14 Oct

Manitoba lodge asks guests not to give Cree Indian guides alcohol

first_imgAPTN NATIONAL NEWSA Manitoba fishing lodge that attracts American hunters and fishers is coming under scrutiny because of its travel guide.The guide explains that the “Cree Indian guides” are intolerant to alcohol.APTN’s Ntawnis Piapot explains the rest.last_img

13 Oct

New Wynn Resorts CEO denies knowing of claims against mogul

first_imgLAS VEGAS, Nev. – The new CEO of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts said he was not aware of any of the sexual misconduct accusations against casino mogul Steve Wynn before they surfaced last month.Matt Maddox, who was appointed CEO on Feb. 6 after Wynn resigned, said in an interview Monday that people should “hold off making any judgment until the investigations into the accusations are complete.”Wynn Resorts is facing scrutiny by gambling regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts, where the company is building a roughly $2.4 billion casino just outside Boston. Regulators in Macau, the Chinese enclave where the company operates two casinos, also are inquiring about the accusations.Wynn has vehemently denied the misconduct accusations and attributed them to a campaign led by his ex-wife. An attorney for Elaine Wynn has denied that she instigated a report in the Wall Street Journal detailing the allegations.The newspaper reported last month that a number of women said Steve Wynn harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement.Wynn Resorts has created a committee to investigate the allegations and review the company’s internal policies and procedures to ensure a “safe and respectful workplace for all employees.”Maddox, who does not sit on the board of directors, said he would leave it up to lawyers and investigators to decide whether the findings of the investigation should be made public.Many describe Wynn as the father of modern-day Las Vegas, and by the company’s own admission, his knowledge was crucial for its success. So much so, the company recently told regulators that the “business may be significantly impaired” if it lost Wynn’s services.But Maddox said Wynn Resorts is positioned to move forward without its founder and develop a number of projects in part because two longtime executives responsible for design and architecture remain with the company. He also is putting together an “innovation advisory team” to provide input.“The idea is that our future projects are going to continue to be leading in innovation and creativity,” Maddox told The Associated Press at the employee dining hall of the Wynn Las Vegas casino-resort. “We are continuing to move forward as fast as we can.”The company closed its golf course in Las Vegas last year as a step toward the development of a lake and hotel project called Paradise Park. Last month, it bought a 38-acre site along the Las Vegas Strip that Wynn, before resigning, said would be developed into a roughly 2,000-room hotel.Maddox said the company will pursue both projects and the possibility of obtaining a license for a casino in Japan, where lawmakers approved a long-awaited law late last year on “integrated resorts,” the first major hurdle in allowing casinos to open. Further legislation is expected to take several more years.Maddox, 42, is one of Wynn Resorts’ first employees. He joined the company when Wynn founded it in 2002, two years after the mogul sold the business that built the Bellagio, Mirage and Treasure Island resorts.Initially, he spent the majority of his time raising the money to build the Wynn Las Vegas casino-resort. He later worked in Macau before returning to Sin City in 2006. He led the company through the Great Recession as the chief financial officer and became its president in 2013.Maddox said the company’s board of directors had been developing a succession plan for roughly four years, and Wynn’s resignation simply accelerated its implementation.“They, along with Steve, decided to make me the president of Wynn Resorts with the idea that eventually, assuming things continue to work well, I would become the CEO,” he said.He said the company will keep its name and logo, which is Wynn’s signature.“Wynn is about the 25,000 people who work here,” he said. “The name stands for quality. It stands for service. And it’s something that all of these 25,000 people look up to.”Maddox defended the company as gender inclusive, citing that 40 per cent of management are women, but wants the number to increase. He has established a new leadership initiative with an immediate goal of looking at gender inequality and instituted a six-week paid parental leave policy and merit-based scholarship fund.“I’m going around in the town halls explaining not only is the company stable, it’s strong. So, all of you are safe,” he said. “We are going to keep executing what we do. And I’m pointing out at each town hall that this is a zero-tolerance company.”___Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO .last_img read more

12 Oct

Taylor Morrison CEO Sheryl Palmer talks homebuilding

LOS ANGELES — Homebuilders are ramping up for the looming spring homebuying season, which begins in late February and sets the pace for residential construction activity for the year.Higher mortgage rates last year drove up borrowing costs, stretching the limits of affordability for many would-be buyers. Sales of new U.S. homes declined 12 per cent in the first 10 months of 2018 from a year earlier.Now mortgage rates are falling, reaching their lowest levels in nine months, driving home loan applications sharply higher.That trend bodes well for homebuilders like Scottsdale, Arizona-based homebuilder Taylor Morrison Corp., which builds homes in California, Texas, Florida and six other states.CEO Sheryl Palmer recently spoke to The Associated Press about the state of the housing market, the impact of higher mortgage rates and what she thinks is holding back more new home construction. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.Q: How do you see the housing market shaping up this year?A: I wish my crystal ball was clear enough. The spring is going to be critical in understanding what 2019 looks like. We started seeing (slower demand) in our traffic patterns and absorptions about late September. There was a psychological impact when rates got over 5 per cent.Q: Mortgage rates remain above where they were a year ago, despite easing in recent weeks. Do you expect buyers will adjust to the higher rates?A: I do. I haven’t been a believer that we’re going to see significant rate increases this year. I’m not sure I see that. I think the Fed is taking a slightly different wait-and-see view. When we look at our backlog, our consumers have a lot of room in what they can afford and what they’re buying. So it’s not as much about affordability as a sentiment. So, I do think there’s an adjustment period.Q: Are you looking to cater more to first-time buyers this year?A: We definitely cater to all buyer groups, but when you look at the first-time buyer, I would tell you there are some subsets of that buyer as well. And with our AV Homes acquisition they had some very nice, long-owned land assets that absolutely cater to the first-time buyer. Our first-time buyer exposure has predominantly been more on the professional first-time buyers. New job, steady dual income. That could be $200,000-$350,000 in Atlanta and $700,000 or $800,000 in the Bay Area.Q: The pace of new home construction has been held back for years by a shortage of skilled labour, land ready for residential development and regulatory hurdles. Do you see that improving in the near term?A: We’re not growing enough new talent in the building industry. I would say on a more macro level, the shortage of labour, given the aging out of America, immigration changes and the lack of vocational programs through the school system for the last 10 years, this isn’t going to solve itself overnight. Then there’s a PR job to be done. This is a really good industry, it just hasn’t been culturally where kids are aspiring to go. A lot of work to be done on that. Land is tough in good markets or bad markets. We haven’t seen any relief on the land side.Q: To tackle that labour shortage, are homebuilders closer to adopting a more automated prefabrication model?A: There is a lot of work being done by us and a lot of builders on the margins. In some respects, it moves labour from the field to the plants. But you still have to construct the walls. So, you have a labour issue no matter what. So far, the cost equation is not working.Alex Veiga, The Associated Press read more

8 Oct

Canadians put paying down debt ahead of retirement saving

TORONTO — Canadians appear less concerned about retirement planning than in years past as they continue to focus on debt reduction as their main financial priority, according to a new study released Wednesday by CIBC.Overall, the poll done for the bank by Harris/Decima showed 17% of respondents selected debt reduction as their main priority in 2013, unchanged from 2012 and the third year in a row that it has topped the list. Fourteen percent chose debt reduction in 2011.But while paying down debt topped the list, it remains to be seen how much progress Canadians will make in accomplishing that goal.Despite having the same priority last year, Statistics Canada says the household debt to income ratio actually rose to a record high 164.6% in 2012.Meanwhile, the poll involving more than 2,000 adults 18 years of age and over found that retirement planning was no longer among the top three on the list of priorities among Canadians surveyed.It was selected by only seven% of respondents overall, down from 11% last year and 13% in 2011.Second on the list — chosen by 10% overall and unchanged from last year — was building savings. Managing day-to-day spending/budgeting came in third, selected by eight% of respondents and down from 14% last year.“A key finding of the poll is that age groups where retirement planning was traditionally a top priority have now shifted to a focus on debt reduction,” CIBC said.Two years ago, 24% of respondents aged 45-64 named retirement planning as their top financial priority, which fell to just 12% among that age group in this year’s survey.At the same time, debt management increased as a priority for that age group to 18% from 14%.“While it is important to address immediate financial needs such as debt reduction, it is equally important to keep long-term goals such as retirement in sight,” bank spokeswoman Christina Kramer said in a comment accompanying the results.“Even small contributions today can make it easier in future years to reach your retirement savings goals,” said Kramer, executive vice-president, retail distribution and channel strategy.Still, Kramer said the survey results highlight that Canadians are “well aware of the importance of good debt management.”“Having been named the top priority three years in a row, there is an opportunity for more Canadians to turn awareness of debt management into action and outline some clear steps towards paying down their debt in 2013,” she said.Kramer said that while it can be challenging to keep multiple financial goals top of mind “it is possible to make debt repayment a priority while still keeping up regular investments into your retirement plan.”Among other things, she said people should recognize that their finances are all connected and that making progress on one aspect of a person’s financial goals can lead to an opportunity to improve in others as well.The Harris/Decima telephone survey, conducted between Oct. 25 and Nov. 4, involved 2,009 adults 18 years of age and over and is considered to have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.Follow FP Personal Finance on Facebook read more

8 Oct

TFSA withdrawal rule continues to trip up thousands of Canadians

OTTAWA — A tricky rule keeps tripping up thousands of Canadians who make withdrawals from their tax-free savings accounts, and replace the money too early.Some 54,700 taxpayers got warning packages from the Canada Revenue Agency earlier this year about the problem affecting the 2013 taxation year, and were told they face a penalty.The number has been dropping steadily from a peak of 103,000 in 2010, but still represents a persistent misunderstanding of TFSA rules even as the agency and financial institutions step up education measures.The regulations say that account holders can put back the amounts they withdraw from a TFSA only in a later calendar year. Doing so in the same calendar year exposes them to a tax hit for overcontributions, even though they’re only replacing the withdrawn funds.By the end of 2013, some 10.7 million Canadians had opened a TFSA, a savings vehicle introduced by the Conservative government in 2009 that allows money to grow inside tax-free with no income-tax hit on withdrawal.The popular savings tool cost the federal treasury some $410 million in forgone taxes in 2013, or more than a billion dollars over its first five years.Some taxpayers are apparently slow to absorb the finicky withdrawal rule: this year 11,260 of them got the same warning package from the Canada Revenue Agency last year as well, figures provided by CRA show.As of the end of last month, the agency had waived penalties for more than 17,000 Canadians who broke the rule in 2012. The average penalty waived was $516, or a total of almost $9 million.And for the 2013 taxation year, more than 20,000 Canadians have already paid their penalties.Taxpayers who received a TFSA warning package in the mail this summer were given 60 days to respond. Those who don’t respond get a notice of assessment, imposing a penalty.A spokesman for the agency said the onus is on Canada’s banks and other financial institutions to make sure their customers know the rules.“As with any financial or investment product, financial institutions have a responsibility to inform their clients of the details and restrictions relating to TFSAs,” said Philippe Brideau.“The CRA continues to work very closely with the financial institutions to ensure that CRA information related to TFSA is well understood and known by the Canadian financial sector.”Brideau noted that fewer than half a per cent of TFSA holders ran afoul of the rules in 2013.The current maximum annual contribution to a tax-free savings account is $5,500, though Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised to double the maximum once the federal books are balanced, expected next year in advance of the scheduled 2015 federal election.A special analysis in 2012 by the Finance Department found that the savings vehicle is more popular among higher income and older Canadians. read more

6 Oct

Renewed clashes in Angola send thousands more into DR of Congo UN

According to the agency, more than 3,000 Angolans have already arrived in the DRC town of Kimvula and nearly 250 more are arriving daily. The new movement comes barely two months after more than 15,000 refugees fled to the DRC following an attack by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). In the latest influx, more than 3,000 Angolan refugees have arrived in Kimvula since mid-September, fleeing more fighting between Angolan government forces and UNITA at Kimbindi, in the north of Angola’s Uige Province. Kimvula is 30 kilometres north of Angola’s northern border with the DRC. UNHCR teams at the border town reported that, before the new arrivals, Kimvula already had close to 9,000 refugees from an earlier influx in August. That group had been awaiting transfer to sites away from the border. The agency has begun to register the latest group of refugees in preparation for their transfer, along with the earlier groups, to settlement sites allocated by DRC local authorities. It is also negotiating for two additional sites to settle the most recent arrivals. UNHCR specialists have been deployed to the new sites, some 60 to 80 kilometres from the border, and have begun to demarcate parcels for distribution to the refugees. Refugee families transferred to the area will receive 2 to 3 hectares of land for basic subsistence farming, in addition to initial food and household supplies. The agency estimates that the latest influx brings the number of Angolan refugees in the DRC close to 200,000. read more

6 Oct

At Arab summit Annan urges Sharon Arafat to lead their peoples back

“There is no conflict in the world today whose solution is so clear, so widely agreed upon, and so necessary to world peace as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Mr. Annan said in an address to the League of Arab States. “Through political courage and leadership, we must bridge the gap between our vision of peace and the present reality of conflict.”In his address, the Secretary-General reiterated his earlier statements that Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat must set aside hatred and mistrust and instead reaffirm the “strategic choice” for peace, based on a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement, the fundamentals of which are embedded in UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.”It is their role, and their duty, to lead their peoples back from the brink,” Mr. Annan said of the two leaders. “History, and their peoples, will remember them kindly if they rise to the challenge. History, and their peoples, will judge them harshly if they do not.”Turning to the Arab leaders, the Secretary-General said the international community wanted to hear “firm and credible” assurances that once Israel concluded a just and comprehensive peace and withdrew from Arab lands, it could look forward to peace and full normal relations with all the Arab world. “That assurance can – and I say must – be your contribution to peace between Palestinians and Israelis,” he stressed.The recent important proposal put forward by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – based on the principle of “land for peace” – could be the foundation as it provides a clear and compelling vision, Mr. Annan said. “The search for peace and stability has never been more urgent,” he said. “I appeal to you today to unite in support of this vision, showing the world – and the parties – that you are ready to help them in making the crucial choices for peace.”In his address, the Secretary-General also mentioned his recent talks with senior Iraqi officials. He urged Baghdad once again to comply without delay with all relevant Security Council resolutions and stressed that the sooner the Iraqi authorities accepted that there was no other path towards ending the sanctions and relieving the suffering of the Iraqi people, the sooner the problem would be resolved. read more

3 Oct

Applications for US unemployment benefits rose last week to stilllow 277000

by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Aug 20, 2015 6:35 am MDT Last Updated Aug 20, 2015 at 11:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose slightly last week, yet remained at a low level consistent with a solid job market.The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment applications climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 5,500 to 271,500.Applications, which are a proxy for layoffs, are near the lowest levels in 15 years. Two weeks ago, the four-week average dropped to its lowest point since April 2000. That is a sign that employers are confident enough in the economy’s future growth to hold onto their staffs.The number of people receiving aid fell 24,000 to 2.25 million. That is almost 11 per cent below the level one year ago. Many former recipients have found jobs, while others have exhausted their benefits.The sharp fall in layoffs in the past two years means Americans are enjoying solid job security. Hiring has also picked up and has continued at a steady pace.In July, employers added a net 215,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at a seven-year low of 5.3 per cent.The economy has generated 5.6 million jobs in the past two years, putting more paychecks into Americans’ hands. That is boosting spending and helping the economy to grow. But the steady job gains and falling unemployment rate have yet to boost wages.Average hourly pay increased just 2.1 per cent in July from 12 months earlier, far below the 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent gains that have historically occurred in healthy economies.One trend holding back pay has been sluggish increases in worker productivity. Productivity measures output per hour worked and is a gauge of efficiency.It has expanded just 0.3 per cent in the past year, far below the 2.2 per cent average annual gain for the past six decades. Applications for US unemployment benefits rose last week to still-low 277,000 In this June 10, 2015, photo, job seekers get information at a job fair in Sunrise, Fla. The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) read more

28 Sep

Jordan Spieths Majors Run Was One Of The Greatest In Golf History

By finishing second (to Jason Day) in the PGA Championship on Sunday, Jordan Spieth completed a remarkable run at golf’s major championships this season. He won two major tournaments (the Masters and the U.S. Open), placed second in another (the PGA), and — in his worst showing — tied for fourth at the British Open. It was the third time since 19581The year golf’s majors entered their modern era, as the PGA Championship adopted a stroke-play format. that a player finished no worse than fourth in any major during a season.Last week, my colleague Andrew Mooney used a metric called z-scores (which measure how many standard deviations a player’s score was from the mean2For all players who made the cut in a given tournament.) to examine where Spieth’s overall PGA Tour season — including both majors and the tour’s more pedestrian tournaments — ranked among other golfers’ seasons since 1970. Going into the PGA, he was on pace for the 12th-best single season in that span, and he was the top-ranked player not named Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus. (Pretty heady company!)But we can also use z-scores to measure where his cumulative performance at the majors this year ranks. The — admittedly predictable — result is that Spieth’s 2015 majors campaign stands as one of the greatest in the sport’s history.Here’s how it works: In a given tournament, a player’s performance can be converted into the probability that he would win the average major with his z-score. For example, Spieth’s -2.20 z-score at the PGA last weekend would be good enough to win about 40 percent of all majors staged since 1958. Therefore, he gets 0.40 shares of a major for the performance, even though he didn’t actually win.Of course, this methodology can add up to more than 100 percent of a victory for majors featuring multiple great performances. The famous “Duel in the Sun” between Nicklaus and Tom Watson at the 1977 British Open was so epic, for instance, that the system above awards 2.1 total “generic majors” to the field. To correct for this, we can also compute an adjusted version that isn’t allowed to assign more than 1.0 combined shares of a major to any given tournament’s field, no matter how dominant — or dubious — the performances of its leaders. (According to this adjustment, Spieth’s 2015 PGA Championship earns him just 0.18 share of a major, since the field total also needs to clear room for the performances of Day, Branden Grace and others.)Depending on which version you use, Spieth’s 2015 season either ranks fourth overall since 1958 (without the adjustment), or 11th (with the adjustment).My preference probably lies with the unadjusted version, simply because a player can’t control whether he shares the stage with another dominant performance (and z-scores already account for his score relative to the field average). But no matter the method, it’s clear once again that Spieth’s 2015 season deserves a place among golf’s most brilliant achievements. read more

25 Sep

Salmon farming has done enormous harm to fish and environment warns Jeremy

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Jeremy Paxman has called for fish farms to be moved inland or further out to sea Migrating salmon in the wild  This year’s run of salmon in the most closely monitored river in Argyll is on course to be the lowest on record. The salmon count on the River Awe hit an all-time low after 30 weeks of the season. Last year’s total of 807 fish was only slightly above the all-time lowest count. This year it is running at only one third of the 2016 count. Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TC Scotland), said: “Since the arrival of intensive salmon farming, numbers of mature west Highland sea trout have crashed.”The decline in wild salmon numbers has not thus far been as extreme but it now appears that in the southern section of the west Highlands the decline is accelerating into a free fall.”Roger Brook, Chairman of the Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board, said: “The Scottish Government has promoted the continued expansion of the salmon aquaculture industry whilst added to implement adequate control on the siting of farms and the levels of sea lice on the farms. Wild salmon stocks are dwindling in Scottish rivers Credit:Rex Features Migrating salmon in the wild Credit: Becky Bohrer “Only a few decades ago you ate Atlantic salmon if you were lucky enough to be a toff, or one of his employees. Not iw is ubiquitous, piled high in supermarket fridges or lying pink and flabby on plates at wedding receptions and awards dinners.“But when you rear dish in the quantities necessary to meet growing demand, you start playing with the environment. Confining naturally migratory and carnivorous animals in packed pens produces enormous quantities of faeces which covers the seabed beneath. These cages provide ideal breeding grounds for the sea louse.“Salmon and trout migrating to the sea or returning to their natural rivers to spawn must swim through clouds of sea lice. Salmon farms have done enormous harm.” Lice feed by grazing on the surface of the fish, eating the mucous and skin. Large numbers of lice soon cause the loss of fins, severe scarring, secondary infections and, in time, death.The sea louse problem has led most fisheries needing to add chemicals to cages, which are harmful to the environment, conservationists have warned.center_img Jeremy Paxman has called for fish farms to be moved inland or further out to seaCredit:Rex Features  Salmon farming has done ‘enormous harm’ to fish stocks and the environment, Jeremy Paxman has warned, as he called for an overhaul of the industry to protect wildlife.The presenter, and keen angler, said many fisheries traded on the image that salmon arrived at the table ‘fresh from the wild seas’ when, in reality most has been bred in cramped, filthy cages in the sea.There are now 250 salmon farms on the western coast of Scotland, but the surge has coincided with a collapse in the number of wild salmon in the area.Fish cages are mostly sited near the shore, or in estuaries for easy access, but the overcrowded conditions is a breeding ground for sea lice which infect wild fish when the begin migrating from the sea up rivers. Although consumers are left with their impression their salmon has been caught in wild lochs, the stock are actually kept in 40 metre cages of around 70,000 fish, Paxman warned in an editorial for the Financial Times Weekend section.“It’s like a series of floating battery hen sheds,” he said. “Salmon has long been sold on the prospect of cleanliness and health. The impression is fraudulent. “We call upon Scottish Government to insist that future farms are sited away from the probable migration routes. The worst existing farms, both in terms of location and lice control, should now be closed.”Some producers, such as Loch Duart which supplies upmarket restaurants, has started to breed ‘cleaner fish’ such as wrasse which eat the lice, to avoid using chemicals and keep the problem under control.But Paxman claimed the only way to solve the problem is by moving cages further out to sea where there are stronger currents to clear away the lice, and less chance of them coming into contact with wild salmon.He added: “The more radical solution is for salmon farming to be on tanks on land, with arrangements for waste disposal.”However Scottish fisheries are keen not to allow a move onto land, as it means they can no longer use the romantic ‘loch’ association, and could trigger new farms to grow up elsewhere.“Salmon farming has a political appeal because it seems to offer employment in Highland communities, that have a powerful romantic hold of Scottish identity.“Once you use land-based systems, why locate them in the Highlands at all. It could be much more economical to build them somewhere near the markets of southern England or the airports supplying exotic destinations.” Wild salmon stocks are dwindling in Scottish rivers  By 2015 the Scottish salmon industry was producing nearly 180,000 tons of salmon and hopes to double production by 2030.But Salmon & Trout Conservation UK (S&TC UK) say the upsurge has come at ‘considerable environmental cost,’ by triggering a huge surge in sea lice which are threatening trout as well as salmon.The numbers of the parasites are frequently over the industry’s recommended Code of Good Practice threshold for treatment.Research by leading fisheries charity S&TC UK indicates that there are some 120 salmon farms in Scotland within regions where the industry’s own sea lice figures exceed the recommended threshold limits.last_img read more

22 Sep

Whats that dear The science of selective hearing

first_imgGreatist expert Michael Mantell concurs.If my goal is to watch the end of a game, a competing goal [such as folding the laundry] is not likely to draw my attention. Visual cues are also important. One study found these cues are often given before auditory signals and may aid in our perception and understanding of speech. These visual cues may serve a predictive role, so if you catch the eye of the guy or girl across the bar and they smile, you might just get the nerve to go over and start a conversation.THE HEAR AND NOW — WHY IT MATTERSThanks to advancements in technology and brain research, we can say with scientific certainty that selective hearing does exist. The reason, says Zak, is that our attention is an expensive resource in the brain — so we choose to focus only on what we deem most important. This also means we can’t multitask (text message, email, etc.) and truly listen to a conversation at the same time.So perhaps what good listening comes down to is clarifying for ourselves what is really most important: Is it making it to the next level on Wii Fit, or is it cultivating a relationship in which our partner (or roommate) feels heard, respected, and valued? If we choose to prioritise the latter, maybe next time we’ll be able to focus more on a partner’s request to wash the dishes and less on the screen in front of us.Whatever your priorities, this research can do more than give us leverage when calling out the significant other for forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning. Recent findings will also contribute to future work on aging, attention deficit disorder, and understanding the brains of people on the autism spectrum. The decoding algorithm used by the researchers at the University of California San Francisco in the US, specifically, may help scientists understand what is being heard by people who are paralysed or unable to communicate.Recognising the way our brains’ speech systems operate is also of utmost importance to consumer technology companies who develop voice-activated products. Who knows what cool electronics will come from this research — Siri 2.0, anyone?What do you think – do you believe that selective hearing is real? Do you ever choose to listen selectively sometimes? Let us know in the comments. Read: Study suggests type of calories doesn’t matter for body fat > Read: New app Thryve offers a friendlier way to track meals > Republished with permission from Greatist.comCROWDED LECTURE HALLS, work conferences, packed house parties — put a bunch of people in a room and it can get pretty noisy, with multiple conversations going on all at once. Yet somehow, most of us are able to tune out the masses (or simply the TV) and tune in to our personal discussions. How do we do it? Recent research suggests that selective hearing is, in fact, a real thing. We break down what’s going on in our brains when we decide what we want to hear.LISTEN CLOSE — WHAT’S THE DEAL?Not only do our brains decide which conversations we want to tune into; they also give us the capacity to focus on said conversations to the exclusion of other, simultaneous discussions competing for our attention.Our ability to select what we hear (in the most literal sense) was coined the “cocktail party effect” by British scientist Colin Cherry in the 1950s. The term has gained public traction in the past few years thanks to ongoing research. One of the most notable studies was conducted in 2010, when researchers at the University of California, San Francisco used an advanced decoding algorithm to learn that participants’ brains were able to target one speaker while listening to another, simultaneous speaker.Amazingly enough, the researchers were even able to determine the specific words a given participant was listening to by analysing patterns in their brain activity. Based on these assessments, the researchers determined that our brains are designed to prioritise some auditory cues over others — say, that piece of juicy gossip or the football score over the request to fold the laundry. (Let’s admit it: We’ve all been there!)So what makes some things stick while others (like a request to pick up the milk or take the dog out) float through one ear and out the other? According to one study, how or what we choose to listen to (over other sounds) is dependent on background noise and stimuli as well as behavioral goals — in other words, how important the conversation is to you relative to other things that are going on.Call this the “Homer Simpson Effect,” says Greatist expert Paul Zak.Some people don’t seem to listen well to others unless they view the other person or what they are saying as very important.last_img read more

21 Sep

Netflix launches in the UK

first_imgIn October last year, Netflix announced it was finally going to launch a streaming service in the UK and Ireland. No date was set, just a timeframe of early 2012. And early really did mean early this year, as the service has gone live today.At the time, I predicted that we could see a monthly charge as high as £9.99 ($16), but Netflix has surprised me by setting the subscription price at just £5.99 ($9.24). Higher than US customers pay, but then there’s the 20% tax applied to all purchases in the UK to account for. There’s also a one month free trial available to try out the service and see if it fits your needs. This can be activated either by an email address or using Facebook.In return for your hard-earned cash every month, Netflix will stream to your PC, TV, tablet, smartphone, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii. Thousands of movies and TV episodes are promised, with personalized recommendations and a range of kids programming split into age groups. There’s also a kid-friendly section especially for the Wii that will also be rolled out to other devices in the near future.Netflix’s main competition in the UK is Amazon’s LoveFilm service which offers both DVD/Blu-ray rentals and streaming media. How Netflix performs depends on whether a streaming-only service proves popular, and ultimately just how good the range of content is compared to LoveFilm and what services such as Sky and Virgin Media offer over cable and satellite.Read more at the Netflix Bloglast_img read more

21 Sep

Austerity bites in Oz

first_imgTeachers seconded to Australian schools from Greece are bracing themeselves for significant drops in their salary as a result of the cutbacks in public service entitlements in Greece.The cutbacks are part of the austerity package being implemented in Greece to address its financial crisis.The allowances that Greek teachers receive in Australia will decrease from approximately $2,465 to $1,850, according to an announcement by the Greek Ministry of Finance, because the allowances will be taxed at a higher rate. They will be taxed at 40 percent as opposed to 15 percent that applied previously.“I don’t have money to pay my rent,” teacher from Greece Eleni Tsefala said to Neos Kosmos. Greek teachers are also paid their basic salary but that money is deposited in Greece. The average salary is about 1200 euros ($1 800) a month.However, the allowances have been a major incentive for seconded teachers to work abroad. “Under these conditions I find it very difficult to continue and stay in Australia,” Mrs Tsefala said.However returning to Greece is not an option, particularly for those teachers such as Mrs Tsefala who have completed less than three years of service abroad.Returning to Greece with less than three years service abroad leaves teachers liable for reimbursing the Greek state for their initial airfare and their relocation allowance.Salary cuts have not yet been officially implemented by the Greek Ministry of Education, according to Harris Ladopoulos, Educational Coordinator at the Greek Consulate General in Melbourne because a Ministerial Directive has not been signed.“Although we don’t have anything official at this moment it is estimated that the cutback will roughly amount to $620 (a month) for the teacher’s allowance,” Mr Ladopoulos said.He also clarified that he wasn’t aware of the exact amount of the deductions as the cutbacks are expected to be retrospective.The rising cost of living in Australia will leave Greek teachers in financial peril according to another teacher, Alexander Giannadakis.“If you consider that the average house rent we pay is $1500-$1700 a month then you can’t understand how serious things are,” Mr Giannadakis emphasised.Despite increases in the cost of living and the substantial rises in the cost of rental accommodation in Australia over the last decade, teacher allowances have not been increased since 2000.“It is therefore not true that seconded teachers benefit from getting two salaries because nowadays we’re forced to tap into our Greek salary,” he said.The lack of comprehensive health insurance for the teachers compounds their financial difficulties.“What happens is that they have to pay and then get reimbursed up to 70-80 percent of the cost, but that process can take more than a year,” Mr Ladopoulos explained.Neos Kosmos understands that Greek seconded teachers from around the world are trying to coordinate efforts and submit a petition to the Greek Ministry ofEducation to relax the stringent conditions requiring teachers to complete their full three year service.It has been suggested that under the circumstances teachers should not be compelled to pay back their airfare costs and relocation allowance.A massive exodus of teachers back to Greece from Australia could not be ruled out according to Mr Mr Ladopoulos, although there haven’t been official reports of this as yet.“You have to realise that this situation is especially unfair for teachers who just came to Australia before the changes were announced,” Mr Giannadakis said.Fears exist that the new salary and allowance regime of the Greek public sector will discourage many teachers from future secondment to Australia.“Why should a teacher come to Australia at the moment, there is no serious incentive,” Mr Giannadakis pointed out.There are currently 32 seconded teachers in Victoria and roughly 60-70 across Australia.Another factor exacerbating the teachers’ financial situation is that their salary is delayed because the Greek financial year ends in December.So January and February salaries are paid out usually in March. To deal with the delay teachers were granted a loan from their bank against their salary.However, this arrangement cannot be utilised anymore since Mr Ladopoulos was advised that he could not sign as a guarantor to the bank. Incidentally, it has been made known that the May allowance will be paid out at the end instead of the beginning of the month.Teachers from Greece are unable to work a second job to supplement their income because of the current visa agreement between Greece and Australia.The teachers from Greece working in Melbourne recently held a meeting to discuss the situation.Neos Kosmos understands that a proposal to call on local Greek community organisations to help Greek teachers by either partly subsidising their rent or providing them affordable accommodation was discussed.The experience of teachers seconded to Australian schools is not unique.Their colleagues in the United States have not been paid for six months. 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20 Sep

Première le lien entre tabagisme passif et cancer reconnu

first_imgPremière : le lien entre tabagisme passif et cancer reconnuPour la première fois en France, la justice a condamné un employeur en reconnaissant un lien entre tabagisme passif sur le lieu de travail et cancer d’une personne n’ayant jamais fumé.L’association Droits des non fumeurs est ravie aujourd’hui d’annoncer que pour la première fois en France, le lien entre tabagisme passif et cancer a été reconnu par la justice française. Ainsi, le 17 mars dernier, le tribunal administratif de Toulouse a condamné l’École nationale d’architecture de Toulouse (Ensat-T) à verser 3.500 euros à une de ses enseignantes chez qui un poumon a été retiré à la suite d’un cancer, et cela au titre de préjudice subi. L’enseignante en question s’est dite soulagée mais toujours en colère : “J’étais là-bas pour enseigner, pas pour tomber malade. Je ne décolère pas, je suis scandalisée. Un poumon, ça ne coûte pas vraiment cher”, rapporte l’AFP.De son côté, le tribunal a fait savoir : “Le lien de causalité entre l’exposition au tabagisme et le cancer bronchique qu’elle a développé est établi”. De plus, l’ENSA-T s’est montré en faute face à la justice puisque l’établissement n’aurait pas respecté “la réglementation antitabagique” de 1992 à 2002. Le jugement précise alors : “Il existe un lien certain et démontré entre l’exposition passive à la fumée de tabac en milieu professionnel et le risque de développer un cancer bronchique primitif […] qui est d’autant plus marqué que l’exposition est prolongée”. De leur côté, l’enseignante qui a travaillé dans l’établissement durant 30 ans et l’association Droits des non-fumeurs déplorent la faible indemnisation obtenue.Le 31 mars 2011 à 12:51 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

19 Sep

815 WWE Results Detroit Michigan Rollins vs Ambrose

first_img Ronda Rousey Videos Articles Google+ Shawn Michaels WhatsApp SPOILERS: 8/15 Impact TV tapings in Mexico City to air on Pursuit and Twitch Now Playing Up Next Nikki Bella Fires Back At Ronda Rousey Facebook Videos Articles Twitter WWE Lists The Shields Top 10 Wins Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Nextcenter_img Now Playing Up Next Cesaro Hopeful WWE Will Reunite The Bar Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles ‘Total Bellas’ Season 4 Will Not Feature John Cena Nikki Bella: Artem Chivbinstev is a great kiser 8/15 WWE Results: Detroit, Michigan* The show opened with an annoumcement that John Cena would not be appearing. Kevin Owens came out and mocked Cena. Chris Jericho came out and confronted Owens setting up the main event later in the night.* Sheamus def. Fandango.* Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel & Zack Ryder def. Bo Dallas & Los Matadores.* Neville def. Stardust.* WWE Tag Team Champions The Prime Time Players def. The New Day.* Charlotte & Paige def. Brie Bella & Alicia Fox.* Cesaro def. Rusev.* WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. Dean Ambrose in a street fight.Source: PWInsider.comRecommended videosPowered by AnyClipWWE Lists The Shields Top 10 WinsVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:30/Current Time 0:03Loaded: 100.00%0:03Remaining Time -0:27 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Pinterest Seth Rollins SPOILERS: 8/15 NXT TV Tapings from Full Sail University to air on WWE Network WWE Smackdown Results – 8/6/19 (SummerSlam Go Home Show, Kevin Owens, Trish Stratus)last_img read more

17 Sep

Two day workshop for Ministry of Finance Officers

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Bishop says peace & prosperity is everybody’s responsibility at Law Enforcers Church Service Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 23 Feb 2015 – Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Opposition Leader Sharlene Robinson said for the first time the PAC will host a workshop to enhance reporting on the country’s finances by officers in the Ministry of Finance. The opening this morning will be carried on National Radio and among the topics over the two days are: The Importance of Good Governance; The Role Of Accounting Officers; The Roles of the National Audit Office, Public Accounts Committee, Internal Audit Department and the Audit Committee; PAC Hearings; How To Prepare for PAC Hearings; The Role of Parliament in Financial Oversight and Curbing Corruption. There will be a period for Feedback and Questions. The workshop will conclude with a mock hearing. This Public Accounts Committee workshop is funded by the Governor’s Office. Recommended for you Jitney row on social media elicits warning from PDM Leader Related Items:ministry of finance, public accounts committee, sharlene robinson, workshop PDM sends Commissioner another message: Bring GT Police Officers backlast_img read more

17 Sep

TCIG Hold Meetings With Water Sports Services Providers

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, October 5, 2017 – Providenciales – The Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Culture, Heritage & Gaming, on Thursday, 28 September, met with representatives from various tourism service providers as well as the taxi association, in Providenciales.The meeting, held at the National Environmental Centre, was convened by Hon. Minister Ralph Higgs, and representatives from the Ministry and the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA), so as to receive an update on the current state of affairs of operations.“After several meetings with the TCHTA & the accommodation section I thought it timely to hold a meeting with the tour, water sports and taxi service providers, in the sector, as they too play an integral part in the tourism product that the TCI offers.   It is important to hear where they are with regard to their preparations as they make themselves ready for the upcoming tourist season.” explained Hon. Minister Ralph Higgs.The Ministry hopes to capture concerns expressed by the service providers and to effectively communicate them to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) so that government might be able to  assist vendors in returning operations to normal after the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria.The Ministry will be hosting a similar meeting in Grand Turk on Wednesday, October 4th, at 11am at the Salt Raker’s Inn. All interested and affected parties are requested to attend the meeting as the Ministry strives to ensure that TCI will be ‘open for business’ come the high tourist season.Press Release: TCIG Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

16 Sep

Iraq War vet gets home makeover

first_imgA military man to his core, James “Mike” Curry initially resisted the idea he should be the person to receive a free home makeover. Someone else needed the aid more, and the limelight did not suit him, he reasoned after first hearing the pitch months ago.His skepticism long since abandoned, the disabled Iraq War veteran watched Thursday as volunteers pressure-washed his driveway, landscaped his yard and painted his walls a cream hue — all in a public show of appreciation for his two tours of duty. He stood a stone’s throw from his house at the end of the Northeast 70th Court cul-de-sac and marveled. The smell of hot dogs — lunch for the workers — coated the cool air.“It’s a blessing,” Curry, 37, said. “It’s unbelievable, really.”Keller Williams Realty associates celebrated the company’s fourth annual RED Day — short for Renew, Energize and Donate — by making over Curry’s home Thursday.Around 100 Keller Williams Realty employees dressed in red shirts, with the words “Give where you live” on the back, took the day off work to volunteer their time. Work on the project officially started two weeks ago with plumbing and electrical work inside the split-level, four-bedroom home, project organizer Jackie Gabbert said.Curry moved into the home in January 2006 prior to his second tour of duty in Iraq with the National Guard. The home would need repairs, but he figured he would have time to do them when he returned.last_img read more

6 Sep

Depressed man kills self by hanging

first_imgPetbasheerabad: A 48-year-old man committed suicide by hanging from a tree at a secluded place in Dhulapally under Petbasheerabad police station limits in the wee hours of Monday. According to the police, during regular patrolling duty at around 2 am, they found a dead body at Dhulapally forest area. After identifying the deceased as R Nageshwar Rao (48) at 7 am, they informed his son-in-law K Sattibabu (25) about the suicide. Also Read – With 61 feet high, Khairatabad Ganesh claimed to be tallest idol in India Advertise With Us He along with the other family members rushed to the spot and told police that the deceased had fought with his wife over alcohol consumption three months ago and left the house. Police suspect that the victim took the extreme step due to depression. They shifted the body to Gandhi Hospital mortuary for postmortem. The police are investigating the case.last_img read more

2 Sep

Coogs Begin March Madness vs Georgia State

first_imgUH/FacebookUH Cougars players and coach Kelvin Sampson celebrate winning the 2019 AAC regular season conference championship. Share 00:00 /12:04 Xcenter_img Listen The Houston Cougars will face Georgia State Friday night in Tulsa, Okla., in the first round of the NCAA tournament.The Cougs begin March Madness as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional portion of the bracket, after finishing the regular season with only three losses and ranked No. 9 in the nation.Should the Cougars advance, they could face college basketball powerhouses like North Carolina, Kentucky, or Kansas.Also, Prairie View A&M plays one of the play-in games of the bracket. They face Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday with the winner entering the larger bracket as a No. 16 seed and facing No. 1 seed Gonzaga.Meanwhile, the Rockets have won 11 of their last 12 games. The Dynamo have begun their season unbeaten, with two wins and a draw. And Astros manager AJ Hinch was tossed from a game and then suspended another this weekend, after a protracted argument with umpire Angel Hernandez. In the audio above, sportswriter Jeff Balke joins Houston Matters to update us on these and other local sports stories. He writes for Houstonia and Houston Press. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more