News story: Defence Secretary announces new Defence Arctic Strategy

first_imgThe strategy will enhance the Ministry of Defence’s focus on the Arctic, underlined by our current commitments in the region and future deployments.Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: The change in the natural environment in the Arctic and High North is driving a change in the security environment and, as the region becomes more accessible, there has been an increase in military activity. The new Defence Arctic Strategy will put the Arctic and the High North central to the security of the United Kingdom.Currently, the Royal Marines conduct cold weather training in Norway on an annual basis, with around 800 due to deploy in 2019. As part of the new Arctic strategy, the Marines training will become joint with Norway on a long-term basis and integrated into Norway’s defence plan, providing UK troops a unique opportunity to train alongside a key ally.The strategy will also complement our NATO commitments and in 2019, four RAF Typhoons will for the first time patrol Icelandic skies. This will allow the UK to work closely with allies to deter aerial threats to Euro Atlantic security. The mission will also provide the RAF with unique opportunities to test its skills in different environments.In 2020 we will also increase our operational commitments in the area with the introduction of new P-8 Poseidon aircraft. Based out of RAF Lossiemouth, the sub-hunters will help combat a range of intensifying threats, not least increasing submarine activity in the Arctic.This increased submarine activity poses a new threat and is something the Royal Navy is ready to combat. In 2018, a Royal Navy submarine took part in ICEX with the US Navy for the first time in ten years and as part of the new Defence Arctic Strategy, the Navy will mount regular under-ice deployments in the years to come. As the ice melts and new shipping routes emerge, the significance of the High North and Arctic region increases. Russia, with more submarines operating under the ice and ambitions to build over 100 facilities in the Arctic, are staking a claim and militarising the region. We must be ready to deal with all threats as they emerge.last_img read more

Twiddle Welcomes Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s Jeremy Schon At Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club [Audio]

first_imgOver the weekend, Vermont four-piece Twiddle played a two-night run at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club, working in and out of theme songs from the band’s favorite films and television shows. Included in the weekend’s theme were Harry Potter, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Braveheart, Game of Thrones, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force.Another highlight of the weekend was Pigeons Playing Ping Pong guitarist Jeremy Schon joining Twiddle mid-way through their second set on Friday night, for a roaring take on Twiddle’s “Apples”. Twiddle and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong are no strangers to each other, having played a number of shows and festivals together over the years. Recently, the two bands announced a co-headlining Red Rocks Amphitheatre show, on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019, with Bozeman, MT-based jamgrass outfit the Kitchen Dwellers handling the evening’s opening duties.Twiddle’s lead guitarist Mihali Savoulidis noted, “What’s really cool about this show is that we and the Pigeons have been friends and playing together for years when we were drawing 200 people and now, 5 years later, we are headlining Red Rocks together.”Listen to audio from Twiddle’s October 26th show, featuring PPPP’s Jeremy Schon below:Twiddle – 9:30 Club – 10/26/2018[Audio: Sam Johnson]Next up for Twiddle is a collaborative project dubbed, Phiddle, as the quartet will team up with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh for a special Halloween proper celebration. The show will take place on Wednesday, October 31st, at Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre.For more information on Twiddle’s upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to the band’s website here.Setlist: Twiddle | 9:30 Club | Washington D.C. | 10/26/2018Set One: Nicodemus Portulay -> Halloween groove—> Frankenfoote—> Harry Potter groove -> Doinkinbonk!!!—> James Bond groove—> Blunderbuss, Lost in the ColdSet Two: Orlando’s —> Indiana Jones groove—> Apples*—> Lord of the Rings groove—> Cabbage Face—> Jurassic Park groove—> Cabbage Face, Tiberius—> Braveheart speech/theme, TiberiusEncore: Mad World* w/ Jeremy Schon from Pigeons Playing Ping PongSetlist: Twiddle | 9:30 Club | Washington D.C. | 10/27/2018Set One:  Jamflowman—> Layla tease-> Jamflowman, Carter candlestick—> Game of Thrones groove—> Carter Candlestick, Drifter, Amydst the Myst, Latin tang—> Aqua Teen Hunger Force, When It Rains It PoursSet Two: White Light—> Beamin jam—> White Light, Gatsby—> Duck tales—> Gatsby, Every Soul, Earth MamaEncore: Juggernautlast_img read more

National parks face dangerous foe

first_imgThirty-eight of the United States’ national parks are experiencing “accidental fertilization” at or above a critical threshold for ecological damage, according to a study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and led by Harvard University researchers. Unless significant controls on ammonia emissions are introduced at a national level, they say, little improvement is likely between now and 2050.The environmental scientists — experts in air quality, atmospheric chemistry, and ecology — have been studying the fate of nitrogen-based compounds that are blown into natural areas from power plants, automobile exhaust, and, increasingly, industrial agriculture. Nitrogen that finds its way into natural ecosystems can disrupt the cycling of nutrients in soil, promote algal overgrowth and lower the pH of water in aquatic environments, and ultimately decrease the number of species that can survive.“The vast majority, 85 percent, of nitrogen deposition originates with human activities,” explained principal investigator Daniel J. Jacob, the Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “It is fully within our power as a nation to reduce our impact.”“When we apply fertilizer in the United States, only about 10 percent of the nitrogen makes it into the food. All the rest escapes, and most of it escapes through the atmosphere.”  — Daniel J. JacobExisting air quality regulations and trends in clean-energy technology are expected to reduce the amount of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted by coal plants and cars over time. However, no government regulations currently limit the amount of ammonia (NH3) that enters the atmosphere through agricultural fertilization or manure from animal husbandry, which are now responsible for one-third of the anthropogenic nitrogen carried on air currents and deposited on land.“Ammonia’s pretty volatile,” said Jacob. “When we apply fertilizer in the United States, only about 10 percent of the nitrogen makes it into the food. All the rest escapes, and most of it escapes through the atmosphere.”The team of researchers from SEAS, the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the University of California, Irvine, presented evidence that unchecked increases in nitrogen deposition are already threatening the ecology of federally protected natural areas.In many previous studies, environmental scientists identified nitrogen levels that would be ecologically harmful in various settings. The new, Harvard-led study used a high-resolution atmospheric model called GEOS-Chem to calculate nitrogen deposition rates across the contiguous United States, and compared those rates to the critical loads.The findings suggest that many parks may already be suffering.In Eastern temperate forests, such as those in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most sensitive elements of the ecosystem are the hardwood trees, which start to suffer when nitrogen deposition reaches approximately 3–8 kilograms per hectare, per year. According to the new study, the actual rate of deposition — 13.6 kg/ha/yr — far exceeds that threshold. In the forests of Mount Rainier National Park, it’s the lichens that suffer first; their critical load is between 2.5 and 7.1 kg/ha/yr, and the deposition rate there is at a troubling 6.7 kg/ha/yr.“The lichens might not be noticed or particularly valued by someone walking around a national park, but they’re integral for everything else that’s dependent on them,” explained lead author Raluca A. Ellis, who conducted the research as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard SEAS. She now directs the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership at the Franklin Institute.Jacob, Ellis, and their collaborators predict that NOx emissions from the United States will decrease significantly by 2050 (globally, those decreases may be offset to some extent by increases in industrialization overseas). But for ammonia, the story is different. The team predicts significant increases in the amount and density of agricultural land in the Midwest and the West that will requiring more and more fertilizer to feed a growing population and to meet an anticipated demand for biofuels.“Even if anthropogenic NOx emissions were globally zero, avoiding [critical load] exceedance at all national parks would require a 55 percent reduction of anthropogenic NH3 emissions,” the report said.How such a reduction would be achieved is a matter for further study.“Air quality regulations in the United States have always focused on public health, because air pollution leads to premature deaths, and that’s something you can quantify very well. When you try to write regulations to protect ecosystems, however, the damage is much harder to quantify,” said Jacob. “At least in the national parks you can say, ‘There’s a legal obligation here.’”The project was funded by the NASA Applied Sciences Program through the Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, which is led by Jacob at Harvard and includes 23 researchers from numerous institutions. The National Park Service has been studying nitrogen deposition for some time now, typically in focused studies such as those at Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Teton National Park. The new collaboration has enabled many different research teams to unify their efforts and benefit from shared resources like the GEOS-Chem model, which was developed at Harvard and has become an international standard for modeling atmospheric chemistry over time.Actual levels of future nitrogen deposition will depend on a complex interplay of economic, legal, and environmental factors.“The point is, in the decades ahead, the problem in our national parks is not going to be solved by the reduction of NOx emissions alone,” said Ellis. “It will require a targeted effort to control ammonia.”“It’s a national issue, and I think that’s why having the national perspective was so important,” Jacob added. “We’ve shown that most of the nitrogen deposition to parks in the United States is coming from domestic sources. It’s not coming from China; it’s not coming from Canada — it’s something we can deal with, but we need to deal with it at the national level.”Additional co-authors included Melissa Payer of SEAS; Lin Zhang, formerly of SEAS and now at Peking University; Christopher D. Holmes of the University of California, Irvine; Bret A. Schichtel of the National Park Service in Fort Collins, Colo.; Tamara Blett and Ellen Porter of the National Park Service in Denver; Linda H. Pardo of the USDA Forest Service; and Jason A. Lynch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.last_img read more

What’s good for employee health is good for the company

first_imgWhen a company puts a priority on employee wellness and contributing to health in the community and environment, it may benefit by having lower healthcare costs, improved worker retention, reduced absenteeism, fewer workplace injuries, and even a healthier bottom line, according to a Nov. 16, 2016 Fortune article about a new book co-authored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s John Quelch.The article was a review of the book Building a Culture of Health: A New Imperative for Business, written by Quelch, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Chan School and the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (HBS) and HBS’s Emily Boudreau. The book grew out of an HBS conference last April that was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Tango Night in Allston

first_imgA rainy day couldn’t keep the crowds away from Tango Night in Allston, a music and dance event organized by the Harvard Ed Portal and the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and featuring the Argentine band from the A.R.T.’s current production “Arrabal.” Instructors from Brighton-based dance studio Artango led over 200 attendees in a tango lesson, and then the band took the stage to perform a set while the audience danced along. After what was supposed to be the last song of the evening, cries of “¡Otra, otra, otra!” filled the room and the band returned for one more number.last_img

Corn season

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgia corn farmers have started planting the first rows of this year’s growing season. But it’s costing them more to do it.Beginning the first week in March, corn is usually the first row crop planted in Georgia, said Dewey Lee, an agronomist with the University of Georgia Extension Service.South Geogia is one of the first places to plant corn in the United States each year. As the weather warms, the planting trend gradually moves north until it reaches the Midwest and North in late spring.Georgia farmers planted about 335,000 acres of corn last year. But they’ll probably plant less this year, Lee said, because the prices for seed and fertilizer have risen dramatically.Genetically modified seed help farmers battle weeds, insects and diseases without having to spend money on certain insecticides and herbicides. They increase yields, too, Lee said.But the price for this seed has risen by as much as 60 percent since last year. The seed costs farmers about $20 more per acre, said Nathan Smith, an economist with the University of Georgia Extension Service.Driven by higher fuel prices, Smith said, fertilizer costs more, too. This spring, farmers are paying about 30 percent more for it. Fertilizing corn cost farmers $105 per acre 18 months ago. It takes $140 per acre today.Georgia corn growers averaged harvesting 130 bushels per acre last year, the second highest yields on record. Timely June rains helped. The crop was harvested before September’s four damaging hurricanes, too.The state’s farmers grow much less corn than it uses each year, Lee said. Most of the crop is used for animal feed. Georgia’s multibillion-dollar poultry industry buys much of it during winter, when severe weather restrains transportation from the Midwest.One row crop is still in Georgia fields from last year’s season: about 300,000 acres of wheat that was planted last November.The wheat crop is having problems with the recent moist weather, Lee said. Powdery mildew and a soil-borne virus could hurt yields before harvest in May. Georgia wheat farmers historically average 45-50 bushels per acre.”If the weather would dry out, it would really help the wheat respond well,” he said. “But what wheat doesn’t need now is more rain.”Ironically, corn growers want rain now, he said, but not too much. Newly-planted corn seeds need moisture to germinate.Georgia farmers sell most of their wheat to mills in Georgia, where it’s turned into flour, he said. Many farmers have also started selling the wheat straw for landscape mulch and erosion control.last_img read more

Uruguay Against Money Laundering

first_imgBy Dialogo May 16, 2011 In Uruguay, the government is carrying out an active policy against money laundering, where activities such as drug trafficking and terrorism are behind it. In the country, around ninety people face charges for this offense and around two hundred reports of suspicious activity are filed each year. The majority of cases are dismissed. The applicable regulations have expanded the list of organizations and individuals required to report suspicious activity. Banks file the most reports, but casinos, notaries, antiques dealers, auctioneers, and administrators of free-trade zones are also required to do so. Internally, an agreement was signed that will allow the Central Bank to have access to the database of all the country’s taxpayers and adjust its monitoring accordingly. At the same time, the director of the General Tax Directorate, the tax-collecting agency, Pablo Ferreri, announced that work is underway on opening an international office to investigate cases of money laundering reported from abroad. The government has already defined the chief lines of work against money laundering that it will emphasize this year, and property investigation is being prioritized, in order to locate assets belonging to individuals who commit these offenses. For this purpose, U.S. Treasury Department officials were in Uruguay giving courses on property investigation techniques.last_img read more

Serving “overlooked” populations: An opportunity for credit union growth

first_img 65SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Anna Kochkina Anna Kochkina is a Manager a Capstone with over 10 years’ experience in developing financial models and valuations for M&A transactions and conducting equity research for the investment … Web: www.CapstoneStrategic.com Details It’s not uncommon for credit unions to work with non-traditional industries and financially-vulnerable populations. In fact, offering financial services to unbanked people such as recent immigrants and other disadvantaged groups dates back to the credit unions’ beginnings. The first credit unions were formed in Germany in the 19th century and were based on principals of self-help, equality, social responsibility and caring for others. Since then, the credit union industry has played a critical role in serving the underserved, as credit unions are often willing to provide a helping hand to small businesses and individuals that might be overlooked by banks. While the people who formed the first credit unions certainly were not thinking about getting rich, serving these “overlooked” populations has proved to be an avenue for growth for many organizations. Below are three different examples of credit unions reaching non-traditional populations. Credit unions play an active role at times of hardship. During the recent government shutdown, many credit unions established programs to provide access to low- or no-interest loans with favorable repayment terms to an estimated 800,000 families, as well as Native American communities which depend on the Federal Government financing. For example, Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union set up a zero-percent interest rate up to $6,000 for federal government employees. Microfinance programs serving poorer urban and rural areas became an important lifeline for these communities. Minority-owned credit unions account for only 10% of all credit unions in the US according to the NCUA data but provide vital services to low-income clients. For example, Native American-owned credit unions such as Tongass FCU customize lending products for indigenous communities to match the income cycles that are tied to hunting and fishing. Tongass’ assets increased by 10% to $85M in 2018. Some credit unions such as Point West Credit Union of Portland, Oregon, have ITIN lending programs to immigrants without Social Security numbers based on their Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). For credit unions serving these communities grows membership and income. Point West’s portfolio of ITIN loans increased to $15M in June 2018 from $1.6M in June 2015, while performing as well or better than other loan types in its overall portfolio. As mission-driven organizations, credit unions are well-positioned to address the financial needs of enterprises that traditional banks might dismiss. Realizing potential growth opportunities, more and more credit unions join a small but steadily growing group that offers financial services to the emerging cannabis market. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, first credit union engaged in this line of business in 2014, and, by the end of 2018, 111 credit unions provided services to marijuana related businesses. This, often controversial, industry frequently encounters financial roadblocks, which credit unions are uniquely positioned to address. Credit unions provide the cannabis industry participants with the same financial benefits used by traditional businesses, including access to online banking, checking accounts, debit cards, cash management and payroll services. The desire to work with the emerging marijuana market epitomizes the reason credit unions were founded in the first place – to serve underserved or underbanked communities. This is a win-win proposition for both cannabis related businesses and credit unions servicing them. For example, in 2018, Partner Colorado Credit Union’s assets increased nearly 19% to $418m, while credit union median asset growth was 1.7% nationwide.With a foundation based on the principle of people helping people, it’s not surprising to see credit unions thinking of creative ways to serve members. As a credit union leader, do not hesitate to think outside the box when it comes to growing your organization and serving members – brainstorm all possibilities, regardless of how crazy they may seem. As the three examples noted above demonstrate, opportunities that others overlook may be an excellent way to increase engagement and value to members while enhancing your organization’s growth.last_img read more

Avian flu resurfaces in Russian poultry

first_imgJan 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Russia reported its first H5N1 avian influenza outbreak of the season today, as more suspicious bird deaths were reported in Japan and Hungary, where agriculture authorities are battling other recently confirmed outbreaks.The Russian government’s agricultural watch group Rosselkhoznadzor announced today that poultry deaths were reported at three farmsteads in southern Krasnodar territory, RIA Novosti reported. Spokesperson Alexei Alekseyenko told the news agency that samples from the birds tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza.Krasnodar is in southwest Russia near the Black Sea. Reuters reported today that the outbreaks occurred at three settlements, Labinsk, Upornaya, and Borodinskaya, and that further tests on the samples would be conducted in Moscow.Russia’s last confirmed outbreak was in July 2006, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The country experienced its first significant poultry outbreak in 2005 but has reported no human cases.Meanwhile, Japan’s agriculture ministry announced today its third avian flu outbreak of the season, this one on a chicken farm in Okayama prefecture, about 340 miles west of Tokyo, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The birds have tested positive for an H5 virus, but further tests are pending to determine if it is the lethal H5N1 strain.The announcement came 2 days after the ministry confirmed Japan’s second H5N1 outbreak in poultry, which occurred at a farm in Hyuga in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan’s main chicken-producing region, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. On Jan 26, authorities began slaughtering the farm’s 49,000 remaining chickens, the AP report noted.Hungary’s agriculture ministry today announced a suspected outbreak at a goose farm in the southeastern part of the country, an AP report said. The ministry said authorities culled 9,400 goslings at a farm in Derekegyhaz in Csongrad County after some showed nervous system symptoms, the AP reported. Veterinarians tested the birds for a bacterial infection, but results were negative.Also today the European Union confirmed that the lethal H5N1 virus was the cause of goose deaths on another farm in the same county, as first reported by the Hungarian agriculture ministry 5 days ago, the AP reported. The outbreak marked the first appearance of H5N1 in Europe this winter.WHO confirms human caseOn the human H5N1 disease front, the World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed that a 6-year-old girl from Indonesia’s central Java province died of avian influenza. Her case was announced by the Indonesian government Jan 25. She fell ill Jan 8 and died in the hospital 11 days later. Investigators reported that she had been exposed to dead poultry, the WHO said. Her illness was Indonesia’s 81st case and 63rd fatal one.In Azerbaijan, health officials said a 14-year-old boy who was hospitalized with suspected avian flu died yesterday before his diagnosis could be established, Reuters reported today. The story said he was the brother of a girl who died of H5N1 disease last year, but an AFP report said the two were cousins. They lived in the southern region of Salyan.Three initial tests indicated only that the boy had pneumonia, Anar Kadyrly, a health ministry spokesman told Reuters. He said samples were sent to a WHO laboratory in London for further testing.Meanwhile in Nigeria, a health ministry official said today that the country is conducting H5N1 tests on samples from 14 patients, including 3 who died suspiciously and 11 who were exposed to them, Reuters reported.Two of the samples are from a mother and daughter from Lagos who died within 2 weeks after eating chicken bought from a live-chicken market during the holidays. According to a previous AllAfrica News report, the family had slaughtered the chickens they bought after one died mysteriously. The third fatality from suspected avian flu is a woman from remote Taraba state who died after experiencing flu-like symptoms.Abdulsalam Nasidi, a Nigerian health official, said the samples were being tested at a laboratory in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.However, Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesperson in Geneva, told the AP that preliminary tests came back negative and that samples were sent to a British lab for more testing. “The early results are encouraging, but we won’t know anything definitive until later this week,” he said.In other developments, the avian flu virus infecting people in Indonesia this year hasn’t mutated into a strain that poses a higher risk to humans, Bloomberg News reported today. Georg Petersen, a WHO representative in Indonesia, told Bloomberg the WHO has not detected any alarming mutations in the virus, which has claimed five lives in Indonesia so far this year.“We don’t see these new cases coming in January as any major situation,” Petersen told Bloomberg. “It’s too few cases to say there’s a trend.”See also:Nov 22, 2006, FAO avian flu bulletin with chart of H5N1 outbreaks by countryhttp://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/217700/aidenews_nov06_no44.pdflast_img read more

Centre of attention: Shell revamp in detail

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img