose?last_img read more

Noting that both the leaders were together in the Lok

first_imgSabha, the SP chief said, “We know each other. Now we are glad that we have to work together.” The two young leaders also focussed on the fact they “are friends and not just political allies”, and that the two parties “share much of each others ideologies” and goals. At one point Rahul even called Akhilesh “a good boy”, which the latter took sportingly, with a grin. It was flowers, rose petals and garlands all the way for Rahul and Akhilesh who later held a 12-km-long road show where the newfound bonhomie between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party was on display. Boosting the morale of their supporters and signalling unity, the two leaders atop the UP Vijay Rath started the road show from the GPO park in Hazratganj after garlanding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. The especially designed Rath had pictures of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and the alliances catch line UP ko yeh saath pasand hai. The two leaders, who were surrounded by security personnel on the platform on the vehicles roof from where they greeted people standing atop buildings along the narrow roads and lanes in old city areas. As Rath moved foward, hordes of Congress and SP workers raised slogans and showered flower petals on the leaders amid the beating of drums and playing of songs eulogising the two parties. The road show, which ended at the historic Ghanta Ghar in the Chowk area, covered some densely populated areas of the state capital spanning the old Lucknow localities, which have a sizable Muslim population. The meandering route was planned in such way that the message of the alliance, which was opposed by Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav when he helmed it, reached every section of the society. PTI SAB ABN SMI SKadvertisementlast_img read more

Police handling rape cases with sensitivity UP DGP

first_imgLucknow: Amid a spate of rape incidents involving minors in Uttar Pradesh recently, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday issued a slew of directions to the state police, including increasing foot patrolling in rural areas and making anti-Romeo squads more active.”We are dealing with such cases with full sensitivity and acting promptly. We will be fast-tracking these cases,” Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh told reporters here after an emergency review meeting convened by the chief minister to discuss the matter threadbare. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCCases of alleged rape of minors in Aligarh, Kushinagar, Hamirpur, Kanpur and Meerut have come to light in recent days, sparking outrage in the country. “There are two factors in these recent incidents. Firstly, they took place in rural areas. Secondly, the crime was committed by those who were known to the victims,” the Director General of Police said, adding the chief minister has taken a serious note of such incidents. After the meeting, the DGP told reporters that a detailed discussion took place on the recent incidents. “In all these cases, the police acted promptly and arrested the accused. Statements of the victims are being recorded and local police are taking all measures for prosecution of the accused. Be it Kushinagar, Hamipur or Aligarh – the progress made in all these cases were reviewed,” he said. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations”It was also decided in the meeting that documentation of all the accused involved in such cases should be done,” he said. Singh said the police will be asked to enhance foot patrolling in rural areas to avoid recurrence of such incidents. Besides, the anti-Romeo squads of the state police will be made more active and effective in future and all women helpline numbers will be integrated with Dial 100 (police emergency number), he said. The anti-Romeo squds of the state police were introduced to check incidents of eve-teasing in 2017 when the Yogi Adityanath government came to power. In Aligarh, a toddler was strangulated to death after her father failed to repay a loan of Rs 10,000. The body of the girl was found in a garbage dump, days after she was reported missing. A 12-year-old girl was dragged from her house and allegedly gang raped in Kushinagar, while a 15-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a teacher inside a seminary in Kanpur. In another incident, the naked body of a girl (10) was found in a field in Hamirpur. In Meerut, a 9-year-old girl was allegedly raped and strangled to death and her body dumped in a sewer. The girl went missing on June 4 and her body was found two days later. Meanwhile, Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal has urged PM Narendra Modi demanding death sentence for those who killed a toddler in Aligarh’s Tappal township.last_img read more

Millennials will have to deal with Ontarios debt unless action taken watchdog

first_imgTORONTO – Millennials will have to foot the bill for Ontario’s rising debt over the next three decades if the government doesn’t hike taxes or cut spending by $6.5 billion annually to address major demographic changes, the province’s fiscal watchdog warned Thursday.As the baby boom generation ages, the province’s economy will change, experiencing slow revenue growth and requiring increased spending on social programs like health care, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office explained.Consequently, government debt — which currently sits at $312 billion — will be driven up unless taxes are increased or spending is cut beginning next year, the office warned in its long-term budget outlook.“If these difficult fiscal changes are postponed the burden of stabilizing Ontario’s public finances would be increasingly, and arguably unfairly, shifted from the baby boom generation to younger Ontarians,” said David West, the FAO’s chief economist.The FAO report, which took a year to research, said balancing the province’s budget annually won’t be enough to offset the financial impacts of the aging demographic. The government must generate surpluses and use that cash to pay down debt, it said.West acknowledged, however, that a $6.5 billion tax increase or spending cut would have large budget implications.“(It’s) roughly equivalent to eliminating funding for 40 per cent of the province’s hospitals, raising the HST rate by two percentage points, or a 25 per cent increase in federal transfers,” he said.The report recommends the Ontario government stick to a promise it made to drop the provinces’ debt-to-gross domestic product ratio from its current level at 40 per cent to 27 per cent by 2030. West said the measure, which gauges the province’s ability to pay back and manage debt interest payments, would actually increase to 63 per cent by 2050 if significant fiscal changes aren’t made.“Since the demographic pressures on the budget will not intensify until the mid-2020s it will be tempting to postpone or even ignore the difficult fiscal policy changes that are going to be required to stabilize or reduce Ontario’s debt burden,” he said, adding that would result in higher costs to reduce the debt.Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the province takes the FAO’s findings seriously, but he would not commit to either hiking taxes or slashing spending. The province will find ways to foster further debt management, he said.“In all of Ontario’s history, for that matter even Canadian history, very little has ever occurred in terms of reduction in actual debt,” he said. “Ontario’s debt is managed by its ability to support growth in our economy. I am very sensitive to the degree of debt.”Ontario Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli called the FAO report a “bleak and stark” budget picture.“The debt is going to crowd out the services that families need like health and education,” he said. “All the things people have come to rely on they will struggle to pay for and the baby boomers debt will now roll over to the younger Ontarians.”Peter Tabuns, an NDP legislator said the government has been fiscally irresponsible and has tried to deal with budget shortfalls by selling off public assets.“Their whole approach is one that’s making the fiscal picture in Ontario much tougher,” he said.last_img read more

In Jordan UNs top refugee official thanks King for hosting uprooted Iraqis

13 February 2008The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, currently on a weeklong mission to the Middle East to spotlight the plight of uprooted Iraqis, in Jordan thanked King Abdullah II for his country’s generosity in hosting more than half a million of them. António Guterres said the international community must to recognize the huge burden borne by host countries, particularly Jordan and neighbouring Syria, and do more to ease that load.The High Commissioner, who arrived in Amman on Monday, also met Tuesday with Prime Minister Nader Dahabi and other senior officials before scheduled travel to the Syrian capital of Damascus.UNHCR and its partners estimate that out of a total population of 26 million, some 4.4 million Iraqis are still uprooted, including 2.4 million displaced inside Iraq and 2 million outside, mainly in Syria and Jordan. In addition, more than 41,000 non-Iraqi refugees are in Iraq, including Palestinians, Iranians, Turks and others.The agency this year has appealed for $261 million for programmes to support the most vulnerable of the uprooted inside and outside Iraq. UNHCR has been assisting internally displaced Iraqis, but said in a news release that getting help to many of them is “extremely difficult” because of prevailing insecurity. Last year, UNHCR registered more than 250,000 Iraqis in neighbouring states; gave health assistance to some 210,000 cases and provided educational support in Syria, Jordan and other countries that enabled tens of thousands of refugee children to attend school. Under the 2008 appeal, UNHCR has set a target of bringing the total to 200,000 children in school by the end of this year.In addition, the agency is providing direct assistance to vulnerable families, including a project that provides cash cards for limited monthly withdrawals. Together with the World Food Programme (WFP), UNHCR will provide food for up to 360,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria this year. In both Syria and Jordan the refugee agency is distributing items such as blankets, heaters, mattresses and other support items.It is also conducting a resettlement programme for the most vulnerable Iraqis. read more

Cut back on air conditioning with these cool and easy tips

Brought to you by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex.It pays to be smart with your air conditioning. Not only will you save money on your utility bills, but you’ll also help to conserve energy – and that’s a good thing no matter where you live. If you live in Ontario, cutting back on air conditioning is even more important. “Conserving energy in the summer months is especially important in Ontario because we’re the only province that uses more electricity in the summer than in the winter months,” says Peter Love, Ontario’s Chief Energy Conservation Officer. “Air conditioning accounts for one third (33%) of a home’s energy usage. That’s more than from running appliances and even lighting.” It represents a huge drain on electricity resources.Act now, save nowThere’s a lot that all Canadians can do to conserve energy. Peter Love suggests the following ways to have a positive impact this summer when it comes to both central air conditioning and window units. Don’t leave your air conditioner on when you’re not at home. That’s simply a huge waste of energy – and money. Reduce your use. “Use window blinds to keep your home cooler and use ceiling or tabletop fans to circulate cool air,” advises Mr. Love. Earmark your owner’s manual. “Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual carefully,” explains our energy conservation expert. “Like all major appliances that are used heavily, air conditioners need to be serviced regularly.” Switch off the lights. “Wasted heat that comes off light bulbs will increase the heat in your home and make air conditioning more necessary.” While Peter Love is not asking you to sit in the dark, be adamant about switching off lights when they’re not needed. Invest in a programmable thermostat. “A programmable thermostat will help you save on both heating and cooling costs,” advises Mr. Love. If you think they’re difficult to operate, think again. Newer models are easier to program and, as Mr. Love points out, “Ask a 10-year-old for help. They don’t even need a manual!” Replace old units. “Air-conditioning technology has improved immensely over the last 10 years,” he says. “Upgrade to an Energy Star approved model and save on your electricity bill. You may also be eligible for a federal rebate program, regardless of where you live in Canada.” Ask about Ontario’s peaksaver® program. If you live in Ontario, you can take advantage of the province’s peaksaver program. Through this voluntary program, homeowners allow their electricity provider to control and cycle energy use during peak times. “Most homeowners don’t even notice when this happens,” he says. Until, of course, they get their energy bill. Peter Love’s 3-pronged plan for smart homeownersAll Canadians can benefit from Peter Love’s approach to conserving energy. Think about electricity and conservation. “It may be hard to do because electricity and conservation are intangible,” he says. You can’t see or touch them, but they affect every aspect of daily life. Believe you can make a difference. “When we work together, we can make a huge difference,” continues Mr. Love. “Little things add up to huge savings.” Act. “I’m not asking people to get rid of their air conditioner,” he explains. “I am suggesting that they should be smarter about how they use it.” And, fortunately, that’s easy to do. More cool tips and resourcesAccess a whole slew of detailed air-conditioning saving tips from these three organizations:Every Kilowatt Counts The Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources CanadaBrock alumni save on home and automobile insuranceThe next time you are shopping for home and automobile insurance rates, let TD Insurance Meloche Monnex provide you with a quote.As a Brock graduate, you enjoy a privileged status through an exclusive group insurance program through TD Insurance Meloche Monnex.You will benefit from a wide range of products and services to cover all of your automobile, home, travel, and small business needs. More and more graduates are discovering the benefits and exceptional service this affinity partner has to offer. To obtain your no-obligation quote online, visit MelocheMonnex.com/BrockU or call 1-866-352-6187. read more

Libya Security Council condemns terrorist attacks on Republic of Korea Morocco embassies

In a press statement issued late yesterday evening, the Council members condemned all acts of violence against diplomatic premises and recalled “the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises” under international law while also underlining the obligations on host Governments to take “all appropriate steps” to protect diplomatic facilities.The attacks – perpetrated on 12 and 13 April and which resulted in at least two deaths and multiple injuries – are just the latest outburst of violence in Libya amid ongoing UN-facilitated talks aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis. In its statement, the UN body expressed its “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims and underscored “the need to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice.” Moreover, the 15-member Council reaffirmed that terrorism constitutes one of “the most serious threats to peace and security” and also reaffirmed the need to combat it “by all means” and in accordance with international law. read more

The only world safe from use of nuclear weapons is a world

“A world free of nuclear weapons is a global vision that requires a global response,” Mr. Guterres told a high-level General Assembly meeting held in commemoration of the International Day, observed annually on 26 September. Although the goal of such a world is universally held, he said, it has lately been subject to numerous challenges, including a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He added that the States possessing nuclear weapons have a special responsibility to lead by taking concrete steps, including those agreed at various review conferences of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Expensive campaigns to modernize nuclear weapons – combined with the absence of planned arsenal reductions beyond the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between Russia and the United States – make it difficult to see how disarmament can make progress, Mr. Guterres said, warning against misguided assertions that prevailing security conditions do not permit disarmament initiatives. “It is true that we live in challenging circumstances, but this can be no excuse for walking away from our shared responsibility to seek a more peaceful international society,” he said. The General Assembly declared 26 September as the International Day devoted to furthering the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons through a resolution adopted in December 2013. Also addressing the event was Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák, who noted that thousands of nuclear warheads still exist and they are being stored across three different continents. More than half of the world’s population lives in countries which have nuclear capabilities, or are member of nuclear alliances, he added. Since the designating the International Day, the world has witnessed three nuclear tests. “One nuclear test is one too many. Six nuclear tests in the 21st century is, frankly, alarming. So too is the reckless rhetoric we are witnessing. It can bring us all to the verge of a cliff, which we cannot afford to fall off,” he said.Last week, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature. Not everyone agrees that this was the right step to take, but it demonstrates a determination, which is beyond dispute, he said. “We can live in a nuclear-free world, as long as we all believe that it is possible. And as long as we are all willing to work to make it possible,” he concluded. read more

Encouraging first quarter for bus and coach market with registrations up 565

The bus and coach sector grew significantly in Q1 of 2012, up 56.5% to 2,343 registrations, with March up 71.8%, posting 1,340 registrations.On the back of a challenging 2011, all sectors saw a welcome lift in performance in Q1 of 2012:Purpose-built bus registrations rose 87.5% in the first three months of the year, and were up 75.8% in March.Coach volumes were up 50% for the year-to-date to 279 registrations.Converted bus registrations were up 40.5% in Q1 2012, and 65.3% in the month. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) “The UK bus and coach sector enjoyed a solid first quarter of 2012 with registrations up 56.5%,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “The purpose-built bus and coach segment continues to see an upward trend as operators seek to add the most reliable and fuel-efficient technologies to their fleets. Since 2009, more than 550 diesel hybrid buses have been registered, a figure that will grow as the third round of the Green Bus Fund in England takes effect.”Click through to download the full March 2012 bus and coach registrations news release and data tables, which include a more detailed analysis of the figures. read more

Ohio State rowing ready to compete for national title

The No. 4-ranked Ohio State rowing team was selected as one of 16 teams that will head to West Windsor, N.J., this week to compete for the national title at the NCAA Championships. The rowing, which had one of the athletic department’s 46 self-reported NCAA violations that were released last week, have qualified for the NCAA championships every year as a team since 2000, making this their 13th-consecutive appearance. The program is one of only five in the nation to achieve that number of consecutive trips. OSU finished second at the Big Ten Championships on May 13, with a total of 145 points, falling behind Michigan, which took home the win with 147 points. The NCAA Championships are made up of 16 teams, with each team fielding two boats of eight rowers, First and Second Varsity Eights, and one boat of four rowers, First Varsity Four. Senior Ellen Heister, who rows on the First Varsity Eight, said the loss to Michigan at the Big Ten Championships will give the team an advantage going into nationals. “Big Tens was kind of a learning experience for us. We saw the speed that Michigan has all season, but we hadn’t gotten to race them until Big Tens. We got to analyze a few things about our own race, in relation to how they did when they beat us, so I think that will be beneficial when we get to race them again,” Heister said. “I think we’re all really excited about where our team is seeded in accomplishing the goal that we set at the beginning of the year.” Coach Andy Teitelbaum said that with the goal and focus on winning a national championship, the team looks forward to racing former competitors and new opponents. “I think Michigan showed us a couple of things in the First and Second Eight, and now it’s up to us to see whether or not we’re equal to the challenge,” Teitelbaum said. “They’re not the only crew that’s out there that I think is particularly formidable. We haven’t seen anybody from the West Coast, so it will be fun to see how we stack up against their speed.” Junior Allison Elber of the First Varsity Eight said the team is eager to meet the high competition and compete at the next level. “There are a lot of really good teams there and we’re expecting that, and we feel that we’re ready to compete at that level now, so we’re just really excited to get out there and show what we can do,” Elber said. Sophomore Claire-Louise Bode of the First Varsity Eight, said the two-point loss to Michigan at the Big Ten Championships was a part of their journey toward the goal of a national title. “I feel like that was one step towards what we plan to do,” Bode said. “Now that we’ve gone through it, we have a better picture in our heads of where we’re going to, and the goal is in reach. We’re ready for it now.” The Buckeyes will compete on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J., for the NCAA Championships Friday through Sunday. read more

No Flash plugin for Google Chrome on Android

first_imgYou knew it was coming, and you figure that Google Chrome for Android was going to be a solid upgrade over the original browser. Yesterday, Chrome for Android was made available for download in beta form.It’s already quite functional, with Chrome sync and Instant suggestions in the Omnibar. There’s plenty of work left to do, of course, like adding support for extensions and offering a way to change user agents so you can switch between mobile and standard desktop views of the sites you browse.One thing that is missing though: Flash support. The kicker is that it’s never going to be added.Adobe announced last year that they had pulled the plug on the development of mobile Flash. It certainly didn’t take long for Flash to drop from its position of prominence. Once a key differentiator for Android, Flash support is no longer even important enough for Adobe to integrate it into Google’s next-gen mobile browser.So while Flash still runs in certain apps on your ICS smartphone or tablet — like the original Android browser — those of you who plan to make the jump to Chrome (or already have) will just have to get used to looking at websites the way your iPhone-toting friends do.Or you could dump your Android device for a BlackBerry if you’re still hung up on having Flash support. RIM promised to keep on developing the plug-in for its devices, and if RIM thinks it’s worth doing, well…More at Gizmodolast_img read more

Chrome 17 goes stablebeefs up malware defenses and speed tricks

first_imgIn the midst of a minor Safe Browsing controversy, Google Chrome 17 has landed on the stable channel. One of the big additions in the new release is the beefed-up malware blocking system that surfaced in the Beta channel a few weeks ago.When you initiate a download in Chrome, Google checks the files against its Safe Browsing blacklist. The list is constantly updated as Google indexes the web, keeping a watchful eye on sites that are pumping out malicious downloads. That’s a good starting point, but it only works with files and sites that have been previously identified.With Chrome 17, there’s now an added layer of protection. Executable files are run through additional reputation checks, and Google then tries to determine the trustworthiness of the file by looking at the relevant Safe Browsing data for the site and publisher it’s being downloaded from. If everything looks good, Chrome will ask if you want to keep or discard the file just as it always has. If it looks a little shady, you’ll see this in the download bard instead:Also making the jump from Beta to stable is an improvement to Chrome’s Omnibox. In version 17, URLs that Chrome suggests as you type will automatically begin pre-loading in the background. That way they load in a flash when you click or finish typing and press enter. Google hasn’t actually done anything to speed up the actual page load times, mind you, they’re simply doing it behind the scenes before you ask Chrome to display anything.To install the new version, you can click the wrench menu and then click About Chrome, or you can simply browse as you usually do and Chrome 17 will arrive on its own thanks to its auto-update system.via at Google Chrome Bloglast_img read more

De lor des croisés découvert en Israël

first_imgDe l’or des croisés découvert en IsraëlDes archéologues israéliens ont fait la découverte inattendue d’un trésor contenant 108 dinars d’or . Il aurait été caché au XIIIe siècle par des croisés. Les pièces, qui pèsent en tout 400 g représentent plus de 100.000 dollars.Des archéologues israéliens ont découvert un trésor contenant 108 dinars d’or. Découvert lors de fouilles sur le territoire d’un ancien château situé au bord de la Méditerranée, près de la ville actuelle de Herzliya, ce trésor aurait été caché au XIIIe siècle par des croisés, rapportait hier le journal Haaretz. Le poids total des pièces s’élève à 400 grammes pour une valeur de plus de 100 000 dollars, indique rian.ru. Ces pièces se trouvaient dans un pot, caché sous une couche de sable et couvert de dalles. Les archéologues estiment que ce trésor a été enterré par des Hospitaliers en 1265 avant la chute de leur château, lequel fût assiégé pendant 40 jours par les troupes du sultan mamelouk Baïbars. “Le trésor a été caché en hâte juste avant la chute du château. Avec d’autres découvertes, ce trésor jette la lumière sur le long siège et sur le combat acharné”, a dit le responsable des fouilles, professeur de l’Université de Tel Aviv, Oren Tal.  En effet, les archéologues ont également découvert de nombreuses pointes de flèches ainsi que des projectiles destinés à armer des catapultes.Le 11 juillet 2012 à 15:50 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Your wireless charger may not suck anymore

first_img More from MWC 2019 Jun 1 • The Nubia Alpha looks like either a house arrest bracelet or Batman’s phone Mobile World Congress 2019 Phones Components Jul 9 • Killer cameras and battery life might meet their match in the Note 10 Mobile World Congress 2019 Tags Samsung Galaxy Buds charge right off the back of the… Wireless chargers may soon get faster.  Sarah Tew/CNET Pretty soon, it may not take all night to juice up your phone with a wireless charger. Qualcomm on Monday said its Quick Charge technology will be coming to Qi wireless chargers, letting them quickly fill up dead batteries. Wireless charging, while convenient, has tended to be slow. Right now it takes much longer to wirelessly charge a device than it would take to simply plug it in with a cable.  Quick Charge wireless charging pads will work with Quick Charge 2.0, 3.0, 4 and 4+ adapters that millions of people already use. Devices that currently use Quick Charge include the LG G7 ThinQ and the Razer Phone 2. Qualcomm also said there have been wireless chargers on the market that claimed they had Quick Charge technology, without actually being certified. The expansion includes forward and backward compatibility, Qualcomm said.  3 Jun 29 • Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro LG V50 ThinQ 5G: Why you shouldn’t rush to buy a 5G phone MWC 2019: All the phones and gadgets we cared about May 13 • Galaxy S10E vs. iPhone XR: Every spec compared Chinese handset and scooter maker Xiaomi is the first company to build a Quick Charge-enabled wireless power pad, the Mi Wireless Charging Pad.The news was part of a wave of announcements from Qualcomm at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. The world’s biggest mobile trade show also has seen announcement after announcement of companies working with Qualcomm on 5G and other technologies. Along with the quick charging news, Qualcomm said its first processor that integrates its 5G modem with its application processor will arrive later this year.  Now playing: Watch this: See All 28 Photos Share your voice reading • Your wireless charger may not suck anymore Comments 1:27 • Galaxy S10 Plus review Mobile World Congress 2019 Qualcomm Xiaomilast_img read more

Boat capsizes in Pulicat lake at Nellore district

first_imgNellore: At least 40 people feared drowned when the boat in which they were travelling capsized in Pulicat lake at Nellore district. However, the staff has breathed easy as everyone came out safely from danger. There were about 40 passengers on the boat at the time of the accident. On hearing the news, the locals rushed to the spot and recused the passengers to the shore. This incident happened when the bost was on the way to Irakandini from BV Palem. Complete information is yet to be known on the incident.last_img

AL factional clash leaves 2 dead in Kushtia

first_imgMap of KushtiaTwo people were killed and 10 others injured in a clash between two factions of Awami League at Bakhoil village in Sadar upazila of Kushtia on Thursday afternoon, reports UNB.The deceased are Billal and Enamul, 35, both are AL activists. Ratan Sheikh, officer-in-charge of Kushtia Islamic University police station, said supporters of Jhaudia union parishad chairman Keramat Ullah locked into a clash with the supporters of ex-UP chairman Bokhtiar Rahman around 2:00pm over establishing supremacy, leaving two people dead and 10 others injured on the spot. On information, police rushed to the spot and fired several rounds of tear shell for bringing the situation under control, added the OC.last_img

A music lovers mission

first_imgIt was sheer curiosity that led to a beautiful serendipity which has now become a mission for author-classical singer Vikram Sampath, who has created an archive of Indian classical music, carnatic music, folk music and speeches from the pre-Independence era, digitised them and built a national treasure online.The Archive of Indian Music(AIM) is a museum of sorts to listen to the golden voices of bygone era. The recordings span 1902 to 1952 and boast of many known and unknown names like Bhimsen Joshi, Devika Rani, Abdul Karim Khan, Hirabai Barodekar and Madurai Mani Iyer among others. It can be accessed at Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’www.archiveofindianmusic.org.‘I was curious to listen to the voice of legendary singer Gauhar Jaan (the first Indian voice to be recorded in 1902) while I was writing a book on her. It was during the research that I realised there were old gramophone recordings of known and unknown singers in abominable condition,’ Sampath, 33, told in an interview. ‘I started collecting them and reached out to record collectors. Some generous people donated. This is how the process began accidentally. One thing led to the another by chance,’ he said, adding he has around 100,000 records for digitising, of which 10,000 have already been transferred. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe BITS Pilani alumnus has penned three well-researched books on history and music: Splendours of Royal Mysore, My Name is Gauhar Jaan – The life and times of a musician and Voice of the Veena: S. Balachander, a biography.The pilot of the site went online in January. After receiving an overwhelming response from music connoisseurs, the team is now working on making the final version user friendly.There was never any intention of minting money through the site, Sampath said.To sustain and monetise the site, he has plans to create audio-visual exhibitions across India.last_img read more