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Nearly an inch of rain expected in first week of fall

first_imgThe first full day of fall is expected to bring with it rain to Southwest Washington. Widespread moderate to heavy rain is expected to begin along the coast late this afternoon and then slowly spread inland Tuesday night and Wednesday, according to a National Weather Service special weather statement.Rainfall totals from today through the end of the week are expected to reach nearly an inch in the inland and one to two inches on the coast and in the mountains, the weather service reports.The predicted rainfall would be the most rain the area has seen in months and so authorities warn that residual oil and grease on the roadway will likely create slick driving conditions. The weather agency warned of localized flooding, especially in areas affected by wildfires. Coastal regions may see wind gusts of up to 55 mph.last_img read more

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Freya Ridings On Sharing Personal Experiences Lost Without You

Freya Ridings On Sharing Personal Experiences Lost Without You

first_img Facebook Twitter News Email How Freya Ridings Discovered Unexpected Tears freya-ridings-sharing-personal-experiences-lost-without-you Standing at a train station watching her lover leave, while falling apart, as the singer/songwriter recounts in her biggest hit to date, didn’t actually happen… but it felt so realPhilip MerrillGRAMMYs Sep 24, 2018 – 4:30 pm Londoner Freya Ridings is used to keeping it real. She began distributing her songs and performances digitally in 2017, winning a following for the pure-toned heartache in her voice and for recordings of her live performances. But her song “Lost Without You” broke the mold, bringing its enveloping sense of loss straight from her imagination. Freya Ridings On Sharing Personal Experiences & “Lost Without You” NETWORK ERRORCannot Contact ServerRELOAD YOUR SCREEN OR TRY SELECTING A DIFFERENT VIDEO Sep 24, 2018 – 4:29 pm Freya Ridings On “Lost Without You” “I always write from personal experience,” says Ridings — but this was an exception. “It’s never actually happened, and it really affected me.” She said “Lost Without You” came to her “state of consciousness while … sitting at the piano. It just came out fully formed, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, that just made me want to cry.'” It’s received a big reaction with more than a million views on YouTube and Top 40 placement on the UK Official Charts.The unexpected response is reminiscent of another real experience from Ridings’ life. “We made these little guerilla-style videos where we go around these secret pianos that are on underground train stations in London,” she shared. “No one would stop, and I loved that because it was kind of in your own world.” They tipped their fans 24 hours prior to one of these sessions thinking to attract “friends and family” but they got more than they bargained for. “They had to shut down the station,” she described. “It was hundreds of people and I was like, ‘What is going on?’ I still can’t believe that happened.” A friend’s choir even showed up and joined in.It will be interesting to see how other unexpected and imaginary life experiences surface through this emerging talent’s songs that have yet to arrive.The Aces On Music As A Tool To Ease The PainRead morelast_img read more

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BREAKING NEWS Have You Seen This Missing Wilmington Teen

BREAKING NEWS Have You Seen This Missing Wilmington Teen

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a Wilmington teenager has been missing since May 19, 2018.Kathrine Morona, who also went missing in March and was found safe, is a 16-year-old Hispanic female with black hair and brown eyes. She is 5’3″ and 130 pounds. Her nose is pierced and may be wearing glasses. Kathrine may be in the company of an adult male.If seen, please call 911, 1-800-THE-LOST, or the Wilmington Police Department at 978-658-5071.Kathrine MoronaLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedMISSING CHILD: Have You Seen This Wilmington Teen?In “Government”BREAKING NEWS: Have You Seen This 14-Year-Old Girl Missing From Wilmington?In “Breaking”PHOTO OF THE DAY: Have You Seen These 2 Missing Billerica Children?In “Photo of the Day”last_img read more

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Pirated streaming devices are filled with malware researchers find

first_img $179 Mentioned Above Apple TV 4K (32GB) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. 1:49 $169 Comments See It Best Buy If you have a bootleg streaming device, chances are it’s filled with malware, researchers found. Sarah Tew/CNET It seems there’s no such thing as a free show.Security researchers from the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) and Dark Wolfe Consulting looked into six streaming devices that offered free shows through pirated apps and found nearly half of them were packed with malware. While you may have bought a bona fide Apple TV or Roku to watch shows on Netflix or Hulu, there’s an entire market online for jailbroken and modified devices that are tuned to watch this same content for free. They come at a much cheaper price and offer free, unlimited access to shows that you’d normally have to pay a subscription fee for. These devices work just like a Roku or a Fire TV Stick — you plug it into your TV and connect it to your Wi-Fi network. In some cases, they’re loaded with apps. 7 Now playing: Watch this: The DCA and Dark Wolfe found that there were 12 million active users in the US with these devices, meaning that millions of people are exposed to malware packed with these free shows, according to a report DCA published Thursday. “You have a choice, you can either have free movies, or your bank account,” said Tom Galvin, the DCA’s executive director. “When you bring one of these into your home, you’ve escorted a hacker past your security.”  One app for pirated movies and live sports, called Mobdro, immediately forwarded his Wi-Fi network name and password to servers in Indonesia, he said. Other apps would collect data on the user, including photos and videos on the network, and upload them to the server. In one case, an app collected more than a terabyte of data after getting connected to Wolfe’s network. These apps offered streams on movies that were still in theaters during the study time, like Aquaman and Green Book, as well as access to pay-per-views like UFC fights. One app, called “Free Netflix,” used a network of stolen Netflix accounts that would constantly rotate so that hacked users would not become suspicious, Wolfe said.In the background, these apps were scanning victims’ networks, looking for open ports to infect other devices, he said. “Once you start using these rogue apps, nothing is free, there’s always some angle to them,” Wolfe said. In one case, when the DCA arranged to buy one of the devices off Craigslist, the seller came out of the Department of Labor building in Washington, DC, to hand off the goods. On hacker forums, the researchers found that criminals online were discussing ways to exploit this malware. “Streaming is where consumers go to for their home entertainment, which means hackers and criminals are now targeting streaming as a place to exploit consumers,” Galvin said.  $179 Apple See itcenter_img See It Crutchfield Tags If the hardware isn’t laced with malware, the apps are, Timber Wolfe, a principal at Dark Wolfe Consulting, found in his research. He said 40% of apps for these devices were infected with malware that can take over a camera or microphone on the network within the first hour.As viewers move to streaming devices to watch shows, like Apple TVs, Rokus, Chromecasts and Fire TVs, black market sellers have capitalized on cordcutters by offering pirated alternatives. Cybercriminals have taken notice, by targeting these bootleg boxes with malware, researchers found. On April 8, the FCC issued an enforcement advisory warning that they were fining up to $19,639 per day for people selling these illegal streaming boxes, as well as people using them. While they aren’t in stores, you can still find them in popular sites like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. They’re also often sold at flea markets and malls for about $75 to $100. People are enticed to buy them because they promise free streams on sports, live shows and new movies. Once you start using these rogue apps, nothing is free, there’s always some angle to them. Timber Wolfe, Dark Wolfe Consulting Those bootleg streaming devices have malware preinstalled Review • Apple TV 4K review: The best TV streamer keeps getting better Malware Share your voice See It $179 Apple TV 4K TV and Movies Security Preview • Apple TV 4K: New $179 Apple streamer adds HDR, better gaminglast_img read more

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Aston Martin DBX teaser affirms the SUVs ties to the DB lineage

first_img Aston Martin Aston Martin’s DBX SUV throws snow all over the place More From Roadshow 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Now playing: Watch this: Preview • 2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante: A good reason for sunburn 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Share your voice 10 Photos This December, Aston Martin will welcome its first SUV into the world known as the DBX. The British luxury brand delivered the news in a teaser video (embedded above) for the DBX SUV on Monday without providing a more specific date. Previously, we knew the luxury SUV was coming in the final quarter of this year, but Aston Martin is going to wait until the very last month to unveil its SUV. Not only that, but the brand wants us to know that just because this is an SUV, it doesn’t mean it’s not a true part of the DB family. The designation dates back decades and sits as a prefix to some of the most iconic Aston Martin models.This teaser focuses specifically on the grille, which takes a familiar shape from the DB line of cars. Today, that encompasses the DBS Superleggera and DB11. As is all too familiar a story, people dig utility vehicles these days, which has led to an insurgence of ultraluxurious SUVs. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and more have recently cropped up. The DBX will do its best to capture the same market, though more than likely, owners will park it next to another Aston Martin in the garage.Aside from the small shot of the grille, we do get a rough look at the headlights and daytime-running lights as the teaser closes. However, prototype photos already give us a good idea as to what the SUV will look like when we see it later this year. The biggest mystery remains the rear end, which we don’t see at all in the teaser. Even in the previously released prototype photos (see the gallery below), the DBX’s back end was pretty well camouflaged. Do expect a Vantage-esque look with the taillights.While the original idea was to make the DBX an electric vehicle, Aston Martin scrapped that plan as the Lagonda came back into the picture. As for powertrains, it’ll likely stick to V8 and V12 engines, but we’ll know for sure in a few months. The Rapide AMR has the last-ever naturally aspirated… 2020 Hyundai Sonata first drive: An attractive and compelling midsize sedan Post a comment More about 2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante 4:39 Tags 0 SUVs Luxury cars Aston Martinlast_img read more

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Caned by headmaster schoolgirl kills self

Caned by headmaster schoolgirl kills self

first_imgA schoolgirl who took poison reportedly after being caned and scolded by her headmaster died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on Thursday, reports UNB.The deceased was Sathi Akhter, 15, daughter of Iqbal Bepari of Khoyazpur village in Madaripur’s Sadar upazila and a Class-X student of Charmugria Girls’ High School.Locals said Sathi, daughter of Iqbal’s first wife, used to study staying at her maternal uncle’s house at Peyarpur village.She locked into an altercation with her two classmates in their classroom on Saturday.As the matter came to the notice of headmaster Md Nur Hossain Hawlader, he caned the trio and rebuked them.Returning from school, Sathi took poison and fell sick.She was taken to Sadar Hospital from where she was sent to the DMCH on Sunday as her condition deteriorated. She, however, died on Thursday morning.As the death news spread around, students of the school held a protest rally and formed a human chain demanding punishment of the teacher who went into hiding after the incident, said Sumon Deb, additional superintendent of Madaripur police.The students also gave a memorandum containing their demand to the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police Subrata Kumar Halder.The SP said a police team visited the village.last_img read more

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Infighting in ethnic party leaves at least 6 killed

Infighting in ethnic party leaves at least 6 killed

first_imgProthom Alo IllustrationAt least six people were gunned down and four others injured in a deadly gunfight between two factions of United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), a Chattogram Hill Tracts-based political party, in Swanirbhar of Khagrachhari sadar upazila on Saturday morning.Sadar police station officer-in-charge Shahadat Hossain said the gun battle between members of UPDF and its breakaway faction, UPDF (Democratic), broke out for establishing control in the area around 8:00am, leaving the six people dead.Three of the deceased are Tapan Chakma, district unit president of UPDF-backed Pahari Chhatra Parishad, another leader Elton Chakma, and Ganatrantrik Jubo Forum leader Palash Chakma, also backed by the Prasit Khisha-led UPDF, reports UNB.Three of the injured were referred to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) from Sadar Hospital for better treatment.Meanwhile, additional police and army personnel were deployed in the area amid growing tensions there, the OC added.On 3 May, advocate Shaktiman Chakma, 55, chairman of Naniarchar upazila parishad and a leader of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (MN Larma faction), was shot dead by unidentified miscreants in Rangamati.On the following day, five people were killed and eight others injured in a gun attack on a motorcade of the followers of Shaktiman Chakma in Betchhari of the upazila while they were going to attend the funeral programme of Shaktiman.last_img read more

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Sri Lanka monk found guilty of intimidation

Sri Lanka monk found guilty of intimidation

first_imgGalagodaatte GnanasaraA Sri Lanka court on Thursday found a radical Buddhist monk guilty of criminal intimidation, the first time the notorious extremist has faced the prospect of jail.Galagodaatte Gnanasara, who has been accused of hate crimes against Muslims, was convicted of two counts of harassing and intimidating a woman whose husband was abducted in 2010 by state forces.A magistrate in Homagama town released the firebrand monk on bail pending his sentencing on 14 June. Each count carries a maximum jail term of two years and an unspecified fine, or both.The court held that Gnanasar used abusive language and insulted Sandya Eknaligoda, whose cartoonist husband was abducted by military intelligence in 2010.Eknaligoda has campaigned to find out what happened to her husband, whose cartoons lampooned former strongman president Mahinda Rajapakse.Several members of military intelligence were arrested in connection with his disappearance but all have since been released on bail.Gnanasar had accused Eknaligoda of supporting Tamil extremists and bringing the military into disrepute.”This is not a personal victory for me, but a vindication for many thousands who had suffered as a result of this monk’s behaviour,” Eknaligoda told AFP.Eknaligoda’s perseverance earned her an “Internal Women of Courage” award last year from US first lady Melania Trump.Saffron-robed Gnanasara was in court, but remained silent when the guilty verdict was read out. His spokesman told AFP the monk was not making any comment.The controversial priest was on the run for a month last year as police pursued him in connection with a string of hate attacks against Muslims.He later surrendered to police and was granted bail.Gnanasara’s Buddhist Force, or BBS, has denied allegations it was behind riots against Muslims in 2017 and 2014 that left four people dead.Gnanasara maintains close ties with Wirathu, an extremist monk in Mandalay, whose hate speech has galvanised religious tensions in Myanmar.Wirathu visited Sri Lanka as a guest of Gnanasara shortly after the 2014 violence in Sri Lanka’s tourist resort of Aluthgama.last_img read more

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Louisville Baseball Announces 2019 Promotional Schedule

first_imgThe fourth-ranked Cardinals open the 2019 season on Friday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m., ET against No. 20 Connecticut at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m., ET with the series finale set for Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m., ET. The 2019 home opener is slated for Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m., ET against Eastern Kentucky at Jim Patterson Stadium. LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville Athletics has announced the 2019 baseball promotional calendar, which includes an array of fan-friendly special events and season-long promotions at Jim Patterson Stadium for the Cardinals’ fifth season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.The 34-game home schedule features great giveaways, the return of fan favorites and the introduction of special offers, which allow fans to experience all the ballpark’s offerings at exceptional values. Promotions and game times are subject to change. A list of season-long promotions and special events are listed below, while additional details on all Louisville baseball promotions are available at GoCards.com/OnDeck. Story Links 2019 Baseball Promotions 2019 Baseball Season Tickets Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram at @LouisvilleBSB.  Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

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Deforestation in French Guiana linked to increase in infectious tropical disease

Deforestation in French Guiana linked to increase in infectious tropical disease

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. A novel genetic typing approach reveals focal transmission of the bacteria that cause the flesh-eating disease Journal information: Science Advances Explore further People have been cutting down the rain forests for years to provide land for human activities. While some of the ecological impacts of deforestation is evident, such as the reduction in amounts of carbon dioxide the remaining rainforests can pull from the atmosphere, others are not so clear. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the possible impact on the spread of infectious diseases.Prior research has found links between human environmental impact and the spread of diseases such as malaria and Zika, but other less well-known diseases might be impacted as well. One such disease, known as Buruli ulcer, results in skin ulcers and bone damage. It is caused by infection of the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans, generally in tropical areas. But what happens with these bacteria when tropical forests are cut down? To find out, the researchers ventured to French Guiana, where people are commonly infected with Buruli ulcer. They collected approximately 3,000 organisms from 17 places around the country and then tested each for M. ulcerans. In studying the numbers, they discovered that the bacteria are not particularly fond of any given host—they will infect a wide range of insects, fish and many other invertebrates. They also noted that infections were more prevalent the farther down the food chain they looked. The team also noted the locations of the organisms they collected and found that in places where deforestation had occurred, there were, quite naturally, fewer organisms that lived higher up on the food chain. This in turn led to increases in the numbers of those they normally preyed upon and that led to more infections in lower order animals by M. ulcerans.The researchers did not compare their findings against increased human infections, but the data suggests it as a likely possibility, which, in a broader sense, offers yet more evidence of the negative consequences of deforestation of the rain forests—a possible increase in the spread of bacterial infections—at least initially. Their research also showed that as deforested land was converted to human use, even lower-order organisms were eventually pushed out, along with the bacteria they were carrying. More information: A. L. Morris et al. Deforestation-driven food-web collapse linked to emerging tropical infectious disease, Mycobacterium ulcerans, Science Advances (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600387AbstractGeneralist microorganisms are the agents of many emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), but their natural life cycles are difficult to predict due to the multiplicity of potential hosts and environmental reservoirs. Among 250 known human EIDs, many have been traced to tropical rain forests and specifically freshwater aquatic systems, which act as an interface between microbe-rich sediments or substrates and terrestrial habitats. Along with the rapid urbanization of developing countries, population encroachment, deforestation, and land-use modifications are expected to increase the risk of EID outbreaks. We show that the freshwater food-web collapse driven by land-use change has a nonlinear effect on the abundance of preferential hosts of a generalist bacterial pathogen, Mycobacterium ulcerans. This leads to an increase of the pathogen within systems at certain levels of environmental disturbance. The complex link between aquatic, terrestrial, and EID processes highlights the potential importance of species community composition and structure and species life history traits in disease risk estimation and mapping. Mechanisms such as the one shown here are also central in predicting how human-induced environmental change, for example, deforestation and changes in land use, may drive emergence.center_img Citation: Deforestation in French Guiana linked to increase in infectious tropical disease (2016, December 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-12-deforestation-french-guiana-linked-infectious.html Apatou, French Guiana, January 2004. Credit: public domain © 2016 Phys.org (Phys.org)—An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests human deforestation efforts in French Guiana has led to an increase in the number of animals and insects infected with the tropical disease Buruli ulcer. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of the bacteria that causes the disease and what their findings imply for the study of the spread of diseases in such areas.last_img read more

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Astronomers detect flickering from the star EF Aquilae

Astronomers detect flickering from the star EF Aquilae

first_img More information: Discovery of optical flickering from the symbiotic star EF Aquilae, arXiv:1702.08243 [astro-ph.SR] arxiv.org/abs/1702.08243AbstractWe report optical CCD photometry of the recently identified symbiotic star EF Aql. Our observations in Johnson V and B bands clearly show the presence of stochastic light variations with an amplitude of about 0.2 mag on a time scale of minutes. The observations point toward a white dwarf (WD) as the hot component in the system. It is the 11-th object among more than 200 symbiotic stars known with detected optical flickering. Estimates of the mass accretion rate onto the WD and the mass loss rate in the wind of the Mira secondary star lead to the conclusion that less than 1 per cent of the wind is captured by the WD. Eight further candidates for the detection of flickering in similar systems are suggested. (Phys.org)—European researchers have detected optical flickering from a distant symbiotic star known as EF Aquilae (EF Aql for short). The new findings, presented Feb. 27 on the arXiv pre-print server, offer important hints on the nature and composition of this binary star. Citation: Astronomers detect flickering from the star EF Aquilae (2017, March 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-03-astronomers-flickering-star-ef-aquilae.html Located about 11,000 light years away from the Earth, EF Aql is a symbiotic star, a member of the symbiotic Mira subgroup. Symbiotic stars are long-period interacting binaries consisting of an evolved giant transferring mass to a hot compact object – usually a late-sequence red giant providing material to a white dwarf. Although EF Aql was identified as a variable star in 1925, it was confirmed as a symbiotic star in 2016. However, this star has not been thoroughly studied yet, and its nature is still poorly understood.To gain more insights about EF Aql, a team of astronomers led by Radoslav Zamanov of the National Astronomical Observatory (NAO) Rozhen in Bulgaria has recently carried out a series of CCD photometric observations of this star. For this job, they employed five telescopes equipped with CCD cameras between August and November 2016—four located in Bulgaria and one in Spain.These photometric observations allowed the researchers to detect rapid aperiodic brightness variations, like the flickering seen from cataclysmic variables.”Our observations in Johnson V and B bands clearly show the presence of stochastic light variations with an amplitude of about 0.2 mag on a time scale of minutes,” the team wrote in the paper.Such flickering in the form of stochastic photometric variations on timescales of a few minutes with amplitude of a few 0.1 magnitudes is typical for accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables and recurrent novae. Therefore, it strongly indicates that the hot component in the studied symbiotic star is, indeed, a white dwarf.”The presence of flickering strongly suggests that the hot component is a white dwarf,” the paper reads.The researchers estimated that EF Aql’s mass loss rate is about 2 millionths of the mass of the sun year-1, which means that the white dwarf is capturing less than 1 percent of red giant’s stellar wind.”Estimates of the mass accretion rate onto the white dwarf and the mass loss rate in the wind of the Mira secondary star lead to the conclusion that less than 1 percent of the wind is captured by the white dwarf,” the scientists concluded.The research adds EF Aql to the currently very short list of symbiotic stars with detected optical flickering. Although there are more than 200 symbiotic stars known to date, only 10 of them show flickering activity, namely: RS Oph, T CrB, MWC 560, Z And, V2116 Oph, CH Cyg, RT Cru,o Cet, V407 Cyg, and V648 Car. The team also noted that the flickering source in EF Aql is similar to the flickering source in T CrB and RS Oph, which also contain a red giant mass donor. The mysterious cataclysmic variable star Mu Centauri (Update) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2017 Phys.org Explore further Detection of optical flickering of EF Aql. In each panel two check stars are also shown on the same scale. It is clearly seen that EF Aql varies with an amplitude larger than 0.15 mag. Credit: Zamanov et al., 2017.last_img read more

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May 21 2010 On Sunday May 16 2010 Arizona R

first_imgMay 21, 2010 On Sunday, May 16, 2010, Arizona RunningEvents Co. and Arcosanti presented the Arcosanti 5K Run & 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk. There were 55 runners participating in the 5K and 12 walkers in the 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk, including many Arcosanti residents. [photo & text: Anita Baker] Runners received t-shirts and were issued a magnetic chip to attach to a shoe to get accurate running times. When the runners crossed the mat at the start/finish line, the chips were activated. Refreshments, fruit, snacks, water and ice cream were available. The 5K is a beautiful scenic dirt road course around the Arcosanti site through the Agua Fria River valley. The course was a little over 5K and the running times are for 3.5 miles. The day was perfect for running: 70 degrees and a little breeze. [photo & text: Anita Baker] A winner! Susan Gordon from Sedona, Arizona was the first place winner for women with a running time of 26:28. Winners received ceramic wind-bells (the famous bells made at Arcosanti), medallions and gift certificates. [photo & text: Anita Baker] Another happy winner! Matteo Di Michele, another Arcosanti resident, was third place winner in his age group with a running time of 32:55. Arcosanti plans to host another 5k running event next year. Don’t miss it! [photo & text: Anita Baker]last_img read more

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Playout provider DMC has launched what it describe

first_imgPlayout provider DMC has launched what it describes as Europe’s first fully virtualised platform for all-IP video.Hosted at DMC’s network operations, media management and distribution facility in Amsterdam, the platform provides international content owners with access to 700 million European viewers, according to DMC.The platform, which delivers 30 channels today, will be used by more than 80 channels in Europe from September 1 2017, following the full migration of remaining channels from DMC’s former facility.The DMC platform was enabled by a number of key partners including Cisco, Equinix, Pebble Beach Systems, Red Hat, Super Micro and VMware.DMC says that the all-IP platform enables it to deliver new channels in a matter of hours, with the potential to reduce this to minutes, expanding the scope for new services such as pop-up channels for market testing and companion channels for special events on OTT platforms.The platform has been shortlisted for an award at this year’s IBC in the content distribution category.“Being shortlisted for an IBC Innovation award is a great honour and reinforces our belief that future video services will rely on a fully virtualised, private broadcast cloud – a concept that we have turned into a fully operational platform in less than two years,” said Raymond Lamphen, general manager and vice-president of DMC.“The success of this launch is testament to the vision, skill and endeavour of our entire team and the support and trust of our customers, who have embraced the opportunity to move towards a fully virtualised IP approach to media management and playout. We are excited to use our pioneering heritage of creativity and ambition and extensive knowledge of the media market to act as the passport to Europe for content owners everywhere.”last_img read more

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Anyone with a technical degree will admit that col

first_imgAnyone with a technical degree will admit that college programmed them to consider “sell” a dirty word—to think salespeople use trickery to lure consumers into buying things they don’t need. It makes no difference whether it’s an investment product or a Pet Rock; anyone involved with selling or its evil twin marketing is guilty until proven innocent. I spent the majority of my first career in sales and marketing, where I focused on negotiations and pricing. My clients included 40 of the top 500 US corporations. Now I work alongside some of the best economists and analysts in the world, and well, let’s just say I bring a different perspective and experience base to our meetings. That difference became apparent during a recent discussion on how our subscribers can protect themselves and even profit from inflation. We were all in agreement on several key points: The government cannot continue to print money as it is without high inflation resulting. Traditional investments like precious metals will soar when the world finally discovers the US dollar is worthless. Own them, be patient, and when it hits, what a ride it will be. Billions of dollars will flow out of the stock market as interest rates begin to rise. Certain companies and industries fare better than others in an inflationary environment. Success means investing in those companies whose stock prices and dividend appreciation will grow ahead of the rate of inflation, giving investors true gains. Investors should look for: Companies with a worldwide presence to hedge against the US dollar; Companies with a history of regular dividend increases ahead of the inflation rate; and Companies that can quickly pass through their cost increases to the market. Take oil companies and airlines, for example. When oil companies notice some saber-rattling in the Middle East, the price at the pump can go up a nickel or more the next day. Contrast that with the airline industry, which does a very poor job in this regard. Why do air travel and gasoline—both considered commodities—perform so differently when their costs are rising? The major oil companies understand market dynamics as well as any industry I’ve served. If an event is going to cause their costs to rise for whatever reason, it only takes one company to raise its prices, and the competition immediately follows. Market share is generally unaffected, but the entire industry makes money. Price fixing is illegal, and that’s not what oil companies are doing. Go to the Weather Channel, surf around, and you can find the best gas prices in any given ZIP code. If you’re a dealer, you adjust your prices accordingly. After all, how far is a customer going to drive to save a couple cents per gallon when gas is priced over $3/gallon? It sounds crazy, but gas customers don’t have as much mobility as one might think. They risk spending more in gas driving around than they might save at the pump. The airlines used to do the same thing when they were a regulated industry. One company would announce a fare increase, and all the competition would follow. Now unregulated, some airlines have significant cost advantages over their competition. A few years ago, Southwest Airlines made a huge bet on the direction of fuel prices and guessed right. It had a terrific advantage over the competition, and it was reflected in its pricing. Unlike a driver needing gas, an air traveler has time to hop on the Internet and compare airfares quite easily, and price is a major factor when buying a plane ticket. While costs increase in the industry, those who maintain a cost advantage over their competition use that as an opportunity to increase their load factor. Instead of raising prices quickly, they lag behind. Fill just two or three more empty seats on a flight, and that income is straight profit. It is a very difficult industry in which to pass through cost increases quickly. Instead, for years the industry has scrambled to cut costs to remain profitable. At this point, I shared what I consider to be the best place to look for companies that will beat inflation with the team. I started with two fundamental truths about cost and pricing: In business, the cost of producing your product or service should tell you only one thing about how you should set your price: specifically, the price you don’t want to sell it for. The selling price should be the value of your goods or services in the mind of the customer, as tempered by competition. Too many businesses set their selling price as a formula called “cost plus,” which is the wrong way to go about it. Your cost information tells you when you’re losing money on every sale. There are companies that price their goods below cost with the intention of building up enough volume to bring their unit cost down in order to become profitable. Sometimes it works. But the sooner it does so the better, because these companies cannot continue losing money forever. Take Amazon.com, for example. It used price as its main competitive advantage for years, delivering few if any profits for the better part of a decade as it grew. There can really be only one strong price leader, and that leader will condemn itself to being a low-margin, low-profit business so long as it competes on price alone. From a marketing perspective, there are two different types of markets: concept and brand markets. In a concept market, a new idea, technology, philosophy, or methodology is sold. A brand market is an established market where competitors are fighting for market share. The iPad is an easy example. The iPad was a new concept called a tablet computer. The competition was a different technology—an expensive notebook computer, your home computer, or a smartphone. In a concept market, many times you’re creating a market (tablets) at the expense of another market (portable computers). Personal computers, for their part, completely destroyed the typewriter market. Apple is a great marketing company, its technology is excellent, and it understood it could price the new gadget below its true competition (computers) and still make terrific margins. As a new market is created, competition sees the opportunity and jumps in. In the early stages, it validates the concept, and the total market growth accelerates even faster. Competition normally prices its product under the pricing umbrella of the market leader. At the same time, they may drop off a feature or two to keep their costs down. That further reinforces the market leader as the technology leader. Eventually the market is created, and competition begins fighting for market share. Look at what’s happened to the printer business. Printers have now turned into a commodity—almost a disposable product, really. The market is now a brand market. Capitalism creates competition, which benefits the consumer. Each competitor is trying to convince consumers that their brand is better than the competition’s, and price is an important factor in that contest. The next thing I look at is who dominates the market. You may be surprised to find the company with the highest quality and highest price is also a low-cost producer because they have the lion’s share of the market. Rather than cut price, Apple continues to upgrade the quality of its products to keep the competition in continual catch-up mode as opposed to leapfrogging their technology. Because the dominant market leader provides the pricing umbrella for the industry, this creates an interesting Catch-22 in an inflationary environment. As production costs rise, the longer the dominant player hangs on, the more difficult it is for the competition, because they cannot pass on their cost increases to the consumer. If they raise prices, they will lose market share. Once the big boy announces a price increase, the rest of the market generally follows. The dominant market leader also recognizes there are certain segments where price is a major consideration. There is now a market niche for basic, low-cost tablets. If the leader tries to cut its price to capture that segment, it has to determine how much additional share it would gain to offset the margin loss on the share it currently has. In addition, there are laws concerning predatory pricing, meaning pricing your products with the intention of driving your competition out of business. Concept sellers are generally content to open up a new market, and expect some loss of market share as it matures. Let’s look at some real numbers: Apple’s share price rose with the iPad very well, and it’s holding good margins. Now the iPhone5 is out, and the company is hoping for similar results. There are many examples of concept sales in the technology sector (with which BIG TECH and Casey Extraordinary Technology subscribers should be familiar); however, concept sales take place in many markets. One of our holdings in the Money Forever portfolio has developed a new type of noninvasive medical test that gives better results with much less trauma to the patient. Its main competition is not a similar test, but rather the older, less-effective technology. As this new test becomes the standard, various brands will begin fighting over market share. In the meantime, the company is rapidly growing and maintaining excellent profit margins along the way. In turn, its shareholder value is really accelerating. There are countless TV commercials for products and services like online dating services, reverse mortgages, or hair color for men, all of which are still in the concept stage. The companies are all still selling their idea as opposed to why they are better than the competition. Much of their success will depend on the size of the market they create with their ideas. Direct competitors offering a lower price to garner market share is of little concern. Companies that create new concepts by finding large markets with needs begging for solutions will prosper. That’s one reason the technology sector is ripe with these success stories. How many products do we use today that were not even invented 20 years ago? Our research team is constantly on the lookout for concept sellers in all markets throughout the world. Those who recognize the opportunity ahead of the crowd (before we learn about them on television) will see some extraordinary gains. They will thrive in any market, even during high inflation. Concept sellers range from smaller companies with new ideas or technologies to huge companies like Apple or Sony that develop new products to fill needs they see in the market. When one finds a need and develops a product that’s in high consumer demand, its stock will generally rise, even in a tough market, and its gross margins will be protected because it can more easily pass cost increases to the customers. If you’re not already a subscriber to BIG TECH or Casey Extraordinary Technology, I urge you to subscribe and take advantage of the 90-day money back guarantee. Both newsletters have spotted new tech trends well ahead of the crowd, and their subscribers have made spectacular profits because of it.On the Lighter Side Thank you to everyone who sent along positive feedback about the Oxford Club Wealth Survival Summit. If you missed it, you still have time to watch it here. If you’re looking for a good Christmas gift, Doug Casey’s new book Right on the Money will be released on December 16. Right on the Money is the second book in the Conversations with Casey series. This time, the conversations focus on speculating, economics, investing, politics, and how to profit in times of political and economic chaos. The book is a set of keys to a potential fortune, available only to contrarians who are brave enough to use them during a time of chaos and volatility gripping our world. Click here for more information. It looks like winter has hit a good portion of the country. Donna, our media relations manager, said the skiing in Stowe was great over the weekend. No skiing in Florida, but I did enjoy watching football games played in blizzards. I can’t imagine 60,000 semi-sober fans leaving the stadium, finding their cars covered by a foot of fresh snow, and then trying to exit the parking lot. The Monday night game in Chicago had a wind chill of 9 degrees below zero. Right after I married Jo, I decided to take my bride and stepdaughter Holly from Fort Myers, Florida to Chicago for a Bears game. The wind chill was well below zero, and we were bundled up as well as Floridians could be. After the game, we went with the Bears Fan Club to Butch McGuire’s, where the team’s president gave our club president a game ball. I have a photo of Holly sitting on one of the player’s laps, grinning from ear to ear. Despite the cold, they loved it. The girls were really good troupers. But if we want to watch the Bears now, we wait until they come to Florida! I’m giving in to Father Time when it comes to cold weather. And finally… Speaking of time, I read some material about being politically correct. Apparently words like “old,” “fat,” “bald,” and “hard of hearing” are now offensive. If that’s the case, your follicle-impaired, calorically gifted, chronologically blessed, and audio-challenged scribe wants to tell everyone Happy Holidays! Until next week…last_img read more

Start reading Anyone with a technical degree will admit that col

Im sure you got this but an ETF is a major deal

first_imgI’m sure you got this, but an ETF is a major deal. I am back as a true believer if that happens! —Mary Justin’s note: When I read today’s essay over the weekend, I knew I had to share it immediately.It comes from our good friend Jeff Brown, Bonner & Partners’ top tech analyst. And it reveals an opportunity that’s both massive… and flying under every mainstream investor’s radar.Read on to see how one piece of technology could secure America’s economic dominance for decades… By Jeff Brown, editor, The Near Future ReportEarly this year, we almost saw the largest corporate merger between two technology companies in history.The companies in question were U.S. semiconductor giants Qualcomm and Broadcom.Broadcom had been pursuing Qualcomm since November 2017. It initially offered an unsolicited bid of $103 billion to acquire controlling interest of Qualcomm.Qualcomm resisted. So Broadcom took another route.It initiated a hostile takeover of Qualcomm. That’s when the acquiring company attempts to bypass its target’s board and purchases a controlling interest in the company directly from shareholders. Very often, this means offering to buy shares at a premium.At $117 billion, the new bid for Qualcomm would have represented the largest technology merger in history.But then the White House stepped in… and this past March, President Trump blocked the merger. The president said that “credible evidence” suggested that the takeover would pose a risk to U.S. national security.The official details are classified. But I believe I know why the White House took this unprecedented step.At the heart of the president’s decision to block the merger is fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology.I’ll explain exactly why in just a moment.But before we get to that, let me provide some context for why 5G will be such a pivotal technological advancement… Revealed For The First Time in Exclusive Live Event…The Step-By-Step Blueprint Big Wall Street Institutions Use to Steal Opportunities from the Little GuyThink Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a fad, over-hyped, worthless? That’s exactly what they want you to think… In this exclusive broadcast, you’ll discover how these institutions have, in the past, taken opportunities from the little guy. Why they’re doing it all over again now. And cut through the spin so you can see the truth with your own eyes. Register for this free event now, and get three free investment recommendations, plus the chance to claim part of an exclusive $2 Million Dollar Bitcoin Giveaway. Details here. Matter of National SecurityCountries that lead the way in deploying these networks will have a competitive economic advantage over other countries. And the technology companies in these “first-mover” countries will be the first to develop the hardware and software enabling these 5G wireless services.Right now, the government’s fear is that China will set the 5G precedent.For context, Chinese company Huawei supplies the infrastructure and support for more than half of the 537 4G networks around the world. And recently, it was caught using its technology to spy on U.S. network traffic.This led to Huawei being banned from the U.S. and several other western markets over spying concerns.The U.S. government sees it as imperative that U.S. wireless networks are built out quickly—with U.S. and European technology—to ensure that the country’s networks are less likely to fall victim to foreign espionage.That’s why the Trump administration blocked the Broadcom/Qualcomm merger.You see, while Broadcom recently stated its intention to bring most of its business back to the U.S., the bulk of its business is still based in Singapore. And while Singapore is its own country, it’s heavily controlled by Chinese Singaporeans.The concern was that Broadcom would force Qualcomm to cut back on its research and development into 5G, letting Huawei fill the void… and making U.S. wireless networks vulnerable to cyberspying.This isn’t wild speculation, either.The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government agency that oversees foreign investment in American companies, specifically mentioned the threat posed by Huawei when officially recommending the blocking of the Broadcom/Qualcomm merger.The Trump administration even threatened to take things one step further…Nationalized InfrastructureIn January of this year, leaked White House documents showed that the U.S. government was considering nationalizing the 5G network buildout—in other words, seizing control of wireless networks from AT&T, Verizon, and other service providers… and putting them in the hands of the government.My hunch is that this was just a warning… a way to light a fire under the U.S. companies involved in the 5G buildout.The feds were saying, “Get out there and build these 5G networks quickly, or we’ll do it for you.”This was a very smart move by the current administration. And it worked.Verizon and AT&T—along with T-Mobile and Sprint, which are in the process of merging—are already building out 5G networks.The hope is to have the U.S. regain leadership in wireless network deployments, which will stimulate even stronger leadership in wireless network technology.If the U.S. fails, the government fears that America would be dependent on Chinese technology to make use of 5G. That would give China an enormous amount of leverage over the U.S.Verizon is building out its 5G network in Sacramento, California. It says it will have 5G infrastructure built out in five or six other American cities before the end of the year.AT&T is building out its 5G network in Waco, Texas. It also has a long list of cities it aims to have a presence in by the end of the year. One of them will likely be Atlanta.And T-Mobile—the third-largest mobile communications provider in the U.S.—says it will be launching in 30 cities before 2018 is over.The 5G infrastructure boom isn’t some distant event. It’s happening right now. And of course, there is a way for investors to gain exposure…How to Play It… in Three StagesTo best determine how to play this trend, we have to look at what stage of the game we’re in.You see, these buildouts happen in predictable phases… Recommended Link After that, new devices (smartphones) that work with the towers are developed. First, the physical infrastructure (cell towers) is put up. — Right now, we’re in the infrastructure phase of the 5G buildout.For 4G, it took about 200,000 cell towers to build out a nationwide network. A 5G network buildout will require around 1,000,000 cell towers—a 5x increase. When all is said and done, there will be a 5G tower on nearly every street corner.Check out the chart below. It shows how spending on 4G wireless infrastructure changed over time.Spending on the 4G wireless infrastructure hit about $200 billion a year at its peak. I expect 5G infrastructure spending will hit a peak of $275 billion and will require a minimum of $200 billion annual spending through 2025.The best bet right now is to look at the companies that will handle the physical infrastructure.American Tower (AMT) is one way to gain exposure. It’s a wireless communications infrastructure company. It builds and maintains communications infrastructure, like cell towers.It was instrumental in the 4G buildout that started in 2011. And it’s also heavily involved in erecting and maintaining the towers used in the 5G buildout.The chart below shows the performance of AMT from 2011, when the 4G buildout started, to present. I expect American Tower will continue to climb as 5G infrastructure continues to be built.Betting on companies that were instrumental to the 4G buildout, such as American Tower, is an easy way to gain exposure to this unstoppable trend.Regards,Jeff Brown Editor, The Near Future ReportP.S. The completion of the 5G wireless network is essential if America is to maintain its economic dominance over countries like China. That’s why the president is pulling out all the stops to get the network built. And as 5G revolutionizes our communications networks, it will also send a handful of companies soaring…I’ve already shared four companies with readers of my Near Future Report. I expect some of these companies to at least double, perhaps more, in the next 12 months. I put together a brief video presentation with all the details right here.Reader MailbagIn last week’s Dispatch, we explained why a new bitcoin ETF could send the cryptocurrency soaring 5x from here. Below, readers share their thoughts…Yes. And bitcoin could also plummet to zero. —Timothycenter_img — Then, new applications are developed to run on those devices. I am not a bitcoin investor right now. I am signed up for the Teeka Tiwari & Glenn Beck presentation. I would like to speculate on bitcoin. —BruceAs always, you can send any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch right here.And if you’re still on the fence about owning bitcoin, you need to mark July 19 on your calendar. That’s when world-renowned crypto expert Teeka Tiwari will give a special live broadcast—“The Great Cryptocurrency Conspiracy of 2018.”He’ll be joined by media personality Glenn Beck in what’s sure to be our biggest event of the year. And the best part is, it’s completely free to sign up, hear what they have to say, and get three free crypto recommendations… Click here to reserve your spot today. Recommended Link I own bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies. I understand the new ETF will boost bitcoin to new heights, and I assume that other cryptos will skyrocket too. It depends on what cryptos will join bitcoin in the new ETF and what weight they will have. Do you have any insight as to what cryptos your readers need to own along with bitcoin? —Thomas Network EvolutionWhen you connect to the internet on your computer, smartphone, or smart TV, a vast physical communications infrastructure makes that connection possible.Hundreds of thousands of miles of transoceanic cables connect to vast, land-based fiber optic networks, which in turn connect to consumers’ homes and businesses.Over the years, these wireless networks—and the infrastructure that supports them—have evolved.It all started in the 1980s with first-generation (1G) networks. Compared to what’s possible today, it didn’t allow much. You could only place voice calls—there was no layer for carrying other types of data. And you had to use one of those brick-sized cell phones Gordon Gekko yaps into in the movie Wall Street.But from then on, a new network generation went live roughly once every 10 years. Each provided faster download speeds and more applications. The most recent one, 4G, went live around 2011.Now we’re shifting to the fifth generation of wireless networks—5G. And it represents the largest leap in wireless technology to date.1,000 Times FasterThe current 4G networks are a disappointment.The developers that built the 4G network thought it would deliver average download speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps). But in reality, most people only see speeds of about 10 Mbps.[Megabits per second, or Mbps, is a common measurement for internet connection and download speeds. For example, to stream a high-definition video from Netflix, you need a download speed of at least 5 Mbps.]At 10 Mbps, the U.S. has some of the slowest internet speeds in the world. We’re in 50th place, behind Romania (at 27 Mbps) and Finland (at 17 Mbps). Even Dracula and the reindeer have internet speeds faster than most Americans.But with 5G, the peak speed jumps to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). One gigabit is 1,000 megabits. So at peak speed, 5G will be 1,000 times faster than the average 4G connection we have today.Even if we just assume that average 5G speeds would be 10% of their potential, we’re still looking at 1,000 Mbps. That means that average 5G speeds will be 100 times faster than what we have today.With that kind of speed, you’ll be able to download a two-hour movie in 10 seconds. Dropped phone calls and slow-loading web pages will be a thing of the past.Plus, some previously “sci-fi” tech will finally become a reality. Technologies like self-driving cars, virtual reality, and holographic projection will all operate over high-speed 5G connections. The applications are endless.5G is a game-changer because of all the technological innovation it will bring about. It’ll be responsible for $12 trillion worth of new goods and services by 2035. That’s about 60% of America’s total GDP in 2017.And here’s why the government considers the completion of 5G a matter of national security… Trump Declares National Emergency President Trump has mobilized his entire administration to battle this problem by declaring it a National Emergency under federal law. And Congress just approved $6 billion to fight it. Now a company is joining the battle by tackling one of the biggest problems our country has ever faced. In the past, companies in this niche saw peak gains of 96,900%, 196,500% and 787,400%. Could this new company be the next to ride this unique wave? Get all the details here before it’s too late.last_img read more

Start reading Im sure you got this but an ETF is a major deal

Here you have a government agency whose mission i

Here you have a government agency whose mission i

first_img“Here you have a government agency whose mission is to alert people of imminent dangers, and the one thing they’re supposed to do isn’t being done very well, because the message is garbled,” says Covington.So what kind of technology is used for sending weather alerts?George Newman, the chief operator and operations manager at WFDD, spends much of his time troubleshooting the equipment at the station. That includes making sure our Emergency Alert Services, or EAS machine, is functioning properly. The Sage Digital ENDEC is used to receive and send all types of alerts, including those from the National Weather Service. EDDIE GARCIA/WFDDOurs is a blue box called a Sage Digital ENDEC. Newman says it’s an encoder and decoder that brings in all the systems WFDD is required to monitor.“You can hear it’s clear, but there’s some static in the background,” says Newman. “National Weather Service alerts are consistent because they’re coming from the same place.”So how are these alerts made?The alerts are composed on a custom workstation called WarnGen. And though there have been updates, it has been in use since the late 1990s.Nick Petro works for the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He’s their warning coordination meteorologist. That means he’s a liaison between the teams that get weather info out to the public.“So what happens then is once the alert is created it goes across our internal network,” Petro says. “It creates the audio, and it uses a voice synthesizer to create the actual warning. And then it gets pushed out through our software that manages the NOAA weather radio broadcast.”A voice synthesizer – so what we’re hearing is a synthetic interpretation of a human voice.  What could affect the sound quality of this weatherperson simulation? Petro says there are a number of variables.“That audio signal is sent over telephone lines,” he says. “There’s one point of entry for maybe signal degradation or static to enter the stream.”Were talking landlines here. Yes, the kind that once upon a time we relied on for a phone call. That telephone line leads to a transmitter that sends the message into the air.Petro says that’s “another entry point for static or signal degradation to get in the system.””A lot of times the weather or atmospheric conditions can affect the way radio waves propagate and alter or introduce static into an audio stream.”So if this system of sending and receiving is so potentially noisy, why is it still being done this way? Are any changes in the works?“That, I would say, would probably take some effort,” Petro says. “And I don’t know what it would take. I don’t know what the cost involved would be. I don’t know if there are any efforts to do any upgrades. But certainly, the system that we have in place now is the system that we have. If there is a solution to make it better out there, I’m not really sure what that is, or how, or when any such improvements could be deployed.”That’s one of the reasons Petro urges you to look into backup methods, like a NOAA weather radio, or apps, such as Ready NC, Weather Underground, NOAA Weather Radar, or Hurricane Tracker. And with a major storm on the way, a battery-powered portable radio can be very helpful for getting up to the minute alerts. For more ideas on being prepared for disasters, check out Ready.gov.  And stay safe out there. One of the services that radio stations like WFDD provide is broadcasting alerts from the National Weather Service. These emergency alerts let listeners know about weather concerns, helping folks stay safe. With Hurricane Florence being on track to hit the East Coast this week, and a state of emergency in place in North Carolina, these types of messages are important.And many times, those announcements are clear. But sometimes, those messages are clear as mud. You may have heard one that was a little noisy, or distorted, and felt frustrated that you couldn’t decipher it.Listener Howard Covington shares your concern.He asks, “Why in an era of broadcasting advances can’t the weather service produce an alert that can be easily understood?”Covington feels that with modern technology, we should hear crisp audio.center_img 0/140Your contact infoWe’ll be in touch if we look into your question.NameEmail addressZip Code Sign me up for your newsletter!Please don’t publish my nameSubmitSupported by Reynolda House Museum of American Artpowered by Hearkenlast_img read more

Start reading Here you have a government agency whose mission i

A county court has delivered a devastating judgmen

A county court has delivered a devastating judgmen

first_imgA county court has delivered a devastating judgment against the Local Government Ombudsman, after it discriminated against a disabled woman by failing to provide the reasonable adjustments she needed to lodge a complaint against a local authority.The ombudsman has been ordered to pay £12,500 in damages to Jeanine Blamires to compensate her for the ordeal, following breaches of both the Equality Act and the Data Protection Act by the ombudsman.Although the judgment is only in draft form, its conclusions are unlikely to be altered.District judge Joanna Geddes even awarded aggravated damages against the ombudsman over the breach of the Equality Act, because she said it had defended the case in a way that “added to the injury, frustration and distress” felt by Blamires, which had “exacerbated” the symptoms of her long-term health conditions.She also awarded aggravated damages for the Data Protection Act breach, because of the ombudsman’s “continued denial” that it had broken the law.Blamires has told Disability News Service that she was “disgusted” and “sickened” by the ombudsman’s behaviour and that she believed it had now “lost its moral authority to adjudicate over others”.Judge Geddes said Blamires’ husband David (pictured with his wife at a parliamentary evidence session) told the court that his wife had “found the whole process extremely distressing and has on several occasions been reduced to tears by the intransigence of the defendant in not meeting her disabled needs by making reasonable adjustments.“This has led to a deterioration in her condition and a reduction in her ability to fulfil her role as a housewife and mother.”The case relates to her attempt in March 2012 to help her daughter lodge a complaint through the ombudsman against North Yorkshire County Council over a housing issue.She then complained herself about the council five months later.Blamires, who represented herself in the legal case, had told the ombudsman – when lodging the complaint against the council – that she had severe ME and dystonia, while her husband also had ME, as well as chronic pain and dyslexia, and that they would need help to use the service.She told the ombudsman that they both found telephone conversations difficult, and that “though e-mail is useful, regular meetings are better, we have a lot of evidence and we are not sure about what you will need”.But the ombudsman lost this information in transferring her application form to a different format, and then took two years to admit to the court that it had done so.It had originally claimed that Blamires failed to fill in the part of the form that related to requests for reasonable adjustments.As the process of lodging a complaint against the council progressed, she told the ombudsman that she was struggling – for impairment-related reasons – to submit all of the necessary paperwork.But the ombudsman ignored this and without warning reached a provisional decision in the case against the council – one which she found unacceptable – in December 2013.She complained that she had not been allowed to present all of her evidence, and that the ombudsman had failed to provide reasonable adjustments, and she asked it to arrange face-to-face meetings and some support to help her with the complaint.Blamires told Disability News Service this week: “The defendant didn’t provide it. They only offered extra time. I just cried.“They didn’t have all the evidence and they didn’t understand my complaint.”Judge Geddes says in the draft judgement that the ombudsman had issued the provisional decision without exploring the issue of reasonable adjustments, and even though it knew that Blamires had expressed more than once “how overwhelmed and fatigued she was by the process”.The judge added: “They were aware that she found the volume of paperwork she had ‘overwhelming’ and was struggling both to know what to submit in support of her claim and to physically complete the task of sending it by reason of her disabilities.”Judge Geddes even suggested that the ombudsman’s argument that its limited resources did not allow it to offer face-to-face meetings or advocacy as a reasonable adjustment – when one of its own leaflets said that it did – implied that such promises were published to “pay lip service only to the duties the [ombudsman] has to anticipate and make reasonable adjustments”.The judge even had to withdraw some of her own statements made earlier in the case because the ombudsman had provided her with misleading information about the extent of its powers.As well as being ordered to pay £12,500 in damages to Blamires, the ombudsman was also ordered to pay her costs of £750.Blamires said she was “disgusted” by the ombudsman’s behaviour during the lengthy case – including misleading the court, failing to disclose documents and submitting false information – when its own purpose was “supposedly to ensure justice”.She said: “It has been an horrendous ordeal for my family who care for me who have had to watch as I have got worse due to this fight.“I am so glad that District Judge Geddes listened to me. It’s taken too long to do this – four years – much of that time and public money has been wasted by the ombudsman due to its behaviour. I am sickened by it.“I am not sure it is now possible for the Local Government Ombudsman to sustain its role to remedy injustice. It has lost its moral authority to adjudicate over others.“Councils are not going to respect the Local Government Ombudsman’s decisions because the Local Government Ombudsman chose not to respect the county court.”She wants communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid to replace the ombudsman with a new organisation.But she also praised Leeds Combined Court, which “did the exact opposite” of the ombudsman by providing her with reasonable adjustments, including arranging video conferencing for one of the court hearings, and supporting her when she became ill in court.And she thanked the charity, the Personal Support Unit, which helps people who have to represent themselves in court, and supported her by reading documents, and helping her write witness statements and skeleton arguments.Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman*, said in a statement: “We didn’t get things right for Mrs Blamires and I have personally apologised to her.“We hold ourselves up to the same standards we expect of those bodies we investigate and we will fully accept the final findings of the court when we receive them.“This is a salutary reminder that mistakes happen and when things do go wrong, it’s how you deal with them that matters.“This case highlighted some issues with our IT system and the way we were doing things that we needed to change. We’ve done that and we’ve strengthened our quality checks and revised our guidance.“But we won’t stop there. We will use this as an opportunity to look at what else we can do to be flexible and find more creative ways of helping people access our service.” He added: “We are sorry if the judge felt we provided her with misleading information, this was not our intention.”*It was renamed earlier this monthlast_img read more

Start reading A county court has delivered a devastating judgmen

Many of the countrys biggest disability charities

Many of the countrys biggest disability charities

first_imgMany of the country’s biggest disability charities have refused to back a petition that calls for an inquiry into the links between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.The charities – none of which are led and controlled by disabled people – are refusing to support the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition*, with many of them rejecting its calls for any evidence of criminal misconduct by civil servants and ministers to be passed to police.And many of them are also rejecting the petition’s demand for DWP to be branded institutionally disablist and not fit for purpose, and for it to take urgent steps to make the safety of benefit claimants a priority.Jodey Whiting (pictured) died in February 2017, 15 days after she had her out-of-work disability benefits mistakenly stopped for missing a work capability assessment.The Independent Case Examiner concluded earlier this year that DWP was guilty of “multiple” and “significant” failings in handling the case.But her death was only the latest avoidable tragedy linked to DWP’s actions, stretching back nearly a decade.The lukewarm response to the petition is likely to highlight concerns among grassroots groups that many of the disability charities that are run by non-disabled people are too close to the government, and particularly to DWP.Only last week, Scope and Sense were included in a government press release, praising the prime minister for a much-criticised series of announcements on disability.Only one of the 13 charities approached this week by Disability News Service (DNS) – Mind – has agreed to back the petition and its four demands.None of the others have been willing to support the petition or issue a public statement supporting its aims.At least two of these charities – RNIB and Leonard Cheshire – have signed Work and Health Programme contracts that include clauses preventing them bringing DWP and work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd into disrepute.RNIB refused to back the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition this week, or to answer questions about its demands**.Leonard Cheshire has also refused to back the petition, or answer questions about it, saying instead that it had “very real concerns about some of the ways the welfare system impacts disabled people”, and adding: “Clearly there needs to be further investigation into deaths connected to changes in benefits.”Scope refused to back the petition and answer questions, calling instead for “urgent reform” to the benefits system and action to prevent further deaths like Jodey Whiting’s.Sense, the other charity that supported the government last week, had refused by noon today (Thursday) to back the petition or answer questions about it.Parkinson’s UK refused to back the petition or answer questions about its demands, saying instead that it continued to work with DWP to improve the system.The National Autistic Society refused to support the petition or answer any questions about its demands.Instead, it praised DWP for apologising for its failings in the Jodey Whiting case.It said that “for any public body, any evidence of misconduct, criminal or otherwise, should be addressed by the appropriate authority”, and that “if there’s evidence of any criminal misconduct, then this of course must be investigated by the police”.NAS said there was “a clear and urgent need to improve benefits assessments for autistic people”.John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, one of the grassroots, disabled-led organisations supporting the petition, said: “By their failure to oppose and condemn these systems and policies and join us in calling for an independent judicial inquiry they have blatantly betrayed all those for whom they were set up to support and defend.“They are not on the side of disabled people.”Mind is the only one of the 13 non-user-led disability charities approached by DNS this week to support the petition.Vicki Nash, Mind’s head of policy and campaigns, said: “We support the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition.“Jodey’s story is tragic and it’s also too common. We hear every week from people with mental health problems who have struggled to cope with the impact of sanctions and other changes to their benefits.“While the causes of suicide are many and complex, the Department for Work and Pensions has a particular responsibility to make sure that its processes and policies do not cause avoidable harm.“We believe an independent inquiry could hold the DWP accountable, shine a light on these issues and bring about changes to the system.“An inquiry would need to establish what changes to the structure and culture of the DWP are needed to make it capable of providing safe and compassionate support to all disabled people navigating the benefits system.“However, we also know that these inquiries are often slow-moving. An independent inquiry cannot be a substitute for immediate action to make the benefits system safer for people going through it.”She added: “We are not aware of any evidence of criminal misconduct in these cases and so we have not been calling for such an investigation.“But of course if any inquiry were to find evidence of criminal misconduct, it should be investigated appropriately.”Other large disability charities have been far less supportive of the petition.The MS Society has refused to back the petition or respond to questions about it, as have Action on Hearing Loss and Turning Point.The mental health charity Rethink refused to support the petition or to answer questions about its demands.It said instead that “changes in welfare policy have had a devasting impact on disabled people” and that the “most vulnerable are being left with the least support and the process of claiming is known to worsen health, including the mental health of claimants – including our supporters and members”.Two of the charities did offer some support to some of the petition’s demands.Mencap, while refusing to support the petition, said that the deaths of claimants such as Jodey Whiting should form the basis of an “independent examination” into DWP policies and practices in relation to “vulnerable claimants”.A spokesperson said: “As part of this, the department must commit to act on recommendations to prevent future deaths.“Should any evidence of criminal misconduct emerge though an independent review, this must, as part of a standard procedure, be passed to the police for investigation.“We would also expect an independent investigator to consider allegations of institutional disabilism and draw conclusions on this from the evidence they have gathered.”Epilepsy Action also gave some support to the petition’s demands, without backing the petition itself, saying: “We would support an inquiry into any links between DWP failings and the deaths of benefit claimants.“We are not aware of any evidence of criminal misconduct by senior civil servants or ministers in relation to this issue, but would of course be in favour of any such evidence being passed to police.“Any conclusion as to whether the DWP is institutionally disablist – or not – should be a function of any inquiry.“While we are aware of many problems experienced by disabled people in their dealings with the DWP, we believe that whether this extends to institutional disablism needs to be evidenced by a thorough inquiry.“As such, while we support the aims of an inquiry, including the conclusive statement makes it difficult for us to actively support the petition.”*Sign the Jodey Whiting petition here. If you sign the petition, please note you will need to confirm your signature by clicking on an email you will be sent automatically by the House of Commons petitions committee**RNIB claims that relevant clauses in its Work and Health Programme contracts have now been changed or deleted “so there was no ambiguity whatsoever that RNIB still maintains the right to campaign on issues that matter to blind and partially sighted people”, but it had refused to show these new clauses to DNS by 1pm today (Thursday) A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

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Rulings by an ombudsman that show how three London

Rulings by an ombudsman that show how three London

first_imgRulings by an ombudsman that show how three London councils discriminated against disabled people with invisible impairments by failing to make their services accessible are just “a tiny tip of an iceberg”, according to a disabled people’s organisation.Inclusion London spoke out after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman published reports on investigations into three local authorities in the capital.All three of the councils – the London boroughs of Hillingdon, Lambeth and Wandsworth –failed to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people who were trying to use its services.Svetlana Kotova, Disability Justice Project co-ordinator for Inclusion London, welcomed the ombudsman’s rulings, but she said that the three cases were “just a tiny tip of an iceberg”. She said: “Despite it being a legal requirement, we often come across failures to provide information in accessible formats, refusals to change standard procedures and practices or provide support for people to engage in the processes.“We’ve seen people losing their homes or money or not getting information or support they are entitled to as a result. “Unfortunately, many of us got used to this discrimination, but we believe it is time we started to challenge it.”She said Inclusion London had developed interactive guides that can help disabled people to challenge these practices*.In the first of the cases dealt with by the ombudsman, Hillingdon council failed to suspend an autistic and dyslexic woman’s housing benefit payments after she told the local authority she had returned to work.When Ms X received an overpayment of more than £1,000, the council then failed to help her find her way around its complicated system after demanding she repay the money.It refused to provide her with a named officer she could email and often insisted she telephone the council with her queries, even though she explained she struggled with phone calls.The ombudsman concluded that the council “failed to consider any reasonable adjustments for Ms X, although she told it many times what her problems are and how she struggled”.He also concluded that the council had no policies on providing reasonable adjustments.Hillingdon council has agreed to take a series of measures, including apologising to Ms X, paying her £1,000 compensation, and providing an equality refresher course for frontline staff.In the second case, Mr X, who is dyslexic, complained that Lambeth council failed to make reasonable adjustments when he tried to challenge a parking penalty charge notice (PCN), forcing him to do so in writing rather than verbally.And when the council sent enforcement agents to his home to recover the money he owed, those agents also refused to make reasonable adjustments for him.Lambeth council has agreed to pay Mr X compensation of £750 and apologise to him.It has also been asked to take other measures, such as arranging Equality Act training for customer service staff and other steps to ensure it meets its obligations under the act.In the third ombudsman case, Wandsworth council failed to make similar reasonable adjustments for the same man when he tried to apply for a residents’ parking permit and challenge the PCNs he later received because he did not have a permit.The council has agreed to pay Mr X £300 compensation, apologise and allow him to appeal the PCNs on the telephone, while the ombudsman has also asked the council to take other measures, such as arranging Equality Act training for customer service staff, and reviewing its systems and procedures relating to reasonable adjustments.Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “The Equality Act 2010 requires councils to anticipate the needs of people who may need to access their services.“This means when councils are alerted to the fact someone might need to be treated in a different way, they should ask that person what adjustments are needed, and consider whether these are reasonable.“It can be difficult for people to navigate complex council procedures, yet in all three cases, the councils were made aware that these people needed additional help, but none was given.“We recognise the significant challenges faced by public service providers in adapting their processes to the needs of people who may require adjustments, particularly where the services have been automated.“But this is a duty councils must meet and needs they must anticipate.“I welcome Wandsworth and Hillingdon councils’ commitment to improve their wider processes for people who need help accessing services.“I urge Lambeth council to reflect on the lessons it can learn from my investigation and make the changes I have recommended.”*https://www.disabilityjustice.org.uk/learn-more-and-take-action/ A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

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CA Kenya Sets 15 Requirements Imported Smartphones Should Meet

CA Kenya Sets 15 Requirements Imported Smartphones Should Meet

first_imgThe Communications Authority of Kenya headquarters in Westlands, Nairobi. The oversight agency has set 15 requirements any gadget must meet before it is allowed into Kenya. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP Advertisement Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), has set 15 requirements imported smartphones should meet before being accepted in the country, with one being that they should have 8 and 24 hours of talk and standby time respectively, reports The Daily Nation.The 15 requirements are said to be an addition to a form that ICT device importers have been using to seek CA clearance since 2014.The report further stated that the devices must as well have more room for installation of additional software and updates. This will ensure that mobile handset holders can upgrade or update to newest mobile operating system provided by respective mobile OS providers. Likes of Google are currently rolling out their newest mobile OS to selected devices, come with new features including; security updates and will therefore require more space to have the upgrade. – Advertisement – CA, also stated that they will have to sample every phone that will be sold in the country. Accompanying that sample will be a report of tests conducted in a facility only recognized by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).The Communications Authority also addresses itself on the radiation a device emits, setting a mandatory figure a phone should not exceed – which is two watts per kilogram of human tissue.Other requirements that should be met include; the phone’s IMEI number accepted in the Global System Mobile Association database, they should come with user manuals, provision of an earpiece and having the ability to lock to one service provider, must have the volume control capability that allows users to set it either on loud, vibration or silent mode.Thus, with this put in place, this could see the phasing out of low-end phones. However, now smartphone manufacturers are trying to end the manufacturing of low-end smartphones and sticky to mid-range and high-end flagships.Written with inputs from Daily Nation Kenyalast_img read more

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