The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) had placed ‘boulder wagons’ strategically near 32 vulnerable stretches ahead of monsoon.Officials said 184 wagon loads of boulders, or ‘on-wheel’ boulder reserves, had been kept ready to be rolled out at the slightest hint of danger such as abnormal rise of water level and breaches under the tracks.In addition, 80,000 cubic metres of boulders had also beeb stocked at approaches of major rivers and at locations that were traditionally known for being vulnerable. About 5,000 pre-fabricated had also kept handy for erecting temporary supports in water for bridging gaps caused by washouts.Apart from eight north-eastern states, NFR serviced parts of Bihar and West Bengal. Much of the zone, with tracks criss-crossing many rivers, was flood-prone.Sections not known to be vulnerable to floods had been affected too. Two breaches near Telta and Sudhani stations (between Kishanganj in Bihar and Malda in West Bengal) on August 13 hadt cut off railway link to the North east for almost a month in 2017.Lessons from Bihar floods“The damage caused by Bihar floods was unexpected. We have learnt to be prepared for the worst this time, at least in stretches we know that are prone to flood-induced track damage,” a senior officer of NFR’s construction wing said.Boulders, NFR officials said, were generally the first line of defence when flood waters hit a railway embankment or caused abnormal scour around bridge pillars.“Of 32 locations under NFR designated as vulnerable, 14 are in Lumding Division, nine in Rangiya, eight in Tinsukia (all in Assam) and one in Alipurduar, West Bengal. These sites are being monitored 24×7 for any signs of distress,” Pranav Jyoti Sharma, NFR Spokesperson, said.Watchmen posted on these vulnerable sections were armed with walkie-talkie sets and high-power torches besides GPS sets for better real-time planning and quick response.“The railway has also stock piled 271 rolled steel joists for construction of temporary bridges for quick restoration of track connectivity during breaches,” Mr. Sharma said.
Bilateral relations between the UK and India have taken a nosedive ironically at the launch of the first ever ‘UK-India Week’, which was meant to celebrate the bond between the two countries.Read it at Times of India Related Items
After being jailed for 20 years in two rape cases, godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s son Jasmeet Insan will be nominated as the next chief of the Sirsa-based sect Dera Sacha Sauda.Ram Rahim’s mother Nasib Kaur announced that Jasmeet Insan will be nominated as the next Dera chief.She announced this in Dera core committee meeting this morning. She also slamed other 45 office-bearers for not taking Ram Rahim’s case seriously.In 2007, after being charged with rape and sexual exploitation of two sadhvis, Ram Rahim had anointed Jasmeet to be his successor.”The committee has 45 members who handle Dera affairs. Naseeb Kaur called an emergent meeting and announced Jasmeet as Dera’s next nominee. She has asked the committee members to start the nomination process within a couple of days,” a highly placed Dera source told India Today.The source said Naseeb Kaur has appealed all the Dera followers to accept Jasmeet as the sect’s nominee and said they may not accept him as their spiritual guru but he will be managing all Dera’s affairs. Announcing her support to the Dera chief, Naseeb Kaur also equated Gurmeet Ram Rahim with Guru Gobind Singh who was compelled to leave Anandpur Sahib when things went against him.Sources say the Dera chief in 1990 had himself announced Jasmeet Singh as his legal heir when he had kicked off a controversy by wearing a dress of Guru Gobind Singh.However, the founder of Dera Sacha Sauda Shah ji Satnam had announced that Gurmeet Ram Rahim will head the day till the age of 60 years. Shah Satnam in 1990 while handing over the Dera to him had made this announcement.advertisementJasmeet became the first anointed successor in a bloodline at the Dera Sacha Sauda, which was founded by Shah Mastana Balochistani in 1948 as social welfare and spiritual organisation.The final announcement will be made in a day or two.Besides Jasmeet Singh, Honeypreet and Vipassana were also in the race to lead the spiritual sect, mirred in multiple controversies.Dera chief mother’s announcement may lead to dissidence within the family. While his son Jasmeet Singh, 33, daughters Charan Preet, 36, and Amar Preet, 35, are his legal heirs, his foster daughter Honey Preet, 42, is a third member who can stake claim on the properties. Though none of them have so far made their claims public but a legal battle is evident.Both his daughters are already married. Jasmeet heads the sports department of Dera and is popular among the followers. Honeypreet Kaur, the so-called foster daughter of Dera chief was seen with him on many occassions. Interestingly, his biological daughters were rarely spotted with him. His wife was also rarely seen with him.Dera’s Sirsa campus is spread over 700 acres and has multi-specialty hospital, stadium among other properties. Dera has its ashrams across many states including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.Also read:Ram Rahim rape sentence: With folded hands, Baba cried like a child, begged for mercy over 20-year jailRam Rahim conviction: Dera chief’s henchmen planned arson and rioting, investigation revealsRam Rahim Family History: The story of a devil, a saint and Papa’s angelsRam Rahim’s rape was pardon: The guru’s gufa and maafi of a sex fiendJournalist who exposed Gurmeet Ram Rahim rape case was shot dead outside his houseAlso watch:Gurmeet Ram Rahim sentenced to 20 years in jail, fined Rs 30 lakh
China’s parliament on Monday began considering an amendment to stiffen punishments for showing “disrespect” to the national anthem, which could bring violators as long as three years in prison.A draft amendment for amending the Criminal Law was submitted on Monday at the bi-monthly session of the parliament, or National People’s Congress (NPC), standing committee, reported the official Xinhua news agency.”Violators in this regard may face punishments of up to three years of imprisonment,” Xinhua quoted the draft as saying.This follows a new national anthem law that came into effect on China’s national day, October 1, that cracks down on “inappropriate” use of the national anthem, such as playing the anthem at private functions or for commercial purposes, or modifying lyrics.The law called for 15 days detention for any violations, which the amendment now wants to extend to up to 3 years.The national anthem law said the anthem “shall be sung at formal political gatherings, including the opening and closing of National People’s Congress sessions, constitutional oath ceremonies, flag raising ceremonies, major celebrations, awards ceremonies, commemorations, national memorial day events, important diplomatic occasions, major sport events and other suitable occasions, according to the law.””It is now illegal to use the national anthem during funerals, inappropriate private occasions, commercials or as background music in public places,” the law said.The law said “violators, including those who maliciously modify the lyrics, play or sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way, can be detained for up to 15 days, even be held criminally liable”.advertisementChina’s anthem, called “March of the Volunteers”, was chosen in 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was established.WATCH VIDEO | Disrespecting national anthem may soon lead to 3-year jail term in China
Samsung is working on an Android Go edition phone to launch in India (and other markets) very soon. Until now, rumours were that the Samsung Android Go device will be the Galaxy J2. But now, the Bluetooth certification site reveals that the phone will actually be called Galaxy J2 Core and not Galaxy J2. With the Galaxy J2 Core, Samsung will most likely aim to compete with other existing Android Go phones in the Indian market, like the Nokia 1.As also rumoured earlier, Samsung’s Android Go edition phone will come in as many as seven variants. The Bluetooth certification site also reveals the same. According to the Bluetooth certification listing, the Samsung Android Go phone or Galaxy J2 Core will come with SM-J260F, SM-J260M, SM-J260Y, SM-J260F_DS, SM-J260G_DS, SM-J260M_DS, and SM-J260Y_DS model numbers. The specs and prices of all the seven variants will vary from each other. The certification site didn’t reveal any specification details about the Android Go phone from Samsung.The launch timeline of the Samsung’s Android Go edition phone aka Galaxy J2 Core is yet to be officially revealed by the company. Some reports suggest that Samsung may announce its Android Go edition phone later this year, while some say it may get postponed to next year.Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy J2 Core in other markets apart from its home. The key markets for the Galaxy J2 Core are likely to be India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Alongside these markets, the Android Go smartphone is likely to debut in the UK, Uzbekistan, Germany, Italy, Russia, and France among others markets.advertisementThe Android Go phone was spotted on the Geekbench benchmarking site a couple of weeks ago. The benchmark listing revealed almost the complete specs of the phone. The listing reveals that the Galaxy J2 Core will come with a 5-inch Super AMOLED display. The phone will be powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 7570 SoC paired with 1GB RAM and 16GB storage. On the camera front, the Galaxy J2 Core will come with a single camera setup on both back and front panel.ALSO READ: This is Samsung Android Go phone, will not run stock AndroidOn the rear panel, the phone will consist of an 8-megapixel sensor, while on the front the Galaxy J2 Core will sport a 5-megapixel sensor for selfies. The phone will be backed by a 2600mAh battery. On the software front, the Galaxy J2 Core will run Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition) with Samsung Experience UX on top, meaning, no stock Android for the Samsung Android Go phone. Running on Android Go software means the phone will come preloaded with slimmed down apps like Google Go, Maps Go, and YouTube Go.
Touch Football Australia (TFA) has recently reviewed and updated the TFA Member Protection Policy, in line with Australian Sports Commission standards. It is a requirement by TFA that all State, Regional, and Affiliate entities formally adopt the TFA Member Protection Policy – 2015/16 version of this policy, under the TFA constitution. This policy will take effect from 1 October 2015.TFA has a legal obligation in relation to harassment, discrimination and child protection. Furthermore we also have moral obligations to establish appropriate standards of behaviour and to provide safe and respectful sporting environments. As member entities of TFA we require you also to implement and regularly update policies and procedures that assist sports to comply with the law and improve the sporting environment.For full information please download the communication below. Memo Member Protection Policy Update MembersMember Protection Policy 2015-16Related LinksPolicy Update
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: Fikayo Tomori my project playerby Paul Vegas21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Frank Lampard says his “project” player Fikayo Tomori has long justified his faith in him.The centre-back joined Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Ross Barkley as the four Chelsea Lions in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this week. “I put trust in him early in the season – I think that was obvious with the way the pre-season went with the centre-backs,” said Lampard. “At the moment, he has really delivered and long may that continue. I think there is a lot more to come still.“Last year as Derby he was fantastic. But you don’t know until you put players in. Against Sheffield United at home was a game where I thought he deserved his opportunity for his training.”Those are the rules here. You have to train at a level. Then he gave me a big problem because he played so well and he has continued to do that. Yes, he is a project in a way but a nice one because everything you want him to do, he stands up and delivers.”
India Today Web Desk New DelhiApril 8, 2016UPDATED: July 7, 2019 10:47 IST 10 Indian cricketers and their qualification.We follow cricket religiously and this is a fact known by one and all. But most cricket fans might not know the educational qualification of their favourite cricketers.Here we bring to you, a list of Indian Cricket stars and their educational qualification. Take a look:Mahendra Singh Dhoni:An assertive right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper, the former captain of the Indian national Cricket team is a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom).Sachin Tendulkar: The God of Cricket, who took to the game at the age of 11, has completed class 12.Yuvraj Singh: The pillar of the Indian Cricket team, booked for the unbreakable record of 6 balls-6 sixes, passed class 12 from DAV school.Rahul Dravid:The man who is known by the name of ‘The Wall’ acquired a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from St Joseph’s College.Anil Kumble:Former right-arm leg spin bowler, born in the high tech industry city of Bengaluru, Kumble did his Mechanical Engineering from RV College of Engineering.Virat Kohli:The current captain of the Indian Cricket team, known for his big shots in the field, cleared class 12 from New Delhi.Shikhar Dhawan:The Gabbar of Indian Cricket team studied upto class 12.Zaheer Khan:Khan was known as a bright student in school and consequently, he chose to pursue Engineering. But his sudden interest in Cricket led him to drop his studies.VVS Laxman:The most educated cricketer among all, VVS Laxman, dropped his MBBS degree and kicked off his career in cricket.Virender Sehwag:Regarded as one of the most destructive batsmen of all time, Sehwag holds a Bachelor degree from Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.advertisementGautam Gambhir:Widely known for his prodigious skills in the field, Gambhir finished his graduation from Hindu college, University of Delhi.Saurav Ganguly:One of the most critically acclaimed cricketers of his time, ‘Dada’ completed his graduation from St Xavier’s College.Read: Educational qualification of Salman KhanRead: 11 highly educated Bollywood celebritiesGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Tags :Follow MS DhoniFollow Indian cricketersFollow Sachin TendulkarFollow Cricket MS Dhoni turns 38: Know how well-educated your favourite Indian skipper and his teammates are!MS Dhoni, who turns 38 today, is a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom). Check out the list of Indian Cricket stars and their educational qualification.advertisement
Six local authorities across five parishes have been selected to participate in a project geared at stimulating economic development at the community level.This is under the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED), which is a six-year programme funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development, Canada (DFATD). It is focused on stimulating sustainable local economic development in the Caribbean region.Jamaica is one of seven Caribbean countries selected to benefit under the initiative, through six local authorities, namely, the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC); the St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, and Westmoreland parish councils; and the Portmore Municipal Council.Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Arscott, said the initiative is aimed at mobilising and using primarily local resources, assets and institutions to stimulate economic growth in communities.He was speaking September 26 at a one-day Local Government symposium at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St. Andrew, to introduce elected officials to the concept of local economic development and to sensitise them of their roles.The Minister informed JIS News that very tangible economic development projects will be pursued in all six local authorities under the proposed initiative.“Several very unique projects will be identified by the respective communities. For example, the KSAC has already identified a project where they are collecting plastic bottles and compacting them for export. This is part of a recycling programme to help relieve the city and the landfill of these large quantities of plastic bottles,” he stated.He also informed that in Clarendon, residents have identified a project to further take advantage of the many benefits of the Milk River Spa.“This project will be implemented in collaboration with the Tourism Enhancement Fund and seeks to create a nucleus of activities utilising the river, flora and fauna. We will be creating a cactus park and setting up a bed and breakfast to complement the rooms already in the hotels, among other things,” Mr. Arscott disclosed.The Minister noted that the CARILED project is very timely, as it comes at a time when the Government of Jamaica has identified local economic development as a strategic policy intervention.Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Senator Angela Brown-Burke, stated that stimulating economic development in the micro and small business sector is one of the keys to creating lasting economic growth on a national scale.She said the CARILED project also presents a unique opportunity to further include Jamaica’s youth population in national development.Head of Aid, DFATD, Marie Legault, pledged that the Canadian Government will continue to provide technical and financial assistance to Jamaica and the rest of the region in the area of economic growth.She noted that in this vein the Government has earmarked an investment of US$600 million over a period of 12 years for the Caribbean to focus on this priority area.Ms. Legault informed that CARILED forms part of this pledge and is geared towards revitalising local communities and local businesses.Launched in 2012, CARILED is headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago with sub-offices in St. Lucia and Ottawa, Canada.The project is being implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in partnership with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA) and the Caribbean Federation of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM).It aims to partner with 50 local government authorities to support the growth and development of 500 micro, small and medium enterprises. CARILED is a six-year programme funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development, Canada. Jamaica is one of seven Caribbean countries selected to benefit under the initiative. It is focused on stimulating sustainable local economic development in the Caribbean region. Story Highlights
$160,000 in new funding to Northern Healthy Connections Society, Truro an increase of $247,000 to Mainline Needle Exchange, Halifax an increase of $152,000 to Sharp Advice Needle Exchange, Sydney “These investments support and enhance the good work already underway in our communities,” said Mr. Glavine. Life-saving naloxone is already available in ambulances and emergency rooms throughout Nova Scotia, and, when necessary, to those being discharged from correctional facilities. Pilot programs in Halifax and Sydney have made naloxone kits available directly to people who use drugs through community organizations and treatment programs. Since these programs began, the kits have been used more than 30 times to save lives. “Opioid overdoses needlessly take lives, place significant stress on communities and can overwhelm first responders and emergency departments,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “By putting the resources in the hands of the people who need it most, we can treat overdoses quickly and save lives.” Sixty people died of opioid overdoses in the province in 2016, four of which involved illicit fentanyl. Mainline Needle Exchange has been operating in Halifax for 25 years. It is a health promotion program that provides harm reduction supplies to people who use drugs, education, peer support to assist with detox and treatment programs and help to access government and community services, including legal support, housing, and food. “In the last 15 years, demand for our services has increased by more than a thousand per cent,” said Diane Bailey, director, Mainline Needle Exchange. “Our Mainline site is open seven days a week. This increase in funding will allow us to expand our central mobile outreach project to seven days a week as well, and to work with our partners to reach at-risk groups in communities right across the province.” A full opioid response plan is being developed by government and is expected to be completed this spring. Government is taking immediate action to address the increase in illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in Nova Scotia with more than $1 million in funding. The Department of Health and Wellness is spending $564,000 to expand access to naloxone, a medication that blocks the effect of opioids and can reverse an overdose. This funding will support the purchase and distribution of naloxone kits through a range of community and health care organizations, including community pharmacies and municipal police. “Our first priority is to save lives. We have learned from other provinces that illicit opioids are a serious risk to anyone using street drugs and, more often, that includes young people,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “These drugs are becoming more widely available in Nova Scotia, which is why we’re taking action now before this becomes a crisis in our own province.” Government is also investing $559,000 to support three community-based harm reduction organizations in 2017/18:
SAINT-CHARLES, N.B. – There was relief on a New Brunswick First Nation Wednesday, after police laid charges in a hit-and-run death that left residents grieving and seeking justice.“We’re extremely happy,” said Ruth Levi, a band councillor and director of social services at the Elsipogtog reserve.Brady Francis, a well-liked 22-year-old from Elsipogtog, was struck and killed by a pickup truck after leaving a party on Feb. 24.RCMP charged Maurice Johnson, a 56-year-old man from Saint-Charles, N.B., with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.They said it’s believed Francis was waiting for a drive home when he was struck.Johnson is to appear in Moncton provincial court July 10.“The investigation is over. It was long but it shows that Brady’s case was not put on the back burner which a lot of people though was happening,” Levi said Wednesday.Many Elsipogtog residents had called for criminal charges in the case, and alluded to Aboriginal anger at the jury acquittals in the killings of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine on the Prairies.Social media posts were circulating following the incident with pictures of Boushie, Fontaine and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent Prairie verdicts.Said one Twitter user at the time: “All we can do is pray that Canada gets this one right.”But Levi said Wednesday residents now believe the healing can begin.“The RCMP did a great job in their investigation. Many times we thought nothing was happening because it was so long, a hundred and some-odd days, but today is a good day with lots of emotion,” she said.She said although Francis was young, he was well respected in the community.“This past weekend there was a Brady memorial volleyball tournament. We had a big thing on his birthday on April 21. They had a dart tournament. So Brady is always on our mind, day in and day out. We lost a great man.”Levi said he was always smiling, never in trouble, and planning to go to school to get a trade this fall.
The municipal election will take place on October 20, 2018, with the first advanced voting opportunity happening on October 10. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Eleven candidates are running for the position of trustee with School District 60.The school district is broken up into five different zones with each zone being represented by one trustee except for zone five which is represented by three. Five candidates are looking to fill the three seats in zone five and they include incumbents Erin Evans, Bill Snow and Darrell Pasichnyk along with Helen Gilbert, Jeff Richert.In zone one, Madeleine Lehmann will run against Melanie Edwards and David Christie will look to get more votes than David Scott-Moncrieff in zone two. In zone three and four candidates, Nicole Gilliss and incumbent Ida Campbell will be voted in by acclamation.
The goal for the Fundraiser is set at $10,000 and they are close to reaching their goal.To view the GoFundMe CLICK HERE ROSE PRAIRIE, B.C. – Mid December the home of Jake and Brianne Dyksterhuis burnt down, causing them to lose the contents and their family vehicle.December 14th at 1 am the Dyksterhuis’s woke up to find their house was on fire, ‘there was only enough time to grab their daughter who was still sleeping in their bedroom and jump out the window in their night clothes’, states the GoFundMe page set up to help assist the family.As a young family with a nine-month-old daughter and another child due in the spring, a GoFundMe account was created to alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with losing everything.
Rabat – Montasser AlDe’emeh, a Belgian researcher and specialist in Islamic radicalization and international jihad, has criticized Moroccan Imams for being “monolingual.”Montasser AlDe’emeh says, “The fact that, Imams are monolingual, hinders them from delivering their social messages to the Belgian youth who turn into hardliners,” according to Belgian news website levif.“It is a shame that, after fifty years, Imams still do not speak Dutch or French, as we still have to import them from Morocco. It is simply outrageous that the Belgian authorities do not impose language requirements on the Imams,” he adds. According to AlDe’emeh, “this cannot help achieve the social mission assigned to these Moroccan imams.”According to him, Imams should be at least bilingual to effectively transmit social messages to Belgian Muslim youth, so as to protect them from becoming hardliners and joining terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.“We cannot expect an imam who does not speak the language (French and others) to deal with the social engagement of young people,” Montasser AlDe’emeh said.
The tusks destroyed today were confiscated in 2012 while it was en route to Dubai from Kenya. (Colombo Gazette) According to the Customs Department the symbolic act of destroying more than Rs. 387 million worth of ivory seeks to dispel any hopes by poachers that they will profit by killing elephants. Sri Lanka Customs today began destroying more than 359 African elephant tusks (Blood Ivory) in their custody at Galle Face Green.The ivory was crushed using a modified crusher and then it is to be transported to the Puttalam cement factory to be burned. The entire process is taking place with Special Task Force (STF) and the army providing tight security.
Each decorative candle, lantern and calavera —or sugar skull — is placed with care to create a sea of vibrant colour meant to honour the dead.The Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, altars, found at seven locations throughout Niagara, have been carefully crafted by Brock University students working closely with members of the public, including the Mexican and Latin community.A gateway to learn about Latin America’s past and present, the initiative was taken on by students in Associate Professor Maria Del Carmen Suescun Pozas’ Latin America history class.Día de los Muertos was proclaimed an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2008. The festival has its origins in pre-Columbian indigenous cultures of Mexico and Latin America.The traditional festival unfolds over two days, Nov. 1 and 2, and celebrates love and respect for deceased family in a colourful and life-affirming way.Altars for offerings of traditional foods and drink, as well as photographs, candles and marigolds, are built in homes and public spaces.The public is invited to visit the Niagara altars and encouraged to leave offerings, photographs or names of loved ones on slips of paper at any of the locations.Heritage and community engagement are important tools for historians, says Suescun Pozas. The experience is an opportunity for students to understand how their own work is not independent from tangible and intangible legacies and to reflect on the nature of remembering, forgetting and building communal knowledge.“The Day of the Dead is a gift to us all from fellow Mexicans who live and work in Niagara,” says Suescun Pozas. “The festivity honours the memory of temporary residents who have worked in the agricultural sector in Niagara and died in the recent past. “Migrant workers are important members of the community and we wish to acknowledge their participation in helping advance knowledge of a history Latin America and Canada share.”The altars, which will remain in place until Thursday, Nov. 8, can be found at the following locations:Mahtay Café, St. CatharinesBlack Sheep Lounge, WellandNiagara Military Museum, Niagara FallsPelham Public Library, Fonthill and Maple Acre branchesMarilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, St. CatharinesTD Niagara Jazz Festival Twilight Jazz SeriesHI-Niagara Falls Hostel, Niagara Falls
FINE GAEL TD Joe Carey has said that while he in not convinced of the merits of full legalisation of cannabis, he is open to the model of decriminalisation in Portugal which removed criminal penalties in favour of therapy and education for small time offenders.His comments come ahead of a debate in the Dáil this evening on independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s Cannabis Regulation motion.On his Facebook page this week, the Fine Gael TD for Clare asked his constituents for their opinions on legalising the drug:(View larger version)The majority of the comments were in favour of legalisation for different reasons including the tax revenue it would bring in, the tourism it could attract and an end to harsh sentences for those in possession of the drug for personal use.In response, Carey told his Facebook followers that he was not convinced by the arguments for broad legalisation.Decriminalisation in PortugalHowever he said he was “open to the model of decriminalisation in Portugal” and was struck by many of the people who contacted him having been prosecuted for small amounts and are now “suffering the consequences because of that”.In Portugal, the law was changed in 2001, maintaining the status of illegality for use or possession for personal use without authorisation but changing the offence from a criminal one to an administrative one.This means that those found with no more than ten days’ supply of a drug do not risk a prison sentence and instead are targeted with therapy or community service. The country also has a nationwide needle exchange program run through pharmacies.Medical purposesSpeaking to TheJournal.ie, Carey said he also believes there is a “strong case” in relation to loosening the laws in relation to people who have medical issues such as Motor Neuron Disease and Multiple Sclerosis in particular.I would be hopeful that the government would listen to people who suffer part from MS and MND and that some relaxation in the laws could be made to reflect in their favour because basically their pain is relieved by the use of cannabis and cannabis products.He said the argument for changing the law for tourism purposes was “reckless because it would bring other vices into play”.“You can’t disregard the view that cannabis is associated with mental health issues, ” the TD said. “I would be very much guided what what people have said in relation to that. People like Tony Geoghegan in the Merchant’s Quay project would have expressed those views.”While Carey’s views on decriminalisation are not exactly in line with the party’s position on the topic, he will be supporting the government when they vote on the bill tomorrow.- With additional reporting by Hugh O’Connell. Related: Cannabis legalisation: Where do the parties stand?>More: 6 things we learned from Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s Cannabis Regulation Bill>
What better way to monitor water quality than by using cutting-edge robotics technology? Researchers at Michigan State University are developing robotic fish that swim in schools and navigate underwater to watch for pollution in lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans.According to MSU associate professor and electrical engineer Dr. Xiaobo Tan, “fish behave in a way that underwater vehicles can’t yet equal.” They can swim in sync with each other and can make sharp turns and change directions in the blink of an eye, which is something a submarine isn’t capable of.The robotic fish have tail fins made of electroactive polymers. The tail fins have no gears or motors but simply move in response to electricity. Often referred to as “artificial muscles,” the materials can change their shape in response to electrical stimulation. Tan and his team were able to bind multiple strips of the artificial muscles together in sheets. These sheets make up a flexible artificial fins that can twist and bend just like a real fish fin.To build the fish, the MSU team actually made multiple patterns and then tested them by making quick and inexpensive copies using a 3D printer. The printer lays thin layers of plastic on top of each other constructed of different plastics that the researchers feed into the printer. These layers-upon-layers create 3D objects that are flexible and soft in some parts, and hard and rigid in other parts.This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of robotic fish. UK company BMT Group Limited, in conjunction with researchers at the University of Essex, were also building robotic fish to test for water pollution. However, these fish were much larger than MSU’s fish, at about 1.5 meters in length compared to Tan’s 6-inch prototype, and cost $29,000 each to make.With funding from the National Science Foundation, the team’s goal is to make robotic fish that are smaller, cheaper, and quieter than vehicles powered by propellers. The intent is to make fish that can steer clear of obstacles and need little if any human intervention.It’s hard enough to make just one fish that works independently, but the team is also working on making fish that can be programmed to sense the direction of its neighbors and swim synchronously in a school. The researchers have tested the fish in lakes, but these models only swim halfway submerged in water. The next goal is to make the fish capable of diving and ascending.The team will soon test the robotic fish in a mixed aquarium tank of real fish to see how they interact with each other. They’ll monitor the real fish to see how they escape from the robotic fish, which will take the role of a “predator” for the test, and will look at how they react to the foreign fish. They’ll then use that information to program the robotic fish so that they can possibly protect themselves against predators. Having the robo-fish eaten by a dolphin, seal, or shark would be a very pricey meal, let alone unsafe for the predator.Check out the video below to see the robotic fish in action.via Scientific American
In April 2009 Brendan Marrocco suffered serious injuries when his unit’s vehicle was hit by an Explosive Fired Projectile (EFP) while undertaking a night mission in Iraq. Brendan survived, but his injuries meant doctors had to amputate both his arms and legs. He also lost 8 teeth, suffered face and neck lacerations and burns, had several broken bones, shrapnel in his face and eye, and a severed left carotid artery.The fact that he recovered at all is amazing, but as of yesterday Brendan has his arms back due to a compatible donor and a successful double arm transplant.The operation was carried out at John Hopkins Hospital on December 18 and Brendan has been in recovery for the past month with both his new arms still heavily bandaged. The long recovery time is understandable considering just how complex the operation was.Doctors had Brendan on the operating table for 13 hours as they carefully attached the bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, and finally the skin of both arms. He also received bone marrow from the donor in a bid to stop the new limbs from being rejected and to minimize his reliance on anti-rejection drugs. It seems to have worked, and it’s all due to the hard work his team of doctors put in during preparations for the operation.This isn’t a procedure that just happened, though. The 13 hour operation was preceded by months of planning, which included the doctors carrying out the full operation four times using cadavers. Such careful planning and practice is essential, as even one mistake could have seen the new arms rejected and Brendan potentially suffering complications because of it.Brendan will now continue to recover at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he will undergo physical therapy. If his progress continues without issue, he should eventually have two functioning arms and is looking forward to swimming and driving again.via Voice of America
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (File photo by Skip Gray/360 North)President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord drew muted reactions from Alaska officials on Thursday.Listen nowU.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski told reporters she’s “agnostic” on the Paris accord itself. But, she said she hopes the U.S. won’t “fall back” in its efforts to address climate change, adding that Alaskans are already seeing impacts.Governor Bill Walker released a statement highlighting the effects of climate change across the state. But he stopped short of criticizing President Trump’s decision.In his statement, Walker said shrinking sea ice and coastal erosion are causing “social and economic upheaval,” adding that the communities of Shishmaref, Kivalina and Newtok are “literally washing into the ocean.” And he noted that erosion and thawing permafrost will affect military installations across the state.Alaska hasn’t seen any official statewide policy initiatives on climate change since an effort under former Governor Sarah Palin, nearly a decade ago.The state was exempted from the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s hallmark climate policy under the Paris agreement.But the Walker administration has indicated it hopes to advance some kind of state climate policy this year.Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz also released a statement following the news, saying the city will continue adapting and mitigating climate change. The mayor went on to write that the municipality “stands with business leaders and other mayors from across the country.”Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes and KTOO’s Jacob Resneck contributed to this story.