first_imgIT’S the only travel shop in the county which can claim a direct link to America in its name.And today Liberty Travel in Letterkenny is celebrating American Independence Day with a splash of colour.“It is the Fourth of July after all,” said travel agent Carolyn Davis. “We’ve gone all American for the day and we’ve put on some great offers for trips to the States.“There’s never been a better time to go to the USA, so if anyone fancies a strip Stateside they should pop in or call today for some real American deals.” IT’S ‘STATUE OF LIBERTY TRAVEL’ AS AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATED was last modified: July 3rd, 2013 by John2Share 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:IT’S ‘STATUE OF LIBERTY TRAVEL’ AS AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATEDlast_img read more

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first_img6 February 2009French-born tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga left no doubt that African blood runs through his veins when he paid a visit to the sprawling township of Soweto outside Johannesburg on Wednesday.Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, also in Johannesburg for the South African Tennis Open, took time off to get a taste of what it would have felt like living under apartheid.Tsonga, who lies seventh in the ATP world rankings and is in Johannesburg for the South African Tennis Open, held a coaching clinic at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in White City, Jabavu.At the end of the clinic, youngsters from Jabavu and neighbouring areas broke out in song in appreciation for Tsonga’s efforts, and moments later the broad-smiling Muhammad Ali look-alike tennis pro started dancing, even throwing in the odd Ali-shuffle in his routine.African heritageTsonga, whose father was born in Pointe Noire, Congo, has always been proud of his African heritage, and prior to his arrival in Johannesburg had been at pains to make the point that he has long had an emotional attachment to the continent.He was clearly at home among the children, many of whom did not know that he is one of the world’s top tennis players. And it seemed Tsonga’s enjoyment was at its greatest when he was putting the smallest toddlers through their paces with basic drills.“As a kid I never had a chance to go to clinics which were conducted by the world’s top players,” Tsonga said. “It’s really great for them, although I think many of them do not know the players here.‘They’ve got to be able to dream about it’“But I would like them to go home and dream about becoming professional tennis players one day. They’ve got to be able to dream about it, because that could be the start of great things for them.”Tsonga was accompanied by South African Davis Cup players Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie, who worked with the older children on adjacent courts. The clinic was organised by the South African Tennis Association along with the ATP World Tour.Baghdatis at the Apartheid MuseumCypriot Marcos Baghdatis, meanwhile, took time off from the tennis to get a taste of how it felt living in the former apartheid South Africa.Baghdatis, his coach Oliver Sounes and agent Jean-Phillipe Bernard were all labelled either “white” or “non-white” and required to enter Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum through separate doorways.“It’s weird, you know, knowing that they separated people for everything,” Baghdatis said. “They had different toilets, black people had toilets, white people had other toilets, but it was not only that, it was everything – beaches, houses, taxi queues, entrances, bus stops – and mainly the black people suffered a lot.“I also watched some videos which showed how they were treated, and … it hurt a lot to see that,” said Baghdatis, clearly moved by the experience.Understanding MandelaThe South African Tennis Open eighth seed was taken through a visual and physical explanation of the life of Nelson Mandala, after which he said: “I can understand now why he is a hero to so many people.”Taking the museum’s “walk of freedom”, Baghdatis chose a series of coloured sticks – red for loyalty, white for courage, green for forgiveness – to represent characteristics of Mandela’s life as he saw it.The tour finished with Baghdatis signing the museum’s visitor book – the same book Mandela signed when the museum opened in 2001.“It’s a bit shocking when you’re in there and watching that,” Baghdatis said afterwards. “But it’s also nice to see because it is a small wakeup call – and it does wake you up, you see life a bit differently and people a bit differently.”SAinfo reporter. Sources: South African Tennis Association and ATP World Tourlast_img read more

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first_imgA reader emailed me yesterday.“Hey Eric, Clients are wondering about value of settlement NDAs after ex-Fox News HWE victims go public despite contracts. Your reaction?”Wait! You mean employees actually violate confidentiality provisions?I know, right?By way of brief background, in late July, New York ran a story by Gabriel Sherman, suggesting a recent high-profile example. That is, two female Fox employees were allegedly sexually harassed by former Fox News boss, Roger Ailes. The Sherman story includes details of a 2011 settlement agreement between the women and Fox. An agreement that supposedly included “extensive nondisclosure provisions.”Now, before I react to the reader question, I remind everyone of the standard disclaimer.My initial reaction was shock. Specifically, I was shocked to learn that: (a) someone other than my father reads this blog; and (b) someone other than my father would take the time to email me about the blog. [Ok, before I really react, I’m going to ignore the National Labor Relations Act and other EEO/anti-retaliation considerations here. I’m assuming that they do not exist. I’m also assuming that most employees do abide by non-disclosure provisions. I’m not that cynical. Not on Thursdays, at least.]For me, the answer is easy: if you want a non-disclosure provision to have value, then assign it some value. I’m not talking about that boilerplate language about how confidentiality is a material term of the agreement. It doesn’t hurt to have that language, but, it’s not going to dissuade someone who wants to share the terms of the agreement from actually sharing them.No, you need something with real teeth. I’m a believer that the mere specter of financial loss is enough to deter someone from talking.But, ok. How much loss? And will it be enforceable?One option is to provide that an employee who breaches confidentiality must pay actual damages to the employer, including the attorney’s fees and costs incurred in enforcing the settlement agreement. Courts regularly enforce these “actual damages” provisions. But, good luck demonstrating actual damages. Most times, the juice won’t be worth the squeeze. But, I’ve never sought enforcement of one of these.Another option is a liquidated damages provision. Here in Pennsylvania, you can assess liquidated damages where actual loss is hard to calculate and the liquidated damages amount is a reasonable estimate of damages. From my ERISA days, twenty percent of the settlement amount sounds about right. And, the nice thing about twenty percent is that, rarely, does the employee balk at the provision. But, I’ve never sought enforcement of one of these.Yet another option I’ve seen (and used from time to time) is a more draconian provision requiring repayment of the entire settlement sum (including any share paid to the employee’s lawyer) less $500. This provision is all about flexing enough muscle to discourage an employee from testing it. Of course, it comes with enforcement risks (it screams “unreasonable.”) Thus, this is not a provision I’d employ with a large settlement sum. However, in a smaller settlement, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it knowing the opportunity cost to the employee, which would include paying an attorney to defend. But, I’ve never sought enforcement of one of these.Ultimately, my evidence here is all anecdotal. That is, rarely am I presented with hard facts to support a non-disclosure breach. And, then, there’s the prospect of throwing good money after bad to enforce. Plus, I’ve never sought enforcement.I’d like to hear from you.Since I don’t really have a great answer, email me and let me know how you have navigated confidentiality provisions in employment-related settlement agreements.Originally posted on the Employer Handbook Blog.last_img read more

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first_imgProfessional excellence requires dedication and responsibility, and is something that the best continuously strive to achieve. In order to maximize potential, it is therefore essential that professional development is seen as an ongoing process. We should always be looking for ways to improve our skills, abilities, and base of knowledge as a means to maximize performance. Loss prevention certification is a means of establishing and validating that standard of excellence.The Loss Prevention Foundation celebrates the Certified LP professional – Sponsor – David Lund, CFI, LPC, Vice President of Loss Prevention at Dick’s Sporting Goods“I found the LPC course to be a refreshing departure from the expected loss prevention focused content. Instead, I found the curriculum to be more retail centric in a way that shows loss prevention professionals how their expertise can be applied to the business more holistically. The LPC is more about becoming a leader that can communicate effectively and with understanding across the operation than it is honing traditional loss prevention knowledge.”Mark Gaudette, CPP, CFI, LPC, Director of Loss Prevention at Big Y Foods“The LPC certification is right on target in addressing the body of knowledge needed in our industry. This course is well developed and is a value for Loss Prevention Professional at all levels. Whether the new Loss Prevention specialist or the seasoned veteran, the course work offers industry specific information that is needed to be successful in today’s Loss Prevention arena. The LPC course is a must for all Loss Prevention management teams.”September 2016Loss prevention certification is an investment that we make in ourselves. It is not simply a commitment to higher learning, but also a dedication to reach a higher standard. Each of these individuals is helping to raise the bar for the profession; and has earned both their designation and respect of the loss prevention community.The Loss Prevention Foundation is pleased to recognize and congratulate the following individuals who have successfully completed all of the requirements set forth by the board of directors to be LPQualified (LPQ) and/or LPCertified (LPC).LP CertifiedAngela Branstrom, LPC Shannon Clausen, LPC Justin Dietel, LPC Craig Gassert, LPC Brian Gross, LPC Dustin Hudgins, LPC Lisa Kane, LPC Scott Ketelhut, LPC Randy Lima, LPC Harold McIntyre, LPC James Perillo, III LPC David Rivera-Santiago, LPC Dustin Ross, LPC James Runyon, LPC Kevin Shaw, LPC Duane Smith, LPC Robert Thompson, LPC Matthew Trader, LPC Michael Young, LPCLPQualifiedRomeo Acevedo, LPQ Joel Atwood, LPQ Christopher Coffey, LPQ, CFI David Cohen, LPQ Sherry Cramer, LPQ Christine Danielson, LPQ Alexa Dunn, LPQ Joshua Herold, LPQ Richard Ives, LPQ Serena Kelaart, LPQ* Jonathan McCormick, LPQ Shane Murphy, LPQ Kimberly Oglesby, LPQ Alma Rogers, LPQ Michael Rutland, LPQ Robert Toliver, LPQ Dustin Yost, LPQThe retail industry is extremely competitive, and loss prevention has become an integral component of a successful retail model. In order to remain successful our professional competencies must include flexibility, strong problem-solving and decision making skills, a superior knowledge base, and an ability to effectively apply our knowledge and experience to the diverse situations that we face on a day-to-day basis.It is our responsibility to manage the process; driven by individual learning experiences and carrying a personal signature for success. Continuing education, training and skills development, lifelong learning activities, intellectual nourishment and exposure to new ideas all contribute to that plan. Are you taking the necessary steps?To view the Recently Certified for August 2016, click here.For more information on loss prevention certification and the certification process, contact the Loss Prevention Foundation at www.losspreventionfoundation.org Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

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first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportThe House Ways and Means Committee held a markup September 14 that was originally scheduled to consider seven tax-related bills. The committee cut short the markup, considering and approving only three of the tax measures scheduled for consideration. All three bills now head to the House floor.OlympicsThe committee approved the United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympians Bill of 2016 (HR 5496), a measure that would exempt the value of Olympic and Paralympic medals and monetary awards from an athlete’s taxable income (TAXDAY, 2016/08/17, C.1). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., was approved by voice vote. “This tax on success is a disservice to the great athletes that compete for the United States,” Dold said at the hearing.According to Thomas Barthold, chief, Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), all payments from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) are exempt under the bill, regardless of the recipient taxpayer or level of income. “There are no restrictions; it only goes to the value of the award,” Barthold testified.Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., offered an approved amendment addressing the issue of recipient income, requiring the legislation not apply to a taxpayer with income for such winning tax year that exceeds $1 million, or half of that amount in the case of a married individual filing a separate return. Before Pascrell could finish his introduction, Brady and Dold immediately voiced their approval of the amendment.Stock OwnershipThe Empowering Employees through Stock Ownership Bill (HR 5719), sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., which addresses the tax treatment of restricted stock issued to employees, was also approved by voice vote. “The bill is designed to promote employee ownership,” Paulsen said, adding that “the bill contains several provisions to ensure that only employees who truly need a tax deferral are able to obtain it.”According to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the bill will receive a House floor vote during the week of September 19. “This legislation provides startup employees with the ability to accept equity options without being burdened with tax liabilities many employees will be unable to pay until the company goes public or they have substantial cash reserves,” McCarthy said in a statement after the bill’s passage. The bill will be “scheduled for swift consideration on the House floor next week.”The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Bill (HR 3597), sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., was also approved by voice vote. The measure addresses the tax treatment of costs associated with certain citrus crops.“Our intent is to have a second markup next week,” Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., announced at the hearing. While speaking with Wolters Kluwer immediately after the markup, a committee aide indicated the following remaining measures will be taken up next week:The Stop Taxing Death and Disability Bill (HR 5204), sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., which addresses the tax treatment of student loans that are forgiven due to death or disability;The Helping Ensure Accountability, Leadership, and Transparency in Tribal Healthcare (HEALTTH) Bill (HR 5406), sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., legislation that addresses the tax treatment of the Indian Health Service student loan repayment program;The Water and Agriculture Tax Reform Bill of 2015 (HR 422 0), sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., which addresses the tax qualification of mutual irrigation and ditch companies organized to promote access to water; andHR 5879, a bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., which would amend the Internal Revenue Code to adjust the credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities.By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News StaffWays and Means Press Release: Chairman Brady Opening Statement at a Markup of Tax and Trade Enforcement Proposalslast_img read more

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first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportLegislation introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would require Internet sellers, including remote sellers, to provide notice to purchasers that they may owe use tax on their purchase unless sales tax was paid. The notice would also have to state that, if the purchaser owes use tax, they must report and remit the tax on their Pennsylvania income tax form.H.B. 542, as introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on February 17, 2017last_img

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first_imgToday, I’d like to take a peek at what’s around the corner, so to speak, and put the spotlight on a new and exciting area of development. We’ve spent some time in this blog series exploring Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) and its role in the journey to the hybrid cloud. We’ve looked at what’s possible now and how organisations early to the game have started to use technologies like orchestration layers and telemetry to increase agility whilst driving time, cost and labour out of their data centres. But where’s it all going next?One innovation that we’re just on the cusp of is server disaggregation and composable resources (catchy, huh?). As with much of the innovation I’ve spoken about during this blog series, this is about ensuring the datacentre infrastructure is architected to best serve the needs of the software applications that run upon it. Consider the Facebooks*, Googles* and Twitters* of the world – hyper-scale cloud service providers (CSPs), running hyper-scale workloads. In the traditional Enterprise, software architecture is often based on virtualisation – allocating one virtual machine (VM) to one application instance as demand requires. But, what happens when this software/hardware model simply isn’t practical?This is the ‘hyper-scale’ challenge faced by many CSPs. When operating at hyper-scale, response times are achieved by distributing workloads over many thousands of server nodes concurrently, hence a software architecture designed to run on a ‘compute grid’ is used to meet scale and flexibility demands. An example of this is the Map Reduce algorithm, used to process terabytes of data across thousands of nodes.However, along with this comes the requirement to add capacity at breath-taking pace whilst simultaneously achieving previously unheard of levels of density to maximise on space usage. Building new datacentres, or ‘pouring concrete’, is not cheap and can adversely affect service economics for a CSP.Mix-and-Match Cloud ComponentsSo, what’s the ‘The Big Idea’ with server disaggregation and composable resources?Consider this: What if you could split all the servers in a rack into their component parts, then mix and match them on-demand in whatever configuration you need in order for your application to run at its best?Let me illustrate this concept with a couple of examples. Firstly, consider a cloud service provider with users uploading in excess of 50 million photographs a day. Can you imagine the scale on which infrastructure has to be provisioned to keep up? In addition, hardly any of these pictures will be accessed after initial viewing! In this instance, the CSP could dynamically aggregate, say, lower power Intel® Atom™ processors with cheap, high capacity hard drives to create economically appropriate cold storage for infrequently accessed media.Alternatively, a CSP may be offering a cloud-based analytics service. In this case, the workload could require aggregation of high performance CPUs coupled with high bandwidth I/O and solid state storage – all dynamically assembled, from disaggregated components, on-demand.The Infinite Jigsaw PuzzleThis approach, the dynamic assembly of composable resources, is what Intel terms Rack Scale Architecture (RSA).RSA defines a set of composable infrastructure resources contained in separate, customisable ‘drawers’. There are separate drawers for different resources – compute, memory, storage – like a giant electronic pick-and-mix counter. A top-of-rack switch then uses silicon photonics to dynamically connect the components together to create a physical server on demand. Groups of racks – known as pods – can be managed and allocated on the fly using our old friend the orchestration layer. When application requirements change, the components can be disbanded and recombined into infrastructure configuration as needed – like having a set of jigsaw puzzle pieces that can be put together in infinite ways to create a different picture each time.Aside from the fun of all the creative possibilities, there are a lot of benefits to this type of approach:Using silicon photonics, which transmits information by laser rather than by physical cable, means expensive cabling can be reduced by as much as three times1.Server density can be increased by 1.5x and power provisioning reduced by up to six times1.Network uplink can be increased by 2.5x and network downlink by as much as 25 times1.All this means you can make optimal use of your resources and achieve granular control with high-level management. If you want to have a drawer of Intel Atom processors and another of Intel Xeon processors to give you compute flexibility, you can. Want the option of using disk or SSD storage? No problem. And want to be able to manage it all at the pod level with time left over to focus on the more innovative stuff with your data centre team? You got it.Some of these disaggregated rack projects are already underway. You may, for instance have heard of Project Scorpio initiatives in China, and Facebook’s Open Compute Project.All this is a great example of how the software-defined infrastructure can help drive time, cost and labour out of the data centre whilst increasing business agility, and will continue to do so as the technology evolves. Next time, we’ll be looking into how the network fits into SDI, but for now do let me know what you think of the composable resource approach. What would it mean for your data centre, and your business?1 Improvement  based on standard  rack  with 40 DP servers, 48  port ToR switch, 1GE downlink/server and 4 x10GE uplinks,  Cables: 40 downlink and 4 uplink vs . rack with 42 DP servers, SiPh patch panel, 25Gb/s downlink, 100Gb/s uplink, , Cables: 14 optical downlink, and 1 optical uplink. Actual improvement will vary depending on configuration and actual  implementation.Tests document performance of components on a particular test, in specific systems. Differences in hardware, software, or configuration will affect actual performance. Consult other sources of information to evaluate performance as you consider your purchase.  For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit http://www.intel.com/performanceOpens in a new window.last_img read more

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first_img Top stories: A softer side to computers, fruit for thought, and home is where the mouse is (Left to right): MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA/Newscom; ktsimage/iStockphoto; Wollertz/shutterstock Scientists turn mammalian cells into complex biocomputersComputer hardware is getting a softer side. A research team has come up with a way of genetically engineering the DNA of mammalian cells to carry out complex computations, in effect turning the cells into biocomputers. The group hasn’t put those modified cells to work in useful ways yet, but down the road researchers hope the new programming techniques will help improve everything from cancer therapy to on-demand tissues that can replace worn-out body parts. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Is fruit eating responsible for big brains?Ask any biologist what makes primates special, and they’ll tell you the same thing: big brains. Those impressive noggins make it possible for primates from spider monkeys to humans to use tools, find food, and navigate the complex relationships of group living. But scientists disagree on what drove primates to evolve big brains in the first place. Now, a new study comes to an unexpected conclusion: fruit.When did humans settle down? The house mouse may have the answerSometime about 10,000 years ago, the earliest farmers put down their roots—literally and figuratively. Agriculture opened the door to stable food supplies, and it let hunter-gatherers build permanent dwellings that morphed into complex societies. But how that transition played out is a contentiously debated topic. Now, a new study shows that our path to domesticity zig-zagged between periods of sedentary life and a roaming, hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The evidence? The presence—and absence—of the common house mouse.Underground labs in China are devising potent new opiates faster than authorities can respondThe opium poppy is no longer the starting point for many street drugs in the United States, where deaths involving natural and synthetic opiates hit 33,091 in 2015. New compounds like fentanyl—a painkiller about 100 times more potent than morphine—are coming from underground labs in China, where authorities are just beginning to cooperate with U.S. drug enforcement agencies to combat the scourge. Meanwhile, those same labs are cooking up new, unregulated versions of fentanyl, some of them even more potent than the original.Trump wants 2018 NIH cut to come from overhead paymentsThe Trump administration could slash $5.8 billion from the 2018 budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), yet still fund at least as much research by eliminating overhead payments to universities and research institutions, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price told lawmakers this week. The hearing, before the appropriations subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives that oversees the HHS budget, included several questions about the 18% cut to NIH’s $31.7 billion budget that President Donald Trump has proposed. Cuts of that size have outraged biomedical research groups and drawn opposition from both Democrats and many Republicans in Congress.center_img By Rachael LallensackMar. 31, 2017 , 2:30 PMlast_img read more

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first_img By Michael Doyle, E&E NewsJan. 9, 2018 , 2:55 PM “Instances circumventing the secretarial priorities or the review process will cause greater scrutiny and will result in slowing down the approval process for all awards,” the memo stated, in boldface.Secretary Ryan Zinke’s priorities range from “actively support[ing] efforts to secure our southern border” and ensuring “American energy is available to meet our security and economic needs” to employing more veterans and shifting “the balance toward providing greater public access to public lands over restrictions to access,” according to an accompanying memo.Howke, identified in the memo as the new grant reviewer, has until now had a very low profile. His only appearance on the Interior Department’s website is his inclusion on an organizational chart from November.”I’m reviewing this new grant approval regime, but I’m immediately skeptical given the administration’s track record,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) said in a statement.”This grant approval process looks like a backdoor way to stop funds going to legitimate scientific and environmental projects.”Skeptics like Grijalva have previously raised similar concerns about new grant review procedures imposed at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Greenwire, Aug. 22, 2017).The three-page memo authored by Scott Cameron, principal deputy assistant Interior secretary for policy, management and budget, does not estimate how many grants or how much money overall might be affected. An Interior spokesperson did not elaborate today. Blake Matheson/Flickr (CC BY NC 2.0) U.S. Interior Department to put academic, nonprofit grants through political review But as an example of the type of grants that could now face tighter scrutiny, the Interior Department is currently soliciting applications for grants of up to $2 million for battlefield land acquisition through the American Battlefield Protection Program.In a similar vein, over the past year, Interior has offered grants exceeding $50,000 for a wide array of endeavors from western snowy plover recovery in the San Francisco Bay Area to operations and maintenance of Colorado weather stations.All told, Interior provided $806 million in project grants and $763 million in cooperative agreements in fiscal 2016. More than 18,000 individual cooperative agreements and grants were provided, potentially reflecting the kind of funding that could be reviewed, and second-guessed, under the new policy.”Grants and cooperative agreements of any type in any amount may be subject to an after-the-fact review process to ascertain whether the funds were appropriately expended and whether the anticipate benefits were produced,” Cameron’s memo notes.Cameron has considerable experience with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Office of Management and Budget, among other past employers. He is currently Interior’s top budget officer, pending the Senate confirmation of Susan Combs as assistant secretary (E&E Daily, July 21, 2017).The memo, first obtained by The Washington Post, directs all Interior bureaus to report back within two weeks on all their financial assistance programs, specifying which grants and cooperative agreements are discretionary and hence subject to the new review process. Grants provided by the Department of the Interior, such as one last year that supported efforts to protect the western snowy plover (above), will now get new scrutiny to ensure they align with Trump administration priorities.center_img This grant approval process looks like a backdoor way to stop funds going to legitimate scientific and environmental projects. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D–AZ) The U.S. Interior Department will now funnel certain grants through a political screening intended to ensure the federal dollars “better align” with the administration’s “priorities,” according to a newly revealed memo.The move invests considerable power in a senior Interior Department adviser named Steve Howke, who will be reviewing grants including those above $50,000 for universities, land acquisition purposes and nonprofits that can engage in advocacy.The new review process covering discretionary grants, declared in a 28 December memo, also comes with sharp teeth.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Read more…last_img read more

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first_img RYAN BOLTON/SHUTTERSTOCK By Science News StaffJan. 3, 2019 , 8:00 AM With control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats will likely examine environmental policies. CLIMATE SCIENCEAll eyes on polar iceIf you want to understand Earth’s warming future, look to the poles. This year, scientists in two international projects will heed that call. In September, researchers will position a German icebreaker, the RV Polarstern, to freeze in Arctic sea ice for a year’s stay. The ship will serve as the central hub for the €120 million Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, hosting researchers from 17 countries. They’ll study how polar clouds, ocean dynamics, and first-year ice formation contribute to the Arctic’s shift to ice-free summers. Then, near year’s end, researchers from the United States and United Kingdom will fan out across the remote Thwaites Glacier, the part of the Antarctic ice sheet most at risk of collapsing into the ocean and driving up sea levels, in the first full season of a $50 million, 5-year effort. They’ll probe the ice’s structure and the water and land beneath it, using everything from seismometers to instrument-carrying seals. Both missions will benefit from revitalized satellite coverage, as two satellites launched last year, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on, which measure ice height and mass, respectively, begin to beam science data back home.SCIENCE POLICYA science whisperer for TrumpFor 2 years, President Donald Trump has been making decisions involving science and innovation without input from a White House science adviser. Meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, whom Trump nominated in late July 2018 to fill that void, was awaiting final Senate approval at press time. The question is what his arrival will mean for the administration’s handling of an array of technical challenges, from regulation of human embryo engineering and self-driving cars to combatting cyberterrorism and fostering a more tech-savvy workforce. Some science-soaked issues may already have been settled, such as leaving the Paris climate accord and forsaking the Iran nuclear deal. But many others remain unresolved, including how to deal with Chinese espionage at U.S. universities without stifling global scientific cooperation.#METOONew rights for alleged harassersThis year, the U.S. Department of Education may finalize controversial proposed rules that would reduce universities’ liability for policing sexual harassment and sexual assault and give more rights to the accused. The regulations, proposed in November 2018, would change how institutions investigate such allegations under the landmark 1972 law known as Title IX. They wouldn’t be responsible for investigating most off-campus incidents of harassment or assault, and the standard of evidence for confirming allegations of on-campus misconduct could rise. The definition of sexual harassment would be narrowed from “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” to “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access” to education. And defendants’ lawyers will be able to cross-examine accusers. The department is accepting comments on the proposals until 28 January.PARTICLE PHYSICSSeeking new physics in the muonBy studying the magnetism of a particle called the muon, physicists hope to find results this year that could point to new particles or forces, something they have craved for decades. Scientists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, are examining whether the muon—a heavier and shorter-lived cousin of the electron—is more magnetic than theory predicts. The Muon g-2 experiment found a hint of such an excess when it ran at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, from 1997 to 2001. Physicists moved the experiment’s 15-meter-wide electromagnet to Fermilab in 2013, upgraded the apparatus, and started to record data in January 2018. A first result could be one of the biggest stories in particle physics this year, with the world’s biggest atom smasher, Europe’s Large Hadron Collider, idled for 2 years of upgrades.BIOPHYSICSA fine-grained look inside cellsIn cell biology, higher resolution means more gets revealed. Now, scientists are ready to use new combinations of tools and techniques to provide close-up looks at components inside cells in unprecedented detail, and in 3D. Already, researchers can analyze DNA, proteins, RNA, and epigenetic marks in single cells. This year, multidisciplinary teams plan to combine those methods with advances in cryoelectron tomography, labeling techniques to trace molecules, and other types of microscopy to see subcellular structures and processes. For example, a multifaceted technique for imaging and staining DNA could shed new light on how chromosomes fold. And the blended methods could yield clearer pictures at the molecular level of how cells divide and change shape, and how gene activity affects structure and function.CLIMATE SCIENCESolar dimming gets a testA geoengineering technique to curb global warming by temporarily dimming the sun’s rays could get its first, modest field experiment this year. In solar geoengineering, vast amounts of reflective aerosol particles would be sprayed into the high atmosphere, mimicking the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions. The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, led by climate scientists at Harvard University, will test the idea in a small, controlled way. If its plans are approved by an advisory board, the team will loft a balloon into the stratosphere, where it will release 100 grams of reflective particles—probably calcium carbonate, the chalky ingredient in antacid tablets. Flying back through the plume, the balloon will observe its cooling effect. Solar-radiation management, as it’s known, is controversial. It does not reduce the built-up carbon dioxide that drives climate change and ocean acidification, and there’s no accepted international governance.SCIENCE POLICYDivided we stand?You’ll need a Ouija board to predict how U.S. science will fare this year under a divided government, with Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives while Republicans retain the Senate with President Donald Trump in the White House. There are the known flashpoints—Democrats challenging the Trump administration on its environment and energy policies, for example. Spending cuts will be on the table as lawmakers face tight budget caps mandated by a 2011 law. Then there are the what-ifs, including whether the Supreme Court will throw out a citizenship question on the 2020 census and lawmakers can suspend partisan bickering long enough to pass an infrastructure package that would boost U.S. innovation. A few science-savvy new members of Congress hope to lend a hand. Scientists in Europe and the United States face an uncertain political landscape in the new year, which could affect funding and collaborations. The threat is most acute in the United Kingdom, which plans to exit the European Union in March but has not settled on the terms of its departure. Some big research findings could share the headlines, however, including the first clear images of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy, from astronomers in an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope. Science’s news staff forecasts other areas of research and policy likely to make news this year. BIOTECHNOLOGYNew GM mosquitoes take offThe first release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in Africa is set to happen in Burkina Faso this year, an initial step in a planned “gene drive” strategy against malaria. It will be the first release of GM mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, which transmits the parasite responsible for the disease. The gene drive approach, under development at the nonprofit consortium Target Malaria, would spread mutations through the wild population that knock out key fertility genes or reduce the proportion of female insects, which transmit disease. But the first GM Anopheles mosquitoes released won’t bear such mutations and aren’t intended to cut down the population. Researchers will let out fewer than 10,000 genetically sterilized males to observe how they survive and disperse in the wild and to help introduce the concept of GM mosquitoes to regulators and community members.CONSERVATIONNations size up biodiversityThree years in the making, a $2.4 million assessment of Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems will be published in May. By evaluating trends over 50 years in indicators such as species extinctions and extent of marine protected areas, it will chart progress toward international goals on biodiversity conservation—and, in many places, how far short the world is falling. Experts from 50 nations have participated in a review of scientific literature and government data conducted under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The report, the first since a similar effort in 2005, will forecast the future of species on the planet under business-as-usual and other scenarios. The new assessment is intended to inform the next generation of biodiversity targets, due in 2020. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS/NEWSCOM The science stories likely to make headlines in 2019 A global assessment will examine endangered species, which include the ploughshare tortoise in Madagascar. Curated and edited by Jeffrey Brainard. SPACE SCIENCEThe next planetary missionIn July, NASA will chart its next major step in planetary science when it selects the next billion-dollar mission under its New Frontiers program. The agency will choose between two finalists. Dragonfly would send a semiautonomous quad-copter to fly across the surface of Titan, the saturnian moon sculpted by rivers of liquid methane. The copter would search for clues of chemical reactions that could lead to life. The Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return mission would return gases and ice from the nucleus of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Such samples, likely unaltered for billions of years, could provide a window into the role comets played in delivering water and organic compounds to Earth in its early history.RESEARCH ETHICSA push to return museum holdingsResearchers are beginning new efforts to return bones and cultural artifacts collected for study and as museum specimens to the peoples from whom they were obtained, often without consent. Expect renewed debate on this issue, as after centuries of exploitative collecting, some researchers use new methods to collaborate with those communities, and also expand efforts to return objects of art. A study from Australia published last month showed ancient DNA can be used to reliably link the remains of Aboriginal ancestors to living descendants. Some warn, however, that widespread adoption of similar methods could be used to coerce communities into genetic testing. In France, a government-commissioned report recommended in November 2018 that over the next 5 years, French museums work with colleagues in Africa to repatriate tens of thousands of cultural artifacts looted during colonial rule if their countries of origin ask for them.LIVESTOCK AGRICULTUREDisease crisis looms for swinePig farmers—and perhaps some bacon lovers—will anxiously scan the headlines this year for news of African swine fever (ASF). Harmless to humans, the viral disease is highly infectious and lethal among pigs, causing serious economic damage through culls and trade bans. ASF made major jumps in Europe last year, turning up for the first time in pigs and wild boar in Bulgaria and in boar in Belgium and Hungary. The virus can jump from boar, which are difficult to manage, to swine. Germany, Denmark, and other major pork producers are on high alert. Most worrisome was the first detection of the virus in China, a long-dreaded development in the country with the world’s largest pig population. China has recorded more than 80 outbreaks since August 2018, including in boar. Authorities have clamped down on the transport of pigs, culled more than 630,000, and last month reportedly banned pig farming where wild boar are present. Despite these efforts, the virus could still explode in China and elsewhere in Asia.BIOETHICSChina eyes bioethics overhaulChina is likely to tighten its rules for genetic engineering of humans, including the creation of heritable traits, in the wake of an uproar over such work in 2018. A Chinese scientist named He Jiankui announced in November 2018 that he modified a gene in embryos that led to twin baby girls. The modification is meant to protect them and their descendants from HIV infection, a feat widely condemned in China and worldwide as unethical, unjustified, and possibly harmful to the babies. Most countries ban or outlaw such experiments. In China, however, what i s apparently the most relevant regulation was enacted in 2003 and never updated to cover advances in gene editing. Since the announcement, numerous Chinese researchers, ethicists, and officials have called for an overhaul of the country’s bioethics laws and regulations, although no agency or institution has been named to lead the effort. Another question for this year is whether He will face sanctions.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) last_img read more

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