New software can track many individuals in a crowd

first_img A. Dehghan et al., IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence PP, 99 (24 March 2017) © IEEE dibrova/iStockphoto In 2015, more than 2000 people died in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. In 2013, two terrorists deposited backpacks carrying bombs at the Boston Marathon and slipped away, leaving three spectators to die. If technology could in real-time track and analyze the movement of individuals in dense crowds, we might better predict dangerous pileups or spot suspicious behavior, saving many lives a year. A pair of researchers has just taken a large step in that direction, writing software that for the first time can track hundreds of people in a crowd simultaneously.Following the paths of many individuals at the same time is enormously difficult, even for humans. Previous computer-based efforts to analyze dense crowd movement have focused on tracking one individual at a time in recorded video. But there are problems with that method. First, you have to run the programs over and over again for each person you want to track. Second, the programs tend to identify people in each frame of a video based on appearance—but heads and faces can be hard to distinguish from above, especially in tight crowds and low-resolution video. The new research, which will be published in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, finds a way to increase both the efficiency and accuracy of tracking a person, enabling a software program to finally follow many people at the same time.The trick involves predicting where an individual will go next. The researchers wrote a mathematical function that analyzes five factors, based on previous frames of a video, to anticipate where each person will be in the current frame. One is appearance: Which patches of pixels resemble the target from the previous frame? Another is target motion: Where could the target be based on speed and direction? A third is neighbor motion: If the target is obscured, the program guesses on location based on the motion of the person’s neighbors. Fourth is spatial proximity: The program won’t guess that two people are in the same place, standing on top of one another. And last is grouping: If the program identifies a few people walking in a group, it will assume that they’ll retain the same formation.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)For a group of more than about 10 people, a perfect mathematical solution to the formula is impossible, because of the number of targets and interactions between them. So the team uses an iterative algorithm to produce a slightly rougher but easier-to-calculate prediction of each person’s location frame by frame. “It’s not feasible to find an exact solution for a large number of targets,” says Afshin Dehghan, a computer scientist who conducted the work with Mubarak Shah while at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. “We introduced a new technique that is actually popular in other areas, like math.” (It’s a version of what’s called the Frank-Wolfe algorithm, if you’re curious.)To test their method, the researchers analyzed nine crowd videos that had been used in previous research, covering marathons, commuters, a crosswalk, a train station, an airport, and a Hajj pilgrimage. The crowd sizes ranged from 57 to 747 people. By one measure, the program’s accuracy at tracking everyone in a video ranged from 67% to 99%. That performance matched or greatly exceeded five comparison algorithms—all of which tracked people one by one. Grand Central Terminal in New York City. New software can track many individuals in a crowd center_img Software tracks marathon runners. By Matthew HutsonApr. 10, 2017 , 9:00 AM Incorporating collective movements was key to the program’s success. “There are group dynamics at play when you’re with other people, especially in a dense situation,” says Aniket Bera, a computer scientist at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, who studies crowd behavior but was not involved in the work. “That information has been exploited in this paper.”Hamid Rezatofighi, a computer scientist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, who has worked on multitarget tracking, says the technique is interesting. But he questions its practicality, because a user has to manually select targets to track. That means at the start of a video, users have to click on each person they want to follow.And currently the method does not work in real time when tracking hundreds of people—it can take close to a second per frame to finish the needed calculations—but Dehghan notes that “the code has a lot of room to be optimized.” He’s hoping to release it publicly.“There are many applications for tracking individuals in a crowd,” Dehghan says. You might analyze flow to design public spaces better and prevent overcrowding or bottlenecking, or program rules that spot anomalous behavior in security videos, such as lingering or stalking or erratic walking. Crowds form not just at marathons and pilgrimages, of course, but at concerts and political rallies and soccer games. In fact, the research was partially funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, as Qatar will be hosting the 2022 World Cup and wants to assure crowd safety. (Where should entrances and exits be placed? Can a terrorist be identified before detonating a bomb?)And humans aren’t the only ones to flock together. The same technique, Dehghan says, could be used to follow members of herds of animals or schools of fish for scientific research. Or cells in medical imaging to diagnose disease or understand healthy functioning. “Tracking in dense crowds is a relatively unexplored problem,” he says.last_img read more

Skepticism surfaces over CRISPR human embryo editing claims

first_img By Kelly ServickAug. 31, 2017 , 12:28 PM OHSU Skepticism surfaces over CRISPR human embryo editing claims When the first U.S. team to edit human embryos with CRISPR revealed their success earlier this month, the field reeled with the possibility that the gene-editing technique might soon produce children free of their parents’ genetic defects. But the way CRISPR repaired the paternal mutation targeted in the embryos was also a surprise. Instead of replacing the gene defect with strands of DNA that the researchers inserted, the embryos appeared to use the mother’s healthy gene as a template for repairing the cut made by CRISPR’s enzyme.But such a feat has not been observed in previous CRISPR experiments, and some scientists are now questioning whether the repairs really happened that way. In a paper published online this week on the preprint server bioRxiv, a group of six geneticists, developmental biologists, and stem cell researchers offers alternative explanations for the results. And uncertainty about exactly how the embryos’ DNA changed after editing leaves many questions about the technique’s safety, they argue. (The authors declined to discuss the paper while it’s being reviewed for publication.)Embryologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, who led the now-disputed experiments, released a statement saying that his team stands by its explanation. “We based our finding and conclusions on careful experimental design involving hundreds of human embryos,” it says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)center_img In the 2 August Nature paper, Mitalipov and his collaborators showed they could bump up the efficiency of human embryo editing by inserting the CRISPR machinery earlier in development than previous experiments. When they combined healthy eggs with sperm bearing a disease-causing mutation and immediately added CRISPR, they found that 72% of the resulting embryos were free of the mutation—rather than the expected 50% that would have avoided inheriting the harmful gene anyway.Although the researchers inserted short strands of DNA as templates for repair, the cells didn’t seem to take them up; those specific sequences were absent from the embryos. The cells must have relied instead on the nonmutated sequence in the egg donor’s DNA when making the repairs, the team concluded.The bioRxiv response, led by developmental biologist Maria Jasin of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Columbia University stem cell biologist Dieter Egli, challenges that interpretation. The authors, which also include well-known CRISPR researcher and Harvard University geneticist George Church, say that the Nature paper goes against conventional wisdom about how embryos are organized early in development. Right after an egg is fertilized, the DNA from the sperm and the egg aren’t believed to be in close enough proximity to interact or share genes, they explain.Stem cell researcher Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, who led the first published study of CRISPR editing of a human embryo, isn’t on the bioRxiv paper, but shares that concern. It’s not unexpected for a cell to use its own sequences to guide repair, he notes. In his group’s study, which used nonviable embryos, a gene related to the CRISPR-targeted gene seemed to function as a template. But that gene was on the same chromosome as CRISPR’s edits. Here, the sperm and egg nuclei are seemingly too far apart to cooperate in the repairs, he says.The preprint authors lay out two other scenarios for what Mitalipov’s team saw. It’s possible that some of the embryos didn’t take up paternal DNA at all, and thus never inherited the mutation to begin with. In some in vitro fertilization procedures, embryos can occasionally start to develop from maternal DNA alone, and the study didn’t rule out this phenomenon for every embryo, they say.They also suggest that mutated paternal gene could have been snipped out of young embryos but never actually replaced with a healthy version. CRISPR’s cuts can sometimes cause chunks of DNA to be removed from the strand before the two cut ends are rejoined, they note. That would mean no detectable mutation—but it could also mean missing sections of DNA that could have unknown consequences for the embryo.This possibility of “allele dropout” has been the subject of discussion in the field ever since the Nature paper was published, says developmental biologist Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute in London. Many scientists are now waiting for a response from Mitalipov, he says.In his statement, Mitalipov promised to “respond to [the] critiques point by point in the form of a formal peer-reviewed response in a matter of weeks.” He also urged follow-up to resolve the matter. “We encourage other scientists to reproduce our findings by conducting their own experiments on human embryos and publishing their results.”*Update, 1 September, 1:30 p.m.: The new version of this story has additional comments from several researchers and clarifies the authorship of the preprint. Newly fertilized (left) and later-stage (right) human embryos that have had a disease mutation corrected by the CRISPR editing system.last_img read more

These caterpillars can camouflage themselves, even when blindfolded

first_img Most animals that change color to match their surroundings can see what these surroundings look like. But the peppered moth caterpillar can do this with its eyes closed, according to a new study, and scientists have figured out how. Researchers raised more than 300 larvae of the peppered moth (Biston betularia) in the lab. After the caterpillars grew up a bit, the scientists placed them in different boxes containing artificial sticks painted black, brown, green, and white (pictured). Some of the larvae were blindfolded using black paint.The blindfolded caterpillars changed their entire body color to match the stick they were sitting on as well as their seeing counterparts did, the team reports in Communications Biology. When the researchers placed the caterpillars in boxes containing different colored sticks, about 80% of the larvae, both blinded and sighted, chose to rest on sticks that matched their body color.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)On closer examination, the scientists discovered the peppered moth caterpillar turns on genes responsible for vision not only in its head, but also in its skin. The bugs have rather poor eyesight and sit on branches with their heads tilted away, so their eyes may not always be on the branch. This, along with their very slow color change can make them sitting targets. It’s likely that the caterpillars evolved such a dual mechanism of color sensing to give them a leg up in outwitting their hunters, the team speculates. These caterpillars can camouflage themselves, even when blindfolded Ilik Saccheri center_img By Lakshmi SupriyaAug. 7, 2019 , 12:55 PMlast_img read more

Modi congratulates Indian hockey, women’s relay teams

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian hockey team and the women’s 4x400m relay team after they won gold medals at the Asian Games on October 2.Modi also congratulated all the medal winners from India, saying they have made the country proud.”Very good day for India at the Asian Games. Congrats to our Hockey Team and congrats to our women athletes for the Gold in 4 x 400 metres relay,” Modi said in a tweet.”I have been closely following India’s progress at the Asian Games and I congratulate every medal winner. You make India very proud,” he added.The Indian hockey team defeated Pakistan 4-2 via penalties in the final after scores were level 1-1 in regulation time.last_img read more

Long wait for Muhammad Ali to regain world heavyweight crown he lost to Leon Spinks

first_imgMuhammad Ali – ‘the long, hard climb back to the top’The international following that the pied piper of boxing, Muhammad Ali, has attracted, may have a long, frustrating wait before their ageing hero gets a chance to regain the world heavyweight crown he lost to unknown Leon Spinks last month.While,Muhammad Ali – ‘the long, hard climb back to the top’The international following that the pied piper of boxing, Muhammad Ali, has attracted, may have a long, frustrating wait before their ageing hero gets a chance to regain the world heavyweight crown he lost to unknown Leon Spinks last month.While grandiose plans were being formulated to arrange an early re-match between Ali and Spinks, heavyweight contender Ken Norton put a spoke in the wheel by surprisingly accepting an offer to fight Spinks in May or June.Boxing circles were taken totally unawares by Norton’s decision – Norton will earn $200,000 for the fight, which is chicken feed by current boxing standards, and most people had expected Norton to reject the offer. Norton’s acceptance, however, has thrown into disarray the complicated financial wheeling and dealing that governs the highest-paid sport in the world. By fighting Norton, Spinks stands to earn only $1 million, instead of the $5 million he would have pocketed from a re-match with Ali.This unusual situation has arisen purely because Spinks, who has only fought eight professional bouts so far, was universally expected to be massacred by Ali in their Las Vegas title fight. Spinks’ promoters, Top Rank, had drawn up a contract which gave them the right to promote Spinks’ first six title defences in the unlikely event of his beating Ali.Because of the overwhelming odds against a Spinks’ win, major television networks were wary of forking out the $4 million Top Rank demanded for televising the title fight in Las Vegas. Top Rank finally got CBS to agree, but only after promising them the televising rights for Spinks’ next fight (if he won) for a mere $1.5 million, against anyone but Ali.advertisementSpinks’ unexpected win over Ali has now backfired on his promoters, who are desperately trying to back-pedal on the deal. “We called their bluff,’ said Norton, “they were hoping we’d turn it down but I was over the barrel and had to go for it. It kind of backfired on them.”What is worse, as far as both Top Rank and Spinks are concerned is that Norton, who has beaten Ali once before, is more than likely to beat Spinks, thus destroying the current champion’s chances of getting his hands on the really big money. The only hope that Top Rank now have is to offer Norton a larger slice of boxing’s financial cake, if he agrees to let Ali have his re-match with Spinks first and then take on the winner later in the year.last_img read more

Vipers Strike In TFSA Finals

first_imgIn the B Division, the Northern Vipers went into the game as underdogs with the Central Scorpions previously undefeated in the season. However it was the Vipers who started well gaining an early advantage over their more fancied opponents to take a 2-0 buffer into half-time.Not to be outdone the Scorpions scored first in the second half to cut the deficit to one (2-1) however the young Vipers rallied and hit straight back to score twice in quick succession to extend their lead to 4-1. Despite a late touchdown by the Scorpions it was too little too late as the Northern Vipers claimed an upset win to claim the B Division championship, 4-2.SA Heat 18’s hopeful, Ned Davies starred for the Vipers scoring three touchdowns whilst Pat Organ also crossed the line, while for the Scorpions Paul Avers and Emily Gale were the scorers.The A Grade final also featuring the Northern Vipers and Central Scorpions was billed as a clash of the titans with both teams playing out a 7-all draw in their minor round clash. Many predicted a tight contest and the game certainly lived up to expectations and did not disappoint.In one of the most exciting TFSA League finals in many years both sides attacked hard in the first half but the defence of both teams was strong ensuring a tight, tense contest. It was the Central Scorpions who enjoyed most of the attack in the first half and when they broke the deadlock right on half-time they went into the break with a slight advantage leading 3-2. After the break it was the Vipers who struck first to get the crucial first touchdown which tied the game up again at 3-all, after which a highly entertaining tense nine minutes of defensive play by both teams ensued which was only broken by an unfortunate injury to Central Scorpions playmaker, Jess Ryan.The break gave both teams an opportunity to catch their breath and reload. The brilliant touches on each team’s score lines continued however the Vipers managed to break through at the 13 minute mark to hit the front for the first time in the match, 4-3. With the momentum seemingly shifting to the Vipers late in the match the Scorpions needed to dig deep and they did just that with Luke Thornton making a great play as half to set up his teammate on the wing to level things up once again with 90 seconds remaining, 4-all.No side managed to score in the last 90 seconds and when the siren sounded scores were locked away at 4-4 sending the final to a drop off.The Vipers had the tap when the game resumed and put together an amazing first set of six complete with a monster long ball from Tim Glazebrook which found its target and the Vipers scored on their last touch to put them 5-4 up and in a commanding position.However the drama of this match was not over just yet with the Central Scorpions getting the ball across the line on their last touch however a brilliant touch by the Vipers defence brought the referees together for a conference and rightfully so a touch was called sparking celebrations from the Vipers players who claimed the championship 5-4 in amazing fashion.The Vipers celebrations continued when they were announced as Regional Champions, making it back-to-back TFSA league championships for the Northern Vipers.Three Vipers players were also named series MVP’s with Shane ‘Kiwi’ Marshall from the Eastern Stingrays also featuring in the MVP’s. Mixed TFSA League Most Valuable PlayersB Grade MVP Female – Amanda Sheeky (Northern Vipers)B Grade MVP Male – Shane Marshall (Eastern Stingrays)A Grade MVP Female – Kelly Rowe (Northern Vipers)A Grade MVP Male – Tim Glazebrook (Northern Vipers)The Mixed TFSA League was a resounding success and the final matches demonstrate the improvement in game standard within South Australia with few blow outs occurring this series and a very even playing field. It was great to see so much youth participating in the series with most regions fielding up to 15 under 16’s in their teams which has enormous benefits for the development of the game.TFSA congratulates all teams and thanks its referees, regional coordinators, SOAP members, selectors and players for their efforts this season.This series marked the end of standalone Mixed TFSA League competition with TFSA League expanding to incorporate one large series annually incorporating Mixed, Women’s and Men’s divisions to occur from November to February. This move has been brought about through growth in player numbers.To find out more about TFSA, please visit their website:www.touchsa.com.aulast_img read more

Clemson Releases Hype Video To Celebrate Dabo Swinney Winning Coach Of The Year

first_imgDabo Swinney celebrates and talks to an ESPN reporter.dabo swinney hype video clemsonWednesday morning, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was officially named the Home Depot Coach of the Year. Swinney, who has been with the Tigers since 2008, helped the team finish as the only undefeated team in the country through the regular season.To celebrate the accomplishment, Clemson has released a quick hype video in honor of Swinney. Check it out:JUST ANNOUNCED—Dabo Swinney​ named CFB Coach of the Year! The #ClemsonFamily is proud to call him OUR COACH! #ALLIN https://t.co/wpwWUh1UlO— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) December 9, 2015Despite the award, Swinney’s job isn’t done in 2015. His Tigers take on Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve. A victory means a shot at a national title in January.last_img read more

All Stakeholders Must Honour Social Partnership to Ensure Growth – Minister Hylton

first_img Under the agreement, the groups reaffirmed and recommitted to the principles of social dialogue and partnership. The first ever signing of a social partnership agreement in Jamaica took place on July 31. Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says that the successful implementation of the country’s growth agenda requires that all stakeholders honour the recently signed social partnership agreement.“Our imperative to deepen the integration of the Jamaican economy into the global value and supply chain will require the full involvement and effort of those who have by signing this agreement, committed to a partnership, which will move this country forward economically and socially,” Mr. Hylton said.The Minister was speaking at the Mona School of Business and Management/Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) public forum on Thursday, October 24, on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies. It was held under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Social Partnership Agreement: Implications for our Growth Agenda’.The first ever signing of a social partnership agreement in Jamaica took place on July 31, among the Government, private sector, trade union and civil society groups, at King’s House.Under the agreement, the groups reaffirmed and recommitted to the principles of social dialogue and partnership; and resolve to embark on a programme for Jamaica’s stabilization, growth with equity and sustainable development through a social partnership, initially over the period 2013-2016.Priority areas of focus for the first three years include fiscal consolidation; adherence to the rule of law; ease of doing business; employment creation; and energy diversification and conservation.Mr. Hylton said that the social partnership is a road map and stakeholders should “hold each other accountable as we move to create a better Jamaica.”“All stakeholders must honour their commitment to social dialogue and partnership. It is not just the best way forward; it is the only way forward that this country can achieve social and economic transformation,” he stated.In his contribution, President of the PSOJ, Christopher Zacca, noted that without the consensus of a social partnership “it is going to be difficult to achieve the shared vision and political will required to implement difficult reforms that are essential in raising the level of growth in this country.”“The agreement, if governed properly, will be able to increase our collective level of trust in this system,” Mr. Zacca said.Jamaica’s social partnership is modelled on the Barbados Social Partnership Agreement that marked its 20th anniversary earlier this year. Priority areas of focus for the first three years include fiscal consolidation. Story Highlightslast_img read more

Bdesh cricketers escape shooting attack in NZ mosque tour called off

first_imgChristchurch: The Bangladesh cricket team escaped unhurt despite being in close vicinity of a shooting attack on a mosque here but its ongoing tour of New Zealand was called off owing to the “unprecedented act of violence” in which 49 people were killed. The attack took place on two mosques in the city and also injured more than 20 people, according to the police. The Bangladesh team, which was about to enter the Al Noor mosque in Hagley Park to offer prayers, escaped unscathed but the situation led to the authorities calling off the third and final Test match starting Saturday. The match was the tour finale for the visitors. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open”We are very thankful that we weren’t caught in the crossfire, but what we saw was straight out of a movie scene. We could see bloodstained people staggering out of the mosque,” Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mashud told reporters here. “Maybe for about eight-ten minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fires at us,” he added. The team’s Indian Performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekeran, a Mumbai-based computer-engineer-turned-cricket-analyst, was there in the bus at the time of the incident. The side’s spin consultant Sunil Joshi, also an Indian, was however at the team hotel. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgery”We couldn’t react initially. In such a horror situation, your brain automatically freezes as you are terrified. That’s exactly what happened to all of us,” Chandrasekaran, who has been with the team for the past one year, said. On being contacted, Joshi said, “I am safe, I will be back in India on Wednesday next week. I cannot talk on the incident right now.” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the incident marked “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern said. Bangladesh’s senior opener Tamim Iqbal said it was a frightening experience for the team. “…please keep us in your prayers,” he tweeted. Ardern issued a strong statement condemning the attack. “This is significant and I can tell you now this is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days. I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence, an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand. This is not who we are,” she said. “Certainly it has occurred at a place where people should have been expressing their religious freedom, where they should have been in a safe environment, and they have not been today. There is no place in New Zealand for such extreme acts of unprecedented violence. “The people who were the subject of this attack today, New Zealand is their home, they should be safe here. The person who has perpetuated this violent act against them, they have no place in New Zealand society,” she added. The players were initially barred from leaving the bus but, after several minutes, disembarked and made their way through to the Hagley Park ground. They later went back to the hotel. The bus carried 17 members of the team with Liton Das, Nayeem Hasam and spin bowling consultant Joshi staying back at the hotel. Mashud said the players are bound to be affected after escaping death by a whisker.last_img read more

Valladolid can stop Barca if…

first_imgReal Valladolid boss Sergio Gonzalez is confident he has all it takes to stop Barcelona through cutting off Lionel Messi and ‘exploiting the things they do least well’.After four years, Valladolid returned to La Liga but won 1-0 the last time they hosted Barca as Ernesto Valverde complained about the state of the pitch at Jose Zorrilla.“The fewer balls he receives, the less time he has on it, the better,” the Coach said at a Press conference via Football Espana.“We’ll look to exploit the things they do least well. The pitch can’t be an excuse for any team.Gerard Pique, Neymar, BarcelonaLa Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…“After the arrivals of our new forwards this week, our attack won’t be the same as before. We want a boost.“We always want more and we’ll keep looking around for new players. It’s exciting that the club want to extend my contract.“That means they’re happy with me. An extension would allow us to work more calmly, towards a project.”last_img read more

Governor Charlie Baker Visits Shawsheen Tech School Receives 125000 Grant

first_imgBILLERICA, MA — The Baker-Polito Administration recently awarded nearly $3.3 million in Skills Capital Grants to 31 high schools and educational institutions, enabling the schools to acquire the newest technologies to educate students and expand programs.The Governor and his three Cabinet secretaries on the Workforce Skills Cabinet made the announcement Thursday at Shawsheen Regional Technical High School, which has received more than $1 million in Skills Capital Grants over the past three years.This year, the Shawsheen Tech received a $125,000 grant in advanced manufacturing.Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational School will modernization and update the drafting program and new engineering curriculum. The funding will enable the school to enroll a greater number of students and to offer new adult training programs in drafting and engineering design, as well as related advanced manufacturing courses to meet local employer demands. The grant funding will support purchase of collaborative display computer workstations capable of running the latest industry-standard software. Also, the addition of bench model technology will reinforce software training with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities.With the announcement, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded more than $52 million to 188 different programs over the past three years. Through the grants, schools have been able to expand their enrollment capacity, adding more than 10,000 additional students in educational programs across the Commonwealth.This round of Skills Capital Grants aimed to give funds to educational institutions which focused on helping residents with barriers to employment, including those who are unemployed or underemployed, lack English proficiency, or residents who do not have degrees or certificates and need new skills to obtain good-paying jobs.Along with awarding the new grants, Governor Baker announced an additional $12 million is available for schools to apply for now. The 2018 Economic Development Bill, filed by the Governor and passed by the Legislature, established an additional $75 million in funding for Skills Capital Grants. The grants range from $50,000 to $500,000.The goal of the Skills Capital Grants is to help high schools, colleges and other educational institutions invest in the most up-to-date training equipment to give their students an advantage when they continue in their chosen field or particular area of study. The Skills Capital Grants cover a broad array of fields, from construction and engineering to healthcare and hospitality.“Skills Capital Grants impact the education of thousands of young people across the Commonwealth and give them new opportunities and skills for a successful future,”Governor Charlie Baker said. “We are proud of the 10,000 new seats that have been added to these programs across Massachusetts and we look forward to continuing our work with schools and teachers to give more students the experience and knowledge that employers demand.”“Skills Capital Grants create important career pathways for both students and adult learners across the Commonwealth to support key industries,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito added. “Each program we visit is full of inspiring students excited to work with new equipment, so we look forward to this next round of grants and what it will mean for Massachusetts schools.”The competitive grants are awarded to educational institutions that demonstrate partnerships with local businesses, as well as align curriculum and credentials with industry demand, in order to maximize hiring opportunities in each region of the state.The Skills Capital Grants are awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet. Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito created the Workforce Skills Cabinet in 2015, bringing together the Secretariats of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development in order to align education, economic development and workforce policies, and to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in each region of the state.(NOTE: The above press release is from Governor Charlie Baker’s Office.)Like 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… RelatedShawsheen Tech Receives $500,000 State Grant To Modernize Machine Technology ProgramIn “Education”Shawsheen Tech Receives $100,000+ STEM Grant From StateIn “Education”Shawsheen Tech Receives $382,000 Workforce Skills Capital Grant From StateIn “Education”last_img read more

POLICE LOG for July 16 Billerica Woman Arrested Coyote Den Senior Scammed

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Here are highlights of the Wilmington Police Log for Tuesday, July 16, 2019:2-vehicle crash on Woburn Street. No injuries noted. Police notified DPW to sweep up debris from roadway. (7:01am)Animal Control Officer checked for a possible coyote den next to the Woburn St. School field. Den appeared to be old. (8:39am)Train at North Wilmington Train Station was blocking the roadway on Middlesex Avenue. (9:33am)Amanda Leigh Fay (34, Billerica) was arrested on warrants. She was also cited for unregistered motor vehicle and no inspection sticker. (2:53pm)A Deming Way caller reported giving her social security and date of birth to a telephone scam. (4:35pm)A walk-in party reported a wasp nest by the bench near the pond at Rotary Park. (7:10pm)(DISCLAIMER: This information is public information.  An arrest does not constitute a conviction.  Any arrested person is innocent until proven guilty.)Like 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… RelatedPOLICE LOG for August 31: Woburn Man Arrested For OUI; Bad Highway Crash Required MedflightIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for August 10: Car Stolen; License Plate Stolen; Road Rage Incident At Cumberland FarmsIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for July 21: Wilmington Woman Arrested For Disturbing The Peace; Box Of Nails Spilled In RoadwayIn “Police Log”last_img read more

Brave shows ads on its Android browser too

first_img 0 Mobile Tech Industry Post a comment Share your voice Advertising Brave browser Chrome The Android move is a significant expansion of Brave’s advertising ambitions. Stephen Shankland/CNET Browser startup Brave now can show its privacy-first ads on Android, not just personal computers. The company’s browser blocks websites’ ads and trackers by default, but if you opt in to see Brave-supplied ads instead, you’ll get 70 percent of the resulting revenue.With most of Brave’s users on smartphones, the Android move is a significant expansion of Brave’s advertising ambitions.Brave is trying to build a new system that preserves the advantages of today’s online ad technology — a source of revenue for free websites and online services — but that respects privacy. The browser itself is designed to target ads to your own interests without sharing that personal data, but advertisers do get confirmation that their ads were actually shown or clicked on.The ads show as basic text in an operating system notification pop-up; clicking or tapping the ad opens it in a new Brave browser tab. Brave plans another system later to build ads into partners’ websites, too.From the perspective of ad giants like Facebook and Google whose ad targeting technology is built on a profile capturing your personal traits, Brave’s ad system is potentially disruptive. With privacy a big concern and Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook criticizing ad-supported services, Brave’s ads are particularly interesting. But to fulfill its ambition, Brave will have to reach a large number of both advertisers and browser users.So far, 71 advertisers have run ad campaigns through the personal computer versions of Brave, the company said. With that early sample, people clicked on 22 percent of ads, and for those clicks, 28 percent spent 10 seconds or more looking at the advertiser’s website, CEO Brendan Eich said in a statement. Eich formerly was CEO of Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser.If you sign up for Brave’s ad system — it’s off unless you activate it — you shouldn’t expect a windfall. The revenue accumulates in an online wallet and, if you follow the default settings, is shared back with websites you visit, YouTubers and Twitch video game streamers. Brave also has begun testing a tipping system that lets you directly donate to Reddit and Twitter users. Twitter’s work on a new user interface has disabled the feature for now, but Brave is working on a fix for those using that interface, the company said.For its payment technology, Brave relies on a cryptocurrency-like system called the basic attention token, or BAT. Today, only publishers can extract BAT from the payment system, but Brave plans to open the technology up to all browser users willing to verify their identity.Brave also announced a partnership program Thursday under which third-party companies can build Brave-format ads on behalf of advertising clients. It’s also got a mechanism that can offer Brave users more BAT for deeper engagement — 10 BAT for looking under the hood of a car shown online and 300 BAT for actually visiting a dealer for example. “Certified vendors will pass testing to ensure that the rewards behavior is functioning as intended,” said Luke Mulks, Brave’s director of ads and partnerships. Tagslast_img read more

ICC 2019 World Cup Breaking West Indies wallop Pakistan in onesided affair

first_imgWest Indies arrived in England with an air of optimism around them. The hopes were that their good performance against England earlier this year was the beginning of a renaissance. The way they played in their very first match of the World Cup suggests there may be a lot of truth to that.The Windies hammered Pakistan in a comprehensive 7-wicket win. The biggest turning point of the game came even before the start of the match when Jason Holder won the toss and decided to put Pakistan in to bat first. The decision paid off handsomely as the four-pronged pace attack of West Indies bundled out their Asian opponents for just 105.Young pacer Oshane Thomas starred with four wickets while skipper Holder got three. Andre Russell too chipped in with a couple and it was Sheldon Cottrell who got the very first breakthrough of the innings. What undid Pakistan wasn’t the swing in the air, expected due to the presence of the clouds above and the main reason why Holder chose to bowl first, but the bounce. Gayle was in smashing formTwitterMost of the wickets Pakistan lost were due to their batsmen being unable to cope with extra bounce generate by the likes of Russell and Thomas. In reply, the West Indians decided to hunt down the target with severity and Chris Gayle went all guns blazing after the bowlers. Shai Hope also joined him at the other end but was dismissed going for a big stroke when the team score was 36. Darren Bravo joined Gayle but his weakness against the rising ball came back to haunt the Trinidadian as Mohammad Amir got him caught at second slip after he edged a delivery that bounced sharply.Nicholas Pooran and Chris Gayle were in no mood to relent and the ‘Universe Boss’ kept flagellating the Pakistani bowlers even though he was starting to have back problems. When he reached his 50 off just 33 balls, West Indies were just 30 runs away from a win. While Gayle got out on the very next delivery, Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer continued to take chances and got their team to a win in only the 14th over.For West Indies, today’s performance was perfect as most of their bowlers contributed. Despite the absence of Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel, the former dropped and the latter injured, the Windies bowling was brilliant. For Pakistan, this may well be a day off. Conditions are going to be better in other matches and the sort of mercurial team it is, it is likely that it will bounce back.last_img read more

Man killed in RAB gunfight

first_imgProthom Alo IllustrationA man was killed in an alleged gunfight with Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong early Friday.The identity of the deceased could not be known immediately. The RAB, however, is claiming that the victim was a robber.Camp commander of RAB-7 in Feni squadron leader Shafayat Zamil Fahim told Prothom Alo over phone that a gang of 6-7 robbers attacked a microbus that was carrying people home back from a wedding at Hathazari upazila of the district.When RAB was informed, they conducted a raid in the area to hunt down the robbers.Sensing the presence of law enforcement, the robbers opened fire, forcing the RAB members to retaliate.One of the robbers was killed during the gunfight, the RAB officer said.The law enforcement’s version of the event was, however, not verified independently as no version of the incident was available immediately either from any witnesses or from any victim’s family members.last_img read more

Biman doomed by corruption and inefficiency

first_imgAn aircraft of Biman Bangladesh AirlinesDespite an increase in passengers along with inclusion of new generation aircrafts to its fleet, the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines incurred losses last year.The civil aviation ministry considers inefficient management as well as corruption and irregularities have contributed to this predicament of the airline.There was evidence of corruption in the recruitment of pilots last year, sources at the ministry said. The managing director Mosaddique Ahmed had to step down because of this.Measures have been taken against several other officials of the department and several probe committees have been looking into these issues.A Dash-8 aircraft of the airline met with an accident in Myanmar on 8 May. No one died in the accident, but the plane was seriously damaged. Biman had to cancel 10 flights over a span of four days due to the aircraft crisis that emerged after the incident.However, the airline is trying to manage the situation by leasing an aircraft.According to the Biman accounts department, though the airline grossed profits in 2006 to 2008 during the caretaker government, it began incurring losses after the Awami League assumed power in 2009.Among the six of the last nine fiscals, Biman incurred losses totally Tk 14.56 billion while it grossed profits of Tk 5.59 billion, as per official documents. This means, in nine years, its total losses amounted to about Tk nine billion.Other than this, Biman owes Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation and the civil aviation authorities over Tk 25 billion. This state-owned institution is suffering from capital crisis. It is no longer eligible to receive fresh loans as its old ones are larger than its capital.The Anti-Corruption Commission has sent a report to the state minister of civil aviation identifying eight sectors of Biman that were plagued by corruption. This includes aircraft purchase, leasing and maintenance, cargo and ticket sales.Inefficient management is the main cause of Biman’s current condition, according to certain former and present senior officers of Biman. They also attribute huge irregularities and corruption to this inefficiency and observed that the airline lacked efficient management over the last 47 years.The officials stressed the need to stop the corruption and ensure exemplary punishment for the dishonest employees.A senior official on condition of anonymity said, “Biman requires an efficient chief executive or managing director matched by an efficient management team.””We have issued a circular for new recruitment,” state minister for civil aviation and tourism Md. Mahmbub Ali said, adding, “We’re trying our best to ensure good management and good governance.”Biman sources said around 100 candidates have applied for the post of managing director already. Mosaddique Ahmed, the last managing director, was ‘forced’ to step down before his term was complete. He was accused of irregularities in the recruitment of pilots and also resorting to corruption at the overseas stations, secretary of the civil aviation ministry Md. Mohibul Haque said.No action against corruption and irregularitiesDespite recurring incidents of corruption in Biman, the authorities have taken no action.An internal Biman audit discovered a scam involving a huge sum at the cargo sector of Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport. A report was published in Prothom Alo on 24 July about Tk 3.6 billion being looted in ten years. A committee was formed following this, but no investigation report has been submitted.Two Boeing 777-200ER aircrafts were leased for five years from Egypt Air in 2014. Biman was bound to pay Tk 47 million per plane every month, no matter whether these operated or not, according to the deal.Biman was also liable to pay all maintenance costs for the planes.It was stated in the deal that the planes were to be returned intact on completion of the term, but after a year, an engine of one of the planes was inoperative. Biman continued using the aircraft, leasing an engine from Egypt Air at $ 10,000 per month. The damaged engine was sent abroad for repairs. Before it was repaired, yet another engine was damaged. Another engine was leased from Egypt Air with the same payment.Though the lease ended, the two aircrafts could not be returned in the condition that they was brought. For the last one year, the two aircrafts have been in Vietnam for repairs and Tk 1.2 billion has been spent for these repair.Inquiries being conductedThe civil aviation ministry and ACC have recently formed several inquiry committees to probe into Biman’s corruption.The director in charge of the sales and marketing department, Ashraful Alam and deputy director general, Ashraful Alam, were made OSD (officer-on-special duty) and attached to the managing director’s office. Shafiqul Islam was the country manager of Biman in UK for four years when he allegedly had misappropriated Tk 160 million in tickets sales.Ashraful Alam was accused of blocking tickets on behalf of several travel agencies. The matter is being probed.ACC sources said there was a list of 147 names from Biman regarding misuse of power, corruption and irregularities involving recruitment. The commission also issued a travel ban on ten persons including the immediate past MD and certain CBA leaders.”We have started identifying the various instances of corruption,” Mahbub Ali said. “If anyone’s actions harm Biman in anyway, we won’t tolerate that,” he said, adding, “Stern action will be taken.”Losses on the riseAccording to the Biman’s income and expenditure wing, Biman Bangladesh Airlines was a profitable company between 1991-92 and 2003-2004. In 2007, it was made a public limited company. Biman also made profit during the caretaker government’s two-year regime. It plunged into losses in the five years between 2009-10 and 2013-14. It started making profit again for three more years and dipped into losses again in fiscal 2017-18.In six out of the last nine years, Biman saw losses of Tk 14.56 billion while profits were only Tk 5.59 billion in the remaining years. However, the number of passengers has increased significantly.In the 2016-17 fiscal, Biman carried 2.351 million passengers and made profits of Tk 477.6 million, but in the following fiscal, it shouldered losses of Tk 2.1 billion despite 11.34 per cent increase in passengers compared to the previous year. In the 2014-15 fiscal, the company made profits of Tk 2.76 billion with 2.20 million passengers.Biman general manager (public relations) Shakil Meraj said Biman plunged into the losses last year due to the rise of fuel prices and devaluation of taka against the dollar.Destinations dropIn 1990s, Biman used to fly 26 international routes and seven domestic ones. The number of international routes have dropped to 15.Once Biman had an aircraft shortage and most of its planes were old, and so most of the time the flights were cancelled due to technical glitches. The crisis is over, but Biman is still afflicted by flight delays.Officers of Biman’s flight operation wings claimed that the delays have decreased and 70-77 per cent flights leave on time.Biman now has 13 aircraft including two Dreamliners (Boeing 787-8), four 777-300 ER, four 737-800 and three Dash-8. Two more Dreamliners are scheduled to join the Biman fleet next July and September and three Dash-8 carriers in the next year.Though the number of new destinations are far lower than that of the number of new jets, two more new routes are on the cards. The Dhaka-Delhi flight will open on 13 May this year and Dhaka-Guangzhou is to get permission.Debt and capital crisisBiman has been suffering from serious capital crisis. The company no longer qualifies for loans.According to the accounts department, Biman has taken loans of Tk 50.66 billion against its capital Tk 20.82 billion. Once the new loans are sanctioned for the new jets, the loans will rise to Tk 90 billion.A high-up at the aviation ministry said the authorities are not serious about the matter.They take it for granted that the government will keep the ‘white elephant’ alive with new funds.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam and Nusrat Nowrin.last_img read more

Trump To Propose 54 Billion Defense Increase Cuts To Domestic Programs

first_imgEvan Vucci/APPresident Trump will propose a budget that he says “puts America first,” with increased military spending and cuts to domestic programs.President Trump’s budget will propose a $54 billion increase in defense spending, while slashing domestic programs by the same amount. The president told the nation’s governors on Monday that his plan “puts America first,” and that “we’re going to do more with less, and make the government lean and accountable to people.”An official with the White House Office of Management and Budget, who spoke to reporters only if not named, said most agencies will see budget cuts, including foreign aid, which comprises less than 1 percent of federal spending.A formal budget blueprint will be sent to Congress in March. The official said this the first step of “internal collaboration” between the White House and federal agencies.The official said details about tax cuts and entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, will come later. The administration is not expected to proposed changes to entitlements.It will be up to Congress to write the final spending plan, and it’s likely there will be strong objections from Democrats to the proposed domestic cuts.Already, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that the budget will take “a meat ax to programs that benefit the middle-class.”Current defense spending is put at $590 billion, down about 25 percent from the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, the U.S. spends more on the military than the next seven countries combined, according to data from 2015.Trump called his proposed defense increase “historic,” and that it will send a “message to the world in these dangerous times, of American strength, security and resolve.”“Everybody used to say America never lost a war,” he said, adding, “Now we never win and don’t fight to win.”He repeated his claim that the U.S. has spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, calling the situation a “hornet’s nest.” (PolitiFact has looked at this figure and found that it includes projected spending, beyond money that has already been spent.)Trump said he would also increase spending for law enforcement and on infrastructure, but offered no specifics. He said he would have “big details” in his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.It’s unclear what the overall impact of Trump’s plan will be on the federal budget deficit. While the proposed military buildup will be offset by domestic spending cuts, the size and nature of the yet-to-be-released tax reform proposal will determine the deficit picture.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Sharelast_img read more

Build a better route and they will come Air Canada launches direct

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by VANCOUVER — The launch of the direct Vancouver-Delhi route at an Air Canada gala was a little like the movie ‘Field of Dreams’, only in this case it was ‘if you build it better, they will come’. Air Canada’s long-awaited direct flight shaves off eight hours in connections and flying time as it links Western Canada’s large Indo-Canadian community directly into the Indian capital via Air Canada’s B787-9 Dreamliner service.“You fill the planes and we will provide the seats,” Air Canada’s Senior VP, Regional Markets, Kevin Howlett, told the crush of travel agents packing the Vancouver Art Gallery, many of whom were drawn from the Lower Mainland’s large Indo-Canadian community.The new Vancouver-Delhi route starts Oct. 20 in time for Diwali festivities. The seasonal, three times weekly flights complement Air Canada’s Toronto-Delhi nonstop service launched last fall. To promote the new route, Air Canada is offering introductory fares from $999 round trip, all-in.“Our nonstop Dreamliner flights from our Vancouver hub will also offer the shortest elapsed flying time from Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles to Delhi,” said Benjamin Smith, Air Canada President of Passenger Airlines.  Air Canada’s connections, both trans-provincial and U.S. border, with its Star Alliance partners and domestic network, is expected to provide a feeder service with seamless travel into Vancouver which will be a preferred gateway, he said.Howlett told agents that Air Canada was relying on them to fill the flights as it was placing the Dreamliner, a $100 million aircraft, on the route. “This represents a huge investment of capital on the Indian market and the Delhi corridor,” he said, adding that it would be through the work of agents that the seasonal flights could turn into continued service in the future. “We are counting on everyone here,” he said, adding “we have to demonstrate a positive return on our investment.” The seasonal service is currently scheduled to run until April 8, 2017.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesResponse to Air Canada’s Toronto-Delhi service has been positive, said Howlett. The two flights to India will be joined by another flight in summer 2017 when Air Canada launches its Toronto-Mumbai service. The new three times weekly service between Toronto and Mumbai, India’s financial capital, will be nonstop and year-round starting July 1, 2017 on the B787-9 Dreamliner.Howlett said the Toronto flights have been popular not only with returning families but also with businesses wanting to pursue opportunities in either Canada or India.Agents attending the launch party applauded the new route. Ajay Gupta of Bains Travel, located in the heart of South Vancouver’s Indo-Canadian commercial area, said: “We are hoping the flight will have a positive effect. There has been a lot of demand.”He said that while Air Canada’s fares Air Canada are not the lowest, “you are paying a little bit more but you are saving in time.” That will appeal to many travellers. Plus, Air Canada’s service is known to be efficient when handling passengers and luggage, while alternate routes bring travellers through connections in either Europe or China. Gupta said he expects the convenience and shorter duration of the flights will appeal to many elderly travellers. The three-cabin configuration provides a range of price points plus elderly travellers do not have to de-plane for alternate connections or walk long distances to make another connection, he added.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Suraj Kumar, Product Manager, World Spree Travel said the new direct flight opens the doorway out of Vancouver to many who want to visit India. His company offers group tour packages to mainly non-Indo travellers. The ability to now offer a flight that substantially reduces travel times will make his product more attractive, he said. “There is a lot of curiosity about India,” he added, noting that many non-Indo travellers want to travel the country.  “You hear a lot of good and bad about India, but you never hear the average. I think there is curiosity by people who want to go and see for themselves.”The event drew in dignitaries from both provincial and federal governments and the Indo-Canadian community. Craig Richmond, president and CEO at Vancouver International Airport also attended. He said the route had been requested for many years. “It is a pleasure to celebrate its arrival during Diwali.”Air Canada has been aggressively expanding its global network with new destinations and flights. This summer, Air Canada launched new international services from Vancouver-Brisbane, Vancouver-Dublin, Toronto-Prague, Toronto-Budapest, Toronto-Warsaw, Toronto-Glasgow, Toronto-London Gatwick, Toronto-Seoul, Montreal-Casablanca, and Montreal-Lyon. Share Build a better route and they will come: Air Canada launches direct Delhi service ex YVRcenter_img Monday, October 17, 2016 Tags: Air Canada, India, New Routes << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >In conjunction with the Pattaya International Fireworks Festival 2015, Hilton Pattaya has introduced special gourmet offerings for 27 and 28 November. Guests will get to wine and dine in style at four venues within the hotel:Centre Stage at EdgeAn international dinner buffet will be hosted on level 14 of the hotel, at Edge,  for THB 2,200 net per person. To complement the dinner, a wine buffet is also available at an additional cost of THB 1,350 nett per person from 6-11 p.m.BBQ Buffet on the SundeckFor a more casual affair, guests can select from the chefs’ live barbecue offer for THB 2,750 nett per person, which includes free flow wine, beer and soft drinks. The Sundeck is open from 6-11 p.m.Hot Seats at DriftThe drift package consists of free flow wine, beer, pouring spirits and soft drinks for THB 1,950 nett per person, available from 7-11 p.m. There is also an a la carte menu offer available.Viewing from the highest level at HorizonGuests can wine and dine at the rooftop restaurant and bar on floor 34. Horizon provides the ideal setting for a luxurious and comfortable evening with the most exclusive view in Pattaya. Horizon offers a premium set menu for THB 2,800 nett per person from 6-11 p.m. Diners can take advantage of VIP access, after 9 p.m. at Horizon’s infinity bar and stargazer lounge. Beverage package is available at THB 2,400 nett per person and it includes free flow wine, beer, pouring spirits and soft drinks.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more