JFF sets up mobile ticket outlet

first_img Match time is 7 p.m. and gates open at 4 p.m. Tickets will not be on sale at the National Stadium today. The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will have a mobile ticket outlet located in front of its offices, 20 St Lucia Crescent, New Kingston today ahead of this evening’s CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying match against Costa Rica.    The outlet will be in operation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.    According to a release from the JFF, the mobile outlet will be set up in light of the fact that the World Cup Qualifier will take place on a holiday and three of the regular outlets will be closed. Tickets will also be available today at the following outlets: York Pharmacy, Jamaica Pegasus, Petcom Portmore, Captain’s Bakery outlets (except Cross Roads and downtown), Total Service Stations (Stanton Terrace, Liguanea and Dunrobin), Richie B’s Liquor Centre at Mary Brown’s Corner and World of Sport, Negril.last_img read more

Last of the belugas from Russia’s ‘whale jail’ released

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Marine, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Mammals, Oceans, Whales Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Late last year, drone footage revealed 87 belugas and 11 orcas packed in cramped, icy pens at Srednyaya Bay in Russia’s Far East.Following international outrage, Russian authorities began an investigation and started releasing the whales to the Sea of Okhotsk, the place the mammals had been originally captured from.On Nov. 10, Russian authorities announced that the last of the 50 beluga whales had been released to Uspeniya Bay, in the Primorsky Region, about 62 miles away from the holding facility. But it’s not the whales’ native habitat, conservationists say.Activists and conservationists have criticized the lack of transparency in the release effort and the manner in which the whales have been moved to the sea without a proper rehabilitation process in place. The last of the nearly 100 whales held captive in what’s been termed a “whale jail” in Russia’s Far East have finally been freed back into the ocean — although the releases have been far from ideal, conservationists say.Late last year, drone footage revealed 87 beluga whales and 11 orcas packed in cramped, icy pens in Srednyaya Bay. The whales had reportedly been caught by four companies during the summer of 2018, and were allegedly due to be sold to marine parks and aquariums in China.Following international outrage, Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened and authorities launched an investigation into the capture of the whales. Russian officials also signed a joint agreement with U.S-based nonprofits Ocean Futures Society and The Whale Sanctuary Project in April announcing that all the captive belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) and orcas (Orcinus orca) would be released back into their natural environment.‘Whale prison’ discovered by drone in Far East Russia pic.twitter.com/gkZBVmYwVp— RT (@RT_com) November 8, 2018In June, a court ruled that the whale captures were illegal. Later that month, the first wave of the whale release began. Two orcas and six belugas were moved 1,770 kilometers (1,100 miles) by truck, then transported by boat to the Sea of Okhotsk, from where the mammals had originally been captured. Activists and conservationists, however, at the time criticized the lack of transparency in the release effort and the manner in which the whales were “dumped” into the sea, without a proper rehabilitation process in place. The remaining belugas and orcas continued to be released in batches over the following months.On Nov. 10, Russian authorities announced that the last of the 50 beluga whales had been released in Uspeniya Bay, in the Primorsky region, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from the holding facility. This is not the whales’ native habitat, Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of the Ocean Futures Society, and Charles Vinick, executive director of The Whale Sanctuary Project, said in a joint statement.“This outcome is not ideal for the belugas, since this is not their normal habitat or the area where they were captured,” the statement said. “Nonetheless, we trust the intention of Russian government authorities to release the belugas, despite limitations due to the availability of ships, inadequate finances, and weather conditions.”Cousteau and Vinick added that North Korean fishing vessels frequent the area where the belugas have been released, and the whales could be at risk of poaching. They called on the government to monitor the 50 belugas over the short term and the long term.“We hope that the location will make it possible to carry out regular visual monitoring of the belugas for a full 30 days after release and actively over the first six months after release,” they said in the statement. “We also hope that visual monitoring will help reduce concerns about threats from North Korean fishing vessels that we understand are poaching in the area and that the Russian government will do what is necessary to protect the belugas from repeat capture.”Russia’s Research Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) told TASS, a Russian news agency, that it has been monitoring the whales. Some of the belugas are still in Uspeniya Bay, it said, while others have moved away from the points of their release. Some have even migrated up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.“Now, we can say that the animals were set free in good physical condition and are vigorously adapting to the wild, using the opportunities for food available in Uspeniya Bay and along the Primorsky Region coastline,” VNIRO told TASS.The “Whale Jail” Is No More.The last belugas were released in the Bay of Uspeniya Lazovsky. The notorious “whale jail” that held 10 orcas & 87 belugas captured for marine parks in China is empty.The rescue is the largest in history & a remarkable achievement. @Whale_Sanctuary pic.twitter.com/rpgbmouVwA— The Orca Project (@TheOrcaProject) November 10, 2019Banner image of orcas by Robert Pittman/NOAA via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Calls for Irish Water meeting on ‘unacceptable’ west Donegal shortage issues

first_imgOnce again calls have been made on Irish Water to take action in west Donegal following further disruption over the weekend as residents were again left without water. A local councillor for the region has now demanded that officials from Irish Water come before the next council sitting for the Glenties Municipal District to provide answers over ongoing disruption to water services in the region.Households and businesses in Falcarragh, Gortahork and parts of Gaoth Dobhair were impacted by the weekend drought. The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council has already called for an emergency meeting between the local authority and Irish Water over the ongoing issues in recent weeks.One resident told Donegal Daily that Falcarragh was becoming a ‘dying town’ because of the water outages over the last year.Councillor John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh on Monday said the current situation was ‘simply not acceptable’.He said: “Over the weekend homes and businesses in several parts of Gaoth Dobhair, Falcarragh and Gortahork were again without water or experienced disruption to their supply. “This is simply not acceptable and these ongoing outages are greatly inconveniencing and impacting on householders throughout the region, many of whom have been experiencing service disruptions for weeks now.“This situation is also costing local businesses hundreds of euro to lost trade as some businesses, such as hairdressers and cafés in particular, have had little option over recent weeks but to close on several occasions owing to inadequate supply.“These business owners are paying rates and commercial water charges and they deserve to enjoy access to quality and adequate water services, yet the fact that they are being forced to close because of water outages is not good enough.“As many people will be aware, I have previously called on Irish Water to urgently carry out remedial works and to complete a local pipe replacement programme in a bid to resolve this issue, however, householders and businesses cannot be forced to put up with these outages for much longer.”The west Donegal Cllr insisted that the situation was at the mercy of Irish Water, urging the national water utility to find an acceptable resolution. “Evidently, there is a need for Irish Water to commit to fast-tracking this plan while also introducing measures to ensure that residents and businesses have access to a clean, safe, reliable water supply in the interim.“As Chairperson of the Glenties Municipal District, I am now demanding that officials from the utility appear before the next sitting of Council in order to field questions from the elected members and to outline what action Irish Water is going to take to immediately resolve this unacceptable situation.”Calls for Irish Water meeting on ‘unacceptable’ west Donegal shortage issues was last modified: April 29th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal Gaoth DobhairFalcarraghgortahorkWest Donegallast_img read more

Latest: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 1 – Blues within sight of derby triumph

first_imgDiego Costa’s 22nd-minute goal put Chelsea ahead in the derby at the Emirates Stadium shortly after Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker was sent off for a foul on the Blues striker.The Gunners were reduced to 10 men following a Chelsea counter-attack led by Willian, who cleverly aimed a pass in behind Mertesacker for Costa, who would have been through on goal had the defender not brought him down.Mertesacker was duly shown the red card by referee Mark Clattenburg, and the home fans reacted angrily to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s reaction to the sending-off, which was to send defender Gabriel on in place of forward Olivier Giroud.Seconds later, Costa drifted away from Gabriel to nudge home Branislav Ivanovic’s right-wing cross – his sixth goal in as many games.Arsenal keeper Petr Cech, playing against his former club, had earlier denied Willian at point-blank range and pushed away a shot from Oscar.Having found themselves a goal and a man down, Arsenal struggled to create chances.Cech prevented them falling further behind three minutes before the interval when he kept out an effort from Costa at the near post, and Ivanovic’s header from the resulting corner was cleared off the line.Then, in the final seconds of the half, Mathieu Flamini missed a great chance to equalise when he hurriedly hooked the ball over after being found unmarked inside the box by Aaron Ramsey.And Chelsea should arguably have been awarded a penalty 10 minutes into the second half when ex-Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas was barged over by Laurent Koscielny.Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Oscar; Costa.Subs: Begovic, Cahill, Baba Rahman, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Hazard, Remy.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Brave New Chimeras

first_img Bobrow proposed an international regulatory body, “a similar regulatory structure to that proposed internationally for human stem-cell research,” be formed to monitor experiments on chimeras, with power to (1) review the expected many uncontentious experiments, (2) scrutinize those encroaching on the above “areas of sensitivity” and (3) ban others: “a very limited number of studies should not currently be undertaken because they raise very strong ethical concerns or lack sufficient scientific justification.”  He mentioned “ethically and socially sensitive kinds of research,” but did not mention whose ethics, or which sensitivity – ethical or social – should have the upper hand.  It doesn’t really matter, though, because sensitivity is sure to evolve: “Recognizing that an effective regulatory system must not needlessly hamper potentially beneficial science, we recommend that this body should be sufficiently flexible and consultative to adapt to evolving scientific knowledge and social attitudes.” Will future regulators and courts, though, find today’s regulations “unwarranted hindrances”?  After the disgust factor is overcome in the public by desensitization of the creeping unthinkable, why not continue to push the ethical boundaries further and further?  Nature’s editors presented surprisingly little, beyond empty promises, in the way of evidence that chimera research might advance human health.  They said, “instinctive revulsion should not automatically block future research that will undoubtedly pave the way for therapies for currently incurable diseases.”  Instead, more emphasis was placed on reinforcing “Britain’s reputation as an attractive research environment” – a familiar argument for those who remember the pleas for unlimited ESC research (03/12/2004, 09/07/2004, 09/26/2007, 10/15/2008, 04/07/2009).  Bobrow’s priorities agreed; “Securing a robust, forward-looking regulatory framework for ACHM would promote Britain’s position as a responsible home for cutting-edge science.” 1. Editorial, “The Legacy of Dr. Moreau,” Nature 475 (28 July 2011), p. 423; doi:10.1038/475423a. 2. Martin Bobrow, “Regulate research at the animal–human interface,” Nature 475 (28 July 2011), p. 448, doi:10.1038/475448a. The international scientific community, by rejecting creation and embracing evolution, has rejected any hope for a stable foundation for ethics.  Instead, it has an ethics that evolves and floats on nothing.  Whoever controls the jets of hot air directs the craft, and the ones with the most hot air are the ones seeking fame and reward – perhaps a Nobel prize or national prestige.  Ethicists on board point in all directions with little more to guide their opinions than disgust (an echo from the tarnished Imago Dei).  What horrors lie ahead with people like this at the controls?  Nature’s editors could not deny that “The ethical questions raised by H. G. Wells are as valid today as they ever were.” [Historical note: H.G. Wells was an apostate Christian young man who embraced evolution in college under Thomas Huxley, ending up denouncing Christianity and helping found the social-Darwinist Fabian Society.]  Then the editors subtly hinted that we can overcome those concerns: “But as facts and fiction converge, the answers have become more complex.” Never fear; we’ll get the answers.  Appoint a working group.  Get public involvement.  Form an internationally regulatory panel.  Set up ground rules and let them evolve.  Man can do it.  We can appease the ethicists and teach the public not to respond in disgust by promising them health benefits they will forget a decade later.  We did it with embryos; we can do it with chimeras.  More important is national prestige, money, and human pride. Suggested Reading:  C. S. Lewis’s prescient novel That Hideous Strength should be re-read for our time.  Lewis shows how human scientific pride becomes corrupted and ends up being demonic.  A similar theme emerges in Jon Saboe’s new novel The Days of Lamech.  The world of his protagonist includes an institution of elitists who, while promising to improve mankind, shows utter disdain for the individual people they work on.(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Tampering with human embryonic stem cells has been at the forefront of ethical debates for a decade.  Behind it, though, lurks an even more alarming prospect: the creation of human-animal hybrids.  As with embryos, the appeal has been to improve human health.  But ethicists ask if there is any benefit worth blurring the line between humans and animals.  Pro-chimera advocates admit there is a certain “disgust” factor that could arouse public anxiety, and agree that experimentation would need to be regulated.  But who would regulate the regulators, and on what moral grounds? Meanwhile, tensions between advocates of embryonic stem cells (ESC) and adult stem cells (ASC) continue.  ESC advocates received an unexpected boost this week when an appeals court reversed an earlier ruling that halted federal funding of ESC research (New Scientist, PhysOrg).  A 2009 lawsuit had been brought by two ASC researchers who claimed that “who argued that Obama’s expansion [of ESC research funding] jeopardized their ability to win government funding for research using adult stem cells – ones that have already matured to create specific types of tissues – because it will mean extra competition”  (02/13/2011).  The appeals court overturned Judge Lamberth’s argument that such funding violated the Dickey-Wicker amendment that prohibits federal funding of research that destroys human embryos.  The surprise reversal pretty much ended the plaintiffs’ case, and gives a green light for federally-funded ESC research.  According to PhysOrg, “the scientific community applauded the ruling” as did NIH Director Francis Collins, who said, “This ruling will help ensure this groundbreaking research can continue to move forward.”  From the coverage by both New Scientist and PhysOrg, it appears that the ethical concerns so prominent in the George Bush era have been almost forgotten. Adult stem cell research continues to offer promising treatments, while news about embryonic stem cell progress is notable for its absence.  In just the last ten days, these gains were reported for ASC research: Researchers improve method to create induced pluripotent stem cells (PhysOrg). Researchers create reprogrammed stem cells for disease studies (PhysOrg). Patients’ own kidney cells could cure kidney disease (Medical Xpress). Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 Primes Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Enhanced Chondrogenesis (PLoS One). Gladstone scientist converts human skin cells into functional brain cells (Medical Xpress). Doctors begin major bone marrow stem cell trial for Multiple Sclerosis patients (BBC News). Modifications of the animal brain that are likely to lead to human-like cerebral function. Experiments that could lead to functional human gametes in an animal (especially if the gametes might be fertilized). Modifications to an animal that create features perceived as uniquely human, such as facial shape, skin texture or speech. But even before ESC research has brought its first cure for anything, after a decade of promises, some scientific institutions are arguing that we need chimeras.  A Nature editorial this week1 said we need to get past the legacy of Dr. Moreau: The science-fiction author H. G. Wells coined the term humanized animals in his 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau. The book invited readers to consider the ethical limits of curiosity-driven research and to ponder the moral value of the distinction between humans and animals. The book’s evil protagonist creates, through a vaguely defined process of ‘vivisection’, a colony of half-human ‘beast folk’, unhappy in themselves and frightening to others. Dr Moreau’s humanized animals evoke visceral disgust. Thankfully, more than a century later, they remain science fiction. However, the ethical dilemmas presented by Wells do not. What ethical dilemmas did the editors entertain as valid?  The public might get past the disgust of seeing a mouse created with human skin, and may express concern about the suffering of animals involved, but “One of the biggest horrors – although technically unlikely – could be a self-aware monkey, a creature with human thought trapped in the body of an animal, unable to express itself.” Prompted by the possibilities, scientists around the world have begun to discuss the ethical consequences of taking to extremes the frontier technologies that allow mixing of species. These include the introduction of human stem cells into animals, where they could integrate into the animal’s body; or the formation of hybrid or chimaeric embryos that mix the DNA of humans and animals. Nevertheless, the editors promulgated limited experimentation, short of “extensive humanization of the monkey brain or the development of embryos that mix DNA from humans and non-human primates” which they agreed crossed ethical boundaries.  They referred to guidelines advanced by the UK Academy of Sciences that are “likely to lead to pioneering legislation specifically geared towards regulating research on animals containing human material.”  This “timely and important” step in the early stages can pre-empt “future calls for outright bans, should public anxiety grow,” while reinforcing “Britain’s reputation as an attractive research environment, strictly controlled but without unwarranted hindrances.” The editors opined that the UK has “some of the world’s most stringent laws on the welfare of research animals, but also some of the most rational regulations for research using human embryonic stem cells,” (by rational meaning liberal).  Given its progressive, liberalized treading over the ethics of ESCs, why not progress even further?  “It allows the creation of hybrid embryos that are predominantly human – forbidden in many countries – as long as they are destroyed before they develop beyond the two-cell stage,” the editors said.  “Now the country seems ready to regulate hybrid embryos that are mainly animal, as well as chimaeric animals.” In the same issue of Nature,2 Martin Bobrow (former Cambridge professor) argued that regulations are needed for chimeric research, because today’s rules can’t handle the upcoming possibilities with (get ready for another acronym) ACHM (animals that contain human material).  Already, he said, the Chinese have introduced human stem cells into goat fetuses, and “US scientists have examined the ethics of creating a mouse that has some human-derived brain cells (although they have not done the experiment).”  Thousands of rodents with grafted human tissue have already been created worldwide, he said, “But few countries have specifically considered the governance of research involving animals that contain human material (ACHM), and the topic has had little public discussion.”  How does one regulate a sliding scale?  Is 49.9% human material permissible, but 50.1% not?  Bobrow describes the “regulatory discontinuity” created by the lack of a consensus ethical principle: Research with embryos that contain animal material but are judged by regulators to be ‘predominantly human’, is subject to stringent scrutiny and authorization by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The HFEA takes account of scientific, medical, ethical and social issues, and frequently consults the public on emerging techniques. A similar chimaeric embryo with marginally less human material judged ‘predominantly animal’, however, is regulated by the Home Office in consultation with the Animal Procedures Committee under legislation intended to protect animal welfare. In mammals, this regulation becomes applicable at the midpoint of gestation. The lack of a formal working interface between these two systems creates uncertainty for scientists requiring regulatory approval for their work. It could also allow sensitive experiments to be done legally but without expert ethical scrutiny. Britain has an enviable position of rational debate in Parliament with public involvement; “However, violent opposition to animal research has sometimes hampered open discussion,” Bobrow noted.  “We hope that era is behind us, and the opportunity for inclusive discussion of these more subtle issues can be grasped” (by inclusive certainly referring to the scientists who want the research).  Bobrow discussed his involvement with a working group that produced a report that “recommends where the ethical limits of such methods may lie, and what governance is needed.”  The working group garnered input from a thousand members of the public.  They supported ACHM research but found disgust with three possibilities:last_img read more

President Zuma extends condolences to Sandton tragedy victims

first_imgIn his response to the collapse of the walkway over the M1 highway in Sandton, President Jacob Zuma passed on his condolences to those who lost family members in the incident and wished the 22 who were injured a speedy recovery.South African president, Jacob ZumaJohannesburg, 15 October 2015 – President Jacob Zuma has extended condolences to the families of those who lost their lives yesterday, 14 October 2015, during the collapse of a bridge along the M1 highway in Sandton, Johannesburg.The President further wished those who were injured during the accident a speedy recovery. He has directed the authorities to swiftly investigate the cause of the accident.President Zuma has also urged construction companies to always take necessary precautions to protect workers and the public during the construction phases to avoid such tragic accidents.Contact Bongani Majola on 082 339 1993 or [email protected] for more information.last_img read more

Your Uber trip can help change lives

first_imgBefore, Uber would round down each passenger’s fare to the nearest rand. Now, with UberGiving, those cents are instead donated to good causes. (Image: Uber)South African non-profits are hailing the benefit of taxicab app Uber’s charitable giving. UberGiving allows the company and its passengers to donate to worthy causes.Before, Uber would round down each passenger’s fare to the nearest rand. Now, with UberGiving, those cents are instead donated to good causes. The new system does not cost the drivers, who will still earn 80% of each fare.The Reach for a Dream Foundation, which fulfils the dreams of children with life-threatening diseases, was the first beneficiary of Uber passengers’ generosity. It helped the foundation take passionate football fan Elihle Momoza, a 12-year-old with a blood disorder, to Moses Mabhida stadium for the first time. It also gave him a PlayStation with football games.UberGiving helped Faith Nifang, an eight-year-old with sickle cell anaemia, to live his special dream of a day at the beach by spending a weekend at Sun City, where he enjoyed the playground activities and the Valley of the Waves.“The magnitude of his smile said it all that day,” said Alon Lits, GM of Uber in sub-Saharan Africa.“We are honoured to be associated with Reach for a Dream, helping to assist children like Faith and Elihle. These are just some of the dreams that were made possible through UberGiving and the Reach for a Dream Foundation.”A great startUberGiving’s charitable drive has benefitted other non-profits as well. It helped the Tomorrow Trust, an educational NGO, to fund Mahlogonolo Pasha’s BSc studies in Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Johannesburg.Pasha, from a family of five children raised by a single unemployed mother, dreams of becoming the first university graduate in her family. Education, she believes, will end their cycle of poverty.The Els for Autism Foundation is another UberGiving beneficiary. The charity was established in 2009 by golfer Ernie Els and his wife Liezl Els after their son Ben was diagnosed with severe autism.Their foundation funds an Autism Centre of Excellence, which gives under-resourced families of autistic children free access to evidence-based interventions.Other non-profits that have benefited from UberGiving include the Blow the Whistle initiative and the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation.“We are proud to support these organisations, to help them continue the good work they do,” said Lits. “A special thanks goes out to all those riders using the Uber platform, by simply requesting a trip each of you are making a difference, and every little bit counts.”For more information, visit www.uber.com or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

Energy Star Delivers Big for America: Why Put It at Risk?

first_imgEPA establishes minimum specifications for each of the 70 product categories in its program. These range from water heaters, light bulbs, air conditioners, and computers, to office buildings and new homes. In general, EPA strives for the Energy Star label to represent the top quarter of the market in terms of a product’s energy efficiency. In other words, if there are 100 medium-sized refrigerators on the market, the 25 models that use the least amount of energy would be eligible to qualify for the label. Manufacturers whose products meet or beat the requirements can earn the Energy Star label.To ensure that the products perform as promised and to preserve the integrity of this trusted brand, the EPA requires manufacturers to submit laboratory testing results and conducts annual “off-the-shelf” verification testing of selected products. EPA resets its specifications once the market share of Energy Star-qualified models grows to 50% or so for a particular product category, which is typically every two to three years.The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has for years participated in the EPA proceedings where the Energy Star specifications are set. Their process is open to all stakeholders, and is very comprehensive and data-driven. The program that really deliversIn its “Overview of 2015 Achievements,” EPA reported that the Energy Star program helped families and businesses save $430 billion on their utility bills while reducing climate change pollution by 2.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide since 1992. (Cutting energy consumption means also reducing the amount of fossil fuels that need to be burned to produce it.) These are massive numbers, many of which would not have occurred without the foundation laid by the Energy Star labeling program.Manufacturers like the program, as it is voluntary and can provide them with a competitive advantage over products that do not bear the Energy Star logo. Retailers such as Home Depot, Sears, and Best Buy are Energy Star partners and utilize the aforementioned utility rebates to drive demand for the Energy Star-labeled products.The Energy Star program has thrived under both Republican and Democratic administrations and has broad support from an amazingly diverse set of stakeholders. Year after year, the program continues to deliver amazing results, with savings that outweigh the program cost by more than 500 to 1.Given the massive benefits and proven track record of this program, along with the support from consumers, manufacturers, home builders, building owners, retailer and utilities, it’s hard to imagine why the Trump administration or Congress would consider gutting or eliminating this program.We need to tell them they are looking in the wrong place for cuts, and that they must not eliminate or tamper with this amazingly successful and impactful program. How does the program work?Energy Star is a labeling program that helps consumers and businesses select a more energy-efficient model — usually among the top 25% most efficient on the market. All the consumer needs to do is look for models that have the blue Energy Star logo, which means the manufacturer has voluntarily applied to EPA for the privilege to use the label signifying that the product meets specific energy-saving requirements. It’s that simple. A consumer doesn’t need to know what energy factor the replacement furnace should have (and whether a higher or lower number is better) or how many kilowatt hours per year a new energy-efficient clothes washer should use. Imagine owning a brand that’s both well-known and widely trusted by consumers and businesses all over America. Now imagine that it turns a $50 million annual investment into $30+ billion worth of annual customer utility bill savings, and has resulted in branded sales of more than 5 billion products since its inception. That’s one heck of a rate of return and a brand that any CEO would die for.Well, that brand happens to be Energy Star, a voluntary labeling program for appliances, equipment, and buildings that is managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was established back in 1992. The blue and white Energy Star label makes it easy for consumers to identify energy-saving products that also help save money and protect the environment by using less energy. No wonder it has become one of the most successful public-private partnerships of all time. (The program has more than 18,000 partners, including a wide range of manufacturers, retailers, builders, and utilities.)But here’s the shocker: this amazing program looks to be on the chopping block as part of soon-to-be-proposed budget cuts at the EPA. RELATED ARTICLES center_img Disappointing Energy Savings for Energy Star HomesWill the Energy Star Homes Program Survive Version 3? The Energy Star Homes Program Raises the Bar With Version 3Energy Star Version 3 The Energy Star Thermal Bypass ChecklistGreen Basics: Appliances Incentives to saveUtilities and program administrators across the country invest billions of dollars each year in rebates to encourage consumers and businesses to buy Energy Star-qualified products. After all, it’s a lot cheaper and better for the environment to invest in energy efficiency than having to build new power plants.Many leading manufacturers tweak their designs to ensure that their products meet Energy Star criteria and are eligible for the rebates. The Energy Star labeling program clearly moves markets, and as demand for the more efficient models increases, production rises and prices of the more efficient equipment come down. In fact, utilities offered consumers and businesses more than $5 billion in incentive programs in 2016 alone for rebates for products that met or exceeded Energy Star. That’s amazing leverage for the modest investment made by EPA!A similar dynamic is in play with new homes, whereby builders that offer homes that are at least 15% more efficient than the local building energy code qualify for Energy Star certification. In 2015 alone, families living in Energy Star certified homes saved more than $625 million on their utility bills.EPA also developed a benchmarking software tool called Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which commercial building owners use to assess their building’s energy and water use. The most efficient buildings qualify for the coveted Energy Star certification, which can increase the building’s value and help in recruiting environmentally minded tenants. Noah Horowitz is senior scientist and director of the Center for Energy Efficiency, Energy & Transportation at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where this blog was originally published on March 9.last_img read more

Trump to play golf with Abe during Japan visit

first_img(Eds: Repeating after correction in 9th para)By Lalit K JhaWashington, Nov 3 (PTI) US President Donald Trump will use golf diplomacy to further strengthen his personal rapport with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his upcoming visit to Japan.Japan is the first stop of Trump on his maiden five- nation Asia trip as the US president.Trump, 71, will embark on a 12-day trip to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hawaii from today till November 14.On Sunday afternoon, the US president and 63-year-old Abe will play golf with Japanese professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama, Takehiro Shimada, Minister of Communications and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Japan said here ahead of Trumps visit to Japan.Notably about 60 years ago, 1957, in June, Abes father, Prime Ministers Nobusuke Kishi, played golf with then US President Dwight D Eisenhower at the Burning Tree golf course.”And they had very nice time and I heard that at that time, the president hit the – almost like 72 or 74, and prime minister Kishi only 99,” Shimada said.Asked by the president, Eisenhower then said golf is a kind of sports that you cannot play with whom you dont like.”That is his comment. So I hope that even the Prime Minister Abe would have good time and whatever the score he may hit to deepen – to make use of this opportunity to deepen his personal tie with the president,” the Japanese diplomat said.Trump would spend two nights and three days in Japan during which he will hold a wide range of talks with top Japanese leaders, including his sixth meeting with Abe in less than a year.advertisementAbe and Trump have had six meetings since the latters election and the two have spoken over phone as many as 16 times.While North Korea is expected to dominate the talks, Trump is likely to reiterate his iron-clad commitment to Japan, officials here said.”The most important part of the two leaders to discuss is how to strengthen the ironclad US-Japan alliance and this alliance covers almost everything, from the security issues to the economic issues…I am sure that he will discuss almost every aspect of the Asian region challenges,” he said.Trumps visit to Japan, he hoped, will enhance peace and stability in Asia-Pacific region.”Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of that peace and stability, and alliance is stronger than ever,” he said, adding that Abes success in reinforcing Japans strong ties with United States was one of the factors that led to his overwhelming electoral victory last month.Trumps visit to Japan comes at an opportune moment for them to discuss issues facing international community and demonstrate the world the strong bond between the two countries amidst the increasingly severe security environment surrounding the Asia-Pacific region, he said.Noting that Japan remains deeply concerned about the threat posed by North Korea, he said Japan fully supports the US position, that all options are on the table when it comes to North Korea.”Now is the time to exert utmost pressure. We especially appreciate the new sanctions the United States imposed against North Korea last week. We will explore how we can strengthen and reinforce the UN-backed sanctions regime during President Trumps visit,” he said. PTI LKJ UZMlast_img read more